Read through these
At the beginning of this month, I received an e-mail about a lecture that was taking place on October 14th at the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center, located in
Pembroke Pines, Florida. The event was being sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Keynote Speaker was listed as Keith Ellison, a candidate for United States Congress from
Minnesota and a man that has raised thousands of dollars through CAIR. Our group, Americans Against Hate, planned to be there and welcome him in protest. All was fine, until we attempted to sit in on the event.
When I received the e-mail concerning the lecture, I wanted to corroborate the information to make sure that it was correct. I searched the Internet. I found nothing. I went onto CAIR’s and CAIR-Florida’s websites – nothing. I went onto Keith Ellison’s campaign website – nothing. Details about this event were nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t until I spoke with someone from the Pembroke Pines Police Department that I found out the information was indeed accurate. Questions popped up in my head: Why is this event being made a secret? Why is a Congressional Candidate from
Minnesota campaigning in
South Florida? And right before the election?
We obtained the permit, and the protest went on as planned. What we were protesting was the fact that Keith Ellison had accepted campaign donations from CAIR officials. We were also protesting Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Davis for doing the same. Ellison had taken money from CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Chairman Parvez Ahmed, and CAIR’s Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor. Jim Davis had accepted money from CAIR-Florida’s Communications Director Ahmed Bedier. Given CAIR’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, given the fact that four CAIR representatives have previously been charged by the
U.S. government with terrorist activity, and given the fact that CAIR is being sued for its role in the attacks on 9/11, we believed our case was strong.
Our protest consisted of a small group of people holding appropriate signs. They included: “GIVE BACK THE MONEY!” “BEWARE OF CAIR,” “KEITH ELLISON, JIM DAVIS, CAIR LAP DOGS,” and one sign containing pro-terror quotes from Nihad Awad and Ahmed Bedier. We stood across from the entrance of the center, so that we could get a good look at the attendees. From what we saw and what we heard, there seemed to be very few people attending this event, which led to more questions.
Somebody that resembled Ellison was driven up to the front and was quickly ushered in. CAIR-Florida’s Legal Director, Areeb Naseer, passed by. Earlier, the Executive Director for the group, Altaf Ali, was spotted. A CAIR operative sat outside the door to the entrance – I figured either to greet guests or to watch us – or both. Thankfully, police officers were set up there, as well.
Eventually, another CAIR op came outside to videotape us. We did the same to him. I told him it was worse for him – CAIR already knew what I looked like. We asked him questions, but like a good CAIR soldier, he didn’t say a word. When it was time for our speeches, which were made at a podium we had brought, the op moved closer to video them. My speech contained some hard-hitting evidence of CAIR’s terrorist ties. The op just stood there expressionless. I assumed he had no problem with what was being said. As I spoke, I wondered to myself what the guy was capable of. After my speech, I thanked everyone for coming.
We were about to leave, when I made the conscious decision to go inside to see the event. If someone from CAIR was videotaping us, why shouldn’t we be able to do the same? We asked the police officers if it was alright to go inside to videotape. They said it was okay, as long as we didn’t disrupt anything. Two of us went in. As we reached the entrance to the affair, we were stopped by two people. “This is a private event,” one said, as he put up his hand to stop us. We said we received permission from the officers. He repeated his statement a couple more times. Areeb Naseer rushed out to speak with the officers. Altaf Ali looked nervous and confused. We took CAIR totally by surprise.
In the end, the officers said, since it was a “private” event we had to abide by what they were telling us. My colleague stated that it was a public place – the center was owned by the city – and we should be able to pass through. However, we didn’t press much further and soon left. With all of the preceding questions, a new question arose: Why did they not want us inside? Keith Ellison is running for public office. Why was this a “private meeting”? What was being said inside that made it so private?
These are questions that Keith Ellison should be asked. He comes all the way to
South Florida from
Minnesota, less than one month before his election, to a private meeting that no one knows about, attended by only a small number of people, with individuals guarding the entranceway, an event sponsored by a group that has numerous ties to Islamic terrorism. Is it just me, or does this picture look strange?
As I write, the homepage of Keith Ellison’s website offers a glaring contradiction to his mysterious
Florida meeting. On it, he states, “Between now and November 7 — and for as long as I have the privilege of serving you in Congress — I’m going to be seeking opportunities for us to connect face-to-face. I’d like you and your neighbors to join me in town hall discussions around the district where we can talk about the issues that are important to us: the challenges we face and the successes we want to build on.”
