One of the commenters on my recent post on J.A.I.L.’s Jake Hanes says, “No wonder you dis-like [sic] Mr. Hanes…he kicked your ass in Rapid City.” Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, a popular name for J.A.I.L. supporters who leave blog comments, then gives a link to video of a June 1 Rapid City Area School Board meeting (also discussed in in PP’s post here).
I’m not sure how Mr. Hanes kicked my ass in Rapid City since I wasn’t at the meeting (or even in the state for that matter). Moreover, two weeks later the Rapid City School Board unanimously approved a resolution urging all South Dakota voters to vote against the proposed amendment. But that isn’t what gives rise to this post. Instead, the video, which shows Hanes’ presentation, is what leads to this new installment of “J.A.I.L. Lies.” To a certain extent, it is a rerun because Hanes largely repeated the party line, one which has little relationship to truth.
One of the first things Hanes told the Rapid City School Board was, “I’m just a concerned citizen” who drove out from Sioux Falls that day to address the board. Yet in a comment posted at a MySpace user’s site the same day as the hearing, Hanes said, “This weekend I am in Rapid City SD doing some work for Amendment E which is the Campaign I work for…” (Emphasis added.) While Hanes indicated near the end of his discussion with the Board that he was a “volunteer” for the amendment, he never disclosed that this “concerned citizen” actually worked for South Dakota’s J.A.I.L.ers.
Hanes advised the Board that to adopt a resolution against the amendment would violate parts of the South Dakotoa Constitution guaranteeing “free and equal” elections. Rather than repeat it verbatim here, this assertion has been rejected elsewhere. Given the fact it subsequently adopted the resolution, the School Board evidently recognized that.
Hanes then trotted out the tired old line that J.A.I.L. doesn’t say anything about school boards, only judges. This canard has been repeatedly debunked. Continuing on with J.A.I.L.’s usual script, Hanes told the board members they need not be concerned as individuals because they act as a board. Yet J.A.I.L.’s own leaders and Hanes himself have said exactly the opposite.
Hanes also told the Board that he has seen judicial abuses. “It . . . happens constantly. It happens all the time. All the time people’s rights are being violated[.]” Yet as has been the case since the initiative got on the ballot, he never pointed to or mentioned any South Dakota case giving rise to the need for the amendment. Even earlier this week South Dakota J.A.I.L.er-in-Chief Bill Stegmeier couldn’t identify any such cases when asked. In fact, we’re still waiting for the announcement — due in November 2005 — of the winner of J.A.I.L.’s “Worst South Dakota Courtroom Horror Story” contest.
Hanes also told the School Board that he doesn’t know what “all this California talk is about” and he’s never had any contact with anyone from California who has any influence on the South Dakota measure. That’s odd. In a mass mailing during the last couple weeks, the South Dakota J.A.I.L. letterhead listed three people: Bill Stegmeier as “sponsor,” Hanes as “events coordinator” and Gary Zerman for “media relations.” Zerman is a California attorney who is also “Lt. Commander-in-Chief” and legal counsel for JAIL4Judges, the California group the South Dakota J.A.I.L.ers claim to no longer be affiliated with.
Of course, since Hanes is toeing the J.A.I.L. party line, I wouldn’t really have expected him to say anything different. The J.A.I.L.ers apparently adhere to a belief that the more you repeat something, the more “true” it becomes, regardless of how many times they may have said the exact opposite to a different audience.
In my experience, the most staunchly held views are based on ignorance or accepted dogma, not carefully considered accumulations of facts.
Mary Roach, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife