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A Revolt Against Deference

People aren’t rejecting truth – they’re rejecting the values of the elites.

Frank Furedi writes: When political commentators talk of the emergence of a post-truth world, they are really lamenting the end of an era when the truths promoted by the institutions of the state and media were rarely challenged. It’s a lament that’s been coming for a few years now. Each revolt of sections of the public against the values of the elites has been met with the riposte that people are no longer interested in the truth. What the elites really mean is that people don’t care about their version of the truth. So when the French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy asserted that people have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth’, he was venting his frustration at an electorate that no longer shares his values.

Today’s elite angst about so-called post-fact or post-truth public discourse is but the latest version of an historical struggle – a struggle over the question of who possesses moral and intellectual authority. Indeed, the rejection of the values and outlook of the holders of cultural power in many Western societies has long been portrayed as a rejection of truth itself. The reason elite values have been enshrined as ‘the truth’, right from the Ancient Greeks onwards, is because the rulers of society need to secure the deference of the masses. The masses are being encouraged to defer not to the power of the elites, but to the truth of elite values.

That this is not widely understood is due to contemporary society’s reluctance to acknowledge that cultural and political life still relies on the deference of the public – passive or active – to the values and moral authority of the elites. The term ‘deference’ – ‘submission to the acknowledged superior claims, skill, judgement or other qualities of another’, as the OED defines it – suggests a non-coercive act of obedience to authority. Hence it was frequently coupled with terms such as instinct, custom and habit (1). In the 19th century, it was frequently used to imply people’s willingness to accept and bow down before the elites on the basis of their superior wisdom. Deference presumed the intellectual and moral hegemony of the educated middle class, or cultural elite, over the wider public.

In recent decades it has been suggested that the era of deference is over. We are told that people are far too critical to defer to the superior wisdom of others. In this context, the idea of deference has acquired negative connotations, and is often identified with uncritical thinking. However, in practice, deference is still demanded by elites. But it is demanded in the form of calls to respect the authority of the expert, because he speaks the truth. So, in almost every domain of human experience, the expert is presented as the producer not just of facts, but also of the truth. Those who fail to defer to experts risk being denounced as irrational, superstitious or just plain stupid. Read the rest of this entry »

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DUE PROCESS: Texas Student Commits Suicide After Title IX Kangaroo Court 

A male student accused of sexual harassment committed suicide after campus officials denied him due process.

 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 »


Our Right to Trial by Jury Is Under Attack. Will SCOTUS Save Us?

The Constitution guarantees our right to a jury trial in “all criminal prosecutions.” Our commitment to this constitutional safeguard is tested when the government haughtily claims a trial isn’t necessary…

Earlier this week,  the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Lee v. United States.

The case, which concerns the right to counsel and the right to trial by jury, is a very interesting one.

In 1982, Jae Lee came to the United States from South Korea as a child. Now 48 years old, Lee has lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for decades.  In 2009, he pled guilty to a drug crime after his lawyer assured him that he could not be deported as a result.

As it turned out, Lee received bad legal advice. His conviction made Lee subject to mandatory removal, meaning that after serving several years in prison, he would eventually be deported to South Korea and essentially banished from the U.S.

When Lee learned of this mistake, he asked the court to vacate his plea, arguing that his counsel’s assistance was ineffective and he only pled guilty because of the recommendation from his lawyer. 

He wants to take his case before a jury. The district court denied this motion because of the overwhelming evidence against Lee, ruling that his conviction at trial was so certain that his counsel’s bad advice didn’t actually harm him, particularly given the much longer prison sentence he would receive if convicted after trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that a jury wasn’t needed to determine Lee’s guilt and that denying the “chance to throw a Hail Mary at trial is not prejudicial” and therefore doesn’t violate Lee’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

Federal prosecutors say there’s no need for a trial because the evidence against Lee is strong, but our constitutional right to trial by jury doesn’t depend on the government’s assessment of its own case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reasoned that that the only chance Lee had was acquittal by “jury nullification,” which is the doctrine that says a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict even after it has concluded that the person on trial violated the law. Why order a new trial based upon an idea so irrational and antiquated, the Court reasoned.

Well, for one thing, there’s nothing wrong with jury nullification. The Framers of our Constitution believed that jury nullification was part and parcel of what a jury trial was all about.

The Supreme Court itself has noted that the jury is supposed to be the “conscience of the community” and should check the government when necessary to protect individuals from injustice or oppression. The jury cannot perform that function if it is told that it must always apply the law mechanically, without regard to justice.

Lee is now pressing the matter at the Supreme Court, which heard his argument earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue; because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.

In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.

On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington law. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case – Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue – the Court warned that “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”

Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.

and,

Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.

Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.

In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.

According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.

Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Charles Krauthammer on Trump Budget Proposal: Cuts Dead on Arrival, Entitlements Are What Matter 

Charles Krauthammer dismissed Trump’s budget as “dead on arrival” and pointed out that entitlements are what matter, even if proposed cuts focus on domestic discretionary spending such as public broadcasting:

“This is a budget, like every other one I’ve seen in decades that I’ve been here, it is dead on arrival at Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is a huge morgue of presidential budgets. There is not one that actually croaked into life. They all come in dead. They are wish lists. They are expressions of one’s interests, and a way to respond to promises. The beginning of this, the premise of this is defense. In the eight years under Obama, we had a real destruction of the defense budget. Obama came in, it was about 4.6 percent of GDP. When he left, it was 3.2 percent. To put it in context, under the sainted John Kennedy it was around 10 percent. We are at the lowest ebb since about Pearl Harbor, and you can see it in the readiness, so that had to be done.”