How is Mr. Ellison going to “connect face-to-face” with his constituents, when he’s in another state and he won’t even let the public into his events? It’s just one more question that needs to be answered. Minnesotans should demand to know these answers, before their votes are cast.
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FRANCE: GOVERNMENT EYES NEW SECURITY MEASURES AMID FEARS OF FRESH RIOTS
Paris, 16 Oct. (AKI) – France’s prime minister, Dominique de Villepin on Monday asked interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy and justice minister Pascal Clement to study ways of boosting security and stepping up penal sanctions for those convicted of attacking the country’s law enforcers. The move follows a series of ugly clashes between police and youth gangs in poor suburbs of Paris in recent weeks which have sparked fears among the country’s police associations and politicians that the urban riots that rocked France in late October and November 2005 could be about to break out again.
“Gendarmes and policemen have a difficult job that demands respect and support,” said Sarkozy – a hopeful in France’s 2007 presidential race who controversially described last year’s rioters as “rabble” and “scum”. His office will meet police unions on Tuesday, AFP news agency reported.
In most recent of four serious incidents in the past month, a policeman was seriously injured by stones hurled by youths at the weekend after their vehicle was allegedly ambushed and stoned in the suburb of Epinay-sur-Seine north of Paris. The patrol car was trapped when a driverless vehicle was rolled behind it by a group of up to 50 youths, police said.
The police car was attacked with stones and baseball bats and one policeman, Christophe Esteve, 30, was hit in the face. Youths allegedly fired tear gas at police sent to investigate a theft. Local people claimed no more than 20 youths were involved in the disturbance, however, and that the incident began when police began to forcefully interrogate two youths they had picked up on the street.
Violence and aggression towards police, gendarmes, firemen and teachers rose by almost 10 percent between October 2005 and September 2006, according to France’s national Observatory research body. There have been 4,200 violent incidents involving youths in France this year, and such violence increased by 30 percent from August to September, according to a study published on Monday in the daily Le Monde.
The French authorities have recorded around 480 incidents of violence towards police – demonstrating “an unprecedented desire to attack the police,” according to the French police union. Policemen have complained of demotivation, lack of resources, suspicion, repeated vandalism, and physical danger when intervening in incidents, according to police associations.
But Ahmed Hacene, member of a local cooperative founded in Epinay-sur-Seine founded after the more than three week long riots of November 2005, said that the weekend incident there was “an initial act” that had occurred “in a climate of verbal provocation and a frequent lack of respect shown by policemen.”
Last year’s riots erupted in France’s delapidated tower-bloc suburbs with high immigrant populations and unemployment after the accidental death of two Muslim teenagers in Clichy-sous-Bois, a working-class Paris suburb during a police chase.
The violence, which spread from Paris to poor suburbs of other cities, mainly involved Muslim youths of Arab and African descent. St least one person was killed and dozens injured in the riots, which led to 2,900 arrests. Damage to the many thousands of vehicles that were torched and to buildings was put at hundreds of millions of euros by insurers.
Last year’s unrest in France captured the attention of the world’s press and prompted renewed debate over radical Islam and the integration of immigrants, and whether the French system has failed its immigrant communities. Many come from its former colonies and have remained France’s poorest groups.
Of course, they are claiming discrimination. “Muslim airport workers lose clearances,” by Jamey Keaten for Associated Press, with thanks to Drew:
PARIS – Authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport have stripped several dozen employees — almost all of them Muslims — of their security badges in a crackdown against terrorism, a government official said Friday.Four baggage handlers who lost their clearance filed a joint discrimination complaint this week, alleging they had been unfairly associated with terrorism because they are Muslims, their lawyers said. Some had been in their jobs for up to five years.
The baggage handlers and other employees have been barred from secure areas at the airport since February, Jacques Lebrot, an official who oversees the airport, told The Associated Press in an interview.
The cases were “linked to terrorism, of course,” he said, adding that the crackdown followed recommendations by France’s anti-terrorism coordination unit, UCLAT, as part of an 18-month investigation.
“You don’t strip people of their badges for small matters,” he said. The crackdown was part of heightened security in France, after terror attacks in Britain, Spain and the United States in recent years.
Lebrot, citing security reasons, declined to say whether the “several dozen” people — he would not specify how many — who lost their badges had been involved in specific plots.
“Mr. X or Y could have been suspected because corresponding facts … suggested he belonged to a sizable network,” Lebrot said, without elaborating. Others could have been stripped of the badges because they were “impressionable and manipulated” by such networks, he said….
In letters from the regional government office, the employees were told that they presented a “significant danger to airport security,” or had shown “personal behavior threatening airport security.”
Lawyers for those who lost their badges said that under police questioning, they were never told of the reasons they lost their badges — but repeatedly were asked about their religion.
“The link among these people is that either they are Arab — or practice their religion in a normal way,” said Eric Moutet, a lawyer for the four employees suing in administrative court. Authorities, he said, “are in essence asking people to prove they are not terrorists.”
They “practice their religion in a normal way.” Does that mean in a way that Osama bin Laden might consider normal? In a way that accords with mainstream teaching of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, all of which mandate warfare against unbelievers?
Video Sheds Light on Mexican Pledge Controversy
After parents in Freeport expressed outrage over a Velasco Elementary School assembly last month, KTRH News has obtained a video that answers some questions about what really happened.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Whether students also recited the Mexican pledge remains a point of contention.
Several parents have told KTRH News that students were saying the pledge, while Brazosport Independent School District officials say that did not happen.
The assembly was meant to teach children about Mexican Independence Day, school district officials said. The holiday is celebrated Sept. 16 to mark the day Mexico won independence from Spain.
Sam Williams, the school’s longtime principal, has said, in hindsight, he would have done things “differently.” He has also apologized to anyone who may have been offended.
“As stated previously, and again verified with the campus administration this morning (Tuesday), the students did not say the Mexican pledge,” district spokesman Stuart Dornburg said.
KTRH News obtained the video by requesting it from the Brazosport Independent School District under Texas open records laws.
The father of a third-grader at Velasco, who wished to remain anonymous, said Tuesday that some students surrounding him at the assembly were saying the pledge. “I was telling them you don’t have to stand for the pledge of allegiance to the Mexican flag,” he said. He noted that only some students — not all — were reciting the pledge.
“That’s treason … you’re not supposed to say the pledge of allegiance to any flag other than the American and Texas flags,” the father added. “It broke my heart to see the kids doing that.”
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill Thursday that would have spent $10 million to station 100 additional National Guard troops along the Mexican border – saying the legislation usurps her authority as “commander-in-chief” of the Guard. In quotes picked up by the Arizona Republic, the Democratic governor urged the state legislature: “Send me a clean bill that provides sufficient resources to enable more of our Guard to deploy to the border in a manner that respects the constitutional role of the commander in chief.” But Republican Rep. John Allen, who sponsored the legislation, immediately ripped Napolitano’s excuses, saying his bill “had the funding to put the troops there.” Arizona already has 170 National Guard troops working along the border in a support capacity with the Border Patrol, but none is actively involved in apprehending illegal immigrants. As border violence continues to flare spurred by heavily armed drug smuggling operations, state Republicans have pressed Napolitano to beef up border security. Last August she declared a state of emergency, prompting calls for a larger Guard role. But the top Democrat has insisted that her hands are tied until the federal government agrees to cover the costs of the additional troops. Last Wednesday Napolitano issued an executive order that would have permitted the Guard to help the Border Patrol with vehicle inspections and other tasks. But according to the Republic, her order failed to specify the size of the Guard contingent, how much it would cost or how long the troops would stay. Republican Rep. Jonathan Paton, whose district includes three border counties, said he was losing patience with Napolitano’s excuses, telling the paper: “The reality is that the citizens of my district wonder why they are still suffering after all this constitutional wrangling. The citizens of this state expect something to be happening at the border, and nothing is happening.”
