Stephen Miller TKOs Jim Acosta
Rich Lowry writes: When Donald Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller stepped to the podium of the White House briefing room on Wednesday to defend a plan for reducing levels of legal immigration, Jim Acosta of CNN was aghast and let everyone know it.
Put aside that Acosta believed it was his role as a reporter to argue one side of a hot-button political issue (this is how journalism works in 2017). The exchange illustrated how advocates of high levels of immigration are often the ones who—despite their self-image as the rational bulwark against runaway populism—rely on an ignorant emotionalism to make their case.
At issue is the bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia to cut legal immigration by half. The legislation would scale back so-called chain migration—immigrants bringing relatives, who bring more relatives in turn—and institute a merit-based system for green cards based on the ability to speak English, educational attainment and job skills.
Offended by the idea of putting a priority on higher-skilled immigrants, Acosta wanted to know how such a policy would be consistent with the Statue of Liberty. When Miller pointed out that Lady Liberty was conceived as a symbol of … liberty and the famous Emma Lazarus poem added later, Acosta accused him of “national park revisionism”—even though Miller was correct.
Stephen Miller is living rent free in Acosta’s head. pic.twitter.com/WR2AMEmDGW
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) August 3, 2017
At the dedication of the statue in 1886, President Grover Cleveland declared that the statue’s “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world.” His soaring oration did not include the admonition that so-called comprehensive immigration reform would henceforth be considered the only acceptable immigration policy for the United States.
Lazarus’ poem was added in a plaque in 1903. The words are not, as Acosta and so many others believe, emblazoned on the statue itself—the plaque is now displayed in an exhibition within the pedestal.
All of this might seem pedantic, but the underlying debate is over the legitimacy of reducing levels of immigration and whether it is appropriate to craft a policy mindful, above anything else, of the national interest. Miller clearly has the best of this argument.
One, making 21st policy in accord with late-19th century poetry makes no sense. We don’t ask, say, whether the naval appropriations bill is in keeping with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Building of the Ship” (“Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong and great!”)
Two, the cap on refugees in the Cotton-Perdue bill of 50,000 a year is in the ballpark of recent annual refugee numbers. We actually admitted fewer than this in the late-1970s and early-2000s, and the Statue of Liberty still stood … (more)
Source: POLITICO Magazine
CNN’s Jim Acosta claims victory in briefing beef with Stephen Miller: ‘He couldn’t take that kind of heat’
“I think what you saw unfold in the briefing room is that he [Miller] really just couldn’t take that kind of heat and exploded before our eyes,” Acosta said in an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, hours after the face-off.
Miller spoke to members of the White House press corps about a revised bill from Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas that would implement a merit-based point system for immigrants applying for legal permanent status. President Trump endorsed the immigration plan during a ceremony at the White House earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
A male student accused of sexual harassment committed suicide after campus officials denied him due process.
Ashe Schow reports: If every other egregious example of a male student denied due process after being accused of sexual misconduct gets ignored – this one should not be.
A male student who was accused of sexual harassment committed suicide just days after the University of Texas at Arlington ignored its own policies in order to punish him. The accused student’s father, a lawyer acting as the administrator of his son’s estate, is now suing the school for violating his son’s Title IX rights.
College administrators, as well as members of the media and legislators, would do well to remember the name Thomas Klocke. Klocke, a straight male, was accused by a gay male student of writing anti-gay slurs on his computer during a class. Klocke vehemently denied the accusation, and administrators who investigated the incident acknowledged there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims, yet Klocke was still punished.
The accusing student, who is being sued by Klocke’s father for defamation, claims that in May 2016, Klocke made a comment during a class about “privilege,” and then proceeded to open his laptop and type “gays should die” into his web browser’s search bar. The accuser (who is not being named because Watchdog was unable to contact him for comment) claims he typed into his own browser search bar, “I’m gay.”
The accuser next claimed that Klocke feigned a yawn and said under his breath: “Well, then you’re a faggot.” The accuser says he told Klocke he should leave the class, to which Klocke allegedly responded: “You should consider killing yourself.”
The accuser claims he was made so uncomfortable by the exchange that he waited until the end of class and spoke to the professor, who allegedly told him to contact student support services. There is no documentation to suggest the professor was interviewed in the course of the investigation in order to corroborate the accuser’s claims. The attorney for Klocke’s father, Kenneth Chaiken, told Watchdog the professor never provided a witness statement, suggesting he was never asked what he saw that day.
Not following procedure
Klocke insisted that what happened in that mid-May class in 2016 was completely different than what the accuser claimed. Klocke said his accuser made unwelcome sexual advances toward him. Klocke rejected the advances, telling his eventual accuser that he was straight. The lawsuit suggests that this rejection led the accuser to make up his story, possibly out of fear that he himself could be accused of sexual misconduct.
