More judicial tyranny in Sharia law ruling

By: Chad Kent

When judges are deciding cases in American courts, you’d think we would want to limit them to using laws that were enacted by our elected representatives. Not so according to U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange. In fact, she believes it could actually be unconstitutional.

In the 2010 election, the voters of Oklahoma approved an amendment to that state’s constitution that would prohibit judges from consulting international law or religious law in making their decisions. Of course, the primary concern for its authors – and the main source of controversy – is that this measure specifically states that it would ban the use of Islamic Sharia law in courts.

It seems reasonable that Oklahomans would want to force judges to only use laws that they had some hand in creating. But Judge Miles-LaGrange has blocked enforcement of the “Save our State” amendment because she believes it is likely unconstitutional. And last week, a federal court in Denver upheld her decision.

Unfortunately, this is simply a case where opponents of the Save our State amendment are upset that they couldn’t win at the ballot box. So now they are trying to use the courts as a way to overturn the will of the people.

It’s beyond clear that this amendment is Constitutional, so let’s look at some of the objections to it and why they are absurd:

It’s unnecessary – This one is my favorite. Some critics of this amendment claim that, since judges aren’t supposed to consult international and religious law anyway, there’s no reason to prohibit it. As the decision from the 10th Circuit explains:

“Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted . . . that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”

This is interesting. At what point did it become a judge’s job to decide if a law was necessary? If this is a new standard that judges are going to implement, I can’t wait to see it applied to the useless environmental regulations that progressives insist on passing. Light bulb ban? Unconstitutional! Stopping a development to save the snail darter? Unconstitutional! Limits on how much energy your cell phone charger can use? Unconstitutional!!! Wow – this is going to be fun.

The point of this amendment was to reinforce the point that – even though judges were never given the power to consult other legal systems – they people of Oklahoma seriously don’t ever want them to do it. If that is unconstitutional, then we definitely need to go back and revisit the First Amendment.

One of the major arguments against passing a Bill of Rights was that it was unnecessary. Why should we pass amendments that prohibit the government from doing things it doesn’t have the authority to do in the first place?

As Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist #84:

“For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed.”

Despite Hamilton’s feelings that it was unnecessary, the Bill of Rights was adopted anyway. Shockingly enough no judge has ruled those amendments unconstitutional for violating this mysterious “necessity clause” that no one can find but Judge Miles-LaGrange.

Just because a law or an amendment is unnecessary doesn’t make it unconstitutional. Anyone with the background to become a federal judge ought to understand that. Then again, maybe the judges in the 10th Circuit aren’t familiar with obscure examples like the Bill of Rights.

No judges are consulting Sharia law – Those who oppose the Save our State amendment love to demand that someone give them an example of Sharia law being cited in Oklahoma to prove the need for this law. If there isn’t one, they claim, that must mean the only reason for passing it is an evil hate-mongering desire to discriminate against Muslims.

And while they are correct that no one in Oklahoma has cited Sharia law, other U.S. courts have. In 2010 a man was accused of sexually assaulting his wife, but a New Jersey judge found that he didn’t do it based on Sharia law:

“This court does not feel that, under the circumstances, that this defendant had a criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault or to sexually contact the plaintiff when he did. The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.”

Fortunately, this ruling was overturned by a higher court. But it is simply untrue to claim that “no one” is consulting Sharia law in making judicial rulings. When you add that to the numerous times that our Supreme Court has cited international laws, it is beyond reasonable that citizens would want to make it clear that using foreign law is not a practice that is acceptable in Oklahoma.

It violates the Freedom of Religion – Apparently the argument here is, since the amendment specifically states that Sharia law is not to be used in court decisions, that unfairly discriminates against Islam.

That’s nonsense. The relevant part of the First Amendment states that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

The purpose of this measure is to prohibit the use of all religious law in courts – so obviously it doesn’t violate the First Amendment by establishing a state religion in any conceivable way.

The plaintiff in this case, Muneer Awad, claims that as a Muslim it will restrict him from exercising his religion. Once again, that’s nonsense. This amendment bans judges from consulting Sharia law. It’s not a ban on Sharia law. If the plaintiff wants to follow Sharia law in his personal life, he has every right to do so all he wants (provided that he doesn’t break the law in the process). But he doesn’t have a right to have his belief system codified into law or recognized as law in a court.

This amendment doesn’t establish a state religion nor does it prohibit the plaintiff – or anyone else – from exercising his religion – so it clearly doesn’t violate the First Amendment. This isn’t complicated.

Perhaps my favorite critique of the Save our State amendment comes from University of Oklahoma law professor Rick Tepker. He managed to combine smug, self-righteous arrogance with mind-blowing stupidity in a way that makes me smile every time I read his comments:

“Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don’t cry,” said University of Oklahoma law professor Rick Tepker. “I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation?”

This guy has to be intentionally trying to make this issue confusing. No, the passing of this amendment doesn’t mean that judges can no longer consult the Ten Commandments in their decision making – because they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

Sure, the Ten Commandments make up part of the foundation for our legal system. Yes, they provide a great source of inspiration for the values that have made this nation great. And they are a brilliant source of wisdom to guide us while we are making our laws. But judges should not be citing the Ten Commandments as the basis of their decision making. That’s why we have laws.

In other words, a judge can’t decide to convict someone of – say – adultery because it violates the 7th Commandment. There would actually have to be a law prohibiting adultery.

Muslims won’t be able to have their wills executed properly – This argument is just outright silly. Zombie at Pajamas Media nailed the reasons why:

In your will, you can leave your assets to anyone, for any reason. You can cite Muslim law, or your personal conscience, or a dream you once had, or baseless paranoia, or no reason whatsoever to leave all your assets to your children, or your cat, or the Flat Earth Society, or even leave instructions to have it all buried with you in your casket. If the will is determined to be a valid will, no ban on Sharia will be able to challenge it.

The only exception to that is when a person wants something done in their will that would violate the law. In that case, it doesn’t matter if this amendment is upheld or not – the will shouldn’t be executed either way.

The fact that two courts have blocked the Save our State amendment from being enacted is simply judicial tyranny. The only explanation for the ruling in this case is that the judges don’t approve of this law politically, so they’ve have created an excuse to block it.

It is this type of ruling – where judges allow their own point of view to take over instead of staying faithful to the intent of the Constitution – that has rendered the First Amendment almost unrecognizable. Originally, the First Amendment was intended to ensure that the government had no ability to restrict any individual in practicing their religion or to establish a state religion. According to modern judges, that same amendment now means that a student can’t even mention the word God during a speech at his high school graduation… but hey, we must leave the door open to using the Koran as a law book in courts of law.

Gosh, I can’t imagine why the voters of Oklahoma felt the need to further instruct judges on the limits of their power.


China to Aid Saudi Arabia in Nuclear Power Development

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Ever since the end of World War Two, the U.S. has come to regard Saudi Arabia as almost its exclusive oil producing enclave.

In February 1945, after the Yalta Conference with Soviet General Secretary Iosif Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on his way home U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud met aboard the New Orleans-class heavy cruiser U.S.S. Quincy in the Suez Canal’s Great Bitter Lake. During the meeting, instigated by Roosevelt, he and Ibn Saud concluded a secret agreement in which the U.S. would provide Saudi Arabia military security, including military assistance, training and a military base at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, in exchange for secure access to supplies of oil.

Sixty-seven years later, my, how things have changed, as China is now muscling into the Kingdom of the Two Holy Places.

On 15 January Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz agreed to make concerted efforts to enhance bilateral relations.

The spectacle of OPEC’s leading petro-state and East Asia’s superpower economy making common cause has surely caused the burning of the midnight oil inside the Beltway.