October 1, 2006
A history of incumbent Arizona liberal Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano’s vetoes of pro-life legislation, which only received praise by her Comrades in the local mainstream media. Arizona’s governor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, being boosted in some media as a potential national leader, has received little national publicity in certain areas that voters could find important when weighing candidates. What follows isn’t a peek into anyone’s private life but a journey of recollection into some events in the first term of the governor, currently seeking re-election.On April 15, 2003, a news-page assessment of the Democratic governor’s first 100 days in office appeared in The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily newspaper. Beneath the upbeat headline “Governor energizes Arizona,” the article said that Napolitano “always wants an advantage” over opponents, has “a killer instinct,” and “uses her prosecutorial abilities” in negotiations with legislators. She “makes no excuses for her in-your-face method of budget talks,” the Republic said.If this was the governor’s behavior during the political “honeymoon” period of a new chief executive, what happened as years passed?A strong defender of permissive abortion and a protector of mountain lions’ lives, Napolitano isn’t allowed to have a platform at Catholic Church venues here, but she cultivates her contacts with Planned Parenthood and homosexual activists. In her third year as governor, a Republican legislative leader said Napolitano had “brought shame upon herself and her office, and has made the work of the state exponentially more difficult.”When Janet Napolitano was the Democratic candidate to fill Arizona’s open gubernatorial seat in 2002, she faced off not only against a Republican but also an independent and a Libertarian. Halfway through an Oct. 23, 2002, campaign-debate article, on Page B-6, The Arizona Republic acknowledged that Napolitano “is the only one of the four gubernatorial candidates that opposes parental consent and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions.”Even the Libertarian candidate was less favorable toward abortion than Napolitano.Reported two weeks before the 2002 election to be significantly ahead in the polls, Napolitano squeaked into office by less than one percentage point after days of vote counting. The general election was Nov. 5, 2002, but she wasn’t proclaimed winner until the evening of Nov. 10.Only two weeks before that election day, the Republic had front-paged a story saying three polls showed Napolitano with a lead over Republican Matt Salmon, with the Rocky Mountain Poll putting her 16 points ahead. Nothing devastating to Napolitano burst into news media in the final campaign days that would explain a 15-point collapse.In that campaign, her abortion stand was accorded little attention by media members who would be vigilant against conservatives’ “gaffes.” During her four years in office, Napolitano has vetoed various pro-life bills approved by the Legislature, including informed consent, notarized parental consent, rights of conscience, informed consent for human ova donors, and a prohibition of cities including abortion coverage in employee health-insurance plans. She vetoed a bill that would have required mothers seeking an abortion in the 20th week of pregnancy or later to be informed of medications to alleviate pain to the infants being aborted. She vetoed a prohibition of selling human ova for cloning. In 2006 Napolitano killed six pro-life bills, according to the Arizona Catholic Conference.She cast far more vetoes than any other Arizona governor in a comparable period – and even more nixes than Arizona’s Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt cast in more than twice as many years in office, from 1978 to 1987. Napolitano ruled by veto over a state less liberal than she. Her vetoes ranged from medical malpractice to tuition tax credits, from eminent domain to illegal immigration. According to a count by the Arizona Republican Party, “125 bills were entirely vetoed” by Napolitano, in addition to line-item vetoes. The Associated Press put Babbitt’s veto total at 114.The governor could be characterized as NO-politano, though her media admirers sought to create an image, both statewide and nationally, of capable moderation. Instances of intransigence and accusations of power hunger and lying soon sank from sight in coverage that could have been quite different.As March 2004 began, women expressing pain and regret over having chosen abortion pleaded with Napolitano in five 30-second TV commercials aired around Arizona to sign an informed-consent abortion bill just approved by the Legislature. The women lamented that they had abortions without having the facts, and wanted to give other women the right to informed consent. But Capitol Media Services news service reported that Napolitano said “any action on the bill would be based on her own beliefs and not on public sentiment.” She vetoed the popular bill within a half-hour after it reached her desk on March 4, 2004. One of the women in the commercials, Joan Maloof, who regrets the abortion she had as a college student, said that Napolitano refused to meet with remorseful women who had abortions and wanted her to sign the bill. “I don’t believe [Napolitano] is willing to listen to the people of Arizona,” Maloof told me.Under the headline “Moral intrusion,” a March 3, 2004, Arizona Republic editorial had urged Napolitano to veto informed consent. The editorial said the women’s TV commercial campaign “suffers from a huge credibility gap….” Why? Did it contain false statements? No. The credibility gap existed, the Republic said, “…because Gov. Janet Napolitano is on record opposing this sort of mandate. She’s pro-choice.”As the Republic saw it, if people petition their governor to change her mind, the people are guilty of hugely lacking credibility.An article in the Jan. 23, 2004, Arizona Capitol Times, a non-partisan political weekly, had cited obstetrician/gynecologist William Chavira as saying informed consent is needed and women don’t receive proper consultation at abortion provider Planned Parenthood.In a boxed statement on the editorial page of the March 18, 2004, issue of the Phoenix diocesan biweekly newspaper, The Catholic Sun, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted lamented Napolitano’s veto. Citing “the grave harm that abortion brings not only to the unborn children killed, but also to their mothers,” Olmsted wrote, “This is why legislation that gives women more time and information to make such a monumental decision is badly needed.”One might conclude that Napolitano’s quick veto of this bill, which included a 24-hour waiting period before the abortion, revealed a cold attitude toward threatened lives. But later the same month, Napolitano fought for a waiting period when the Arizona Game and Fish Department wanted to shoot a few wild, prowling mountain lions deemed dangerous to humans near Tucson. The governor’s press secretary reportedly used the word “appalled” three times, in three consecutive sentences, to describe Napolitano’s reaction to the Game and Fish shooting plans. The governor said Game and Fish should wait longer to receive more public comment. A mountain lion even was seen on the grounds of a middle school, and students were kept inside for safety, but the state agency bowed to Napolitano and said it would only tranquilize the lions and helicopter them away in a costly operation. The Republic said Napolitano believed the agency hadn’t demonstrated the lions were a threat.As was often the case, the newspaper and governor saw things the same way. In a March 18, 2004, editorial headlined “Public be damned,” the Republic fumed over Game and Fish’s alleged indifference to public input about the lions’ lives. The paper said the agency was “sticking a sock in the public’s mouth” and using “the gag and the bum’s rush … an exercise in arrogance.” The lions faced “the death sentence” and received “a stay of execution,” said the paper.A caller to a Phoenix radio station, noting Napolitano’s different attitude toward preborn human infants and their mothers and mountain lions, said, “I guess that makes her perfect material to be a Democrat” vice presidential candidate.The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will not even allow politicians like Napolitano to receive a platform or honors at Church venues because of their extreme positions. The publicity-fond governor has been noticeably absent at the annual Red Masses at St. Mary’s Basilica, held to mark the start of each year’s state legislative session in Phoenix.In December 2004 Thomas Olmsted, who had been installed as Phoenix Catholic bishop a year earlier, issued a directive against providing platforms or honors to public officials who consistently support intrinsically evil acts. The bishop’s letter said that “politicians or public officials who consistently support abortion on demand, or any other act that is always intrinsically evil, are never to be invited to speak at our institutions or to receive awards, even if the nature of the honor is unrelated to their opposition to pro-life causes.” Olmsted wrote that “all parishes and institutions of the Diocese of Phoenix, including Catholic organizations not operated by the diocese,” were to follow the directive.The news was promptly published in the Dec. 16, 2004, issue of The Catholic Sun. But the Arizona Republic waited until the following Aug. 5, two-thirds of a year later, before publicizing this bad news for Napolitano’s image. And the spin atop the Republic’s Page One was that Olmsted was picking on the governor.Olmsted replied to the newspaper by citing the June 2004 declaration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that said, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”In addition, Napolitano was named in the diocesan newspaper column of Bishop Olmsted as a politician who forces Catholics to violate their conscience.In his Sept. 1, 2005, column in The Catholic Sun, Olmsted noted a prediction by the late Pope Paul VI that the day would come when people would see “the coercion by public authorities of persons to violate their consciences.” Olmsted went on to point to “legislation this year to protect the ‘rights of conscience’ for all health-care providers, including pharmacists, especially in matters of contraceptives and abortifacients. After a hard-fought battle, this bill was passed by the Legislature; sadly it was then vetoed by Gov. Janet Napolitano.”And he recalled that in 2003 Napolitano vetoed a bill to exempt faith-based organizations from having to provide contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance. This meant that religiously oriented organizations were required to violate their tenets.Planned Parenthood quickly put out a press release praising the 2003 veto to exempt faith-based organizations. And the morning after the veto, the April 26, 2003, issue of the Phoenix-area daily newspaper The Tribune spread a news report across the width of Page 5 under the headline, “Governor vetoes bill expanding contraception exemption.” But the Republic waited for three days before running a veto story back on Page B-5 by the Associated Press instead of by one of its own staff writers.In the April 21, 2005, issue of the Sun, a boxed statement on the editorial page by the three bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference said they were “deeply saddened” by Napolitano’s April 13 veto of the bill for conscience protection for pharmacists. (The Republic did put this veto story atop its April 14 Page One.) With this veto, the bishops said, “health-care providers’ inalienable civil rights are apparently deemed inconsequential. Consequently, we are extremely disappointed that Gov. Napolitano