Why Many Americans Don’t Trust Politicians

On Monday, Breitbart posted the following headline:

SOURCES: McConnell Caves to Pelosi, Schumer, Allows JCPA Media Cartel Bailout Bill to Be Included in Defense Package

The laweconcenter points out some of the legal issues with the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. Please read the entire article for the details, but here is a summary of the problems:

1. JCPA MAY VIOLATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT

2. NEWS CARTELS HARM CONSUMERS

3. THE BILL CONFLICTS WITH COPYRIGHT LAW

4. THE JCPA SUPPRESSES COMPETITION

I can understand why the mainstream media would want to suppress competition–they are losing viewers and listeners at an alarming rate. I doubt the NPR would be on the air without government subsidies (another questionable spending priority by Congress).

Breitbart reports:

Over objections from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next speaker of the House come January 3 of next year, other congressional leaders acquiesced to lobbyist pressure and agreed to include the JCPA in the base text of the NDAA. McCarthy was the only member of congressional leadership to fight back against the inclusion, but was overruled three to one after McConnell caved.

We obviously need new Republican leadership in the Senate.

In an article posted November 30th, Breitbart notes:

Even with the hastily-added Senate amendment aimed at addressing conservative concerns regarding collusion between the media industry and Big Tech on the censorship of competitors, the bill still contains plenty of ways for the cartel to sideline conservative media.

Provisions to ensure the cartel cannot discriminate on the basis of “viewpoint” are particularly unconvincing. The pretexts used by social media companies, “fact checkers,” and other arms of the corporate censorship apparatus are almost always viewpoint-neutral. No one is censored for being a conservative, say the censors: they are censored for “misinformation,” “hate speech,” “conspiracy theories,” and other purportedly viewpoint-neutral reasons.

Congress has no business meddling in the exercise of free speech or adding that meddling to a defense bill.

 

Politicizing Law Enforcement

I suppose politicizing law enforcement is nothing new. There are some cities in American where who you know is more important than what you did. However, some of our federal law enforcement agencies are acting on the advice of Lavrentiv Beria, the longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin’s term of office, who said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

On Thursday, Just the News reported:

Governments worldwide are voicing threats against Twitter’s new owner if he doesn’t censor narratives they dislike, as financially struggling Facebook gets even cozier with global authorities.

President Biden, who has been trashing Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover and warning about the dangers of unfettered communication, even floated a national security review into Musk’s purchase.

The ire of the unpopular incumbent, whose approval ratings lagged far behind exit polls for Democratic Senate candidates in the midterms, may have been stoked by Twitter’s Birdwatch program adding a reader note about inflation to a since-deleted White House claim that President Biden is responsible for “the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years.”

Twitter also “froze” content moderation and policy enforcement tools for several Trust and Safety team employees ahead of the midterm elections, letting them penalize only “the most high-impact violations that would involve real-world harm,” Bloomberg reported Nov. 1.

I don’t mean to be difficult, but unfettered communication is called The
First Amendment.

The article reports:

One might believe Musk is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t with Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, based on members’ comments to the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Party leader Lars Klingbeil called on authorities to “take consistent action” to stop Twitter’s attack on “diversity of opinion,” while MP Jens Zimmermann called on the Federal Office of Justice to hold Musk himself financially responsible if Twitter can’t meet German moderation requirements due to staff cuts.

Stay tuned. There are those in America who appreciate free speech.

Why I Am Grateful For America’s First Amendment

On Sunday, Breitbart reported that Greek footballer Vassilis Tsiartas has been given a 10-month suspended prison sentence over comments critical of child sex changes.

The article reports:

Tsiartas, who played a key role in the Greek national team’s shock victory in the UEFA European Football Championship in 2004 and finished his career without receiving a single red card, was prosecuted under a supposed anti-racism law which, somewhat perversely, includes provisions against public incitement to violence or hatred on the basis of gender identity.

Evidently America is not the only country the transgender activists have been targeting.

The article continues:

In Tsiartas’s case, brought to the courts by the Transgender Support Association (SYD), the supposed incitement took the form of a Facebook post from 2017, in which the athlete remarked that he “hope[d] the first sex changes are carried out on the children of those who ratified this abomination” in reference to new legislation on gender identity, Greek media reports.

…Tsiartas, for his part, has vowed to appeal the decision.

In August, Breitbart reported:

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) new guidance lowers the recommended age for cross-sex hormones from 16 to 14 years, according to a guidance draft obtained by The Post Millennial this week. The age for double mastectomies, the removal of breasts, has been lowered to 15. Sixteen-year-old boys may seek breast augmentations, facial surgeries and tracheal shaves to reduce the appearance of an Adam’s apple.

Does anyone actually believe that a 15-year old has the emotional and mental maturity to make such a life-changing decision? Being a teenager is difficult enough without the current peer pressure from social media affirming the idea of being transgender.

In December 2017, PsyPost reported the following:

The National Post recently covered the CBC’s cancellation of a BBC documentary about transgender children (Why CBC cancelled a BBC documentary that activists claimed was ‘transphobic’).  In that coverage, the Post shared claims made by some activists criticizing some scientific studies, but did not apparently fact-check those claims, so I thought I would outline the studies here.  For reference, in a previous post, I listed the results of every study that ever followed up transgender kids to see how they felt in adulthood (Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?).  There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.

So what happens to the children who have had permanent life-altering surgery as teenagers when they want to detransition? I really think we need to rethink this entire transgender thing. Gender dysphoria is a mental illness. We need to treat the mental illness rather than do surgery that confirms it.

 

 

 

This Will Be Very Interesting

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted the following headline:

BREAKING: Dr. Fauci Will Be Deposed on November 23rd in Missouri-Louisiana Social Media Collusion Case with Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft as Plaintiff

Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit has been one of the reliable sources for information about the Covid pandemic and the effective treatments that the mainstream and social media tried to suppress. The effective treatments that were suppressed oddly enough were the ones where the drugs involved were relatively cheap and the profits of the pharmaceutical companies were not as much as with some of the newer drugs that were less effective.

The article reports:

The Gateway Pundit previously reported in May that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, filed a lawsuit (Missouri v. Biden) against the Biden Administration, including Biden himself, Anthony Fauci, the Department of Homeland Security and nearly a dozen federal agencies and Secretaries.

The suit alleges a massive coordinated effort by the Deep State (permanent administrative state) to work with Big Tech to censor and manipulate Americans – from average citizens to news outlets – on issues including the Hunter Biden Laptop from Hell, 2020 Election Integrity, COVID-19 origin and extent skepticism, COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, among other issues.

