A Few Notes On A Previous Post

Yesterday I posted an article about the latest attack on Justice Kavanaugh published in The New York Times. As more information comes out, it becomes even more obvious that this is a political hit job. Below are a few sources and quotes.

From The Daily Caller today:

The Washington Post passed on a thinly sourced, unproven allegation about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh before the New York Times published it in a misleading article in Sunday’s paper that has since been corrected.

From The Federalist today:

The New York Times has finally admitted that the premise of its much-hyped story about an alleged incident with United States Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was false, as the alleged victim says she has no recollection of the incident in question.

The admission undermines what was an already weak story of dubious credibility.

From PJ Media yesterday:

On Saturday, The New York Times ran a story repeating allegations that Brett Kavanaugh was drunk at a party in college and had his genitals thrust into a woman’s face. The allegation has not been confirmed, and friends of the alleged victim say she has no recollection of the events. The man telling the story, Max Stier, represented Bill and Hillary Clinton in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was accused of exposing himself to a woman in a hotel room.

The mainstream media used to do investigative reporting. The fact that they no longer investigate allegations against conservatives or Republicans is one of the reasons the alternative media is flourishing. The New York Times story is a prime example of a political hit job disguised as a news article.

As I have previously stated, there should be a penalty for making unsubstantiated allegations against any public figure.

A Unique, But Logical, Approach To Gun Violence

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article with the following headline, “To Reduce Gun Violence, Arm All Americans.” That is probably the only real solution.

The article reports:

So there was another shooting in Texas. At last count, including the perpetrator, there are seven dead and around 20 injured. We don’t really know anything much about the perpetrator except that he’s been identified as white. Apparently, what prompted the shooting was the perpetrator was stopped by the police, shot his way out, and then raced off, shooting other people until he was finally cornered and shot dead. (Prediction: we’ll find out he had a long criminal record and active arrest warrants for major crimes.)

Now because I’m sure some rental commenter is just waiting to start typing, yes I think it’s awful that people got shot and killed. On the other hand, five people have been killed and 42 injured in Chicago already this weekend. Just this weekend. And I can’t help but wonder why the extremely high murder rates in places like Chicago and Baltimore don’t seem to be news stories.

I’ll leave that for another rant, however, and point out that when you consider murder rates there is a very very high correlation between really stringent gun laws and really high gun violence.

Or put that another way: research shows that very high gun ownership rates correlate with low gun violence. This is true on a local level, and it’s true nationwide where gun ownership has grown dramatically while nationwide gun violence has dropped about 25 percent.

It’s also true that beyond a simple statistical observation, most of the specific recommendations or approaches that people have suggested have no effect. The famous assault weapons ban from the Clinton administration showed no particular effect, and when it expired there is no particular effect. When, after the Heller decision, gun ownership in D.C. went up, gun crime went down.

The only thing that we know is effective to reduce gun violence is to increase gun ownership.

That makes sense–criminals (who generally obtain their guns illegally) are less likely to attack a population that may be armed. A soft target, such as a school, restaurant, or movie theater is much more likely to be attacked. If the criminal knows that a restaurant or theater allows concealed carry, he is likely to pick another target.

We need to accept the fact that there are people who live among us that do bad things. Disarming law-abiding citizens does not stop people who want to do bad things from doing bad things. Law-abiding citizens with guns cause people who do bad things to think twice about doing them.

Misusing The Power Of Social Media

PJ Media posted an article yesterday about a recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg.

The article reports:

During this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is increasingly trying to work with governments to determine what political speech it does and does not allow. Oh sorry, I mean: what kind of political ads it is willing to approve.

In the particular example Zuckerberg cited, in 2018, American pro-life groups wanted to run advertisements for Facebook users in Ireland. This is because the Irish were about to vote in a referendum on whether abortion should be legalized.

When Facebook saw the ad requests, the company contacted the Irish government asking whether this should or should not be allowed. “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.'”

In other words, Facebook could do as it pleased. There was no legal reason to disallow the ads. But what did Facebook do? You guessed it:

“We ended up not allowing the ads.”

When Mark Zuckerberg made this decision, Facebook became a publication–not a platform. The decision was an editorial decision–not a legal decision. The decision was consistent with the political ideology that Facebook has supported in the past. This is the point at which Facebook becomes dangerous. Much of the younger generation gets their news through social media. If Facebook is making editorial decisions based on political ideology, they are not acting as an honest broker of news. Our younger generations are not hearing the complete story–they are hearing a politically biased version–no different from the mainstream media.

There are no laws against Facebook making editorial decisions, but its users need to be aware that they are not getting both sides of any story.

First They Came For Our Hairspray…

I wish environmentalists would simply focus on the things we know–keeping water clean, recycling, proper trash disposal, picking up after our pets, putting out campfires, etc. They always seem to get into trouble when they wander into areas where the science is still being debated. Now they want to take away our air conditioning. I am willing to bet that the person who made that suggestion does not live below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about the war on air conditioning.

The article reports:

Shortly before the Fourth of July, The New York Times published an op-ed attacking air conditioning as unnecessary, contributing to global warming, and oppressive. Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic took up the call, calling air conditioning itself “unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist.” She called for a ban on air conditioning in general, and the internet rushed to defend the technology.

“Air-conditioning is unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist. I can’t explain how many times I’ve gotten sick over the summer b/c of overzealous AC in offices,” Lorenz tweeted, adding “ban A/C.”

The article includes many interesting defenses of air conditioning:

The New York Times‘s Penelope Green begins her article recounting the invention of air conditioning, lamenting, “And in that moment (well, within a few decades), entire industries and geographies were transformed, and new technologies made possible, including, terribly, the internet: Without cooling, there would be no server farms.”

She also connects the need for air conditioning to climate change. “On an overheated planet, air-conditioning becomes more and more desirable, solving in the short term the problem it helped create.”

As for the sexism claim, Green cites a Nature.com study finding that building temperatures were set to the comfort preferences of 1960s-era men in suits and disregards the “thermal comfort” of female staffers. Ironically, she also predicted Lorenz’s tweet. “Come summer, Twitter invariably lights up with charges that air-conditioning is sexist, an engine of the patriarchy, in threads that in turn fire up conservative commentators eager to prove the daftness of the opposition.”

It is true that offices keep air conditioning too strong for the comfort level of many women. Many men also complain that air conditioning is not strong enough. As Green notes, women often wear blankets or even use space heaters to counterbalance excessive air conditioning.

The article also notes that air conditioning saves lives:

National Review‘s Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted about the “Ban A/C” hashtag. “[Ban A/C]? I spent the summer of 2003 in France. There was a heatwave. I saw some of the consequences with my own eyes. Nearly 15,000 people died. per the NIH,” he tweeted.

Part of the problem was that the high temperatures were so unusual that people did not exercise the proper caution in dealing with the heat–staying hydrated, restricting physical activity, etc.

The article concludes:

Air conditioning is one of the great blessings of modern life, making extremely hot locations bearable for living and working. Many buildings may need to turn down the A/C, but opposing air conditioning in general as sexist and calling for “banning” it is little more than a demand to return to a Stone Age standard of living. Thankfully, it seems most of the people tweeting about this absurd idea already know that.

If air conditioning is sexist, is heat sexist?

This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

On Friday, PJ Media posted an article about a group trying to discourage donations to conservative organizations.

The article reports:

On Monday, the first day of the Islamic holy season of Ramadan, the Hamas-linked anti-Israel Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report condemning mainstream charities and philanthropic groups for allowing donors to contribute to conservative organizations CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have accused of being “hate groups” comparable to the Ku Klux Klan. This is particularly rich, as CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror-funding case involving the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

The report, “Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network,” lists “philanthropic foundations, many of them mainstream, that were used by anonymous special interest donors to funnel almost $125 million to anti-Muslim hate groups between 2014 and 2016.” CAIR found 1,096 organizations funding 39 groups they accused of fomenting “anti-Muslim hate,” to the tune of $1.5 billion.

CAIR would define an anti-Muslim hate group as any group that tells the truth about the link between those who support Islamic supremacy and terror. Keep in mind that CAIR was one of the groups listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Trial. If you are unfamiliar with the details of that trial, please look at the circumstances of the trial and the government exhibits from the trial. The exhibits outline the plan of Islamic supremacists to use our freedom and our legal system to undermine our government.

The article continues:

“It is our hope that with sustained action, institutional collaboration, and dedicated will, a community of progressive and mainstream allies will emerge to push the Islamophobia Network back to the fringe of our society, where odious and incendiary speech belong,” CAIR National Research and Advocacy Director Abbas Barzegar said.

In addition to slandering and blacklisting conservative groups, the report brands Trump “the Anti-Muslim Hydra,” without explaining the use of the term “hydra.” This invective may suggest Trump’s administration is a monster, which grows three more heads for every severed head, or it may link the Trump administration to the fictional organization Hydra from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an organization which was too radical even for the Nazis.

To their shame, some of the charitable foundations said they took the report “very seriously.” Schwab Charitable told NPR that its direction of funding is done by individuals and does not “reflect the values or beliefs of Schwab, Schwab Charitable or its management.” Even so, the fund insisted that it “does not condone hate groups and we take concerns about illegitimate activity by grant recipients seriously.” It encouraged people to contact the IRS or state charity regulators if the “anti-Muslim hate groups” broke any laws.

Keep in mind that the Muslim Brotherhood managed to purge all references to radical Islam from our government briefings on terror during the term of Barack Obama. Now CAIR is going after conservative groups because conservative groups understand who CAIR is and understand CAIR’s relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood.

When Congress Becomes A Joke

PJ Media posted an article today about some recent statements by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The article reports:

Waters is the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee — the committee that regulates the banks.

During a hearing examining the practices of some of the nation’s biggest banks, Waters complained to a panel of seven bank CEOs that there are more than 44 million Americans that owe … $1.56 trillion in student loan debt.”

She added, “Last year, one million student loan borrowers defaulted, which is on top of the one million borrowers who defaulted the year before.”

She then demanded to know what they intended to do about this massive problem. “What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?” she asked. “Who would like to answer first? Mr. Monahan, big bank.”

I guess she wasn’t paying attention when the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) which put the government in charge of all student loans. The band CEO’s she was questioning both stated that they had stopped making student loans long before 2010.

The article also states:

Waters then quickly changed the subject to small businesses.

The Obama administration put the federal government in charge of student lending in 2010, with the intention of saving taxpayer dollars by “cutting out the middleman,” as President Barack Obama put it.

According to the Washington Times, “student loan debt exploded from $154.9 billion in 2009 to $1.1 trillion at the end of 2017”  with current student debt “estimated at more than $1.5 trillion.”

Earlier in the hearing, Waters grilled the bank execs about their interactions with Russia.

This woman serves in Congress. She continues to be re-elected. That is beyond sad.

This Didn’t Happen In A Vacuum

There is a bit of a dust up right now within the Democrat Party as to how to handle some recent anti-Semitic remarks by Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Unfortunately this is not the first time in this Congress that anti-Semitic remarks have been made. The difference is that some of the new Congressmen are not willing to condemn those remarks. Speaker Pelosi., with her eye on retaining Democrat control of the House of Representatives, is in the difficult position of harnessing the energy of the new Representatives while not alienating Jewish voters who generally support Democrats. But we need to take a look at where we are and how we got here.

Ilhan Oman represents the 5th Distict in Minnesota, which includes Minneapolis.

On March 5th, PJ Media reported the following about Minneapolis:

Which brings us to Little Mogadishu, in the city soon to be formerly known as Minneapolis, where the good people of Minnesota — of Scandinavian, German, and Irish stock —  have been busily importing people from perhaps the most culturally alien region of the world, Muslim East Africa, whose charming natives are unlikely to follow the traditional immigrant path outlined above. In Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, Bleak House, Mrs. Jellyby ignores her own brood while busily organizing aid to Africa; today’s Mrs. Jellybys have instead have brought East Africa to them.

…A group of Somali volunteers including Abdirahman Mukhtar, left, and Abdullahi Farah gave out pizza and tea to young people from a stand Friday in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.The men hope by connecting with youth and engaging them in conversation they can combat the shootings that have recently plagued the neighborhood. After the  latest spasm of gang violence, Minneapolis’ Somali residents and business owners on Monday stepped up their calls for help from City Hall and police headquarters to help curb the senseless shootings that they say too often go overlooked. On Friday alone, five men of Somali descent were shot in separate attacks, one fatally.

