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REPLY TO GREEN THEISTS

by Robert Halfhill


   Tim Davis recently had a post on the Minnesota Green Party discussion list telling religious believers of all stripes that he was tired of their nonsense.  I followed up with another post agreeing with Davis.
   
Robert Schmid replied with a post declaring that many Greens were religious believers and that if we were tired of their nonsense, we were free to leave.  Jesse Mortenson agreed that many Greens were religious believers, including Greens who were Christians, and added that antireligious rhetoric had "no place in the Green Party."  Lydia Howell, although she had earlier liked my coinage of the term "Christofascists" so much that she asked my permission to use it too, asked that "atheists on this list be respectful of the beliefs of religious believers and not hurt the feelings of those who believed the earth was created six thousand years ago by calling them nuts.  Paul Bramscher replied, asking why we should have respect for beliefs that were homophobic, racist, sexist ect, and both he and Linda Mann pointed out the irrationality of believing in something for which we have no evidence.

Those of us who are atheists can reply to Schmid and Mortenson that if they are tired of our unbelief, they are free to leave.  The Green Party quite properly requires neither belief nor disbelief in religion as a requirement for membership so, unless one or the other group decides on their own to leave, they are stuck with us and their outrage over what they regard as our impiety and we are stuck with them and our contempt for their nutty beliefs.

When you tally up all the countless lives lost in religious crusades and jihads, the number of women burned alive at the stake on allegations of being witches, the numerous Gays likewise burned alive for being "sodomites," those who lost their lives in anti Jewish pogroms, those who died during the back and forth jihads and crusades between the Islamaniacs and Christ Crazies, and all those who perished in the flames for belonging to the "wrong" religion, it is hard to see how religion has not been a net, negative influence in human history.

I had been aware of the past atrocities of the Christians and Muslims and believed that it would be a nice reform, along with ending racism, ending the war in Vietnam, winning universal health care, etc, etc, if society could evolve beyond the majority of people having religious beliefs and that the steady progress since the Middle Ages in lessening religious beliefs could be completed.  Modern, twentieth century people no longer believed in witches, goblins, ghosts, dragons, etc and the people of the future would complete this process by ceasing to believe in God, the Devil, and angels and demons.  But I have come to see after several years of membership in Atheist organizations, that religion is not a mere vestigial, comparatively harmless remnant.  It fights us at every turn when we try to introduce any progressive reform.  Who is our opponent in nearly all the referenda on Gay rights laws?  The right wing Christ Crazies.  Who is out in front of the lobbying to keep new Gay rights laws from being passed?  The right wing Christ Crazies.  Who almost always leads the fight against repealing sodomy laws?  The right wing Christ Crazies. Who leads the fight against equal marriage rights for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersexed people?  The right wing Christ Crazies.  Who continually tries to pass laws limiting women's' reproductive freedom?  The right wing Christ Crazies.  Who tries to pass laws making it illegal for people in unbearable pain to decide to terminate their lives?  The right wing Christ Crazies.  The Pope argues against the right to choose the time of ones death by touting "the redemptive value of suffering."  It is the right of the Pope and other members of his Church to make that choice for themselves.  But they have no right to pass laws forbidding the rest of us from making that choice.  And when some Islamaniacs show themselves willing to pursue heir Jihad by immolating themselves by crashing airliners into buildings, they have proved themselves nearly as great an enemy of human rights as the Christ Crazies!

Although I have continually prefaced "Christ Crazies" with "right wing," the threat to human rights is still latent in liberal Christ Craziness.  It has only been attenuated by four hundred years of progress since the days when the Christ Crazies slaughtered people by the tens of thousands in religious wars and burned people alive at the stake.
   
Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg said it nearly best: "With or without religion, you will have good men doing good things, and evil men doing evil things, but for good men to do evil things, that takes religion."  If you substitute "people" for the male "men" as the generic designation for humans, you can say it even better.

Robert Schmid argued that there could be a being beyond our universe and that as such, the existence of this being would be beyond the purview of science to prove or disprove.  By this, I take it that Schmid has conceded that the existence of such a being is beyond the purview of any rational argument to prove or disprove and that he has conceded that all the traditional arguments that theists have used to establish the existence of this Being -- the first cause argument, the argument from order in the universe, the argument from the existence of ethics, or the argument from the existence of aesthetics, or even the ontological argument -- all fail to establish their conclusion and that he therefore is not claiming it is possible to present arguments either for or against the existence of such a Being.
   
However Schmid's postulated Being could not be truly outside our universe nor beyond the purview of science if there is a causal chain extending either from our universe to the Being nor from the Being to our universe.  And the Being would have to be able to perceive objects in our universe if the Being created it.  Therefore, objects or events in our universe cause perceptions in the Being.  And Schmid cannot avoid this problem by arguing that the Being does not perceive through the causal chain of light rays bouncing off objects in our universe and being received by the Being.  Whatever the mechanism of the Being's perceptions, objects or events in our universe determine or cause what the Being perceives.  And if the Being created our universe, there is also a causal chain extending from the intentions of the Being to events in our universe.  So if Schmid's postulated Being is to be truly outside our universe and the purview of science, the Being would be neither able to perceive nor effect events in our universe.

But this being conceded, the probability of a proposition being true or the probability of the existence of an object for which there is no for or against is not 50/50 or 0.5%.  The burden of proof is on the one who asserts the truth of a proposition or the existence of an object. If you assert that an object exists without having any evidence either for or against it existing, you will not subsequently find this object actually existing half the time.
   
For example, the Medieval Europeans imagined many kinds of strange beasts existing in parts of the world they had not explored -- gryphons or winged lions, unicorns or horses with one horn thrusting up from their nose, and dragons or large, flying lizards that breathed fire.  If it were true that everything you postulated to exist without evidence either for or against had a 50/50 chance of existing, subsequent European explorers would have found half of these mythical beasts.  Explorers found many strange and hitherto unimagined animals living in the newly explored lands but NOT ONE of the mythical beasts.  The nearest match with imaginary beasts was the rhinoceros with one horn in the middle of its nose but it looks nothing at all like a one horned horse.

Another example of the bad results that would follow from acting as if propositions that had neither evidence for them or evidence against them have a 50/50 chance of being true comes from the ordinary prudence and caution most of us employ when people we do not know ask us to turn over large amounts of money on the promise that they know how to invest it and return the money to us multiplied many times with profits.  If we turned over our money to any stranger who came to us with such a proposal on the grounds that, since we had no evidence that the stranger was or was not legitimate, we were bound to come out ahead half the time, we would find ourselves in the end without any money.  Atheists and agnostics have expressed this idea for centuries by asking whether we would give our money to a stranger promising to return large profits to us on no stronger evidence than we had for religion!

