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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

Noted Author Reading The Jewish Press Detained at JFK

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Perhaps it is a coincidence that it happened to be The Jewish Press that caught the attention of security officials at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 5, but that fact certainly caught the attention of The Jewish Press reporters.

Phyllis Chesler, one of the doyennes of the feminist movement, professor emerita of psychology and women’s studies at CUNY, ardent Zionist, and author, most recently of An American Bride in Kabul, which won the National Jewish Book Award for memoir this year, was traveling from New York to Florida Wednesday afternoon.

Chesler’s flight was delayed due to the ice storm. Still, she felt somewhat lucky, as most of the flights were cancelled.

As she waited, Chesler pulled out the latest edition of The Jewish Press, which she had with her.

Chesler noticed that as soon as she took out the paper, one of the security agents looked at her sharply. He came over and asked to see her newspaper. After looking at the cover, the agent then took The Jewish Press and brought it over to another security agent. The two agents then had a discussion, apparently about the newspaper and about Chesler. She was then told to open her luggage, which the agents proceeded to search.

While Chesler’s luggage was being rifled through and she was being interrogated, she noticed another woman stride unmolested past her and the security agents, and disappear on through to her destination.

The woman who sailed through without being stopped was dressed in a niqab. The niqab is an Islamic head covering which covers a woman’s entire face except for the eyes.

niqab.jpg Chesler recounted that she saw no one in security ask this other woman – whose face was impossible to see – to lift her veil so that they might check her facial features against her identifying documents. The unidentifiable woman went right past security, no questions asked.

Chesler’s interrogation ended after the security agents found nothing more dangerous than a water bottle.

The episode was relatively brief, but it reveals a great deal about who security agents at JFK airport think is dangerous and from what they are protecting Americans.

The issue is not that the Jew was the one who was stopped and the Muslim was the one who sailed through security.

The issue is that merely the word Jewish on a newspaper was sufficient to draw the agents’ attention and suspicion, while someone whose identity was impossible to discern, who could be hiding who knows what, was ignored by security – security! professionals.

Had the situation been reversed, there is little question that the Committee on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), would be up in arms. So would the American Civil Liberties Union and probably half a dozen Jewish organizations. But in this real life situation, a Jewish woman was stopped as a potential security threat in an airport in New York because she was reading a Jewish newspaper.

Will anyone be up in arms?

 

An Even More Centralized Israel: Cashless and Criminal

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Centralization in Israel is a two-headed coin (or perhaps a two-headed monster).

There’s no doubt, that so many bureaucratic activities go much smoother in Israel than they do in America, because we have ID numbers and our cards are inter-linked to everything. Of course, sometimes that doubles the frustration when obvious things need to be manually duplicated over and over for no reason.

On the other hand, that centralization provides no flexibility or a safety net. Having problems with one government office can easily spill over to an unrelated one, since you’re linked together everywhere on record.

Then there is the basic issue of personal privacy and civil liberties.

And now, the Israeli government is attempting to implement two extreme decisions that threaten civil liberties more than ever.

They’re testing a biometric ID system. God forbid that should ever become mandatory.

Right now, even though your personal bio-data is out there with different organizations, there is still some semblance of privacy and protection because of the separation that naturally exists between your health fund, the army, the government, and so on.

But once that goes away, there goes your privacy. You will have no control over your personal information at all, and you’re reliant on the government, which as we know, is not the most effective of protectors of personal data.

The other move is even scarier.

The Israeli government is actually considering trying to find a way to abolish cash.

There was a unanimous cabinet decision to explore how to do that (Hey Naftali Bennett, I didn’t vote for you to lose my civil liberties – remember that come election time).

They want to get rid of cash, and give everyone rechargeable “cash cards” that will allow the government to track every single transaction you do. EVERY. SINGLE. TRANSACTION.

I can’t even begin to describe the civil liberties and privacy violations that implementing this system will create.

And if they actually believe this will get rid of cash, or the black market, they’re even stupider than I thought.

Bitcoin, gold, barter… you name it. Smart (and dumb) people will find their way around it. Not to do illegal transactions, mind you, but simply to protect their privacy away from the government’s snooping eyes.

And then we’ll all be criminals, because of a dangerous legislation which is an intrusive attempt to suck more tax money out of us and spy on us, and not just spy directly, but with data mining too, to study our purchase and transaction behavior, and find every last penny they can suck out of us and understand what we do with it.

I guarantee one thing. If this legislation passes, if the party I voted for, and the ones I didn’t, don’t stop this in its tracks, I will do everything (legal) to make sure those people do not get elected again, and be replaced with people who do care and understand the importance of civil liberties and fear the tyranny of government.

Religious Right and ACLU Protest Judge’s No Messiah Ruling

Monday, August 19th, 2013

It began when Jaleesa, 22, took the father of her baby, Jawaan P. McCullough, 40, to family court in Tennessee, to establish paternity and to set child support. Oh, and the baby’s name was Messiah, according to the LA Times.

In court it was revealed that the father had wanted to name the baby Jawaan P. McCullough Jr., but he no longer objected to calling the boy Messiah Deshawn. But the judge decided to change the baby’s name anyway.

“It is not in this child’s best interest to keep the first name ‘Messiah,’” Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew wrote in her decision. “‘Messiah’ means Savior, Deliverer, the One who will restore God’s Kingdom. ‘Messiah’ is a title that is held by only Jesus Christ.”

An entire Jewish family of Iraqi extract named Mashiach would argue differently, but you don’t get many Iraqi Jews in Tennessee. But even without that Iraqi-Jewish input, “Messiah” is an increasingly popular American baby name, according to the LA Times, as are the names Lord and King.

The name would impose an “undue burden on him that as a human being he cannot fulfill,” the judge wrote, although she really didn’t know just how spiritually gifted the baby Messiah was.

She also noted that in Cocke County, Tenn., where the new Messia resides, there is a “large Christian population” as evidenced by its “many churches of the Christian faith.”

“Therefore,” the judge concluded, “it is highly likely that he will offend many Cocke County citizens by calling himself ‘Messiah.’”

Maybe, maybe not – there’s a slew of Jesus’s out there and no one seems to mind, and then, come to think of it, using that same logic, the name David should also irk some people. So the ACLU of Tennessee got on the case, and, surprisingly, received many calls of support from the religious right, which typically threatens to blow up their offices over abortion cases.

“I got the classic call the other day,” Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, told the LA Times. “They said, ‘I really don’t like the ACLU, but I support what you are saying and doing about the baby Messiah.”

UC Davis constitutional law professor Carlton F.W. Larson said the judge’s “entire line of reasoning totally violates basic freedom of religious purposes. This kid can’t be a Messiah because the Messiah is Jesus Christ? Judges don’t get to make pronouncements on the bench about who is the Messiah and who is not.”

The ACLU’s Weinberg agreed: “The judge is crossing the line by interfering in a very private decision and is imposing her own religious faith on this family. The courtroom is not a place for promoting personal religious beliefs, and that’s exactly what the judge did when she changed the baby Messiah’s name to Martin.”

On the other hand, if a certain Miriam from Nazareth had gone ahead and changed her own child’s name to Martin, we’d all be spared a lot of embarrassment…

Anti-Circumcision Group to Picket ACLU’s Marriage Equality Rally

Monday, July 15th, 2013

San Francisco anti-circumcision activists are planning to picket a campaign for marriage equality by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU )in Oakland Wednesday evening because the civil liberties group opposes circumcision bans.

The reasoning is based not only on mixing apples and oranges but also making them equal, just like boys and girls are born equal – from top to bottom.

Here is a civil liberties group campaigning for equality in marriage but is being picketed because it does not support the argument that there should be gender equality in the law that protects girls from circumcision.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has organized a screening of “The Campaign,” and members of Bay Area Intactivists said they will protest outside the event venue” to condemn the ACLU’s work denying boys equal protection from genital mutilation.”

The ACLU’s sin, in the eyes of anti-circumcision activists, is that it argued that the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation Bill a ballot initiative two years ago to restrict non-therapeutic circumcision to consenting adults  violated the right of parents to have their sons circumcisions, according to Jewish law.

The ballot proposal never even reached the voting booths because  a San Francisco judge ruled that state law preempts the city from regulating medical professionals.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi removed the measure from the ballot in her order, stating, “The [California state] statute speaks directly to the issue of local regulation of medical procedures and leaves no room for localities to regulate in this area.”

But if you already are going to change the facts of life and disregard certain bodily differences between girls and boys, then why stick to other facts?

IntactNews, which reports on the “genital integrity movement,” reported that the removal of the proposal from the ballot was “squelching democracy by denying voters their voice.”

In other words, democracy is when you win and it is anti-democratic when you lose.

Once that reasoning can be understood, everything becomes clear.

Federal law protects girls from genital mutilation. IntactNews points out that the law does not stipulate any “religious or cultural exceptions.” If there are any readers who know of a religion that considers circumcision of girls a mitzvah, please raise your hand.

Following the court ruling striking the anti-circumcision proposal from the ballot, California passed a law making it illegal for local authorities to ban or restrict circumcisions. The ACLU backed the law, making it persona non grata for the activists.

By the way if you want to demonstrate against the ACLU next week, be warned that, according to Intact, “a limited number of signs will be available [but] you are also welcome to bring your own sign.”

Ann Arbor TA Bars ‘Boycott Israel’ bus Ads

Friday, June 7th, 2013

A federal judge has agreed that the Ann Arbor Transit Authority had the right to reject a bus ad campaign by an anti-Israel activist. The ad shows a spider crushing skulls, framed by the words: “Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid,” CBS News in Detroit reported.

ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin said he was disappointed by Judge Mark Goldsmith’s decision, and Blaine Coleman, the anti-Israeli activist that Korobkin is representing—was also disappointed.

In 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the AATA and its CEO Michael Ford on behalf of Coleman, over the agency’s refusal to accept Coleman’s advertisement calling for a boycott of Israel.

“His view is that Israel should be boycotted because it’s equivalent to apartheid, and, as the ACLU, we don’t take a position on the validity of that opinion,” Korobkin told WWJ Newsrasdio 950′s Sandra McNeil. ”But we feel very strongly that, no matter what someone’s opinion is, that speech should be heard.”

A key to the ACLU’s position, according to The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is a 1998 case involving a labor union that had proposed an advertisement on a regional transit authority’s vehicles, but had the ad rejected on the grounds that it was “too controversial and not aesthetically pleasing.” The case was argued and won by the union in the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.

Part of the ACLU’s argument, explained the Chronicle, relies on the idea that the AATA has, in fact, through its past pattern of accepted ads, established a “public forum,” although the AATA’s ad policy explicitly states that the AATA “does not [with its ad program] intend to create a public forum.”

The AATA said the ad violated their advertising policy, reported CBS News’ Sandra McNeill.

“There is no doubt that some people find this ad to be offensive and maybe even personally hurtful or outrageous,” Korobkin argued. “But that kind of speech has always been protected by the First Amendment by our country, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be protected here.”

He stated: “It is not the government’s role to censor speech. Even when the speech is controversial, offensive or unpopular.”

ACLU Sues to Block Anti-Election Fraud Bill in Michigan

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Only citizens of the United States can legally vote in federal elections.  So Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson added a yes/no question on ballot applications that asks: “Are you a United States citizen?”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, this simple requirement is “an election day disaster in the making.”  So the ACLU did what it usually does, which is to sue.

Filed on behalf of the UAW International, which includes the radical Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED), a county election official, and several voters, the ACLU’s Sept. 17 lawsuit charges that the citizenship question was not approved through proper channels and violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act because two townships it affects come under federal jurisdiction.

Also, the ACLU contends that this question was not asked of all voters in the August primary, and that including the question on the form could cause long lines on Election Day.

Really?  If you’re a U.S. citizen, what would keep you from checking the right box?  How long could it take?  If you’re not a U.S. citizen, what would you be doing at a polling place, unless you were trying to vote illegally?

“We can all agree that it should be easier to vote and harder to cheat,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director, in a press release, “but cynical voter suppression tactics should not be tolerated.”

To the ACLU and its liberal allies, commonsense voter ID laws constitute “suppression tactics.”

Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder inexplicably vetoed a bill requiring the citizenship checkbox on every Michigan ballot, citing concerns about possible confusion.  The ACLU’s challenge will decide shortly whether the secretary of state, the official who oversees elections, can or cannot put the question on the form without legislative or executive direction.  The case is before Eastern Michigan U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, a 1992 George H.W. Bush appointee.

When they’re not gumming up efforts to prevent vote fraud, the ACLU of Michigan proudly continue the ACLU’s long tradition of assaulting moral sensibilities.  On Sept. 26, the lead item on the ACLU of Michigan’s blog was a reverie by one of its interns:

Just a week ago, hundreds of Michigan men and women came out for the HANDS OFF! Rally for Reproductive Justice. Not only was it truly inspiring, it was liberating to turn heads in my “Vagina” t-shirt, demonstrate that I value autonomy over my own body via some not-so-coordinated dance moves, and to be one amongst a huge community of people who rallied and danced in solidarity.

While I took pride in my own participation, dancing alone would not have been as fun, and the resounding echo of “vagina” that reverberated around the halls of the Capitol would definitely have been less powerful if there weren’t so many other voices there to chant with me.

Another ACLU of Michigan blog post titled “Religion Doesn’t Justify Discrimination” trashes a private Michigan company for challenging the Obama administration’s tyrannical order to provide abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilizations.

In the ACLU’s world, anyone who cares to — regardless of citizenship — should be able to vote, and the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom applies only to some.

Originally published by the American Thinker.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/aclu-sues-to-stop-citizenship-question-on-michigan-ballots/2012/09/30/

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