John Ashcroft Welcome Rally



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Spec Editorial by Seth Flaxman about Ashcroft

Thoughts on liberal coalitions building.

10 Questions for John Ashcroft Campaign

Theory: The best way to confront Ashcroft would be to use the Republican event to make sure that tough questions were asked of him. These were the questions that the coalition came up with, raised money to print in the spectator, and then distributed to students as they walked into the event.

1. Attorney General Ashcroft, you once said to your critics, "Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national security and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to our enemies and pause to America's friends." In a country founded on an open exchange of ideas, at what point did disagreement become treason?

2. Following September 11th, the Justice Department detained over 5,000 mainly Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians, and held many of them for long periods without access to courts or lawyers. Of those 5,000, only one was convicted of providing “material support” to terrorists; his conviction was later overturned when it was revealed that the principle Justice Department witness in his trial had lied on the stand. These numbers indicate the most widespread campaign of federal ethnic profiling since the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. How do you justify such egregious racial and ethnic profiling without one conviction to show for your efforts?

3. As the US Senator from Missouri, you declared in a speech to students at Bob Jones University that America is unique because “we have no king but Jesus.” That said, what role is there for non-Christians in US civic life?

4. While in the Senate, you sponsored a constitutional amendment that defined life as beginning at “fertilization” and that would have banned all abortions, even those in cases of rape and incest. Would you still support a constitutional amendment banning all forms of abortion today? If so, how do you justify using state power to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, especially following something as heinous as a rape?

5. You repeatedly voted to cut Ryan White Care Act funding which provides medical care for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. How do you justify taking away life-sustaining aid from those who need it most?

6. Attorney General Ashcroft, you publicly criticized James Hormel for being gay prior to voting against his confirmation as ambassador to Luxembourg, opposed legislation extending hate-crimes laws to cover gays and have stated that gay behavior is a sin. Do you believe that gay Americans deserve equal rights and protections under the law?

7. Attorney General Ashcroft, you told Congress that, “there is no evidence of racial bias in the administration of the federal death penalty.” Only three people have been executed by the federal government since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. However, eighty percent of the 845 people executed in the United States before 2003 were convicted of killing white people, while only fifty percent of murders in the United States involve white victims. Do you believe there is evidence of racial bias in the administration of the death penalty on the state level? If yes, why have you not called for a moratorium on executions at all levels? If no, what statistics are you using?

8. On September 5th, 2002, the DEA, under your supervision, raided the Women’s and Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, an organization that provides medicine to seriously ill patients. Government funded research has found that marijuana has legitimate medical uses, and California, under Proposition 215, legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Why did you decide to overrule state law in order to deprive patients of their medicine?

9. Attorney General Ashcroft, in 1994, Congress ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture, whose Article III specifies that signatories will not “extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture” – a practice called extraordinary rendition. You are currently being sued on behalf of a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, for using extraordinary rendition. The suit accuses you of sending Mr. Arar to Syria for interrogation, with the knowledge that Syrian authorities use state-sponsored torture. Does the US Government ever employ extraordinary rendition? Is it ever appropriate to extradite a suspect to a country that uses torture? And do you think the Convention Against Torture is still relevant in the conduct of US foreign policy?

10. Attorney General Ashcroft, as Missouri’s Attorney General you resisted multiple court orders requiring the state to pay for and implement voluntary school desegregation. One federal district court judge concluded from your obstruction that “the state has, as a matter of deliberate policy, decided to defy the authority of this court.” How would you propose to provide equal access to education for students of color without desegregation?

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