Refugee Charity Fraud: Humanwire took advantage of ‘gullible donors’

A non-profit group called Humanwire based in Boulder, Colorado was allegedly the piggy bank for the group’s founder—Andrew Baron.

How many more ‘non-profits’ have been set up to take advantage of gullible donors responding to the refugee ‘crisis’ around the world?

Watch Baron in September trying to explain-away the Denver Post story including bashing his whistleblower employee. He takes a whack at Trump too! This is incredible!

Here is the story from The Denver Post:

Andrew Baron

Boulder police on Thursday arrested Andrew Baron on felony charges of charity fraud and theft in excess of $100,000 from Humanwire, a nonprofit he said he established to help Syrian refugees.

The arrest follows an investigative report in The Denver Post on the practices of the Boulder-based charity, which managed refugee campaigns in Greece, Turkey and Lebanon.

Humanwire advertises on its website that pledges from donors go directly to needy refugees with “0 percent” going to operating costs. It offers itself up on its website as a one-to-one connection between donors and volunteers, promising to remove the “charity from the middle.”

But The Post revealed in September that amid delays in promised aid for refugees, the nonprofit’s bank records showed a steady stream of withdrawals from Humanwire’s accounts by Baron. Amid those withdrawals, more than 100 refugees who had been promised aid from Humanwire faced evictions and other deprivations, according to interviews with former Humanwire volunteers, workers and donors.

“Between October 2015 to present, Andrew Baron’s bank accounts have received all the donations for the Humanwire campaigns,” states an affidavit filed Thursday by Boulder Police Detective Traci Cravitz. “Despite stating that 100 percent of these donations would go to the intended families, at least $130,000 was used by Baron for his own personal expenses.”

Go here to read the remainder of the gory details that came to light when employees blew the whistle.  As of this writing, Humanwire’s website is still up.

Speaking of employees blowing the whistle, any more brave souls out there like the “source” of the news from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service we told you about here?

Message to readers:  Feeling the desire to help those with less than you have? Find a needy local family and support them and know exactly where your money is going!  Thanksgiving is right around the corner after all.

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How Many Democrats Believe Your Gender Can Be Different Than Biological Sex

Most of us didn’t need a poll to show us that liberals have lost their grip on reality. But Pew Research Center is providing one anyway.

In a survey that will probably leave you speechless about the radical bent of President Barack Obama’s party, Pew asked Americans what they really think about gender identity. If the results don’t surprise you, check your pulse.

First, the good news. A majority of Americans (though far less than one might guess, 54 percent) still believe that a person’s gender is “determined at birth.” Fewer, 44 percent, think someone “can be a man or woman even if that is different than the sex they were assigned at birth.”

That’s right. Only a 10 percent gap separates Americans on what, a decade ago, would have been a consensus issue. Now, after eight years of chipping away at the country’s moral sensibilities with bathroom mandates, Caitlyn Jenner homages, and Chelsea Manning pardons, the activist left’s quiet war on gender is having its effect.

But so far, it’s a one-sided victory. An overwhelming number of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (80 percent) aren’t playing these liberals’ game of make believe. They think that a person is born whatever gender they truly are. Amazingly, an enormous number of Democrats and Democratic leaners disagree: 64 percent, to be exact. That’s a jaw-dropping population of political misled and scientifically misguided people.

No wonder we’re having to debate commonsense bathroom guidelines, driver’s licenses, classroom pronouns, and military policy. With the exception of black Democrats and Hispanic Democrats, (55 percent and 41 percent, respectively), Obama’s reality-optional politics have had a major effect on his party’s agenda.

Breitbart broke down Pew’s numbers and uncovered this stunner: “The survey,” Neil Munro points out, “finds that Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or more education are more likely than other Democrats to say a person’s gender can be different from the sex they were assigned at birth. About three-quarters (77 percent ) of Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or more say this, compared with 60 percent of Democrats with some college and 57 percent of those with a high school diploma or less. No such [education] divide exists among Republicans.”

In other words, the supposedly “more educated” class of Democrats are the ones denying science and basic biology. Republicans, by contrast, stand steadfastly behind a person’s DNA as the defining factor of a person’s gender—regardless of their age, race, or education.

Asked if America has done enough to accommodate people who identify as transgender, only 32 percent say the country has gone “too far.” Thirty-nine percent think we haven’t gone far enough.

They’re the ones willing to sacrifice women and children’s safety, national security, and religious liberty on the altar of liberal deception. They’re the ones eager to discard reality as a means to a political end. But regardless of what they say, truth is not up for self-determination. And a nation that thinks otherwise not only deceives itself, but dooms itself as well.

This was originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council. Twitter: .

Impeachment the Pits for Dems

Being conservative isn’t a crime — but there are six Democrats in the U.S. House ready to treat it like one. Yesterday, against the advice of their own party leaders, a half-dozen liberals filed Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump for a grab-bag of offenses. Ranging from the comic to the bizarre, Tennessee’s Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) outlined the case against the president (not very effectively, based on the reaction of most Washington insiders). Even the mainstream media, which has been calling for Trump’s head since January, collectively rolled its eyes at the news.

Hurting the press’s feelings, appointing conservative justices, and owning successful businesses are hardly the stuff of Watergate. Yet, Cohen insisted at a press conference with fellow conspirators Reps. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Al Green (Texas) and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), and John Yarmuth (Ky.), “We believe that President Trump has violated the Constitution.” Specifically, they charge Trump with obstructing justice, violating the Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses, and undermining the federal judiciary and press.

Undermining the press, an incredulous Stephen Dinan asks in the Washington Times? How — “by being mean to it?” And since when is criticizing a court’s judgment an infringement on the judiciary? President Obama berated the Supreme Court justices to their face at his own State of the Union! Where were his Articles of Impeachment? And, as National Review explained earlier this year (and CNN agreed) on the bogus emoluments charge, “Trump’s opponents claim that every time… a foreign diplomat books a room in a Trump hotel or pays for a meal in a Trump restaurant, the Constitution is violated…. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe all owned massive plantations and sold agricultural commodities in Europe. Undoubtedly, some of their customers were foreign governments, but no political opponent ever raised the specter that they were violating the foreign-emoluments clause.”

This is an unserious, petty, and self-destructive campaign for Democrats. But don’t take my word for it — take theirs. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been against this witch hunt since May. “What are the facts?” she asked CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “If you don’t have that case, you’re just participating in more hearsay.” This week, she could only shake her head. Impeachment, she told reporters, “is not someplace I think we should go.” The party’s minority whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (R-Md.), was equally concerned. “Do we disagree with [Trump’s] policies? We do. But disagreeing with the policies is not enough to overturn an election, a free and fair election,” he admitted with uncharacteristic rationality. “There are a large number of Democrats that believe this president ought to be impeached,” he went on. “We’ve just a made a judgment that the facts aren’t there to pursue that.” Even DNC Chairman Tom Perez wanted nothing to do with the six’s crusade. “I’m not talking about impeachment,” he let everyone know.

Liberal columnists from Vanity Fair to the Chicago Sun-Times complained that the effort would do more harm to their cause than good. “Nobody wants Trump gone from the White House more than me,” wrote Mark Brown. But, “You’re kidding yourselves if you think this is any sort of real blow to Trump… Our fellow Americans elected him…They won. We lost. And until there’s a stronger case to be made for impeachment, Democrats would be better served by being patient while fighting Trump on other fronts.”

Of course, the irony is that Barack Obama, whose picture belongs next to Webster’s definition of lawlessness, is the one who could have legitimately been impeached. If the Constitution hadn’t been in bomb-proof casing those eight years, the 44th president would have erased every memory of it. His abuses of power — from recess appointments and contraception mandates to IRS targeting — were actual violations of the law. The Democrats’ case against Donald Trump amounts to one thing: policy differences.