The Somali immigration is largely the result of United Nations policies.

This is the district Ilham Oman represents. The Somali population has not assimilated. It has brought Somalia with it. She represents the views of the people who live in her district.

Representative Rashida Tlaib, another freshman in the House of Representatives, has come out in support of Representative Oman. Representative Tlaib represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. The district includes parts of Detroit and surrounding areas. The district is largely Muslim.

So how did Michigan become a Muslim enclave in America?

Michigan radio posted an article in 2014 that explains the Michigan demographic.

There’s a legend in the local Yemeni community that Henry Ford once met a Yemeni sailor at port, and told him about auto factory jobs that paid five dollars a day. The sailor spread the word, leading to chain migration from Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.

We don’t know if that chance encounter ever really happened.  But we do know that in the early days, Ford was more willing to hire Arabs than some other immigrants—or African-Americans.

And they did seem to follow Ford. A new Arab community, one that now included many Muslims sprung up around his first factory in Highland Park. In fact, the first purpose-built mosque in the US was located in Highland Park.

But that community only lasted for a few years.

“As Henry Ford then moved, and opened a new factory, the Rouge plant, in Dearborn, the Arab Americans followed him there,” Stiffler says.

Plenty of Arab Americans worked outside the auto industry, though. As Detroit’s population boomed, so did a need for grocery stores. In the 1920s, Arab Americans ran hundreds of them.

Stiffler says that created an enduring—and visible—commercial legacy.

The two main Representatives that have come out in support of Representative Oman are Representative Tlaib and Representative Ocasio-Cortez. Note that all three are freshmen in Congress and may not yet be aware of some of what goes on behind the scenes. I suspect a lot of Democrat campaign money comes from the Jewish community and Speaker Pelosi may be trying to keep that money coming while keeping younger voters in the Democrat party.

While the Democrats squabble about what to say about anti-Semitism in their party, Representative Oman sits of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. That, at least, needs to change.

The Democrats’ First Proposal Upon Taking Control Of The House Of Representatives

The first bill introduced in the House of Representatives when the Democrats took over was H.R. 1. The bill was sponsored by Representative John P. Sarbanes of Maryland and is called the “For the People Act of 2019.” Great, only it’s really not for the people–it’s for bigger federal government and smaller state governments.

Politifact posted an article on February 8th about the bill.

The article mentions some of the demands the bill would make on states:

• Offer online voter registration;

• Establish automatic voter registration;

• Allow voter registration on the day of a federal election;

• Allow voters to correct their registration information at the polls;

• Restore voting rights to felons after they leave prison;

• Offer at least 15 days of early voting; and,

• Follow new rules before purging voters from registration lists.

The bill also has several measures related to campaign finance or ethics:

• Require super PACs to disclose donors who give more than $10,000;

• Require major online platforms to maintain an online public record of people who buy at least $500 worth of political ads; and

• Use public financing to match small dollar donations to House and presidential candidates.

There are also some other interesting items in the bill listed in a pjmedia article of January 10th:

It forces states to implement mandatory voter registration. If someone is on a government list — such as receiving welfare benefits or rental subsidies — then they would be automatically registered to vote. Few states have enacted these systems because Americans still view civic participation as a voluntary choice.

…H.R. 1 would also force states to have extended periods of early voting, and mandates that early voting sites be near bus or subway routes.

…H.R. 1 also undermines the First Amendment by exerting government control over political speech and undoing the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.

The proposal also undoes another Supreme Court decision. In Husted, a case arising out of Ohio, the Court ruled that federal laws — known as “Motor Voter” — do not prohibit states from using a voter’s inactivity from triggering a mailing to that voter to see if they still are living at that location. H.R. 1 would undo that ruling and prohibit states from effectively cleaning voter rolls.

For further information follow the link to the pjmedia article.

Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

States are given the authority to hold elections. To put the federal government in charge of elections is to open the door for fraud on a large scale. That is exactly what H.R. 1 does.

But It Sounds So Wonderful

Sometimes I wonder if anyone in Congress has actually read the U.S. Constitution.

Shmoop states:

Clause 1. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Constitution generally leaves it up to the states to organize congressional elections, but gives Congress the power to set new rules for federal elections as it sees fit. In 1842, Congress passed an important law requiring single-member district elections in every state, standardizing congressional election practices nationwide. The same law set one standard Election Day—the Tuesday after the first Monday in November—throughout the country. We still use the same Election Day today.

On Thursday PJ Media reported that one of the top legislative priorities of the new House of Representatives is the passage of H.R. 1.

The official name of the bill is:

H.R.1 – To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.

If only that were what the bill is actually about.

These are some of the provisions of H.R.1 listed in the article:

It forces states to implement mandatory voter registration. If someone is on a government list — such as receiving welfare benefits or rental subsidies — then they would be automatically registered to vote. Few states have enacted these systems because Americans still view civic participation as a voluntary choice. Moreover, aggregated government lists always contain duplicates and errors that states, even without mandatory voter registration, frequently fail to catch and fix.

H.R. 1 also mandates that states allow all felons to vote. Currently, states have the power under the Constitution to set the terms of eligibility in each state. Some states, like Maine, have decided that voting machines should be rolled into the prisons. Other states, like Nevada, have chosen to make a felony a disenfranchising event.

…H.R. 1 would also force states to have extended periods of early voting, and mandates that early voting sites be near bus or subway routes. While purportedly designed to increase participation, early voting has been shown to have no effect on turnout.

…H.R. 1 also undermines the First Amendment by exerting government control over political speech and undoing the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.

The proposal also undoes another Supreme Court decision. In Husted, a case arising out of Ohio, the Court ruled that federal laws — known as “Motor Voter” — do not prohibit states from using a voter’s inactivity from triggering a mailing to that voter to see if they still are living at that location. H.R. 1 would undo that ruling and prohibit states from effectively cleaning voter rolls.

You get the picture. Please follow the link to read the entire article. Aside from the fact that most of H.R. 1 in unconstitutional, it is a naked power grab by the new House of Representatives. It needs to be stopped cold.

This Is A Real Bill

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. First of all, taking money from a person who earned it and giving that money to a person who did not earn it is called robbery. You can give it nice names, but that is what it is. What about reparations for the indentured servants who came to America? What about reparations for the Irish, Italians, and other ethnic groups that were mistreated when they came to America? This is truly ridiculous. It is a shame that some people are taking it seriously. Many Americans’ ancestors weren’t even  here during slavery, why should they pay reparations for something they were never part of? How many Americans lost their lives fighting to end slavery? Are they entitled to anything?

The article reports:

The legislation seeks to “address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”

“It’s a commission to study the issue of what was the economic impact of the work of slaves and how does it translate in the 21st century. And what we want to do is to build a narrative, a story of the facts and out of that be able to access how we repair some of the damage,” Jackson Lee said during a recent interview after her speech at the annual Legislative and Policy Conference organized by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

“When you look at urban blight, when you look at schools in inner cities and rural communities that are not at the level of excellence that they should be, when you look at support for [historically black colleges and universities], all of that will be part of understanding that whole journey and that whole economic journey,” she added. “And it is interesting that these magnificent buildings were built by slaves, obviously with no compensation. That is not what we are asking for; this bill is to have a commission to hear from people all over the nation.”

How about instead of paying reparations, you begin a program to put fathers back in the homes of families of all races? How about you work on the black culture that says getting an education is a ‘white’ thing? How about you teach children of all races that they have to earn what they get–no one is simply going to give them things? How about you put strict work requirements on welfare and food stamps and limit the number of generations that can collect those benefits? How about we bring back the work ethic instead of the ‘gimme’ ethic?

 

Obstructing Justice?

On Thursday PJ Media posted an article about the Inspector General’s investigation into the Department of Justice.

The article reports:

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was unable to recover text messages from the iPhones of FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page from their time on the special counsel team because the records officer scrubbed them, a new report from the DOJ watchdog reveals.

Regarding Strzok’s iPhone, investigators were told that it “had been reset to factory settings and was reconfigured for the new user to whom the device was issued.”

The special counsel’s records officer said that she had “determined it did not contain records that needed to be retained.” She wrote in her records log, “No substantive texts, notes or reminders,” the report states.

In a phone call, Page told the special counsel’s office (SCO) after she left the team that she left her government-issued iPhone and laptop on a bookshelf at the office. The SCO located the laptop, but when the OIG asked for the iPhone on January 24, 2018, the SCO could not locate it.

The article continues:

The DOJ’s Inspector General (IG) said that, with help from the Department of Defense, it was able to uncover thousands of missing text messages written by Strzok and Page and sent using their FBI-issued Samsung phones from December 15, 2016 through May 17, 2017, “as well as hundreds of other text messages outside the gap time period that had not been produced by the FBI due to technical problems with its text message collection tool.”

The deep state is alive and well, and I am worried about the future of our country. President Trump is not the problem–bureaucrats who believe they have the right to undo an election and continually harass a duly-elected President are the problem.

Reporting The Obvious

I have often stated that I am so old that there weren’t drugs in high school when I was there. Unfortunately the absence of drugs is no longer the norm although our law enforcement is doing a very good job of trying to eliminate the epidemic of drug use that has plagued our schools since the 1970’s. The argument for marijuana since the 1970’s has been that it is less damaging than alcohol and is not addictive. Well, the evidence does not support that idea.

PJ Media posted an article on November 29 with the title, “New Study Provides Further Evidence that Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug.”

The article reports:

A new study looking at alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use among adolescents gives some interesting and helpful conclusions. Well, helpful conclusions if people will be willing to remove their cultural blinders concerning marijuana. Since the politically and culturally popular thing to do is to extol the virtues of the recreational use of marijuana, the study’s sharp gateway-drug implications will most likely be a warning that is derided and unheeded.

…A negative effect that comes from ingesting marijuana that many users (and non-users) scoff at is the drug’s potential to be a gateway drug. However, the study linked to above concludes, “The implications of the more prominent role of marijuana in the early stages of drug use sequences are important to continue tracking.”

The twenty-year study concluded that while cigarette and alcohol use among adolescents has decreased, marijuana use among adolescents has remained basically the same. What’s interesting is that “the traditional gateway sequence is changing, with marijuana increasingly accounting for the first substance used among adolescents.”

The article concludes:

The bad news for those adolescents who begin with marijuana as well as for those who are in a high-risk group for marijuana use due to their cigarette or alcohol use is that:

Marijuana initiation may also affect subsequent drug use through similar biological mechanisms that have been proposed for other substances; emerging evidence from animal models suggests that THC exposure early in adolescence influences reward sensitivity to other drugs including nicotine ( Dinieri and Hurd, 2012; Panlilio et al., 2013; Pistis et al., 2004), and that adult marijuana use who initiated in adolescence have impairments in memory and prefrontal as well hippocampal volume ( Batalla et al., 2013; Filbey and Yezhuvath, 2013). Existing epidemiological data suggest that marijuana use increases the risk of subsequent cigarette initiation, supporting the hypothesis that marijuana could be causally associated with subsequent polysubstance use ( Nguyen et al., 2018).

Marijuana being a gateway drug has yet to be proven conclusively, but the research points solidly in that direction. Pro-weed advocates need to stop pretending that marijuana is harmless.

I don’t understand why there is a push to legalize marijuana at the same time there are campaigns to end smoking or use of tobacco products. Are we trading one bad health habit for another? If marijuana has legitimate medical uses, it should be used for that purpose, but I see no value at all in legalizing marijuana as a recreational drug. I am simply not convinced that anyone needs to use a recreational drug–particularly one that has a negative impact on the brain and a possible impact on genes.

Not All Refugees Are An Asset To America

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about a recent arrest in Arizona.

The article reports:

The FBI arrested 30-year-old Ahmad Suhad Ahmad in Tucson, Arizona, last week following a two-year investigation.

According to the limited information contained in the two-page criminal complaint, Ahmad had told a confidential source in December 2016 that he knew how to detonate a bomb using a cell phone — a technique he said he learned during the war in Iraq.

In April 2017, the same confidential source asked Ahmad if he knew how to make a car bomb for a target in Mexico, and if he could show him how to build one. Ahmad agreed.

A week later Ahmad showed the source an image on his cell phone of explosive materials and instructions written in Arabic, which he promised to translate into English. He also met with other sources and undercover FBI agents about planning to build the bomb.

Ahmad Suha’s arrest is the third arrest of an Iraqi refugee in a week.

The article reports:

As I reported earlier, 34-year-old Ashraf al-Safoo was arrested near Chicago and charged with running a pro-ISIS propaganda ring. According to the Justice Department, al-Safoo took orders directly from ISIS officials. Through social media, he spread propaganda on behalf of the terror group, helping ISIS to recruit and encouraging supporters to conduct terror attacks. He was born in Mosul, Iraq. and moved to the U.S. in 2008, and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

And last Wednesday, 19-year-old Naser Almadaoji of Beavercreek, Ohio, was arrested at Columbus International Airport attempting to fly to Kazakhstan, where he planned to cross the border into Afghanistan to join the ISIS affiliate there. The U.S. attorney responsible for the case said Almadaoji came to the U.S. from Iraq about a decade ago.

As noted by the 9/11 Commission Report, Tucson was the home of the first known American al-Qaeda cell, and is the former home of al-Qaeda co-founder Wael Julaidan — who was once the president of the Islamic Center of Tucson — as well as al-Qaeda operative Wadi al-Hage.

It would make sense to send these men to Guantanamo–they should not be deported to join forces with other terrorists, and it is risky to house them n American prisons–they would attempt to recruit prisoners and there would always be the risk of a hostage situation to free them. That is why we still need Guantanamo.

Common Sense In The Era of “Me Too”

Not everyone tells the truth all the time. In a thirty-some-year-old sexual assault charge, who know what happened? Memories cloud, memories fade, whatever. So what is the mother of a son supposed to teach her son to protect him from someone else’s memory which may or may not be correct?

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article that all teenagers and mothers and fathers of teenagers should read. The title of the article is, “How to ‘Christine Blasey Ford-Proof’ Your Son.”

The article includes a number of suggestions on how to avoid the circus we are now seeing in Washington. This is the list:

  1. Take him to church and make sure the lessons stick
  2. Train him to document any unusual circumstance
  3. Teach your son to assume he will one day have a position of high importance and encourage him to live accordingly
  4. Don’t trust women

The author of the article elaborates on each principle and why it is there. The fact that anyone would even think any of this is necessary is a sad commentary on our society, but we are watching the potential destruction of a man’s life and his accuser’s life over something that happened thirty-some years ago. That is truly sad.

I would also note that there was a time when simply teaching your son to respect women was adequate. I am not sure that we still live in that time.

 

 

This Is Not According To The U.S. Constitution

On Tuesday, PJ Media posted an article about a Pastor who was arrested at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Ramin Parsa is a Christian pastor who fled Iran as a religious refugee.

The article reports:

Parsa, a pastor at Redemptive Love Ministries International in Los Angeles, Calif., traveled to Minnesota for two days to visit two different churches. He went to the Mall of America (MOA) on Saturday, August 25, with an elder from one of the churches, and with the elder’s 14-year-old son. Shortly after entering the mall, he struck up a conversation with two Somali-American women.

“Our conversation was casual. At first, we were not talking about the gospel,” Parsa recalled. “They asked me, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ I said, ‘No, I used to be a Muslim and I’m a Christian now.’ I was telling them the story of how I converted.”

A passerby could not stand the discussion, however. “Another lady told the guard, ‘This guy is harassing us!'” MOA security came and told Parsa to stop soliciting. “I said, ‘We’re not soliciting.’ But we just left,” the pastor explained.

The pastor and his friends went into a coffee shop, bought a latte, and came out. Parsa told PJ Media he thought that would be the end of it. He was sorely mistaken.

“When we came out of the coffee shop, three guards were waiting for us, and they arrested me right there,” the pastor recalled. “They came after me and arrested me, and said, ‘You cannot talk religion here.'”

Parsa told security he was a pastor. “They told me, ‘We arrested pastors before,'” he recalled, still shocked by the answer. “It was something normal for them, they were used to it.”

Meanwhile, the two Somali-American women who wanted to hear the pastor’s story argued with the woman who reported him to security. They defended Parsa. Onlookers asked why the man was being arrested. “They said, ‘Because he’s a Christian,'” Parsa told PJ Media.

That is not supposed to happen in America.

He was held at the Mall by security until the police came. During that time he was denied water and trips to the bathroom.

The article continues:

After nearly four hours, the police arrived.

“The police came to open my handcuffs, and the handcuffs were very tight. It was hurting my hands,” Parsa recalled. “The guard said, ‘I don’t think it hurts that much.'”

He suggested that the security guards treated him with special malice because he is a pastor. “I believe they treated me worse,” he insisted.

The Mall of America did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment.

After the police took the pastor’s mugshot and fingerprints, they charged him with criminal trespassing. He paid $78 to bail himself out, and his friends picked him up at 2 a.m. While that bail amount may seem low, the pastor insisted, “Every cent is too much for something I haven’t done.”

“I’ve gone through this before — in Muslim countries I was arrested for passing out bibles,” Parsa said. “I didn’t expect that would happen in America. As a citizen in America, I have rights. They denied my basic rights.”

The article concludes:

While Parsa lives in California, he will have to appear in a Minnesota court to face the charges. He told PJ Media, “We just consulted with a lawyer — we’re going to fight this, to drop the charges.”

If the pastor can confirm his story, it seems the Mall of America may end up facing charges.

This is not the first time Christians have been arrested in America for sharing The Gospel with Muslims. In 2012, a group of Christians was arrested for preaching outside an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan (article here). The Islamic religion does not recognize free speech as a right. We need to make sure that Muslims who settle here understand that free speech is a right in America and will be protected. The arrest of the Pastor at the Mall of America is a disgrace to America. I hope the Pastor sues the Mall for damages and uses the money to build a beautiful church!

 

A Great Idea That Will Never Work

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about what to do with the Dreamers. Just as an aside, isn’t it interesting that ‘dreamers’ was the media’s choice of a name for this group of people?

The article suggests that whatever is decided, we don’t ever allow the Dreamers to vote. If that were honestly part of the debate, it would totally change the debate. Does anyone believe that the Democratic Party sees the Dreamers as anything other than future Democratic voters?

The article reports:

People who claim to be shocked that Donald Trump is prepared to make an amnesty deal for the”Dreamers” — most of whom are Mexicans who entered the USA at around the age of six — are being more than a tad disingenuous. The president has been hinting as much for over a year to anyone paying attention. In fact, it’s hard to conceive how he could have done otherwise, considering the (excuse the cliché) “optics” of shipping 800,000 young people back to a homeland they may never have seen.

The question is what your definition of amnesty is. It’s a vague word at best that can mean many things.

I suggest we keep it simple. In the case of the “Dreamers” amnesty should allow for just about anything citizenship entails, for them to work and study here as long as they wish, except for that most precious of all things in a democratic republic —  the vote. Under no circumstances can or should someone who has arrived in our country illegally, no matter at what age, be allowed ever to vote in our elections at any level — federal, state or local.

I love this idea, but how long would it take for Democrats in Congress to begin efforts to allow the Dreamers to vote?

The article further points out:

It would be to the benefit of the Democratic Party as well to separate amnesty from voting and thus strike a blow against “identity politics.”  As was clear from the election of 2016, the public is becoming disgusted with it.  Identity politics now actually works against the Democrats in the long run and, frankly, makes them seem quite dumb and self-destructive. Democrats aren’t the cool kids anymore.  We’re in the era of Kid Rock and progressives are stuck on Linda Sarsour.  As liberal Columbia professor Mark Lilla noted in a recent Wall Street Journal essay:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

The generation now reaching voting age is going to have a profound impact on American elections if they choose to be involved. The results will be somewhat unpredictable and totally interesting.

 

What Are We Really Teaching Our Children?

Yesterday PJ Media posted a story showing how skewed our education system has become. The story deals with a group of college graduates who were interning at a company. The didn’t like the company’s dress code and drew up a proposal and a  petition to change it.

The story reports:

The next day, all of us who signed the petition were called into a meeting where we thought our proposal would be discussed. Instead, we were informed that due to our “unprofessional” behavior, we were being let go from our internships. We were told to hand in our ID badges and to gather our things and leave the property ASAP.

We were shocked. The proposal was written professionally like examples I have learned about in school, and our arguments were thought out and well-reasoned. We weren’t even given a chance to discuss it. The worst part is that just before the meeting ended, one of the managers told us that the worker who was allowed to disobey the dress code was a former soldier who lost her leg and was therefore given permission to wear whatever kind of shoes she could walk in. You can’t even tell, and if we had known about this we would have factored it into our argument.

They just don’t get it–their argument was not the problem–their actions were.

The article concludes:

The reality is that colleges — the educational institutions that are theoretically supposed to prepare these kids for the real world — did these students a disservice by treating every petition or pet cause as valid, allowing the inmates to run the asylum. When the students hit the real world, WHAM!

The real world doesn’t have ‘safe spaces.’

One Opinion On The Cause Of Ferguson

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article entitled, “The Real Villain of Ferguson.”

The article opens with the following comment:

It’s hard to have sympathy for anyone in the Ferguson affair — the cops, the demonstrators, the pontificating politicians, the exploitative media or we its pathetically loyal audience that keeps tuning in.  The whole event plays out like the umpteenth rerun of the famous quote from Marx about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

The events in Feguson have gone on for a number of days now. It is unfortunate that a young man died, but I just don’t understand why that justifies looting and violence. As more evidence becomes public, the story changes from the original sympathy for the innocent young man brutalized by the police to a young man, possibly high, charging a policeman. We shall see how all of this shakes out.

Meanwhile, the story at PJMedia concludes:

But, you say, this was a white-on-black crime. An o-fay cop offed a brother. (Never mind that brothers can butcher brothers like it’s going out of style, this pig had white-skin privilege.)  Well, yes, and we don’t yet know the circumstances, but even accepting the narrative of, say, the Huffington Post that the cop was the reincarnation of Bull Connor and that the “youth” was a “gentle giant” on the way to a contract with PBS as the next Mr. Rogers, the event is basically a charade.  Everyone knows we’ve seen it before and everyone knows we’ll see it again.  In fact, many parties don’t want it to go away.  The beat must go on.  It has to go on or their very personalities will disintegrate.  And I will tell you why — what caused it.

The Great Society.  There, I’ve said it.  The Great Society, which I voted for and supported from the bottom of my heart, is the villain behind Ferguson.  Ferguson is the Great Society writ large because the Great Society convinced, and then reassured, black people that they were victims, taught them that being a victim and playing a victim was the way to go always and forever.  And then it repeated the point ad infinitum from its debut in 1964 until now — a conveniently easy to compute fifty years — as it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Great Society and similar policies screwed black people to the wall. It was racist to the core without knowing it.  Nobody used the N-word.  In fact, it was forbidden, unless you were Dr. Dre or somebody.  But it did its job without the word and did it better for being in disguise.  Those misbegotten kids running around Ferguson high on reefer and wasting their lives screaming at cops are the product of all this.  Stop it already.  No one has said this better than Jason Riley, author of Please Stop Helping Us.  Listen to Jason if you want to end Fergusons.

There are people out there who represent the voice of reason. We need to start listening to them instead of those the media places in front of us.

Different Laws For Different Groups

PJ Media posted an article today about the latest attack on religious free speech.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)recently released a press release that included the following:

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

The article at PJ Media points out:

Democrats routinely campaign from the very pulpit of majority black churches. It happens every single election cycle. Pastors in those churches regularly push parishioners to support the Democratic Party, to support specific government social policy, and even specific candidates for office.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has not sued to get the IRS to investigate any of that. Its targets are churches that align with the more conservative Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement. That tells us what the foundation and the IRS will really be investigating.

The IRS will be monitoring churches to listen for pastors supporting the right to life, the sanctity and traditional definition of marriage, traditional values in general, perhaps even patriotism. Those are the churches, based on the angle that the foundation lawsuit takes, that will potentially find themselves under IRS investigation.

It appears that there will be one set of rules for conservative churches and one set of rules for liberal churches. What happened to equal justice under the law? Why do only liberal churches have First Amendment rights?

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

– See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

– See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

All Export Agreements Are Not Good Agreements

Yesterday Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJ Media about a recent export agreement reached with Iran.

The article reports:

Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.

Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously.  Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet.  The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service.

The Iranians are quite able to get around what is left of the sanctions on their country and are finding ways to get around the oil embargo–they are bartering with Russia and Turkey. The Russians are probably providing military equipment and the Turks are swapping for gold.
The article comments:

And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century.  Kiev burned, and may burn again soon.  Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns.  Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen.  Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be.  If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict.  Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders.  Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too.  And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.

This is not a time to be helping those that want to destroy us in any way.
The article concludes:

But, as the Ukrainian revolutionaries have found, and as the aftermath of our victory in Iraq has demonstrated, the battle against evil is not going to end on this earth, and if you fail to challenge the heart of the current darkness, you may well find things worse than they were before.  Our enemies are bursting with confidence.  They think they’ve got us.  Bret Stephens: “Mr. Putin knows Mr. Obama. He knows that the U.S. president has the digestive fortitude of a tourist in Tijuana.”

As Mr Obama runs for the Pepto Bismol, he’s arming our enemies for the next round.  So it’s gonna get worse.

What Voter Fraud?

Right now, North Carolina’s voter Identification law is making its way through the courts. A well-placed source told me recently that he expected the law to stand as is without a problem–when it was passed, court challenges were anticipated. The argument of those who do not support voter identification laws has always been that there is no voter fraud. I beg to differ.

PJ Media reported yesterday that there was massive voter fraud in the 2012 election in North Carolina.

The article cites some examples:

  • 765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.
  • 35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.
  • 155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C.

There is a 28-state crosscheck of voter roles that can be used to check for voter fraud. The numbers above are a result of that crosscheck. Imagine what the numbers would be if there were a 50-state crosscheck.

The article reports:

The findings, while large, leave open the question of just how widespread double voting might be since 22 states did not participate in the Interstate Crosscheck.

In addition to the above, the crosscheck found that more than 13,000 deceased voters remain on North Carolina’s rolls, and that 81 of them showed voter activity in their records after death.

If nothing else, these number make the case that voter identification laws are necessary if we are to preserve the integrity of the voting process.

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A Very Insightful Comment

Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJ Media yesterday about the current war in the Ukraine.

Mr. Ledeen states:

It’s not as if we’re at war, after all.

And we’re not.  Only our enemies are.  It’s like target practice for them.  Fortunately, they’re not very good at it, and so they miss a lot. When they win, they find ways to screw it up.  They took over Egypt, remember?  Then lost it in the “biggest demonstration in human history” (thus sayeth the BBC).  They were on the verge of taking over Tunisia, but no more.  They made a hash out of Ukraine and Venezuela, then lost the first and are facing the people’s wrath in the second.  They keep trying to organize lethal rocket and missile attacks on Israel, only to get destroyed.

 

But we choose not to be at war.

 

The article concludes:

 

For those who actually want to see the world plain, the global network is luminously clear, from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran and Syria, to Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.  Those are the nations aligned against us.  They support a variety of terror groups, from al-Qaeda to Islamic Jihad to the various Latin American guerrillas, and they work in cahoots with the narcotics mafiosi.

There are two keystones in this global network:  Iran and Venezuela, with Russia manipulating them both as best Putin can.  If we see the world plain, the current revolutionary turmoil in Venezuela is enormously important, arguably the most important hot spot on earth today.  For if the Castroite tyranny in Caracas were to fall, it would be a devastating blow to the Axis of Evil.  The bad guys know it;  that’s why, in addition to Cuban intel officers and special forces, Hezbollahis are moving from Damascus to Caracas.  Khamenei knows there’s an intimate connection between what happens in Venezuela and what happens in Syria.

But America has chosen to cut its defenses and remain at peace (until we are attacked by the part of the world who chooses to wage war). We need a President, a Congress, or a State Department smart enough to play chess. Evidently we don’t have one.

 

 

A Letter From Someone Who Is There

Yesterday Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJ Media that included a letter from an Iranian dissident, Heshmat Tabarzadi.

This is the text of the letter:

The major world powers namely 5+1 are trying hard to engage the government of Iran to join the rest of the international community, by taking advantage of the recent “Flexibilities” that have been shown by the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, and as implemented by President Hassan Rouhani.

Indeed, we have arrived at a significant and historic juncture. However, without a cautious and comprehensive effort moving forward, the road ahead towards a mutually beneficial and peaceful outcome will remain uncertain and elusive. Ever since the election of President Rouhani, the number of executions in Iran has nevertheless increased substantially (nearly 400 executions since he took office). Keeping in mind that Iran already held the second highest record of executions after China (1st in the world as a percentage of the population), this represents an urgent human rights crisis.

In addition, the Iranian government has hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including those such as Mr. Mir Hussein Mousavi, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard and Mr. Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest since 2010, without any legal or court proceedings. The majority of Iranian political prisoners are sentenced solely due to the exercise of their rights to express their opinion or for peaceful assembly.

The legitimacy of any ruling power is measured by its practice of observing and respecting the rights of its own people. In what follows, I briefly give an account of my personal experience living in Iran, which is not an isolated case. Hundreds of fellow Iranian political activists are experiencing a similar situation. Indeed, the lack of basic human rights and freedom in Iran reflects poorly on the prospect for the effective and peaceful resolution of the issues of the Iranian government with the international community. One cannot be addressed in the absence of the other.

My name is Heshmat Tabarzadi. I am an Iranian secular democrat human rights activist. I have been arrested several times on charges related to my activities, most recently after the green movement and the disputed election results of 2009. In October 2010, I was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted of five charges of “insulting the Leader,” “insulting the President,” “propaganda against the system,” “gathering and colluding with intent to harm the state security,” and “disturbing public order.” I had already spent seven years of my life in prison, nearly three years of it in solitary confinement for my activities as a student leader. Additionally I have spent another 4 years of my latest verdict and still have four more years remaining. I have spent part of every year of my life in prison since 1999 and while imprisoned I have been tortured on several different occasions. Meanwhile my different publications have been shut down, I have been denied the right to peaceful participation in two secular democratic and human rights organizations, and I have been prohibited from any social activities for 10 years.