has rejected this important legislation.” A Phoenix diocesan official, Deacon Dick Petersen, was quoted in the Sun, “We have to remember these things” when voters are called upon to render their judgment on politicians. “Not only do you have the right to vote your conscience, but you have the responsibility to do that.”When Napolitano went to Tucson in March 2006 to support local Democratic candidates, she appeared at a hall of the Catholic fraternal Knights of Columbus organization, drawing “dozens of protesters” outside, according to a report by Tucson’s NBC affiliate, KVOA-TV, which quoted one: “[We're protesting] the use of a Catholic facility by an obviously pro-death politician.” The KVOA report said that due to “other commitments and a strict work schedule,” Napolitano “had to rush away from the … building and was not able to talk” to the TV reporter. More than 50 protesters showed up, according to the Arizona Right to Life Web site, which said the hall had been rented from the Knights “without disclosing the purpose for the event” to them.If Napolitano had placed herself directly in opposition to moral tradition, she didn’t seem to want to explain herself when challenged, as with her fast exit from the Knights of Columbus hall. After the Republic eventually publicized Bishop Olmsted’s directive against allowing platforms or honors for public figures like her, the governor was asked to comment. Phoenix’s KFYI (550 AM) radio news on Aug. 5, 2005, had Napolitano’s voice responding, “You know, it is what it is.” One could wonder what Napolitano meant. The Democratic governor wasn’t aiding the reputation of her political party, which already was viewed as driving away people of faith.But if a Catholic Church platform wasn’t welcoming, Napolitano knew she’d find a greeting in some other quarters. She went to Planned Parenthood offices in Phoenix and Tucson as celebrations were held there for national permissive abortion. And Napolitano attended the annual local dinners of homosexual activists, the Arizona Human Rights Fund. The Phoenix-area daily The Tribune reported on June 19, 2005, that at the group’s banquet the previous evening, Napolitano announced the creation of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Human Rights Advocacy and presented it to a founder of the homosexual group.Reporting “two standing ovations for the governor,” the story noted that Napolitano also attended the homosexuals’ banquet her first year in office to announce an executive order she issued “banning employment discrimination against gays and lesbians at state agencies under her control.” She signed the order after the Legislature didn’t pass a measure on the issue.The Tribune said gay activists at the 2005 dinner were disappointed when Napolitano didn’t express her opposition that night to an Arizona marriage-protection initiative then gathering steam. However, Napolitano later went on to oppose the Protect Marriage Arizona initiative on the November 2006 ballot that would define the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. A spokesman said she viewed the marriage-protection measure as unnecessary.The Republic allows conservative columnist Robert Robb to sound a dissenting note on its op-ed page. After the governor vetoed the informed-consent abortion bill in 2004, Robb wrote that Napolitano “has again revealed herself as a cultural leftist, and a fairly extreme one at that,” a firm member of “the small camp who believe that abortion is no different than a tonsillectomy.” Robb, who at another time noted the protective media bubble around Napolitano, asserted, “This veto fits a largely unremarked pattern of Napolitano playing the leftist cultural warrior.”An admiring cover article in the Feb. 23, 2006, Phoenix New Times, the major local alternative weekly, looked back at Napolitano’s ascent through the power structure.Attorney John Frank, a liberal Democrat and major powerbroker here, had mentored “a young feminist attorney,” Napolitano, “at his politically powerful Phoenix firm, Lewis & Roca.” In 1991 she got “a more high-profile assignment from Frank – he put her on a team of attorneys to represent Anita Hill,” who quickly became national news as Hill alleged sexual harassment by the Republican administration’s Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. “For her benefit, for her exposure, John made sure that Janet was on the front line in that,” New Times writer Robert Nelson quoted former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.). Illustrating Frank’s clout, Nelson wrote that DeConcini “knew that Frank was the linchpin to his getting elected as and remaining a U.S. senator from Arizona.”The Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill confrontation was the first time many people heard of Napolitano. Liberal Democrats seemed to like what they saw as the feminist future governor tried to help cause Thomas’ downfall – although she failed. The New York City-born Napolitano was fast-tracked through the power structure here, with liberal big-business, civic, labor and media supporters.After Democrat Bill Clinton became president, DeConcini had a talk with John Frank on the topic of presenting Napolitano’s name to become U.S. Attorney in Arizona, the New Times article recounted. Although DeConcini hadn’t been “so sure” about the idea, Frank said “that would be a real smart move, and I’d never forget it,” New Times quoted DeConcini.Although the New Times article treated at length Napolitano and Arizona politics, it ignored her strong pro-abortionism, alliance with Planned Parenthood, and problems with the Catholic diocese and other moral traditionalists.Soon after Napolitano took over as governor, phone lines to talk-radio programs began buzzing with calls that she be impeached. Whatever her driving emotions, Napolitano had to learn to watch her step. The occasion was the seemingly simple issue of a geographic name change, but