Of course, this has been the strategy all along. From cake bakers to sportscasters, liberals have tried to persuade people that holding conservative views is a fireable offense at best — and a criminal one at worst. It isn’t breaking the law to disagree with the radical ideology of the Democratic Party, but that’s what politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) allege in their criticism of Trump. “He creates controversy, he cannot get along with our members of Congress, and I’m going to continue my efforts to impeach him.” Apparently, Karl Rove wrote, “the standard for impeaching a president has shifted again: Now he can be removed from office for creating controversy and fighting with Congress.”

And while the impeachment of Trump isn’t something people inside D.C. take seriously, there is one thing they do — and that’s next year’s election. If you think the President Trump’s had a hard time getting things done with a Republican Congress, imagine what would happen if Democrats regain control of the House, Senate — or both. Our country can’t afford to hand the mantle back to Pelosi and Hoyer, who will almost certainly declare war on traditional values, bringing whatever positive change Trump’s affected to a grinding halt. As for their hesitation on impeachment proceedings, I don’t have to tell you how quickly that could change. So, remain vigilant. If you want to see more of the president’s promises become a reality, don’t let up!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the November 16 Washington Update:

Lib: Forgo Kids for ‘Mother’ Earth

Pence Leads the Charge for Middle East Aid

Atheist murdered near Texas church; suspects charged

Sutherland Springs, TX — Residents Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff are being charged with multiple crimes including murder, weapons charges, reckless driving, and speeding following a shooting spree near a local church.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, local police have stated the suspects attacked and wounded local atheist Devin Kelley near the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. When the victim attempted to flee by driving away, a witness has reported the two assailants “got into a truck and gave chase to finish the job.”

It appears the victim died later in his vehicle and a vigil has been proposed by the local chapter of Atheist Lives Matter. A spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center immediately labelled the attack a hate crime and added the First Baptist Church and the maker of the pursuit vehicle – Ford Motor Company – to its extensive list of hate groups. The victim was only 26 years old and a military veteran.

Sheriffs believe Willeford used a hunting rifle to shoot the victim, who was wearing body armor and black military-style tactical gear at the time of the attack. CNN’s Jim Acosta reported that the victim’s unusual choice of wardrobe was probably because “the victim was near a Baptist Church in Texas – he was afraid for his life from gun-toting, Bible-thumping right-wingers.” An MSNBC report also suggests the victim was armed with an AR-15 rifle, 2 handguns, and explosives for this same reason.

Witnesses are being sought to aid in putting together the exact timeline in the attack. A local law enforcement representative familiar with the investigation stated that, due to an earlier incident, most witnesses closest to the shooting were either dead or incapacitated and “haven’t been very helpful to our ongoing investigation of Kelley’s murderers.”

– Reporting by Gazelle Gazette

EDITORS NOTE: This political satire by Panem Et Circenses originally appeared on The Peoples Cube. 

America Requires Better Media. Here’s How.

Americans are being materially damaged by a media that is stuck in a form of lazy pack journalism that runs on the thin fuel of a few superficial formulas.

There is very little issue and policy reporting from the pack out of Washington — and this goes for the liberal outlets as well as the conservative ones. Fox News topically on the evening news is not substantially different from CNN or the networks or the daily newspapers around the country.

This isn’t about bias. That’s a different issue. This is about journalists who, almost literally, run as a pack on story coverage — from press conferences to press release. If one of them breaks a story that fits in the formula, they all paddle as one pack over to that story.

So what we have almost every night is one of a couple of narratives.

1) Who is winning today, Republicans or Democrats? The day’s news events are played as how they will affect the parties right now going into the mid-term elections a year from now.

2)How does this affect President Trump? From North Korea and China to unemployment numbers or terrorism to who wins off-year elections, it is about Trump. In the two years leading up to the election, it was: How will this affect Obama’s legacy? Like Americans give two figs about a president’s personal legacy.

This is just a huge disservice to American consumers of news. The horse race between parties and the effects on the president should be the byproducts of reporting on the substance and relevance of the day’s news on Americans and the rest of the world. And believe it or not, that relevance is not first and foremost how it affects a president or the political parties.

But that is how it is done. Record the three networks and three cable news outlets on a night and you will see almost identical stories, often in similar order. And the stories will be framed on the above horse race formula, not on substance within the stories.

How else could journalism be done? I was a mainstream media reporter and editor for 25 years. There’s a better way. But it means breaking from the pack, taking some chances, and working harder on the actual reporting aspect.

A better model for American media

This might be called fair, professional, explanatory journalism. I know it sounds impossible in light of the current state of politicized, divisive journalism. But it doesn’t have to be.

Let’s take North Korea. When Trump talks about the horrible state of the North Korean people — worst living conditions in the world, and that’s saying something — it’s reported as dangerous rhetoric. Every missile fired, every statement from the dictator is pitched as a test for Trump. Sending carrier fleets is reported as a dangerous, saber-rattling move for Trump.

But how else could these issues be reported?

Trump’s tweets could be taken as the perfect opportunity to report on the actual living conditions of the North Korean people. The concentration camps, strategic starvations, torture chambers, militant atheism, public executions, forced labor and random incarceration that keeps the population terrified and in bare survival mode. Human Rights Watch calls North Korea the most or one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

What a plethora of opportunities for reporting on conditions that are about one step above Jews in Nazi Germany. Yet this context is almost never reported, except maybe one-time in-depth newspaper or magazine stories that get little readership — but might win some awards. Instead, it’s tit-for-tat reporting in each news cycle with no context.

Every missile fired is reported as a challenge to Trump. But it’s really an immediate threat to Japan and South Korea. How accurate are those missiles? What is their payload? What can the North Koreans develop in the next timeframe? What sort of destruction do they pose for South Korea, for Japan, and eventually for the United States? Well almost no American basic news consumer can answer those questions because the media focuses like a pack on the challenge to Trump. You can google search for them, but they are one-off stories and really never by the TV outlets.

Sending carrier groups into the region is reported as a Trump escalation and dangerous saber-rattling. But how did we get to this point? We explained this earlier. But there is so much more that media members could do to explain how multiple presidents from both parties have used appeasement as the primary tool — not learning well from history — that has delivered this disastrous situation on Trump’s — and everyone else’s — front porch. Stories with that context would explain much more effectively why, perhaps, a different strategy from kicking the can down the road is needed.

Or we can take the incessant horse-race reporting between Republicans and Democrats.

It’s almost depressing how each new piece of major legislation is immediately billed as dangerous or beneficial for Republicans or Democrats or Trump. A distant consideration — if one given at all — is how the legislation will affect all Americans, and then only in who it hurts and how it may affect their votes.

The Obamacare repeal attempts were heavily reported first on the Republicans’ success or failure to enact, second, its effects on the Obama legacy and third, the losers and winners. But rarely is there any real context on the impact of Obamacare on healthcare insurance and on Americans’ access to healthcare and why doing nothing is actually the most irresponsible route.

This is going on in spades on the current tax reform proposal by Republicans. “Republicans need a win!’ and “Trump needs a win!” has been the mantra across media coverage and talking heads. Americans largely just don’t give a rip which party gets a win. They’re more interested in Americans getting a win.

Trade with China has been a huge issue, in the election and during the past year. But are China trade deals bad? How are they bad and for whom? If they are bad, who gave them to us and why? What can be done to improve them? But a lot of what we get is Trump criticizes Chinese trade deals and how will that play for him in certain states.

During the Republican Primary, there were numerous accomplished governors and senators running, many of whom had developed policies based on conservative principles that had worked in their states. But the media all but ignored them, and totally ignored their plans, in favor of covering Trump incessantly. Leading up to the first primary, Trump had been donated $2 billion worth of free branding in the form of media coverage — twice as much as the entire rest of the Republican field, combined.