I was recently released on a temporary leave with the condition of remaining silent, and until very recently I maintained my silence. However, the situation of the people and my country is such that I could no longer keep quiet and therefore I broke my silence and called for a united campaign demanding “No to executions and freedom of all political prisoners.” Shortly after, I received a phone call from the prosecutor’s office, demanding that I report back to the prison. Similar to my court proceedings and sentencing, this summoning was done outside of the legal frames, with the intent of silencing me, but I have chosen not to report to prison and instead am engaging in civil disobedience. My rights as stated in the international articles of the human rights (as well as the constitution of the Islamic Republic) have repeatedly been violated since 1999. If anyone should stand trial, it should be those who are in violation of denying not only my rights but the rights of many other political prisoners who have been denied their most basic legal, civil and human rights.

The United Nations General Assembly recently approved Iranian President Rouhani’s proposal known as “A World without violence and extremism.” The Iranian leadership should begin by abiding by the terms of its own resolution, namely, “that a primary responsibility of each State is to ensure a peaceful and violence-free life for its people, while fully respecting their human rights without distinction of any kind, …..and …..respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons as well as tolerance, the recognition and appreciation of others and the ability to live together with and to listen to others, form a sound foundation of any society and of peace.”

The United States and European Union may hope for a politically softer regime in Tehran as it happened in China despite its human rights record, but in a country such as Iran where the first declaration of human rights was created 2552 years ago, where only in the past 107 years two major freedom seeking revolutions have taken place, where today the most basic social freedoms such as how to dress and behave, are strictly limited and where a woman is considered half of a man, this is only wishful thinking.

Iranian people, although short lived, have experienced secular democracy on different occasions and they will not tolerate for too long the religious, social and political limitations forced upon them, even if the major powers chose to turn a blind eye on their civil and human rights. The question is, on which side of the history the United States, President Obama and the major world powers will stand this time?

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama for his “extraordinary efforts” to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. This did not mean only peace with the governments but also meant consideration for the peace and human rights of “The People.” Until the international community do not hold the government of Iran accountable for its actions against its own citizens, any agreements at the government levels while closing eyes to the fate of the Iranian nation and their legal , civil and human rights will neither be lasting nor complied with, because a government which violates the legal rights of its own people under its own and international laws will not have any hesitation in violating any other accords and agreements. North Korea is a recent example of that.

I therefore call for the leaders of the 5+1, the international community, organizations, activists and other government leaders to demand of the Iranian authorities to stop these senseless executions and to free all political prisoners. Mr. Nelson Mandela was recently honored by the international community as well as the Iranian government. However, Mr. Mandela’s struggles as a political activist and prisoner, only after being amplified by the pressures from the International community, resulted in his freedom and abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Today 50% of the Iranian population, the women, are facing gender apartheid; not to mention the violation of the basic rights of minorities, ethnicities and many others.

Today I am free with my family while you can make a difference, but tomorrow may be too late.

This is the reason we need tougher sanctions on Iran–not secret deals.

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A Liberal Wakes Up

Arnold S. Trebach was a protester and a federal civil rights official during the original civil rights movement. He is a currently professor emeritus of public affairs at American University and a member of the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is a self-proclaimed liberal.

Mr. Trebach posted an article at PJ Media yesterday entitled, “Vote Republican–and Save the Country.” Wow.

The article states:

…I am also suggesting that for the next two elections, all good people should consider voting a straight Republican ticket as a protest against the massive political sins of the Democrats. If enough voters did that, in addition to saving the country it might also save the Democratic Party from itself.

My old party has lost its soul and integrity in recent years, especially during the Obama era. It needs a crushing electoral defeat to focus its attention on its dangerous behavior.  Despite the terrible recent record of my old party and of Mr. Obama, they are master politicians and it is quite possible that they will recover and win the next two elections, unless there is a concerted effort by voters of all stripes — Republican, independent, and, yes, Democratic — to make a public commitment in advance that they will vote straight Republican tickets in 2014 and in 2016.

His comments on the changes in the Democrat party are similar to those Zell Miller made in his 2003 book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat. The Democrat party has moved so far to the left that it does not represent the majority of the people who have historically supported it.

Please follow the link above to read the comments of Iran and ObamaCare. Mr. Trebach is a liberal who sees the damage to America the Obama Administration has done and would like to put a stop to that damage.

The article concludes:

Add to this continuing disaster the Obama-Holder misbehavior in the Martin-Zimmerman matter, their failure to deal with black crime and the knockout attacks, the New Black Panther failure, the Fast and Furious gun-running affair, the IRS actions against conservative tax payers, and many other scandals.

And yet as I have said, I believe that Obama and Holder and the Democratic Party are such brilliant and unethical politicians that despite these scandals the odds are that they will prevail at the voting booth again and again — unless the American people take to the voting booths in concerted and open outrage.

As someone who left the Democrat party after Jimmy Carter, I thoroughly understand what this man is saying.

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When You Subsidize A Behavior You Get More Of It

The charts below are from PJ Media. They illustrate the destructive impact of ObamaCare on the family and marriage:

MarriedNoKidsAge60OcareGraph0913

MarriedVsCohabit60yoOcare0913

MarriedCouple93kDivorce2KidsOcare0913

When you subsidize a behavior, you get more of it. We have seen that with the impact the War on Poverty has had on the black family. Up until the poverty programs that were put in place in the 1960’s, ninety percent of black families had two parents living with their children.  In 2011 two-thirds of black families were single-parent families. We see the impact of this in the growth of gangs and gang violence. Marriage and the family are the foundation of a healthy society. The way ObamaCare is set up totally undermines that foundation.

The article at PJ Media concludes:

The couple’s annual unsubsidized premium while married is $11,547 (OFA’s vaunted “tax credits” disappear at $92,401 for married couples with two children). But if they divorce and shack up while giving custody of both children to the lower-earning spouse, their combined annual premiums, at $4,317, will be over $7,200 lower. That’s over $600 a month. As was the case in the previous example, the savings from divorce will gradually increase every year. Parents will be torn between doing what Western civilization has considered morally right for millennia and their children’s financial well-being as never before.

The train wreck that is ObamaCare needs to be stopped.

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