…In June, The Gateway Pundit began assisting Missouri AG Schmitt’s team and providing critical evidence of Facebook and Twitter censorship of the Gateway Pundit on all of these issues.

The article details the development of the case:

As we reported, the turning point came in September when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg admitted in a Joe Rogan interview that Facebook algorithmically censored the Hunter Biden Laptop for 7 days following a request from the FBI to censor election “misinformation.”  

…Zuckerberg’s admission came after the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit forced Facebook to turn over documents – he was going to end up admitting it anyway.

It constituted a turning point in the battle for the preservation of the First Amendment and Free Speech in America.  His admission proved that the US Government and Big Tech coordinated to censor speech.

Previously, the government’s lawyers kept trying to portray all of this as a conspiracy theory.

NOPE. NOW, IT’S A CONSPIRACY FACT.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office caught the Biden Administration red-handed. 

If the current Congress will not hold Dr. Fauci or the media accountable, then individual states need to take action.

 

The Long Reach Of The Government Just Got Longer

The Patriot Daily wire is reporting the following today:

The federal government is issuing warrants from compliant Google to turn over anyone typing in certain search terms.

But they assure the American public that they can be trusted. Just like the federal government assured Americans they would not abuse the secret FISA courts to spy on innocent Americans!

We now know that crooked feds were spying on Donald Trump, his family, his campaign and his presidency using the secret courts to obtain warrants.

Frankly, I use Duck Duck Go as a search engine. I am not sure if they have been hit by warrants yet.

The article includes the following excerpt from a Yahoo News article:

The U.S. government is reportedly secretly issuing warrants for Google to provide user data on anyone typing in certain search terms, raising fears that innocent online users could get caught up in serious crime investigations at a greater frequency than previously thought.

In an attempt to track down criminals, federal investigators have started using new “keyword warrants” and used them to ask Google to provide them information on anyone who searched a victim’s name or their address during a particular year, an accidentally unsealed court document that Forbes found shows.

Google has to respond to thousands of warrant orders each year, but the keyword warrants are a relatively new strategy used by the government and are controversial.

“Trawling through Google’s search history database enables police to identify people merely based on what they might have been thinking about, for whatever reason, at some point in the past,” Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Forbes.

“This never-before-possible technique threatens First Amendment interests and will inevitably sweep up innocent people, especially if the keyword terms are not unique and the time frame not precise. To make matters worse, police are currently doing this in secret, which insulates the practice from public debate and regulation,” she added.

The government said that the scope of the warrants is limited to avoid implicating innocent people who happen to search for certain terms, but it’s not publicly disclosed how many users’ data are sent to the government and what the extent of the warrant requests are.

This may be what eventually will change the focus of the American Civil Liberties Union to protecting the First Amendment rights of Americans, which is what they should actually be doing.

In Case You Had Any Doubts

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about a recent op-ed posted at the Lawfare blog by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.). You should remember him from the first impeachment of President Trump. When you read his ideas, remember that this man swore an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Well, evidently he never read it or he forgot the First Amendment.

The article reports:

During the impeachment inquiry, Vindman made much of the fact that he and his family had fled the Soviet Union, and that he had “a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom.”

Now, lamenting that he had not responded by suing President Trump over tweets about him, and noting that the First Amendment “gravely” limits what government can do to stop “lies” by the media, Vindman argues that “right-wing media” (alone) should be held accountable through a lawsuit strategy:

The article includes some excerpts from his op-ed:

Recent events have made the need for accountability more pressing than ever. Should anyone be surprised that viewers of right-wing media are radicalized when media personalities themselves promote radical ideas based on lies?

But while the rioters are being held accountable through the criminal justice system—and Congress at least had a chance to hold the former president accountable through the impeachment process—how can Americans hold the right-wing media responsible for its role in the attack? The mob that attacked the Capitol was born of hatred fomented by the right-wing media. These insurrectionists were raised for years on a steady diet of disinformation and half-truths, which produced the fertile fields for radicalization.

The First Amendment gravely limits the available tools to seek accountability for the right-wing media. Policymakers cannot, after all, tell media organizations what to say. Except in the most extreme situations, which are unlikely ever to arise, prosecutors also cannot accuse them of incitement.

Civil consequences, rather than governmental restrictions on First Amendment rights, could be a meaningful way to take what are fundamentally money-making ventures and demand truth from them, instill rigor in their reporting, and uphold accountability. Like a tabloid being sued and paying severe penalties, media companies and right-wing media personalities will claim that what’s at stake is freedom of speech. But defamation is not covered by the First Amendment, so this is, by definition, not true. And the generous standards in defamation law for purposes of protecting the press offer a true safe haven for good-faith actors even when they err. Putting companies in fear of the real costs in civil damages for slander, libel, and false claims that can cumulatively incite violence and that can individually harm actual human beings should have a restraining effect on their behavior.

In case you have forgotten, no one has linked anything in the conservative media to any violence. The right wing media has not been proven to have told any lies while the left-wing media has recently been forced to retract many of its statements. Who can forget the picture of the left-wing anchor standing in front of a city burning and claiming that the protest involved was ‘mostly peaceful?’ The Washington Post recently had to retract an article that was stated as fact in President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Much of what the left-wing media has decried as ‘fake news’ regarding the 2020 election has been subsequently proven to be true.

 

Titles Can Be Very Misleading

H.R. 1 was introduced into the House of Representatives on January 4, 2021. The bill is titled, “For the People Act of 2021.” The bill is anything but for the people.

Heritage Action took the time to dissect the bill and see exactly what its impact would be. Here are some of the highlights:

At 600+ pages long, H.R. 1 contains many provisions that are unhelpful, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Below are just a few of the terrible policies contained within H.R. 1:

Sabotages state voter ID laws—When arriving at the polls, voters will not be required to show ID and can simply sign a statement in which they claim to be who they say they are. This undermines many states’ voter ID laws, which were enacted to combat impersonation fraud, voter registration fraud, duplicate voting, and voting by ineligible individuals, such as illegal aliens.

Mandates same-day registration—States will be required to immediately register a person to vote upon request, even on the day of an election. With no buffer-period to verify personal information, this provision could easily lead to voter fraud.

Automatically registers ineligible voters—States will be required to automatically add to voter registration rolls every person, regardless of voter eligibility, who partakes in certain government programs, such as receiving welfare or obtaining a driver’s license. Other provisions of H.R. 1 then restrict the ability of states to verify eligible voters and the removal of ineligible voters from voter registration rolls. This provision will automatically enroll ineligible voters such as illegal aliens.

Unconstitutionally requires states to restore the ability of felons to vote—Upon release from prison, every felon would immediately be restored the ability to vote. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution allows states to restrict voting rights to those who have participated in “rebellion, or other crime.” States have the constitutional authority to decide when or if to restore that right, as long as they do so in a manner that is not racially discriminatory. H.R. 1 would attempt to unconstitutionally overrule the 14th Amendment with a statute.

Violates the First Amendment—H.R.1 deters political free speech by inserting a provision that makes it a criminal offense to provide “materially false” information that will “impede or prevent” someone from registering or voting. This provision is so vague that it would likely interfere with free speech and other legitimate activities.

Requires ballots be counted outside of the voter’s precinct—This removes the integrity of the local government to verify voter rolls and oversee elections and gives the power to count votes entirely to the federal government.

Creates unaccountable redistricting committees—Currently, congressional district lines are drawn by state governments that are accountable to their constituents. Allowing unelected officials to determine congressional districts is a nakedly political ploy to draw more Democratic districts.

Alters Federal Election Commission into a partisan organization—Currently, the FEC has six members (three from each party), preserving its bipartisan nature. H.R. 1 would reduce the number to five, giving one party a majority and the opportunity to weaponize the FEC for their party’s benefit.

We are at a point in our constitutional republic where one political party is attempting to gain full control in both the present and future. This is not healthy for the republic. This bill needs to be stopped. Please share the above information.

 

Senator Blumenthal Needs To Read The First Amendment

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about some recent comments by Senator Blumenthal.

The article reports:

On Tuesday Senator Dick Blumenthal questioned Mark Zuckerberg on why Breitbart, The Gateway Pundit and Steve Bannon still have accounts on his platform.

Obviously, Blumenthal and today’s Democrats show NO REGARD for the US Constitution.

Conservative publishers have been censored and put out of business by Facebook since the 2016 election.

But this is NOT ENOUGH for these fascists.

The article includes a video clip of Senator Blumenthal calling for the removal of Breitbart, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and The Gateway Pundit from Facebook. There are also other videos requesting that other people be removed from Facebook.

Senator Blumenthal swore in an Oath of Office to support the Constitution.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Asking Facebook to kick people off their platform does not encourage free speech. A law prohibiting free speech will not be far behind if the Democrats manage to take control of the government.

 

Violating The First Amendment

On Monday The Christian Post posted an article about a recent lawsuit in California. As you know, the coronavirus has allowed the governors of some states to exercise power that exceeds their constitutional authority. Governor Gavin Newsom did this when he closed down churches in his state. Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur made a decision to hold indoor worship services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The County of Los Angeles has taken an action that appears to be in retaliation for that decision.

The article reports:

Los Angeles County has notified Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, that it will soon be evicted from a parcel of land it uses as a parking lot — a move lawyers say is retaliation for the church’s decision to hold indoor worship services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter dated Aug. 28, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works informed the Sun Valley-based church that on Oct. 1, it is being evicted from a large portion of the parking lot of the church that has been in place continuously since 1975.

The county warns that if Grace Community Church fails to vacate the premise as required, “the District may enter the premises and remove Grace’s personal property in accordance with the Agreement and applicable law, and Grace will be responsible for any resultant expenses incurred by the District.”

Jenna Ellis, special counsel to Thomas More Society, said the move is clearly in retaliation for the church’s decision to fight Los Angeles County’s ban on indoor church worship services.

“Los Angeles County is retaliating against Grace Community Church for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order,” Ellis said.

“In America, we have a judicial system to ensure that the executive branch does not abuse its power, and Grace Community Church has every right to be heard without fear of reprisal. The Democrats’ message to Americans is clear—if you don’t bow to every whim of tyranny, the government will come after you. The Church has peacefully held this lease for 45 years and the only reason the County is attempting eviction is because John MacArthur stood up to their unconstitutional power grab. This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable.”

The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Governor Newsom has shown a total disrespect for that concept. The County probably does have the right to terminate the lease, but the decision to do that is petty and harmful to the community. Elections matter, and voters need to consider the actions of all the people involved in this when they vote.

We Can, You Can’t

Spectator USA posted an article yesterday about the resumption of Trump rallies in the coming weeks. The article illustrates the double standard being applied to large gatherings of people.

The article reports:

Are you ready for the second blame wave? As the country braces itself for an inevitable repeat surge in COVID-19 infections, we’re told red-state governors ‘opened too soon’. The next outbreak, we can be sure, will be something to do with the fact the President decided to resume his political rallies, approximately two weeks from now.

What nobody says is that individual or social behavior is the cause. It can’t possibly be the thousands of people closely together marching down city streets yelling and chanting, some with masks, some not. The guidelines fell completely by the wayside for the Democrats and much of network cable news.

In the middle of May, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser extended her lockdown order through to the June 8. Two days prior to her own lockdown order was to be reviewed, on June 6, she encouraged mass gatherings of protests, in a tweet saying ‘Let’s all meet here soon #BlackLivesMatter’, with a photo showing off her big block yellow letters painted down a DC street. In a press release about a possible spike in coronavirus cases in her city, after two weeks of protests she encouraged herself, Bowser announced that ‘DC Health has confirmed that a new peak was detected in the data, resetting the Districts Phase One count to nine days of sustained decrease.’

Florida congressswoman Val Demings, who features on the shortlist to be Joe Biden’s VP nominee, tweeted on June 8 that she had joined a ‘Healing and Hope Rally last night to speak with our community as America grieves.’ Two days later she scolded the President: planning to hold ‘mass rallies in Florida and elsewhere as we experience a resurgence in COVID cases is irresponsible and selfish’.

Wow! One set of rules for me, and one set of rules for thee.

The article concludes:

Either the funniest or most egregious behavior came from the Grim Reaper himself. Remember Daniel Uhlfelder? He is the Florida attorney who donned a Grim Reaper costume and harassed Florida beach goers with body bags, he secured through funds raised from Act Blue. Daniel was so serious about the deadly virus spreading through a state run by a Republican governor that he turned his novelty act into a traveling show. But those plans were apparently put on hold as he himself joined in and encouraged protests, as he tweeted on June 7, ‘We are here in the Florida panhandle in Deep South where hundreds have turned out for peaceful protest. No peace. No justice.’ Also, no virus, it seems.