the governor played hardball. She insisted that the politically incorrect name of Phoenix landmark Squaw Peak be changed immediately, contrary to established requirements for a five-year waiting period. The governor’s office put political muscle on no less than the Phoenix Police Department to force one of its officers to resign his position as volunteer chairman of Arizona’s Board on Geographic and Historic Names because he followed regulations instead of her wishes.The police officer, Tim Norton, gave a riveting interview on April 18, 2003, to Phoenix radio station KTAR (620 AM) about a phone call he received from Napolitano’s deputy chief of staff, Mario Diaz, who criticized Norton’s failure to quickly accede to Napolitano. Although the governor couldn’t fire him, Norton said he was told to submit an immediate letter of resignation and give the untrue reason of “time constraints,” or else she’d “find a way to remove me.” He told the radio station that Diaz said “you’re not serving the governor’s interests and you’re not pleasing her.” Norton said Diaz also phoned his police supervisor and the Phoenix police chief, telling them to urge him to resign. He wouldn’t quit but lost his chairmanship by a vote of state-employee members of the board who, it was said, feared Napolitano’s power.Napolitano issued a statement saying she regretted that Diaz acted “with a very heavy hand,” but she didn’t regret her push to change the landmark’s name.Coincidentally, the governor’s own heavy hand, or fist, was noted in The Arizona Republic in a different context. In the April 15, 2003, article mentioned above that reviewed her first 100 days in office, the Republic quoted Arizona House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth. He said that at a meeting concerning the state Department of Economic Security, Napolitano first tried to “shush” him. Then, the paper quoted Farnsworth: “She pounded on the table with both fists. I just let her rant… This is a governor that wants to control everything in the state, but we’re not going to roll over.”The newspaper said “Napolitano said she doesn’t quite remember the meeting that way but makes no excuses for her in-your-face method of budget talks.” As admiring as the Republic is of Napolitano, this story seemed to be a warning shot from the newspaper that the governor should get better control over her behavior or embarrassing things could happen.Two years later during key state budget negotiations, Napolitano’s office and Republican legislative leaders agreed that each side would get something it wanted but the other side didn’t. Napolitano would get $17 million for all-day kindergarten expansion and $7 million for a new Phoenix medical school, and the Republicans would get a tax credit for businesses donating to private-school scholarships, a measure Napolitano previously had vetoed. The Arizona Catholic Conference was a strong supporter of the tax credit. The organization’s executive director, Ron Johnson, told me, “The governor’s office even promised me at midnight that she would sign it,” but, “contrary to the promises her office made to me,” Napolitano vetoed the tax credit again, while approving the spending the Republicans had conceded to her.Republican leaders were outraged over her double dealing, with the leadership’s Steve Tully declaring in a letter to the Republic: “By this act of perfidy, she brought shame upon herself and her office, and has made the work of the state exponentially more difficult.”Napolitano’s opposition to restricting abortion played well at the Republic, which took a less favorable view of her Republican opponent in the 2006 gubernatorial race, Len Munsil. In a Sept. 8, 2006, editorial viewing Munsil as the “best of [a] weak GOP field,” the Republic pointed out it opposes “Munsil’s determined efforts to reduce access to abortion and his long-running campaign against gay rights.” The paper described the pro-marriage initiative on the November ballot as “both unnecessary and pernicious.” It said Munsil’s “social conservative agenda … calls for heavy-handed government intrusion into individual lives and decisions.”Finally, a word about pollsters. Even the Republic raised its eyebrow, although just a little, when prominent local pollster Bruce Merrill produced “some funny poll data” supposedly showing support for a Napolitano program. The Republic tucked away this news on Page B-6, as the second item of its “Political Insider” column of July 10, 2005. The column said Merrill wrote in an analysis that a recent survey “found a majority of voters in Arizona (59 percent) support Gov. Janet Napolitano’s proposal to use state and local law officers to enforce federal immigration laws.” The “Political Insider” found this strange because “at the time the poll was taken and released, Napolitano had no such plan”; indeed, “had been mum on the issue.” The newspaper quoted Nick Simonetta, a GOP spokesman, about the poll, “This is garbage. This is unbelievable.”On March 17, 2003, the Tribune had reported pollster Merrill as lamenting over “the ideologues and the right-wingers and more conservative people who actually vote.”If Merrill was committed to a less-than-conservative view, so was the Republic. The paper began election year 2006 with the Jan. 1 front-page banner headline, “Voters confident in Napolitano.” It was one more spin-heavy piece.Some conduct by politicians plays badly. Their comments deemed offensive have seriously damaged their careers. A recent example is Sen. George Allen (R-Va.). Media controversy continued for weeks after Allen made a reference that is “considered a racial slur in some parts of the world,” according to an Associated Press story, which added that “the gaffe … threatens any plans he has for a presidential bid in 2008.”If politicians’ throwaway words are so offensive as to cripple career hopes, what of politicians whose premeditated deeds bring damage? What of Janet Napolitano?
Battling Anti-Israel Bias
By Bryan Schwartzman
The Jewish Exponent | October 20, 2006
Gratz College is planning to establish a policy institute that will focus on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs. To be called the Center for Democracy in the Middle East, it will analyze the nature of the discourse taking place on college campuses across the country about these hot-button subjects. Administrators at the Elkins Park school, as well as backers of the center — which is in the very early stages of planning, and is at least a year away from being up and running — argue that such a vehicle is needed in order to counteract what they deem as a pervasive antipathy toward Israel in many of the nation’s universities, in the classroom and on the overall campus.
“This is our way at Gratz of doing something about it,” said Frederic Fox, who is part of the center’s steering committee. He offered brief remarks during an Oct. 12 dinner held at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El of Wynnewood, aimed at raising funds and support for the project.
Once a director is hired and in place, the plan is to recruit a yet-to-be determined number of professors to complete one-year fellowships at Gratz.
In addition to teaching relevant courses, academics would be charged with: producing curricula and electronic learning tools on the Middle East conflict; conducting and publishing research, including books, papers and articles; and promoting free and open dialogue on the Middle East on college campuses. The center will also periodically play host to public events.
While organizations like the Philadelphia-based think tank the Middle East Forum, with its Campus Watch project, as well as the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, known as CAMERA, monitor and seek to counteract anti-Israel bias in various mediums, supporters of the proposed center argue that by being anchored to an accredited college, this project will ultimately have more influence within the academy.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, president of Gratz College, acknowledged that the center will have to walk a fine line by striving to counteract the often one-sided arguments broached in the classroom — particularly by professors in Mideast-studies departments — with objective scholarship.
The danger, he said, is in the center being perceived as a pro-Israel, activist engine, and not a center for rigid academic scholarship that promotes facts above rhetoric.
“The center will serve as an intellectual center for discussion and debate,” Rosenbaum assured several days after the big kick-off event. “We will avoid taking a polemical approach.
“It is about critical scholarship,” he stressed. “We will look at data as fairly and objectively as we can. It’s something that is fundamental to the academic community as a whole.”
From Left to Right
Among those who criticize academics who’ve lost their objectivity vis-à-vis Israel is David Horowitz, founder of Frontpage magazine, and author of Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left and The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. As part of the Beth Hillel-Beth El program, Horowitz — a prominent member of the New Left in the 1960s who has since veered sharply to the right — gave a lecture about how, in his view, support for Israel is being undermined at institutions of higher learning.
During the nearly hourlong talk, Horowitz launched into an assault on the worldview of many on the left, claiming that such a political philosophy favors moral relativism in lieu of objective truth, and decries America and Israel as imperialistic powers.
Afterward, Rosenbaum noted that Horowitz’s views did not reflect those of the college, and that the center is slated to be a nonpartisan, nonpolitical enterprise.
“Jewish students are under siege,” said Horowitz, noting the influence in academic circles of harsh Israel critics such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and the late Edward Said.
It was Said’s 1978 treatise Orientalism that perhaps did more than any other work to drum up support for the creation of separate Middle East studies departments, which Horowitz argued are full of anti-Israel activists.
He told the audience that the structure of the curriculum “is designed to make Israel the target” — to portray it as the “little Satan” and America as “the big Satan.”
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