Instead of seeking support services, the accuser reached out to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Heather Snow, with whom he had a friendly relationship. The accuser was close enough to Snow to refer to her by her first name at times, and Snow quickly became the accuser’s advocate, helping him to draft a complaint against Klocke and conducting the disciplinary procedure without following the school’s Title IX policies.
The lawsuit alleges that UTA’s Title IX coordinator was not informed of the allegation, even though Snow suggested it constituted sexual harassment. This is a violation of UTA’s policies regarding sexual misconduct, which state complaints “should be made to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators.” Snow was neither.
Further, UTA’s Title IX policies state that the Title IX coordinator is responsible for overseeing the investigation and assigning an investigator. The investigator must then produce a report based on facts gathered and present it to the Title IX coordinator and deputy coordinator before any hearing.
Klocke received no hearing, even though he contradicted his accuser’s claims. Had Snow properly reported the complaint to the Title IX coordinator, Klocke would have received necessary protections from the school. By doing things on her own terms, Snow was able to deny Klocke his rights as stated in UTA policy.
Snow took control of the disciplinary procedure that involved a complaint she wrote herself. She enlisted the help of UTA’s associate director of academic integrity, Daniel Moore, and had him tell Klocke he was immediately prohibited from attending the class where the incident was alleged to have occurred. Klocke was completing the course as part of a short, pre-summer semester in order to graduate that summer.
When Klocke was informed that an accusation had been lodged against him, he was not told the name of his accuser. Klocke was also informed that he could not contact anyone in the class, directly or indirectly, effectively denying him any ability to find witnesses to corroborate his story.
His accuser was able to remain in the class and find witnesses. He found only one, who didn’t corroborate his account but did say he overheard someone say “you should leave.” This could have been said by either Klocke or his accuser in either of their stories.
Klocke told Moore he needed to attend the class and asked for more information about the accusation against him. Moore ignored this request but sent Klocke a “summons letter” on May 20. The lawsuit alleges Moore never informed Klocke that this was a Title IX investigation (as Moore usually handled academic issues) or Klocke’s rights under Title IX.
Moore also never told Klocke that he would not be allowed a hearing. He was never informed that Snow – who was not an impartial party – was running the show, even helping Moore determine a punishment. Read the rest of this entry »
Iran seeking revenge for Trump’s halt on immigration
Adam Kredo reports: The Trump administration is emphasizing warnings against travel to Iran by U.S. citizens in light of the Islamic Republic‘s latest effort to implement a travel ban on Americans, which comes in response to the White House’s new immigration order temporarily halting all immigration from Iran and several other Muslim-majority nations designated as terrorism hotspots, according to U.S. officials.
Iranian officials announced this week that they are poised to implement their own travel ban on U.S. individuals and entities they described as aiding “terrorist groups or [helping] regional dictatorial rulers crack down on their nations,” according to comments carried in the country’s state-controlled media.
Iran said the effort is part of a package of reprisals against the United States for the Trump administration’s latest immigration order, which stops Iranian citizens and others from entering the United States for several months as American authorities seek to strengthen vetting procedures.
When questioned about Iran’s potential travel ban on Monday, a State Department official confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that the Trump administration is aware of the effort and emphasized current warnings against travel to Iran by U.S. citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
“People think the world is in chaos. People think that the world is on fire right now for all the wrong reasons,” says author and Cato Institute senior fellow Johan Norberg. “There is a segment of politicians who try to scare us to death, because then we clamber for safety we need the strong man in a way.”
But despite the political situation in Europe and America, Norberg remains optimistic. His new book, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, shows what humans are capable of when given freedom and the ability to exchange new ideas. “In the 25 years that have been considered neo-liberalism and capitalism run amok what has happened? Well, we’ve reduced chronic undernourishment around the world by 40 percent, child mortality and illiteracy by half, and extreme poverty from 37 to 10 percent,” explains Norberg. Read the rest of this entry »
- KCON XII Schedule for Saturday, February 25 (Day Two) (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
If the federal government were to cut off funding for public broadcasting, the programs that so many of us cherish not only wouldn’t disappear, they would have a better chance of surviving long into the future.
In 1967, President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, establishing a system of government subsidies that hasn’t changed that much in fifty years. The lion-share of federal money was allocated—not to pay directly for programming—but to go to independent public television and radio stations that were established in every corner of a vast nation. Their main purpose has always been to distribute national content to their local communities. About 70 percent of government funding went directly the local stations in 1967. Fifty years later, that formula hasn’t changed much.
