Category Archives: Religion

U.S. Supreme Court Supports Tax Dollars for God

In a bizarre divided opinion the US Supreme Court has given its O.K. to President Bush to spend tax dollars to advocate for God’s way of doing things. Which God of course depends only on the beliefs of the President. In their logic of law inspired by divine wisdom I guess, they ignored a legal precedent from a 1968 case which said taxpayer dollars spent by Congress could be challenged if taxpayers believed they promoted religion.

The Court tossed out a legal challenge to Bush’s taxpayer funded “Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.” The vote was 5 to 4. So continues the rightward swing of the Supreme Court as Bush’s legacy of appointments to the US Supreme Court gains conservative momentum.

Voters who think who is President doesn’t matter only need to watch the steady drift of the Court rightward and read the bizarre interpretations of the old boy network of corporate right wing conservatism that controls the majority now on the Court. Let’s hear it now for the wisdom of Ralph Nader that there was no difference between Gore and Bush.

Washington Post Bench Conference blogger Andrew Cohen says it very clearly:

Indeed, so strong is the conservative bent to the court right now that even when its right-facing Justices did not agree on the legal reasons or rationale for their rulings– which was the case in the religion case noted above– they are able to agree to promote government sponsorship of religion and to block taxpayer efforts to prevent it. In other words, there is room for dissent even among the Court’s working majority– a bad sign for liberal judges, lawyers and litigants in the months and years to come.

People can and do and will disagree about the “correctness” of these rulings– but no one should have any doubt now that President George W. Bush’s campaign promise– to take the Supreme Court to the right– has been fulfilled. That question is no longer open to argument and you need only to take a few minutes to read today’s rulings to understand why.”

NY Times 6/26/2007 “Justices Reject Suit on Federal Money for Faith-based Office
Washington Post 6/26/2007 “Justices Quash Suit over Funds for Faith Based Groups

Eyman’s Reputation More Bark than Bite!

Tim Eyman’s failure to turn in signatures yesterday on Referendum 65 is not surprising. What is surprising is that many in the media view this as some anomaly. KIRO radio this morning called it one of his few failures. Likewise so did the public radio station in Tacoma yesterday.

However Andrew over at NPI Blog came much closer to the truth this morning when he headlined his post “Eyman’s Failure the Latest in a Series of Losses” Neal Modie in his article in the PI this morning, “Eyman Fails to Deliver”has an inside headline of Eyman: public image out of date. He continued:

“The public perception of the attention-loving Eyman has been that of a successful promoter of tax-cutting or tax-limiting initiatives. But that perception is out of date.

With the failure of Referendum 65, only two of the last six ballot measures sponsored by him have reached the ballot. Voters approved only one of the two, last year’s innocuous I-900. It empowered the state auditor to conduct performance audits of state and local government agencies, but the Legislature had already passed a similar law.

“Now he’s coming in and hijacking issues and shoving his way into an issue because it’s become a business for him. It’s how he gets paid,” said Chris Vance, former chairman of the state Republican Party and now a consultant with The Gallatin Group in Seattle.”

Also to be noted here is that the number of signatures Eyman claimed were collected is not just a few thousand short but actually about 30,000 signatures short. Here is how I arrive at that number. The number of validated signatures of registered voters Referendum 65 required to be placed on the November ballot was 112,440.

Campaigns however always target to collect about 20 to 25% more because many signatures turn out to be invalid for a number of reasons. These include people not registered to vote, or not signing with the address they are registered at, or signing more than once.

Subtracting the 105,103 Eyman claims he had from 112,440 left him 7,337 signatures short. Now take 20% of 112,440. That’s 22,588. Eyman and the churches really needed another 29,925 signatures to be fairly certain of getting on the ballot. They were almost 30,000 signatures short of guaranteeing success.

Eyman’s only remaining hope for success this year with signatures is Initiative 917 He claims he has about half the needed signatures with a month to go. But he is not doing it with volunteers. The truth is that since his first initiative, he has had to buy signatures by paying out of state signature gatherers to help him.

Even what should have been a popular volunteer effort on performance audits last year was mostly from paid signature gathers. Eyman’s main source of funding for the last several years has been one individual, a retired businessman named Michael Dunmire. Without this sugar daddy we would see even less of Eyman.

Eyman Plays Press for Publicity – Fails to Turn in Signatures on Referendum 65

Eyman told the media last week he was going to turn in signatures to the Washington Secretary of State today for Referendum 65 – to overturn the state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. He didn’t turn any in but did raise the ire of the media who felt they were lied to as Eyman tried to stage a pep rally with the press present to promote his initiative business, which seems to be faltering these days.

The Stranger’s blog, Slog, said it in their headline. “Eyman & Co. to Media: “Feel like you’ve been duped this morning – well, you have.

Feel like you’ve been duped this morning — well, you have.” The reporters weren’t having it. When Eyman tried to use his camera time to stump for R-65 and a car tabs initiative he’s pushing this year, a radio reporter cut him off, telling Eyman that the media wasn’t there to air a commercial for him. A print reporter asked Eyman if he was even capable of running a successful referendum campaign without misleading people (as Eyman’s been doing with R-65), and without misleading the press. Eyman didn’t have a good answer for that one, except to say that he doesn’t care what reporters think of him, as long as they write about him”

Here’s KING TV’s take: “Reporter’s Angered by Eyman’s latest stunt.”

Referendum 65 sponsor Tim Eyman on Monday staged a media stunt at the Secretary of State’s office that met with some heated words from some reporters who felt “duped.” … Some reporters accused him of intentionally misleading the media. Said one,” You’re duping the press in order to help promote your signature drive in the final days.” “I think it’s fair to say that we are willing to do whatever’s necessary in order to make sure our supporters know that we have the final days to get signatures in order to qualify for the ballot,” Eyman replied.”

NPI Blog Breaking – Eyman Uses News Again
Most major media outlets (including the three big Seattle TV stations) were there, and many reporters were disgusted to learn that Tim was once again just trying to use them. Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman and Stranger reporter Eli Sanders were among the most angered, and peppered Tim with pointed questions about his motives and credibility

The Seattle Times Postman on Politics Eyman Dupes Press, Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

“Tim Eyman and his initiative partners duped the media and the secretary of state’s office this morning into thinking he was coming to Olympia to turn in signatures for his campaign to repeal the state’s gay rights bill. But Eyman and Jack and Mike Fagan had nothing to turn in, instead using the press gathered outside the secretary of state’s office to promote both Referendum 65 and a separate tax-cutting initiative he is pushing for the November ballot.

The secretary of state’s office had brought in two temporary workers in anticipation of processing petitions a day before the referendum deadline. Those workers were then sent home, though by state work rules, each were paid for two hours of work. A third worker was taken from other chores to stand by for the petitions that Eyman told the office he was bringing down.”

And then there is Rich Roessler of the Spokesman Review’s Eye on OlympiaThink you have been duped this morning? Well you have.
“Tim Eyman, who’d announced in an email last week that he’d be “bringing down petitions” to the Secretary of State’s office Monday, showed up Monday as promised. Reporters figured “bringing down” petitions meaned “turning in” petitions, as did the Secretary of State’s office, which had seven staffers on hand, ready to count the thousands of petitions they expected. (Two were temps, hired at $12-$14 an hour just for this.)”

So what is new. Eyman did the same thing with Initiative 864 in 2004, which would have cut funding for local government services like police, fire departments and libraries. He was then also far from getting the minimum number of required signatures but he still required that the Secretary of State pay for having extra workers there to process petitions based on his knowingly lying that he was going to turn signatures in so that the media would show up.

He likewise staged a press conference complete with a phony graph on property taxes that he later admitted to the Seattle PI was not correct. He later still used the graph in other presentations. He used the press conference to promte I-892 to increase gambling in Washington state. That initiative failed decisively at the ballot that fall.

Before I had read the Postman blog and also Rich Roessler’s I had also independently confirmed with Pam Floyd in the Elections Department of the Secretary of State’s Office that Eyman had not contacted them to let them know he was not turning in signatures today. She also confirmed that she had hired two temporary workers at approximately $12 to $14 an hour to come in to help. Because he has said he was turning in signatures tomorrow she will also have to pay these workers to come in tomorrow.

Floyd also said that there would be 5 or 6 other part time workers in tomorrow, the same as today, based on the expectation from Eyman setting up an appointment that there would have been petitions to process. They also make in the range of $14 to $14 an hour. I suggested to her that she they charge Eyman for the temporary workers they had to pay because Eyman falsely told them he was turning in signatures.

She said she was meeting with Sam Reed at 3:00 and I urged her to tell Sam Reed he also needed to send a letter to Eyman on his false representation to the Secretary of State’s Office that he was turning in signatures. Eyman did not tell the Secretary of State’s office he had no petitions to turn in because the Secretary of State’s Office would then notify the press and there would have been no Eyman pep rally.

The problem is that Eyman as a result knowingly used public resources to both support his business venture and a political campaign which is against the law. In essence he asked the state to do something that was both in violation of the law and the Washington State Constitution.

Evangelical Churches and News Media Aid Eyman on Referendum 65

A headline in the Seattle PI this morning blares out that “Eyman, Churches Link Up – Initiative King seeks out evangelicals’ help to repeal gay-rights law

The story behind the story is that the news media once again teams up with Eyman to support his business and right wing issues. Eyman’s picture and proclamation that he is some “Initiative King” is all part of the myth building that the media does to sell newspapers and get viewers and listeners.

I first heard the story yesterday on, of all places, KUOW. Google pulls up KIRO TV, KATU-Portland, and KEPR in the Tri-Cities as links.

A more truthful headline might read “Bigot Teams up with Right Wing Religious Fanatics in Effort to Repeal Law Banning Discrimination”

The measure in question is Referendum 65 filed by Tim Eyman. Below is the official ballot title and summary as listed on the Secretary of State’s website

Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2661 (ESHB 2661) concerning Washington human rights commission jurisdiction and discrimination law revisions [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].

Concise description: ESHB 2661 would add “sexual orientation” to the state’s law against discrimination in employment, housing, credit, insurance, and certain contracts. “Sexual orientation” includes

heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and gender expression, identity, appearance and behavior. Should this bill be: Approved [ ] Rejected[ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
ESHB 2661 amends the state’s law against discrimination to prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” in employment, housing, credit, insurance, health maintenance contracts, public accommodations, and commercial boycotts or blacklists. “Sexual orientation” includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity. State marriage laws are not modified, employment goals or quotas are not required, nor any specific belief, practice, behavior or orientation endorsed. Religious organizations and owner-occupied dwelling units are exempt from this law.
Click here to read the complete text of Referendum 65.

Referendum 65 is an attempt to overturn HB 2661 passed in the last session of the Legislature.The key to understanding this issue is simple – the law passed would “prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” in employment, housing, credit, insurance, health maintenance contracts, public accommodations, and commercial boycotts or blacklists.”

Now what is confusing is what you must do if you support this ban on discrimination.

1. You must not sign Referendum 65 . Signing it would place it on the November ballot.

2 If Referendum 65 gets on the ballot you must vote to “approve” it. By voting to “approve” it, you will keep in place ESHB 2661 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This may seem confusing but Eyman and the right wing churches need signatures to place Referendum 65 on the ballot. Once on the ballot you must vote to “approve” Referendum 65 to keep ESHB 2661 state law.

For more information on the campaign opposing getting Referendum 65 on the ballot go to Washington Won’t Discriminate.

Referendums only need half the signatures initiatives do to qualify for the ballot. R-65 only needs some 112,440 valid signatures. The deadline is June 6th.

Remember it is perfectly within your rights to engage in public discussion with other citizens regarding Referendum 65. If someone is asking people to sign the referendum, you can ask them not to sign.

As in any other conversation do not harass, threaten or intimidate anyone, including the petitioner. You only hurt your cause and rightfully can be subject to laws regarding harassment. That is the last thing you want on this issue.

The petitioner is exercising his right to ask people to sign the measure. Respect that but you don’t have to give up your First Amendment right of free speech if you disagree with what they are saying.