How might have Americans been served if the media had reported regularly on the others that had created substantive proposals on every major issue facing us. Instead, they went for the shiny object with ratings. A lazy, superficial formula.

Americans deserve a better media. The idea that is America requires a better media.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

The Morning Light

It’s a Saturday morning and I am out doing my week end rounds.  But it’s a little different from a typical Saturday.  The morning sunlight is just amazing.

We are at that time of year when the sun is lower in the sky and after a few days of rain and wind, the air and sky are very clear.  The sky is a majestic blue with just a few wispy clouds to punctuate the blue color.

The light is bright, crisp yet warm.  And it makes everything glow.  Its like when Ronald Reagan had his campaign commercial, Morning In America.

The people of Concord, NH were beginning to rustle about.  It just seemed as if the world was somehow a bit more cheerful.

I passed by the New Hampshire State House and noticed the gold dome was glowing.  The golden dome recently underwent a complete renovation so the gold is bright and shiny.  The sun was hitting that dome at just the right angle and it actually glowed.

It was like a beacon shining for the world to see.  Much like when the Statue of Liberty underwent its renovation and the flame was true copper bright.  But this was an autumn day in the Granit State.

I had to stop and get a picture.

As I walked the street, I noticed how clean and clear and fresh the air and sky were.  It seemed that the sun was causing pedestrians to glow just a little.  There were children playing soccer in front of the State House while a few others took a late morning pick nick on the still green lawn.

I snapped my photo and got a few other down town icon shots as well.  Then I got back in my car to continue my rounds.  Not far from the hustle and bustle of down town Concord, I passed by an old New England cemetery.

There is a lot of American history interned in this cemetery.  This particular final resting ground contains the remains of one of America’s presidents.  Franklin Pierce.

As the sun hit his monument at just the proper angle, I felt a sense of history over take me.  All the American stories that are in that hallowed ground.  All of that American history.  Hundreds of people who lived, who loved, who contributed to this great land.  Now silent and at peace.

I wanted to stop and talk with them all.  Find out who they were.  Why they did what they did.  What they think of the state of our nation today.  I can only imagine what President Pierce would say.  I am sure it would not be pleasant.

“Mr. Eccles,” the President would begin.  “We gave you a gift.  We gave you and 300 million people a gift.  And you are squandering that gift, sir.  Your people have forgotten who we are.  I lived and died a free man.  Will you, at the end of your days, be able to say the same?”

“Mr. Eccles,” he would continue.  “All is not lost.  There are those who hold the torch of liberty high and bright with might and stern pertinacity.  That is why this nation survives.  That is why this gift that I and so many that came before me will not be completely squandered and lost to history.  Liberty and Justice is worth any price and its worth the grind of any fight.  I commend you and others who have not forgotten the lessons of history.  I commend you, sir.”

Yes, the sun is shining unusually bright this morning.

It’s the bright morning light of freedom.

God Bless the United States of America.

May the gifting light of liberty shine on forever and a day.

The Origins of the ‘Cult of Political Correctness’ [a.k.a. Cultural Marxism]

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” – Joseph Stalin

“To learn who rules over you, simple find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire

“It’s getting funnier because everybody’s categories are disintegrating, and the cult of political correctness dictates that we never point out that other people don’t make sense.” – Terence McKenna, American philosopher.

Origin of Political Correctness

Have you ever wondered where the idea of political correctness originated?

The Washington Times in a November, 2015 op-ed titled “A little history of ‘politically correct’: The Soviets invented it and the university tolerates it” notes this about the cult of political correctness:

It’s a wicked attitude intended to stifle the conscience and suppress belief and conviction.

The term “politically correct” was coined in the late 1920s by the Soviets and their ideological allies around the world to describe why the views of certain of the party faithful needed correction to the party line.

I , after doing my due diligence search on Google, came upon a February 2000 column in Accuracy in Academia  titled “The Origins of Political Correctness” by Bill Lind. Mr. Lind writes:

Where does all this stuff that you’ve heard about this morning – the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it – where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.

We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it come from? What is it?

We call it “Political Correctness.”

Lind unequivocally states this about political correctness,

It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world. It is the disease of ideology.

Political Correctness is cultural Marxism.

Lind notes:

If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.

First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted “victims” groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges – some star-chamber proceeding – and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole. [Emphasis added]

In “Orwell’s Doublespeak: The Language of the Left” Linda Goudsmit wrote:

George Orwell introduced the language of doublespeak in his dystopian novel “1984″ published in 1949. Doublespeak is the language of opposites. Up is down and down is up.

The word doublespeak derives from two Orwellian words “doublethink” and “newspeak.” Doublethink is when a person accepts two mutually contradictory thoughts as correct without being aware or troubled by the glaring contradiction between them. Doublethink statements like “war is peace” “freedom is slavery” “ignorance is strength” are made without discomfort. Newspeak is a method of controlling thought through language – it is the language of fake news. Doublespeak combines doublethink and newspeak in language that deliberately obscures, distorts, disguises, or reverses the meaning of words to manipulate public opinion in a mass social engineering effort.

Goudsmit presents a glossary of leftist doublespeak.

The Principles of Politically Correctness.

A detailed explanation of Newspeak, today’s political correctness, is found in this paragraph from an Appendix to Orwell’s novel “1984”, under the title, The Principles of Newspeak:

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc (English Socialist Party) but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.

Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.

To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive.

Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

Read more.

The ideals of George Orwell’s Ingsoc (English Socialist Party) has been embraced by the Neo-Democrat Party, Occupy Wall Street, the Resistance, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, radical Islam, Media Matters, Organizing for Action and the Communist Party USA. The Neo-Democrat party uses identity politics and political correctness to stifle free speech in a way that is unprecedented.

As American businessman and author John Michael Chambers wrote, “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s fear.” Many fear being labeled as politically incorrect.

The only way to reverse political correctness to to live and speak truth to power.

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Why We’re So Lucky that Donald Trump is the Most Unreasonable President in U.S. History

In one of my recent columns, I talked about the value of being unreasonable.

The premise of that column was based on a quote from British playwright George Bernard Shaw:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man adapts the world to himself; therefore, all progress is dependent upon the unreasonable man.”

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of organizing a small roundtable with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). She is the Chair of the House Republican Conference, which makes her the fourth ranking member in House leadership.

We invited about 25 very successful Black, Asian, and Hispanic business owners to have a private conversation with her about the soon-to-be written tax bill that President Trump wants to sign before the end of the year.

During this meeting, we highlighted three individual entrepreneurs: Kenya Pierce, the co-president and COO of Voulez Beaute (cosmetics), Gerald B. Boyd, Jr. the CEO of DB Consulting Group, Inc. (IT), and Robert L. Wallace, the president and CEO of Bithenergy, Inc. (energy).

VIDEO: Robert Wallace, President and CEO, Bithenergy, One of America’s Faces of Tax Reform Addresses Economic Empowerment.

Each of these business owners gave a very compelling story about their respective journeys into entrepreneurship and made the case for tax reform.

In the spirit of Shaw’s quote above, Rep. McMorris Rodgers was unreasonable enough to see value in creating a dialogue with the minority business community to get their input into a tax bill that had yet to be written.

The NNPA Newswire was one of the few Black-owned media outlets to cover this historic event. The NNPA Newswire operates BlackPressUSA.com, the public news website of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which consists of over 200 Black-owned media companies operating in the United States. The NNPA Newswire also syndicates my weekly newspaper column.

What I find amazing is that many Black journalists, especially the ones that work for Black media outlets, constantly complain about how the mainstream media only covers negative aspects of the Black community; yet, they are doing the same thing, by ignoring positive stories, especially when they come from Blacks in the Republican Party.

