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Question of the day

Friday, Feb 24, 2006

First, read this story. Here’s an excerpt:

One of Gov. Blagojevich’s appointees to a state panel combatting discrimination and hate crimes came under fire from Jewish groups and a leading Jewish lawmaker Thursday for her close ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The Blagojevich administration faced questions about why it appointed Claudette Marie Johnson in 2005 to the governor’s Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes when she is minister of protocol for Farrakhan’s group.

“When we got word she was placed on the commission as a representative of the Nation of Islam, we were clearly concerned,” said Lonnie Nasatir, regional director of the greater Chicago region of the Anti-Defamation League and a member of the commission. “This is a body aimed at eradicating hate. In Mr. Farrakhan’s words over the years, he’s actually espoused hate.”

Another story is here.

But another commission member, Rick Garcia, public policy director of Equality Illinois, a statewide gay civil rights organization, said he plans to attend the speech.

“I know that he has said things in the past that have been offensive to some groups of people - gays, in particular to Jews,” said Garcia, who is Roman Catholic and lives in Chicago. “But I think that the invitation from the Nation of Islam to Jews and to gays may be a step in the right direction. I took it as such.”

The question: Do you think that the governor should withdraw this appointment? Should the governor take heat for this? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - Bill Baar - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:32 am:

    I agree with Garcia. And I’ve been someone trying to pay attention to what I think is a growing anti-semtism especially among progressives and the left.

    But I’d include him.. it keeps Farrakhan on notice. If NOI says stupid stuff, get rid of him.


  2. - No Likudnik - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:36 am:

    The ADL is the organization that says one is espousing hate when one criticizes Israel for oppressing Palestinians, denying them basic human rights and killing innocent children, right?

    Since the ADL and its allies have worked to make Judaism equivalent of expansionist Zionism it’s hardly got room to criticize the Nation of Islam.

    BTW, how many Arabs does U.S. foreign policy have to kill before Americans can stop feeling guilty about the Holocaust? And do American Jews feel as guilty about genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia as they want the rest of us to feel about the Nazi genocide?

    What did the ADL say when Mancow reported on the Israeli Defense Force killing 30+ innocent Palestians by saying, “those are 30+ Palestinians that will never be suicide bombers”?

    And the ADL wants us to be concerned about someone from the Nation of Islam? Yeah… no.


  3. - Cassandra - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:47 am:

    I doubt that Ms. Johnson’s presence on this fluffball committee has to do with anything but
    hleping make sure the black vote goes with Blago.

    The ADL and Mr. Garcia’s group are in a bind, though. If they don’t play along, they’re accused of being unsympathetic to black Americans yada yada yada. So they’ll play, whatever Farrakhan says. If he says something really outrageous…not totally unlikely….there will be faint reproachful cries but no more.


  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:53 am:

    Oh boy…I hope the day isn’t going to be filled by comments like Likudnik’s. He makes a good point that there should be room — even from the ADL — to criticize and debate Israel’s foreign policy and the occupation of Palestine.

    However, American-Israeli politics aren’t about guilt over the Holocaust. We recognize the Holocaust as one of the largest and most indesputable acts of pure evil in recent memory, targeted not just at Jews but a wide swath of humanity. And yes, more recent genocides are also tragic evils, but they go largely unnoticed by all Americans, just as the Nazi rampage did, because most Americans are woefully ignorant of anything that happens outside of their immediate lives, let alone the rest of the world.

    This week, instead of tuning into American Idol, fols should tune in to Forgiving Dr. Mengele, the documentary of one Holocaust survivor; she and her twin sister were guinea pigs of Dr. Mengele’s human experiments. It’s playing in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center.


  5. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    This bunch never ceases to amaze me.Did they ever see or listen to Farrakhan.He is as much a racist as as the neo-nazis.He is against God,Ameraica and the white race.To be far will Blago appoint a member of the KKK.I hope this isn’t to strong but this guy is scary.


  6. - First Time Poster, Long Time Reader - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 9:27 am:

    Rick Garcia is more interested in blindly supporting Democrats than pushing for gay rights. No news here.


  7. - RR - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 9:39 am:

    Does anyone remember after the death of Mayor Harold Washington when Mayor Eugene Sawyer hired a aide to Minister Farrakhan named Steve Coakley, Mayor Daley jumped on Mayor Sawyer and used it as a campaign issue, got a bunch of liberal, progressive commie professor types to denounce Mayor Sawyer, had his guys like Alelrod spin how terrible Eugene Sawyer was for hiring someone associated with Minister Farrakhan. The good news is that Rod is thinking of putting Neo-Nazi Activist, Insurance Salesman, Vietnam War Veteran & Frequent Candidate Art Jones on the commission to balance it out.


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 9:49 am:

    First time, Long time.

    You might want to verify your observation first with Glenn Poshard.


  9. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 10:50 am:

    Nation of Islam is not a respectable place in which to find community leaders. NOI’s history of leadership and mission clearly shows that it is a hate organization. It is anti-semetic, anti-white, anti-gay, and anti-US. Being from the South Side, I have had to live among these folks, and learned at an early age that they base their beliefs on the twisted bigotries of a mentally unbalanced violinist.

    The idea of selecting a NOI spokesperson for this committee is shocking. The idea that a Democratic governor did so is inexplainable. This is not a sign of being open-minded, this is a sign of not thinking. It is simply insane. Garcia, being gay, is an anathema to the NOI. Being nice to the NOI is not going to make them anti-gay. He is a fool.

    The bottom line is a lesson that everyone must learn about tolerance. We should not show tolerance towards groups that are clearly intolerant. They don’t hate you because you made them hate you. They hate you because you exist. Trying to pacify hate groups does not resolve their intolerance. It encourages them.

    Call them what they are and stand against what they preach. Shame on Blagojevich and those who refuse to stand firm against intolerance. They are showing that they are feeble-minded, not open-minded.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 11:09 am:

    Vanilla,

    Let’s see …, in order to teach tolerance, we should practice intolerance.

    Makes sense to me.


  11. - Just Observing - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 12:00 pm:

    No Likudnik: I love how the far left like you (and I consider myself liberal) love to bash Israel, but never criticize its arab neighbors for its horrendous human rights violations, lack of equal rights for women, corruption and incompetence of its leaders, evil propaganda diseminated through media, etc., etc. Israel, just like every other country in the world, is not perfect, but it is light years ahead of any of its neighbors in terms of democracy and human rights. Arab countries show cartoons to their children of Jews killing arabs and perpetuate myths such as no Jews showed up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11. They even blame Israel for the cartoons that were published in Denmark. Instead of blaming Israel for all the problems of the Palestinians, perhaps you should direct the blame to Palestinian leaders that steal foreign aid money and are too inept to provide basic services to their people. You make me sick.


  12. - Anon - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 12:03 pm:

    The Governor… and Garcia… should take the heat on this. Might as well appoint black and Hispanic gang-leaders to this commission…it would honor “diversity” wouldn’t it? The commission’s composition now simply reflects that “hate” is whatever its members want “hate to be, regardless of objective criteria of what does or doesn’t promote peace and harmony among diverse groups. Thus, the commission becomes a joke.

    By the way, Garcia…a “Roman Catholic”? Not according to his own many screeching, anti-Catholic diatribes….


  13. - the wonderboy - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 12:34 pm:

    To answer the question…yes, the Governor should take heat on this. As to whether or not the nomination should be withdrawn, that is a much more difficult question. Without knowing more about the nominee or her actual views/statements it is hard to ask for a withdrawal. Having heard Farrakhan speak on multiple occasions, however, I find it difficult to understand how anyone closely associated with him would benefit a committee on discrimination or hate crimes.

    The discussion on other policies and issues is interesting, but doesn’t deal with the question very well. In terms of this particular nomination…anyone in the Farrakhan camp needs to explain their support of a man who has been so vocally hateful and discriminatory…especially when they are chosen to lead in the area of anti-discrimination and hate.


  14. - THEGUVSBESTFRIEND - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 12:49 pm:

    Do you think that the governor should withdraw this appointment?

    NO: I am not a member of the NOI but, it is a religion and has no bearing on anyones job or position in state government. There are laws that support the separation of Church and State. Now if her personal belief were publicly the same as
    Louis Farrakhan, then I would say he should reconsider.

    Should the governor take heat for this?

    NO: He simply appointed her to an unpaid position in state government. This position has no bearing on her’s or anyone elses religion or religious beliefs, CHURCH AND STATE ARE SEPARATE. Simply because she invited some commission members to the event this week has no bearing on her unpaid position in state government. Now if she came to a commission meeting shouting or simply saying anti-jewish antics, then I would think her position should be reconsidered, but there is no heat for the Governor to take. He’s done nothing wrong or unethical.

    In fact, her position on this commission could be helpful to the NOI to discontinue its hatred for other nationalities and open up discussion on the same.

    I think he’s right this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FYI- I know this is a little off subject, but the FEDS will be introducing more allegations against George Ryan in the coming days.

    Should the governor take heat for this? Why or why not?


  15. - ron - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 1:12 pm:

    the liberal democrats have so many fringe groups to try to please it is no surprise some of them have conflicting agendas. blagojevich appoints people to boards and commissions just for the appearance of diversity, whether they are qualified or not. the guy is the ultimate in pandering.


  16. - Sound Reasoning - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 3:03 pm:

    The governor should definitely take heat for this appointment. It is irrelevant whether this is a paid appointment or not. The fact of the matter is this is an appointment that reflects on the judgment of the governor and how he manages departments or committees under his control and authority.

    The governor has chosen to appoint an individual to an ‘anti-hate’ commission even though that person is affiliated with a known documented hate group. It does not matter whether that group is a religious based group or not. In this regards separation of church and state wouldn’t even apply.

    The Nation of Islam of which this appointee is not just a member but a high ranking official has a long and thoroughly documented history of hate against almost every individual or group that does not espouse it own beliefs. To then state that it is ok to appoint this member to an ‘anti-hate’ commission because this commission should include members throughout all walks of life lacks any credibility. If we are to use this train of thought then should the governor should appoint murders and rapist to the Prisoner Review Board.

    It also lacks credibility to state that even though this individual supports, is a member of, and even employed by the NOI as one of the groups highest ranking officials she may not adhere to the stated beliefs of the very group she helps govern.

    This is just another unfortunate example of the political leadership of the state of Illinois.


  17. - ChicagoCynic - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 3:13 pm:

    I’m glad to see that pretty much noone took the bait laid out by no likudnik as it’s pretty clear where he/she comes from. As far as the Guv’sbestfriend, you sound pretty darned naive. These people are appointed BECAUSE of the organizations they represent, not in spite of those organizations. Frankly her personal beliefs are largely beside the point.

    If Farrakhan starts spewing his hate-filled rhetoric again (such as this Sunday), she’ll be gone quicker than you can say pay-to-play.


  18. - Anon - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 4:38 pm:

    Can Puffery spell “Pandering?”


  19. - No Likudnik - Friday, Feb 24, 06 @ 5:29 pm:

    So if Israel allows women to get abortions, how much Palestinian land does that allow Israel to steal? How many Palestinians get to be forced into refugee camps because no one in the Israeli gov’t is corrupt?


  20. - donchicago48 - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 1:37 pm:

    Not one of the comments above mentions the most important observation about this panel: Illinois does not need a “state panel combatting discrimination and hate crimes” The likely outcome of such a panel will be a report that brands exercise of First Amendment protected free speech as “hate speech”. The panel will no doubt recommend the liberal-dominated legislature pass legislation to restrict free speech.
    As the Mohammed cartoon controversey clearly showed, there are forces in this world who deny the importance of free speech, however repugnant that speech may be, in the public forum. Absent this open dialog, free expression, discussion, argument and informed consensus are all diminished. As the firing of radio talk-show host Michael Graham clearly showed, there are anti-American pressure groups in the US pursuing an agenda that attacks the core freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. These groups insinuate themselves into public policy panels in order to pursue their agenda of silencing all meaningful public debate about their sacred political ideologies.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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