“All the real stuff, where the money is — the Willie Sutton bank money — is in entitlements, which isn’t even in here. The problem is it’s not in here because we’ve got a president who promised in the campaign, unlike just about every other Republican opponent, he wasn’t going to touch a hair on the head of entitlements. So if you don’t, it all has to come out of the domestic discretionary spending, and when you do that, you end up with these cuts which are never going to happen, and you get the old perennials. Big Bird is going to get roasted again, or at least proposed to be. I guarantee you, he will or she will — I’m not sure which it is these days — it is going to escape unscathed.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Should a Creative Professional Have the Freedom to Decline Work that Conflicts with their Conscience or Beliefs?

Everyone agreed that a creative professional should have the foundational freedom to decline work that conflicts with their conscience or beliefs. But, when faced with a situation that goes against current cultural expectations, like a Christian photographer declining to promote a same-sex wedding, the gears start grinding. If a law that forces someone to promote something against their beliefs is so laughable, so unimaginable…then why is it so difficult to extend the same freedom to a Christian creative professional?

Via Mollie Z. Hemingway, Twitter

 

 

 


Florist Who Declined Gay Wedding Request Loses Her Case, Promises Appeal to the Supreme Court

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‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’ 

Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.

“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”

— Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Lawyers for Stutzman told The Daily Signal they plan to appeal the Washington state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At National Review, David French writes:

…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”

What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.

But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”

That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.

Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.

Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)

[Read the full text of David French’s essay here: ‘Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist‘]

The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

[Read the full story here, at dailysignal.com]

“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.

barronnelle-stutzman

Prior to the incident, Stutzman enjoyed a close relationship with Ingersoll, serving him for many years.

“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »


Our Cult-Like Education System: Stella Morabito on the Ideological Cold War

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Riot-Prone Mobs Are A Product Of America’s Cult-Like Education System

‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.’

— Thomas Jefferson

 writes

…Those who are pushing for sustained street resistance seem to be banking on two things. First they are betting that mainstream Americans won’t realize until it’s too late that we are in the midst of a virtual civil war that could turn violent. Dennis Prager recently wrote of this Second Civil War, warning Americans to wake up to it. Second, agitators are also wagering that Americans will not have the stomach for the prolonged fight they intend to bring to the streets, a point noted by psychologist Tim Daughtry in his book “Waking the Sleeping Giant.”

“What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules?”

So is this some kind of a joke? Revolution in the streets of America that overturns the election results? So far it all sounds so goofy, at least where it doesn’t get violent. We can watch in wonder as a shrieking NYU professor verbally assaults numerous police officers with the sort of impunity only afforded to the far-left. We can assure ourselves that there aren’t that many irrational people. Even if true, however, that’s beside the point. Too many citizens are at sea in understanding what freedom even means.

“Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free.”

We need to ask ourselves: What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules? It’s past time to ponder the quote from Thomas Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

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Destroying Our Education System Got Us Here

Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free. Those features include freedom of expression, civil discourse, the Socratic method of figuring out truth, value of the individual, and a common knowledge of the classics of history and literature that help us understand what’s universal in the human experience. All of that had to go.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Now, as we see students marching to demonize as “fascists” proponents of free speech, their ignorance is in full view. This is really a full frontal attack on the rule of law, the Constitution, and a system of checks and balances that guards against the consolidation of centralized power.

That’s the whole point of the education these students have been fed. In fact, a lot of 1960s agitators, including domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, decided to place their bets on radical education revision. For at least 40 years, Ayers has been devoted to transforming schools from places of actual education to places of coercive thought reform. As Andrew McCarthy recently pointed out in National Review: “It was a comfy fit for him and many of his confederates, once it dawned on them that indoctrination inside the schoolhouse was more effective than blowing up the schoolhouse.”

If you review the history of radical education reform, it’s clear these agitators have been committing mind arson on the children, undermining their ability to think independently and clearly. (For more on this, read Robin Eubanks’ book “Credentialed to Destroy.”)

Demotivated students sitting in a lecture hall with one girl napping in college

How to Short-Circuit a Child’s Thinking

Radical education reformers have made a point of removing context from children’s education, and to squash their natural curiosity, undermining their capacity to think. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Slow-Walk the Executive Order Appeal, Fast-Walk Gorsuch Nomination

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Gorsuch Nomination More Important Than Travel Ban & Judges’ Opposition

“The point I wanted to make in the column was, there is the moratorium, and there is the vetting. The vetting will get 90 percent support in the country, but they actually should do it. It doesn’t depend on a moratorium. The fact is, they have lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they’ve lost it at the district level, and for now, the Supreme Court is deadlocked, so it’s likely to return. In other words the case is stacked against them. I happen to think it’s legal, but these courts have decided not, so why play a losing hand? What he needs to do — I think it’s exactly right — either rewrite the order or have a new one, so you are dealing on a different playing field. You’ve gotten essentially the feedback of the ninth circuit, so you know what will pass muster and what won’t. For example, from the beginning, you exclude the holders of green cards, and then what you do is, you slow-walk the appeals case and you fast-walk the nomination of Gorsuch. There is no hurry on appealing this ruling. They are not going to win it in the end. … “

Read more

Source: National Review


REWIND 2010: President Obama Insults Supreme Court Justices to Their Face at State of the Union Address 

 

WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010—  It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.

President George W. Bush, for instance, did not hesitate to criticize a 2008 rulingrecognizing the rights of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but he did it at a news conference in Rome. President Richard M. Nixon said he was disappointed with a 1974 decision ordering him to turn over the tapes that would help end his presidency — in a statement read by his lawyer.

President Obama’s approach at the State of the Union address Wednesday night was more personal, and he seemed a little self-conscious about it.

Before he began his attack on a Supreme Court decision not yet a week old, Mr. Obama added a few words that had not been in the prepared text. The new preface — “with all due deference to separation of powers” — seemed to acknowledge that he was aiming unusual rhetorical fire at several Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him.

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Several justices, in the first two rows, were sitting right in front of the president when he attacked the campaign finance ruling. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., one of the justices in the majority in the decision under attack, shook his head as he heard the president’s summary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and he appeared to mouth the words “not true.”

It was not quite the shouted “You lie!” from Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, at September’s presidential address to a joint session of Congress. But in its way, the breach of decorum on both sides was much starker.

Peter G. Verniero, a former justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, said neither end of the exchange helped the prestige of the United States Supreme Court.

“The court’s legitimacy is derived from the persuasiveness of its opinions and the expectation that those opinions are rendered free of partisan, political influences,” Mr. Verniero said. “The more that individual justices are drawn into public debates, the more the court as an institution will be seen in political terms, which was not the intent of the founders.”

Modern presidents and Supreme Court justices do not interact very much, and this particular president might be expected to have strained relationships with at least Justice Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., both of whose nominations he voted against as a senator. The president and chief justice would both also probably like to forget the flubbed administration of the presidential oath at Mr. Obama’s inauguration last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Short Circuits Washington

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The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning.

Matthew Continetti writes:

…The same forces that opposed Trump during the Republican primary and general election are trying to break his presidency before it is a month old. At issue is the philosophy of nation-state populism that drove his insurgent campaign. It is so at variance with the ideologies of conservatism and liberalism predominant in the capital that Washington is experiencing something like an allergic reaction.

“The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy.”

Nation-state populism diverges from Beltway conservatism on trade, immigration, entitlements, and infrastructure, and from liberalism on sovereignty, nationalism, identity politics, and political correctness. Its combative style and heightened rhetoric offend the sensibilities of career-minded Washingtonians of both parties, who are schooled in deference, diplomacy, being nice to teacher, and the ancient arts of CYA.

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“Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.”

The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy. That is why his firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates was so important. She ordered her department not to defend an executive order that had been cleared by the White House counsel and her own Office of Legal Counsel. For Trump to have delayed or done nothing would have been an invitation to further subversion. He let Yates go within hours.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning. “Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump,” read one Politico headline. “An anti-Trump resistance movement is growing within the U.S. government,” says Vanity Fair. “Federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives,” reports the Washington PostRead the rest of this entry »


Judicial Watch Statement Regarding Judge Neil Gorsuch Nomination for the SCOTUS

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States:

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a victory for Americans who are fed up with corrupt judicial activism.  The judicial branch needs as much draining as the rest of the federal government swamp. President Trump avoided the temptation to nominate yet another politician to the Supreme Court.  It is good we have a nominee who has a demonstrated record of applying the rule of law rather than legislating from the bench.  The U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm him.

In Michele Gorman’s January 27 profile piece on Neil Gorsuch for Newsweekmagazine, Fitton provided the following:

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, tells Newsweek that Gorsuch fits the Scalia mold, which Trump has promised to adhere to in his replacement nominee. “I think conservatives would consider him to be an exciting pick. I think it’s fair to say he’s a leader in terms of conservative jurisprudence and I think he quickly would become a strong voice on the court for his constitutional approach to decision making,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Gorsuch, Writer

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Judge Gorsuch is one of the finest writers on the federal bench.

John O. McGinnis writesPresident Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, meets the most important criterion for the successor to Justice Antonin Scalia—that he be an articulate exponent of originalism. Scalia was the most consequential justice in the last half-century because he had the intellect to forge a consistent jurisprudence and the pen to make it widely known. When he arrived on the Court in 1986, originalism had no influence in the legal academy. Today, even among liberals, it is the jurisprudential theory to beat. He not only changed the law but the legal culture as well. Changing the legal culture is as important as making the right decisions in individual cases, because only a good culture will preserve those decisions for tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tucker Carlson Eric Swalwell Full Interview Debate on Trump Supreme Court Pick Neil Gorsuch

Carlson: He (Gorsuch) wrote in a book about ethics, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Do you believe that?

Swalwell: All human beings are intrinsically valuable. However, Roe v. Wade says that a woman has a right to make a decision about her own healthcare.

Carlson: I’m not asking you about Roe v Wade. I’m asking you to assess what he said here…as a general statement. ”All human beings are intrinsically valuable,” you agree with that. The second part is, “The taking of human life by private persons is always wrong,” do you agree with that or not?

Swalwell: The most personal decision a person can make is a woman with her a doctor about her own body and a person who is terminally ill about whether they want to die in peace and he [Gorsuch] has chosen that the government should intervene.

Carlson: Will you answer my question? “The intentional taking of of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Now if you can’t agree on that…

Swalwell: The Constitution says…”

Carlson: I’m not talking about the Constitution. What do you think…I’m not talking about women’s rights. “The intentional taking of human life by private persons.” That’s what he said, and I want to know whether you agree with that statement or not.

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Swalwell: What he has shown in his legal career…

Carlson: (Laughs) Are you really afraid to say that the intentional taking of life is wrong?

Swalwell: No, of course not. I was a prosecutor and I prosecuted people for intentionally taking life.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Carlson: But you won’t agree with this because you are afraid of the abortion lobby, like “Woo, you are anti-abortion if you are against the taking of human life.”  I mean, come on!

Swalwell: A woman has the right to make her own decision about her own healthcare.

Carlson: Do you think it is the taking of human life? Abortion?

Swalwell: I think that right now…before viability, a woman should be able to make her own decision. After viability, in the case of her own psychological health, in the case of rape or incest, she should also be able to make that decision.

Carlson: Okay, but is it the taking of human life?

Swalwell: That is a woman’s personal decision. Read the rest of this entry »


Sen Cruz and Rep Poe Move to Protect State Governors’ Right to Refuse Refugees 

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Sen. Cruz and Rep. Poe, chairman of the House Terrorism Subcommittee, reintroduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017.

Reintroduce State Refugee Security Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), chairman of the House Terrorism Subcommittee, today reintroduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017. This joint Senate-House effort mandates that the federal government notifies a state at least 21 days prior to resettling a refugee there. During that period, if a state governor certifies that the federal government has not provided adequate assurances that the refugee does not present a security risk, the federal government is prohibited from resettling that refugee in the state. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

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“The first obligation of the president is to keep this country safe as commander in chief,” said Sen. Cruz. “I am encouraged that, unlike the previous administration, one of President Trump’s top priorities is to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. To augment the efforts of the new administration, this legislation I have introduced will reinforce the authority of the states and governors to keeppoe-texastheir citizens safe. I am honored to work with Rep. Poe on this legislation and I hope that Congress will pass it and send it to the president’s desk.”

“Congress must take action to support states that refuse to participate in the refugee resettlement program because of serious security concerns,” said Rep. Poe. “The Obama Administration’s open door policy has totally disregarded the wishes of state governors who have legitimate security concerns about letting unvetted refugees in their states. Although we expect vetting to increase in the new Administration, states should still have an opt-out if the security of the program is not guaranteed. The reality is that ISIS has vowed to attack America, and we already know that several recent terror attacks in Europe were carried out by individuals who came in disguised as a Syrian refugee. It is dangerous and irresponsible to let thousands of refugees in when even FBI Director Comey admitted we cannot properly vet them. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeffrey Bewkes: ‘Democrats Were Bigger First Amendment Threat Than Trump’

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‘The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side more,’ he says, arguing that journalists viewed a Democratic plank “overly charitably” as campaign finance reform.

Paul Bond reports: When it comes to politicians trampling free speech and free press, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said Tuesday that he doesn’t fear president-elect Donald Trump as much as he does his rivals on the other side of the aisle.

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“The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side,” Bewkes said during a conversation with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget at a conference in New York in a session that was webcast. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] An AR-15 in Every Home: 3D Gun Printer Cody Wilson on Resistance, Trump, the Media, & More

 

“It doesn’t matter what the origins of the Second Amendment were,” says Cody Wilson, creator of the first 3D-printed gun and author of the new book, Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. “With the internet, we can transform this thing into right to resistance on a global scale. If it’s just a fact that the government serves guns519nzpvwfvl-_sl250_ now, this is just a point of political life.”

CORRECTION: The Ghost Gunner sells for $1,500 not $250. The deposit is $250.

[Order Cody’s book “Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free” from Amazon.com]

The full transcript of this interview is available here.

Reason is the planet’s leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won’t get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Halts Immigration Amnesty Push in Court, Bows to Incoming Trump Administration 

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In documents filed with a federal judge in Texas the Justice Department said that in light of the new management that will take over next year, the case should be suspended.

 reports: The administration has already taken the first step to accommodate President-elect Trump’s positions, agreeing Friday to take a timeout on President Obama’s push to kick-start his 2014 deportation amnesty.

“Given the change in Administration, the parties jointly submit that a brief stay of any further litigation in this Court before beginning any further proceedings would serve judicial efficiency and economy so that the parties have a better understanding of how they might choose to move forward.”

In documents filed with a federal judge in Texas the Justice Department said that in light of the new management that will take over next year, the case should be suspended.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Times]

“Accordingly, the parties respectfully submit that further proceedings on the merits of this case, including the submission of a schedule for resolving the merits, should be stayed until February 20, 2017,” the Justice Department and lawyers for Texas said in a joint request of Judge Andrew S. Hanen.

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Judge Hanen had halted Mr. Obama’s expanded amnesty in February 2015, just two days before it was to go into effect, ruling that the administration broke administrative law. An appeals court twice upheld his injunction, as did the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlock decision this summer.

