Wednesday, October 23, 2002
We're the NEA; Laws don't apply to us.
I found an interesting letter in this letter column from the Seattle Times. The letter was from the president of the Washington Education Association, the state affiliate of the NEA, in response to this editorial of last week. It makes for interesting reading. Read the editorial first, to understand why Mr. Hasse is blowing smoke.
A recent ruling by the state Public Disclosure Commission against the National Education Association prompted criticism from The Times ("Policing the NEA," editorial, Oct. 11). NEA members in this state, the teachers, college faculty and school-support professionals represented by the Washington Education Association, believe criticism is more appropriately directed at the PDC.
It is time for policy-makers and thoughtful citizens to examine the role and performance of the commission. Established in 1972 through a voter initiative, the agency was intended to provide public access to information about big money in politics.
Former U.S. Rep. Joleen Unsoeld and the other organizers behind the disclosure initiative trusted an informed public, with the help of an engaged, free press, to make better decisions at the ballot box if they knew who was paying for candidate and ballot measure campaigns. The PDC was not meant to serve, as it now does, as a regulator of speech; the authors knew the risk and folly of any such scheme.
Subsequent to a rewrite of state campaign-finance laws aimed at eliminating the participation of organized labor in the political process, the PDC has been transformed into an agency that the courts have found violates educators' rights to free speech and free association.
Washington's public school employees have a responsibility to speak out for students, schools and our profession. We also have a right to do so, a right that has been treated with indifference by the PDC in its heavy-handed efforts at enforcement. Nonetheless, it is a right we will continue to exercise and guard.
Charles Hasse, president, WEA, Seattle
Where to start? Gee, the WEA believes the criticism should be levelled at the PDC; that's a big surprise. The NEA and its affiliates are NEVER the source of any problems; it's always someone else's fault.
Hasse rails against the PDC because it is fulfilling its mandate, to inform the electorate from where the money to support the projects is coming. The PDC is not responsible for the lawsuits; the PDC reported the egregious violations to the Washington State attorney general's office for prosecution.
The NEA has been a consistent proponent of campaign finance reform; they wish to eliminate the "pernicious" nature of big money in politics. However, when it is their money and influence that is under review, they claim unfair persecution. Apparently, big money in politics is only a problem when it goes to causes opposed by the overwhelmingly Democratic teacher's union leadership. Hasse screams about how the laws violate free speech, yet he and others in NEA leadership positions blithely dismissed (or sneeringly denigrated) similar complaints from conservatives such as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Nobody is preventing the NEA from arguing their points of view before the public; what the Seattle Times editorial board specifically stated in their piece is that they only expect the NEA and WEA to follow the same laws as everyone else. If Mr. Hasse feels that is too onerous a burden, perhaps he should reevaluate his efforts. Every other special interest group, from the National Rifle Association to the Natural Resources Defense Council, from NARAL to the American Family Association, has followed the laws. Why should the NEA be exempt?
posted at 05:25 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
Stupid letters Derby
Taking on the challenge from Moira Breen (whether Seattle or Portland is filled with the most reprehensively kneejerk liberals), I submit this astonishingly unorginal diatribe from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reciting The Litany in its full glory (scroll down the comments to see the original):
With congressional elections just two weeks away, the administration must be gloating with satisfaction. For the past month the media have focused almost entirely on going to war against Iraq, and have successfully diverted attention from such messy domestic issues as:
Our plunging economy.
An unbelievable swing from a healthy budget surplus to an enormous deficit.
Growing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Flagrant disregard for campaign finance controls.
Corporate fraud on an unprecedented scale.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and retirement funds wiped out.
Forty-five million Americans without medical insurance.
Savage dismantling of environmental protection laws.
Unmet transportation and affordable housing needs.
Diminished vulnerability to terrorism.
We're being taken for a long ride.
Ms. Kendy left out abortion; we musn't forget that Bush is committed to making all abortions illegal. </sarcasm> Other than that, it appears that she hit every single talking point on the Democratic Party's agenda.
(As to the "flagrant disregard to campaign finance laws" thing, refer to the next post, although I am quite sure that Ms. Kendy was *not* talking about that particular violation.)
posted at 02:38 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
in defense of Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson, over at Little Green Footballs, has become the target of an organized hate campaign as a result of the blog being nominated as an MSNBC "best blog". MSNBC was inundated with letters denouncing LGF, which resulted in MSNBC adding the rather distasteful disclaimer: "Is this news or hate?" Charles has decided to strike back, with this thread, which is overflowing with comments, mostly positive. (Scroll up and you will find links to many other blogs who have posted in support of Charles). I, too, have sent an e-mail to the "Blogspotting" editor in support of LGF. Please do the same, as Charles's site is an invaluable resource, and the fact that it enrages the apologists makes it even more important.
Here is my letter:
Please amend your comments on Little Green Footballs; it is neither news nor hate, and it is wrong to characterize it in such a fashion. The only people who oppose the site are the extreme left anti-war crowd and the Islamic-extremist apologists who are embarassed by the tactics of the anti-American Islamists who spread their vitriol throughout the rest of the world. Sure, a few of the comments may be over the top, but they are no more so than at any number of other sites, and they are a small percentage of the whole. Only a few other sites out there provide a conduit to the writings of the anti-American crowd out there, such as MEMRI. However, MEMRI is not set up as a weblog, nor does it have fora for discussion. LGF does.
One of the e-mails you posted inadvertantly gives away the whole show by saying:
Iím quite shocked that you listed LGF in this Best of Blogs: have you looked at the content and the editorial line, at the anti-muslim anti-left anti-prettymucheverythingnotgeorgewbush hate that gets its way on that weblog?
...Which nicely links the anti-muslim theme with the real objection, which is to conservatism in general, and George W. Bush specifically. I'm sure Charles Johnson (a self-described liberal who voted for Gore) finds it amusing to be lumped in with the conservatives, simply because he supports the war on terrorism. The newly intolerant left is busy stamping out dissent in its ranks, which has resulted in steadfast progressives such as Christopher Hitchens, Dan Savage, and Ron Rosenbaum to become pariahs because they will not fall in behind the anti-defense crowd who refuse to roll over to the murderous savages who carried out an attack on our fundamental way of life.
(real name here)
Don't let a small, vocal minority get away with a smear campaign. email Blogspotting now.
posted at 06:09 PM | permalink | Comments (7)
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Defending Dan Savage
By now, most have read Dan Savage's excoriation of the anti-war left, and his outlining of the reasons leftists should support the war. Another left-winger, David Ehrenstein, disagrees with Savage, and the response caught the attention of Mike Silverstein, over at Red Letter Day. Mike's rebuttal is required reading for today.
Two passages leap out as particularly relevant:
(on Pacifism) No dear, it's Politics. It is also Morality.
Pacifism is "morality" the same way stoning homosexuals to death is "morality."
Dropping bombs means killing peasants.
It also means winning a war.
It's worth your time.
posted at 12:50 PM | permalink | Comments (1)