These people want you to believe that this pandemic is caused by some magical woke virus, one which somehow skips those who have the right politics. What it actually does is raise the suspicion that Democrats and progressives have wanted to keep the economy shut down and people at home as long as possible to affect the outcome of the November election. Your job and your family or your church (also protected by the First Amendment) are not important. Our joining in large crowds to protest is.

There is almost assuredly going to be a spike in COVID cases and it will also almost assuredly be put on red-state governors and the President holding rallies. But Democratic activists and politicians themselves created this situation. They encouraged the world to disregard lockdown and people will now follow their lead, no matter how much they are scolded by the media. These people think we’re all stupid. We’re not.

What if there isn’t a significant uptick in coronavirus cases as a result of the protests? Would that mean that the past two months of lockdown was unnecessary? What kind of credibility would the CDC have if we simply see the normal increase due to reopening the economy? It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

This Needs To Be Dealt With Quickly And Forcefully

The Gateway Pundit today posted the list of demands made by the Antifa group that has taken over a six-square-block section of Seattle. Before I get to the list, let that sink in a minute–an anarchist domestic terrorist group has taken over a portion of an American city. Can you image the experience of the people living within that area?

The article lists the demands:

Given the historical moment, we’ll begin with our demands pertaining to the Justice System.

    1. The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police. At an equal level of priority we also demand that the city disallow the operations of ICE in the city of Seattle.
    2. In the transitionary period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.
    3. We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the abolition of youth jails. Get kids out of prison, get cops out of schools. We also demand that the new youth prison being built in Seattle currently be repurposed.
    4. We demand that not the City government, nor the State government, but that the Federal government launch a full-scale investigation into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle and Washington, as well as the re-opening of all closed cases reported to the Office of Police Accountability. In particular, we demand that cases particular to Seattle and Washington be reopened where no justice has been served, namely the cases of Iosia Faletogo, Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Tommy Le, Shaun Fuhr, and Charleena Lyles.
    5. We demand reparations for victims of police brutality, in a form to be determined.
    6. We demand that the City of Seattle make the names of officers involved in police brutality a matter of public record. Anonymity should not even be a privilege in public service.
    7. We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.
    8. We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department. This includes the immediate release of all protestors currently being held in prison after the arrests made at 11th and Pine on Sunday night and early Saturday morning June 7th and 8th, and any other protesters arrested in the past two weeks of the uprising, the name Evan Hreha in particular comes to mind who filmed Seattle police macing a young girl and is now in jail.
    9. We demand that the City of Seattle and the State Government release any prisoner currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense and expunge the related conviction.
    10. We demand the City of Seattle and State Government release any prisoner currently serving time just for resisting arrest if there are no other related charges, and that those convictions should also be expunged.
    11. We demand that prisoners currently serving time be given the full and unrestricted right to vote, and for Washington State to pass legislation specifically breaking from Federal law that prevents felons from being able to vote.
    12. We demand an end to prosecutorial immunity for police officers in the time between now and the dissolution of the SPD and extant justice system.
    13. We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.
    14. We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.
    15. We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.
    16. We demand that the Seattle Police Department, between now and the time of its abolition in the near future, empty its “lost and found” and return property owned by denizens of the city.
    17. We demand justice for those who have been sexually harassed or abused by the Seattle Police Department or prison guards in the state of Washington.
    18. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that each and every SPD officer turn on their body cameras, and that the body camera video of all Seattle police should be a matter of easily accessible public record.
    19. We demand that the funding previously used for Seattle Police be redirected into: A) Socialized Health and Medicine for the City of Seattle. B) Free public housing, because housing is a right, not a privilege. C) Public education, to decrease the average class size in city schools and increase teacher salary. D) Naturalization services for immigrants to the United States living here undocumented. (We demand they be called “undocumented” because no person is illegal.) E) General community development. Parks, etc.

We also have economic demands that must be addressed.

    1. We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control.
    2. We demand the restoration of city funding for arts and culture to re-establish the once-rich local cultural identity of Seattle.
    3. We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.
    4. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that Seattle Police be prohibited from performing “homeless sweeps” that displace and disturb our homeless neighbors, and on equal footing we demand an end to all evictions.
    5. We demand a decentralized election process to give the citizens of Seattle a greater ability to select candidates for public office such that we are not forced to choose at the poll between equally undesirable options. There are multiple systems and policies in place which make it impractical at best for working-class people to run for public office, all of which must go, starting with any fees associated with applying to run for public office.

Related to economic demands, we also have demands pertaining to what we would formally call “Health and Human Services.”

    1. We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.
    2. We demand the people of Seattle seek out and proudly support Black-owned businesses. Your money is our power and sustainability.
    3. We demand that the city create an entirely separate system staffed by mental health experts to respond to 911 calls pertaining to mental health crises, and insist that all involved in such a program be put through thorough, rigorous training in conflict de-escalation.

Finally, let us now address our demands regarding the education system in the City of Seattle and State of Washington.

    1. We demand that the history of Black and Native Americans be given a significantly greater focus in the Washington State education curriculum.
    2. We demand that thorough anti-bias training become a legal requirement for all jobs in the education system, as well as in the medical profession and in mass media.
    3. We demand the City of Seattle and State of Washington remove any and all monuments dedicated to historical figures of the Confederacy, whose treasonous attempts to build an America with slavery as a permanent fixture were an affront to the human race.

Transcribed by @irie_kenya and @AustinCHowe. Special thanks to Magik for starting and facilitating the discussion to create this list, to Omari Salisbury for the idea to break the list into categories, and as well a thanks to Kshama Sawant for being the only Seattle official to discuss with the people on Free Capitol Hill the night that it was liberated.

Bringing in the National Guard would not look good, but I believe it needs to be done. This is the equivalent of a foreign entity taking over a portion of an American city. This cannot be allowed to stand.

The Right To Work

The American Spectator posted an article today about a recent decision by the West Virginia Supreme  Court.

The article reports:

This spring, the West Virginia high court upheld the state’s right-to-work law. That part of the ruling was no surprise, as courts for over 70 years have said right-to-work laws are constitutional.

Perhaps the more significant part of the ruling, which garnered less attention, is that the court essentially said the entire country should be right-to-work.

Right-to-work simply means that a union cannot get a worker fired for not paying the union. A right-to-work law gives workers the freedom to support a union if they are doing a good job, and refrain from supporting a union if they wish.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Janus v. AFSCME  that everything government unions do is political and that public employees have a First Amendment right to decide to support their union or not. The Janus case brought right-to-work to public employees across the country.

The article concludes:

Even West Virginia Justice Margaret Workman, who was critical of right-to-work, agreed in part and disagreed in part with the decision, writing, “I also believe that although Janus was a decision involving only public employees’ unions, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows; there is no principled basis on which to conclude that under the legal analysis upon which Janus is based, a prohibition on the collection of agency fees is constitutional for public employees’ unions but unconstitutional for private employees’ unions.”

Currently, 23 states can force private sector employees to pay unions. Similarly, airline and railroad employees, who are governed by a separate federal law, are also forced to support unions whether they want to or not.

If the U.S. Supreme Court does eventually decide the question with the same reasoning as the West Virginia Supreme Court, then all employees, public and private, will have the right to choose whether or not the union at their workplace is doing a good job and if they want to support it.

After all, freedom is blowing in the wind.

If a union is necessary in a company, the employees will support it. If it is not, the employees will not support it. That is called freedom.

Some Thoughts On Our Religious Liberty

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about a recent Supreme Court decision. The title of the article is, “It wasn’t just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled.” The article is detailed and complex, so I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. However, there are a few things I want to point out that I think are very significant.

The article notes:

Most startling was that Chief Justice John Roberts not only joined the court’s four left-leaning justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) in declining to uphold religious liberty. Roberts also wrote a brief opinion explaining his decision. 

That opinion is an eye-opener. Roberts accords the right to worship no deference by virtue of its being a fundamental liberty expressly protected by the First Amendment. We are to see it as an activity like any other activity, commercial or social, the pros and cons of which technocrats must weigh in fashioning regulations. The opinion, moreover, champions the power of government officials to dictate to the people who elect them without “second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary” — exactly the power that the Bill of Rights, and the incorporation jurisprudence by which the court has applied much of it to the states, are meant to deny.

The article also points out:

In rejecting the religious liberty claim, Roberts counters that it is not a matter of unlawful discrimination if different things are regulated in different ways. Religious gatherings, he rationalized, are being restricted like gatherings that are physically similar, such as lectures, concerts, theater productions and spectator sports. He conceded that less intense restrictions have been imposed on other activities, such as shopping, banking and laundering. But that, he insists, is because of salient differences in the way they are conducted: small groups, no extended proximity, and so on.

But wait a second. What about the constitutional pedigree of religious exercise? That was the point pressed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a brief dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. (Justice Samuel Alito also opposed the denial of First Amendment relief but did not join Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion.)

The article concludes:

There is no recognition, in Roberts’ rendering, that there is another side to this equation — a side where 400 times the number of people who’ve died have lost their jobs, millions of them facing ruin. The stubborn message: Don’t expect the court to help you, you’re the ones who elected these people; if you don’t like what they do, un-elect them. If you’ve elected social engineers who say the Bill of Rights is above their pay grade, that’s your problem.

The justices are happy to order that abortion must be available, to decide which couples (or perhaps throuples) must be permitted to marry, and to dictate what’s ever next in the ceaseless march of progressive, organic “liberty.” But as for the liberties that are actually in the Constitution, we are on our own.

Unfortunately Justice Roberts has been something of a disappointment to those of us who expected him to be a responsible judge who would uphold the Constitution. He has wandered away from the constitutional role of the judiciary more than once.

Congress Shall Make No Law…

Townhall posted an article today calling attention to one aspect of the response to the coronavirus that needs to be looked at closely.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The headline of the Townhall article states, “If ‘Congress Shall Make No Law…’ Why Can Governors?” That is a very good question. I realize that the coronavirus is real and that it is a threat to certain groups of our population. But it is not a threat to everyone. There are people who could easily continue to go about their business without negatively impacting anyone, yet that has not been allowed to happen. If my Facebook feed is accurate, many small businesses have been shut down while the big box stores have been allowed to remain open. Assuming small business owners can practice social distancing in their stores, that makes no sense (unless there is an ulterior motive).

The article at Townhall notes:

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That’s unambiguous. Not “pretty unambiguous,” just unambiguous. Full stop. Yet governors across the country are ignoring or suspending almost every one of those rights enumerated at the top of the Bill of Rights, with little to no pushback from the press, which just happens to be the only part of the first two amendments not under assault.

It’s actually not under assault — it’s gone — suspended indefinitely in the name of “the common good.” Governors have declared coronavirus emergencies and wiped clean the rights our nation was founded for the purpose of putting those rights beyond the reach of government.

These suspensions were not done by vote; they were done with the stroke of a pen. Constitutionally, they can’t be done by either. There is no provision of the Constitution allowing for the waiving of rights under any condition, but most legislatures are content to sit back and watch this all proceed without their fingerprints anywhere near it.

Governors made a point of canceling Easter services, even at drive-in churches set up in parking lots. “You’re not allowed to leave your home,” they declared. The irony of placing innocent Americans under house arrest while releasing prisoners in the name of “compassion” was lost on journalists too busy expressing indignation that people might want to worship even in the face of a pandemic.

The article concludes:

Now they’re taking to the halls of capitals, to the streets. Police are being ordered to put down offenders demanding their liberty back. Many police departments are refusing, but an alarming number of them are complying. It was impossible just two months ago for the answer to the jailhouse question of, “What are you in for?” to be answered with, “I went to the beach,” yet this is the reality under many Democrat Governors.

We will wrestle our freedoms back and soon. When we do, it’s important to remember not only who took them and why, but who tried not to give them back. From Maine to Michigan, from Illinois to California, they were progressive Democrats. They didn’t see coronavirus as a tragedy. They saw it as an opportunity. As Hillary Clinton said last week, “this would be a terrible crisis to waste.”

This is the Democrats’ nature: they know better than you do what you need, they are better than you are, smarter than you. Coronavirus just allowed a peek into their minds. Individuals are irrelevant to the left, as are your rights. The Constitution is an obstacle to be overcome, by any means available, not the restraint on their power it was written to be. Remember that come November…or you soon won’t be allowed to say it.

Our freedom is in danger. We need to wake up quickly.

Why The U. S. Constitution Matters

We are in the midst of a major health crisis. We need to be intelligent in handling this crisis. However, we also need to remember that our Constitution applies in ALL situations–crisis or not. Unfortunately some of our elected leaders have forgotten that.