To my Black, liberal Democratic journalist friends, who refused to cover this event, because it didn’t fit into their partisan, political narratives: you are a bunch of hypocrites. Your job as a journalist is to report the news, even when it goes against your liberal biases. Quasi-journalists like Roland Martin (News One Now), Joy Reid (MSNBC), Don Lemon (CNN), Jason Johnson (The Root), Amy Barnett (The Grio), and Amber Payne (NBCBLK) do more damage to our community than anyone with a white sheet over their head could ever do.

Their hypocritical biases notwithstanding, we received a tremendous amount of press from our event.

Leading up to our event, we received so much buzz that the White House reached out to me and asked if they could participate in the event. They sent Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president and Jovita Carranza, the Treasurer of the United States, to represent President Donald J. Trump. I challenge anyone to recall a similar event, that President Barack Obama supported on Capitol Hill, that prominently featured minority business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs.

This is the first time in my memory that small and minority business-owners have been seen as so valuable that they have been invited to give input into a yet-to-be written tax bill. This is not only historic, but also a transformative, tectonic shift in the political landscape.

The mere fact that Rep. McMorris Rodgers and President Trump invited us to participate in the shaping of this proposed legislation makes them two of the most unreasonable people I have ever encountered.

For McMorris Rodgers to spend time with minority business owners on Capitol Hill was extremely unusual by any standard. Remember, she is No. 4 in House leadership and her time is very limited, but she was unreasonable enough to see value in listening to us.

President Trump couldn’t make our event himself, but he was so unreasonable that he sent two of his top aides, Conway, who is also a longtime friend of mine; and his U.S. Treasurer.

This is the type of unreasonable behavior that our president and our party need more of.

If President Trump continues to be unreasonable enough to see value in the minority business community, especially Black entrepreneurs, I can guarantee that they will be more than willing to work with the White House.

If Trump continues to be unreasonable enough to work with us on issues like access to capital, making sure we get our fair share of government contracts, and keeping open a pipeline of direct communications between us and the White House, we will not only work with the president, but we will advocate on behalf of the policies that we know will make America great again.

So, to President Trump and Rep. McMorris Rodgers: please continue to encourage those around you to be unreasonable knowing that only unreasonable people are able to make transformative change in our world.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

California NAACP Calls ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ ‘Racist.’ Here’s Why Frederick Douglass Loved It.

Editorial Note: California’s NAACP has launched a campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as America’s national anthem because it is “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon.” The organization expressed support for NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who launched the recent movement to kneel for the national anthem before sports events. The following is a reprint of an August 2016 Daily Signal article about why the song was beloved by former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

National Football League player Colin Kaepernick created a stir on Friday when he refused to stand for the national anthem at the start of a preseason game. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback cited the prevalence of racism and oppression in America as the primary reasons he sat during the playing of the song.

The Bay Area football star has been fading over the last few years and he’ll likely be doing a lot of sitting this season—for the national anthem or otherwise. But Kaepernick’s protest has initiated a national debate over patriotism and respect for the American flag.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812; it was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1931 and has been a staple at sports events for more than a century. The song is filled with martial and patriotic references, finishing with a stanza that makes an ode to America as the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

To the majority of Americans, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a moving tribute to what the country represents: freedom, duty, bravery, and commitment to the men and women serving in the armed forces. Clearly, Kaepernick—who makes millions of dollars playing the game he loves—has a different view of what the over two-century-old song represents.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told the NFL media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Lambasting “The Star-Spangled Banner” isn’t a new phenomenon. Liberal groups and commentators have tried to get the tune replaced for years, citing racism (Key was a slave owner) and the inherent “militarism” of the song.

An op-ed in The Intercept supported Kaepernick’s actions by dredging up a few stanzas, since removed from the modern rendition of the anthem, that explicitly mention slavery. Columnist Jon Schwarz wrote that the song “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.”

Hyperbolic reactions to one of America’s oldest patriotic songs fly in the face of what perhaps a dwindling number of Americans understand. Although the American republic was founded with many imperfections and contradictions—such as the institution of slavery—the timeless principles laid at its foundation have led to more human prosperity for a wider variety of people than any civilization in human history.

Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who played a critical role in the abolitionist movement in the mid-19th century, had been a frequent critic of American policy and the existence of the “peculiar institution.” However, he believed that the dearly held principles of the Declaration of Independence, and its unequivocal statement that all men are “created equal,” would eventually lead to slavery’s dissolution.

Douglass pulled no punches in criticizing slavery as a massive contradiction in American life, but he understood the evils of the system would be corrected by embracing the country’s origins rather than rejecting them. He encouraged black Americans to sign up and fight for the Union under the American flag during the Civil War, played a crucial role in recruitment efforts, and convinced many former slaves to serve in the military and embrace the United States as the vessel—not the thwarter—of freedom.

“It’s nice to know that we live in a country where sitting down during the anthem won’t land you in jail or worse.” —@RashadJennings

Douglass was known to frequently play “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his violin for his grandchildren in the years after the war. He said in an 1871 speech at Arlington National Cemetery that “if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army.”

For the most part, fans and players in the NFL embrace a similar view of the United States.

Rashad Jennings, a black athlete who plays for the NFL’s New York Giants channeled Douglass in his support for the national anthem and the American flag. He told the New York Daily News, “It’s nice to know that we live in a country where sitting down during the anthem won’t land you in jail or worse.”

Jennings said he was proud to stand for the song and continued to explain why he supports the values contained in its verses:

I figure if it was the intention of our Founding Fathers to keep America a nation of slaves, then it wouldn’t have chosen a song where all four verses end with ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ instead of ‘land of the free, home of the slave.’

Jennings’ teammates made a point to stand at attention for the national anthem during a Saturday night game against the New York Jets.

Gallup polls indicate there has been a rapid decline of American pride in their country in recent years—a dangerous slide for a multiethnic republic bound together by principles and institutions rather than national origin.

Kaepernick’s outright attack on what the American flag exemplifies is just the latest sad episode of Americans’ abandonment of the hallmarks of their unity and love of country. This is why it is important for Americans who still believe in what the country was founded on to stand and support the symbols of our way of life.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: 

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who started the modern movement to kneel for the national anthem at sports events. Photo: Loren Elliott/ZUMA Press/Newscom.

Culture is Downstream of Politics

By Maggie Gallagher and Frank Cannon

Walk into any room full of Christian conservative donors, and someone will say, “Politics is downstream of culture.” Every head in the room will nod. Nothing is more entrenched as conventional wisdom among Christian conservatives. Like most truisms, this one is only partly true. As people change their beliefs about what is true and good, politics changes as well. But putting culture above politics as a distinct sphere is profoundly mistaken, for politics is part of culture.

Politics allows the American people to give public form to what they believe to be true, good, and important; it is also the main way Americans decide which views are “within the pale” and which are beyond it. Elites of the left dominate most other domains: the mainstream media, the academy, the arts, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and increasingly the Chamber of Commerce and corporate suites. When an idea or issue drops out of politics, therefore, progressives can easily stigmatize it as outside the mainstream, extremist, and intolerable, effectively ending conversation. But election results feed back into culture. Political realities can override the dictates of the left, as Trump’s election reminds us.

Politics is full of cultural content. When our ideas find success at the polls, traditional believers find out that they are not alone, isolated, or on the fringe. This strengthens our voice in the public square. When voters swept Ronald Reagan into the White House, the New York Times could no longer define conservatives as outside the mainstream.

