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So, the other day an article was forwarded to me about how the Government WILL OWN THE DNA OF THE CHILDREN FOREVER!!!! DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!!  The person forwarding the article just wanted to know what I thought of it.  So here goes.

The article cites to but does not provide a link to a WorldNetDaily article about some pending legislation in the U.S. that is slated to be signed by the President.  The other half of the article is about efforts in the U.K. to do some really weird and scary stuff like genetically profile potential criminals as pre-determined by psychologists in the U.K. for children as young as 5.  I didn’t bother to look at the stuff in the U.K. after discovering that the part written about the pending legislation in the United States was pretty much completely made up.

The first article is more or less a re-write of the WorldNetDaily article without really adding anything new.  I suppose re-writing what someone else has written may pass for journalism on NaturalNews.com.  It was published at any rate.

From the WorldNetDaily article (emphasis added):

An Orwellian plan that has state and federal governments staking claim to the ownership of every newborn’s DNA in perpetuity is advancing under the radar of most privacy rights activists, but would turn the United States’ citizenry into a huge pool of subjects for involuntary scientific experimentation, according to one organization alarmed over the issue.

So it passes for journalism to simply report on what an organization says about an issue without fact checking or even making a cursory review of the claims to see if they have an element of truth to them.  This is not the first time WorldNetDaily has done exactly this kind of thing.  It is not like I spend my time monitoring the stuff that they write but the two times I have decided to look into something they have written it has been a huge steaming smelly pile of imaginative writing.  They seem to just repeat things from press releases from political action groups that are of course looking for more money and funding.

The organization that is “alarmed over the issue” is the Citizens’ Council on Health Care.  They also need your money, donate now.   OK, just kidding about that but I wonder how many new hits came to their website from the WND article and how many of them also donated to help keep up the fight.

It is possible I suppose for some group to be compiling a large DNA database on every child tested and seeking to keep records on all of them but for now there is no evidence of it.

The two bills in the cross hairs of the CCHC are Senate Bill 1858 and House Resolution 3825.  You can find the latest versions of these bills with a search for “S.1858” or “H.R.3825” at www.thomas.gov.

The bills basically allow for the continued spending of federal government money on newborn screening activities and will coordinate continued efforts in screening and treatment for some of these diseases.  Utah already has a law requiring newborn testing and if you don’t comply you can be reported for medical neglect unless the refusal to submit to testing has a religious basis.  This is pretty much what has already been going on for many years now.  There is no significant change to existing law in these bills, no reason to say that the sky is falling.

And what exactly does the newborn screening test for?  There are several rare but serious diseases that are tested for that can cause mental retardation or may require hospitalization if not treated early enough.  One of these disorders is called “Maple Syrup Urine Disease“.

The blood spots will be retained in Utah for a minimum of 90 days before disposal and prior to disposal they will be de-identified and autoclaved.

Please take anything you read in WND with several grains of salt.  It is unfortunately a speaking platform for several people and facts are often not checked at all.

Comments Welcome

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But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn’t come.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

“There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?”

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

“We’ll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the youth, “Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!

— Aesop’s Fables, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”

There are a few news stories and blogs out there about a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision including a World Net Daily article. The first 50 related articles of a Google Search are all singing the same tune. It is hard to tell where these things begin.

The story is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “has concluded that municipal employers have the right to censor the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “family values” because that is hate speech and could scare workers.” EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!! This according to the World Net Daily article. The “hate speech” angle seems to be the most popular. The stories also note that the employees were threatened with being fired if they continued to post flyers like the one removed.

The story is wrong and simply reading the 9th Circuit Court’s Opinion and the Trial Court’s Decision would have cleared up the matter immediately. In responding to blogs, Preacher Lawyer has read the opinions and agrees the story is wrong. In the fifth response to another blog, someone else has read the underlying opinions and found that the story is wrong.

First, here is a simplified chart about how facts get to court for consideration:
1- Something happens,
2- People see what happens with different observations and perceptions with varying degrees of accuracy and detail,
3- People tell their lawyers about what they believe happened,
4- attorneys collect the evidence as best they can with the resources at their disposal,
5- people testify about what they remember from their different observations and perceptions,
6- some testimony and evidence is excluded as unreliable or unavailable,
7- other evidentiary issues exclude evidence for reasons such as an improper search, and
8- the court’s final ruling generally does not include all the facts considered.

From various news reports and the courts’ decision, here is what happened. In the Oakland City offices, some employees were living a homosexual lifestyle and would send out e-mails from time to time, put up flyers, and other communications supporting their lifestyle via discussion, public meetings, or whatever. Some of the communications were offensive to Christian beliefs. Some people in the office decided to form the Good News Employee Association. They posted one flyer.

the Good News Employee Association (GNEA), called on readers to “Preserve Our Workplace With Integrity,” and explained that GNEA “is a forum for people of Faith to express their views on contemporary issues of the day.

p. 2, District Court Opinion.

GNEA’s stated purposes are “[t]o celebrate our Faith and Liberties by preserving the integrity of the Natural Family, Marriage and Family values”; “[t]o provide a forum for people of faith to express their views on contemporary issues of the day”; and “[t]o oppose all views that seek to redefine the Natural Family and Marriage.” Melaugh Decl (Doc #43) Ex D. In its “Statement of Faith,” GNEA explains that “we believe the Natural Family is defined as a man and a women their children by birth or adoption, or the surviving remnant thereof (including single parents)”; that “[w]e believe Marriage is defined by a union between a man and a woman according to California state law”; and that “[w]e believe in Family Values that promote abstinence, marriage, fidelity in marriage and devotion to our children.” Id. Plaintiffs’ deposition testimony confirms the anti-homosexual import of their definitions of “natural family,” “marriage” and the meaning of the flyer’s exhortation to “preserve our workplace with integrity.”

pp. 2-3 of the opinion. The Plaintiffs agreed and testified that there was at least an anti-homosexual element to their flyer and statements. An employee who worked there who saw the flyer spoke with one of the employees named on the flyer. This discussion left the employee feeling uncomfortable and they spoke to their supervisor. The supervisor decided to remove the one flyer. That’s it.

Plaintiffs acknowledge that they have alternative channels open to them to communicate their message. For example, Rederford acknowledges that she was not restricted from expressing her views on marriage or gay rights outside the workplace, over lunch or on a break. Melaugh Decl (Doc #43) Ex A (Rederford Depo) at 141:5-18. Nor were plaintiffs prohibited from organizing GNEA, and Rederford acknowledges that she was told “she could announce [her] group” through the City’s e-mail system if she removed “verbiage that could be offensive to gay people” from her announcement.

pp. 4-5, same opinion. If they were serious about forming the group, they could send out the e-mail or talk to people and move forward with it. The parties actually named in the lawsuit had little or nothing to do with the actual removal of the one flyer. They had qualified immunity from personal liability. The court then went on to discuss the free speech implications of the workplace action.

This interest is slight, as the restriction placed on their speech under the facts at bar was quite limited: Plaintiffs were prohibited from posting a particular flyer on an office bulletin board. Plaintiffs themselves acknowledge that
no restriction has been placed on their speech outside of work (by, for example, threatening them with termination if they speak outside the workplace). They further acknowledge that they can discuss their views with co-workers as they wish at appropriate times (at lunch, on a break).

p. 15, same decision. Here is the part about “threatened termination” for re-posting the same flyer:

Plaintiffs press the argument that their speech was chilled by Hicks’ circulation to all CEDA employees in late February of [Administrative Instruction] 71 and a memo reminding them that noncompliance could result in discipline.

p. 15, same decision. A simple reminder that compliance with workplace regulations is required and that violating the same regulation is not a threat of termination. Here is the discussion about “hate speech”, note that the words “hate speech” do not appear in the decision, anywhere.

The interests on both sides are slight: On the one hand, defendants’ restriction of plaintiffs is far from a wholesale muzzling, but on the other hand, the suppressed speech was not patently inflammatory “fighting words.” To be sure, it caused friction in the workplace, but there is a difference between episodes of friction — which are the daily incidents of life in a pluralistic society — and disruption — which impairs the government’s ability to discharge its duties to its citizens.

pp. 17-18, same decision. There was some discussion about unequal treatment under Administrative Instruction 71, the office policy that was used to justify removal of the flyer. The court held that AI71 did not bind the Federal Courts in any way and the restriction was permissible under the First Amendment. With regard to disparate treatment, the Federal Court found that it was supposed to be deferential to cities that have to enforce their own regulations. Got that? The plaintiffs can really only sue when their own rights are infringed, not when they think enforcement is unfair. Unless they sued under the Equal Protection Clause, which they did not.

Courts are often forced to make decisions for very narrow issues and questions. This razor-thin slicing can make for bad questions leading to bad answers. The court never said the flyers constituted “hate speech”, just that it caused friction that the city was justified in trying to have a harmonious workplace. The employees were never threatened with termination either, at least according to court documents.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals merely upheld the lower court, it did not add any language about “hate speech”.
______________________________________________________________

So why have the misleading stories?

This would have been so easy to fix in the reporting. Reading 27 pages of court decisions is not too much to ask to verify a story, is it? It appears that there is more to this than very sloppy reporting.

From World Net Daily, at the end of the article:

“The city of Oakland has interpreted this district court’s ruling to mean that Christianity has no place in our society and should be subject to punishment. I want to believe that our Supreme Court will ultimately decide this case on the values and instructions set forth in motion by the nations Founders,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman’s’ firm represents the women and said the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries have helped underwrite the thousands of dollars it has cost to fight the city’s aggressive promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.

The article from World Net Daily has been copied and reposted to several blogs and other websites. From a Lifesite.net article.

Richard Ackerman, whose public-interest law firm Ackerman,Cowles & Lindsley represents the two women, said this case has drained significant financial and time resources because of the fight put up by the City of Oakland in defending its aggressive censorship of the plaintiffs. The case is also being funded by the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries.

For more information contact Ackerman and Lively’s law firm:
http://www.livelyackerman.com/

From a websitetoolbox.com article:

“The city of Oakland has interpreted this district court’s ruling to mean that Christianity has no place in our society and should be subject to punishment. I want to believe that our Supreme Court will ultimately decide this case on the values and instructions set forth in motion by the nations Founders,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman’s’ firm represents the women and said the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries have helped underwrite the thousands of dollars it has cost to fight the city’s aggressive promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.

And from one person who spells it out for you, from the As I See It Now blog:

If you would like to donate to the Pro-family Law Center to help defray the expenses of defending outrageous Anti-American and anti-Christian cases such as this, here is the link.

It appears to be a publicity campaign to try to color the process and make the issue what it is not. The attorney for the plaintiffs seems to have received favorable press and even has his picture with the World Net Daily article. It also seems to be drumming up business for donations to the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries.

If they are willing to allow lies/exaggerations like this, who knows what else they may lie about.

Crying ‘wolf’ indeed.

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