When the Public Broadcasting Act became law, maintaining a network of regional stations was the only way to insure that every American household had access to public television and radio content. Today, this decentralized system isn’t necessary because it’s possible to stream or download NPR or PBS content from anywhere in the world. As audiences moves online, the regional stations supported by the federal government are becoming unnecessary.
It’s not just that these stations have become a waste of taxpayer money—they also present an obstacle to online distribution. The advent of podcasting, for example, was a singular opportunity for NPR to capitalize big on a new way of distributing its rich content. Today, NPR publishes several of the top podcasts, but in a concession to the stations, it forbids show hosts from promoting podcasts on the radio or from even mentioning NPR’s popular smartphone app. Station opposition is also the reason that podcast listeners can’t download episodes of NPR’s two top programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Recently, some of public radio’s most talented show hosts and producers have gone to work for private podcasting ventures. One reason to leave, says former-NPR reporter Adam Davidson, is that podcasters “have a creative freedom that NPR’s institutional frictions simply can’t allow.”
The fact is that without federal subsidies, the programs themselves could thrive. About 40 percent of funding for public television comes from private contributions (individuals, foundations, and businesses). For public radio, it’s about 60 percent. Read the rest of this entry »
Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.
Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.
Amelia Hamilton writes: We live in the age of inclusion where we are to be welcomed and treated equally, but, paradoxically, we are all to be labeled clearly so that everyone knows what status we may embody. Take college campuses, the incubator of liberalism gone amok. So-called “diversity training” has attempted to make students painfully aware of all of their differences (well, all differences but ones of opinion, since diversity of thought has become intolerable in academia).
“know your kind and stick to it. Don’t risk offending people from other backgrounds by trying to understand their worldviews.”
Student Carrie Pritt recently wrote of her experience as an incoming freshman at Princeton University, where different labels (white, male, wealthy) were rattled off and students were asked to stand if they identified with that group. “But what did it really accomplish?” she asked. “In compressing us into isolated communities based on our race, religion or gender, the minister belittled every other piece of our identities.” He faced a crowd of singular young adults and essentially told them that their heritage outweighed their humanity.
The message was clear: “know your kind and stick to it. Don’t risk offending people from other backgrounds by trying to understand their worldviews.” Although she understands that the university was trying to do something good, Carrie wonders, “Why were the university administrators, who speak so highly of diversity, choosing to strip us of our individuality?” It’s a good question. Read the rest of this entry »
Rioters break windows, set fire to force cancellation of Breitbart editor’s UC-Berkeley talk
A planned talk at the University of California-Berkeley by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled Wednesday evening after protesters threw smoke bombs and flares at the student union building where he was scheduled to speak.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 2, 2017
“Violent left-wing protesters stormed the building and forced me to be evacuated by police and by my security detail,” Yiannopoulos told Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries or arrests.
Yiannopoulos, 32, is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.
The decision to cancel was made two hours before the start of the event because a crowd of more than 1,500 people had gathered outside the venue, the university said in a statement.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” the statement read, in part.
Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators carrying signs that read “Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech” had been protesting for hours before the event.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 2, 2017
In the evening, a small group dressed in black broke windows, threw smoke bombs and flares, and set a large bonfire outside the building. Some members of that group were wearing hooded sweatshirts.
The demonstrators were met by tight security in the form of law enforcement armed in riot gear. Some rioters broke windows and lit fireworks, while others pulled away the metal barricades in front of the building.
A shelter in place order was in effect and the Cal campus was placed on lockdown. Read the rest of this entry »
The circumstances under which the victim was shot remains unclear.
A man was shot Friday night on the University of Washington campus during a protest for a controversial speaker, and the suspected shooter turned himself in claiming self defense, police said.
A large crowd packed the Red Square area of campus Friday night protesting a speech by controversial Brietbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Police were blocking the entrance to Kane Hall, and investigators said bricks and paint were thrown at officers.
“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police. He is now being questioned about the incident.”
— the Seattle mayor’s office said in a statement.
Medics received the shooting report at 8:26 p.m., after Yiannopoulos’ speech began in Kane Hall, but while a large crowd of protesters remained outside.
UW students were alerted to the suspected shooters arrest early Saturday morning. He was being questioned early Saturday morning by UW police, who are handling the investigation.
The shooting victim is 32 and suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen, Seattle police said. He was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center, and was previously identified by authorities as a 25-year-old…(read more)
Person of Interest in Shooting at UW Protest Turns Himself In
David Caplan and Karma Allan report: A person of interest in the Friday night shooting of a man at a protest at the University of Washington has turned himself in, the office of Seattle mayor Edward Murray announced early Saturday morning.