Electoral victories have other cultural consequences. Harvard Law School recently established an Antonin Scalia chair. Has Harvard suddenly been persuaded that Scalia’s ideas are sound? Probably not. Harvard publicly acknowledges the intellectual legitimacy of Scalia’s textualist and originalist approach to constitutional interpretation only because, thanks to politics, the Federalist Society has a great deal of influence on Republican nominations to the federal bench, including the Supreme Court.

The give-and-take of politics also tells Americans what views their fellow citizens hold and care about. In November 2016, many liberals were shocked to discover that their preoccupations were not shared by many voters in swing states. Politicians who want to win elections respond to this information and adjust to win the votes they need to gain office. That’s why Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. He was tired of watching Democrats lose elections because they were outside the mainstream of middle America. As a consequence, religious liberty became a bipartisan commitment for at least a decade.

This is not to say that culture does not influence politics. The left can use media power to intimidate Republicans, encouraging them to fall silent about particular issues. But this is almost always matched by political spending for issues and candidates, which reinforces cultural messages. Fairly quickly, this combination leads to cultural change. When only one side is willing to speak enthusiastically about a prominent issue, people begin to believe there really is only one side. The polls shift quickly as the hearts and minds of the mushy middle move toward the only visible position. If only one team is on the field, it wins by default.

The push for gay marriage provides a case study. In the years leading up to the Obergefell decision, Republicans stopped talking about the substance of the issue. Instead of vigorously defending marriage, they increasingly sidestepped, briefly acknowledging their support of traditional marriage or reverting to federalism (“leave the matter to the states”). This approach communicated clearly to voters that defending marriage was not an issue of central concern. Meanwhile, Democratic candidates trumpeted “marriage equality” and “love is love.” Not surprisingly, opinion polls shifted toward approval of gay marriage.

For this reason, “truce strategies” damage the causes religious and social conservatives support. When our positions are not articulated in politics, opponents can easily caricature and dismiss them. Truce strategies also forgo opportunities to effect substantive change. As political scientists Edward G. Carmines and James A. Stimson have pointed out, issues that change partisan alignments and re-orient the electorate’s views have three characteristics:

“Issue preferences must be deeply felt.” A passionate minority can move mountains in elections. Indeed, the notion of activating a moral majority has been one of the weak points in Christian conservatives’ political model. Consider the polling on the proposal to ban “assault-style weapons.” Eighty percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic favor such a ban, and so do 54 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican. Yet the NRA can block such a ban because they are able to rally a minority of voters who feel very strongly—and are politically organized.

The Christian conservative movement has taken a different approach, encouraging a “mass uprising,” a moral majority that feels strongly that it can win elections without political organization or targeted action. This never worked very well, leading to threats that voters would stay home if the GOP didn’t implement our priorities—mass defection as a model of political influence. Neither idea amounts to a plan, certainly not a plan for our times. Meanwhile, the broader culture disintegrates on sexual matters and the LGBT community tightens its hold on culture-shaping institutions that channel and intensify hatred against traditional believers.

“Parties and candidates must take up visibly different positions on the issue.” Carmines and Stimson point out that the cultural and political consequences are most dramatic when the two parties take clearly articulated, opposing stands. But cultural consequences also follow when “one of the parties chooses to ignore the issue while the other party takes a strong stand.” Either way, “the degree of objective party differentiation on major issues” is “very critical in the shaping of public opinion.”

To keep our moral principles in the mainstream, we need high-profile political commitments that command the loyalty of significant chunks of the electorate. The sanctity of life provides the most obvious example. The left would like to brand the pro-life position as outside the mainstream, but cannot. The reason why rests in the political salience of our position, not the left’s “fair-mindedness.” The unwillingness of Republican politicians to sustain a clear commitment to traditional marriage illustrates what happens when our views are not put forward as clear political commitments. The position that until almost yesterday was nearly universal now has been branded as bigotry. If we do not change our strategy, religious liberty will soon be in the same position. Legal strategies without a political strategy will not be enough.

“The issue must be long on the political agenda.” To sustain the cultural impact of political involvement, Christian conservatives must keep their commitments on the political agenda over time. The pro-life community learned to move from the Human Life Amendment to smaller legislative issues such as late-term abortions and taxpayer funding, winning important victories and keeping the pro-life cause in politics for decades. This is one of the reasons the pro-life movement has gained ground culturally. The scandal of abortion remains before the public, working against the pro-abortion forces that would like to hide the reality of the killing of the unborn.

Political scientists in the seventies predicted that public opposition to abortion would collapse as older generations died off. Abortion polling looked about as dismal at that time as gay marriage polling does now. In 1972, 66 percent of those under age thirty felt there should be no restriction on abortion at all. But predictions about the direction of history turned out to be wrong. The cause of life has been able to win a large share of succeeding generations in part by keeping abortion alive as a political issue.

Today, just a few short years after Mitch Daniels, then-governor of Indiana, tried to persuade the GOP to adopt a truce strategy on abortion and other social issues, Democrats are acknowledging their abortion extremism is costing them votes. Both Bernie Sanders and DNC Chair Tom Perez publicly supported a self-described pro-life Democrat, Heath Mello, for mayor of Omaha. Perez admitted that abortion extremism is hurting the Democrats politically: “In order to execute a 50-state strategy, we need to understand what’s going on in all 50 states, and attract candidates who are consistent with their messages but perhaps not on 100 percent of the issues.” Attacks by pro-abortion groups caused Perez to walk back his support, and Mello promised to vote for only pro-choice legislation. But a few months later, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, announced that a pro-abortion position would no longer be required for its support: “There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates.”

All of this suggests that culture is in some sense also downstream of politics, not just the other way around. Data from other countries reinforce this conclusion. Americans are nearly twice as likely as Canadians to say abortion should not be permitted at all. We are three times more likely than the British to say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. In Great Britain, according to another poll, support for a ban on abortion actually fell between 2005 and 2013 from 12 percent to 7 percent. Religious people in Great Britain were about as likely to support legal abortion as other citizens. These striking differences no doubt reflect some cultural differences, but surely the specifically political influence of a vigorous pro-life movement that can win elections in the United States is an important factor.

The left seems to have learned this lesson. They approached gay marriage in ways designed to shut it down as a political issue. Progressives invested heavily in innovative direct political action, which, combined with its media influence, helped them defeat major social conservative leaders who spoke out against gay marriage, most prominently Sen. Rick Santorum. It was a strategy described in the now-famous March 2007 Atlantic essay “They Won’t Know What Hit Them.”

Others have been targeted. As a Colorado Congresswoman, Marilyn Musgrave sponsored the federal Marriage Amendment in the House of Representatives, where she introduced it in 2003. The gay left’s campaign against her began in 2006 when the multimillionaire tech entrepreneur Tim Gill and his fellow pro–gay marriage donors poured $2 million into negative ads opposing her reelection. These ads never mentioned gay marriage. Instead, they criticized Rep. Musgrave for voting against a pay raise for Iraq War veterans.

She hung on with 51 percent of the vote in 2006, but with the template established, gay mega-donors returned in 2008 with a similar strategy. They worked to defeat her because of her opposition to gay marriage, but that remained invisible. The voting public saw only ads driving up her negatives on every conceivable issue. “Musgrave took over $183,000 from Big Oil and gave them billions in tax breaks,” one ad said. Another had a voiceover intone, “A citizen watchdog group named Musgrave one of the most corrupt members of Congress.” As Musgrave told one of us, “They even started fake pro-life organizations to claim I’m not pro-life enough.”

In the face of these sophisticated and well-financed attacks, pro-family Christian conservative organizations continue to do politics as usual, investing most of their resources in pastor organizing, voter guides, voter registration efforts, referendum efforts, and policy papers. This is all to the good, but it is not good enough, at least not in today’s political climate.