A Christian minister who has been attending Atheists For Human Rights meetings asked why my argument about where the burden of proof lies does not apply to negative statements.  I.E. if I could say that positive statements such as God exists that had no evidence either for or against them had a far lower probability of being true than 50/50, then wouldn't I also have to say that negative statements such as God does not exist had a far, far lower probability of being true than 50/50?  The answer lies in the difference between positive and negative truth claims.  This can best be illustrated by considering the case where we are trying to decide between a number of competing scientific theories for explaining a given class of phenomena.  The number of possible competing theories is likely to be indefinitely large, although we are likely to have only a few of them in mind.  And if these competing scientific theories are truly different, they will be mutually exclusive.  Otherwise they would be merely saying the same thing in slightly different words.  So when a particular scientific theory is accepted as true, we are ruling out an indefinitely large number of other scientific theories or truth claims.  But when we make a negative statement that a particular theory is not true, we are saying nothing about whether any of the other indefinitely large number of theories is true or false.  Since we are claiming a lot more with a positive statement than a negative one, it is not surprising that the positive truth claim would have a far lower probability of being true than the negative claims.

Although the case of competing scientific theories was considered first since it most clearly illustrated the difference between positive and negative truth claims, the same conclusions can be established about any group of positive and negative statements about the same subject.  And this explains why half of the mythological beasts imagined as existing in unexplored parts of the world did not actually exist and why it is far more prudent to assume the negative about unknown people promising to make us a great deal of money until and unless we have obtained evidence that they are both honest and competent.
   
An even clearer example comes up if you are asked to guess what a given number is.  If you guess 3, or any other particular number, you have chosen one number out of an infinite number of possibilities and your chances of having chosen the right number is very, very small.  But if you say the number is not three, any other number among the infinite number of numbers would make your guess correct and only one number out of an infinite mumber of numbers would make your guess wrong.  Hence, your chances of being right are very, very large and your chances of being wrong are very, very small.  (It might be objected that we are in effect assuming that it is possible to divide by infinity and it is not possible to divide by infinity.  This is true since when we say that the series 1,2,3,... is infinite, we are merely saying that there is no last term in the series.  Whatever number you select, there will always be another number next in the series and therefore, larger.  Saying that the series of numbers is infinite only means that there is no last or largest number in the series.  Infinity is not a specific number in the series and, therefore you cannot divide by it.  However, saying a number is infinitesimal does not meaning you are trying to divide by infinity.  You are merely saying that that there is no last term in the series 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 ... or that whatever number you select to designate the smallness of your being right whan you select a specific number such as 3, the chances of your being right are even smaller.)
   
The next argument concerns the danger of believing things without the safeguard of reason. The Christian who had adopted Christianity on faith with no safeguard provided by reason would have to concede that it was only blind luck that led them to make the right leap of faith to Christianity.  (And this is only if we concede for the sake of the argument that they made the "right" leap.)  It was only blind luck or random chance or the luck of being born into the "right" environment that prevented them from making the leap to Satanism.  From an Atheist perspective, it would not much matter which of the two leaps they made.  But the leap of faith could just as easily have been to Nazism or Al Qaida.  If there is no rational argument to guide the choices, then, why not?

And the next argument concerns what belief means when people speak of making leaps of faith and believing something to be true without evidence.  When we believe in the existence of a physical object we perceive with our senses, such as the computer directly in front of me as I write this, the feeling of confidence we feel as we believe in the object's existence comes from immediately perceiving it.
   
Before we proceed any further, it must be made clear that if we speak of believing when the word "believing" has no association with something we experience while believing, the word is just a collection of sounds or marks on the page.  To be meaningful, EVERY concept must have SOME connection with what we experience or we don't know what we are talking about.
   
Other beliefs and the feeling of confidence intertwined with the act of believing are based on inferences from what we immediately perceive.  For example, in the case of the statement oft used by philosophers to illustrate inductive reasoning, "All crows are black," the feeling of confidence inextricably associated with the act of believing comes from seeing many crows and seeing that all of them are black.  The feeling of confidence is a little less firm since, even if all crows have been black after people had been seeing them for generations, an albino crow could be the next crow to turn up, Since we are prone more to error when making a complicated series of inductions, the feeling of confidence in believing is even shakier.
   
Another class of rational or logical inference is deductive reasoning.  For example: "All tigers are dangerous.  This is a tiger.  Therefore this is dangerous."  The British philosopher Bertrand Russell demonstrated around the beginning of the 20th century that mathematics was a branch of logic with the publication of PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA.  Mathematics is a perhaps perfect example of how the feeling on confidence intertwined with believing diminishes with a long, complicated chain of inferences since we all know how prone to error we are when performing even simple mathematical operations.
   
Still another example is the hypothetical deductive method used in science.  The scientist constructs a hypothesis to explain a body of phenomena, makes a prediction about the phenomena concerning something that has not yet been checked by observation and makes a prediction about what will be observed if certain conditions hold.  If the phenomena is observed, this is regarded as a confirmation of the theory.
   
For example, when Einstein developed the Special Theory of Relativity, his theory involved some amendments to Newton's Theory of Gravity.  There were three alternative predictions involved since, at that time, it was not known whether light was influenced by gravity.  Einstein's amendments to Newton's theory of gravity involved predictions that were only large enough to be observed at extremely high speeds and under intense gravity.  The only conditions where these predicted phenomena could be observed was during a solar eclipse when a light ray was passing by very near to the sun.  If light was not subject to gravity, there would be no change in the observed position of a star whose position in the sky was apparently near the sun.  If light was subject to gravity, the star's position would shift by a certain amount.  Under Einstein's theory, light was subject to gravity but his prediction of the star's observed position would be larger than the shift Newton's theory predicted.

In 1919, there would be a solar eclipse visible from the island of Principe.  Astronomers traveled to the remote island to make their observations.  The amount of change in the star's apparent position was what Einstein had predicted.

The point of this summary of the different kinds of logical inference is that the feeling of confidence inextricably intertwined with the act of believing is present only from observing an object we can immediately see (or feel, or hear, etc) or by inferences made from what we perceive.  The immediate perceptions or inferences constitute proof or evidence.  So someone who says that "I believe A but I don't have any evidence for it" is merely uttering a meaningless noise or putting meaningless marks on paper and that person literally doesn't know what he or she is saying.
 
Lastly, I will pursue some matters opened up by Schmid's statement that an omnipotent Being could have created the universe 6000 years ago but have created it with all the fossils and other signs of great age that make it appear to scientists to be four and one half billion years old.  Actually, the latest estimate of the age of the universe by astronomers is 13.7 billion years.
   
When Schmid raised this point, I wondered whether he was just throwing in a tricky philosophical puzzle to amuse himself by vexing those of us who believe differently.  But the passion with which he defended religious faith and the anger in his response to Tim Davis and me make me think he may be serious.
   
Actually, someone in 19th century, Victorian England proposed Schmid's solution, that God had created the world six thousand years ago but with all the fossils and geological strata that made it appear much older.  He expected his solution to unify both the creationists and the adherents of modern science with his "resolution" of their conflicting views.  He was considerably embittered when both sides rejected his solution.
   
Many people have pointed out that this "solution" can be taken even further by proposing that God created the world only a moment ago along with your memories of a past life extending back years and decades.
   
This position, without the belief in God, is known a solipsism of the moment -- solipsism standing for the position that a person can only know that she or he alone exists.  It represents following out the positions taken by modern empiricists in the early 1600's to their logical conclusion.  The first of the modern empiricists were John Locke and the circle around him who had decided to jettison the past disagreements among philosophers and start with the assumption that people could only know anything except on the basis of their sensory perceptions.
   
This immediately led to problems since, when people thought of themselves as knowing the properties of a physical object through their sensory perceptions, through the color and shape they saw, the roughness they felt, the weight they felt when they lifted it, ect, they thought of the physical object a having these properties of color, roughness, weight, etc.  But what was the physical object that "had" these properties.  It was not another property for the additional property would merely be another property that the physical object had.  So the physical object itself was distinct from all its properties.  But if we cannot even know what a concept MEANS unless its meaning is somehow based on our sensory perceptions, if no matter how long and complex the chain of definitions involved, the chain must in the end refer back to our senses, then the concept of a physical object distinct from all its properties is meaningless.  We literally do not know what we are talking about.

But the world and everything in it seems so insubstantial and impermanent without the concept of an object that has the properties of color, weight, etc.  When we move away from a tree immediately in front of our eyes, i.e. experience the sensations involved in making the effort to walk away, and later come back to the tree, we think of something substantial that has the properties we perceive with our senses.  If the tree had green leaves when we walked away and we find the tree with multicolored leaves when we return three months later, we think of the tree as a physical object that changed during out absence, not as a mere assemblage of perceptions of color, shape, roughness, etc, which, for all we know may have vanished as soon as we moved out of sight.  The idea of a physical object which has the same properties or sensory perceptions when we return in some instances and different properties when we return in other instances seems necessary to EXPLAIN the orderly arrangement of the sensory perceptions we experience.  But a concept not referring back to our sensory impressions does not even MEAN anything, let alone be a concept that can explain anything.
   
George Berkeley was next in the line of major British empiricists.  Since he was a minister in the Church of England and did not like Atheists, his solution was to have everything consist of ideas in the mind of God.  Since God could keep all the ideas making up the world in mind simultaneously, that would explain the idea of the tree persisting after we had left and still being there when we returned.
   
However, Berkeley"s "solution" never caught on with other British empiricists and the next major philosopher among the British empiricists, David Hume developed the skeptical position, arguing that we could not infer beyond our sensory impressions to physical objects existing independently of us.  What we thought of as the world or universe could simply be a long, complicated dream.  We could not know that other minds or people existed since, even if we could establish the existence of physical objects, we could not directly experience the thoughts, emotions, etc in the other minds.  Other people might merely be complicated automatons so, for all we knew, we might be the only person in the world.  And of course, there might not be a world either since it could merely be our long, complicated dream.
   
Hume went even further by questioning the principle of induction.  Empiricists argued that people built up their knowledge by observing occurrences being regularly conjoined events.  For example, the more often we have observed water boiling after the water had been heated, the greater the confidence with which we could expect water to boil the next time we heated it.  But Hume argued that we could not prove the principle of induction since, if it had always worked when we used it before, we would be begging the question, using circular reasoning, using the principle of induction to prove the principle of induction.  Thus we had no way of proving that even our ordered sensory impressions would not dissolve into incoherence in the next instant.  Although no major philosopher is known to have argued for solipsism of the moment, some have pointed out that pursuing these arguments for skepticism to their logical conclusion would lead to the conclusion that we could even question the accuracy of all our memories.  Thus not only did we have no way of knowing that we were not the only one existing in a world with no other minds or physical objects that existed beyond our sensory impressions and no way of knowing that these ordered sensory impressions might not dissolve into incoherence in the next instant, but we could not know we had not flickered into existence a moment ago and that we would not flicker back into nonexistence in the next moment.

Hume himself said that, after he had played a game of checkers, his ideas about philosophical skepticism often seemed distant and unreal to him.  Bertrand Russell followed this idea further by pointing out that no one could live or act according to complete skepticism so we might as well decide what minimum assumptions we needed to justify human knowledge.  He illustrated his contention that no one could really believe in complete skepticism, no matter what they said, by telling the story about the logician Susan Stebbing who had remarked that she was a solipsist and that she was surprised that there were no others.
   
Meanwhile, the non empiricist, German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel proposed going beyond Aristotelian logic in which a thing could only be A or non A.  Hegel was an idealist philosopher, arguing that basic reality was mental, not physical.  Marx retained Hegel's non Aristotelian or dialectical logic but incorporated it in his materialist philosophy of dialectical materialism.
   
So far, we have established that, while there is no evidence either for or against the existence of God and that we are not forced to assume that anything for whose existence there is no evidence for or against has a 50/50 chance of existing.  Instead, its probability of existing is much, much lower.  But British empiricism seems to have shown also that there is no way of proving the existence of an external, ordered, material world. 
   
I am going to argue that non Aristotelian or dialectical logic offers a way of establishing the existence of an external, ordered, material universe.  I will begin with quantum theory although there is no way of proving that there is an external, ordered material universe with a particular scientific theory since all scientific theories presuppose the existence of an external universe.  But a consideration of quantum theory will make the argument much clearer when we attempt to infer the existence of the external world from immediate experience.
   
Unlike the macroscopic world we experience, there is no way to determine an object's precise location and velocity in the quantum world.  When light reflects off chairs or horses that we are familiar with in the macroscopic world, the objects are not moved by the light rays hitting them by any appreciable amount.  But when light bounces off an electron in the quantum world, when photons hit it and bounce off, the electron is always moved by the photons hitting it.  Further attempts to pin down the electron's location and velocity by bouncing photons off it will just alter the electron's location and velocity again.

John Locke had dealt with the problem of defining the concept of location at the beginning of British empiricism.  Unlike color, shape, heaviness, etc, objects do not immediately show a property of location.  But if all our concepts must be defined in terms of our sensory experience if they are to have any meaning, location must also be defined in terms of sensory experience.  Locke argued that our concept of an object's location came from looking at it from different directions or from triangulating on it.
   
In both the cases considered by Locke and in quantum theory, location is determined by watching light bounce of an object.  But, if there is a limit to the precision to which we can specify an object's location, that means that not only is it impossible to determine an object's location beyond a certain precision but the concept of a more precise location is meaningless.  And since time is measured by change in an object's location, not only is it impossible to measure time beyond a certain precision but the concept of smaller intervals of time is meaningless.  When we consider space and time as laid out in Einstein's four dimensional space-time manifold, there will be a limit to the smallness of the space-time units we can detect or measure.  And the space-time units will not be volumes packed tightly together as with grains stored in a silo.  The concept of volume involves yet smaller volumes packed in the larger volume which we could measure.  But this is impossible in principle.  And the boundaries between the volumes will not be discrete shells of lesser thickness than the volumes for that presupposes smaller distances which we could measure.  There will not be discrete boundaries but rather regions where it will not be precisely determinable whether the region is in one space-time volume or the other, where movement in one direction will make it more and more likely that the region is in one space-time unit and less and less likely that it is in the other.  The space-time volumes will blend into one another with no precise boundaries and the very concept of a more precise boundary will be meaningless.  Thus, instead of locations being precise points, locations will be partly in one space-time volume and partly in the other, something that is both A and non A.
   
This explains how there can be a universe with physical laws describing the orderly relations between the space-time volumes.  And the physical laws, which by the way, are not separate things IMPOSING order on the phenomena in the different space-time regions but rather DESCRIPTIONS or the order that scientist have observed or determined to be the closest description of what happens by verifying theories through the hypothetical deductive method.  If the space-time regions were totally distinct, either A or non A, it would not be likely that the phenomena in the different space-time regions just happened to be in the orderly arrangement described by physical laws instead of in all the other possible arrangements or non arrangements.  But if the space-time volumes blend into each other, are partly one and partly the other, or both A and non A, then we would expect the space-time regions to be partly like the adjoining regions and the phenomena in them to be similar or laid out in orderly arrangement.
   
Now when we come back to considering the phenomena in people's sensory experiences, perceived time is not arranged in staccato order, with instants being all one instant or the next instant, either A or non A.  Instead the instants and locations all blend into each other, are both A and non A.  And it will not do to argue that the blending is an illusion produced by the instants following each other so rapidly, like the separate frames in a movie reel seeming to blend with each other because they are projected so rapidly.  Because when it comes to sensory experience, what it SEEMS is what it IS.  We may only think an object is red because of an illusion produced by a trick of the light.  But if we are perceiving what LOOKS LIKE a red object, it is absolutely certain that we ARE perceiving red.  So if the instants and locations in our sensory experience SEEM to blend into each other, they ACTUALLY DO blend in to each other.

Since the instants and locations in our sensory experience blend into each other, i.e. are both A and non A, adjoining instants and locations in our sensory experience will be like each other, i.e. they will resemble but be different from each other.  This makes it possible to come up with laws or descriptions of the relations between adjoining locations and instants and, in principle, infer the existence of the external world with its physical objects and other minds and physical laws, which since adjoining regions of space-time blend into each other and are similar, give us reasonable assurance that these laws will continue to hold and that the universe will not suddenly dissolve in random confusion.   The concept of a physical object will not be of an object distinct from all its qualities but instead as a hypothesis intended to explain the order in our sensory experiences and the truth of this hypothesis will be confirmed through the hypothetical deductive method.

This philosophical analysis about how our knowledge can be justified or rationally grounded does not commit us to any particular account of how we build up this knowledge in infancy.  New born infants do not engage in such high order philosophical reasoning.  Whether we were born with the neural circuits already wired in to process sensory experiences into perceptions of physical objects, or whether we learned how to do this from raw sensory data, or whether it was a combination of learning and inherited neural wiring is a scientific question that can only be settled through experiment.
   
As a concluding summary, religion has had a net negative effect on human history; things such as God and Beings outside our universe for which there is neither evidence for or against their existence have a probability of existence far, far lower than 50/50 or 0.5; a Being outside our universe could not be outside our universe if there is a chain of causality going either from the Being to our universe (creation) or from our universe to the Being (perception of our universe by the Being; it is dangerous to believe things at random without proof since, without the safe guard of reason, our random believing could just as easily have settled on Nazism or Al Qaida; that it is both meaningless and self contradictory to claim belief in things without evidence since the feeling of assurance inextricably bound up with the concept of believing is inextricably connected with either immediate perception or logical inference from such perceptions; and that traditional, Aristotelian logic leaves us no way of establishing the existence of other minds and the external world or confidence in the principle of induction, or even any way of assigning meaning to the concept of external objects,   and that it is not even possible to see how the phenomena across the expanse of space-time are even likely to be arranged in any non random order, let alone to prove that their behavior is described by physical laws, but non Aristotelian or dialectical logic enables us to establish the existence of other minds and an external world that is likely to continue to follow physical laws in the future.





Mpls. City Coucilor, Lisa Goodman No Friend of Northwest Airline Mechanics

by Robert Halfhill

I am incensed by 7th Ward Council Member Lisa Goodman leading the fight against the resolution supporting the Northwest Airlines strikers and the more I read about her "angry speech" against the proposal, the angrier I get. Several points must be made about this Council decision.

First. any organization, whether private or public, whether a private business or government body, is confronted with the decision during any strike whether to support the striking workers by denying its business to the company being struck or to support he company through its continued patronage. Contrary to Council President Paul Ostrow's statement that the City Council "is not a great debating society" but "a municipal government that has serious business to consider," which company the city chooses to patronize is part of the serious business of a municipal government and, where a strike is concerned, which side the City is on is a matter of business that is even more serious.

Second, I notice that more DFLers voted against the resolution than voted for it. The DFL professes to be the Democratic Farmer LABOR Party and if the DFL has "gotten beyond" or "above" the ideal of representing the interests of working people, labor needs to look elsewhere for representation.

The Democratic Farmer Labor Party was negotiated by Hubert Humphrey when he arranged a "merger" between the Democratic and Farmer Labor Party. Far from being a "merger" however, it meant the assimilation of a party representing working people into one of the two main parties representing the employers. After this "merger," Hubert Humphrey led a purge of socialists and communists from the party.

Third, the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association was formed in a split from the AFL-CIO because the airline mechanics were dissatisfied with the way the old union was defending their interests in the face of Northwest Airlines constant push for more and more wage concessions. Now, because of the hard feelings resulting from this split, many of the other unions are crossing AMFA's picket lines. And this is in the face of Northwest's demands for wage concessions from many of the unions now crossing the AMFA picket lines. This is a clear indication the Northwest plans to pick the other unions off one by one so the other unions had better forget their comparatively petty resentments about the split and realize that if they don't all hang together, they will hang separately! Northwests' intransigent negotiating posture of attempting to reduce its workers' wages and living standards is merely the latest in a succession of attempts by all airlines to impoverish their workers because of rising fuel prices.

Of courses because of the biases of our culture after the publication of the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale's THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, it is considered absolutely conclusive when Lisa Goodman says "there's nothing positive about the airline or its employees" in the resolution. However, there is nothing positive about Northwest's attempt to roll back the gains of the New Deal and contrary to Goodman's assertion that the resolution is "incendiary" (another liberal buzz word), that "it made her sick to spend time on it" and that "The thing I object to most of all is that it's brought up in this arena in the first place," the thing I object to most of all is Lisa Goodman's not considering the City Council the proper arena to bring up such a resolution and her statement that "it make me sick" only makes me even sicker.

Robert Halfhill Loring Park 7th Ward Candidate for Minneapolis City Council





THE FOLLOWING COMPLAINT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S DRUG WAR HAS BEEN SENT TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AND THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.


Amnesty International -- UK
International Secretariat
Human Rights Action Center
17-25 New Inn Yard
London, EC2A 3EA, England

United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights (1)
Center For Human Rights
United Nations Office At Geneva 
CH 1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland (1)

November 7, 2005

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am filing a human rights complaint with Amnesty International against the United States and all its subordinate state and local governments because of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that the U.S. government can criminally prosecute people using marijuana for medical purposes, even though marijuana may be the best or only medicine for their illness. Amnesty International is opposed to imposing the death penalty for any reason so that means you must oppose the imposure of the death penalty against sick people who are guilty of no crime through denying them the medicine they must have to treat handicapping and even life threatening diseases. Secondly, Amnesty International recognized the right to life as a human right and recognized it even before you opposed the death penalty so the logic of that position should compel to oppose the denial of the medicine necessary for continued life as a denial of human rights. And thirdly, people who must violate the law by using the medicine they must use to preserve their life can surely raise a valid necessity defense against criminal prosecution. And fourth, Amnesty also recognizes the right to health and adequate medical care as human rights so you must recognize the denial of the medicines necessary to prevent blindness or confinement to a wheelchair as also violations of human rights and that people prosecuted under laws denying them access to such medicines have a valid necessity defense.

Let us review then a small part of the voluminous evidence supporting the medical efficacy of marijuana. Drs, Steven Sallan and Norman Zinberg published their results demonstrating that marijuana is a superior antivomiting agent for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy in the October 15, 1975 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. Dr. Alfred Chang confirmed these results in the December, 1979 ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia conduced studies on the medical efficacy of marijuana before the federal government forced the states to halt their research. The Tennessee study included over 100,000 people and found that 90.4% of the people could control their nausea and vomiting by smoking marijuana but that only 66.7% of the people were successful when they took Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the active ingredients of marijuana as a pill. As opposed to smoked marijuana, which worked almost immediately, patients suffering from severe nausea and vomiting often had trouble keeping the THC-9 pill down long enough for it to begin to work. What was confirmed in the 1970's with respect to the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy applies equally to the nausea and vomiting caused by AIDS.

The May 29, 2003 STAR TRIBUNE (pp. D1&D2) stated that 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, that one million end up on chemotherapy, and that 70 t0 80 percent of these patients experience nausea and vomiting during their chemotherapy. In other words, seven to eight hundred thousand people end up vomiting their guts out every year because of the U.S. government's refusal to legalize medical marijuana and, every three years, the number of people vomiting their guts out mounts up to millions without even considering the additional people vomiting their guts out because of AIDS.

The June 3, 2003 STAR TRIBUNE (pp. D1&D2) trumpeted the newest drug for preventing nausea and vomiting, MCI Pharma, Inc's palonosetron. then awaiting FDA approval. This drug, introduced nearly thirty years after plain old marijuana was proven to be a superior anti nausea and vomiting agent by Sallan and Zinberg, only eliminated nausea and vomiting in 72 to 81 percent of the patients after their first day of chemotherapy and in 64 to 74 percent of these patients after five days. This in contrast to the Tennessee study, which found that marijuana could eliminate nausea and vomiting in 90.4 percent of the chemotherapy patients.

Drs. Robert M. Hepler and Ira M. Frank reported that marijuana is effective in treating glaucoma in the September 6, 1971 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. Glaucoma is a disease in which the build up of severe pressure in the eyes leads to blindness. THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE PHARMACOLOGY OF CANNABIS, held in Savannah, Georgia in December, 1974 reported that other cannabinoids in marijuana were far more effective with glaucoma than Delta-9-THC. Delta-8-THC, for example, was far superior. Drs. Hepler and Frank, along with J.T. Ungerleider, reported on the superior efficacy of marijuana in treating glaucoma in the December, 1987 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OPHTHALMOLOGY.

Marijuana has also proven superior to the THC pill in the treatment of the muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. During hearings before Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young of a case brought by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Valerie Cover, who had been confined to a wheel chair because of multiple sclerosis, testified that she was able to resume her normal activities after smoking marijuana for three months, and that her symptoms would resume each time she stopped using marijuana. At the end of hearings that took place between 1987 and 1988, Judge Young ruled that marijuana was useful for nausea, glaucoma, muscle spasticity, stimulating appetite, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, pain, asthma, and alcohol and other drug withdrawal.

Even more dramatic evidence has emerged in recent years with reports that cannaniboids kill a variety of human cancer cells in the test tube, including human lung cancer cells, and that regular marijuana users not only do not contract cancer at higher rates than the general population but may even benefit from a protective effect from marijuana. Donald Taskin, identified by NEW SCIENTIST magazine as a lung cancer expert at a laboratory at the University of California at Los Angeles, reported on such findings at the 2005 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Taskin received the names of 1,209 Los Angeles residents with lung, oral/pharyngeal, and esophagal cancer from the Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program. He divided the subjects according to their number of joint years of exposure to marijuana, where a joint year equalled one joint per day times 365. The number 1 stood for the chance of the non exposed control groups contracting cancer, numbers higher than 1 standing for an increased risk and numbers smaller than 1 standing for a lesser risk.

For lung cancer, the chances were 0.78 for 1 to 10 joint years, 0.74 for 10 to 30, 0.85 for 30 to 60, and 0.85 for more than 60. For oral/pharyngeal cancer, the respective numbers were 0.92 for 1 to 10 joint years, 0.89 for 10 t0 30, 0.81 for for 30 to 60, and 1.0 for more than 60. Taskin concluded: "So in summary, we failed to observe a positive association and other potential cofounders."

San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D. asked: "You don't see any positive correlation, but in at least one category, marijuana only smokers and lung cancer it almost looked like there was a negative correlation, i.e. a protective effect. Could you comment on that?"

"Yes," said Taskin, "the odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant. but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. BUT THAT IS NOT AN UNREASONABLE HYPOTHESIS." (my emphasis)

The October, 2005 MINI-REVIEWS IN MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY reported that the administration of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids (cannabinoid like chemicals made by the human body's own biochemistry) have been shown to inhibit the growth of human lung carcinoma cells, glioma (brain tumor), lymphoma/leukimia, skin carcinoma cells, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer, causing apoptosis (programmed cell death), inhibiting angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels to provide the tumor with a blood supply) and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells (the breaking off of cancer cells that travel elsewhere in the body and form new tumors).

In addition to denying its citizens the benefits of a medicinal substance that is in many cases necessary for continued health and even life, the U.S. government's drug jihad -- and it is a jihad and not a war since it is pursued without regard to the consequences -- against its own people has led to many grave violations of civil liberties. The July 28, 2003 STAR TRIBUNE (p. A3) reported that there were 2.17 million Americans in state and federal prisons, local and county jails and juvenile detention facilities at the end of 2002, many for victimless crimes such as drug use. This was a 2.6 percent increase in the incarcerated population in just one year. The August 18, 2003 STAR TRIBUNE (p. A4) stated that 5,618,000 U.S. adults have served time in state or federal prisons, nearly one in 37 or 2.7 percent. The study projected that 7.7 million people will have served time in prison by 2010, about 3.4 percent of the adult population. If the government is allowed to continue imprisoning more and more people because of its drug war, the logical outcome will be that somewhere between the present percentage of the population being in prison and all of the populating consisting of either prison inmates or prison guards, society will have passed the point of collapse.

The right to due process of law has been abolished in many cases because of the government's fanatical drug war jihad. The federal government can now confiscate property worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on the mere SUSPICION that the property was acquired with money from drug dealing. Even if the victim of the confiscation is aquitted in a criminal trial, he or she must still sue the government to recover their property. Yet Amendment V of the U.S. Constitution states that "no person...(shall) be deprived of life, liberty or PROPERTY (my emphasis) without due process of law." And Amendment VII requires that "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed TWENTY DOLLARS (my emphasis), the right of trial by jury shall be preserved..."

Since access to health care is a human right and denial of such access is a violation of human rights, since denial of access to health care necessary to prevent permanent disability is a violation of human rights and is analogous to inflicting bodily mutilation as a punishment which is also a violation of human rights, and since denial of access to medical care necessary to prevent death is a violation of human rights since it violates the right to life, and since the U.S. government's drug war jihad has led to many grievous violations of civil liberties, I am requesting that Amnesty International begin making inquiries to the U.S. government about these human rights violations and adopt all persons imprisoned solely for seeking necessary medical care as prisoners of conscience.


Sincerely,
Robert Halfhill




MORE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

On November 7, 2005, I filed a human rights complaint about the United States' drug war with Amnesty International and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The human rights violations of the drug war -- denials of access to the medical care necessary to avoid death or permanent disability such as blindness from glaucoma, confiscation of property without a trial, and the increasing percentage of the U.S. population in prison -- are precisely the kind of human rights violations Amnesty International acts on, so the extension of the kind of complaints they tack action on to the drug war is not really an extension of their scope of action at all. Acting on the human rights violations of the drug war follows logically from what they are already doing.

But on January 13, 2006, I finally received a reply from Amnesty International stating that the human rights violations of the drug war are beyond their scope and expertise and that, therefore, they would not be able to act on my complaint. Their letter is reproduced below. But before the Amnesty reply, I am enclosing my letter asking them to reconsider their decision.

Amnesty International has broadened its concept of humen rights several times already. Originally, they did not include opposition to the death penalty in their concept of human rights. But after lobbying from concerned people, they decided that they would oppose the death penalty as a human rights violation no matter what the reason for the death penalty being imposed. They decided to view the death penalty as a human rights violation not only if the death sentence had been imposed for the nonviolent expression of political beliefs or the victim's ethnic or religious identidy. Now they would oppose the death penalty as a human rights violation even if the sentence had been imposed for the commission of one of the capital crimes such as murder. Amnesty International had decided that the infliction of the death penalty for ANY reason was a human rights violation.

During the wars between Serbs, Croats and Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, the women who had been victimized by the usual wartime practice of the victor raping the women among the defeated enemy demanded that rape and other crimes against women be treated as human rights violations. It is, of course, a no brainer that rape is as much a human rights violation as the other atrocities committed in war. Now, the women of the formers Yugoslavia seem to have expanded the consciousness of the international human rights community into viewing rape as as bad as any other human rights violation.

IF enough people lobby Amnesty International, we can convince them that killing someone by making the only medicine that may keep them alive illegal is as much a human rights violation as impoing a death sentence or slaughtering people in ethnic cleansing and that confiscating someone's property without a trial is as much a violation of human rights as any other denial of due process.

IT IS MOST EFFECTIVE IF YOU CONTACT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL BY A WRITTEN SNAIL MAIL LETTER. BUT IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO DO THAT, SEND THEM AN EMAIL MESSAGE AT: amnesty@amnesty.org. Since this campaign will likely continue over months and even years, you need not send them the message only once. MAKE SENDING THEM A MESSAGE A REGULAR PART OF YOUR ROUTINE AND SEND IT DAILY. My comments about Amnesty International's reply letter are inserted in parentheses and capitals.)

Robert Halfhill

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January 13, 2006

Mr. Halfhill
125 Oak Grove, Apt 41
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403-4308 USA
09, December, 2005

Dear Mr. Halfhill

Thanks for your letter. As you may be aware, Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide, independent, non-governmental organization that seeks to ensure that all people enjoy all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

In pursuit of this mission, AI's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights. (BUT DENYING THE MEDICINE NECESSARY TO PREVENT DEATH OR DISABILITY IS AN ABUSE OF THE RIGHT TO PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INTEGRITY--RH)

Everyday AI received hundreds of communications from all parts of the world. Please be assured that we carefully read each and every one of these. The North American team has a large program of work on the USA and although it is rarely able to provide direct assistance or action on individual cases, all relevant information we do receive is used to help us monitor and document patterns of abuse upon which we may be able to act at a later stage. Although we have on occasion taken up the issue of absence of medical care in prisons or jails or related issues, I am afraid we do not have the resources or expertise to investigate or act on individual cases of alleged medical neglect. I am sorry that we are unable to assist you in this particular case and hope that you will be able to seek redress elsewhere. (BUT THE DENIAL OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA TO PEOPLE IN THE U.S. ENDURING NAUSE AND VOMITING FROM CANCER CHEMOTHERAPY EQUALS SEVEN TO EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE EACH YEAR AND AMOUNTS TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN JUST TWO YEARS. IT IS NOT JUST AN INDIVIDUAL CASE OF MEDICAL NEGLECT AND THUS CONSTITUTES A PATTERN OF ABUSE. AND THIS DOES NOT EVEN TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE MANY ADDITIONAL PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM OTHER DISEASES THAT COULD BE HELPED BY MEDICAL MARIJUANA.-RH)

As a volunteer based human rights movement our resources are limited. We ask for your understanding if you do not hear from us further to this letter. We appreciate the time and trouble you have taken to write to us. (IN OTHER WORDS, DON'T CONTACT US AGAIN. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S RESOURCES ARE LIMITED BUT THEIR RESOURCES WERE TOO LIMITED TO RESPOND TO ALL THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS THAT CAME TO THEIR ATTENTION BEFORE THEY EXPANDED THEIR WORK LOAD TO INCLUDE DEATH PENALTY CASES AND WOMEN RAPED IN WAR AND ETHNIC CLEANSING. THE MANY VICTIMS OF THE DRUG WAR ARE EQUALLY DESERVING OF HELP FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL.-RH)

Yours Sincerely.

Anne Schwenk
North America Research Team
Amnesty International

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January 13, 2006

Amnesty International --
UK International Secretariat Human Rights Action Center
1 Easton Street
London WC1X0DW, United Kingdom
Email:Amnesty@amnesty.org

Dear Sir or Madam:

On November 7, 2005, I filed a human rights complaint with Amnesty International against the United States on the grounds that the U.S.'s War On Drugs has resulted in millions of people being denied access to medicinal marijuana, although this medicine is often their only means of avoiding disability or even death. I also pointed out that this Drug War has led to many U.S. citizens having their property confiscated while being denied their constitutional right to a trial by jury and the imprisonment of an increasing percentage of the U.S. population, with the number of people in U.S. prisons reaching 2,170,000 people by 2003.

You replied on December 9, 2005, saying that you were unable to investigate my complaint since you did not have the expertise or resources to investigate individual cases of medical neglect.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision since my complaint concerned millions of people being denied necessary medical care, not "individual cases of alleged medical neglect." I presented documentation from medical journals and other sources that seven to eight hundred thousand people in the U.S. are forced to suffer nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy every year because the U.S. government denies them access to medicinal marijuana so that in just two years the nuumber denied their right to necessary medical care mounts up to between 1,400,000 and 1,600,000. This does not even include the additional people being forced to suffer nausea and vomiting from AIDS, blindness from glaucoma and confinement to wheelchairs because of multiple sclerosis and other diseases. I also pointed out that the War On Drugs has led to the nearly three hundred million people in the U.S. being faced with the confiscation of their property without a jury trial and an increasing percentage of the U.S. population being imprisoned.

The human rights violations flowing from the drug war are more important than "individual cases of alleged medical neglect" and I urge you to reconsider your decision.

Sincerely,

Robert Halfhill
Jason Hollis
Russ Brown
Doug Daubenspeck
Michael Matz
Wade P. Chilton



HOLBERG LEARNS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE TREATED UNFAIRLY BY THE MAJORITY


April 30, 2006
Star Tribune Letters Editor
425 Portland Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55488

On Wednesday, April 26, 2006, when a predominantly non metropolitan group of Minnesota House members voted to not require a referendum for a 0.05% stadium tax, secure in the knowledge that their constituents could enjoy the benefits of a Twins stadium while forcing Hennepin County residents to bear the cost, Representative Mary Liz Holberg said: "It's wrong. Sure, it's an easy vote for all of you who don't live in Hennepin County."

It is ironic that Representative Holberg objected to a majority unfairly trying to saddle a minority with the cost of a Twins Stadium when she is the leading House proponent of the heterosexual majority in Minnesota voting for a constitutional amendment to deny the Gay and Lesbian minority equal access to the benefits of marriage. In this case, it is simple selfishness by a majority voting to enjoy the benefits while forcing a minority to pay the cost. In the case of segregation laws in the south and anti Gay laws, it is bigotry by the white or heterosexual majority towards a Black or Lesbian and Gay minority. But in either case it is a majority treating a minority unfairly and we can all hope Ms. Holberg learns and grows from this experience of unfair treatment by the majority.


Robert Halfhill



MINNESOTA SUPREME COURT -- 33 YEARS OF HOMOPHOBIC RULINGS!

      by Robert Halfhill


    It is over three decades past time for the Supreme Injustices on Minnesota's Supreme Court to realize that the Stonewall Rebellion happened 35 years ago and that it is way past time for them to start realizing that they are living in the 21st century, not the 20th and certainly not the 19th.  For while the legal profession would have us believe that judges are above the political fray and issue objective rulings based solely on the law, the Minnesota Supreme Court justices have proven themselves to be a claque of reactionary, venal, Neanderthal men and women, issuing decisions on the basis of their homophobic hatreds and biases.  Just a few of their homophobic assaults on our communities are:

   On May 18, 1970, Jack Baker and Mike McConnell applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County.  Gerald R. Nelson, Clerk of Hennepin County District Court, refused to issue the license.  The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld Nelson's denial, the justices demonstrating that their view of human history was still based on millennia old myths by declaring that "The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis."

    The Minnesota Supreme Bastards removed Hennepin County District Judge Crane Winton from his judgeship on May 25, 1984 because he would not promise NEVER to violate Minnesota's sodomy law in the future, although heterosexual judges who had been brought up on charges of violating Minnesota's fornication and adultery laws were allowed to keep their positions.  Supposedly liberal justice Rosalie Wahl raised the issue that two of the hustlers Winton had had sex with were a few months short of their 18th birthdays.  This was not part of the record when Winton's case reached the Minnesota Supreme Court and higher courts are supposed to rule solely on the legal record when cases reach them and not drag in matters that they have only read about in the news media.

   On December 1, 1986 the Hennepin County District Court ruled that the sodomy statute was unconstitutional because it violated the right of privacy.  On October 2, 1987, the Minnesota Supreme Injustices overruled the Hennepin County District Court and upheld the sodomy statute.  It was not until July 2, 2001 when Hennepin County District Judge Delila Pierce granted class action status to her earlier ruling that the sodomy law was unconstitutional and thereby extended it statewide.  Hennepin County did not appeal Judge Pierce's ruling, thus making it final when the deadline for an appeal passed on August 31, 2001.  If the Minnesota Supreme Court had not been thus bypassed, the other decisions of the Supreme Buffoons do not warrant much confidence as to what their ruling would have been if they had not been bypassed.

   On July 31, 1990 when the case of a Marshall, Minnesota landlord who had refused to rent to an unmarried couple came before the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Court suddenly went crazy and, in a berserk rage, turned against twenty years of legal rulings barring discrimination against unmarried couples.  Justice Lawrence Yetka, speaking for the majority, asked "How can there be a compelling state interest in promoting fornication when there is a state statute prohibiting it?"  The Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner, Stephen Cooper and others deplored the Court's ruling on September 6, 1990.  Attorneys for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights asked the Court to reconsider its decision on September 10, 1990 but the Court reaffirmed their reactionary ruling on October 8, 1990.

   On April 2, 1993, the Minneapolis City Council voted 10/2 to reimburse City employees for the out of pocket health care expenses of their domestic partners.  On August 27, 1993, the Minneapolis City Council voted to provide full health benefits to the domestic partners of City employees.  In the Sunday, September 5, 1993 STAR TRIBUNE, Lou Gelfand calculated in the "If you ran the paper" feature on page 29A that if all 40 of the City employees who said they would take advantage of the domestic partners benefits followed through, the yearly cost of $87,840.00 would be less than 1% of the City's total cost for benefits for its employees of $11,900,000.00.  However on December 28, 1993, James Lilly of North Minneapolis filed for a temporary injunction in Hennepin County District Court to prevent the Domestic Partners Ordinance from taking effect.  Lilly was represented by the right wing Homes School Legal Defense Association.  Judge Deborah Hedlund granted a temporary injunction of December 30, 1992, preventing the medical benefits for the domestic partners of City employees from being issued as scheduled at the beginning of 1994.  On June 3, 1994, Hedlund made the injunction permanent and barred the City from even reimbursing  the out of pocket medical expenses of their employees' domestic partners.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Hedlund's ruling on January 30, 1995, even though Minnesota cities had previously been allowed to act on matters comparable in importance to providing medical benefits for the domestic partners of City employees.  The Minnesota Supreme Court refused to even hear Minneapolis' appeal of the Appeals Court ruling on March 31, 1995.

   When Julie Goins' employer, the West Group, told her that she had to take a five minute walk to another building to use an unisex bathroom instead of using the women's bathroom in the building when she worked, Goins, a male to female transsexual, sued under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  She won in the Minnesota Appeals Court on November 21, 2000 but the Supreme Homophobes reversed the Appeals Court on November 29, 2001 and ruled against her on the grounds that she had refused to tell her employer whether she had completed the sex reassignment surgery.  In other words, the West Group wanted to know if her genitals had been altered and Goins had refused to answer their question or submit to a genital inspection.  Besides the gross violation of the right of privacy involved in forcing Ms. Goins to submit to an inspection of her genitals by company officials as a condition of continued employment, medical professionals in the field of sex reassignment surgery all require the reassignee to live as the opposite sex for a year before their genitals are altered to minimize the chance of the patient later regretting that they had made the change when it was too late to alter it.  The Minnesota Supreme Court's decision would make it impossible for transsexuals to follow their physician's instructions while they were waiting for their final surgery.

   For far too long have the reactionary Supreme Neanderthals been getting progressively too big for their britches while pretending to be above the political fray and issuing homophobic decisions.  We need a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersexed activist on that court to begin cutting them down to size and making them realize that they are hanging on 35 years past the Stonewall Rebellion.  In future elections, the GLBTI communities should run a full slate of GLBTI activists and contest every seat on that court that is up for election until we have thrown ALL the homophobes out
.


Page 3

Reply To Green Theists

Mpls. City Councilor, Lisa Goodman No Friend of Northwest Airlines Mechanics

Human Rights Complaint To Amnesty International and U.N.

More Amnesty International

Holberg Learns What It's Like To Be Treated Unfairly By The Majority

Minnesota Supreme Court--33 Years of Homophobic Rulings

Home

Regime Change Needed At Home

Why Do You Cling To A Religion That Has Burned You At The Stake For 2000 Years

Military Tribunals Are A Security Threat

Bombing Civilians Not "Eye For Eye"

Oil, Empire and Lies

No Pledge Of Allegiance

Historical Bigotry

Police Brutality

Marijuana And Medicine

Pro-Medical Marijuana Letter to MN Legislators

An Agnostic's Reply

OpEd and TruthOut's Kennedy Article Leave No Excuse For Indecision About Theft Of '00 and '04 Elections

Malign Intent Behind Conservative Philosophy

Page 2


Illumination

An Open Letter To Senator Michele Bachmann, RE: Same-Sex Marriage

9/11 Allowed To Occur

9/11: Further Replies

The Folly of Lesser-Evilism

Gay Marriage:  The Afghanistan Connection

We Should Be Mad As Hell And Refuse To Take It Anymore

Lavender Debate On Supporting Democrats

Links:

The Pen


To email Robert Halfhill CLICK HERE.

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