“My prayers are with the victim, whoever he is.”
— Milo Yiannopoulos
“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “He is now being questioned about the incident.” The University of Washington Police Department is handling the shooting investigation, with support from Seattle Police Department detectives.
The 32-year-old victim was hospitalized with a possible life-threatening injury after being shot by the suspect in the abdomen at the protest, which according to ABC affiliate KOMO, was pegged to the slated 7:30 p.m. speaking engagement of alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Some were also protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
Even a prominent Trump adviser accepts the false premise that there has been no ‘ethical shadiness.’
Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”
In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:
• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.
• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.
• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixononly dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »
The criminal government leaker with the hero complex is now living in Moscow under a 2013 asylum deal granted after Snowden gave the media troves of classified documents that revealed the extent of the U.S. surveillance state.
“If the Russian or Chinese governments have access to this information, American troops will be at greater risk in any future conflict.”
— Committee report
“Since Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, he has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a report on the Snowden leaks released Thursday.
“Most of the material he stole had nothing to do with Americans’ privacy. Its compromise has been of great value to America’s adversaries and those who mean to do America harm.”
— House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff
The declassified report, which is heavily redacted, did not offer proof of its serious accusation. It follows the committee’s release in September of an executive summary of the then-classified document.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in a statement that the report offers “a fuller account of Edward Snowden’s crimes and the reckless disregard he has shown for U.S. national security, including the safety of American servicemen and women.”
The document casts Snowden as a dishonest miscreant and attempts to refute the portrayal of him as a duty-minded whistleblower.
The House panel’s report says there is “no evidence that Snowden took any official effort to express concerns about U.S. intelligence activities … to any oversight officials within the U.S. government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so.”
Snowden and his defenders claim that he feared reprisal and have pointed to numerous instances of the intelligence community retaliating against employees who complain about secret programs. Read the rest of this entry »
Web freedom declined across the globe for the sixth consecutive year, according to a new report.
Amar Toor reports: Two-thirds of the world’s internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report released today. The report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, finds that internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth consecutive year in 2016, as governments cracked down on social media services and messaging apps.
“Although the blocking of these tools affects everyone, it has an especially harmful impact on human rights defenders, journalists, and marginalized communities who often depend on these apps to bypass government surveillance.”
— Sanja Kelly, director and co-author of the Freedom on the Net 2016 report
The findings are based on an analysis of web freedom in 65 countries, covering 88 percent of the world’s online population. Freedom House ranked China as the worst abuser of internet freedom for the second consecutive year, followed by Syria and Iran. (The report does not include North Korea.) Online freedom in the US increased slightly over the year due to the USA Freedom Act, which limits the bulk collection of metadata carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies.
“Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.”
This year saw a notable crackdown on secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. WhatsApp was blocked or restricted in 12 countries over the course of the year — more than any other messaging app — including in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, where authorities blocked it in response to civilian protests. Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.
Read the rest of this entry »
Chelsea Follett writes: Recent reports that infants now die at a higher rate in Venezuela than in war-torn Syria were, sadly, unsurprising – the results of socialist economics are predictable. Venezuela’s infant mortality rate has actually been above Syria’s since 2008.
The big picture, fortunately, is happier. The global infant mortality rate has plummeted. Even Syria and Venezuela, despite the impact of war and failed policies, saw improvements up to as recently as last year. From 1960 to 2015, Syria’s infant mortality rate fell by 91% and Venezuela’s by 78%.
[Read the full story here, at Foundation for Economic Education]
This year (not reflected in the graph above or below), Syria’s rate rose from 11.1 per 1,000 live births to 15.4, while Venezuela’s shot up from 12.9 to 18.6. Meanwhile, infant mortality rates have continued to fall practically everywhere else, and have declined even faster in countries that enjoy more freedom and stability. Consider Chile.
Chile’s infant mortality rate in 1960 was actually above that of both Venezuela and Syria. It managed to outperform Syria by the mid-1960s, but was still woefully behind its richer northern cousin, Venezuela. Read the rest of this entry »
Journalists Can’t Pose as FBI Agents, but Heck Yeah, FBI Agents Actually Can Pose as Journalists, Inspector General SaysPosted: September 16, 2016
The FBI also did not violate policy when an agent impersonated an editor with the Associated Press in 2007, the Inspector General found.
Alan Neuhauser reports: FBI agents may impersonate journalists while conducting undercover investigations, and an agent who posed as an editor with the Associated Press during a 2007 investigation did not violate agency policies, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found in a report released Thursday.
“The Associated Press is deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s findings, which effectively condone the FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist in 2007. Such action compromises the ability of a free press to gather the news safely and effectively and raises serious constitutional concerns.”