After Musgrave and others were punished politically, Republican elites concluded that opposing gay marriage would hurt them. They were able to wiggle away from a public stance on the issue because social conservatives did not appear to have political resources to help them fight back against the kind of tactics that defeated Musgrave. We talk with many intelligent Evangelicals who see candidate recruitment as the key to electing politicians who will not betray us. But electing faithful Christians like Marilyn Musgrave won’t help if we do not have the political resources to defend and protect them.

Pat McCrory, the North Carolina governor who was the lone Republican in 2016 to stand up against Obama’s transgender edict requiring public schools to let biological males in girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams, went down to defeat because of the same lack of astute tactical support from social conservatives. The left does not have to defeat everyone. They only need to demonstrate they can defeat one of our leaders. This sends other Republicans scurrying for political cover.

Republicans silenced themselves on marriage not after they lost the support of the American people but before. In 2009, Americans opposed gay marriage 54 percent to 37 percent according to a Pew poll. By 2010, when Mitch Daniels publicly announced that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues,” Americans were still evenly divided. When the other side keeps fighting, “truce” is another word for surrender. Today, more than three-fifths of the American people support gay marriage, including 40 percent of Republicans.

The left has now moved on to redefining religious liberty as a license to discriminate, using the same successful tactics. There remains a substantial reservoir of support for religious liberty. As recently as July 2015, according to an AP poll, a third of Democrats and 59 percent of independents say religious liberty should trump gay rights where they conflict. But if we continue to respond to challenges with our failed tactics, religious liberty will lose too, not just politically but culturally as well.

The last decade has made one thing clear: Nonpolitical cultural strategies without a new, better, deeper, and more effective investment in direct politics will fail. At a minimum, to sustain religious liberty, we will need an effective political arm to win legislative battles for our schools, charities, and businesses. We cannot preserve our cultural consensus about the First Amendment without making it clear that those who wish to undermine religious liberty will pay a dear price at the polls.

Apolitical movement needs many things: messaging shops, coalition builders, policy reports, candidate recruitment, attractive spokesmen, and voter registration drives. But these exist to support, not replace, the central act of democratic politics, which is winning elections. This is precisely what social conservatives lack. We lack the capacity to elect our friends and defeat our opponents. Which means we need to build the organizational structures that can engage directly in politics: PACs, super PACs, and 501(c)(4) independent expenditures.

We need to propose specific legislation that forces politicians to defend our positions. If elected officials have to vote, they will need to explain and justify their votes in public. When they do so, the general public will hear someone defending our commitments as true and our policies as good. By contrast, when we organize around generic principles rather than specific legislation, it is easy for politicians to mislead or confuse voters. The rhetoric of “judicial restraint” and “federalism” are classic instances. They may be good principles, but in recent decades they have been ways for elected officials to suggest they are pro-life, pro-marriage, or pro–religious liberty without actually saying so in public.

The 2012 election demonstrated the need for change in the way we address politics and culture. Mitt Romney was nominally against gay marriage, but he ran no ads on the issue. Obama and the Democrats were all-in for gay marriage. What happened? Did any national social conservative organization go into Ohio or North Carolina and spend even $2 million to demonstrate the issue could deprive the Democrats of the White House? No. We accepted our role in the aging Reagan coalition, which has become that of a silent partner. We let the Republican operatives in D.C. dictate electoral strategy, which advised promoting economic issues and downplaying social issues.

We have a long way to go. Our research shows that between 2007 and 2014, conservative organizations dedicated to changing public policy on life, marriage, and religious liberty spent just under $75 million in direct political spending. By contrast, the leading gay-rights political organization, Human Rights Campaign, recently pledged to spend $26 million in 2018 on direct political action. Emily’s List, one of the largest pro-abortion PACs, spent $36 million in 2016 and is likely to spend as much or more in the upcoming electoral cycle. In other words, only two organizations on the left will spend in one year almost as much on direct political action as all socially conservative organizations combined spent between 2007 and 2014. Comprehensive data for 2015 and 2016 are not yet available. But the preliminary data suggest political spending by social conservatives is falling, not rising.

This must change. We need to invest resources in direct political spending that helps us focus the 2018 elections on the left’s threats to religious liberty and its transgender extremism. We need to show that the outspoken representatives of these views can be defeated in elections. Defeats of just a few hardcore culture warriors on the left will sober up other Democratic politicians. Persuading even 3 percent of those who usually vote Democratic to turn against the left in close purple-state elections will have a far greater impact, politically and culturally, than any “rally the base” strategy.

The Democratic party pushes deeply unpopular policies because rich donors who support LGBT and abortion extremism provide them with direct political money. They have come to rely on Republican silence on these issues. They cash the checks and are not held accountable at election time. We’ve lived through a counterproductive cycle of elections in which Republicans gave us green-eyeshade issues such as deficit reduction and tax cuts for those with higher incomes, while Democrats hammered away at us as “bigots” and “haters.”

It is past time to set aside the failed truce strategy of recent decades. We need a political strategy that will take our case to ambivalent Democrats and independents. This will make social conservatives more politically influential—and more culturally influential as well, for politics is part of culture.

EDITORS NOTE: Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow and Frank Cannon is president at the American Principles Project. The full report and data on which this article is based are available at CaseForPolitics.com.

Colonel Leland Bohannon Needs Your Help!

Dear Fellow American,

Leland Bohannon

Leland Bohannon is a decorated colonel who has devoted decades of his life to serving our Air Force, including flying missions in the B-2 stealth bomber. He’s been ranked first on his performance reports, has been bestowed numerous honors, and trusted with oversight of nuclear weapons. In other words, he’s the model Air Force officer.

Yet Colonel Bohannon’s life and service are about to be completely derailed because he could not in good conscience sign a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for a service member in a same-sex marriage. Despite the certificate obtaining a signature from an officer of even higher rank, when the service member saw that Colonel Bohannon had not personally signed it, he filed an Equal Opportunity complaint against him.

The Equal Opportunity investigator claimed that Colonel Bohannon violated Air Force regulations by supposedly discriminating against the service member based on sexual orientation. The investigator acknowledged that Colonel Bohannon had asked for a religious accommodation, but claimed—unbelievably—that even had the accommodation been granted, Colonel Bohannon would nonetheless be guilty of unlawful discrimination.

As a result, his superior suspended Colonel Bohannon, withheld his decoration, and submitted a poor performance appraisal to the Air Force Brigadier General promotion board—the rank for which Colonel Bohannon is eligible—recommending that he not be promoted.

Not only is all of this a big waste of time for everyone involved, it is clearly unlawful and unconstitutional. The Equal Opportunity investigator completely failed to understand the nature of how religious accommodations work. Moreover, religious freedom law and military policy demand that he be granted an accommodation in an instance like this—where the objective is easily fulfilled with another signature on the certificate.

At best, this entire matter is a distraction for Colonel Bohannon. At worst, it could end his career.

Please sign the petition below. Colonel Bohannon needs your help!

God bless,

Image

 

 

Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council

Remembering the Horrors of Kristallnacht – Lest we as human beings ever forget

This week marks a cruel yet hopeful anniversary. On November 9-10, 1938, a two-day period now known as Kristallnacht, Nazis plundered Jewish homes, schools and businesses across Germany. My grandfather, only 14 at the time, recalled seeing Jewish stores looted, books burned, and signs saying “kill the Jews.” Two days later, he received a letter from his family saying that his father, my great-grandfather, had been taken to Dachau, which we now know was the equivalent of a death sentence.

It has never been easy to come to grips with my family history. My aunt recently completed a family tree going back centuries; many of its branches end abruptly in the late 1930s and early 1940s. These names, no more than entries on a piece of paper to me, represent my heritage, my family—much of it lost in the hollow corridors of concentration camps. I can only imagine how my life would have been different had my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins never experienced the merciless brutality of the Holocaust.

My grandparents shared bits and pieces of their experiences with me as I grew up, careful to say only as much as they thought I could handle. One day, while riding around on my grandfather’s lap in his electric wheelchair, I asked him, “What is that number on your arm?” Transforming a physical characteristic designed to make him less human into a source of feigned pride, he told me it was a number that made him unique because he was the only person in the world who had it. Only later, as I approached my teenage years, did my grandfather tell me that a fellow prisoner tattooed the number—117022—on his left forearm when he arrived at Auschwitz.

Four years ago, on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, I spoke publicly about my grandparents’ experience for the first time. Standing in the rotunda of the Minnesota Capitol, I read my grandfather’s account of being transported on a freight car to Auschwitz, stripped of civilian clothes upon arrival, and forced to run naked through a cold April rain.

My grandfather had the uncommon gift of being able to see the light of human generosity in the midst of near-total darkness. He recounted his experience at the camp hospital, sick and malnourished: German nurses reported to their superiors that they had discharged my grandfather when they in fact transferred him to another room until he was able to recover. Their kindness, he said—which they undertook at great risk to their own lives—saved him from the gas chamber.

My grandfather again saw the best and worst in humanity after he agreed to participate in an escape plot. The guards captured three co-conspirators, who were hanged in the middle of the camp as a prisoner orchestra played German songs to accompany the spectacle. The men took the secret of my grandfather’s involvement to their graves.

Only after years researching their stories and reflecting on their lives do I understand the message my grandparents had tried to impart—one of hope and gratitude, not bitterness or pity. As my grandfather said in a memorial service speech in 1979, we remember those who “lost their lives while fighting for their freedom, the freedom of us and the freedom of mankind.” He emphasized that “we, the survivors, have to let the world know that we will never again allow another Holocaust” and told the audience that “you, and you alone, have the responsibility to speak up for our fallen relatives and friends.”

My grandparents always said they were the lucky ones, and that they were left on earth to speak for those who had perished. Their guidepost was humanity, not indulgence in their own sorrow and suffering.

They spoke for their friends and family members who were not “lucky” enough to make it, and to ensure that the stories of those who perished did not become footnotes in a dusty history book in the library. Theirs was a message of optimism, intended to ensure that their children and grandchildren were able to lead a life free from the atrocities that they had witnessed. I get it now, grandma and grandpa, and I hope the world gets it now too.

Justice Stras serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court and is a nominee for the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

‘What is that number on your arm?’ I asked my grandfather one day, too young to have heard of Auschwitz.

In Beijing, Trump Meets a Man Who Just Quietly Achieves

By NSS staff

Imagine being lost somewhere and not even knowing what country you are in. Pretty scary, wouldn’t you say?

And yet that is precisely where most of us Westerners are in our world with regard to where we stand, to the unseen powers holding sway over us and to the powers in the East that oppose the Western elites. Most imagine that Washington (or Brussels) is the centre of the power that protects us and that the US dollar (or euro) pays for this protection and always will. As for the world of ideas, we imagine that there is this thing called “Western values” and it is the centre of our intellectual and moral universe, the collection of all those things we hold dear and are prepared to defend against their enemies – as long as no blood is shed.

We generally believe that there is this thing called freedom of speech, and yet if a Western pastor dared to say from the sanctuary of his pulpit that marriage is designed by God solely as a union between a man and a woman, he would soon be challenged, gingerly at first perhaps but shortly a group of defenders of Western values would likely descend on him and his family demanding that he cease and desist from preaching this obsolete truth and would make it clear in no uncertain terms that they are not kidding. There is no longer debate, just “settled truths.” But the people are not the ones doing the settling.

Thus, paradoxically, while “Western values” includes the concept of free speech, this only applies to speech confined to the narrowing realm of “Western values,” which, under a law that is unwritten but strictly enforced by radical members of the populace, some speech is in fact unavailable to ordinary people.

And this is because the entire West is locked into an ideology, which New Silk Strategies has, in a reference paper, posted in the following 3 parts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

To recap, the West dances to the tune of the radical school of the Enlightenment, which in the real world of past centuries turned out to be anything but enlightened. It led in fact to the bloody French Revolution and indirectly to Bonaparte’s bloody romp across Europe and Russia. It is an ideology that could be aptly called Benighted Enlightenment or to coin a neologism, Benightenment.

The ideas represented in this benighted enlightenment deny common sense, traditions – Christianity and traditional family in particular – traditional manufacturing-based economics, morality, decency and human kindness and sentiment, and promote a foreign policy that is devoid of any palpable diplomacy, being designed to punish countries that resist “Western values” and to avenge the West of any who dare defy its sacrosanct systems, particularly the banking system, or sully any of numerous economic, political or military interests of the US.
The problem for the “Belightened” Ones is that, while in their tiny make-believe world, all traditions must go, there still persist in their ambiance nuisance countries that nurture traditions, including the most offensive, ie, Christian faith and a traditional definition of marriage and family. Not because traditional methods fail to solve problems – because in fact, they work – but because they see these as hangovers of a Christian world that must be destroyed at all costs because Christianity was peopled by people and not saints, proving that God had failed them. It was a baby to be discarded with the bath water because the bath water is dirty, so the baby must be not clean but defective.

Unlike traditional governments, the US defends its economy not so much through economic development and growth but more by attempting to impoverish others in a zero-sum game based on the belief that wealth is finite, so that there can only be winners and losers and no such thing as a win-win situation. Thus for the US, competition from other countries is more of a declaration of war than a challenge to be met with improvements and growth in the US economy. There’s only room for one of us in this town.

The biggest offenders at this time are Russia and China, who reject this aggressive US ethnocentrism and treat competitors, even those like the US that seek conflict, with respect, calling them partners.

It was in this context that Donald Trump’s former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon told the Economist in an interview shortly after his dismissal (or resignation, depending on whose version you believe): “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.” (Bannon apparently did not know that the latest designation was Belt and Road Initiative, BRI). Briefly, the BRI is a massive Chinese infrastructure project designed in part to lift both China and Africa, for example, out of poverty.

Bannon’s statement can be understood and interpreted only in the context briefly described above. It was not just a reflection of his personal ideology but in fact is perfectly in line with the West’s irrational benighted “enlightenment” ideology.

This is the Western world where you are now, a world where hate holds sway over love and profound ignorance over knowledge and wisdom.

But there is a new sheriff and deputy in town.

In the context of Trump’s upcoming visit to China, CNN posted an article on Chinese President Xi Jinping which declared that almost nothing is known about the man. Of course they said that not only because they are ignorant of the East, but also because if they had told the truth about Xi it would present an embarrassing contrast between an Easterner, a truly enlightened man who is challenging the zero-sum US economics with a deeply held belief in a win-win for everyone, and a West that seems not to comprehend this. This simple idea is explained in Xi’s book “Up and Out of Poverty,” which no one in the West seems to have read and no one has meaningfully reviewed. Which is perhaps why CNN thought nothing was known about Xi. The book, written in 1992 and later translated into English and French, tells of Xi’s experience as a social worker in Ningde in Shaanxi Province where he was sent as a youth by the government in a program along the lines of a domestic Peace Corps.

Xi, the son of a Chinese functionary from a relatively well-off city, was shocked at the grinding poverty he found in this town but immediately set about to change this situation. In short, thanks to his efforts, that town, which once had an annual average income of 198 USD, wound up with an average income of 8000 USD last year – virtually unheard of for rural China. Xi thinks he has reason to believe this miracle can be duplicated elsewhere.

Xi has stated in public that the poor concern him more than anything else. But unlike Western politicians, he was not just flapping his jaws.

A Chinese site reported:

“A total of 55.64 million Chinese rural residents were lifted out of poverty from 2013 to 2016 and at least another 10 million will shake off poverty this year, which means the number of rural Chinese lifted out of poverty in five years will exceed 65 million – roughly the population of a major European country such as Britain, France or Italy.”

While CNN admits it knows nothing about this, Xi’s dream is a nightmare to the West, where a Steve Bannon can get away with saying they want to screw up Xi’s dream to raise Africa out of poverty through his Belt and Road Initiative. Bannon was in fact saying to hell with the African poor, probably without even realizing it (the Western narrative is that the BRI is just a way of allowing China to rule the world like a despot, the way the US does now). Even worse, Bannon admitted he wants to destroy Xi’s chances of helping them. These thoughtless statements stick around in the history books. Let them eat cake?

But if the West ignores, wittingly or not, that Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative is aimed at raising Africa and other nations out of poverty, Africa is keenly aware of this and anxiously awaits its culmination.

In June of 2017, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi gave a keynote address to a meeting at the opening ceremony of the High-Level Dialogue on Poverty Reduction and Development held at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, and said that China’s goal is to simultaneously lift the poor in both China and Africa out of poverty. Wang also delivered an inspiring talk about Xi’s book on his experiences working with the poor in Ningde. So unlike US media, the Africans are aware that much is known about President Xi and that Xi is a veteran in battling poverty, with success. Can you name an American president who has successfully lifted anyone out of poverty in the last half-century? Lyndon Johnson birthed welfare, but the ghettos grew in proportion to the money paid out because no attempt was made to allow the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. Xi, however, says that is what he did in Ningde and what he intends to do in the future. He also uses the expression “win-win” often in his speeches, as if to rebuke the West for its zero-sum nonsense.

The US is the leader of the World Bank and the IMF, organizations that have been involved in Africa for decades, issuing loans but not making a dent in African poverty. The reason for their failure is perhaps best summed up in the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins, the CEO for a CIA front company working for the World Bank whose trainer at the beginning of his career bluntly told him the goal of his company was to bankrupt Third World nations, making them dependent on these banks for more and more loans. Thus the West’s policy was self-defeating because — as Xi knows — banks make more money off of rich customers than poor ones. And this is the secret behind China’s policy: I make you rich, you make me richer.

A brief explanation of how the IMF and World Bank keep Africans poor is found here. This is consistent with our report on Iraq: Part 1 and  Part 2.

By contrast, Xi’s China has lifted millions out of poverty from 2013 to 2016. The English-language Chinese site CGTN reports:

“A total of 55.64 million Chinese rural residents were lifted out of poverty from 2013 to 2016 and at least another 10 million will shake off poverty this year, which means the number of rural Chinese lifted out of poverty in five years will exceed 65 million – roughly the population of a major European country such as Britain, France or Italy.”

So when Trump goes to Beijing, a man who boasted about making America great again will meet a man who, without a word of boasting, simply made China a better place to live – and hopes to replicate that experience elsewhere.

Law Center Asks Supreme Court To Prevent Maine’s Persecution Of Pro-Life Pastor

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday (11/06/17) to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s decision that allows government officials to use a noise provision to prevent peaceful sidewalk counseling in front of abortion facilities. The petition for review is the latest step in TMLC’s legal battle to prevent the State of Maine from silencing peaceful, pro-life sidewalk counselors.

Kate Oliveri, the TMLC attorney who drafted the petition, commented:

“The First Circuit’s dangerous opinion would allow all levels of government to restrict any speaker with whom they disagree by creative legislation that targets the reason the speaker engages in speech rather than the actual words spoken. This, however, is a distinction without difference that affords governments the right to silence all speech they find disagreeable.”

In 2015, TMLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of Pastor Andrew March against the Maine Attorney General and several police officers challenging the constitutionality of a noise provision in the Maine Civil Rights Act (“MCRA”). That provision prohibits noise outside healthcare buildings made with the intent to interfere with health services. Under Maine law, the term “health services” includes abortions.

Accordingly, this seemingly innocuous statute gives law enforcement officials the power to stop pro-life counselors from speaking on the public sidewalk in front of abortion facilities because they equate an intent to discourage a woman from having an abortion as an intent to interfere with a medical procedure.

The federal district court agreed with TMLC’s legal position and barred the State from using the noise provision because it was a content-based restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment. However, the Maine Attorney General appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which reversed the lower court and created the false dichotomy that the content of speech can somehow be separated from the purpose of the speaker.

Click here to read TMLC’s entire petition asking for Supreme Court review.

TMLC’s lawsuit on behalf of Pastor March is the third case in three years in which the Law Center has defended pro-life speakers on the public sidewalks of Portland, Maine.  The first federal case, which was filed in 2014 on behalf of several sidewalk counselors, successfully challenged the constitutionality of Portland’s ordinance that established a 39-foot buffer zone around abortion facilities.

However, only two weeks after conceding that the buffer zone was unconstitutional, the Maine Attorney General filed a state lawsuit against Pastor Brian Ingalls under the noise provision of MCRA. TMLC is still defending Pastor Ingalls in the ongoing litigation.

The third case occurred less than a month after charges were filed against Pastor Ingalls. Police, citing the same noise provision in MCRA, issued an official warning to Pastor March, who had taken up Pastor Ingalls’ mantle preaching outside the abortion facility. TMLC filed the federal lawsuit that the petition asks the Supreme Court to review.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

VIDEO: The Korean War on Faith

President Trump’s speech in South Korea was remarkable for several things, but it was his mention of religious persecution that got our attention. In a message of warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the president took the opportunity on one of the world’s largest stages to chastise the horrible conditions for Christians in places like China and North Korea. While the world watched, the president tackled one of the greatest human rights abuses taking place in the Asian part of the globe.

“In the part of Korea that was a stronghold for Christianity before the war, Christians and other people of faith who are found praying or holding a religious book of any kind are now detained, tortured, and, in many cases, even executed.”

“North Korean women are forced to abort babies that are considered ethnically inferior. And if these babies are born, the newborns are murdered. One woman’s baby born to a Chinese father was taken away in a bucket. The guard said it did not deserve to live because it was impure. So why would China feel an obligation to help North Korea?”

For many North Koreans, just the act of worship is a life-threatening proposition. Hunted down and terrorized for their faith, the underground church has lost countless members to prison camps (or worse) simply for sharing the gospel — a freedom most of us take for granted every day. From the very beginning of his administration, Donald Trump has been intentional about his desire to pick up the torch for religious liberty, first trying to secure it for Americans here at home through executive order and other directives. But with his nomination of Sam Brownback to Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, the administration has shown its sincerity on restoring the United States’ reputation as a voice for the voiceless.

As we know from our friends at Open Doors USA, North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians — #1 on the World Watch List. So it’s no small thing that President Trump included the persecuted church in his admonishment of Kim Jung Un. As Open Doors explains, the situation is so dire that Christians are forced to hide their faith even from their own spouses. “Simply owning a Bible is enough to be considered an enemy of the state, and many North Korean Christians are spending the rest of their lives malnourished, mistreated, and dying in prison.” As quickly as things have deteriorated for Americans of faith under Barack Obama, the culture here is nothing like the nightmare our brothers and sisters face overseas.

When so many other priorities hang in the balance, we’re extremely grateful that President Trump made a point of highlighting the plight of North Korean Christians. Now, it’s time for the U.S. Senate to act on Governor Brownback’s confirmation, so that Americans can start giving the world’s persecuted new hope – first, that they aren’t alone, and secondly, that help is on the way.

For more on North Korea, specifically the nuclear threat, don’t miss FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin on Fox News’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the November 8 Washington Update:

Silver Linings in Blue Victories

Delaware, Beware, of Kids Choosing Their own Race