Currently viewing the tag: “Activists”

U.S. Newswire April 1, 2011: In yet another gesture of hostility aimed at stoking fear and intolerance among non-Muslims toward the beleaguered Muslim minority in the West, leaders of Islamophobic organizations announced today their plans for an “International Read the Qur’an Day,” scheduled for September 11, 2011.

Representatives of Stop Islamicization of America, the U.K. Independence Party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, and other groups have posted on their websites plans for “International Read the Qur’an Day,” noting their intention to gather in large, provocative groups at local schools, church basements, and Bennigan’s restaurants, and read aloud from the Muslim holy book such passages as:

  • “Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.” (98:6)
  • “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (9:5)
  • “And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.” (4:3)

These passages will be explained, leaders of the organizing groups promised, with reference to authoritative “hadiths,” which provide the context and traditional interpretation of these passages throughout Muslim history. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has condemned this upcoming event as “needlessly provocative and divisive.” CAIR representative Ibrahim Hooper explained, “We have no problem with non-Muslims obtaining our holy book. Anyone who wants one, we send it to him free—a very large, heavy, beautifully bound edition with rather small print and extensive commentaries which we have specially prepared,” Hooper said. “What we object to is people who don’t share our faith taking these passages out of context and discussing them in a profane setting, such as a church or one of your Bennigans. That amounts to taking a holy thing and desecrating it—as if a Muslim were to seize a holy Christian icon and gouge out its eyes. We would never, never do that.” Ibrahim ended his statement, which was issued via Twitter, with the admonition, “You people had better not try doing this in Pakistan.”

Jihad Watch

Tagged with:

Washington (CNN) – No surprise here, but many in the Tea Party movement are furious with a possible budget deal between Democrat and Republican lawmakers in Congress.

And the anger is directed not just at congressional Democrats, but also at some Republican leaders in Congress.

Some of that anger will be visualized at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The gathering is being organized by the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest national Tea Party groups. That organization’s leaders, along with many others in the movement, feel that the proposed budget cuts don’t go far enough.

“Members of Congress have abandoned their service to the people by passing continuing resolutions instead of cutting the $ 100 billion they pledged,” said Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinators of the Tea Party Patriots. “Is it lack of leadership? Is it a lack of courage? A real budget will spark a national debate on the role of government, and that’s what the American people want.”

Conservative House Republicans are among those scheduled to speak at the rally, including Mike Pence of Indiana, Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who may soon have a another job description: GOP presidential candidate.

Earlier Thursday the founder of the Tea Party Nation criticized House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading budget negotiations with congressional Democrats and the White House.

“Boehner must go. The Tea Party must unite and make sure Boehner is replaced in the next election. Boehner is living proof of something I have said for a long time. It is not enough that we vote out bad leaders, we must replace them with good leaders,” Tea Party nation founder Judson Phillips wrote in an email to supporters. “Getting Nancy Pelosi out of the Speaker’s seat was a good thing. Unfortunately, her replacement has not been very good. We need people in leadership who are committed to cutting spending and eliminating these programs.”

We may hear a response from Boehner later Thursday morning when he goes before cameras to answer questions from reporters.

Tea Party Nation is the group that organized the first National Tea Party Convention last year in Tennessee, and runs a large social networking site popular with conservative activists.

Funding for the federal government runs out next Friday. If there’s no agreement on the budget by April 8, there could be a shutdown of some government services and offices.

A recent national poll indicated that most Tea Party activists are OK with such a shutdown. According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released earlier this month, 62 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters say a government shutdown for a few days would be good for the country. That’s higher than the 53 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independent voters and 21 percent of Democrats who said a short term shutdown would be beneficial to the nation.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

CNN Political Ticker

Tagged with:

One of the themes to emerge from the Arab Spring is the extent to which communications are a weapon. This isn’t new. Radio was a key tool in the Rwandan genocide, and coup plotters all over focus on seizing broadcasting infrastructure. Some of the bloodiest clashes in the fall of the Soviet Union came between protesters and Soviet security forces at the feet giant TV antennae in the Baltics.

There’s a push today to switch off Qadhafi’s three state-run channels in Libya, which lacks satellites of its own and instead broadcasts through four international satellite providers.

Says the petition, led by Johns Hopkins’ Daniel Serwer and others:

Despite these measures by the international community Nilesat and other corporations continue to provide a platform for the Gaddafi’s regime to spread its terror propaganda to the Libyans citizens and people around the world. Furthermore, there have been reports from Libya that coded messages have been disseminated to Gaddafi’s mercenaries and security forces via Al-Jamahirya satellite TV channel. Please tell these corporate service providers to stop broadcasting all of the Gaddafi regime’s satellite channels immediately. Tell them to stand with the international community and do their part to protect the Libyan people.

Add to Twitter
Add to Facebook
Email this Article
Add to digg
Add to
Add to Google
Add to StumbleUpon

Ben Smith’s Blog

Tagged with:

The clock ran out on the transgender non-discrimination bill on Wednesday but lawmakers said they expect the issue will come up again in the Judiciary Committee next week.

The bill would make it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity and expression. It is facing opposition from the Family Institute of Connecticut, among other groups.

Spurred by a concern raised by the FIC, legislators will offer an amendment that would allow school districts to transfer teachers who are transitioning between genders to another school against their will.

Transgender activists say they will not support such an amendment and are launching an all-out effort to win approval for the bill as drafted.

“We must take this opportunity to remind Judiciary Committee members to vote in favor of our bill as written,” Jerimarie Liesegang, director of the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, said in an email. “We will not support a bill that allows anyone to be discriminated against.”

Capitol Watch

Tagged with:

The Huffington Post reported "An anti-abortion group behind a controversial New York billboard targeting African Americans is now taking its message to the South Side of Chicago, in a billboard targeting supporters of President Obama." Next to Obama's face is the words "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted." The group Life Always will unveil the billboards on Tuesday.

"Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate. These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou," said Life Always Board Member Reverend Derek McCoy. 

The billboard states: "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted." The image of President Obama faces the capitalized word "leader," and readers are directed to visit

Over 30 billboards will be placed in South Chicago to encourage reflection on the disproportionate number of abortions among African Americans. Census and CDC reports state that African Americans comprise less than 13 percent of the population and about 36 percent of the country's abortions. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 25,196 abortions in Cook County, Illinois in 2009.  

According to Life Always, 30 billboards featuring President Obama and the anti-choice message will be placed on the South Side of Chicago in coming weeks. Some local black leaders will be on hand Tuesday for the first billboard's unveiling, including former 2nd Congressional district GOP candidate Rev. Isaac Hayes. blogs

Tagged with:

Written by Andy Yee

As the world’s attention is focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, crackdown on human rights activists in China is continuing unabated following online calls for ‘Jasmine Revolution’. C. Custer at ChinaGeeks documented a list of people who have disappeared last month, and Geng He, wife of missing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, called for the international community to speak up against China’s abuse of human rights in The New York Times.

Global Voices in English

Tagged with:

Michigan advocates are continuing their drive to get the state legislature to pass an anti-bullying bill, even as Arkansas has gone back and reworked its law.

The new Arkansas law, which is heading to the desk of Gov. Mike Beebe, was amended to specifically list, or enumerate, protected classes.

In Michigan, the legislature’s conservatives, fueled by activism by Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, have long opposed legislation including enumeration. In the last hours of the 2008 sessions, advocates for the law agreed to strip the bill of enumeration, to address concerns from Republicans. Republican Sen. Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt) however refused to bring the stripped down bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

Cropsey was term limited out of office in November, but he was selected as the legislative liaison for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s pick to lead the Michigan State Police, Kristi Etue, said in December the Michigan State Police would continue its history of advocating for a strong anti-bullying law.

Kevin Epling, Co-Director of Bully Police USA, and the father of a son who committed suicide as the result of bullying, says he is frustrated at the lack of movement from the legislation.

“Arkansas has had a law for several years, but in keeping with many states it appears they have seen the need to update and adapt existing laws, to meet the needs of the changing dynamic of the bullying problem,” says Epling. “While Arkansas and other states have moved forward, it seems Michigan lawmakers have been committed to head in the opposite direction. Which to many parents has been extremely frustrating, and to a degree has cost students their lives because our previous lawmakers chose not to act and allowed people to simply look the other way.”

He said the recent anti-bullying conference at the White House was another reminder for him about how important the laws are.

“Seven years ago in Michigan my words fell on deaf ears, and to now hear our president echo some of those same thoughts is a strong vindication that some of us have always been on the right track for the right reasons: The safety of our children,” he says. “I am hopeful that our new legislative class will show their true ‘class’ and work for our kids and not their party or themselves this time around.This has never been about political party affiliation, sexual orientation or diminishing local control, it has been about our children and what they need, not what the adults want. Michigan’s political leadership needs not only to follow the other states but we should show our leadership and put forth a law that shows our commitment to our future generations.”

When and if the legislation passes, Epling says there is still much work left to be done to stop the bullying crisis in the country and state.

“We must remember that whatever language is in the Arkansas bill or is finalized in Michigan’s bill, it will still be the final implementation and enforcement of that law to make the changes needed,” Epling said. “Having a law is far better than just a policy but once passed, even though it has been a struggle for many of us, there is plenty of hard work ahead.”

Advocates for an strong anti-bullying bill will present a special showing of the play The Bullycide Project at Michigan State University’s Pasant Theater, located in the Wharton Center for Performing arts. The production will be Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The play was written and performed by actors of the Trust Theater Ensemble. Click here to view a trailer about the play on Facebook.

Michigan Messenger

Tagged with:

In recent years, leaders of the Catholic Church in Connecticut have participated in anti-gay marriage protests at the state Capitol.

They also spoke out at a massive rally in 2009 against a controversial bill that would have shifted control of parish finances away from bishops and priests and toward lay members of the church.

Next week, the Catholic archdiocese will be back at the Capitol, this time to participate in what is expected to be a large show of force in favor of repealing Connecticut’s death penalty.

The April 5 vigil on the north grounds of the Capitol is also being organized by the CT Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a member of the judiciary committee and a leading proponent of the repeal effort.

Death penalty opponents are hopeful the measure will pass during the current legislative session. In 2009, the General Assembly passed a repeal bill but it was vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, elected in November, has said he would sign such a measure.



Capitol Watch

Tagged with:

In recent years, leaders of the Catholic Church in Connecticut have participated in anti-gay marriage protests at the state Capitol.

They also spoke out at a massive rally in 2009 against a controversial bill that would have shifted control of parish finances away from bishops and priests and toward lay members of the church.

Next week, the Catholic archdiocese will be back at the Capitol, this time to participate in what is expected to be a large show of force in favor of repealing Connecticut’s death penalty.

The April 5 vigil on the north grounds of the Capitol is also being organized by the CT Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a member of the judiciary committee and a leading proponent of the repeal effort.

Death penalty opponents are hopeful the measure will pass during the current legislative session. In 2009, the General Assembly passed a repeal bill but it was vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, elected in November, has said he would sign such a measure.



Capitol Watch

Tagged with:

The new Democratic Party leader for Weston, Davie, Cooper City and Southwest Ranches is trying to mobilize the party faithful into an army to combat the opposition, which he views as an army of hate.

“As it is clear that our values, education and livelihoods are under attack in Tallahassee and DC, we must organize to GOTV [get out the vote] protect the seats we have left. The 2012 election will be vital,” area leader Randy Fleischer e-mailed to Democrats in his West Broward territory. “As we under attack, we need an army to GOTV.”

Here’s more of Fleischer’s thinking:

“We need an army, because we are fighting an army.

“They have an army based on hate. They hate Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“We need an army of love – love of country, love of life, love for each other.

“They believe that the best of life should be stockpiled at the top, claiming that it will trickle down to those who they are certain exist below them.

“We know that the high tide lifts all boats.”

As a first step, he’s trying to get Democrats to a bar happy hour featuring half price drinks, food and political talk Monday night.

The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gatsby’s at University Drive and Interstate 595.

Below, on the continuation, read Fleischer’s call for mobilization on the new website for the Broward Democratic Party’s Area 10 organization.