— Associated Press Vice President Paul Colford, in a statement
The conclusion sparked consternation across social media by journalists, civil rights groups and some legal experts, who have argued that the practice – by its very existence – threatens to heighten public mistrust of reporters, damage journalists’ credibility and have a chilling effect on sources and whistleblowers who may fear that their contacts in the media are actually undercover agents.
“The Associated Press is deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s findings, which effectively condone the FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist in 2007,” Associated Press Vice President Paul Colford said in a statement. “Such action compromises the ability of a free press to gather the news safely and effectively and raises serious constitutional concerns.”
The inspector general’s report acknowledged that the practice calls for “a higher level of approval” by FBI supervisors than was in place in 2007. Policies on impersonating journalists at the time were “less than clear,” it found. However, a new interim policy adopted this June – one that permits agents to pose as journalists so long as they get approval from two high-ranking officials and an undercover review committee at headquarters – meets that requirement.
WASHINGTON — In a recent stump speech for Hillary Clinton, President Obama once again took credit for increased domestic energy production and low gasoline prices:
“Remember when we were all concerned about our dependence on foreign oil? Well, let me tell you — we’ve cut the amount of oil we buy from other countries in half. Remember when the other team was promising they were going to get gas prices down in like 10 years? We did it…”
Today, the Institute for Energy Research released an updated analysis explaining how the increase in energy production has happened despite the president’s policies, not because of them. Using a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, IER’s analysis highlights the stark contrast between booming oil and natural gas production on private and state lands and the anemic production on federal lands. IER’s findings include:
- In fiscal year 2015, oil production on federal lands was 0.8 percent more than its high reached in fiscal year 2010, while production on private and state lands was 113 percent higher.
- Natural gas production on federal lands has not regained the high reached in fiscal year 2007. For example, it was 27 percent less in fiscal year 2015 than in fiscal year 2010, while production on private and state lands in 2015 was up by 55 percent since 2010.
- Under the Obama administration, it takes an average of 237 days for the BLM to process a federal drilling permit.
- In contrast, some states approve permits within 10 business days.
- The average number of leases issued by Obama’s BLM is almost 60 percent less than the average issued by the Clinton Administration and over 45 percent less than those issued by the Bush 43 Administration.
In recent years, oil and natural gas production on private and state lands has skyrocketed, while production on federal lands is largely in decline and has been throughout most of President Obama’s time in office. Read the rest of this entry »
So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker?
Kurt Schlichter writes: Sometimes in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. It is high time to declare our personal independence from any remnant of obligation to those who have spit upon the rule of law. We owe them nothing – not respect, not loyalty, not obedience.
“There used to be a social contract requiring that our government treat us all equally within the scope of the Constitution and defend us, and in return we would recognize the legitimacy of its laws and defend it when in need. But that contract has been breached. We are not all equal before the law. Our constitutional rights are not being upheld.”
Think about it. If you are out driving at 3 a.m., do you stop at a stop sign when there’s no one coming? Of course you do. You don’t need a cop to be there to make you stop. You do it voluntarily because this is America and America is a country where obeying the law is the right thing to do because the law was justly made and is justly applied. Or it used to be.
“We are not being defended – hell, we normals get blamed every time some Seventh Century savage goes on a kill spree. Yet we’re still supposed to keep going along as if everything is cool, obeying the law, subsidizing the elite with our taxes, taking their abuse. We’ve been evicted by the landlord but he still wants us to pay him rent.”
The law mattered. It applied equally to everyone. We demanded that it did, all of us – politicians, the media, and regular citizens. Oh, there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice but they weren’t common and they weren’t celebrated – they were universally reviled. And, more importantly, they weren’t part and parcel of the ideology of one particular party. There was once a time where you could imagine a Democrat scandal where the media actually called for the head of the Democrat instead of deploying to cover it up.
People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.
The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.
Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.
“People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.”
The attorney general secretly canoodles with the husband of the subject of criminal investigation by her own department and the president, the enforcer of our laws, shrugs. The media, the challenger of the powerful, smirks. They rub our noses in their contempt for the law. And by doing so, demonstrate their contempt for us.
“Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.”
Only power matters, and Hillary stands ready to accumulate more power on their behalf so their oaths, their alleged principles, their duty to the country – all of it goes out the window. But it’s much worse than just one scandal that seems not to scandalize anyone in the elite. Just read the Declaration of Independence – it’s almost like those dead white Christian male proto-NRA members foresaw and cataloged the myriad oppressions of liberalism’s current junior varsity tyranny.
There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.
“There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.”