The injunction remains in place while Judge Hanen was to hear full arguments — but both sides now say President-elect Trump should have the chance to weigh in. Read the rest of this entry »


Justice Thomas: ‘Honor Scalia by Reining in Government’

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Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on fellow conservatives Thursday to continue the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.

Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country.

Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an “odd couple” of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.

He paraphrased Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to “be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion.”

Thomas and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito were the bookends of the Thursday meeting of the Federalist Society, at which conservatives were reveling in Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election because it is likely to result in the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

Alito issued his own rallying cry to conservatives, describing religious freedom and gun rights as among “constitutional fault lines,” important issues at stake in the federal courts.

The conference of conservatism’s leading legal lights took on a new air of importance with Trump’s victory, and included a list of judges the president-elect has named as candidates to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death last February.

In their remarks, Thomas and Alito didn’t mention the election or the vacancy, rather using the platform to pay tribute to Scalia, a longtime colleague and conservative ally in high-court battles on hot-button social and political issues. Read the rest of this entry »


Guns Win Big on Election Day Across the United States

Though Donald Trump’s presidential victory represents the greatest opportunity for policy changes that have widespread impact, there were many unexpected wins at the state and local levels. The National Rifle Association won in nearly every race where it invested money.

[ALSO SEE – Dear Lefties: If You Don’t ‘Feel Safe,’ You Can Always Buy Some Guns]

The NRA spent more than $30.3 million in the presidential race, up from just over $12 million in 2012. $19.7 million of that went to opposing Hillary Clinton and $10.6 million went to supporting Donald Trump, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by the Center for Responsive Politics. The group invested another $20 million in six Senate races and won five of them.

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Hillary Clinton’s defeat comes after she staked out the most aggressive gun control positions for a major party candidate in modern memory.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“She has been more forceful on guns/gun lobby than any other person who ever seriously ran for president,” one of Clinton’s advisers wrote in an email posted by WikiLeaks in October. “Certain members of the dem caucus [sic] were freaking out about [her gun positions.]”

Audio first published in October 2015 by the Washington Free Beacon showed Clinton telling donors privately that she believed the Supreme Court was “wrong on the Second Amendment.” When asked about her opposition to the court’s landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision at the final presidential debate, Clinton claimed she was concerned about protecting toddlers from unsecured guns but did not reverse her position.

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Just two weeks after audio of Clinton’s comments on the Supreme Court was published, she endorsed an Australian-style mandatory gun buyback scheme at a public rally. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Justice Clarence Thomas: Personal Reflections On The Court, His Jurisprudence, and His Education

Personal reflections on twenty-five years on the Court, his jurisprudence, and his education. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit here.

Chapter 1 (00:15 – 32:38): On the Supreme Court
Chapter 2 (32:38 – 1:09:36): The Education of Clarence Thomas

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas give the commencement speech to the 2008 graduation class of High Point University Saturday, May 3, 2008 in High Point, N.C. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush, Justice Clarence Thomas has served on the Supreme Court since October 1991. In this conversation, Justice Thomas shares personal reflections on the Court, his jurisprudence, and the people, ideas, institutions, and experiences that have influenced him. Justice Thomas also reflects on his late colleague and friend Justice Antonin Scalia.


FEC Commissioner Warns: Dems Moving Aggressively to Amend the First Amendment

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Paul Bedard writes: A key Federal Election Commission Republican warned Wednesday that liberals are moving aggressively to “amend the First Amendment” so that conservatives are silenced and businesses are chased “out of the democracy.”

“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years.”

In some the toughest criticism leveled at Democrats, Commissioner Lee E. Goodman said that the attack started once the Tea Party changed American politics in the 2010 election and now dominates the politics of the Left.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

“It has triggered a very aggressive movement by people to amend the First Amendment, left intellectuals silencinghave placed it on the table,” Goodman said on Boston’s Howie Carr show.

[Order Kirsten Powers book The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech” from Amazon.com]

“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years,” he added, citing FDR Democrats who defended socialists and communists.

“I have been concerned about bias both in how complaints are brought to the commission just like in the way, the lobbying campaign for Lois Lerner. It was all one sided. But generally I try to make my First Amendment case by pointing out that we have to impact liberal and conservative speech in the same way.”unknown

[Order Kimberly Strassel’s book  “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech from Amazon.com]

From trying to reverse the Citizens United decision to using the IRS to kill Tea Party groups, Goodman said that the Democrats have moved to change free speech in the country.

“But I have been concerned from time to time about every time a conservative group comes up, somehow, some way, exceptions and distinctions are made and this is the problem giving government the power to regulate speech in the first instance because ultimately human beings have to make that decision.”

“I have been concerned about bias both in how complaints are brought to the commission just like in the way, the lobbying campaign for Lois Lerner. Read the rest of this entry »


A Pleasant Weekend in the Hamptons, Interrupted

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The Klu Klux Klan is coming to the Hamptons.

Jamie Schram reports. The hate group — which says it has some 2,500 members on Long Island — is planning to disrupt a Black Lives Matter rally scheduled for noon Sunday at the traffic circle near Village Hall in Westhampton Beachaccording to Patch.com.

“I would like to invite them to the rally. I honestly don’t believe they’re going to show up. I hope they come out of hiding.”

— Gary Monker, the Exalted Cyclops Chief Officer of the KKK’s New York chapter

Gary Monker, the Exalted Cyclops Chief Officer of the KKK’s New York chapter, told Patch on Tuesday that Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers group aren’t who they say they are.

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“As for drugs and rape, those are all separate issues in everyone’s community, including the white community so that’s irrelevant…Everything he’s saying is ignorant.”

— Gary Monker

“[They are] a contradiction,” Monker told Patch. “They always say they have peaceful protests but nothing is ever peaceful. They rape, pilfer, loot. They’re rioting and using this as an excuse to do wrong. It’s not right.”

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Black Lives Matter officials argued that their rallies are always peaceful.

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“[There has been] absolutely no violence. Where is he getting his information?,” Black Lives Matter organizer Vanessa Vascez-Corleone told Patch.

Vascez-Corleone said the KKK was welcome to show up — if they have the guts. Read the rest of this entry »


Kurt Schlichter: ‘My Offer is This. Nothing’

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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.

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“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.

President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

“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.

Bill-Clinton-Hillary-Clinton-Getty-Images

“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.

[Read the full text here, at townhall.com]

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.

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“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 »


Austin Bay: Obama Needs to Get Over His Self-Serving Guilt Trip

President Barack Obama Speaks With Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco

POTUS should read some honest, non-Leftist comparative history.

Austin Bay writes: The slaughter in Brussels is another reminder that our violent Islamist terrorist enemies are fighting a sustained, generational campaign of global, imperialist conquest.

One of President Barack Obama’s first dishonest acts was dropping the name Global War on Terror. Obama the Peacemaker substituted bureaucratic lingo, dubbing our long war an OCO—an Overseas Contingency Operation.

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“When the vast majority of Earth’s oppressed get a chance to vote with their feet, the destination isn’t Mosul or Moscow, it’s Manhattan or Miami.”

9-11. Fort Hood. San Bernardino. Chattanooga. It’s past time for the president to acknowledge his obvious and stupid mistake. America is a battlefield; the war is not just overseas. More importantly, if successful leadership is one of Mr. Obama’s presidential goals, there is nothing “contingent” about the war. The war is quite real. Our enemies wrath and goals are unconditional

“Mr. Obama needs to get the hell over his self-serving guilt trip and get serious about stopping 21st century genocidal imperialism.”

For the record, I never liked the name Global War on Terror, though it served. In fall 2001 I suggested Millennium or Millennial War.  I thought we were in a long haul war for the terms of modernity.

[Read the full text here, at the Observer ]

We are engaged in such a war, fighting enemies who believe the future lies in unconditionally restoring their imperialist past.

When the vast majority of Earth’s oppressed get a chance to vote with their feet, the destination isn’t Mosul or Moscow, it’s Manhattan or Miami.

Barack_Obama_and_Dmitry_Medvedev_in_Kremlin-1

“Does Mr. Obama’s American guilt shtick reinforce the Islamists’ evil external propaganda? Yes.”

For the moment, ISIL jihadists have assumed Al Qaeda’s mantle of global leadership in a global war to secure a global caliphate. From their rump caliphate in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and its provinces in Yemen and Libya, ISIL’s caliph and his commanders direct political policies which include enslavement, mass rape, the mass murder of  minority ethnic groups like Yazidis and Berbers, mass murder of Arab Christians and non-Arab Middle Eastern Christians and mass murder of Shia Muslims. ISIL-affiliates take the slaughter beyond the Middle East and Europe. Boko Haram terrorists rape and enslave Nigerian Christian girls. They have also murdered thousands of Nigerians who oppose them, whether Christian, Muslim or animist. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] George Will with Nick Gillespie, & Matt Welch: Brace Yourself for the Authoritarian Moment

These days, people are less hyped about “The Libertarian Moment” than they seem worried about an “Authoritarian Moment” that’s exemplified by Donald Trump’s political success.

[NOTE: For a full transcript and more links and resources, go here.]

“He’s an authoritarian,” says Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor George Will. “He believes that government we have today is not big enough and that particularly the concentration of power not just in Washington but Washington power in the executive branch has not gone far enough.”

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In late February, Will sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch for an opening-night interview at the International Students For Liberty Conference, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people from all over the world.

The official topic was “Is The Libertarian Moment Over?” and the conversation was as wide-ranging as it was at times depressing. “Today, 67 percent of the federal budget is transfer payments,” announced the 74-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner. “The sky is dark with money going back and forth between client groups served by an administrative 51Vf7+q1emL._SL250_state that exists to do very little else but regulate the private sector and distribute income. Where’s the libertarian moment fit in here?”

[Order Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s book “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with Americafrom Amazon.com]

Gillespie and Welch, who coined the “Libertarian Moment” term in a 2008 Reason story and expanded its meaning in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America (praised by Will, incidentally), argued that many things are moving in a decidedly libertarian position. As Welch pointed out, in 2008, recreational pot legalization, marriage equality, and criminal-justice reform were barely discussed at the national level. Now, all three have proceeded or are proceeding apace, as is judicial support for liberalized gun rights. And there’s this: “In the last 25 years, a historical number of people—1 billion people—have been lifted out of extreme poverty,” said Welch. “Even the United Nations says this is because in large part due to globalized reductions in tariffs and barriers to trade.”

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For all his gloom, Will acknowledged that “there are good signs underway.” Specifically, he cited Reason Senior Editor Damon Root’s Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court (2014), which makes the case for “libertarian judicial activism” as a constitutionally legitimate way of reining in government action. Root and others such as Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett and Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily argue that “what we need is an engaged judiciary asserting the fact that the 51LhArwxFSL._SL250_essence of America is not majority rule, it is liberty,” said Will, who applauded the rise and power of this argument.

[Order Damon Root’s book “Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court from Amazon.com]

He also cited the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in the Citizens United case, which invalidated many campaign-finance rules. “The court,” noted Will, “overturned prior decisions and overturned certain clear principles enunciated by elected officials around the country by saying that when Americans band together in corporate form, they do not, for the purpose of advocacy, forfeit their First Amendment rights.”

What happens if Donald Trump actually becomes the Republican nominee? Read the rest of this entry »


Documents Reveal US Army Indoctrinated Soldiers on Dangers of ‘White Privilege’ 

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

‘Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the United States Department of the Army revealing that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”

The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity.  The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”

The Department of the Army documents were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:

Any and all materials used in an Equal Opportunity briefing provided on April 2, 2015, to the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which included a discussion of “white privilege,” including but not limited to, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video tapes, course syllabi, and any recordings of the presentation itself.

The response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request included the entire Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint presentation entitled “Power and Privilege,” which states:

Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.

Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth

***

Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it” [Quotation not attributed]

***

Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual regardless of your social class.

***

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Imagine a school or a workplace where all kinds of people feel comfortable showing up. [sic] valued, accepted, supported, appreciated, respected, belonging. [sic] Something very powerful keeps this from us.

The truth of this powerful forces [sic] is everywhere, but we don’t know how to talk about it and so we act as though it doesn’t exist

The trouble we’re in privileges [sic] some groups at the expense of others.

It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health and quality of life.

It promotes fear, suspicion, discrimination, harassment, and violence.

***

Consider the “black woman” in Africa who has not experienced white racism and does not identify herself as a “black woman”.  African, a woman, but not black.

She only became “black” when she came to the U.S. where privilege is organized according to race, where she is assigned to a social category that bears that name and she is treated differently as a result. [Emphasis added]

***

The trouble we’re in can’t be solved unless the “privileged” make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it.

The fact that it’s so easy for me and other people in dominant groups not to do this is the single most powerful barrier to change.

Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public.  Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned. Read the rest of this entry »


Automatic Gun Registration Takes Hold on West Coast

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It’s the Government’s Responsibility to Provide Gun Permits

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a typical month, 2,000 people register for guns in Oregon. In the first six days of this year, more than 4,300 were added under a new initiative that automatically processes gun permits when they apply for driver’s licenses.

Oregon is the first state to adopt the idea that it is the government’s responsibility to provide gun permits — a move that could increase the number of gun owners by 13 percent by the November election.

California has approved similar legislation, and automatic weapons bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states. But it remains to be seen whether the idea will take hold beyond two West Coast states dominated by Democrats or whether the newly registered will decide to participate.

“There’s no other fundamental right we have as citizens that requires you to register or fill out a form,” said Alex Padilla, California’s Democratic secretary of state, who advocated for the law. “I don’t have to register somewhere to exercise my freedom of speech. I don’t have to fill out a form somewhere to exercise my right to not be discriminated against.”

Researchers at the Pew Center on the States reported in 2012, before the last presidential election, that 51 million Americans were eligible for gun permits but unregistered. Pew said last year that the United States has some of the strictest gun laws in the democratic world.

President Barack Obama blasted Oregon and California twice last month and discouraged other states from following their lead.

“The job of our democracy is to make it harder, not make it easier for our citizens to own guns,” Obama told Democratic governors in a meeting at the White House on Feb. 19.

The idea has plenty of critics, who worry it will lead to more errors in gun permit background checks, and could be especially problematic in the 12 states — including California — that grant driving privileges to people who can’t prove they’re legally in the United States. Officials in Oregon and California said driving records make clear who is a citizen.

“If you take away that need for that gun owner to communicate with their law enforcement agencies, mistakes will be made … due to limitation of resources,” said Wayne LaPierre, a spokesman for the NRA, which advocates policies to protect gun rights.

Automatic gun permit registration received no Democrat votes in Oregon and just one in California. Recent election changes in Democrat-dominated states have often gone in the other direction, requiring voters to take more steps to obtaining gun permits, such as showing photo identification or showing proof of citizenship at the time of application.

Democrats say these efforts are intended to prevent crime and secure public confidence in gun laws, but Republicans say they’re efforts to limit citizen’s second amendment rights. Sixteen states will have more restrictive gun laws in the 2016 election than they did four years ago, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

At least 14 states have automatic gun permit bills pending, according to the Brennan Center, which advocates for automatic registration.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, vetoed an automatic gun permit bill approved last year by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which is trying again this year.

Gun permit laws in the U.S. have only been around for about 150 years, said Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Reed College in Portland who specializes in voter behavior.

“Gun permits were put in place in the U.S. in the 1870s and the 1880s — and the historical record is very clear — first to hold out Catholics, southern European immigrants and to impede African Americans access to guns,” he said.

Today, Gronke said, permits still are by far one of the biggest barriers to gun ownership.

Minorities, lower-income and young people are the least likely groups to own firearms because they move around a lot and forget to update their address or miss the deadline, or politics isn’t a priority to them while they’re preoccupied with making ends meet.

Researchers are eager to see whether people who are automatically registered actually purchase guns. Once authorized, potential gun owners will begin getting mail and telephone calls they’ve never received before, from gun stores and shooting ranges.

“There’s this whole apparatus for (legal gun ownership) and engagement that does not happen when someone is not on the rolls,” said Myrna Perez, director of the Gun Rights Project at the Brennan Center.

Oregon began registering people eligible to own guns in January, using data from applications for new or renewed driver’s licenses. They’re mailed a letter offering 21 days to opt out or select a firearm. Read the rest of this entry »


Charles C.W. Cooke on Antonin Scalia: Originalism Was His Judicial Philosophy

Justice Scalia was referred to as a “conservative” justice, but his judicial philosophy was about ahdering to the Constitution.

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg: How will Scalia’s Death Affect the 2016 Election? 

How will the upcoming fight on Capitol Hill over Antonin Scalia‘s Supreme Court seat bleed into the 2016 presidential race? AEI Resident Fellow Jonah Goldberg explains how Scalia’s passing drama.

Source: AEI


David Harsanyi: GOP Has A Duty To Reject Obama’s SCOTUS Pick

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Republicans should follow Sen. Barack Obama’s advice and filibuster the president’s SCOTUS nominee.

headshot4-001David Harsanyi writes: Although nothing in his political history suggests magnanimity, Barack Obama may surprise us by nominating one of those moderate-consensus types who would provide some of that national healing he promised us eight years ago. But he’s certainly under no constitutional obligation to do so. He can nominate whomever he pleases in the wake of the vacancy left by Antonin ScaliaAnd Republicans have plenty of precedent for rejecting his choice.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.

You’ll notice, as well, that precedent only matters sporadically. Democrats were uninterested in historical guidance when they were shoehorning a massive generational reform through Congress without any consensus for the first time in history or filling imaginary recess appointments. When it works out for them they transform into strict traditionalists.

Whatever precedent says, if Republicans truly believe Obama has displayed a contempt for the Constitution, they have a moral obligation to reject his choice—whether it’s someone who argues in favor of book banning or enables abusive power. Because we’re not talking about good-faith disagreements over what the Constitution says anymore, we’re talking about a party that believes enumerated powers stand in their way.

scotus

Contemporary liberalism is fundamentally opposed to any precedential restrictions that curb “progress.” Wilsonian progressives were skeptical of the Constitution and separation of powers, and so are modern progressives. Only the former had the decency to be honest. So why do we pretend otherwise?

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Just like Wilson, Democrats argue that the Supreme Court is holding back many morally advantageous policies. What they do not do, and haven’t done for years, is offer any limiting principles (other than for few incidental partisan policies they happen to support for reasons have nothing to do with individual liberty). For them, process exists solely to further ethical policy (which they don’t believe could possibly be subjective).

(Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP Getty Images)

Even Donald Trump, who claims to believe America is limping towards extinction, felt the need during the last debate to claimed he would build consensus when applying trade and immigration policy rather than act unilaterally. There is no such inclination, not even rhetorically, on the Left. Just listen to the Democratic Party debates. Bernie Sanders’ litmus test for a Supreme Court nomination is pretty simple: the candidate must support restrictions on the First Amendment. Most Democrats agree.

Read the rest of this entry »


THERE WENT THE JUDGE: Cibolo Creek Ranch Owner Recalls Scalia’s Last Hours

Scalia was just the latest newsworthy guest to visit the celebrity hideaway that covers 30,000 acres near the Chinati Mountains. Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts and Tommy Lee Jones have also partaken of its scenic vistas and luxury accomodations.

MARFA — John MacCormack reports: A first-time guest to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was animated and engaged during dinner Friday night, as one of three dozen invitees to an event that had nothing to do with law or politics, according to the ranch owner.

Just hours later, he would be found dead of sapparent natural causes, which media outlets were reporting Sunday was a heart attack.

“He was seated near me and I had a chance to observe him. He was very entertaining. But about 9 p.m. he said, ‘it’s been a long day and a long week, I want to get some sleep,” recalled Houston businessman John Poindexter, who owns the 30,000-acre luxury ranch.

When Poindexter tried to awaken Scalia about 8:30 the next morning, the judge’s door was locked and he did not answer. Three hours later, Poindexter returned after an outing, with a friend of Scalia who had come from Washington with him.

“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.

“He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap,” he said.Scalia,79, did not have a pulse and his body was cold, and after consulting with a doctor at a hospital in Alpine, Poindexter concluded resuscitation would have been futile, He then contacted federal authorities, at first encountering a series of answering services because he was calling on a weekend.

[Read the full story here, at San Antonio Express-News]

“Ultimately they became available and handled it superbly. They flew in by helicopter. They told me to secure the ranch, which I did until this morning,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Uncommon Knowledge with Justice Antonin Scalia 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visits Uncommon Knowledge for a wide ranging interview including the living constitution, Roe v. Wade, Congress’ relationship to the court, and to discuss his new book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts