The Consequences Of Letting Everyone In The Same Bathroom

The bathroom bill (should be locker room bill) passed in North Carolina has caused a lot of controversy. This article is based on two articles, one posted at CBN News today and one posted at Lady Liberty 1885.

The article at Lady Liberty 1885 includes the following video (also posted on YouTube):

As the video points out, women need a safe space to change clothes or go to the bathroom. I can’t imagine thinking parents wanting their teenage daughters to share locker rooms with teenage boys.

There has been another interesting example of the fallout of this law.

CBN News is reporting today:

A former state executive director of the ACLU has resigned because her own daughters were frightened when transgendered men entered the women’s bathroom.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been a champion of transgender bathroom rights. Former director of the Georgia ACLU chapter Maya Dillard Smith says she is resigned after her daughters’ experience in a public bathroom.

“I have shared my personal experience of having taken my elementary school age daughters into a women’s restroom when shortly after three transgender young adults, over six-feet tall with deep voices, entered,” Smith wrote in a statement.

“My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer,” she continued.

She also said the incident highlighted the ALCU‘s “hierarchy of rights.”

She wrote in a statement that the ACLU is “a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights….based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”

Transgender people constitute a very small percentage of our population. They deserve to be respected and not bullied, but their desires should not be used to put the safety of other Americans in jeopardy. The transgenders themselves are not the issue–it’s the people who will use the issue for their own nefarious purposes.

 

A Very Interesting Alliance

Front Page Magazine reported yesterday that CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) coordinated its response to the terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The stated purpose (although in reality this is not necessarily the case) of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties of Americans. I would assume that those civil liberties include free speech.

The article quotes a New York Times article:

Then she took calls from those she views as allies — other Muslim advocates, a Methodist minister, an organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union — to come up with a response that would walk a fine line: clearly condemning the extremists behind the attack, while also calling to account what they see as hatred decked out in free speech finery.

I know this may come as a shock to some people, but there is no law against hatred. There is also no reason to see a draw Mohammed contest as hatred–it is simply an exercise of free speech. The exercise of free speech is part of American law. If Muslims want to speak freely, they need to extend that right to those around them. If they don’t support free speech, I suggest they live somewhere other than America.

The article at Front Page Magazine observes:

You don’t normally denounce someone after they were nearly killed in an attack by your people, but that’s exactly what was going on here. As with Rushdie and Charlie Hebdo, elements of Muslim organizations that weren’t openly shouting “Death to America” instead doubled around to destroy sympathy for the targets of the terrorists.

And Salem is now pushing the ‘incitement’ line whose goal is to criminalize criticism of Islam. The ACLU’s organizer is apparently okay with that.

The New York Times swiftly spins this into Muslims being persecuted by being denied the power to impose Sharia law. Denying the power to oppress women is not usually considered oppression by the left… but there’s a special exception in there for Muslims.

I sense a double standard.

Protecting North Carolina Voters

Tonight the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association held a public meeting in the Stanly Hall Ballroom in New Bern to discuss the voter law recently passed in North Carolina. The speakers were Susan Myric of Civitas, Meloni Wray, Director of Craven County Elections, and Gary Clemmons, Chairman of the Craven County Board of Elections.

H.B. 589, the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), aka the Voter Identification Bill, is the first comprehensive change to North Carolina election law in decades. H.B. 589 passed the North Carolina House of Representatives in April of 2013. In July the North Carolina Senate amended H.B. 589 and passed it. The bill then went back to the House of Representatives. The bill was ratified on July 26, and the Governor signed it on August 12. The ACLU, NAACP, and various other organizations promptly filed lawsuits against the bill, with Eric Holder later filing a suit against the State of North Carolina.

The lawsuits filed are objecting to the change in early voting–from 17 days to 10 days, the end of same day voter registration, and the end of out-of-precinct voting. There will be a hearing on September 25 in Charlotte regarding the change in the voting law.

Under the new law, voters must register to vote by October 10, 2014. This gives the Board of Elections the opportunity to verify the address of the voter. Under the new law, voters will be required to vote at their correct precinct based on their address as of 30 days prior to Election Day. In 2016, voters will be required to show an acceptable photo ID. In 2014 all voters will be asked if he or she has one of the acceptable ID’s for the purpose of voting. A list of acceptable photo ID will be provided for review at the polling location. Instructions will be given to voters without acceptable ID on how to obtain a no-fee photo ID from the NCDMV.

The request for photo ID when voting is not unreasonable. We live in a society where photo ID is required for many activities–purchasing cigarettes or liquor, to board an airplane, to cash a check, to receive government benefits, etc. It also makes sense to have voters register to vote in time for their addresses to be verified.

Hopefully, the Court will uphold this law, as it ensures that every vote counts by attempting to eliminate voter fraud.

Government Overreach Is Getting So Bad That The ACLU Is On The Same Side As Many Conservatives

Wired Magazine posted an article on Tuesday which illustrates how the government is interfering with the rights of American citizens. Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a request with the Sarasota, Florida, police department for information detailing its use of a surveillance tool known as stingray. Federal authorities then seized the documents before the police department could release them.

The article reports:

The ACLU had an appointment last Tuesday to review documents pertaining to a case investigated by a Sarasota police detective. But marshals swooped in at the last minute to grab the records, claiming they belong to the U.S. Marshals Service and barring the police from releasing them.

ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler called the move “truly extraordinary and beyond the worst transparency violations” the group has seen regarding documents detailing police use of the technology.

“This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information,” Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”

Stingrays, also known as IMSI catchers, simulate a cellphone tower and trick nearby mobile devices into connecting with them, thereby revealing their location. A stingray can see and record a device’s unique ID number and traffic data, as well as information that points to its location. By moving a stingray around, authorities can triangulate a device’s location with greater precision than is possible using data obtained from a carrier’s fixed tower location.

The issue here is the fact that a police detective obtained permission to use a stingray by filing a ‘tap and trace’ request rather than a probable-cause warrant.

The article further reports:

The government has long asserted it doesn’t need a probable-cause warrant to use stingrays because the device doesn’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages, but instead operates like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information. The ACLU and others argue that the devices are more invasive than a trap-and-trace.

Recently, the Tallahassee police department revealed it had used stingrays at least 200 times since 2010 without telling any judge because the device’s manufacturer made the police department sign a non-disclosure agreement that police claim prevented them from disclosing use of the device to the courts.

The ACLU has filed numerous records requests with police departments around the country in an effort to uncover how often the devices are used and how often courts are told about them.

I definitely agree with the ACLU on this. I have no problem with the use of stingrays when probable-cause warrants are obtained, but without those warrants, the use of stingrays is simply another intrusion into the civil rights of Americans by the government. As Americans, all of us need to be aware of when our rights are being threatened, and we need to learn to fight back.

Enhanced by Zemanta

It Scares Me When I Agree With The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

This is a map from the ACLU:

The map describes the shaded area as the Constitution-Free Zone in the United States. So what is this about?

The ACLU Website posted a fact sheet on these zones which states:

  • Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches. 
  • The border, however, has always been an exception.  There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply.  For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.” 
  • But what is “the border”?  According to the government, it  is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States. 
  • As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
  • Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship.  Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders.  They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts. 
  • However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose.  On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
  • The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

This is disturbing.

The article also states:

This trend is also typical of the Bush Administration’s dragnet approach to law enforcement and national security.  Instead of intelligent, competent, targeted efforts to stop terrorism, illegal immigration, and other crimes, what we have been seeing in area after area is an approach that turns us all into suspects. This approach seeks to sift through the entire U.S. population in the hopes of encountering the rare individual whom the authorities have a legitimate interest in.

The article concludes:

If the current generation of Americans does not challenge this creeping (and sometimes galloping) expansion of federal powers over the individual through the rationale of “border protection,” we are not doing our part to keep alive the rights and freedoms that we inherited, and will soon find that we have lost some or all of their right to go about their business, and travel around inside their own country, without interference from the authorities.

Notice that the date on this is 2008. As far as I know, the Obama Administration has continued the policies of the Bush Administration in this area and added other forms of surveillance as well. Where is the update on this concern?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Establishing Our Rights Through The Courts

The courts were not meant to be the all-powerful entity they have morphed into, but as long as the courts have assumed that role, we ought to be able to use them to protect our rights as citizens. A number of organizations have figured this out.

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) have filed a lawsuit against the government calling for the end of the NSA domestic phone surveillance program. The lawsuit, ACLU v Clapper, argues that the surveillance program is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and exceeds the Patriot Act. The article states that both the ACLU and NYCLU were customers of Verizon Business Network Services, which had been required to hand over on an ‘ongoing, daily basis’ domestic phone records by a routinely renewed order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The article reports:

A class action suit already in place against the U.S. government for the NSA’s routine collection is expected to be amended Wednesday to include the Internet companies alleged to have partnered with the NSA regarding a secret Internet surveillance program, reported U.S. News & World Report.

The accused Internet companies — AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo! and YouTube — have all denied any knowledge or  the program.

I don’t have a problem with monitoring calls from and to Americans from out of the country, but it does seem a bit much to put all Americans under telephone surveillance.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Closing Down A Government-Funded Religious School

Scott Johnson at Power Line reported today on the closing down of the Tarek ibn Ziyad (TiZA) Academy K-8 public charter school in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. The school was originally sponsored by Islamic Relief USA.

According to the article:

The school was housed in a building that was owned by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. The study of Arabic was required at the school. The Arabic came in handy for the Koranic studies that follow the regular school day.

Star Tribune reporter Katherine Kersten charged that the school was a religious school operating with public funds. After her columns were published, the Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigated and sued the school and the Minnesota Department of Education.

The article further reports:

As a result of its failure to find a sponsor as required by state law, TiZA failed to open this fall. The ACLU’s case against TiZA nevertheless remains. Despite the blasé media reports on the settlements with the Department of Education and Islamic Relief USA, the ACLU Minnesota obviously obtained some highly interesting evidence in the case. The “stipulation of facts” underlying the settlement has now been approved by the court and unsealed. The ACLU Minnesota has posted relevant documents here.

Thanks to the work of Katherine Kersten, the Star Tribune has owned this story. Yet it cannot have been a pleasant experience for her to have worked on the story while inside an organization that would sooner have served as TiZA’s public relations arm than investigator or whistleblower. In its pathetic editorial postmortem on TiZA, the Star Tribune jumped straight to the ACLU lawsuit without including in its chronology the fact that one of its own writers broke the story. By contrast, the ACLU Minnesota acknowledged Kersten’s role in uncovering the scandal from the outset of the lawsuit. Wouldn’t a genuine newspaper want to tout its key role in the events? Why is this story different from any other story?

Please follow the link to Power Line to read the entire story. There were problems with the school from the start. When the case was finally brought by the ACLU, the school charged anti-Muslim bigotry in an attempt to intimidate the investigators. The article points out that one of the weapons used by the Muslims when they are challenged to obey American laws is to charge bigotry against Muslims. The laws of America should apply to all of us equally, and they should be enforced equally. We need to remember that when dealing with any group that is looking for special privileges.

Enhanced by Zemanta