Michael Weinstein Incites Faculty against USAFA?

The prior article on the upcoming religious climate review at USAFA noted most major news repeats of the CSIndy story missed some of the more interesting details.

The Associated Press article closed with a single sentence on a related topic:

The Independent reported that the Air Force also plans to review questions raised by an academy faculty member about the qualifications of some of the faculty.

While the statement may seem unrelated to religion at USAFA, it’s actually an integral piece to the puzzle.  Here’s what the Independent said:

A second inquiry…involves alleged accreditation violations, religious discrimination and cronyism in hiring civilian faculty.

“I am very concerned that [USAFA] may have committed persistent, gross violations of allowing inadequate academic credentials of many military instructors,” R. David Mullin, associate professor of economics, writes in his complaint to the Higher Learning Commission, Chicago, which accredits the academy.

“Also there have been violations of First Amendment rights and academic freedom by Brigadier General Dana Born, Dean of Faculty, and Richard Fullerton, Vice Dean of Faculty. These two officers have also stifled diversification of the faculty.”…

Mullin also alleges that more than half of cadets who took Calculus 1 and 2 in their first semester from 1996 through 2006 were taught by professors with unrelated master’s degrees.

The CSIndy accurately notes R. David Mullin is the same USAFA faculty member who recently sued USAFA over the National Prayer Luncheon.  It mentions this inquiry is being investigated by the Air Force Inspector General’s office, though it doesn’t make clear if that is a result of a direct IG complaint.

To put this in perspective, Mullin has taught at USAFA for 13 years.  According to the CSIndy, his accusations involve issues between 5 and 15 years ago. 

After all these years, why is Mullin making these accusations now?  Why is he complaining to the Higher Learning Commission — rather than a host of other avenues — about “violations of the First Amendment”?  The HLC accredits USAFA, so why threaten the very academic credibility of his own employer?  Why has he saved up and then summarized a laundry list of completely unrelated accusations, ranging from diversity to religion, to compose a scathing complaint?

The most likely answer:  Michael Weinstein.

It appears R. David Mullin, a member of the USAFA faculty, has become the latest pawn of Michael Weinstein.  After being rebuffed in his lawsuit with Weinstein, Mullin’s latest (unrelated) complaint bears all the hallmarks of the Weinstein Method.  The Colorado Springs Gazette described the Method as

Condemn in the strongest language possible. Publicly embarrass. Sue if necessary. Each new step raises the pressure on his publicity-averse targets.

It may be much simpler:  Criticize.  Humiliate.  Intimidate and threaten.  Throw an occasional tantrum.

Mullin, apparently taking up Weinstein’s mantle, is now “agitating” the very institution paying him to teach academics and professionalism to future US military officers.  His tactic is classic Weinstein: Find the target’s ‘oversight’ (in this case, the accreditation agency), and inundate them (all of them) with every possible permutation of any possible hint of misconduct (religion, hiring, diversity, qualification…).  This tactic is sometimes known as “throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks.”  [Edited:] Weinstein hopes in all the unrelated accusations he makes, something will get dug up in his favor during the inevitable investigation — or he hopes the investigation itself is enough to negatively influence his targets.

When a person produces a laundry list of unrelated complaints, they give the impression their goal is not the correction of any error, but the wholesale public humiliation of their target.  Its unlikely Mullin is dragging up Calculus from the late 1990s because he’s concerned about the mathematical integration skills of future officers.  Instead, its one more way USAFA may get in “trouble” (or at least the appearance of trouble, which, in the Weinstein Method, is enough).  The complaint smells like “payback” over USAFA’s successful defense of the National Prayer Luncheon; it seems to be vindictive sour grapes.