The Federalist posted an article today about some of our elected leaders who have chosen to ignore the Constitution in dealing with the coronavirus.

The article reports:

The most egregious example of this outpouring of authoritarianism was an attempt by Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer to ban drive-in church services on Easter. On Holy Thursday, one day before Christians were to begin their most important religious celebrations of the year, Fischer declared that drive-in Easter services would be illegal.

To remove all doubt about his seriousness, he also threatened arrest and criminal penalties for anyone who dared violate his order, and in an Orwellian twist, invited people to snitch on their fellow citizens. Fischer justified this by saying it was “to save lives.”

Thankfully, a federal judge made short work of the mayor’s idiotic power-grab, issuing a temporary restraining order against the city of Louisville on Saturday, writing so as to remove all doubt, “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

There are other examples of this overreach:

…That’s a good start, but the targeting of churches, while undoubtedly the most offensive overreach by state and local governments, is hardly the only instance of government gone wild. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has taken it upon herself to declare what items are and are not “essential,” dictating to grocery stores what they can and cannot sell as part of a sweeping order issued Friday.

Among the nonessential, and therefore banned, items are fruit and vegetable plants and seeds. Never mind that growing fruits and vegetables at home right now would help maintain social distancing during the pandemic, the governor has spoken and her word is law. (Lottery tickets, on the other hand, are still permitted.)

Beyond the fruit and vegetable ban, the governor’s order is an object lesson in the absurdity and inconsistency of arbitrary power and rule by fiat. Michiganders are banned from traveling “between residences” if they own a cottage or a summer home, but the ban only applies to Michigan residents, so an out-of-stater with a cottage in the Upper Peninsula could presumably still visit. The ban also still allows travel between states, so if a Michigander has a cottage in Wisconsin or Ohio, he can travel without fear of being arrested or fined by state police.

The article concludes:

Why did Whitmer tailor her order this way? Probably because she knows she has no authority to ban travel between states, or issue orders to Americans generally—no more than a mayor has the authority to shut down drive-in Easter services in his city.

That these officials need to be reminded of that, and in some cases restrained by federal judges, bodes very ill for America. Now more than ever, we need leaders who don’t just care about protecting us from the pandemic, but also care about preserving liberty in a time of crisis.

When we vote in November, we need to remember who was willing to abide by the Constitution and who used the coronavirus as an excuse for a power trip.

Uneven Precautions

Hot Air posted an article today about some recent comments by New York City Mayor DeBlasio.

The article reports:

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” the New York Democrat said Friday at his daily press briefing.

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.

De Blasio said that continued resistance of authorities to close religious services could mean a permanent shutdown.

The last paragraph is an amazing statement. Particularly when you consider the fact that he has not closed down the parks in New York City.

The article notes:

But it’s still interesting to see how selective the Mayor is in the targets he picks for “special treatment” in terms of enforcing his social distancing decrees. As I mentioned above, why threaten to close the synagogues when he still hasn’t closed the public parks? We’re seeing much larger crowds still clogging the parks than you’re likely to find in the average temple on any given Saturday.

The last paragraph of the article reminds us how silly Mayor De Blasio’s statement about closing down the churches and synagogues is:

The last thing I’ll touch on here was de Blasio’s admonishment about potentially closing the buildings “permanently.” That’s hogwash. Or perhaps malarkey, if you’re feeling more Bidenesque. Sooner or later this virus will pass. When it does, the rules about not gathering in large groups will go out the window. And any elected official found trying to shutter churches and synagogues at that point will quickly find themselves on the losing end of a massive court case, if not run out of town on a rail.

At any rate, one thing Americans need to make sure of is that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of our Constitution do not get lost in the fight against the coronavirus.

Why The Bill Of Rights Is Important

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The free exercise of religion will be under scrutiny in the Supreme Court this session.

Yesterday CBN News reported:

The US Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on an important religious liberty concern. On Wednesday, the high court announced it will take up two cases which could decide if religious institutions have the right to pick who teaches their religion. Or if the government gets to have the final say.

Both cases will be rolled into one case for a hearing this spring at the court. Both involve California Catholic schools that each dismissed fifth-grade teachers the schools felt were performing their jobs poorly.

These teachers were deeply involved in the religious education of their students. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings and decided neither teacher was so involved in religious teaching that the schools should be allowed to get rid of them.

The article concludes:

Becket ( Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) Executive Director Montserrat Alvarado stated, “Parents trust Catholic schools to assist them in one of their most important duties: forming the faith of their children.   If courts can second-guess a Catholic school’s judgment about who should teach religious beliefs to fifth graders, then neither Catholics nor any other religious group can be confident in their ability to convey the faith to the next generation.”

The two cases are Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel. In the Morrissey-Berru case, the Ninth Circuit agreed the teacher had “significant religious responsibilities,” but decided those duties weren’t religious enough for the school to invoke its First Amendment right to control who’s teaching the faith to its students.

The cases involve something known as the ministerial exception. It represents the idea that religious groups involved in teaching their faith can only truly be free from government interference if they have full control of choosing who teaches that faith in their institutions.

Freedom is always one generation away from extinction. We need to protect all of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Losing Our First Amendment Rights

On Tuesday, The Christian Post posted an article about a bill recently signed into law in New York State.

The article reports:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law that prohibits churches and other nonprofits from campaigning for or against political candidates.

Cuomo signed Senate Bill S4347 last week, creating a state-level equivalent to the current federal Johnson Amendment, which bans electioneering among nonprofits.

In a statement released last Wednesday, Cuomo said he felt the law was necessary in response to efforts by the Trump administration to weaken the Johnson Amendment.

“For too long we have listened to the Trump administration threaten to remove common sense protections prohibiting tax exempt organizations from engaging in inappropriate political activities,” Cuomo said.

“New Yorkers have a right to free and fair elections, and this law will further protect our democracy from unjustified interferences once and for all.”

Also known as Assembly Bill A623, the bill amended the state tax law to say that  nonprofit organizations, religious or secular, cannot participate in “any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

The article reminds us:

In May 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which, among other things, called for the federal government to stop enforcing the Johnson Amendment.

“In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective,” stated Section 2 of the executive order.

Despite the executive order and Trump saying on multiple occasions that he eliminated the amendment, it still has not been officially repealed.

The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

People do not give up their First Amendment rights because they enter a church.

The article also includes a quote by Ryan Tucker of the Alliance Defending Freedom:

Ryan Tucker of the Alliance Defending Freedom took issue with Cuomo’s signing of the law, writing in a New York Daily News opinion piece last week that the state government was “cracking down on political speech.”

“In the minds of New York lawmakers, a group can only speak freely if it pays the government extra for the privilege of doing so. That type of financial coercion may pay for a payroll increase in Albany, but it will sideline the roles of both secular and religious charities,” Tucker wrote.

“Cuomo’s comments are wrong. The government can’t condition your tax-exempt status with the surrender of your First Amendment rights or any other constitutionally protected freedom.”

That is a very interesting way to look at this. Why should churches give up their right to speak out on political issues that are relevant to spiritual life simply because they are tax exempt?

When Is Higher Education Against Diversity?

Yesterday Christian Headlines posted an article with the following headline, “Duke University’s Student Government Rejects Young Life over LGBTQ Policies.”

The article reports:

Duke University’s student government has denied the Christian organization Young Life official status as a student group on campus, citing its policy on sexuality.

The decision by the Duke Student Government Senate on Wednesday (Sept. 11) comes amid ongoing clashes nationwide between religious student groups and colleges and universities that have added more robust nondiscrimination policies.

Young Life, like many evangelical groups, regards same-sex relations as sinful. Its policy forbids LGBTQ staff and volunteers from holding positions in the organization.

The student newspaper the Duke Chronicle reported Thursday that the student government senate unanimously turned down official recognition for the Young Life chapter, because it appeared to violate a guideline that every Duke student group include a nondiscrimination statement in its constitution. 

Young Life, which is based in Colorado Springs, is a 78-year-old organization with a mission to introduce adolescents to Christianity and help them grow in their faith. It has chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges in all 50 states and more than 90 countries around the world.

But the student government objected to a clause in Young Life’s sexuality policy. After the student government was told the organization would not change its sexuality policy, it rejected the group.

The Young Life policy states: “We do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ. We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.”

So following the Biblical guidelines on sexuality (both heterosexuality and homosexuality) will prevent your Christian group from being recognized on a College Campus.

The article concludes:

Over the past two decades, many colleges and universities have attempted to exclude religious groups because of their positions on sexuality, among them InterVarsity and Business Leaders in Christ.

Greg Jao, senior assistant to the president at InterVarsity, said about 70 colleges and universities have attempted to exclude InterVarsity chapters over the years — in some cases because it bars LGBTQ employees, in others because its faith statement more generally violates school nondiscrimination policies.

In most cases, the issues are resolved, but others have ended up in court. InterVarsity is now suing the University of Iowa and Wayne State University.

“Most of the time universities back down because it’s a violation of students’ First Amendment rights,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm that defends religious freedom cases.

Duke, however, may be in a different category as a private institution. Private universities don’t have the same obligations under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause that a government entity does.

As a private entity, Duke may actually be able to do this, but any Christian who sends their child to Duke is supporting an anti-Christian agenda.

Can’t Both Viewpoints Have A Parade?

Last weekend there was a Straight Pride Parade in Boston. A group of people decided that since there have been gay pride parades, they should be able to have a straight pride parade. As expected, there were protestors in attendance. Some of them were not very nice.

The Washington Times is reporting today that some of the people who misbehaved during the parade, who expected to get off with a slap on the wrist after being arrested, are not necessarily getting off that easily.

The article reports:

Two Boston Municipal Court judges refused to throw out the charges against the 18 defendants who appeared Tuesday in court, frustrating defense attorneys and prosecutors who sought to have minor charges dismissed, as reported by local news outlets.

Judge Thomas Horgan also told out-of-towners that they risked 90-day jail sentences if they set foot in Boston for any reason other than court and lawyer appointments, rejecting one defendant’s request to visit relatives in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

“Stay out of Boston,” said Judge Horgan, according to the Boston Herald.

The article continues:

Meanwhile, Larry Calderone, vice president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, praised the courtroom outcome, noting that many of those arrested came from outside the city and state and accusing them of coming to “create havoc.”

He said the four officers injured have not been able to return to work yet, and that the union wants the offenders “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“A lot of the assaults that happened during the day, you only knew of a few of them,” Mr. Calderone told reporters outside the courtroom. “Many officers were assaulted throughout the day with bottles of urine being thrown at them, bottles of chemicals, bottles of unidentified material, rocks.”

The city is looking into complaints that police used excessive force during the event.

“Multiple times I asked why I was arrested, he said ‘for calling me a pig,’” Joshua Abrams, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, told WBZ-TV before his arraignment. “Well, that’s my First Amendment right to do so.”

If Mr. Abrams was resisting arrest, that is a crime. This is how protestors who cross the line from protest to assault need to be treated. Enforcing the law serves as a warning to those who want to cause trouble that they will be held accountable for the trouble they cause. The First Amendment allows protest; it does not allow assault.

As a side note, American Greatness reported the following yesterday:

Far-left Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley lent a helping hand to violent antifa agitators over the weekend after a number of them were arrested on assault and battery charges.

The two “Squad” members urged their followers on Twitter to contribute to the bail fund for the “counter-protesters” who tangled with law enforcement while protesting the Straight Pride Parade in Boston on Saturday. A masked Antifa protester told reporters that the violence was necessary in order to shut up Straight Pride marchers.

This is the fact of the new Democrat party. If you are for law and order, there is no way you can support this. I have not yet heard any Democrats denouncing these tweets.

The First Amendment Allows The Free Exercise Of Religion–It Doesn’t Restrict It

The First Amendment was designed to prevent the establishment of one religion sanctioned by the government. It was not designed to put obstacles in the way of people choosing to practice their religion.

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about a policy of the Trump administration designed to protect the rights of Americans to practice their religion.

The article reports:

Evangelical leader Franklin Graham praised Vice President Mike Pence for defending religious freedom at Veterans Affairs hospitals in a recent speech, where Pence said, “Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.” 

In an Aug. 29 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, “‘VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.’ Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion’s 101st National Convention yesterday about all that this administration is doing to help our nation’s military veterans.”

“He also addressed the issue of a current lawsuit in New Hampshire to remove the Bible of a World War II POW from a VA hospital’s ‘missing man’ table,” remarked Graham. “Vice President Pence said, ‘…under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct.

The article concludes:

“In 2014, the Navy Exchange Service Command issued a memo for the removal of Bibles in Navy Lodge guest rooms following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” reads the letter. “The Navy reversed course and announced that the Bibles would be replaced.  Similarly, the Establishment Clause does not require that you remove Bibles from the Missing Man Table displays.  The mere presence of a Bible coerces no one.”

At the Manchester Veterans Affairs hospital in New Hampshire there is a “missing man” memorial table that includes a Bible. In May, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headed by Michael Weinstein, filed a federal lawsuit to have the Bible removed. The litigation is ongoing.

“That sectarian Christian Bible bolted down to that POW/MIA table at the Manchester NH VAMC is a grotesque gang sign of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism and supremacy, indeed a middle finger of unconstitutional repugnance to the plurality and separation of church and state guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution,” Weinstein told the Military Times.

Weinstein is well known in the military as someone who frequently uses lawsuits to end religious speech. Barack Obama appointed Mikey Wienstein to be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops. These are some of the policies that President Trump is quietly undoing.

A Disturbing Trend On College Campuses

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Basically that means that even people you disagree with have the right to speak. However, that principle is not being taught on many of our college campuses.

The Daily Signal posted an article today about some recent events at Williams College.

The article reports:

At Williams College in Massachusetts, biology professor Dr. Luana Maroja wrote online last year that she was concerned about student and administrator attitudes regarding free speech. She gathered more than 100 faculty signatures on a petition calling for the school to adopt what is known as the “Chicago Principles,” a statement in favor of free expression developed by the University of Chicago.

More than 60 schools have endorsed this statement, a welcome response to the disrupted events and other nonsense that have plagued universities around the country.

Some Williams students will have none of it. Maroja says that more than a dozen of them barged into a faculty meeting last November holding signs such as “free speech harms” and saying faculty were trying to “kill” the students.

After that, tensions escalated. The College Fix reports that a professor subsequently “threatened violence” if Williams adopted the Chicago statement. All this, because Maroja dared to promote the idea that Williams should maintain a “climate of mutual respect.”

If that isn’t troubling enough, a poll of the students is even more troubling:

A recent survey of college students found that more than half of respondents say shouting down speakers is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable. Sixteen percent of respondents say it is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable to use violence to stop a speech protest or rally.

These responses are disturbing. Civil society – life in the office, in your neighborhood, at your child’s soccer game – depends on people tolerating those who do not share their beliefs, not trying to silence them through intimidation or violence. The American Dream dies if we live in fear of persecution.

Williams officials should take seriously the threats posed to the next generation of adults that come from limiting the ideas that can be considered on campus. The school should require students to attend sessions on free speech during freshman orientation – and explain that hiding from ideas with which you disagree is a poor strategy for life.

New policies for public universities in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin now serve as examples of how to protect everyone’s freedom of expression in a campus community.

These policies affirm the idea that anyone should be allowed to protest or demonstrate in public areas as long as they do not prevent others from doing the same. Moreover, they stipulate that their public universities must be prepared to penalize individuals who silence others.

The article notes that Williams is a private college and can set its own policies regarding free speech. However, it is troubling that the First Amendment is no longer appreciated or practiced on some college campuses.

Elections Have Consequences

The Daily Caller posted an article today about a planned resolution that will be introduced in Congress this week by Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar.

The article reports:

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar says she will introduce a resolution this week supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The freshman Congresswoman told Al Monitor on Tuesday that her resolution approving of a boycott of one of America’s allies will be an exercise in “American values,” and a stand for the First Amendment. The move comes after President Donald Trump accused Omar and other progressive congresswomen of being anti-American.

“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” she told the outlet. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

I don’t have a problem with anyone exercising their First Amendment rights. However, it is interesting to me that a Congresswoman would introduce a bill approving a boycott of one of America’s strongest allies. Israel is the only truly free country in the Middle East–it is the only country that allows people to worship whatever god they serve. The Congresswoman has shown herself to be anti-Semitic in previous statements, and this resolution simply reinforces that idea. Last time I checked, antisemitism was a form of racism. It seems that some of the charges this woman is making against the President might apply to her.

A City That Has Forgotten Its Heritage

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the City of Boston is being sued by Liberty Council for refusing to include a Christian flag in a 248-flag display on Constitution Day in 2017 and 2018.

The article notes:

“The city’s application policy refers to the flagpoles as a ‘public forum’ open to ‘all applicants,”’ Shurtleff said in a statement, “City officials have never denied the ‘messages’ communicated by Boston Pride and the pink and blue ‘transgender’ flag, and even the flags of Communist China and Cuba, but will not allow the civic and historical Christian message of Camp Constitution.

Boston has allowed the pride flag, Turkish flag, communist Chinese flag and Cuban flag — among others — to fly high and proud above city hall. Their reason for disallowing Camp Constitution’s Christian flag: no non-secular flags permitted, the lawsuit filed by the group says.

However, the Turkish flag is not secular. Turkey is one of 21 different nations with an Islamic symbol on their flag.

The article concludes:

“Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted violates the First Amendment,” said Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement. “Boston city officials may not ban the Christian flag as part of a privately-sponsored event when they allow any other flag by numerous private organizations. It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship,” he added.

Camp Constitution executives are optimistic about “key undisputed facts” that will compel the court in their favor. They say the city changed their parameters about the flags after their application and that the refusal is “content-based” discrimination.

The City of Boston’s press office did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation for comment at the time of publishing.

Christianity is a major part of America’s heritage. The Judeo-Christian moral principles form the basis for our legal system. It seems a little odd to allow the Islamic flag to be flown and not allow the Christian flag to be flown.

The Growing Contempt For Freedom Of Speech

Walter E. Williams posted an article at Newsbusters today about the attack on free speech.

The Professor notes:

The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.

Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” appearing in the autumn 2018 edition of City Journal, explores the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment. The early attempts to suppress free speech were signed into law by President John Adams and became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Later attempts to suppress free speech came during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln and his generals attacked newspapers and suspended habeas corpus. It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.

Unfortunately many of our college campuses have lost the concept of free speech and open debate.

The article reports:

Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses. Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of Anthropology. Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”

Rouse is by no means unique in her contempt for our First Amendment rights. Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racist microagressions: “America is a melting pot”; “America is the land of opportunity”; “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough”; and “There is only one race, the human race.” The latter statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. Then there’s “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” speech because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from, or where were you born?”

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.

I hated it when the neo-Nazis were allowed to march in Skokie, Illinois, but that is what free speech means. The concept of hate speech is the antithesis of free speech–it is an excuse for censorship. If you are not comfortable enough in your own ideas to be willing to let others who do not share those ideas speak, then maybe living in a free country isn’t your cup of tea.