While Wen said that China is willing to strengthen coordination with Saudi Arabia on all major issues by expanding cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, high-tech, finance, security and law enforcement, what must have surely caught the eye of Washington’s mandarins was him adding that China intends to develop a cooperative partnership with Saudi Arabia in the energy sector.

And why not? Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil to China and bilateral trade between the two countries soared to $58.5 billion in the period January-November 2011.

And the fruits of such bilateral proximity were on the table even before Wen made his fulsome remarks, as the state-owned Saudi Press Agency reported on 14 January that Saudi state oil giant Aramco has signed an agreement with state-owned giant China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation Ltd. (Sinopec) to build an oil refinery, named Yasref, in the Red Sea city of Yanbu, which will become operational in 2014, processing 400,000 barrels per day.

What is really going to catch Washington’s and the foreign investment community’s attention is how the agreement is structured – Saudi Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake with Sinopec holding the remainder.

In one of 2012’s greatest understatements, Aramco president and CEO Khalid al-Falih said that the contract “represents a strategic partnership in the refining industry between one of the main energy producers in Saudi Arabia and one of the world’s most important consumers.”

Continuing his victory lap around the western shores of the Persian Gulf, Wen will also visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, two other stalwart U.S. allies.

And the eastern side of the Gulf?

Commenting on Iran, China’s third largest source of oil imports, on 11 January Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a press briefing that China will maintain its trade ties with Iran despite efforts by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to convince Beijing to join a proposed embargo of Iranian oil exports.

But perhaps the most intriguing element of the Riyadh-Beijing lovefest was the announcement that on 15 January Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with China for cooperation in the development and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, an event of significant importance that both Abdullah and Wen attended.

No comment is really needed here, except to note that many of the questions asked about Iran’s civilian nuclear power program, such as why does a leading petro-state need nuclear energy, are unlikely to be asked about this particular venture, underling that once again, reality in the Middle East is whatever your perceptions tell you in advance it is.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/China-Economic-Clout-and-Nuclear-Expertise-Invades-Saudi-Arabia.html

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com


Fox News Hires Soros-funded Activist

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Sally Kohn, a former senior strategist at the Soros-funded Center for Community Change, has been hired as a Fox News Contributor. Soros is the controversial hedge fund billionaire, convicted of insider trading in France, who finances the “progressive” movement in the U.S.

It is significant that Kohn is now a regular paid commentator on Fox News, while Glenn Beck, the one-time archenemy of George Soros, was ousted from the channel last year and now hosts an Internet TV show.

An open lesbian who shuns feminine attire and frequently wears a suit jacket, Kohn is joining Fox News after being a regular on such programs as “The Ed Show” on liberal rival MSNBC. She is now officially part of the “Fox News Family,” as she puts it, and has been making appearances on the channel for several days.

The selection of Kohn raises disturbing questions about the direction of Fox News in a critical election year. Kohn worked at the Center for Community Change, one of the leading Soros-funded groups, for six years, from 2004—2010. During this period, the group received $5.8 million from Soros’s main vehicle, the Open Society Institute (OSI).

The former chair of the board of the Center for Community Change, Cecilia Munoz, was recently named the Director of the Domestic Policy Council in the White House, a position that makes her one of Obama’s top aides. She had been serving as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. A White House press release about her appointment notes that she previously served on the U.S. Programs Board of the OSI and was Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza.

Kohn has a history of her own, having worked for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a group that tries to keep criticism of the homosexual agenda out of the mainstream media. Interestingly, GLAAD has relentlessly attacked Fox News, with one of the latest examples being an occasion during which correspondent Shannon Bream interviewed guests critical of a transgendered person, a man dressed as a woman, who had used a woman’s changing room at a department store. GLAAD viewed this criticism as “dangerous.”

GLAAD attacked CNN for including an ex-gay activist on the air, saying his views were harmful to their interests.

Not only is Kohn’s hiring by Fox News a victory for GLAAD, where she worked for two years, but the Soros-funded and gay-run Media Matters organization is extremely happy with the selection.

“Fox News Hires Gay Rights Activist Sally Kohn As Contributor” declared “Equality Matters,” a division of Media Matters. “Aside from her history of progressive activism, Kohn has also been an outspoken proponent of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] equality,” it said. Still, Media Matters wonders if Kohn is going to be aggressive enough on the air.

Soros had given Media Matters $1 million for a campaign to neutralize the conservative message of Fox News. “Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast,” said Soros. “I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.”

In response, Fox News fired Beck, even while calling it a mutual decision and promising collaboration on “a slate of projects for Fox News Channel and Fox News’ digital properties” that have yet to materialize.

Kohn herself narrated a video making fun of Beck, insisting that he was spouting misinformation about fascism and communism being extreme left-wing ideas and implying that he was the real fascist. She said that liberals like President Obama and herself favor “democratic capitalism,” not any kind of state control of the economy.

The reality, however, is quite different.

“Sally Kohn makes the world safe for radical ideas,” her website says. In fact, Kohn is a far-left radical who attended the 2003 World Social Forum in Brazil, a meeting place for groups which say they are opposed to capitalism and U.S. imperialism. The 2011-2012 “Calendar of Struggles” for the World Social Forum includes:

  • Global week of actions in support to the freedom of the Gaza Flotilla II.
  • International Conference on the impact of the North American invasion in Iraq.
  • International Solidarity Day for the Palestinian and African peoples.

Not only is Kohn now on Fox News, where she can demonstrate the channel’s “fair and balanced” commitment by championing radical Arab and pro-Marxist causes, she is being given open access to the influential FoxNews.com website, where she writes articles praising the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Kohn bio at the end of her Fox News columns says she is the founder and Chief Education Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, “a grassroots think tank,” but clicking on the organization’s website takes you to Kohn’s personal page. It appears that the Movement Vision Lab was a project of the Center for Community Change that has since been discontinued.

One particular aspect of Kohn’s gay rights career—working at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force—has caught the attention of Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, a group that monitors the advance of the homosexual agenda. He said the Task Force is one of the most radical homosexual organizations on the scene today and works openly with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a group dedicated to advancing what are called the “BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.” The latter are references to so-called “kinky” sexual practices widely considered dangerous and/or immoral.

Kohn’s three-year stint at the Task Force included “organizing campaigns and research projects for gay rights, earning the ability to call myself a ‘professional gay’ for the rest of my life,” she says.

Kohn has a three-year old daughter, Willa Hansen-Kohn, with her “partner,” Sarah Hansen, a community organizer with involvement in such groups as the Soros-funded Tides Center.

The relationship is newsworthy because Kohn reportedly met Hansen at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2003. The World Social Forum is a gathering of groups “opposed to neoliberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Humankind and between it and the Earth.”

Kohn also regularly attends the U.S. Social Forum, the American affiliate of the World Social Forum, which has assembled in the past under the banner of “Another U.S. Is Necessary!”

Its National Planning Committee includes such groups as:

  • Freedom Road Socialist Organization, an openly communist organization with foreign links now under FBI investigation.
  • The League of Revolutionaries for a New America, a group opposing “global capitalism.”
  • The Ruckus Society, an anarchist group.
  • United for Peace & Justice, a group opposed to American military intervention abroad.

Both Kohn and Rashad Robinson, executive director of a group called Color of Change, have attended the Soros-funded event known as the “Creative Change Retreat,” described as a place where “arts and social justice” come together.

Color of Change was co-founded by Van Jones, the former Obama official who lost his job after Beck, then on Fox News, highlighted his radical communist connections by drawing on material from anti-communist blogger Trevor Loudon and others.

Jones had the last laugh, noting during an appearance at the Campaign for America’s Future conference that Beck had lost his job at Fox.

Soros’s Open Society Institute had provided $300,000 to Color of Change and its parent entity called the Citizen Engagement Laboratory. Executive director Robinson had previously worked as Senior Director of Media Programs for GLAAD, where he apparently learned the techniques of protesting the presence of conservative voices in the media.

It was in response to Beck’s attacks on Soros and Obama that Color of Change organized an advertiser boycott of Beck’s show, while other Soros-funded organizations such as the Jewish Funds for Justice and Media Matters accused Beck of anti-Semitism for criticizing Soros.

Despite the phony nature of the charge against Beck—Soros is an atheist with no love for Israel—Fox News buckled under the pressure. “Beck’s lack of advertisers made him a financial liability for Fox, and it’s clear that this was a driving factor in his departure from Fox,” Robinson said. “This is an incredible and unprecedented victory.”

But Beck was not and is not the only target. Color of Change has also demanded that Eric Bolling, now a regular on “The Five” Fox News program that replaced Beck’s show, be fired for “race-baiting and fear-mongering.”

Bill O’Reilly, host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, has been a target as well. But Kohn’s former employer GLAAD has been his nemesis. O’Reilly is now featuring Kohn as a liberal guest on his show, apparently hoping to stave off the criticism of his program.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].


Poll: Independent’s Will Return 2008 ‘Obamamobiles’ for Full Refund

By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner

About 68 percent of American’s identify themselves as either a Democrat or Republican, mainly because they feel an affinity with the articulated philosophies, or they have been ‘educated’ into that belief–and typically vote the same way.

As such, these Americans represent the “voter” base of each party, with the collective demographics and psychographics of each typically defining the elements of each party.

The remaining 32 percent of the electorate are called “Independents”, who have chosen not to declare a party affiliation, instead preferring to evaluate the candidates during the election cycle, then deciding which candidate they like the most or conversely, the opponent of the party they do not like.

Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with politics will tell you that it is the Independent voters who decide election outcomes–even though the Democrats and Republicans get [purchase] virtually all of the media attention.

This metaphor easily explains how this all works.

Think of Democrats and Republicans as a different, competing automaker, whose cars are sold in neighborhood showrooms all over the country.

The look, reliability and value of each automaker’s ‘car’ is actually defined by the appearance, words and deeds of the members of each political party–who represent the its’ “brochure.”

Now, simply view Independent voters as “shoppers,” who may visit their neighborhood showroom as often as every two years, to compare the car they have against the competing automaker’s model.

Then, they either keep the one they have, because they like it–or trade it in on the competing model–because their current car has disappointed them, or because they are more impressed with the competing brand this time around.

Once the Republican Presidential Primary process is complete, and the competing car chosen, the Independent voters are so equally important to both automakers, that the entire $1.5 to $2.0 billion dollar combined marketing and advertising budget of both parties will be aimed directly at them–with each automaker desperate to close each and every sale.

Much like “Consumer Reports Magazine,” which gathers data on customer product satisfaction, as well as product safety and performance testing, public polling provides similar insight into the satisfaction of these shoppers, and what they may decide in the showrooms come this November–especially the 53 percent who bought their current automobile brand new, without a test drive, in 2008.

And, as fate would have it, today a Reuters article reported … “Independent voters, who helped propel President Barack Obama to victory in the 2008 election, could be an obstacle in his bid for a second term in the White House, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll published on Wednesday.

A majority of independent voters have soured on Obama’s presidency, disapprove of his handling of the economy and do not have a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected, the Times reported.

Only 31 percent of independent voters have a favorable opinion of the president and two-thirds say he has not made real progress in fixing the economy, the newspaper said.

In 2008, Obama won support from 52 percent of independent voters, compared with 44 percent who supported Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

Then, a December 2011 Rasmussen poll on party affiliation revealed 35.4 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republican–up 1.00 points from November; while those identifying themselves as Democrats fell by 2.20 points in the same period, to just 32.7%–a record low.

In knowing that Barack Obama won the 2008 election by just 3 percent, when you combine the very negative customer satisfaction and product results since 2008, with the net change in voter base registration favoring the Republicans, it would appear that the majority of Independent voters are going to return their “Obamamobiles” in November 2012–for a full refund.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein