Sunday, September 03, 2006


The Governor's people are passing the word that SB 1441 is really innocuous. No one will be hurt by it. The purpose is just to stop churches and schools teaching what they believe to be biblical values. Anyway, churches and schools should not be taking government money anyway (this way it leaves more money on the table for those without values and those that hate those that do have values). SB 1441 would only stop children with religious faith from using CalGrants to get money for the education they want--instead they could just go to government schools. Churches should not be teaching moral values, or that we should have values, that just harms society. So, a church that runs a homeless shelter, gives out food or housing vouchers, with some State money, should stop these programs, since they must be harming the community since the organization in charge discusses their moral beliefs. The issue is not merely school scholarships, but allowing those that truly help the poor from providing those services. At the same time the Federal government is promoting a "Faith Initiative", California is trying to close it down. Question: does this help or hurt the poor and the community.

Who benefits if these church programs were closed? Government of course. Inefficient government, corrupt government, would then have to pick up the slack--which is part of the problem to begin with. For bureaucrats this is a win-win...for people in need, this is a disaster. In all cases, it is society that loses--but we won't have those nasty value judgements taught in churches or private schools.

This article about the Minneapolis police shows the direction that SB 1441 will take us. The "signs" on the door of government agencies--NOW, in Minnesota is "NO CHRISTIANS NEED APPLY" If you are a true, believing Christian, live your life according to Christian beliefs, you won't be able to work for government--so far, the irreligious are testing this just in Minneapolis.

The bottom line is, can the State, or other California agency use SB 1441 to tell employers what they are allowed to think, if they want to work for government. And, if SB 1441 doesn't do the job, will the Governor sign a new bill when he is re-elected (and he will be)?

Do you want government to use the power of hiring and firing, loans, grants, contracts or regulations to force people to believe in a State sanctioned Religion (that is what SB 1441 is all about, the creation of a State Mandated religion, believe in it or you are a second class citizen, a serf). Do you think it is appropriate for government to use its powers to create "sanctioned" religion belief? I thought liberals want a separation of Church and State (of course no such provision is in the Constitution)

Now you know why government needs to be limited--give it power and it will take more. Give it more money, or allow it to raise money through bonds, and it will use some of that money to get even more. Government is like a vampire, the blood it sucks to keep it alive and growing is green--your money. So, it benefits government to close down private schools, so more kids go to government schools. It grows government by closing private, church based social welfare programs--more money for government to spend, more union members, etc.

So, maybe, like a Perry Mason mystery, it is the classic misdirection, this isn't about morals, but about government growing and wrapping itself in the flag of diversity and tolerance, while harming children, the poor and those in great need.


By Any Means Necessary: A federal judge plays politics in Michigan

A decision Tuesday by a federal judge in Detroit could set the stage for a sweeping expansion of the Voting Rights Act, which would turn the federal courts into a national campaign police. At issue is a last-ditch effort by a group trying to prevent citizens from voting on an amendment to the Michigan constitution. Styled after similar campaigns in California and Washington, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative would outlaw the use of racial preferences by state agencies and universities.

Just a few weeks before the deadline for Proposal 2 to get onto the state ballot, the "Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary" (BAMN, loosely) argued that the signature gathering process used to qualify the referendum was tainted by racially targeted fraud. From the beginning, BAMN has claimed the initiative disguised an anti-black and racist agenda. But because many black individuals had signed the petition, BAMN had to show they'd been duped.

So the group launched an "investigation." They systematically called and personally visited blacks who'd signed the petition. In some cities, they had friendly talk show hosts read the names of black signers over the radio. In all cases BAMN's message was the same: How could you, a black person, sign a petition to roll back affirmative action?

BAMN's high-pressure tactics worked. Some signers and even gatherers decided they'd been deceived. In some cases they recalled being told that the petition was to "support affirmative action" and to help get their "children into college." Using pre-printed affidavits (some "signed" over the phone), BAMN collected statements from dozens of individuals and started a legal campaign to get the referendum pulled.

BAMN's claims were hardly credible. The Michigan constitution explicitly guarantees the right of citizens to put issues on the ballot, so long as they can collect signatures of registered voters equal to 10% of the last gubernatorial election. And, in accordance with state law, the language of the referendum was printed in full at the top of each signature page, so that voters had the opportunity to read it for themselves. In any case, even if state officials had struck every single signature BAMN claims came from a majority black city (124,000), there still were more than enough signers to get onto the ballot. In light of all this, the Michigan courts--as well as the secretary of state and the attorney general--rightly rebuffed BAMN's litigation.

BAMN filed a new lawsuit in federal court. Although the purpose of the Voting Rights Act is to eliminate procedures that diminish participation in elections because of race, BAMN asked the courts to rule that states must invent new procedures: Namely, they must strike black participation whenever officials have an inkling some blacks might have been confused about what they were doing.

It's hard to think of a more perverse reading of the law. Imagine if officials of Southern states had ever conducted after-the-fact telephone campaigns to make sure black voters understood what they were voting for? Or tried to filter black votes by looking into conversations they might have had in the moments before they entered the voting booth?

None of this much mattered to the federal judge assigned to the case, Arthur J. Tarnow, a Democratic appointment. He scheduled a two-day hearing last month to consider BAMN's request for a preliminary injunction, and allowed dozens of BAMN witnesses to testify in front of a gallery packed with BAMN supporters, while just outside BAMN protesters staged a noisy demonstration.

In Tuesday's ruling, Judge Tarnow concluded that the initiative sponsors and the state had been right all along: There was no legal basis for a claim under the Voting Rights Act. But Judge Tarnow was not convinced by any principled view of that act's purpose and limits. Rather, he concluded that there was no violation because initiative sponsors "targeted all Michigan voters for deception without regard to race"! In fact, Judge Tarnow gave himself the authority, even the duty, to "serve as a 'referee'" for all kinds of state political "processes"--not just elections. In that capacity, he didn't hesitate to give BAMN's political campaign a big helping hand, despite his legal ruling against it.

Without the benefit of even a short trial, Judge Tarnow made the incendiary finding that "evidence overwhelmingly favors a finding that [petition sponsors] engaged in voter fraud" and that state officials had exhibited "an almost complete institutional indifference." His Honor went on to smear the initiative's executive director, Jennifer Gratz, by gratuitously asserting that "her lack of clarity and forthrightness seems typical of the [initiative's] approach, which is best characterized by the use of deception and connivance."

BAMN correctly figures that Judge Tarnow's sweeping declaration of widespread fraud will pressure the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse his legal ruling that the Voting Rights Act doesn't reach fraud targeted against both blacks and whites. Even if the circuit doesn't reverse, BAMN no doubt hopes it will grant a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from moving forward with the referendum while Judge Tarnow's reading of the Voting Rights Act gets sorted out.

Judge Tarnow's willingness to mount a political campaign from the bench makes clear just where BAMN's reading of the Voting Rights Act will lead. For if the federal courts get to settle this particular dispute, then, by the same logic, they would have been responsible for adjudicating, for instance, the many disputes of the 2004 elections: Swift boats, National Guard service, ad nauseam. No one should invite that prospect, least of all organizations like BAMN. But as its name implies--any means necessary--BAMN's legal strategy is oblivious to long-term consequences.


CAIR's Twisted Stand on Academic Freedom

Article by Daniel Pipes lifted from Front Page Magazine

Hark the ringing prose about academic freedom by Rima Kapitan, the volunteer attorney in CAIR's Chicago office.

Another casualty in the war against civil liberties in this country since September 2001 is the right to academic freedom. Professors and students who diverge too much from the current political and economic orthodoxy are being silenced around the country. Among the most vulnerable have been adjunct professors, foreign professors and students, and professors and students who support Palestinian national rights or who oppose U.S. foreign policy decisions. .

CAIR-Chicago is joining other organizations and individuals in an effort to defend academic freedom. . CAIR-Chicago has also initiated the creation of an academic freedom coalition called the Free Campus Coalition, which will defend the academic freedom rights of students and professors as violations occur. The coalition will comprise of civil liberties organizations, professors and students.

Freedom on universities is especially important because of the formative role that universities play in the lives of students, and because of the essential role they play in their communities. Students should be exposed to a wide range of ideas, and learn to argue against ideas with which they do not agree.

The immediate beneficiary of this high-blown rhetoric, dated August 14, 2006, is one Douglas Giles of Roosevelt University, who lost his job supposedly for just mentioning Zionism in his "World Religions" class and for allowing students to speak about Zionism. According to Giles, a student in his course asked a question about Zionism, which he answered. Then, presto, he was fired by his department chair, Susan Weininger. The disagreement is scheduled for arbitration in September. Whatever the facts in this incident, CAIR's Chicago office stands fully behind Giles.

But in Chicago's other high-profile academic-freedom case concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict, and there, CAIR is exactly on the other side, seeking to have the instructor fired.

That would be the case of Thomas Klocek, a part-time adjunct professor since 1991 at DePaul University, the largest Catholic school in the United States. At a campus fair, Klocek expressed pro-Israel views, got into an altercation with two anti-Israel groups (Students for Justice in Palestine and United Muslims Moving Ahead), and, after they registered complaints against him, was suspended by the university. CAIR not only endorsed his suspension but, as articulated by Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago's civil rights coordinator (and a DePaul University law student), wanted him more severely punished.

Abraham gave a video interview in June 2006 concerning Klocek's suspension, as revealed by John Ruberry, in the course of which she, speaking on behalf of CAIR explained the organization's position on Klocek. About 1/8th of the way into the video, she says: "We were very concerned with the situation and we did request that he [Klocek] be terminated." She confirmed this, later saying (about 1/6th of the way in) that CAIR-Chicago suggested to DePaul that "if the investigation were to have shown that he did make these statements that and he did act this way towards the students, yes, we did suggest that they should terminate him."

Comments: (1) CAIR's position on Klocek hardly fits the description of a group taking part in the Free Campus Coalition to defend "the academic freedom rights of students and professors as violations occur."

(2) As Ruberry points out, CAIR fancies itself a civil rights organization, but is it the normal work of a civil rights organization to recommend that a private institution fire an employee, thereby depriving him of his livelihood (not to speak of the health insurance required for his serious kidney condition)? Some might conclude that CAIR is no civil rights organization; that would certainly fit with my own perception since 1999.

(3) The inconsistency documented here is par for the CAIR course; it routinely takes ostensibly principled positions that in fact adjust to its politics. (CAIR, for example, has jointly sponsored programs with United Muslims Moving Ahead.) For other examples of this pattern, see

ú "CAIR's Inconsistent Advice on Law Enforcement.", 4 July 2004. CAIR's advice: Help the police to protect you, but stiff them when they seek your help with counterterrorism.

ú "Look Now Who's Profiling - CAIR's Staff Is.", 1 August 2003. CAIR hates profiling, except when it does so itself.

ú "Radical Islam's Hypocrisy[: The Ehrgott & Okashah Cases]." The New York Sun, 18 January 2005. CAIR comes down hard on the foes of radical Islam but pleads for an understanding of Muslims in similar circumstances.

(4) More broadly, such behavior points to the unreliable quality of CAIR's work, a theme that the reader can more fully explore at "Bibliography - My Writings on Not Trusting CAIR."

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