So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker? Read the rest of this entry »
Harvard Law Protesters voted to remove all signs on their “occupied” portion of campus that were not approved by their plenary committee. Over 50 signs were removed, including these free speech fliers.
Dave Huber reports:
The Harvard group “Reclaim Harvard Law,” which has been occupying the Law School’s Caspersen Student Center for over a month, claims it has jurisdiction over the building which they have renamed “Belinda Hall.”
After student Bill Barlow had put up flyers at Caspersen/Belinda which denounced Reclaim as anti-free speech, group members promptly took them down.
Reclaim leader AJ Clayborne, who personally had removed some of Barlow’s flyers, said that anything that goes up in Belinda Hall “must be approved by Reclaim first”:
“Belinda Hall has been reclaimed by Reclaim HLS for the purpose of creating an anti-racist environment for all and, accordingly, has a new governing body to protect that cause in a way that the institution’s existing structure, including DOS, has not. Anything that violates anti-racist values has no place in Belinda Hall.”
Barlow’s first set of signs compared the (anti-free speech) policies of Donald Trump to those of Reclaim. But “[a]fter learning about Harvard’s 501(c)(3) obligations, which could bar signs referencing Trump, [he] created new signs void of political content.”
Clayborne and Reclaim removed those signs, too…(read more)
Inside Job: ‘Hate Crime’ Narrative Interrupted; Man Charged with Setting Houston Mosque Afire Turns Out To Be a Devout AttendeePosted: December 30, 2015
Carol Christian and Leah Binkovitz report: A Houston man has been arrested in connection with a suspected arson at a mosque on Christmas Day, but the motive for the crime remains a mystery, with the suspect maintaining he was a regular at the mosque.
“Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times.”
A spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that the suspect, 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore of Houston, was arrested early Wednesday. Moore appeared in court at 7 a.m., spokeswoman Nicole Strong said, and bond was set at $100,000.
According to a charging instrument released by the Harris County District Clerk, Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times per day to pray seven days per week.
“Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records.”
Moore said he had been at the mosque earlier on Dec. 25 to pray, and had left at about 2 p.m. to go home, according to authorities and court papers. Moore said he was the last person to leave the mosque and saw no smoke or other signs of fire when he departed, authorities said. He maintained he had returned to the scene after hearing about the fire from a friend.
“A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.”
MJ Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, which operates the mosque, said he was unfamiliar with Moore. “We are just looking into it ourselves,” he said Wednesday morning after learning of the arrest.
“We are really very surprised and saddened by this whole thing,” said Khan.
Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records. A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.
A team of 30 investigators worked around the clock investigating the cause of the fire, which was found to have multiple points of origin. Moore was even interviewed by investigators at the mosque the day of the fire. He had attended services there earlier that day, according to Ruben Hernandez, chief arson investigator with the city’s fire department. Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Trump is at it again. This time, the Republican presidential front-runner suggested that the United States close the border to all Muslims — including Muslim Americans traveling abroad. Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should denounce this reckless, demagogic rhetoric.
“The U.S. government should fight, and fight hard, against radical Islamic jihadism. The government should close the borders to anyone suspected of even a passing involvement with any radical cell or terrorist network. But the government should not penalize law-abiding people, especially those who are U.S. citizens, for holding their religious convictions.”
Trump, of course, is a master of knowing and seizing a moment. The country is reeling from a terrorist attack by two Islamic radicals. Moreover, the president seems to many to have little plan to eradicate the threat of the Islamic State from building a massive caliphate in the Middle East and exporting terror all over the world.
“Muslims are an unpopular group these days. And I would argue that nonviolent Muslim leaders have a responsibility to call out terror and violence and jihad.”
Enter the Man in the Trump Tower with a plan to “get tough” by closing the borders to Muslims, all Muslims, simply because they are Muslim.
“At the same time, those of us who are Christians ought to stand up for religious liberty not just when our rights are violated but on behalf of others, too.”
As an evangelical Christian, I could not disagree more strongly with Islam. I believe that salvation comes only through union with Jesus Christ, received through faith. As part of the church’s mission, we believe we should seek to persuade our Muslim neighbors of the goodness and truth of the gospel.
“It is not in spite of our gospel conviction, but precisely because of it, that we should stand for religious liberty for everyone.”
The Revolutionary-era Baptist preacher John Leland repeatedly included “the Turks” in his list of religious freedoms he was demanding from the politicians of his time (including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison). Leland wanted to make it clear that his concept of religious freedom was not dependent on a group’s political power. He chose the most despised religious minority of the time, with no political collateral in his context, to make the point that religious freedom is a natural right bestowed by God, not a grant given by the government.
The governing authorities have a responsibility, given by God, to protect the population from violence and to punish the evildoers who perpetrate such violence (Romans 13:1-7). The governing powers, as with every earthly power, have a limited authority. The government cannot exalt itself as a lord over the conscience, a god over the soul. Read the rest of this entry »
The FBI did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dustin Volz reports: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has used a secretive authority to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data including an individual’s complete web browsing history and records of all online purchases, a court filing released Monday shows.
The documents are believed to be the first time the government has provided details of its so-called national security letters, which are used by the FBI to conduct electronic surveillance without the need for court approval.
The filing made public Monday was the result of an 11-year-old legal battle waged by Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access, a hosted service provider, who refused to comply with a national security letter (NSL) he received in 2004.
Merrill told Reuters the release was significant “because the public deserves to know how the government is gathering information without warrants on Americans who are not even suspected of a crime.”
National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. They are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data. Read the rest of this entry »
The Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs will be released from jail, where she’s been held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order Tuesday and ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis released. Bunning ordered her not to interfere with the issuing of gay marriage licenses.
Bunning sent Davis to jail on Thursday after she refused to comply with his order that Davis issue marriage licenses. She had refused to grant licenses to any couples, gay or straight, since shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.
Outside the jail where Davis is held, word spread slowly through a crowd of supporters Tuesday afternoon. Some said they couldn’t believe the news….(read more)
Source: ABC News
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning in Kentucky has ordered that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be released from jail.
He ordered her not to interfere with clerks in her office issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.
[Original story, published at 8:43 a.m. ET]
The legal battle over the Kentucky clerk who’s sitting behind bars for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses enters the political arena Tuesday as GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visits Kim Davis in jail.
Afterward, he’ll lead an “#ImWithKim Liberty Rally” outside the Carter County Detention Center.
For about 1,000 school kids in the area, it means a day off. Classes at five schools have been called off for the day to cut down traffic congestion.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to jail after finding her in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Rowan County following June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Davis says issuing a license with her name on it would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.
Davis’ legal team has filed several appeals to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is asking that the state take her name off the licenses — a move that her lawyers say would accommodate Davis while allowing same-sex couples to receive licenses. Read the rest of this entry »
Key Patriot Act provisions will expire at midnight
In addition to the bulk phone collections provision, the two lesser-known Patriot Act provisions that also lapse at midnight were one, so far unused, to helps track “lone wolf” terrorism suspects unconnected to a foreign power; the second allows the government to eavesdrop on suspects who continually discard their cellphones.
The Senate failed Sunday to strike a deal to extend the NSA’s phone surveillance program before the midnight deadline.
Members of the GOP-controlled chamber returned Sunday to Capitol Hill in a last-ditch effort to extend the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk to search for terror connections and to authorize two other programs under the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
“Heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who is engaged in dangerous activity, but we didn’t do so simply because of inaction in the Senate.”
— President Obama
The Senate attempted to either pass a House bill that would have altered the collections of the so-called phone call metadata or simply extend the program.
The 100-member chamber passed the first of two procedure hurdles, known as cloture, to proceed with the House bill. The vote was 77 to 17.
“The sky is not going to fall.”
— Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union executive director
But no final action was expected before Sunday’s midnight deadline after Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul served notice that he would assert his prerogatives under Senate rules to delay a final vote for several days.
“The people who argue that the world will come to an end and we will be over by jihadists (by not passing the bill) are using fear,” Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor.
Still, the program is all but certain to be revived in a matter of days, although it also looks certain to be completely overhauled under the House-passed legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly blessed in an about-face Sunday evening.
With most senators opposed to extending current law unchanged, even for a short time, McConnell said the House bill was the only option left other than letting the program die off entirely. The Kentucky Republican preferred extending the current law. Read the rest of this entry »
Unlawful Arrest of a Pregnant Woman by Barstow PD
Body-worn camera footage released by the Barstow Police Department (recorded: 01/26/15) reveals the unlawful arrest of Charlena Michelle Cooks, who at the time was eight months pregnant and dropping off her second-grade daughter at school.
In a ruling certain to profoundly shape the ongoing debate over surveillance reform in Congress, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the National Security Agency’s indiscriminate collection of Americans’ telephone calling records exceeds the legal authority granted by the Patriot Act’s controversial section 215, which is set to expire at the end of this month.
Comments Cato scholar Julian Sanchez, “While the court didn’t reach the crucial question of whether the program violates the Fourth Amendment, the ruling gives civil libertarians good reason to hope that a massive and egregious violation of every American’s privacy will finally come to an end.”
- “Second Circuit Declares NSA’s Telephone Dragnet Unlawful,” by Julian Sanchez
- “In Holding NSA Spying Illegal, the Second Circuit Treats Data as Property,” by Jim Harper
ACLU lawsuit argued the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights
WASHINGTON — Devlin Barrett and Damian Paletta report: A federal appeals court ruled Thursday the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records isn’t authorized by the Patriot Act, as the Bush and Obama administrations have long maintained.
”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program.’’
The NSA has used the Patriot Act to justify collecting records of nearly every call made in the U.S. and entering them into a database to search for possible contacts among terrorism suspects.
The scope of the program was revealed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing the program, triggering a national debate over the extent of the data collection.
“I am concerned if we throw out some of these programs, now we are at risk. We’re stupid, I got it, in the press, but we shouldn’t put American people at risk.”
— Recently retired NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander
The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes at a delicate point in the national debate over government surveillance, as Section 215 of the Patriot Act is due to expire next month and lawmakers are haggling about whether to renew it, modify it, or let it lapse.
The court’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union arguing the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights. A lower court judge ruled the program was constitutional, and the civil liberties group appealed, leading to Thursday’s decision.
”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program,’’ the court wrote.
The court declined to address the issue of whether the program violates Americans’ rights, because, they found, it was never properly authorized by existing law.
The judges didn’t order the collection to stop, noting that the legislative debate and the looming expiration of Section 215 will force action on the issue one way or another. The judges also note that if Congress decides to approve some version of the phone data collection program in coming days, then the privacy issue could be revisited in court. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Texas House gives final OK to open carry of handguns http://t.co/2uedQXCK31
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) April 20, 2015
Muslim Facial Hair, Amish Buggies, and Native American Peyote Rituals: This Map Shows Every State With Religious Freedom LawsPosted: April 2, 2015
Dave Johnson and Katy Steinmetz report:The national outcry over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has turned attention towards the 19 states with their own versions of the law and the others that are considering similar measures. The timeline below shows when each state passed legislation, starting with Connecticut in 1993. Click on a state for links to the laws or pending bills.
The fight over RFRAs dates to 1990, when the Supreme Court ruled against an Oregonian named Al Smith, who was a quarter American Indian. He had argued that his use of peyote in a Native American Church ritual—an act that cost him his job—should be protected by the First Amendment. He lost, and the ruling made it easier for the government to place restrictions on the freedom of religion. Read the rest of this entry »
The debate over religious liberty has brought out some odd readings of American history
Fred Bauer writes: A number of forces are fueling the current debate about religious liberty in the United States: among them, good-faith efforts to promote the continued improvement of the Union, senses of cultural grievance, anti-religion paranoia, ignorance, self-righteousness, opportunism, partisanship, and new-wave authoritarianism. However, it might be helpful to see this debate as taking place against the backdrop of a clash between two different views of the role of religion in public life. On one side stand sectarian secularists, who want to remove religion from public life altogether, and on the other stand pluralists, who support a more open society.
“Leaving aside the religious and political beliefs of Americans before 1776, appeals to the divine suffuse American culture and politics. Many of the Founders — along with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others — would have a bone to pick with those who say that our foundational rights do not come from God.”
Modeled in some respects on the French tradition of laïcité, sectarian secularism holds that appeals to religious ideas have absolutely no place in the public square, and its adherents will ridicule as out of bounds any appeal to the divine. This position goes well beyond a separation of church and state, which is about distinguishing the institutions of religion from those of governance, and instead suggests that the religious and the political should be entirely separate spheres. Unlike a more moderate and open-minded secularism, sectarian secularism seeks to police the bounds of public debate by rendering religious approaches to politics illegitimate.
“This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: ‘Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country’.”
This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: “Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country.” Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not “our country.” In a later Facebook post, Cuomo continued to insist that the language of the Declaration was not really part of American life: “Because the US does not draw on divine authority for recognition of rights.
“Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not ‘our country’.”
Founding documents were the beginning of course but the first amendment in that seminal constitution, which has infinitely more authority than the dec of indep obviously keeps faith out of government.” Cuomo is far from an outlier here. The past few weeks alone have offered numerous examples of attempts to stigmatize religious references in public debates. The sectarian secularists have defined once and for all what the U.S. is: a society where religion should be kept in the closet and not influence politics or policy-making.
“Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike.”
Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike. Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it. Indeed, pluralists believe that such a sealing off is practically and philosophically impossible.
“Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it.”
From a pluralist perspective, religion can perhaps never be fully separated from politics. Politics is shaped by broader philosophical principles about the ends of human existence, and one’s religious beliefs will undoubtedly influence one’s understanding of these principles. If one believes that all men and women are made in the image of a divine Creator, that will likely lead to a different set of principles from those that one would espouse if one believes that some people are innately better than others. Read the rest of this entry »