That Troublesome First Amendment, Michigan Edition

March 3, 2013
On January 18, 2013, the Circuit Court in Wayne County preliminarily approved a settlement in a class action charging that  McDonald’s had sold non-”halal” Chicken Mcnuggets that had been advertised as “halal.”  A local activist named Majed Moughni was unhappy with the settlement terms (which required McDonalds to pay some money to two local Dearborn charities, along with a hefty fee to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, but nothing for the other class members), so he began a Facebook campaign (“Dearborn Area Community Members”) where he criticized the settlement terms and tried to  organize opposition to it.
So far, so good.  But the plaintiffs’  lawyers filed an action seeking an injunction against Moughni’s Facebook page, asking  that Moughni be required to take everything he had said about the case down, and to post on his Facebook page instead what they said (and what the Court had said).
Unbelievably enough, the court granted the motion and entered a preliminary injunction; finding that  Moughni had made “materially false, deceptive and misleading statements concerning the settlement . . . and concerning the rights of the members of the Settlement Class,” and that Moughni “thereby engaged in deliberate and abusive conduct which has created a likelihood of confusion of class members, adversely has effected the administration of justice and has undermined this Court’s responsibility and authority to protect Class members from such abuses,” the Court
(a) ordered Moughni to remove all statements about the case from his Facebook page and to replace them with the Court’s own expression, and the parties’ own expression, about the proposed settlement, in the form of the preliminary approval order and class notice;
(b)  enjoined him from making any other statements about the case in any other forum—whether in person or electronically, or to the press;
(c)  ordered him to identify to the Court and the parties those class members who had associated themselves with Moughni’s point of view by using the Facebook “like” and comment functions; and
(d) forbade him from  “dissemination, circulation or publication” or any form for opting out or objecting to the settlement.
I don’t know why episodes like this get me so riled up, but they do.  It’s the worst kind of judicial over-reaching – protecting the court’s own turf from dissension and criticixm by exploiting its power over defendants.  Fortunately, Public Citizen has stepped in to move to vacate the injunction (aided, I’m told, by the ACLU of Michigan).  Good luck to them 

I’m more worried about the judge issuing an injunction against someone “not affiliated with this litigation” without any mention of how it justifies an injunction against a non-party to the suit.
She’s accepted a settlement of a class action suit, and issued an injunction requiring a member of the class to accept it? Seriously? And is he now prohibited from speaking out about the injunction, since that would in turn bring attention to his views on the settlement? Apparently the people allowed to decide these matters have clarified their contempt for the constitution as getting in the way of their court.


Israel’s Supporters Must Learn from the Enemy

September 20, 2011

(Bill Levinson) We removed our post that compared Henry Ford’s proven job creation methods with Barack Obama’s proven job destruction methods because a couple of readers expressed outrage against Ford personally because of his involvement in anti-Semitic activities. We do not agree with these readers (as shown below) but we don’t want to put Ted in the position of circulating a piece to which people might take exception. This shows, however, that Euro-Americans in general and Jews in particular have failed to understand a simple point: a person we might find offensive or unsavory, or even an outright enemy, is often the best teacher. Our collective failure to learn this lesson puts Israel in particular and Civilization as a whole at considerable and even mortal risk. We will begin with a couple of extremely simple examples of this principle. The United Kingdom is famous for the 95th Rifles, a regiment immortalized by Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.The UK is also famous for its rocket artillery, as immortalized by “the rockets’ red glare” in our National Anthem. Neither rifle-armed skirmishers nor artillery rockets were however British inventions; both were examples of learning from the enemy.The War of Independence taught the British that a man in a bright red coat with a musket that could not hit reliably beyond 70 to 100 paces was an easy mark for a rifleman in dull-colored clothing who could melt into a forest after firing. They accordingly created an Experimental Corps of Riflemen (later the 95th Rifles) who wore dark green uniforms to blend in with foliage, much as their American opponents had blended in with their surroundings. The Congreve Rocket was meanwhile the result of the British being on the receiving end of Tipu Sultan’s rocket artillery during the Anglo-Mysore Wars.
We obviously do not agree with what Henry Ford published about Jews, or for that matter his support for Prohibition or his “sociology department” that intruded on his employees’ private lives. We did an Internet search on suspicion and found Henry Ford on a list of historical figures (along with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and George Washington) who were suspected of having Asperger’s Syndrome.
People with Asperger’s Syndrome are often described, as having social skills deficits, reluctance to listen, difficulty understanding social give and take, and other core characteristics, is typically quite misunderstood and/or misdiagnosed in our country today.
Other characteristics include a lack of empathy and a fascination with systems, i.e. “how things work.” The latter certainly describes Ford, noting his boyhood fascination with taking watches apart and even being able to put them back together. His production line was described as a giant clock, and it relied on workers as “components” who performed repetitive tasks to make the clock work. The system’s success paid the “components” high wages but it is quite likely that Ford viewed people as something like elements of a machine–hence his infamous Sociology Department–with roughly identical desires and motivations. If Ford did have Asperger’s, he could have understood intellectually that he needed to pay fair wages to gain his workers’ commitment but it is doubtful that he could really empathize with them on an emotional level. If true, this theory explains quite a bit. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (in which Ford is God, My Life and Work is the Bible, and people are manufactured to fit society’s needs) constitutes Fordism taken to the extreme.
In any event, The International Jew was not Henry Ford’s creation. It a translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that was given to Ford by the Tsarist Russian propagandist Boris Brasol. To put this in contemporary terms, Ford saw the equivalent of a sensationalistic Web site or E-mail, copied it to everybody on his mailing list, and pressed the “Send” key. His “Send” key unfortunately consisted of the Dearborn Independent, so what he circulated caused substantial harm to Jews and, in the end, Ford’s own reputation.
What then are the lessons to be learned from this experience? How many of us have, at one time or another, forwarded an E-mail or Web posting without investigating thoroughly? We have received them from highly intelligent and well educated friends only to find, after investigating, that the material was untrue. The National Jewish Democratic Council relied on somebody else’s blog posting or equivalent to publish a vicious falsehood about the Christian computer game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.” None of this excuses Ford for his own failure to investigate Brasol’s material thoroughly but we must make sure we do not repeat the same mistakes.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument the absolute worst about Henry Ford. This does not change the fact that his methods created the American middle class along with the 40 hour work week, and made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. Our thoughts must now move to application of this knowledge to our country’s current problem: an incompetent buffoon in the White House who has proven repeatedly that he knows nothing about how to create jobs or prosperity. (The same individual wishes to reward Palestinian terrorism with territorial concessions at Israel’s expense.) We should welcome assistance from any source that will help remove Obama from office next year and, even more importantly, create high wage jobs for the millions of American workers who need them!
Now let’s move on to a genuine Nazi who has plenty to teach us. Most people cannot get past their revulsion at Hitler’s statement, “If you win, you need not have to explain. If you lose, you should not be around to explain,” to internalize the truth of this observation. Hitler lost so he had to follow his own advice on April 30, 1945. His equally murderous and genocidal counterpart Josef Stalin was on the winning side so he never had to explain. Neither did Mao Tse Tung or Pol Pot, for that matter. This applies directly to Israel versus its militant Islamic neighbors: “If you win, even if you have to kill several million Arab aggressors and inflict some collateral damage while you do it, you won’t have to explain. If you lose by playing nice and worrying about world opinion, you won’t be around to explain.”
We observe further than ancient Jewish history was not very “nice,” with the result that today’s Jews need not explain while the Canaanites and so on are not around to explain. Roman history was not very “nice” either but the sole consequence of Rome’s genocide of the Carthaginian people is that Southern Europe and even England speaks words with Latin instead of Phoenician roots. Modern Hungary and Mongolia have statues, currency, and/or postage with images of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, neither of whom were nice people but who did outstanding jobs for the Huns and the Mongols respectively. Ann Barnhardt elaborates further on the problems with being “nice.” (Christian-oriented material can be ignored without loss of continuity.)
This is not to say that Israel or any decent country should initiate aggression today even though history shows it can often get away with it. It does say that, if an aggressor attacks you, you must take him down in such a manner that he will never lift a hand to you again. Only in movies must the hero (or often a terrified female victim who turns the tables momentarily) let the downed serial killer or monster get up again, and that’s only because the movie can’t end at the 45 minute mark. If you put your attacker down for good, you don’t have to explain. If you let him get up again (in the absence of law enforcement personnel who can take him into custody), it is quite likely that you won’t be around to explain. Israel should have put its attackers down for good in 1967.
Most people and especially Jews are meanwhile reluctant to read Mein Kampf because of its content and authorship. This is EXACTLY why the Arabs, who love the book not merely for its anti-Semitic aspects but for its very practical content, are currently demonizing Jews in general and Israel in particular the way the Nazis demonized Jews during the 1930s.
Mein Kampf however goes beyond a discussion of how to use propaganda effectively; it shows explicitly that Hitler followed the advice to learn from the enemy, in this case the Triple Entente. The Entente and its American sympathizers demonized Germans the same way the Nazis later demonized Jews. The following could in fact be described as a blood libel of Germans, noting that it was proven that the Lusitania carried munitions and was therefore a legitimate military target.
Little Lost Children of the Lusitania (to view jpgs click here)
Main Kampf states explicitly that Germany failed to recognize the effectiveness of this kind of propaganda, and failed to reciprocate in kind: with visual images designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, the man in the street and the man in the beer hall. If the Jews in Israel could bring themselves to read Mein Kampf, they would realize that Israel is repeating Imperial Germany’s mistakes to the letter while the enemies who want to destroy it are working straight from the Entente’s (and later the Nazis’) playbook.
Arab propaganda; could have been drawn by genuine Nazis
Our recommendation is and has always been retaliation in kind and with an enormity of compound interest, to dehumanize Israel’s enemies and militant “Islam” in general every bit as thoroughly as the Entente dehumanized the Central Powers. We should not hesitate to adapt propaganda images from the Second World War that were used to demonize Nazis and Japanese, along with similar material from the First World War and Spanish American War. As but one example:
The Palestinian Brute
Ethics and honor require only that the propaganda be truthful (and the militant Muslims have provided our side with an unlimited supply of truth), and that hatred and contempt be directed selectively against a specific behavioral choice (militant Islam) and never against an entire religious identity, race, or ethnicity.
George Santayana wrote that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Those who cannot or will not learn from the enemy, even an enemy as loathsome as Hitler, are likely to become history.

Agreed, but I disagree that Ford merely pressed the send button on facebook. Ford trolled the equivalent of internet forums for decades. He was more then just some guy who distributed Antisemitism. He was completely obsessed with it’s philosophy. Asperger syndrome is more then just Rain Man. It is more then just being systematic. Asperger syndrome is a tendency to be obsessed with a system and in this case the system was hate. We still can learn a lot from the most despicable people. On my friendfeed account I follow many twitter accounts that have complete contempt for my being. Should they know that I follow them in this manner they would probably call me a stalker. In fact one person I followed who was a former teacher even put me on the news as such. The point being is these people I follow not because they are complete idiots…many of them are geniuses… and many of them probably hate me. One example of a complete genius who I have been following for years goes by the name of SeanMcBride (on both twitter and friendfeed). He is a complete tech genius, and a debater that leaves me in awe. His contempt for Israel (though he does not hate Jews), leaves many writing him off as a common thug. He is no such thing. His genius for systems has led him to believe in the fear of Zionism and Neo Cons. My guess is he is similar personality to Henry Ford and I can’t tell you how informative his feed is. Both in Tech and Israel News (though in the latter it is our enemies spin). The point is that I am wise enough to follow those I don’t like. The world is full of grey area. The beauty of open feeds on the internet is that we can peer into the minds of those who are our opposition because those who do not like us have huge egos and want to share their information without realizing how easy it is to subvert that information. I suppose I am guilty of doing the same and I have no doubt that my opinions will be used against me (actually they were used against me in court and my first amendment rights were taken away by the state of Washington). Point being however is that we must not write people off just because they are Nazis or Anti-Zionists. We must enjoy the work of Wagner or the malarkey of the children’s book writer Roald Dahl. To reject those brilliant minds that reject us is futile. Sometimes there might even be brilliant Zionist writers who have flaws in other ways. I’d like to tell you who those people are, but it would hurt my own cause. A few people do come to mind however… I won’t mention the name. I can tell you that I still have a deep respect for their mind… and I leave them the hell alone because on a social level they are nuts. The worst is when two very flawed Israel supporting geniuses start attacking each other… and then even go so far as to get people out on the internet to take one side or the other. Life is complex. I have no doubt that there will come a day when I might depend on the guy above I mentioned SeanMcBride (who is my enemy) to defend me from people who are supposed to be on my side. I am known to be an opponent of feminism… (though I am a descendant of Emma Lazarus), but when I was in jail I depended on my feminist mother to get me out (The female and probably feminist identifying Jewish judge just would not listen to me). Never write out your opponent… and never assume because a person supports Israel that they are to be trusted. BTW, the teacher I described above… she wasn’t stupid either. Just crazy.

Judge jails Pastor Terry Jones for refusing to pay $1 bond

April 22, 2011
Reaction to Pastor Terry Jones' court hearing
Reaction to Pastor Terry Jones’ court hearing: Pastor Terry Jones talks to the media as he departs the courthourse in Dearborn for a lunch recess. Also in the courtoom during the proceeding, a Muslim-American law student at WSU. / MIKE BROOKBANK/Detroit Free Press 4/22/2011 via
Judge Mark Somers, above, sent Pastor Terry Jones to jail.Judge Mark Somers, above, sent Pastor Terry Jones to jail. / Free Press file photos

A judge late today sent two Florida pastors to jail for refusing to post a $1 bond.

The stunning development came after a Dearborn jury sided with prosecutors, ruling that Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp would breach the peace if they rallied at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

Prosecutors asked Judge Mark Somers for $45,000 bond. Somers then set

bond at $1 each for the two pastors.

They refused to pay. And Somers ordered them remanded to jail.

Earlier, in closing arguments, Wayne County assistant prosecutor Robert Moran said
the pastors would disturb the peace if they were allowed to protest today at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

Jones and Sapp argued their right is protected under the First Amendment.
“That’s what made America great,” said Sapp. “We’re entitled to our opinion.”

‘We’ll do it today at 5 or we’ll come back next week’

Earlier, after an intense debate in court this morning over free speech and religion, Pastor Terry Jones said that he’s not backing down from his plans to protest at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad testified today that there have been at least four serious threats made against Jones from metro Detroiters, arguing that his protest could lead to violence if allowed.

But Jones told the Free Press during his lunch break: “We’ll do it today at 5 or we’ll come back next week.”

Speaking at a McDonald’s restaurant down the street from the courthouse, Jones — who’s defending himself — said he thought the proceedings are going well. And he said the government’s case was weak.

As he spoke, someone drove down Michigan Avenue yelling “Get out of Dearborn, you terrorist!”

Jones is facing a jury trial today on whether he should be allowed to protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

The opening statements of Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran and Pastor Terry Jones offered clashing visions as both wrestled with issues of religion and freedom of speech. The court drew both supporters and opponents, Christians and Muslims. The ACLU of Michigan was also there to monitor the case because the group has concerns that Jones’ free speech rights are being violated by Wayne County and Dearborn Police.

Jones was in court along with Pastor Wayne Sapp, who is known for burning a copy of the Quran on Jones’ orders.

In his opening statement, Jones repeated negative comments about Islam that he made last month when he oversaw the burning of the Quran in Florida. He said in court today that the Quran “promotes terrorist activities around the world.”

He also strongly defended the U.S. Constitution.

“The one thing that makes the Constitution great is the First Amendment,” Jones said to the jury.

Except for the Bible, the Constitution is the greatest document in history, Jones said.

“The 1st Amendment does us no good if it confines us to saying what is popular,” he added.

Moran said in his opening statement this was an issue of security and breaching the peace.

If the jury sides with prosecutors, the judge, Mark Somers, will set a bond and its rules. If Jones decides not to meet the bond requirements, he could be jailed, said a court official.

NYTIMES OBSCURES TRUTH: a FOIA request for a PUBLIC University Professor’s Email is standard

April 1, 2011

A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil.
William Cronon, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  The group, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, declined to explain why it was making the Freedom of Information Act request for material from professors at the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State University. But several professors who received the records request, which was first reported by Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, said it appeared to be an attempt to intimidate or embarrass professors who are sympathetic to organized labor.
This records request, which was filed Friday, comes several days after the Republican Party of Wisconsin made a records request to a prominent University of Wisconsin history professor, William Cronon, who had severely criticized the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, over his push for legislation to weaken public-sector unions.
The Mackinac Center, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research and educational institution and receives money from numerous conservative foundations, asked the three universities’ labor studies faculty members for any e-mails mentioning “Scott Walker,” “Madison,” “Wisconsin” or “Rachel Maddow,” the liberal talk show host on MSNBC.
Greg Scholtz, the director of academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, said: “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom. We’ve never seen FOIA requests used like this before.”
Roland Zullo, a labor studies professor at the University of Michigan, said he found the center’s request “puzzling.” “It seems an odd request for an institution that claims to be nonpartisan,” he said.
Michael D. Jahr, the Mackinac Center’s vice president for communications, declined to discuss the records request. Ken Braun, managing editor of the center’s political newsletter, declined to give the reason for it. He said the newsletter, Michigan Capital Confidential, had made the request and often makes such public records requests.

Teacher With Long History of Depression Kills Herself

“As a general policy, we don’t discuss our FOIAs until we write about them,” Mr. Braun said. He said the records request could have been much broader but was limited to a handful of topics at just the labor studies departments, instead of also including history and political science departments.
Mr. Braun said the center’s request was in no way coordinated with the Wisconsin Republican Party’s FOIA request to Professor Cronon.
After one recent records request, the center reported that taxpayers were paying the salary of an elementary school teacher even though she was released from her teaching duties to work 100 percent on union issues.
Marick Masters, the director of labor studies at Wayne State, said he had nothing to hide. “This looks like an attempt to embarrass us,” he said. “I haven’t engaged in any partisan activities here. I think they’re probably interested in seeing the extent to which labor studies centers in the state have helped orchestrate the protests in Madison.”
Professor Cronon, who describes himself as a political independent, said he was angry about what he called an attempt at harassment. He said that he had never engaged in any nonscholarly political work on university computers or time, which is prohibited, but that he was still concerned about the release of any e-mails. The Republican Party requested e-mails mentioning several politically related words, including Mr. Walker and several legislators.
“There is an academic freedom issue here,” Mr. Cronon said.
Mark Jefferson, the executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, declined to explain why the records request was made. He criticized Professor Cronon for questioning the party’s motives. “I find this troubling,” he said. “Like anyone else filing a public records request, I don’t have to give a reason.”

Narayan Mahon for The New York Times


Ray Hanania a bit unclear on the concept of "free speech"

December 7, 2010

Elder of Ziyon
06 December ’10
From UPI:

Journalist Helen Thomas ripped Wayne State University in Michigan for ending a diversity award in her name, saying the school mocked the First Amendment.
The university ended the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award last week after she made controversial remarks in Dearborn, Mich., about what she saw as Zionist control of American institutions. When announcing the end of the annual award, Wayne State said it pulled the prize and “strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas.”
Thomas told the Detroit Free Press in an article published Monday the leaders of Wayne State University “have made a mockery of the First Amendment and disgraced their understanding of its inherent freedom of speech and the press.
Thomas, 90, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, added, “The university also has betrayed academic freedom — a sad day for its students.”
Some Arab-American leaders joined in criticizing Wayne State’s decision to pull the award named after Thomas, who grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne.

Who are the Arab American leaders who criticized the decision? The only one I can find so far by name is our old pal Ray Hanania, who called this blog an “often racistly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate site” and accused me of hypocrisy.
Let’s talk about hypocrisy, Ray.
(Read full post)

UPDATE: Once I’m calling Ray a liar, here’s a doozy on one of his many websites:

 The Palestinians are ready to accept Israel’s hold on most of the settlements in exchange for final borders, but Israel’s Netanyahu is dragging his feet and demanding more. Netanyahu’s version of Give and Take: The Palestinians give everything and Israel takes everything.

OK, Ray, please find a single public statement made by any Palestinian Arab leader saying that they were willing to accept anything of the sort. You won’t find it, for reasons you know very well – anyone who says that would be assassinated. Just because you believe it doesn’t mean that the PLO, or Hamas, or anyone in a position to matter does.
On the contrary, as I have documented, Mahmoud Abbas has bragged – publicly – that the Palestinian Arab negotiating position has not changed one iota since 1988.
It is a lie, and you are a liar.
Should I waste my time to find more of your lies, Ray? Or have we already established a pattern?