Observations on the world today.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Who's Stupid Now? 

CNN.com - ACLU quits federal donation program - Aug 1%2C 2004:
ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, in a letter to CFC Director Mara Patermaster, said Attorney General "John Ashcroft and this administration have created a climate of fear and intimidation that undermines the health and well-being of this nation."

Using the watch lists, developed under the U.S. Patriot Act, is one requirement of continued program participation. The Patriot Act -- which expires in 2005 -- was passed into law in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Romero said his organization withdrew from the program after seeing comments by Patermaster in Saturday's New York Times, indicating the ACLU could be dropped from the program for "violating the government's policy."


The ACLU had received legal advice indicating it was not required to check employee names against the list, Whitfield said. The group was exploring its legal options, she said.

"The ACLU would never have signed the CFC's funding agreement if we believed for one minute we would have to check our employees against a list," she said.
Yesterday, I wrote that the story was stupid. I seriously thought it was a non-starter. Frankly, it should have been. People on the right are using this story to undermine the ACLU. But there is no evidence whatever that anyone on the watch lists was ever hired. Also, there is no law saying that people on the list (some of them almost certainly undeservedly so) are inelligble to be hired.

It's a sad day in America when people using blacklists and withholding pledges from citizens to harrass people who have not been convicted of a crime force the people defending against fascism to refuse money meant for them.


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