The “negative publicity” given the US military — even if the accusations aren’t true — is actually intentional.  Weinstein and his crew have voiced their intention of dragging the US military through the mud in public if it fails to accede to their demands.  USAFA stood up to Weinstein, essentially closing the door in his face after they finally learned no matter what they did, Weinstein would still make unfounded and vitriolic accusations against them.  After previously being near-giddy over his personal access to the USAFA Superintendent, Weinstein got upset when he was put back in line with everyone else.  He re-declared “war” on USAFA, and now he has a paid member of the USAFA faculty as an ally against the Academy (though this isn’t the first faculty member to announce his alignment with Weinstein).

Unfortunately, Weinstein has discovered that within military grievance systems — like the Inspector General reportedly investigating Mullin’s complaint — he has a free pass to harass and coerce the US military (as well as distract it from its mission).  For example, years ago he discovered IG complaints are no-lose situations for him.  (This observation was made here in 2007, in an article even the MRFF called “a well-honed presentation.”)  Because of the (appropriate) value the military places on its grievance systems, Weinstein has found they provide him unfettered access to lodge what appear to be countless and meritless complaints.  After all, there are no repercussions to him, even if the accusations are entirely frivolous.

In fact, he may benefit even if he loses.  When Weinstein complained to the Pentagon Inspector General in another incident (Christian Embassy), the IG dismissed his accusations out of hand, but found fault with Weinstein’s “targets” over a separate issue.  According to Chris Rodda, the IG’s new angle essentially “opened a door” for the MRFF to make a bevy of new complaints.  Thus, Weinstein literally has nothing to lose and everything to gain while he uses the US military’s own systems in his campaign against religious freedom in the military.

Ultimately, it is unlikely Mullin’s accusations will go very far.  The US Air Force Academy received a 10 year accreditation in 2009 from the same accrediting group to which Mullin complained.  Notably, both he and the USAFA leaders he now complains about were at USAFA then.  Thus, the HLC has already evaluated the Air Force Academy in the environment about which Mullin complains.

The content of Mullin’s complaint seems to portend this, as the words chosen were specific to the USAFA’s last accreditation report.  For example, in the report the HLC raised questions of academic freedom and diversity, which are both key terms Mullin also chose to use in his complaint.  Mullin seems to be telling the HLC they didn’t do their job correctly the first time, which is unlikely to endear them to his cause. 

Weinstein and his acolytes are becoming proficient at wasting the military’s time.  The US military, and the US Air Force Academy in particular, have likely committed significant resources to receiving, investigating, and answering the frivolous accusations of Weinstein and his cohorts.  At some point the military will likely recognize the futility of trying to placate Weinstein (as USAFA did) and begin to view his accusations with the skepticism they are due.  In fact, that may already be occurring…

Despite the fact USAFA earned another attack following its stand against Michael Weinstein, it should take heart:  History has shown perseverance against Weinstein’s attacks on the Constitutionally protected human liberties of American troops pays off.  Should all his threats fail — lawsuits, complaints to the military, etc. — Weinstein will, in true form, revert to his most trusted custom:  He’ll start calling people names.

Because when they lose, that’s what playground bullies do.

21 comments

  • JD … Please cite your source for this:

    “According to Chris Rodda, the IG’s new angle essentially “opened a door” for the MRFF to make a bevy of new complaints.”

    I know what I’ve said about the IG’s report on the Christian Embassy, and I know what I meant by any comments I’ve made on the subject. I want to know what your twisting to make the statement above.

    And, BTW, MRFF had absolutely nothing to do with anything David Mullin has said on this completely non-MRFF related issue of faculty qualifications at the Academy. I didn’t even know about this until I read it here. But, of course, JD’s obsession with Mikey Weinstein and MRFF is always going to lead him to connect things that have absolutely no connection to each other if he can use a manufactured connection to concoct a story about Mikey.

    Of course, JD is ignoring the actual MRFF story about Friday’s appeals court ruling in Texas in Mikey’s case against Gordon Klingenschmitt and the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches. JD loves to report on Mikey and MRFF’s cases that get dismissed, but apparently doesn’t want to report on this one that is going forward because of the appeals court ruling.

  • The Chris Rodda quote with surrounding text:

    they [the Pentagon] actually handed us an opening to pursue all appearances by uniformed personnel in “non-federal entity” productions, regardless of how overtly sectarian the content of the program is. In other words, the DoD IG…succeeded not in hindering MRFF, but in opening the door for us to apply the same criteria applied to the Christian Embassy video to other appearances by military personnel…

  • […]

    How do you think that you are serving the Lord by bearing false witness? Your comments about me demonstrate that contradiction.

    You assert falsely that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is involved in the complaints that I have made to Higher Learning Commission (HRC). MRFF has no involvement in my HRC complaint. And MRFF has no involvement in the other investigations of alleged accreditation violations.

    By the nature of an ongoing Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General (SAF IG) investigation, legally you would not have any knowledge about it. Falsely commenting about this investigation is another sin.
    You assert that I came forward with a “laundry list” of “unrelated” complaints because of “sour grapes” over the outcome of Mullin et al v. Gould. Clearly you have no idea about who I am. I have been an evangelical Christian my whole adult life. And I have been an active member of one of the largest evangelical Presbyterian churches where I have been a Sunday school teacher for several years. When you were still in diapers, I received a degree with a major in religion from a Christian school.

    I’ve come forward to publicly exercising my legal rights to seek to enforce the First Amendment over the abuse of the non-establishment clause that occurs at the United States Air Force Academy. Let’s see you will come forward, […], by not expunging from this message your name and this sentence. If you make the deletions, then you will have failed a test of character. More bluntly you will have committed another sin. And if you take any words of this message out of context, then you will have committed yet another sin.

    I pray that you confess your sins. I pray that you will truly submit to the authority of Jesus Christ as your Savior, rather than exercising hubris by defaming me as an false act of devotion to God.

    David Mullin

    Edited by Admin.

  • @JD
    Where did I write this? I want the source so that I can read it in the context of whatever it was I was writing about, and also to see what the words were that you replaced by an ellipsis. You obviously keep much better track of everything I’ve ever written much better than I do, so tell me where I wrote this so I can read whatever it was.

  • @David Mullin

    You assert falsely that the…(MRFF) is involved in the complaints…

    You may wish to re-read the article. Nowhere above does it assert MRFF involvement in your current complaint. There was one sentence with “they” in the 10th paragraph which has now been edited for clarity, though the article in its entirety is fairly clear on the subject.

    legally you would not have any knowledge about it.

    All information cited as fact above is sourced to public information.

    I have been an evangelical Christian…

    You started the paragraph as a rebuttal against the “laundry list” of complaints, yet you talked about faith, not the complaints. Your faith is public information but it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    I’ve come forward to…seek to enforce the First Amendment over the abuse of the non-establishment clause that occurs at [USAFA].

    You are free to make that accusation, though it weakens your case when there is no public evidence to support your claim (a claim that has been unsuccessfully made for several years). By the way, what does Calculus from 1996 have to do with the First Amendment?

  • […],

    Ellipsis in place of your name? You failed the test of character. Afraid to assign your name to what you write?

    I will not comment on the ongoing investigations. But read this excerpt of Lt Gen Rosa’s comments to the Anti-Defamation League National Executive Committee Meeting in Denver on June 3, 2005.

    David Mullin

    Culture change experts around the country — and trust me, we brought many of them to the Academy — if everything goes well, you are talking about probably six years. And normally, it is six to eight years. You obviously make improvements in the first couple years, but to get to the end of that red line, it takes time.

    If we all sit in this room and think if we do one session of a 50-minute training and the problems we face are cured, then we are fooling ourselves in every aspect.

    Now we get to the religious respect issue. How did we find it, what happened, how do we know this?

    I told you I arrived at the Academy in July of ’03. My commandant got there in April of ’03, and his vice-commandant. There were four people removed from the Academy and four of us put in. Three got there relatively quickly; I waited three months.

    So about the time I get there in July, I look at what has been written, what has been said, and I find that we are outside the box. There was a National Prayer Breakfast e-mail that went out. It was inappropriate. You can talk about the National Prayer Breakfast. There is nothing wrong with that. But the words in there, and the meanings coming across, written by our commandant, were inappropriate. They were outside the box.

    Another commander’s guidance went out. Well-intended. What we had found, among other things, is that these young people had loyalty to themselves over loyalty to the institution and to the Air Force. So in an attempt to give young people an idea of where their loyalties lie, our commandant started out with your loyalty is to your God. And then went down.

    Some people believe that. But a lot don’t. It is inappropriate, in my mind. So I handled each of those. We sat down and we reset the clock. I said that is inappropriate. That is not the kind of behavior, not what I expect out of you. That was in April of ’03. And since that time I have not seen any kind of behavior outside that line.

    There was a full-page ad in the back of our base paper. Our base paper talks about things that happen around the Academy. I did not see that ad in the fall of ’03, the holiday season of ’03. My wife and I went back to the East Coast to be with our family. I didn’t see the ad.

    The ad said — we can get a copy for you — it said something to the effect of the only real hope — or Jesus Christ is the only real hope for mankind. Or something to that effect.

    When I saw that ad — what made matters worse, several — several, I don’t know the number –but several Academy leaders had signed up through that. Unknowing through an e-mail, they signed up and put $5 in, around the holidays. So then their name was tied to that ad.

    That ad, I am told, had run for many, many years. It is a full-page ad. It did not run in ’04. I didn’t know about that ad until the summertime of ’04 when we started to look and talk to folks.

    “Passion of the Christ.” A very, very controversial movie. When that came out, we had young people that mass e-mailed — mass e-mailed to everybody: You need to go to this movie, you need to see this movie.

    In addition, my wife and I went to have lunch. Because we go periodically in with the cadets. We noticed flyers, not on every table, but enough flyers to get to your attention. I had been so embroiled in what was going on, I didn’t realize what this movie was. She knew what it was.

    Again, that is not the way we do business in the Department of Defense. It is not the way we do business in the Air Force. I sent out a policy right after that to say here is what we should be doing, and this is what our government expects.

    Edited by Admin.

  • @David Mullin
    The entire transcript of the General’s remarks have been available here for years. What does that have to do with your new complaint?

  • @JD
    Still waiting for the exact source of my quote.

  • I’m confused. I thought JD wrote this in the original blog post:

    After all these years, why is Mullin making these accusations now? Why is he complaining to the Higher Learning Commission — rather than a host of other avenues — about “violations of the First Amendment”? The HLC accredits USAFA, so why threaten the very academic credibility of his own employer? Why has he saved up and then summarized a laundry list of completely unrelated accusations, ranging from diversity to religion, to compose a scathing complaint?
    The most likely answer: Michael Weinstein.
    It appears R. David Mullin, a member of the USAFA faculty, has become the latest pawn of Michael Weinstein. After being rebuffed in his lawsuit with Weinstein, Mullin’s latest (unrelated) complaint bears all the hallmarks of the Weinstein Method.

    And then Mr. Mullin replied with this:

    You assert falsely that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is involved in the complaints that I have made to Higher Learning Commission (HRC). MRFF has no involvement in my HRC complaint. And MRFF has no involvement in the other investigations of alleged accreditation violations.

    And then finally JD replied saying this:

    You may wish to re-read the article. Nowhere above does it assert MRFF involvement in your current complaint. There was one sentence with “they” in the 10th paragraph which has now been edited for clarity, though the article in its entirety is fairly clear on the subject.

    “Nowhere above does it assert MRFF involvement in your current complaint”??? Really?

    I suppose JD could have made it a little more clear that he was asserting MRFF involvement by writing something like “The most likely answer: Michael Weinstein …and the MRFF”. But seriously, is JD trying to suggest that he did not mean to imply that the MRFF is involved in this and that it’s a side hobby of Micky Weinstein acting on his own, outside the MRFF?

    JD’s credibility is in question here.

  • @WWRID
    “Really?”
    Yes. Really. Nothing above asserts either Weinstein or the MRFF are in any way involved with Mullin’s complaint. Every sentence clearly states only “Mullin” with respect to those involved in the complaint.

    Even the portion you chose to quote clearly states Mullin — not Weinstein or the MRFF — has chosen to attack USAFA in a manner similar to how Weinstein has in the past. That neither asserts nor implies that Weinstein or the MRFF are involved in any current complaint.

  • Still waiting for that source for my quote, JD. Why won’t you let me know what it is?

  • @Chris Rodda
    You are not contesting the content or the veracity of the quote; you just can’t remember when you said it. You are demanding someone else find something you produced.

    For someone who says she does “research” as a “day job,” you seem to do a poor job of it.

    You might consider perusing your old emails. You’ll find it there.

    Hopefully the MRFF’s other records are in better shape than this, or it may find its 501(c)3 status in jeopardy.

  • @JD

    I must be misreading or somehow misunderstanding you. I thought that this comment…

    Why has he saved up and then summarized a laundry list of completely unrelated accusations, ranging from diversity to religion, to compose a scathing complaint?

    The most likely answer: Michael Weinstein.

    It appears R. David Mullin, a member of the USAFA faculty, has become the latest pawn of Michael Weinstein.

    …was implying that Micky Weinstein was somehow involved – at least involved enough to make a pawn of Mr. Mullin. Maybe you didn’t mean it the way I am taking it, but that’s how it reads to me.

    So when you say…

    Nothing above asserts either Weinstein or the MRFF are in any way involved with Mullin’s complaint. Every sentence clearly states only “Mullin” with respect to those involved in the complaint.

    …I am left puzzled.

    Maybe I don’t know what you mean when you use the word “involved”. I think that in order for Mr. Mullin to be a pawn of Mr. Weinstein that Mr. Weinstein has to be “involved” somehow. Seems like you want to have it both ways here. Weinstein is either “involved” to the extent that he is a motivating influence on Mr. Mullin or he is not involved, in which case you really can’t imply (as you did very directly in this case) that Mr. Mullin has been manipulated by Mr. Weinstein. Which is it?

  • @JD

    It just occurred to me… the title of JD’s blog post is:

    “Michael Weinstein Incites Faculty against USAFA?”

    Yet he writes…

    Nothing above asserts either Weinstein or the MRFF are in any way involved with Mullin’s complaint.

    Again, I admit that I may completely misunderstand JD’s meaning when he uses the word “involved”, but my reading is that he asserts Weinstein’s involvement in the title!

  • Oops – sorry… I put my own comments in the block quote.

  • @JD
    An email? Seriously? It’s been a very, very long time since I would have sent an email to you, so it would be backed up in one of my email archives from previous years, which is why I don’t remember the quote and couldn’t find it. You must be even more obsessed than I even imagined to actually keep old emails from me handy to go quote-mining through. Can you at least give me the date of the email? I don’t have nearly as much time on my hands to look through my old emails as you obviously do.

    And, just out of curiosity, how on earth can me not remembering an email to you that’s probably several years old possibly put MRFF’s 501(c)3 status in jeopardy? I’d just love to hear an explanation for that bizarre comment.

  • Pingback: God and Country » IG says USAFA Officials Negligent in Absolute Statements

  • Pingback: God and Country » Mikey Weinstein’s Friends and Allies in Military High Places, Part 1

  • Pingback: God and Country » Mikey Weinstein’s Friends and Allies in Military High Places, Part 2

  • Pingback: God and Country » Mikey Weinstein’s Friends and Allies in Military High Places, Part 3

  • Pingback: God and Country » Chris Rodda Shows MRFF Opposition to “Wrong Kind” of Christians

Leave a Reply to JD Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *