Wisconsin Center for Pluralism
Fall, 2002 Report

CONTENTS:
National Alliance Spreads Anti-Semitic Fliers
Conservative Black PAC Funded State Candidates
Hate Crime Charges Filed in Three Incidents
Self-Described ‘Extremist' May Take Senate Seat
WTDY Reins in Talk Jock's Violent Language
Cartoon: Mark Belling: Standing Up for Milwaukee?
Bradley Funding of Voucher Movement Critiqued
Was Sheriff David Clarke a "Stealth" Candidate?
Business Group Chided for Lack of Diversity
Heston Stumps for GOP and NRA in Wisconsin
Censors: "Guinness" In, "Nunga Nungas" Out?
Gay-Straight Alliance OK'd at Neenah High
National Briefs

EDITOR: Jamakaya, Executive Director, Wisconsin Center for Pluralism



National Alliance Spreads Anti-Semitic Fliers

In September, the National Alliance, America's largest neo-Nazi group, distributed fliers in several locations around Wisconsin blaming the 9/11 attacks on "the powerful Jewish lobby," America's support for Israel, and our "open borders policy toward immigration of Middle Easterners." It urged an end to all financial support for Israel and the closing of America's borders.

The flier contained an image of the World Trade Center Towers aflame. It invited readers to get their towns and cities to adopt a "Terror-Free Zone Resolution." The resolution disavows U.S. support for Israel and asks that localities adopting it be spared from any terrorist reprisals.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Alliance coordinated the nationwide literature canvas to coincide with the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the Jewish High Holy Days. In August, the National Alliance held a rally and hate music concert which drew 500 supporters to Washington, DC. The ADL speculated that in the wake of the death of National Alliance founder William Pierce in July the group was staging high profile events in an attempt to raise its stature.

The flier was relatively tame compared to the more overt expressions of racism and anti-Semitism on the National Alliance web site, where visitors can read about the alleged superiority of the Aryan race and purchase a copy of the violent video game "Ethnic Cleansing."

--- National Alliance flier, ADL press release, www.natall.com

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Conservative Black PAC Funded State Candidates

Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC), founded by extreme right-wing activist and former Presidential candidate Alan Keyes, has contributed at least $8,000 to several Wisconsin candidates this year. BAMPAC gave $5,000 to fundamentalist minister Ron Greer (R) in his bid to unseat 2nd District U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), and $2,000 to 1st District U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R) and $1,000 to 8th District U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R) for each of their re-election bids.

Reps. Ryan and Green have each received grades of "F" from the NAACP for their voting records on civil rights issues in the 107th Congress. Both men have also earned an "F" for their votes on issues of concern to labor and working families as calculated by the AFL-CIO. Baldwin, on the other hand, has regularly received grades of "A" on the NAACP and the AFL-CIO scorecards.

BAMPAC adheres to a platform that emphasizes cutting corporate and estate taxes, privatizing Social Security, criminalizing abortion, subsidizing school vouchers and promoting "traditional" family values. In addition to Reps. Ryan and Green, 13 other incumbent candidates bankrolled by BAMPAC all have achieved "F" grades from the NAACP and AFL-CIO for consistently voting against civil rights and worker rights.

--- www.bampac.org, www.naacp.org, AFL-CIO

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Hate Crime Charges Filed in Three Incidents

RACINE . . . Joseph W. Hulsey, 22, was charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide with a hate crime enhancer for an incident Sept. 16 in which he allegedly ran down an African American man with his van. The victim was riding his bicycle and has recovered from his injuries. Hulsey reportedly yelled racial epithets before driving his van over a curb and into the victim. He then drove his van across the lawn of Knapp Elementary School as he fled the scene.

EAU CLAIRE . . . Also in September, Ronald W. Hoyt, 37, was charged with first degree recklessly endangering safety with a hate crime enhancer for firing four or five shots at an African American man who walked across his property. The man was not injured. Hoyt reportedly first yelled racial slurs at the man and then retrieved a weapon from his home and fired it while the man was fleeing. Hoyt discarded the gun in Dells Pond.

MADISON . . . Meanwhile, Mark A. Murray, 43, was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct as a hate crime for his role in a disturbance at Madison's west side YMCA in June. The criminal complaint says that while working out in the weight room, Murray loudly threatened to beat up another man whom he called a "queer" and a "homo." When a manager asked Murray to leave, he complained that he was being discriminated against. He later told police that he planned to sue the Y for discriminating against him and his girlfriend because they are heterosexual.

--- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Capital Times

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Self-Described Extremist May Take Senate Seat

MILWAUKEE/WAUKESHA COUNTIES . . . The Badger State could have a self-described "radical extremist" serving in the State Senate if Republican Tom Reynolds wins the 5th district, the seat formerly held by Peggy Rosenzweig. [He won the race on Nov. 5.) He has failed in three previous bids to unseat U.S. Rep. Gerald Kleczka.

Reynolds is a Christian fundamentalist who has been endorsed and heavily supported by Pro Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right to Life. In previous campaigns Reynolds indicated that his most important qualification for public office was his "personal relationship with Christ." His campaign literature was peppered with references to establishing "God-centered law" and being a "missionary" for Christ. A campaign flier from 1996 carried the bold headline: "Politics is a matter of religion."

Reynolds opposes what he calls the "monopoly" of public education (he home schools his kids) and favors an expansion of school voucher programs. He opposes any government intervention or subsidy of the health care system and supports privatizing Social Security. He opposes all abortions but supports the death penalty and the passage of a concealed weapons law in Wisconsin. Reynolds says he opposes union dues being used for "political agendas" and has been quoted as saying that some workers, like the mentally disabled, "are not worth minimum wage."

--- Reynolds campaign fliers, Shepherd Express, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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WTDY Reins in Talk Jock's Violent Language

MADISON . . . Management at WTDY-AM radio in Madison has bowed to a flurry of public criticism and banned the use of the terms "bitch" and "bitch slap" by radio personnel. In August, talk show host Chris Krok incited the controversy by repeatedly using the words against State Rep. Terese Berceau. He made his comments during an on air discussion about a border dispute between the city of Fitchburg and the town of Madison.

Representatives of groups working to prevent domestic violence issued statements condemning Krok's violent language. Mayoral candidate Eugene Parks demanded that Krok's threatening words be investigated as a possible hate crime. "THIS KIND OF RADIO TALK SHOW INSANITY CANNOT BE TOLERATED" he wrote in all capital letters to Mayor Sue Bauman.

"I do think this crossed the line," Berceau told the Capital Times. "I also think it's become an issue of our community standards. ... [T]here is an issue here of who is listening and how they might interpret a call to, uh, slap the bitch."

District Atty. Brian Blanchard ultimately determined that no crime had been committed because under the First Amendment, a threatening statement isn't a crime unless "it's a serious expression with a purpose to inflict harm." Concerned about possible advertiser flight, WTDY program director John "Sly" Sylvester announced he would forbid the use of the offending terms. Berceau lamented that the major publicity the incident garnered was just what the radio station probably wanted.

--- Capital Times, Wisconsin State Journal

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Cartoon


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Black Journal Attacks Bradley Foundation Funding
of Voucher Movement

On July 11, The Black Commentator, an online journal of political opinion run by Glen Ford and Peter Gamble, published an analysis of the school voucher movement that accuses Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the movement's major funder, of racism and greed.

"Voucher Tricksters: The Hard Right Enters Through the School House Door" is available at:
www.blackcommentator.com/7_voucher_tricksters_pr.html.

The article notes how the Bradley Foundation has subsidized the work of Charles Murray ("The Bell Curve") and Dinesh D'Souza ("The End of Racism"), whose works argue that blacks are intellectually inferior (Murray) and that black culture is inherently pathological (D'Souza). The Bradley Foundation has poured tens of millions into conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute and the Institute for Justice, which promote privatization, rollbacks in civil rights and social programs, de-regulation of industry, and massive tax cuts. "Every cent spent," the commentary notes, "was designed to move the nation further to the Right."

The critique suggests that since Bradley and its allies care little for African American youngsters, the voucher movement is exploiting the desperate needs of many urban black communities to achieve an opening wedge in a larger campaign to fully privatize public education – a potential market valued at $300 billion annually. Economist Milton Friedman, whose own foundation has subsidized pro-voucher groups, argued in a New York Times op-ed that raising vouchers to $7,000 and making them available to all children (not just kids from low income families) would create a new, profitable industry.

The Black Commentator says the forces supporting an infusion of money into black communities through vouchers, as well as through the new "faith-based initiatives," have the additional goal of undermining liberal black leaders and Democratic Party influence within the black community. By subsidizing groups like the Center for New Black Leadership and promoting conservative black candidates, the Bradley Foundation and its GOP and corporate allies hope to create a more compliant "bought and paid for" alternative black leader-ship. "Black faith and need," the article concludes, "is to be put at the service of corporate profit and greed."

Voucher schools are the subject of much debate. Individuals who are pro, con or undecided may be interested in this provocative analysis.

Milwaukee's "Parental Choice Program," the first in the nation, has 11,750 students enrolled in 103 private and religious schools for the 2002-03 school year. The state provides an annual voucher of $5,783 for each student. In some cases, this amount far surpasses the per pupil tuition normally charged by the schools. Voucher schools do not need to hire state-certified teachers, are not required to take special needs students, do not have to comply with state assessment requirements, and are exempt from some state statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment.

--- New York Times, www.blackcommentator.com, Rethinking Schools

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Was Sheriff David Clarke a "Stealth" Candidate?

MILWAUKEE . . . Speculation about David A. Clarke Jr.'s true political views ran rampant during his election campaign for Milwaukee County Sheriff this fall. Clarke, a Milwaukee Police Department captain, was appointed sheriff earlier this year by Republican Gov. Scott McCallum to fill the vacancy left after the retirement of Sheriff Lev Baldwin.

Clarke ran as a Democrat and won the primary contest in September. But he is not a member of the Democratic Party and has refused to join it, saying only that the position of sheriff should not be political. Some find his reasoning disingenuous and believe he only ran as a Democrat to ensure his victory in Milwaukee County, where Democrats are still the majority party.

Democratic Party official Bob Bauman gave this blunt assessment to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "This is McCallum and the Republican machine doing an end [run] around to sneak a Republican into office." He called Clarke a "stealth candidate."

Clarke seemed to affirm the suspicions when he endorsed the GOP's Vince Biskupic for State Attorney General. In a feature article in August, the Journal Sentinel reported that Clarke would someday like to be a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the most right-wing judges, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. His favorite commentators are conservatives Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, and he reads the right-wing, Unification Church-owned Washington Times daily.

Clarke frequently states: "I'm not a politician," but his name (and photo) continually appears in the local press for attending an array of community events and avidly "working the room." Both supporters and skeptics acknowledge that he has future political ambitions.

Concerns about Clarke are being raised in the context of a report by the National Urban League which exposed increasing efforts nationwide by wealthy right-wing interests to promote conservative African American candidates for office.

In "The State of Black American Politics," Dr. Martin Kilson of Harvard University described the mayoral campaign of African American Cory Booker in Newark, NJ. Although Booker nominally ran as a Democrat, Kilson argued that Booker was actually a "covert" Republican candidate because his support came from wealthy right-wing activists, including Black America's PAC.

Kilson called the Booker campaign part of "an emergent conservative and Republican Party strategy of using black conservative activists in stealth fashion to corral the votes of a large segment of the African American electorate."

--- Shepherd Express, Business Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State of Black America, 2002," www.nul.org

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Business Group Chided for Lack of Diversity

MILWAUKEE . . . On the same day that the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce issued a blueprint for the city's future which called for greater diversity among business leaders, the group appointed eight new board members — all of them white males. Of the total of 58 MMAC board members, only four are women and just two are African American men.

MMAC President Tim Sheehy grasped for a positive spin on the embarrassing revelation, promising changes and telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I think our actions will speak louder than our words."

The MMAC Board is composed of business owners and company CEOs. It lobbies aggressively for the interests of business. It consistently opposes any raise in the minimum wage and is seeking repeal of Milwaukee County's "labor peace" ordinance.

A similar complaint regarding lack of diversity was lodged against the UW System's Board of Regents by regent Gerard Randall Jr., an African American. Currently, 13 of the 17 regents are men and only three of the 17 regents are people of color. The board's executive committee is all male and all of its standing committees are chaired by men.

--- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Business Journal

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Heston Stumps for GOP and NRA in Wisconsin

WEST ALLIS . . . Charlton Heston appeared at a McCallum for Governor rally in West Allis on Oct. 22. It was part of a national tour in support of GOP candidates and something of a farewell tour in light of his recently diagnosed Alzheimers disease.

Since his Hollywood career faded, Heston has become a leader of the National Rifle Association and a fixture on the right-wing lecture circuit. He has used his celebrity to promote the conservative views of William J. Bennett's and Jack Kemp's group Empower America and, despite his onetime leadership of the Screen Actors Guild, he's been a spokesperson and lobbyist for the National Right to Work Committee. The NRWC, founded by business owners and right-wing activists, works to undermine the rights of unions and their ability to advocate on behalf of workers. In 1994, Heston starred in TV and radio ads opposing a federal bill to prevent employers from hiring permanent replacement workers for those out on strike.

--- National Right to Work Committee newsletter,
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, www.empoweramerica.org

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Censors: "Guinness" In, "Nunga Nungas" Out?

WAUKESHA and OREGON . . . "The Guinness Book of World Records" is still on the shelves but "Knocked Out by My Nunga Nungas" may be knocked out in the latest round of censorship battles in Wisconsin schools. After considering a parent's complaint that the "Guinness" books contain photos of scantily clad women that boys are flocking to the library to view, a committee of the Waukesha School District voted to retain the books anyway.

In Oregon, parent Linda Rutherford recently filed a complaint against Louise Rennison's "Knocked Out by My Nunga Nungas," a humorous book about a precocious 14-year-old that her daughter brought home from Oregon Middle School. Rutherford called the book "smut" and demanded that it be removed. A committee will review its content and make a decision.

--- Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Gay-Straight Alliance OK'd at Neenah High

NEENAH . . . After months of controversy, the Neenah Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing the Gay-Straight Alliance at Neenah High School as an official non-curricular club. It is the first GSA in the Fox Cities area to be so recognized.

The Board overturned earlier decisions by School Superintendent James Wiswall and Neenah High Principal Mark Duerwaechter that denied recognition to the group. Duerwaechter initially denied the request, saying the group promoted a political agenda in violation of school policy. Students appealed to the Superintendent, who affirmed Duerwaechter's decision and argued that the GSA also duplicated the role of another student group, Students, Teachers and Staff Advocating Neenah's Diversity (STAND).

GSA leaders said the broader scope of STAND did not always address their needs and they had a right to establish their own group. They spoke to the American Civil Liberties Union to see about pressing their case in court if their final appeal to the Board of Education failed.

"The board made this decision not because it felt it legally had to," school board member Dan Dringoli told the Post-Crescent. "It made this decision because it is the right thing to do."

As an officially recognized club, Neenah High's GSA is entitled to an adviser, funds from the student activities budget, and the ability to organize fund-raisers and social events. GSA leaders say the group will offer support to LGBT students and also educate students about the negative impact of homophobia.

--- Appleton Post Crescent, Wisconsin IN Step

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National Briefs . . .
Anti-Union Ads Said to Divert Attention from Corporate Corruption

WASHINGTON, DC . . . The National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a right-wing front group for corporate interests funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, has launched a national advertising campaign in support of what it calls the "Freedom From Union Violence Act."

The radio ads feature a menacing voice threatening another person over the telephone. They go on to ask: "Why are so many hard-working people threatened this way? Like the Vietnamese immigrant who simply wanted to earn enough money to send her children to college. Or the African American who was pulled from his vehicle and stabbed repeatedly while being called a derogatory name. These people and many like them were the victims of union violence. ... Tell Congress that union violence against hard-working Americans must stop."

John J. Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, called the NTU ads an attempt to create a "sham issue" to undermine the labor movement's continuing efforts to seek justice for American workers. He also called it "a desperate effort to distract from the corporate scandals, reeling stock markets, stagnant wages, skyrocketing health care costs and months of high unemployment workers worry about every day."

Despite its introduction five years ago, the NTU proposal has never been passed by any House or Senate committees. Sweeney said this is due to the fact that NTU's contention is false: union violence is extremely rare, there is no evidence that it is increasing, and what isolated incidents may occur can be fully adjudicated by local authorities through current laws.

The ad's references to a Vietnamese immigrant and African American are calculated. They are emblematic of a concerted effort by many right-wing organizations to create divisions between minority communities and the groups and institutions which have been longstanding allies (labor, civil rights groups, public education).

The NTU is also currently working in conjunction with the United Seniors Association, a group funded by drug companies, to fight against reforms in prescription drug pricing, access and profits.

--- New York Times, AFL-CIO press release, www.ntu.org

Report Says Conservative Churches
are the Fastest Growing

NEW YORK . . . Socially conservative churches are the fastest growing denominations in the U.S., according to a new study issued by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

The study, conducted every ten years, found that churches showing the greatest increases in membership were: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (up 19.3%); the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (18.6%); the Assemblies of God (18.5%); the Roman Catholic Church (16.2%); and the Southern Baptists (4.9%).

"I was astounded to see that by and large the growing churches are those that we ordinarily call conservative," Ken Sanchagrin of the Glenmary Research Center, which conducted the study, told the New York Times. "And when I looked at those that were declining, most were moderate or liberal churches. And the more liberal the denomination, by most people's definition, the more they were losing."

The study has been faulted by some observers because it depends on each denomination submitting its own membership figures, some of which may be inflated.

--- New York Times

Jerry Falwell's Latest Remarks Incite Violence

LYNCHBURG, VA . . . Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell has again apologized for ill-chosen comments – this time declaring that Mohammed was a "terrorist" during a Sept. 30 interview on "60 Minutes." But his apology came reluctantly, and only after his inflammatory words spread worldwide and incited Hindu-Muslim rioting in India which left eight people dead.

"Anybody who's trying to build bridges between these cultures ... all their work is immediately torpedoed by these kinds of statements," Ebrahim Mousa of Duke University's Center for the Study of Muslim Networks told the Washington Post. "Falwell's remarks color the image of all Americans, which is a real tragedy. One person's statement implicates an entire country of 275 million people, in almost the same way that the actions of al-Qaida damage the reputation of a billion followers of Islam."

--- Associated Press, Washington Post

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