Broward Politics

Tagged with:

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the United Auto Workers’ Bob King thinks he’s just the union boss to make a go of it. With negotiations about to start with the Big Three American auto companies (two of which are UAW-owned), King is ramping up his rhetoric against the CEO of the only automaker that taxpayers did not bailout (Ford’s Mulally), while plotting his strategy for negotiations.

Meanwhile, claiming that he’s fighting for “social justice” and the entire American middle class (as opposed to just trying to save his otherwise failing union), sounding a lot like he is using the model being used to overthrow governments in the middle east, the UAW’s top boss is recruiting global activists to attack UAW-free foreign automakers.

If action is necessary, “we have a new strategy to organize them,” Williams said, which involves mobilizing members, retirees and allies “to expose violations of human rights.”

The efforts fall under the umbrella of the newly created Global Organizing Institute that is training the activists.

“It has the potential to be the largest, sustained consumer action by organized labor,” Williams said. “We have the resources and the people to be successful in this mission.”

In the United States, the Institute has put coordinators in each state to oversee recruits from university campuses and social organizations. An initial group of activists also has been recruited abroad in countries including China, India, Brazil, Japan and South Korea.

This coordinated effort will allow simultaneous protests at a company’s dealerships around the world to press for auto plant union organization in the U.S.

A second wave of eight interns from other countries is wrapping up a visit to the United States, where they interviewed workers at nonunion auto plants in Mississippi and Alabama.

When the UAW picks a company, these young international leaders say they will take action against the target, knowing they have UAW support.

In addition, alliances have been formed with unions in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Of course, to King and his clan of foreign crusaders, a violator of “human rights” would be any foreign auto company that does not succumb to King’s extortionate version of a “fair election.”

According to another longtime union operative now with the UAW, this will be one of the largest progressive union putsches in the history of progressive union putsches:

The UAW has hired Richard Bensinger, the former head of the AFL-CIO’s organizing institute and a respected union tactician with more than 35 years of experience in labor-management battles in the private sector, to help coordinate the campaign against the union’s ultimate target.

It will be the type of mobilization we’ve never done before,” Bensinger told the UAW bargaining convention in Detroit. He added that the union will also make extensive use of social and new media.

“We’re not going to make the mistake of just having a campaign in California and Texas,” he said.

Bensinger also said the campaign, which is reminiscent of the grape boycott in the late 1960s that led to the organization of the farm workers union, noted there has been a lot of skepticism about whether the UAW’s $ 60 million campaign could actually work.

However, the transnational autoworkers will have to gamble with their international reputations in fast-growing markets such as Brazil, where it is working on having the country’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to endorse the boycott, Bensinger said.

So far, King says, he hasn’t chosen a target yet.

UAW President Bob King said he thought a target would have already emerged by now but continuing talks with workers show there is no cause to launch a campaign yet.

It could be because King may be finding out from the UAW-free employees that, despite his desperate vision of global persuasion, to the employees, UAW really means Union Ain’t Wanted.

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Big Government

Tagged with:

Activists in the South Andrews Avenue area are once again up in arms over the treatment of a small business during construction work.

In December, they challenged the city for blocking the street in front of Enchanted Florist during the holiday season to construct water pipes. The work was harming the business and the city stopped work for a couple days until the holiday passed.

Now, they’re worried about Expresso, a drive-thru coffee shop on Andrews since 1992. It’s been hard to get to because of construction now its section of Andrews around the 1900 block. And there is no sign telling drivers it’s there and open for business – the type of sign that road contractors commonly put up for businesses in construction zones.

South Andrews resident Cal Deal put out an e-mail blast this week to city leaders and neighborhood activists entitled “City Hurting Another So. Andrews Business!” He says there are promises of a sign, but that nothing has happened yet.

“They basically walled off Andrews Avenue, and there is no sign telling people they’re there,” Deal said. “After what happened with the flower shop, I’m surprised they haven’t looked after the welfare of businesses better.”

Photo by Cal Deal

Broward Politics

Tagged with:

I’m busy watching this hearing today (and trying to watch one that happened last week). It’s hard to watch two hearings at once!

But I didn’t want you think I was still celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, so for the moment I’ll direct you to this story, another example where DOJ is taking an unreasonable stance against democratic activists:

Just got a report from Paul Yandura who is at the Federal Court House where the arraignment is for the 13 DADT protesters. As reported yesterday, the protesters, who were arrested on November 15, 2010 in front of the White House, are facing tougher charges than usual for cases like this. The government’s lawyers intend to prosecute the 13 defendants for “violating the orders of a federal law enforcement officer,” which could result in jail time. This is the first time DADT protesters have been in federal court. The other defendants were processed for minor misdemeanors in DC’s court system.

At today’s arraignment, Mark Goldstone, the lawyer for the 13 protesters, explained to Federal Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola that the statute under which the defendants are being charged was unusual. He noted that it had not been used in recent past against people engaging in civil disobedience at the White House. For whatever reason, the government has decided to pursue the more serious criminal charges.

What happened next was surprising to those in the Courtroom. Judge Facciola got up out of his chair, while pacing, gave a speech about the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. He intimated that there were trumped up charges back in the 50s and 60s, too. And, he evoked the Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham case, Martin Luther King’s “letters from the Birmingham jail” and how civil rights protesters were often brought to court to face stricter charges. The judge clearly linked the protest over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to those earlier civil rights protests.

The Judge asked the government prosecutor a lot of questions, including why the government didn’t charge the protesters under the lesser crime of disorderly conduct.

You may remember Facciola from the White House email case, in which he ordered the White House to actually keep its emails.

I’m glad the Magistrate judges are pushing back against DOJ’s unreasonable positions.

Related posts:

  1. A New Judge For the Giffords Case and An Early Problem For Him
  2. Judge: Padilla Can’t Sue for Torture because Justification for His Torture Was Based on Torture
  3. Judge: Government Can Shield Its Conversations about Engaging in Torture


Tagged with:

The CEO of the Winterfest boat parade and philanthropist BJ Buntrock were among a small cadre of civic leaders honored this week by the city of Fort Lauderdale for public service.

Buntrock was named distinguished citizen, while Lisa Scott-Founds of Winterfest was named citizen of the year. George Burrows was honored with the city’s founder’s award, and Ed Udvardy was named an exemplary former city employee.

More than 200 people turned out for the awards ceremony at City Hall, including former mayors Jim Naugle, Bob Cox, Rob Dressler and Clay Shaw. The people were chosen by a blue-ribbon awards committee and received the recognition from city commissioners.

Here is Cox and Naugle chatting before the ceremony.


Here are videos of the four accepting their awards…

Buntrock is a longtime businesswoman and philanthropist. She has been involved in organizations to help the less fortunate including the Eagle Charter Academy, Hospice of Broward County, Seagull High School and the Pantry of Broward. She also provides scholarships to economically challenged youth.

She accepted her award from City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom.

Broward Politics

Tagged with:

A group of Michigan activists has confirmed that it plans to stage a protest in the state Capitol building at 4 p.m. today.

Lance Enderle, a former Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 8th Congressional district, confirmed moments ago that he is leading the protest.

“We are planning to exercise our free speech rights in a non-violent way,” Enderle said. “We will take the Rotunda, and we are not leaving.”

The Capitol building closes at 5:30 p.m. and officials have told Michigan Messenger that anyone remaining in the building after 5:30 will be given a 10 minute warning to leave. If they don’t leave, Michigan State Police troopers could eject them or arrest them for trespassing. The problem for state police troopers, however, might be in mustering the manpower. In last year’s budget, Republican lawmakers voted to close the Capitol police post, which has left the state with only two Michigan State Police troopers and the Sergent at Arms staff. It is likely state police will have to muster road patrol staff to help eject protesters.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that people are extremely upset,” said David Holtz, executive director of Progress Michigan. ”What Republicans are trying to do is a declaration of war on hard-working middle class families. Civil disobedience has deep roots in our democracy. And when democracy is threatened, people will respond.”

Messeger will have a full interview with Enderle before the protests later this afternoon.

Michigan Messenger

Tagged with: