Common Law Grand Juries – Is There Such An Animal?

Yesterday I was contacted by an acquaintance whom I got to know through attendance at the Granada Forum, a patriot organization originally formed in Granada Hills, California, by Ralph Franklin and myself which we established in November of 1992. What this gentleman asked me if I would become a leader within what has become the Common Law Grand Jury Association. I expressed my views on the subject, and we made a conference call into another conference call that was underway taking place on the East Coast.

Within that conference call, I shared with them that approximately twelve or so years ago we used to have a group called “The Los Angeles County Common Law Grand Jury” that met here in the San Fernando Valley, Southern California, within Van Nuys, a suburb of the Greater City of Los Angeles. I attended not as a participant, but rather as an observer. I was personally known by many, if not all of the founders of this Common Law Grand Jury group. My expressed concern was in how these “Common Law Grand Jurors” were going to enforce their “indictments” within the system, and anticipated that someone was going to get hurt the moment this Los Angeles County Common Law Grand Jurors set forth to draw someone within their acclaimed jurisdiction for an indictment, and to have the “indicted” one criminally prosecuted. Since that time, this Los Angeles County Grand Jury has dissipated, and is no more. I am now hearing more about Common Law Grand Jury groups developing throughout the nation, and even a recent as yesterday, I am being asked to become a leader in this national development.

My concern is just the same as it was years ago, that someone is going to get hurt the moment these Common Law Grand Jurors assume jurisdiction and reach out to indict some government official and to have them criminally prosecuted.

Let me say, I certainly believe in the power of the People as manifest in the Magna Carta of 1215, which Great Charter in essence established that whenever the People have no remedies, they may take whatever actions they deem necessary to provide for a remedy. We have this same power delineated within our Declaration of Independence, to wit; “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” It is therefore manifest that if our future freedom demands an Armed Revolution, then Americans are charged with such duty to provide it. This is how I view what is being called, “Common Law Grand Juries.”

For years, this author has preached on the need for Grand Juries in an atmosphere when everyone was looking for a remedy via legislatures, presidents and governors. I am most grateful that I have recently witnessed the message sinking it with more realization that Grand Juries are the key for our future security. Make no doubt about, the establishment has become concerned on this point. The government has long striven to extract the power of Grand Juries out of the hands of the People, and sought to establish Grand Juries as a hammer in the hands of government prosecutors.

As a history lesson, it was back in 1960 that the California Legislature determined to strip the People of the power in the hand of the People by the creation of what the Legislature called, “The Commission on Judicial Qualifications”, later changed to “The Commission on Judicial Qualifications.”  By so doing, the power of the People to investigate judges within California through Grand Juries was transferred to a special commission made up of principally judges. So we had judges judging judges with little to no participation of the People as to judicial conduct. This legislation laid well with legislatures and judges across the nation. And so, within all fifty states there was created judicial commissions throughout the country for judges to oversee the conduct of judges. The net results was that the People lost control over their judges, and all judges were under the protection of other judges. There was thus created a “You watch my back, and I will watch yours” mentality. We were left only with the People suing Judge A before his friend and colleague Judge B. The decisions were always “You can’t sue Judge A because he is a judge and covered by Judicial Immunity.

In the Nation of England from which we separated by the Declaration of Independence, we revolted against the doctrine that “THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG!” But, through the manipulation of politics we have established a new fable, which is “JUDGES CAN DO NO WRONG!” Out of this background has arisen the concept of JAIL4Judges, which means Judicial Accountability Initiative Law for Judges by the proposal of the creation of an Independent Special Grand Jury to which all judges shall give direct account to a panel of 25 citizens who judge judges as Grand Jurors independent of government prosecutors, members of the Bar Association, all law enforcement, and anyone connected with the judicial system. It places all judgment concerning the judiciary directly and totally in the hands of just you and me with no participation of the government.

The Judicial Accountability Initiative Law started right here where We the People were robbed of our autonomous right to be the Alpha and the Omega as the Grand Jurors. Through J.A.I.L., we can once again reclaim our power we once had prior to the deprivation of our rights as Grand Jurors. By simply adding the words “Common Law” in front of Grand Juries, and asserting we are now a Grand Jury only leads to physical confrontation in which those involved will get hurt. What makes Special Independent Grand Juries different is that it becomes a revision to our various State’s Constitution, of which all governments, including judges, legislators, and executive must give a sworn Oath to obedience thereto in order to hold, or retain their positions.

Article II, Sec. 1 of the California Constitution reads, “All political power is inherent in the People. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform i when the public good may require.” So it is manifest by the Constitution that the People are autonomous,” they have and control all political power”, which power is totally within their hands, and no government may interfere with that right. This is why all governments throughout the United States are afraid of the possibility of the People adopting the provisions within J.A.I.L., as it would spell the end of their dynasty of control over the People.

Citizens group wants common law grand jury in Westmoreland County [PA]

Sunday – January 5, 2013

By Rich Cholodofsky

Published: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A citizens group filed court documents on Friday seeking to convene a common law grand jury in Westmoreland County, but legal experts say such a body has no real authority.

It’s the latest of a number of similar filings throughout the nation by people wanting to empanel investigating grand juries that are separate from the government. Citizens in the group would seek jurors from the local population, then make presentments to prosecutors.

Locally, groups in Allegheny and Beaver counties have issued the same call.

The move, however, is not backed by the law, according to a local official and a legal scholar.

“This is a rogue band of citizens with no legal authority,” said Wes Oliver, associate professor and director of the criminal justice program at Duquesne University School of Law. “To what extent there was ever a common law grand jury system that was self-creating, there no longer is.”

The Westmoreland group, founded by Tom Altman of Greensburg, wants to convene a grand jury that is not presided over by a judge and/or convened by county or state prosecutors.

Altman claims his grand jury is legitimate under the law and the Constitution.

But legal experts say that in 1946, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were established, doing away with the common law grand jury model.

District Attorney John Peck said grand juries must be approved by the courts.

“I don’t know there is a statute or procedural rule that allows citizens to convene grand juries,” Peck said.

Altman filed documents with Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline seeking to formalize the grand jury process. Kline said he was required under state law to accept the filing.

Altman said he paid the $21.40 filing fee under protest.

“We’re working to undo tyranny that’s been done,” he said. “We’re stirring a pot that’s real big, but it has to be stirred.”

Unless common law grand juries are officially recognized by the courts, prosecutors offered presentments or individuals subpoenaed by the self-formed grand juries would not be legally compelled to cooperate, Oliver said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

Are US Judges more Racist and Bigoted than either the Ku Klux Klan or New Black Panthers?

There is a growing concern in America that the judiciary is no longer enforcing natures laws as written in the US Constitution or upholding the Bill of Rights. The US Constitution, Article VI states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Citizens are seeing a judiciary that is part of a growing dysfunctional government, particularly at the federal level. Recent decisions by federal district court judges and the US Supreme Court have ordinary people scratching their heads. This growing dissatisfaction has led to the creation of grassroots groups like Jail4Judges.org. Jail4Judges website states it is a, “[N]ational grassroots organization designed to end the rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system of the United States.”

Perhaps the recent and most watched case of “rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system” at the state level was the George Zimmerman case in Florida. Many saw the Zimmerman case as a “political show trial” rather than an effort to serve justice and enforce the law. In the Zimmerman case no grand jury was ever empaneled. Had there been a grand jury, the case may never have gone to trial. Mark I. Sutherland in his book “Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America” forward notes, “We live in the greatest nation on Planet Earth, but it is becoming more and more apparent that in order to keep it great, people must do something to stop the federal courts that are daily setting themselves above the law and dictating how we should live and what we should think.”

History demonstrates that those wearing black robes are not immune to racism and bigotry.

Perhaps the most notable case, of many, of racism and bigotry is that of Carrie Buck, a helpless Virginia teenager. Edwin Black, in his book “War Against the Weak” shows how judicial corruption was rampant in Carrie Buck’s case. Black writes, “Carrie Buck’s mother, Emma, was one of Charlottesville’s least respected citizens. Widowed and worthless, living on the margins of society, Emma was deemed a perfect candidate for feeblemindedness … On April 1, 1920, Emma was hauled before the so-called Commission on Feeblemindedness. Justice of the Peace C.D. Shackleford convened the very brief hearing … A few minutes later, Emma was officially deemed feebleminded. Shackleford signed the order of commitment, declaring she was ‘suspected of being feeble minded or epileptic.’ Five days later, Emma was driven to the Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. There she was consigned to Ward Five . She would remain at the colony for the rest of her life.”

But it did not end there.

Black found, “One day in the summer of 1923, seventeen-year-old Carrie [the daughter of Emma Buck] was found to be pregnant. She explained she had been raped … On January 23, 1924, [Justice] Shackleford convened a brief hearing … Carrie was quickly declared ‘feebleminded’ and transferred to the custody of the Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. For Shackleford it was the second generation of Bucks he had sent to the colony-first the mother, Emma, and now the daughter, Carrie.”

“By March 30, 1924, Virginia’s eugenics law, which now included numerous due process safeguards, was finally passed by both state houses and signed by the governor. It was to take effect on June 17, 1924,” notes Black. “Carrie’s arrival at the colony was delayed until June 4, just days before the new [Virginia] sterilization law took effect. A legal guardian, Robert Shelton, was properly appointed for her and properly paid $5 per day, just as the statute and due process required. On September 10, 1924, a colony review board properly met and ruled Carrie ‘is feebleminded and by the laws of heredity is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted…”

Carrie became a test of Virginia’s eugenic law. The idea was to appeal of Virginia’s sterilization law “[I]n order that we may test the constitutionality through our state courts, event to the Supreme Court of the United States.” The legal challenge was scheduled for November 18, 1924 with Carrie represented by attorney Irving Whitehead “a staunch eugenicist, founding father of the colony and an advocate of sterilization, who was to champion Carrie Buck’s defense.”

“If the Supreme Court would uphold Carrie Buck’s sterilization, the floodgates of eugenic cleansing would be opened across the United States for thousands,” wrote Black. In Buck vs Bell 1927, none other than Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the majority opinion “the words that would reverberate forever”:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Eugenical sterilization was now the law of the land.

Buck vs Bell would be quoted in the US Supreme Court decision in Roe vs Wade in 1972 and in San Antonio Independent School Board vs Rodrigues in 1973.

Fast forward to today. The judicial system is accountable only to itself. There is no outside review of judicial malfeasance from the bench. Judges are closely protected by none other than their fellow judges, who among other things, cannot be sued. Is it any wonder that there are groups like Jail4Judges springing up across America?

Healthcare.gov is fraudulent, deceptive and illegal

My good friend Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, USMC (Ret.) was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission in 1997 and remained in that position until 2005. I have been friends with Colonel Swindle for many years.

The Honorable Orson Swindle asked me to remind us, the American people, that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal government’s principal Law Enforcement Agency for enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws. The FTC deals with mergers and acquisitions, fraudulent, deceptive, and illegal business practices, and information system privacy and security.

In a National Review Online article by Andrew Stiles, former FTC Commissioner Swindle outlines a number of illegal aspects in the Obama administrations healthcare website (http://Healthcare.gov) and how the Obama administration has been promoting the Health Care law. He points out how the website runs afoul of Federal Regulations of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Here are excerpts from the Stiles column:

Orson Swindle, who served as an FTC commissioner from 1997 to 2005, says there are a number of practices that, if HealthCare.gov were a private entity, would result in its being “taken to the shed and horsewhipped” by government regulators.

President Obama’s oft-repeated falsehood, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” — something the administration knew was untrue — would almost certainly be a textbook case of deceptive advertising, punishable under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practice in or affecting commerce.” This includes a “representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer,” such that the consumer would be “likely to have chosen differently but for the deception.”

Other examples of potentially deceptive practices include the apparently deliberate decision to withhold information from HealthCare.gov visitors as to the actual prices of the policies offered via the exchanges. In fact, users aren’t told how much those policies will cost until after they have created an account, which requires giving a slew of personal and financial information.

Additionally, a recent CBS News investigation found that HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s gross violations of FTC’s and CFPB’s Federal Regulations are being ignored by US Attorney General Holder and the Democratically controlled Senate, whose members continue to permit the President to disregard Federal Laws, Federal Regulations and provisions of the US Constitution with impunity.

We are appreciative of the fact that Orson Swindle has pointed out these violations of Federal Laws and Federal Regulations by the President.

Orson_Swindle

Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, III, USMC (Ret.), former Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Orson Swindle’s impressive background follows.

Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, III, USMC (Ret.) is a Vietnam POW who retired from the US Marine Corps in 1979. His military career is one of extraordinary triumph. On November 11, 1966, he was serving as a US Marine Corps aviator in South Vietnam flying his 205th mission, on what was to be his final combat mission, when he was shot down, captured by the North Vietnamese, and held as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi for six years and four months.

On March 4, 1973, LTC Swindle was released from captivity at the conclusion of America’s involvement in the Vietnamese War. For valor in combat, he was awarded with more than twenty military decorations, including two Silver Star Medals, two Bronze Star Medals, two Legions of Merit Medals, thirteen Air Medals, and two Purple Heart Medals. From 1981 to 1989 Mr Swindle served in the Reagan Administration, where he directed financial assistance programs to economically-distressed rural and municipal areas of the country.

As the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development he managed the Department of Commerce’s national economic development initiatives, directing seven offices across the country. In 1993, Orson Swindle worked with former Cabinet Secretaries Jack Kemp and William Bennett, former Congressman Vin Weber, and Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick to form Empower America.

He was the Republican candidate for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District in 1994 and 1996. LTC Swindle was a former roommate of Senator John McCain’s in the Hanoi Hilton prison in North Vietnam.

The Honorable Orson Swindle’s full biography is listed on the “Leadership” page of the Combat Veterans For Congress PAC website.

Defense of American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) & Response to Critics

Response by the American Freedom Law Center to Joe Carter’s “The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws,” published in The Gospel Coalition Blog, and to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) opposition to American Law for American Courts in general. Act for America has been trying to get the American states, such as Florida, to pass ALAC legislation.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/AhUcuSyS6jk[/youtube]

 

To learn more about the American Freedom Law Center click here.

To learn more about ACT! for America click here.

Shouldn’t Federal Judges be subject to their own un-Constitutional rulings?

Today I read a ruling by a Reagan appointee Federal Judge Edward R. Korman (pictured above). Judge Korman ruled, “that the government does not need reasonable suspicion to examine or confiscate a traveler’s laptop, cellphone or other device at the border.” He stated that its legal for law enforcement to peruse through laptop computers, cell phones, text messages, and other means of communication within 100 miles of the United States border and without a warrant and with no probable cause.

This means if you are walking down the street in San Diego, according to Korman’s ruling, a police officer can take your phone and look through it. If you are at Starbucks relaxing at a border town in Arizona working on your lap top emailing your girl friend, a police officer can confiscate your computer with no probable cause and can look through your hard drive without a warrant. He can also confiscate your private property and hold it indefinitely.

Today I called Judge Korman’s chambers in the East side of New York phone number and spoke to his personal secretary. His secretary said he was told not to comment on the ruling and he said its public record. I stated “You do understand this is a direct violation of the 4th Amendment and NOBODY looks through my stuff on my computer or phone without a warrant”, well excluding the NSA, those spies who read and save everything I send out anyway.

I then said that the Judge lives within 100 miles of the Hudson River which is a entry point into the United States and he falls into the “No warrant clause” Hey its his ruling. I said I will fly up there as a retired military official and I would like to take a look at his cell phone text records and peruse through his emails. No warrant required and as a private citizen maybe I feel like pressing a citizens arrest on the judge for treason against the Constitution.

The secretary said I cannot do that and the request is denied. Oh so very proper and the guy was so wanting me to hang up the phone. He then said I have no authority to do that.

Hah! I said and the same rule applies to me and the other 197 million people that live within his self appointed 100 mile border searches. He can’t do this. Its illegal!

Tomorrow I will call the local FBI office in New York and ask them to mosey on over to his office and ask to look at his emails, phone records and text messages as per his own ruling. Lets see what happens. I have had just about enough of these un-Constitutional rulings from the bench and not from the rights given to me by God. The 4th Amendment is non negotiable.

Oh, by the way, it was Judge Korman who ruled that age restrictions on over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill are “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” and must end. The ruling means consumers of any age (like underage children) could buy emergency contraception without a prescription — instead of a girl first having to prove she is 17 or older, as they do today.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler an American Feminist Fighting Sharia

In December 2003 we organized a summit with noted counter-Jihadists at a private university club in Manhattan. We were endeavoring to develop a concerted campaign in America to warn about the threat of Qur’anic doctrine and sharia to Constitutional guarantees of free expression, liberty and freedom. We had assembled notable figures from both academic and non-academic research sources to attend the conference. Among the attendees was Dr. Phyllis Chesler, noted radical feminist, author of bestselling books and peer–reviewed journal articles, groundbreaking pioneer in the fields of women’s studies and founder of the Women’s Psychology Association.

When we made our initial acquaintance with her, we also learned of what had propelled her doctoral studies in these fields. She had been virtually imprisoned under the Islamic law in purdah, a women’s enclosure, in a polygamous household in Kabul, Afghanistan with her US passport taken away. All because she had married a man whom she thought was a young bohemian like herself at a private college in the US who came from a privileged Afghan family. Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim husband culminated a tempestuous relationship between a young scholarship student from an Orthodox Jewish background and the debonair attractive young Muslim man who shared her un-orthodox views.  Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim came at a time in the early 1960’s when cross cultural encounters were both exotic and yet politically correct. That fantasy ended upon her arrival at Kabul Airport with the taking of her US passport and abrupt introduction to Medieval 10th Century purdah in her husband’s Afghan household. Her debonair husband abandoned her in the women’s enclosure controlled by her Afghan mother-in-law who sought to convert her from Judaism to Islam. She subjugated Chesler to totalitarian control of her person under Islamic sharia law in violation of universal human rights.

Chesler’s subsequent illness, flight back to America, and annulment of her marriage to her Afghan husband led to her professional pursuit of an academic program in feminism and advocacy of changes in women civil rights and equality. Her 1972 landmark best seller, Women and Madness capped her research and women’s psychoanalytic practice, becoming an iconic work in 20thCentury American feminism. She also went on to deepen her appreciation of Judaism and to fight for female equality in worship, Torah and Talmud study against the strictures of Orthodox Judaism. Her deepening involvement in her Jewish faith, including a second marriage (and divorce) with an Israeli and birth of her son Ariel, crystallized in another pioneering work in 2003,The New Antisemitism. That book drew groundbreaking attention to delegitimization and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people by leftists and Palestinian advocates. Her views expressed in The New Antisemitismhave grown in importance given contemporary compelling research on European and Islamic Antisemitism. Views that belatedly have been recognized by both American and World Jewish leadership.  You can view Chester’s oeuvre of published works and scheduled appearances in 2014 at her website, here.

At the December 2003 private conference many of us in the emerging counter-jihad activist community heard her discuss Islam as a system of gender apartheid under sharia knowing that she had directly confronted it. We urged her to take the time out of her feminist endeavors and write about the experience. She subsequently did in a chapter her book, The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom and a Middle East Quarterly article in 2006, “How Afghan Captivity Shaped my Feminism.” That is a reflection of the long lasting support of Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum where she made been made a Fellow. That exposure drew her into conflict with many leaders in the US and world feminist movement who took multi-cultural relativism as an article of faith that conflicted with what Chesler contended was the imperative of universal civil liberties in the face of Islamic anti-Western triumphalism.

Chesler’s academic research also extends to honor killing, female genital mutilation  and support for banning the burqa under doctrinal Islam. As a result she has been much sought after to provide expert testimony in court matters involving Muslim women in such matters. In a recent Fox News op ed, “Beneath Burqa-Bruised and Badly Beaten Teenager”, about a  recent violent occurrence reported in The New Zealand Herald she drew attention to  the precursors to violence committed against Muslim women. Using the extreme example of quadruple honor killings of a polygamous Muslim family committed by the convicted Afghan Canadian Shafia family, she drew attention to the moral equivalence of “omerta” in Muslim families. Chesler said “that sustained physical abuse and psychological cruelty often precedes or is correlated with a subsequent honor killing.” In the case of the savage beating of the Muslim teenager in New Zealand, hidden from public view by a burqa, Chesler commented that the police became aware that “members of the community in positions of power and trust knew that the abuse was serious but did not help the girl.” Given the increasing evidence of cases of FGM committed in the US by African and Muslim émigré families, legislators in more than 21 states have introduced legislation seeking tougher sentencing guidelines despite existing federal law that prohibits the horrendous procedure.

Praise for her work in these latest efforts for women and freedom from Islamic totalitarianism is reflected in  her abiding friendship with two noted former Muslims, Sudanese former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel and Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations and our NER colleague, Ibn Warraq, author of critical works on Islam, including Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy.

Chesler has maintained communications with her former Afghan Muslim husband despite their divorce. Five decades following her escape from Kabul she completed the long suggested a memoir of her confrontation with an Islamic household ruled by sharia, An American Bride in Kabul. Read our review of Chester’s latest book in the current edition of the New English Review. 

We recently were afforded the opportunity to renew acquaintances and interview Dr. Chesler about her Afghan memoir, professional career as a psychoanalyst in women’s health, commitment to Jewish women’s equality and her advocacy and expert testimony against Islamic doctrinal denial of women’s rights to their physical person, liberty and freedom.

Jerry Gordon:  Dr Chesler thank you for consenting to this interview.

Phyllis Chesler:  Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon:  What prompted you to write, An American Bride in Kabul?

Chesler:  Afghanistan and its people seem to have followed me into the future and right into the West. Islamic burqas are here in America, on the streets and in the headlines. One reads about Afghanistan daily in most major newspapers. This is the country where I was once held hostage; it is the country which sheltered Bin Laden after he was exiled from Saudi Arabia and Sudan. He hatched his 9/11 plot in an Afghan cave. And now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by Al Qaeda and Al-Qaeda-like Jihadists. An eerie coincidence. Also, in my lifetime, Afghanistan has also literally turned into a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel—even darker and more misogynistic than The Handmaid’s Tale. Given the increasing persecution and subordination of Muslim women, I decided to connect my five long months in purdah to the surreal lives of Afghan and Muslim women today, including in the West.

The Al Aqsa Intifada of 2000 and 9/11 also changed the direction this book would take. How could I write about Afghanistan and Muslim women without also writing about Jihadic terrorism and its war against civilians, both infidel and Muslim, and against both Israel and the West?

Gordon:  What was seductive about Afghan reformist Abdul-Kareem during your courtship at college that led to your marriage as an Orthodox Jewish woman to a Muslim man?

Chesler:  I was a naïve eighteen year old, a full scholarship kid at a private college and there he was—dapper, charming, debonair, a Prince right out of my childhood fairy tales, a fellow bohemian, as secular as I had become, and so very attentive. In retrospect, he was shadowing me, monitoring me, but at the time, I was flattered and thought it meant that he loved me very much. We never discussed religion. In 1959, there were no college courses about Islam or about Islam’s historic imperialism, colonialism, conversion by the sword, and slavery. I thought Jews and Muslims were both “other” in America and therefore somehow similar. He promised me a Grand Adventure the likes of which only wealthy, mainly British travelers had experienced: Time in a place that was once the cross-roads of the known world. Also, just perhaps, like so many other Jewish dreamers, I also yearned for a mystical union between Isaac and Ishmael. Thus, I married Ishmael.

Gordon:  What happened when you reached Kabul and entered your Afghan husband’s polygamous household?

Chesler:  When we landed in Kabul, officials smoothly removed my American passport—pro forma for all foreign brides. I never saw that passport again. Suddenly, I was the citizen of no country and had no rights. I had become the property of a polygamous Afghan family and was expected to live with my mother-in-law and other female relatives in purdah. That means that I was not allowed out without a male escort, a male driver, and a female relative as chaperones. I had expected a life of travel and adventure but this marriage had transported me back to the tenth century and trapped me there without a passport back to the future.

Gordon:  Describe for us how purdah, sharia treatment of women, subjugated your freedom in your Afghan husband’s household?

Chesler:  I lived gender apartheid long before the Taliban or the war lords arose. My Afghan husband was not religious but his family was and so was the country he had not lived in for more than a decade. My mother-in-law kept trying to convert me to Islam. Polygamy was accepted. Half-brothers jockeyed and competed for their father’s attention and inheritance. Although the women had been unveiled by King Zahir Shah in 1958, the poor women of Kabul and the women in the provinces wore burqas or hid from stranger-men behind long veils. Everyone’s marriage was arranged, traditionally to a first cousin, but not necessarily. There were no “love matches” which were viewed as a filthy Western idea. I was a prisoner in fairly post purdah. I could not go out alone, without permission, a male escort, and a female relative to chaperone me. No one but me found any of this abnormal or horrifying.

Gordon:  How much of the denial of basic freedoms in what you witnessed in Kabul was tribal versus emblematic of Islamic sharia treatment of women?

Chesler:  Women were not the only ones who lived under royal Afghan tyranny and a much closed society. Male political dissent was punished; any man who could not manage his wife was in trouble and got his family in trouble. My Afghan husband had brought an infidel, Jewish, American woman to Kabul as his bride. He was already in trouble. The jails in Afghanistan were always filled with political dissidents, “Western” oriented dreamers and thinkers who were tortured and locked away for years. Once, long ago, Afghanistan was pagan, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Hindu, even Jewish—but that all ended with the Arab conquest and the forcible conversion of the people to Islam. It is sometimes hard to say that Islam versus tribal culture and tradition are responsible for what we view as human rights violations and atrocities. Let’s just say that any indigenous barbarism or tribal customs that existed in Afghanistan pre-Islam was not tempered or abolished by Islam. In some cases, for example, the stoning of an alleged adulteress/rape victims, the persecution of religious minorities, polygamy, cross-amputations, rote recitation of the Qu’ran in Arabic without comprehension, physical punishment of children by mullah-teachers, etc. is very much a part of Sharia practices.

Gordon:  How did the experience and flight from Kabul impact on your lifelong pursuit of feminism and women’s rights?

Chesler:  I believe my feminism was forged in purdah in Kabul. That experience may also explain why I am not a cultural relativist and why I believe in universal human rights. Even if we cannot guarantee such rights in a Muslim country, we can do so for everyone who lives here in the West and in North America. I am not one of those academics who believe that it is a woman’s religious right to choose to wear a face veil (niqab) or burqa (ambulatory body bag/sensory deprivation isolation chamber). I also understood that while American women may be discriminated against economically, politically, legally, and in terms of physical and sexual violence, that we have the right to fight for our rights, without being stoned or be-headed; we have free public libraries, access to education and employment, we are not forced into arranged marriages. Thus, I always understood that America, despite all its flaws, is the best country in the world, not the worst.

Gordon:  When did you return to the study and observance of Judaism and what place does Jewish feminism have in gender equality?

Chesler:  I have always been a proud Jew. I helped create feminist Jewish rituals (Passover Sedarim, etc.) and stood against anti-Semitism starting in the early 1970s. But, when I prayed with the Original Women of the Wall for the first time in 1988, I was asked to open the Torah for the women for the first-time ever. It wedded me fatefully to this struggle which is now in its 26th year. I began to study Torah. I joined synagogues, both Conservative and Orthodox. I published a book with my chevrutah (Torah study partner), Rivka Haut, who is a serious Talmud scholar, about this legendary struggle. Recently, alas, this struggle has now been fatefully compromised by a group we call The Women of Robinson’s Arch, led by Anat Hoffman, the very woman who defamed Israel all over the United States for the last decade. I never used this injustice against Jewish women’s religious rights at the Kotel against Israel in the world media. Actually, come to think about it, if we were waging such a struggle in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, or Afghanistan we would all have been stoned to death a long time ago. I publish devrai Torah which may be found at my website under Judaism. Feminism born in the secular world has been used by religious Jewish feminists who have become rabbis, cantors, and Torah scholars—which is rather revolutionary.

Gordon:  What was your career path subsequent to you return to America that transformed you into a pioneering academic in women’s studies and later co-founder of the Association of Women in Psychology?

Chesler:  I returned to complete my last semester at college, spent nearly three years fighting my Afghan husband for a divorce, something he opposed, entered graduate school in psychology, and got a Ph.D in 1969. I was also active in the American civil rights movement and became a leader in the American feminist movement. My first book, Women and Madness(1972) became a classic work and a bestseller. I would say that this work has possibly changed the mental health professions and their clients by at least 20-25%. Thus, sexism remains in the diagnosis and treatment of both genders. But 25% is still something

Gordon:  In Sacred Bond: The Case of Baby M (1988) you championed the rights of a surrogate birth mother in a New Jersey case and subsequent law. What were your arguments and the opposing views of liberal feminists?

Chesler:  I had published With Child. A Diary of Motherhood (1979) and Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, (1986) which I expanded and updated in 2011. I saw the Baby M case as a new and more terrifying kind of custody battle which it was. Many liberal feminists, themselves or their daughters wrestling with infertility problems, wanted this option if needed, especially since adoption is so perilous an undertaking in terms of bureaucratic red tape and other problems. Also, such feminists were ambivalent about biological motherhood and truly believed that if a woman—any woman—broke a contract that this would be used against all women in terms of women changing their minds. This is ridiculous. Men and business people always demand changes to contracts. But if a contract is illegal and immoral, involves enormous exploitation and risk to the “surrogate” mother, where is the glory in upholding it? When the Vatican came out against surrogacy, I was accused of “being in bed with the Pope.” I rather liked that.

Gordon:  You experienced 9/11 in Manhattan as a defining moment. How did it impact you and change your feminist agenda?

Chesler:  Even before that, the Al Aqsa Intifada had galvanized me. Although, as noted above, I had organized against anti-Semitism since the early 1970s, this was a quantum leap forward or backward. I knew the bloody beast was back and that I would have to write about it and about how the western intelligentsia was making common cause with Islamists who hated Jews and the Jewish state. When 9/11 happened, I said: “Now we are all Israelis.” And so we are.

Gordon:  The New Antisemitism (2003) was among the first serious examinations of the demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In the decade since the book was published what developments have occurred that confirm your warnings?

Chesler: Thank you for remembering this. At the time it came out, major Jewish organizations were indifferent or hostile. I was mocked as the “Jewish Cassandra.” Liberal Jews would not allow me to speak. I was not reviewed in the mainstream media. On campuses, I needed bodyguards. Now, a decade later, the leaders of Jewish organizations are saying precisely what I said long ago. These same people are now raising money to organize on campuses. They claim they are “on it,” are solving the problem. They are not—they cannot, and they are way too late. Israel still does not have a Ministry devoted to Cognitive Warfare. We, the Jewish people, do not have an Al-Jazeera of our own which broadcasts around the clock globally, covers many issues, and when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, simply tells the truth. Israel has effectively lost the war of ideas. I belong to a premier group of pro-Israel advocates who are brilliant, informed, at the ready, but we are soldiers without boots or weapons and most work without funding. The determined and excellent grassroots pro-Israel groups that have sprung up fight each other for limited funding and Jews continue to give large sums to organizations that take no risks, still have President Obama’s back, and will sacrifice Israel in a heartbeat in the belief that they will remain safe and prosperous in America. Too few Jews want to bear the burden of associating themselves with a country which has been so demonized and isolated. Ironically, misogynist Jews, often Orthodox, often haredi, can be counted on to have Israel’s “back.”  Kavod kaved. Glory is a heavy burden indeed.

Gordon:  What was the message in The Death of Feminism (2005) that led to your complete rupture with academic and leftist feminists and your defense of Muslim and ex-Muslim women’s rights and issues?

Chesler:  There has been no complete rupture. I remain a feminist; I have not renounced the cause of women’s freedom. Also, over time, privately, cautiously, some Second Wave feminists have told me that I am brave, that I am right, that they wish they had the courage to speak out. My closest allies today are Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents and religious Jewish feminists. But politically correct journalists succeeded in keeping me as well as many others who share my views, off the mainstream/left stream airwaves and away from all the distinguished lecture podiums. Every so often, I get across the aisle. I will continue to talk to both sides of the aisle.

Gordon:  You have defined the treatment of women under sharia as gender apartheid. How can the West combat it?

Chesler:  Very simply by enforcing the laws of our land. But it is also not so simple. When daughters are beaten and death threatened, forced to veil against their will, they rarely “tell” authorities and when they do, proper action is rarely taken. No one (teachers, guidance counselors, child protective services, physicians) in the West wants to believe that a family will actually conspire to kill one of their daughters because she does not want to wear hijab, drop out of school, and marry her first cousin; or because she wants a higher education, wants to choose her husband, has infidel friends, wants to lead a Western life. Also, “rescuing” such a girl will mean putting her in the equivalent of a federal witness protection program and giving her a new, extended, adoptive Muslim family. This is labor intensive and costly and America is not yet ready to undertake this. Also, girls, even endangered girls, love their families they fear, and do not want to leave them.

Gordon:  Why have honor killings occurred with disturbing frequency in the West?

Chesler:  Although Hindus perpetrate honor killings as well, they do so mainly in one part of India, they do not bring this custom with them into the West. Only Muslims do so. I have published three studies in Middle East Quarterly in 2009, 2010, and 2012. I strongly suggest that your readers view them: Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence (2009); Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings (2010), and Hindu vs. Muslim Honor Killings (2012).

Gordon:  Recently proposed state legislation has been introduced against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). How prevalent is FGM in domestic Muslim and African émigré communities in this country and would the adoption of the proposed anti FGM legislation make a difference?

Chesler:  This practice continues even though it is prohibited by Federal law. I have recently been told by an immigration lawyer that FGM is very widespread in the United States and that the greatest number of such women are in New York City. New York! This means that unlicensed butchers carry out this often lethal and life-scarring procedure right here, sometimes without anesthesia; that girls are sent back home for “vacation cuttings;” and that licensed physicians are performing this mutilation. The girls and their families all believe that without this mutilation, the girl is impure, tainted, and that no one will marry her and she will remain a shameful burden to her father. Legitimate physicians will not treat pregnant women who have been mutilated which means that when they give birth, it is with no pre-natal care and in emergency rooms staffed by physicians who do not know how to cut through the massive scarring or how to safely remove such scarring after the birth. By the way, I do not believe that the Qu’ran mandates such mutilation; the custom began primarily as an African tribal custom but has been spread via Islam to non-African countries such as Indonesia where the rates are increasing.

Gordon:  Under sharia doctrine domestic violence against women by husbands, male relatives and even female siblings is condoned for alleged unruly and disobedient behavior. Given that you are an expert witness in domestic cases involving Muslim and ex-Muslim women, has evidence of this surfaced in divorce, custody and spousal abuse matters?

Chesler:  I have submitted affidavits to judges on behalf of girls and women in flight from being honor killed and in search of asylum. I have also learned that my work has been relied upon in a number of high profile prosecutions of honor killers in the West. This is a great privilege. Western style domestic violence sometimes results in femicide but not always. Honor killings are not like domestic violence. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousins do not conspire to kill a teenage girl in the West. An honor killing is a family conspiracy or collaboration to do just this, although sometimes the victim is a battered wife. In both cases, the girl’s or the woman’s alleged disobedience is seen as shaming her family and ruining their standing in the community.

Gordon:  Thank you Dr. Chesler for this engrossing interview with insightful observations on the treatment of women under Islam.

Chesler:  Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these issues.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Fight over God in Pledge of Allegiance a Waste of Effort

Much ado is made about the Pledge of Allegiance, arguing whether the term “Under God” should or should not be recited.

Religious folks insist on God being included. Nonreligious folks think it should be eliminated. Regardless of religious orientation, we are all Americans, taxpayers and loyalists, and many are veterans who fought for this country. And, according to the Declaration of Independence, we are all created equal, religion notwithstand- ing.

In September, the Massachusetts Supreme Court heard arguments in which plaintiffs argued that the term “Under God” in the pledge violates separation of church and state, and therefore the First Amendment to the Constitution. That case is still under review, though general opinions indicate that the pledge will probably remain as worded. Should the state court strike the two-word phrase, we can expect a cascade of similar lawsuits in other states.

As of now, 38 states have adopted laws that give children a choice to say the pledge. Schools in five states do not recite the pledge.

The real problem is that the argument digresses from the purpose of the pledge. When I place my hand upon my heart, I don’t consider it a prayer or a religious recitation. It is a promise to be loyal to our nation, symbolized by the stars and stripes. The term “Under God” was not officially inserted until President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law during Flag Day 1954. In Cold War days, the national spirit was to separate a “Godless” Soviet Union from a “God-loving” America.

With all the hoopla, we lose sight that this is a simple pledge, not a religious promise. It seems ludicrous that two words would cause so much distress to either side of the argument, words which any American can choose to utter, or choose not to. Omitting “Under God” doesn’t make any less of an allegiance being pledged.

Nonbelievers should consider more important issues to pursue and drop the tenacious defamation of a widely accepted recitation. When atheists arrive at that phrase, they can remain mute, then continue on. The pledge is still a pledge.

Like who’s listening?

Parents who object to the schoolroom reciting of “Under God” for their children are perfectly free to teach their kids accordingly. Children and young adults who abstain from uttering those two words are breaking no rules. This is America. It is a choice.

We have enormous social, political, economic and national security problems in our country. Escalating a two-word phrase in to a passionate argument should not even make newsprint. The First Amendment applies to all Americans whether they believe in God nor not. Therefore, no one — including schoolchildren — should be forced to include words in the pledge that acknowledge God. It’s a matter for free speech.

The pledge is just that: a pledge to America, to love honor and respect, and to acknowledge we all are all one, indivisible, as Americans, with liberty and justice for all.

Can’t we all just get along?

US Supreme Court is Undermining Science and Society

The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.

At this point in the present era, the Court has made rulings that run contrary to the original, clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and has wrought havoc on our society.

In 1973 it ruled that the killing of unborn babies was protected and millions since then have been deliberately killed. It extended protection to sodomy and same-sex marriage. It is destroying the fabric of our society that has served Americans well for more than two hundred years.

It ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act was a “tax”, enabling the Obamacare to be unleashed with the subsequent loss of health care plans by millions of Americans, often the loss of their personal physician, and the requirement that deeply-held religious opposition to contraception and abortion be negated by a law that requires their beliefs be overruled and denied.

In 2007, I wrote a commentary that was published in The Washington Times. I criticized a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “pollutant”, opening the door to the EPA’s rapacious intent to control all aspects of our lives based on this lie that is used to justify its war on coal-fired plants that provide nearly half of all the electrical energy we use daily. “CO2 is not a pollutant,” I wrote, “It exists in the Earth’s atmosphere and every blade of grass and every tree depends on it.” It plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

The Clean Air Act and revisions passed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. The original regulation of air pollution was a good idea, as were the laws affecting clean water, but the EPA has since used pollution to impose a vast matrix of regulations that do not reflect the fact that the nation’s air and water is now as clean as it ever can be.

Carbon monoxide emissions have fallen from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 3l million tons to 15 million tons. Lead emissions fell by more than 98%. Particulate emissions (soot) fell by 80%. The air in the U.S. is considerably cleaner, but the EPA’s assertions continue to be made to expand its regulatory power and to attack the sovereignty of the states.

A case that was recently argued before the Court is another EPA effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act, asserting that it be given authority to regulate the flow of alleged “pollution” between “upwind” states and those who receive particulates and gases under its control. Some 27 states are considered “upwind” and those states along with all others have their own air control laws. In states that are more heavily industrialized and which have a large number of coal-fired plants on which the EPA wants to impose expensive standards that have no basis in fact.

A coalition led by Texas of more than a dozen other states brought a case, Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, opposing the EPA’s regulatory re-write of the Clean Air Act. In August 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA which appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “The D.C. Circuit only rarely overturns EPA rules, which shows how out of bounds the cross-state regulation is. The Supreme Court should overturn it for violating the federalist intentions of Congress, but there is also the added judicial incentive to show this increasingly rogue agency that it can’t rewrite the law as it pleases.”

The U.S. has been harmed by the many laws whose justification is based on the totally unscientific hoax regarding CO2. During the 101st and 111th Congresses, there were 692 laws introduced containing the term “greenhouse gas” when, in fact, CO2 is NOT such a gas, playing no role whatever in trapping warmth to affect the weather and/or climate of the Earth.

Stringent domestic laws and regulations, moreover, do not take into consideration the role of many other nations whose emissions are far greater than those produced here. However, reducing their emissions will have no effect on the Earth’s climate. The Earth is in what will likely be a lengthy cycle of cooling based on reduced solar radiation. It recently snowed in Egypt and in Israel where snow has long been a rarity.

The Obama administration’s “war on coal” has used the EPA to inflict an attack on the nation’s capacity to provide energy and the EPA has not ceased from using every ruling it has imposed to degrade the nation’s ability to maintain and expand the industrial base it needs to provide for economic growth, an increase in jobs, and the sovereign right of states to determine their own response to the need for clean air. The U.S. is a republic composed of separate republics.

At this point, control of the nation’s air and water quality should be returned in full to the states and the EPA should be eliminated as the threat to the nation it has become. The Supreme Court has played a role in this threat, ruling without any attention to real science, traditional values, and the clear intent of the Constitution.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Legatus, Largest Catholic Business Organization Obtains Preliminary Injunction in HHS Mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders, obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the Federal Government in its case challenging the HHS Mandate.  Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan entered the Order granting the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for a preliminary injunction on Friday afternoon, December 20, 2013.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Legatus on May 7, 2012.  “Legatus” is the Latin word for “ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives.  It was founded in 1987 by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.  Legatus currently has over 4,000 members in 31 states.

Erin Mersino, the TMLC’s lead attorney handling the Legatus case, has been spearheading the Law Center’s challenges to the HHS Mandate in eleven cases thus far.

When the lawsuit was originally filed Judge Cleland refused to enter an Injunction because Legatus was a non-profit organization and protected by the safe harbor provisions. Also, the Government represented that it was in the process of adopting rules that would accommodate organizations like Legatus.  The judge stated, however, that should the Government act in a way that was inimical to the rights of Legatus, it could again approach the Court.

The safe harbor provision protecting Legatus from the provisions of the HHS Mandate expires on January 1, 2014.  TMLC re-filed its motion for a Preliminary Injunction after the Government adopted its accommodation rules on the grounds those rules still required Legatus to facilitate insurance coverage for processes it feels are contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

In granting TMLC’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the Court found that even with the new rules adopted by the Government concerning religious accommodations, Legatus will likely show at trial that the HHS Mandate “substantially burdens the observance of the tenets of Catholicism.”  Further, the Court found that there were many other ways to achieve the Government’s interest to increase free contraception without restricting the religious liberty of Legatus.  Accordingly, the Court found that the government has not made a convincing argument showing the HHS Mandate is advancing a compelling government interest by the least restrictive means.

The Court noted that it had hoped that the government would not “act . . . in a way inimical to the rights Legatus seeks to protect.”  The court commented that it had “been unduly hopeful.”

Click here to read Judge Cleland’s entire opinion

ABOUT LEGATUS

In the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Church and His Vicar on earth, Legatus is an international organization of practicing Catholic laymen and laywomen, comprised of CEOs, Presidents, Managing Partners and Business Owners, with their spouses, from the business community and professional enterprises. Legatus Mission: To study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

Renowned as a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center’s mission is to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America.  In courtrooms throughout our Nation, Law Center lawyers fight for the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, the sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense. The Law Center does not charge for its legal services, and relies on tax-deductible donations from concerned patriotic Americans and charitable foundations.

MassResistance reveals shocking background of judge who ruled against Pastor Scott Lively

Federal Judge Michael Ponsor

The federal judge who recently issued a vitriolic 79-page ruling against Pastor Scott Lively has a disturbing background revealing prejudices and improprieties that under federal law should certainly have disqualified him from presiding over the case, MassResistance has discovered. Presiding Federal Judge Michael Ponsor issued the ruling back in August.

As MassResistance has been reporting, Pastor Scott Lively, a well-known pro-family author, theologian, and Christian minister, is currently the target of the most bizarre lawsuit in our memory. Pastor Lively is being put on trial for allegedly perpetrating “international crimes against humanity” harming the people in Uganda. The case is being brought by the far-left New York-based Soros-funded Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Pastor Scott Lively

Lively’s only “crime” seems to be his outspoken criticism of the homosexual movement. The lawsuit is not based on anything Lively (or anyone he’s ever met) actually did. It is simply an outrageous concoction of accusations based on his pro-family meetings, writings, and conversations, which took place on a handful of occasions in Uganda and in the US. Furthermore, Lively has not been charged with any actual crime in either country.

CCR filed the case on behalf of a homosexual group in Uganda called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (“SMUG”), which claims to have been harshly persecuted and that Lively ultimately caused that.

This will have a disastrous affect on the entire pro-family movement in America if successful.

Case should have been derailed by recent Supreme Court ruling

The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2012. Lively’s Liberty Counsel legal team countered with a response and motion to dismiss, thoroughly refuting all the charges.

The US Federal Courthouse in Springfield on the day of the hearing on the motion to dismiss. Note the crowd of homosexual activists demonstrating in front against Pastor Lively.

The court’s hearing on the motion to dismiss, held on January 7, 2013, was presided by Judge Ponsor. Lively’s lawyers clearly indisputably demolished the plaintiff’s points. CCR appeared weak and disorganized and as we reported, Ponsor appeared biased even then.

Angry demonstration against Scott Lively in front of the courthouse on the day of the hearing. NOTE: At far right speaking in microphone, member of SMUG contingent who came from Uganda. Second from right is Luke Ryan, local counsel for CCR and activist who had been in courtroom earlier.

In April, after the hearing on the motion to dismiss but before the ruling was issued, a startling thing happened. The US Supreme Court issued its ruling on the Kiobel case which essentially nullified the Alien Tort Act. That Act had been the main pillar of the CCR’s attempt to charge Lively, a US citizen, for alleged acts in a foreign country. As weak as CCR’s case had been, it seemed now infinitely weaker as nearly all existing suits around the country involving the Alien Tort Act were quickly dismissed. Everything seemed in place for a slam-dunk dismissal of this absurd case, as well.

Extremely hostile ruling by Ponsor rejecting motion to dismiss

But then on August 14, 2013, the nightmare happened. Judge Ponsor issued his extremely hostile ruling that flatly rejected every one of Lively’s defenses andaccepted all of CCR’s charges against him as legitimate. Ponsor refused to acknowledge that the Kiobel ruling affected this case! Among many other things, Ponsor’s ruling labeled Lively’s speeches as “offensive conduct” and compared Lively to the Nazi war criminals in WWII. (We have a full analysis of that ruling coming up.)

Lively’s lawyers (and the rest of us) were floored. This case itself makes no sense at all, except as a means to severely punish Lively for his views on homosexuality and to send a strong message to the rest of the pro-family movement.

In addition, this now opens the door for an intrusive personal “discovery” processagainst Lively by CCR’s lawyers in preparation for the actual trial against him. In fact, that process has already begun.

An appeal against this particular kind of ruling asking for a higher court to dismiss the case, known as a Writ of Mandamus, is very unusual, but Lively’s attorneys have filed a quite thorough writ. It is still in process.

Will our new findings have an effect on it? We hope so.

Ponsor’s troubling background relative to this case

What is really going on that could explain Ponsor’s absurd ruling? Recently, MassResistance has found out that there’s a disturbing undercurrent to this story.

The homosexual movement is infamous for its success at shrewd “judge shopping” to push their agenda in the US court system. Ponsor was clearly a perfect choice. Ponsor is openly liberal and a protégé of pro-homosexual Judge Joseph Tauro, who recently ruled to strike down DOMA in the federal court. But that’s just his more visible profile.

MassResistance has recently learned more on Ponsor’s shocking background. This information was not known to the defendants when the case began.

An objective observer would question his ability to be impartial in light of these facts:

Outwardly supported radical homosexual movement very early on.Ponsor’s bias favoring the homosexual movement goes back several years. At his judicial induction ceremony on Feb. 14, 1994 (after being appoint by Pres. Bill Clinton), Ponsor told the assembled crowd, “We have a proud, vibrant gay and lesbian community” in Western Massachusetts. At that time, it was a particularly unusual statement to make, especially for a judge.

Made indirect donations to plaintiff’s organization. For the last two years Ponsor and his wife have contributed to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWF). CFWF has donated money to the plaintiff’s organization, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

Revealed bias regarding eastern African peoples (and SMUG). Several members of SMUG attended the hearing and sat in the courtroom. During the hearing, Ponsor remarked, “I’m pleased to adjudicate issues that affect the people of Uganda,” and added that that it was “good to see the people whose interests are directly affected.” It was an odd statement for a judge in a US courtroom to make. As a young man, Ponsor lived in Kenya (which borders Uganda) for over a year teaching English. He speaks Swahili, the official language of Uganda. He appears to be invested in “protecting” that area against those he feel would “harm” the people there.

Has homosexual issues in his family. Ponsor’s former (second) wife, the mother of his two children (and whom he divorced in 1992) now lives a lesbian lifestyle and is “married” to a female Massachusetts judge. Among other things, she has written for the “Gay and Lesbian Review.”

Ponsor’s daughter wrote on an Internet blog that she “came out” as a lesbian in 1999, along with other references to lesbian activity.

Ponsor’s first wife was heavily involved with pro-lesbian feminist groups during the time they were married.

Has troubling ties to plaintiff’s local counsel, who is also a radical activist. The local opposing counsel in this case, Luke Ryan, worked as a law clerk for Ponsor from 2005-2007 and appears to be close friends with him. Ryan is an active supporter of Arise for Social Justice, a thuggish pro-homosexual group which, along with “Occupy Springfield,”has terrorized Pastor Lively’s downtown coffee house mission. Ryan is also involved with Out Now, a homosexual group that demonstrated against Lively at the court hearing.

Luke Ryan, local opposing counsel and radical activist, clerked for Judge Ponsor for two years.

In addition to all that is Ponsor’s outrageously activist judicial philosophy. This past June Ponsor told the local Springfield Republican newspaper: “At some point I realized that judges are the unappointed legislators of mankind, and what we do is just as creative.” It’s exactly what John Adams warned us about.

Website for local radical homosexual group “Out Now.” Notice their vitriol against Pastor Scott Lively continues. Opposing attorney Luke Ryan is active with this group.

Federal law on the requirements of impartiality

The federal law and the Code of Conduct is pretty clear, as it should be:

The federal law 28 United States Code 455(a) Supp. IV, 1974 states:

Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

The website for the Code of Conduct for United States Judges adds:

An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired.

Given that Judge Ponsor’s personal background facts were not disclosed to the defendant, and that they clearly show Ponsor is not impartial on homosexuality and other pertinent issues, he should have been disqualified from this case.

This absurd case has become a nightmarish miscarriage of justice. It represents the worst aspects of the “homo-fascism” that is gripping our country, which aims to utterly destroy anyone who disagrees with or opposes the sexual radical agenda.

Federal Judge Michael Ponsor should have been disqualified from case.

We will continue to cover this for you.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on MassResistance.org.

FL Supreme Court rules “legislative privilege is not absolute”

The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Friday, December 13th in THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA, et al., Petitioners, vs. THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, et al., Respondents that:

In this opinion, we decide for the first time that Florida should recognize a legislative privilege founded on the constitutional principle of separation of powers, thus rejecting the challengers’ assertion that there is no legislative privilege in Florida. We also hold, however, that this privilege is not absolute where, as in this case, the purposes underlying the privilege are outweighed by the compelling, competing interest of effectuating the explicit constitutional mandate that prohibits partisan political gerrymandering and improper discriminatory intent in redistricting. We therefore reject the Legislature’s argument that requiring the testimony of individual legislators and legislative staff members will have a “chilling effect” among legislators in discussion and participation in the reapportionment process, as this type of “chilling effect” was the precise purpose of the constitutional amendment outlawing partisan political gerrymandering and improper discriminatory intent.

This decision will have a ripple effect across all levels of government in Florida.

While the specific case upon which this decision was decided involved the Florida legislature and redistricting it will impact all those who legislate at the city and county levels in Florida. The actions of mayors, city and county commissioners, state legislators and the Governor will all become more transparent.

Hugh Culverhouse, a Miami based lawyer, noted, “Every county, city and state commissioner, manager, employee, Senator, Congressman is covered by the FL Supreme Court’s decision, which is very broad. The case defined what is a ‘legislative act and who can claim it.’ The Boards of County Commission are legislators, as are mayors, and any board empowered to make rules, regulations or act in a quasi-judicial capacity (e.g. make zoning decisions). It is in no way limited to the issue of state Representative’s motives for voting to redistrict in a specific geographic way. That was simply the vehicle for the Supreme Court to decide whether Florida recognizes a legislative privilege, and if so, is the privilege absolute or qualified. The Court in a  7-2 strong decision stated that Florida will recognize legislative privilege, however, it is qualified.”

According Culverhouse, “The best part is the Florida Supreme Court is followed by many other states in saying rule makers and decision makers cannot hide behind a ‘privilege.’ They can still take the Fifth Amendment when their testimony would tend to incriminate them, and I expect, in Sarasota County for example, some will. But they cannot hide. You are not going to accept a campaign contribution in return for promising to vote a certain way two weeks later and then claim legislative privilege. Now, you will admit to a crime or take the fifth.”

It appears the Florida Supreme Court on Friday the 13th made our governments at every level more transparent and more accountable to the people. Bad luck for our elected and appointed officials, good luck for all Floridians.

Religious freedom under attack at Florida’s military bases

I am dedicated to the First Amendment. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is a reason the First Amendment begins with and is anchored by the “free exercise” of religion. America was founded as and remains a Judeo-Christian nation. The Armed Forces are a bastion of Judeo-Christian values, a tradition that pre-dates the founding of the United States of America. The absolute need for a military chaplaincy was understood and promoted by General George Washington. Military chaplains were authorized by the Second Continental Congress, at Washington’s insistence, on July 29, 1775, thereby predating the Declaration of Independence by one year. Chaplains have been the center of support and succor for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, the Coast Guard and their families as they deal with the pressures of war fighting, prolonged absences and duty to the nation.

Florida is home to twenty-one military bases and facilities, including the headquarters of the US Central Command at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL.

Religious freedom is under attack within our military as demonstrated in the video below courtesy of the Thomas More Law Center. In the video members of the US Armed Forces speak out about the culture of fear and intimidation in the US military that is forcing Christian soldiers to hide their faith in Florida and elsewhere.

TMLC states, “This is happening despite the fact that, since its inception, America has been considered a Christian Nation. The overwhelming percentage of the men and women who currently serve in our Armed Forces are Christian. And an overwhelming percentage of those who have died in defense of our country were Christian.”

The attacks on Christianity in the military have caused the Bible to be banned from military hospitalschaplains to be deemed non-essentialprayer to be banned from military funerals and soldiers to be dismissed for voicing their Christian beliefs about homosexual marriage. For a more exhaustive list of attacks on the religious freedom prepared by the Family Research Council of Christians click here.

“The attack on the religious freedom of Christians in the military is a warning for us all of what is coming if we do not stop it now,” warns TMLC.

TMLC asks, “If you are a member of the Armed Forces in Florida and believe that your right to religious freedom as a Christian has been violated click here to complete the legal help request form or call the Thomas More Law Center at 734-827-2001.”

EDITORS NOTE: The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and Watchdog Wire have begun an effort to raise awareness about and protect the First Amendment using the #IAM1A project. To learn more about #IAM1A click here.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER:

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

Florida cites English Common Law to deny small businessman a jury trial

This is Part II in the series of investigative reports WDW – FL is publishing on the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR), the mandated unemployment insurance assessments and an $18 million lawsuit by Florida small businessman Don Baldauf. WDW – FL examines the potential impact of this lawsuit on taxation and regulation in the sunshine state. Governor Rick ScottAttorney General Pam Bondi, 12th Circuit Court Judge K. Douglass Henderson and twenty-three others defendants are named in the lawsuit.

Read Part I by clicking here.

Baldauf protested the mandate that he pay Florida’s unemployment insurance assessment as a sole proprietor business. All businesses are mandated by the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR) to pay for unemployment insurance. Florida is the only provider of unemployment insurance. The unemployment insurance assessments are administered by the FLDOR. Currently FLDOR rules deny sole proprietorship businesses benefits, like Baldauf’s Epitome Systems. During the lengthy administrative hearing process Baldauf continually requested a trial by jury. FLDOR consistently denied his request.

On what grounds was Baldauf”s request for a jury trial denied? That is the focus of Part II.

Baldauf states, “I am suing because I have been deprived of my US Constitution Seventh Amendment rights as a Florida small businessman. Each and every one named as defendants is accused of taking part in preventing me from settling this taxation controversy with the State of Florida by invoking my right to a jury trial. What reason was I given for not being able to exercise my right to a trial by jury? Because King George III says I do not have that right. Yep, according to some of the plaintiffs 1776 never happened!” Baldauf started a website titled JuryTrialRights.com where interested individuals may view the lawsuit and related documents.

Article I, § 22, of the Florida Constitution states a right to a jury trial “shall be secure to all and remain inviolate.”

The Governor and FLDOR have denied Baldauf a jury trial citing 1845 English common laws. Exhibit 7-D and Exhibit 20-A specifically cite 1845 English common laws. Exhibit 7-D cites “FOREIGN STATUTES” and 1845 English common laws. The Chief Counsel for the Governor’s office cites 1845 English common law in Exhibit 20-A. Both cite the 1994 Florida Supreme Court case Printing House vs. The Department of Revenue. In that case the Florida Supreme Court found:

Printing House, Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 614 So.2d 1119 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992). We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We hold that a taxpayer has no right to a jury trial when contesting tax assessments, but a taxpayer who pays the assessment under protest and requests a refund is entitled to a jury trial, as is a taxpayer who challenges a punitive civil penalty. The decision of the district court is approved in part and quashed in part.

Baldauf notes:

  1. The Printing House case is about ad valorem (property) and excise taxes not unemployment insurance assessments.
  2. In November 2011, Tabatha Bookout–Aldous, Revenue Administrator II – SES for the FLDOR, filed a tax lien against Baldauf’s business in Sarasota County, FL violating, according to Baldauf, Florida Statute 443 and denying him his right to due process.
  3. In June 2012 a unemployment insurance assessment was taken directly from Baldauf’s bank account by the FLDOR under protest by Baldauf. Baldauf’s bank was instructed by the to send the FLDOR $1,157.30 out of his bank account. This action was executed by Lisa Vickers by Ewa Zietarska from the FLDOR.
  4. Therefore as the Florida Supreme Court has ruled Baldauf is, given 1, 2  and 3 above, “entitled to a jury trial”.

The Constitution of the State of Florida, Article II  SECTION 5 states:

“(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm:” “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of   (title of office)   on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”

Baldauf states, “By citing English common law over the U.S. Constitution all defendants have violated their oath of office.”

Baldauf notes, “The Constitution does not grant rights, it secures them.  In Miranda vs. Arizona found, ‘Where rights are secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making no legislation which would abrogate them.’ Again, if there had been something to site in our own Constitution to support the position it would have never sited English Law. Here is a quote “For too long our rights have been eroded in the shadows. Judges, lawyers and legislators ignore our rights for the benefit of their own absolute power over the people. The only way to stop it is to shine the brightest of lights on it and make this fight a very public one.”

Part III will show the sequence of actions the FLDOR took against Baldauf.

FL Small Business Owner sues Governor Scott & AG Bondi for $18 million

This is Part I of a series of investigative reports we are publishing on the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR), the mandated unemployment business tax and a lawsuit by Florida small businessman Don Baldauf. We will examine the potential impact of this lawsuit on taxation and regulation in the sunshine state.

Governor Rick Scott at his first inaugural address stated that the axis of unemployment are taxation, regulation and litigation. Governor Scott has traveled the state to promote his pro-growth and pro-small business agenda. Governor Scott said, “Job creation is an absolute mission.”

So why are Florida Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, 12th Circuit Court Judge K. Douglass Henderson and twenty-three others defendants named in an $18 million lawsuit brought by Don Baldauf a small business owner?

Baldauf states, “I am suing because I have been deprived of my US Constitution Seventh Amendment rights as a Florida small businessman. Each and every one named as defendants is accused of taking part in preventing me from settling this taxation controversy with the State of Florida by invoking my right to a jury trial. What reason was I given for not being able to exercise my right to a trial by jury? Because King George III says I do not have that right. Yep, according to some of the plaintiffs 1776 never happened!” Baldauf started a website titled JuryTrialRights.com where interested individuals may view the lawsuit and related documents.

The Seventh Amendment states:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Background:

Florida has no state income tax, yet all Florida businesses, including sole proprietorships, must file a quarterly income tax return and pay unemployment taxes to the FLDOR.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue website, “Corporations and artificial entities that conduct business, or earn or receive income in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return unless exempt. They must file a return, even if no tax is due. Sole proprietorships, individuals, estates of decedents, and testamentary trusts are exempted and do not have to file a return.”

Baldauf is the sole proprietor of Epitome Systems, a certified alarm system contractor and Florida “S” corporation. Baldauf was licenced in 2004 and Epitome Systems is headquartered in Bradenton, FL. According to the Digital Media Law Project website on sole proprietorship in Florida, “If you have four or more employees in Florida, you must carry workers’ compensation insurance.” But all Florida business regardless of the number of employees must pay Florida unemployment insurance.

Baldauf is mandated by the FLDOR to pay unemployment taxes, for which Florida is the only provider. Additionally, should Baldauf close Epitome Systems he cannot collect unemployment insurance until he finds a new job or starts another company. According to Baldauf, “As I understand it when Congress expanded unemployment benefits the state had to borrow money from Washington with interest. So when I and all other Florida corporations pay the unemployment tax a portion of that is used to pay the interest on the loan that Florida has with the federal government.”

Jim Stratton in his July 2012 Orlando Sentinel column “Florida owes federal government $700 million for jobless benefits” wrote, “Florida businesses owe the federal government almost $700 million borrowed to make unemployment payments during the past three years. Each year the balance remains unpaid, the amount employers pay on their federal unemployment tax increases slightly. They are already paying 0.6 of a percentage point more per employee than before the recession.”

Medical Office Resources of Florida reported:

“The Governor of Florida has signed the legislative bill [in 2012] which changes the Florida state unemployment tax paid by Florida employers to an $8,000 taxable wage base and rates now range from 1.51% to 5.40%.  The new company rate will remain at 2.70%.

The good news is that the proposed taxable wage base per employee is $8,000; $500 less than the 2012 proposed limit.  This is still a $1,000 increase per taxable wage base per employee from last year.

Additional good news is that the tax rates range from 5.40% to 1.51%.  The proposed lowest rate for 2012 was 2.02%, but it has been decreased to 1.51%.  The 2011 highest rate of 5.4% remains the same, but the lowest rate is now 1.51%.  However, this will adversely impact your tax amount if your current rate is less.”

In 1992 the Florida legislature passed a Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which states, “The Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the tax laws of Florida in a fair and efficient manner. Promoting voluntary compliance, which ensures that all taxpayers pay their applicable taxes, is an important part of the Department’s mission. The Department also has an obligation to monitor compliance and to take action when taxpayers fail to comply with relevant tax laws. The provisions in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights protect taxpayers’ privacy and assets during any actions taken by the Department of Revenue.”

Baldauf has been through a series of administrative processes, telephone conversations, exchanges of documents with the FLDOR and a 12th Circuit Court hearing since April of 2011 to try to settle his case. All to no avail.

Part II of our investigative report will look at the fairness and efficiency of the administrative process to address Baldauf’s original complaint. WDW – FL in Part III will look at how the FLDOR took action against Baldauf, the taxpayer who refused to comply with relevant tax laws. Part IV will look at the potential impact on Florida businesses should Baldauf succeed in his lawsuit.

RELATED VIDEO: Governor Rick Scott speaks about unemployment taxes in 2010. Video courtesy of WTSB Channel 10 News, Tampa Bay:

Pinellas citizens continue to challenge corrupt commissioners

The following is courtesy of the Florida Term Limits blog:

According to a 2012 study, Florida is the most corrupt state in the United States based on the number of state officials convicted on federal public corruption charges.

“Florida faces a corruption crisis that threatens the state’s reputation, its economy and its ability to attract new jobs and capital,” wrote study authors Dan Krassner and Ben Wilcox.

This should come as no surprise to Pinellas County residents, who are governed by four county commissioners in defiance of the county’s voter-approved 8-year term limits law. After the term limits amendment was approved by 73% of voters in 1996, commissioners refused to insert the amendment into the county charter even after it was validated by a district court in 1999 and the state Supreme Court in 2012.

That it was their duty to do so is beyond question. Per charter Article VI Sec. 6-02 (3): “If approved by a majority of those electors voting on the amendment at the general election, the amendment shall become effective on the date specified in the amendment, or, if not so specified, on January 1 of the succeeding year.” While a court has the power to invalidate an amendment, there is no leeway here for commissioners alone to refuse to accept the vote of the people.

After a commissioner-friendly local court refused to grant relief, Pinellas citizens are now appealing to the Second District Court of Appeals to have their votes finally counted. On Sept. 30, appellants H. Patrick Wheeler and Maria Scruggs filed their Initial Brief to the Lakeland court.

The filing is against Susan Latvala, John Morroni, Kenneth Welch and Karen Seel, the four commissioners who cling to their power and paychecks in defiance of law. Among other things, the brief documents their ill-gotten gains, including annual salaries of close to $100,000 when including expenses. It also points out the commissioners are using taxpayer money to invalidate the clearly expressed will of those same taxpayers.