Media Matters moves to force policy changes at social media giants to ban and silence conservative voices

The Soros-funded hate group Media Matters means to force policy changes at Tech Companies to silence and ban conservative news. Media Matters is getting desperate after the Democrats’ catastrophic defeat in 2016, which, of course, the left still hasn’t accepted and will probably never forget. These sinister forces are moving now to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2018 by labeling everyone who dissents from the leftist agenda as “fake news” and banning them. The only voices that anyone will hear all through the campaign will be those of the leftist media.

If this isn’t stopped, it could be the end of our republic.

“Media Matters: Force Policy Changes at Tech Companies to Fight ‘Fake News,’” by Joe Schoffstall, Washington Free Beacon, April 19, 2018:

A group founded by liberal operative David Brock spoke of the need to force policy changes at Google, Facebook, and YouTube to combat the “proliferation” of “fake news” at the left’s largest dark money donor conference, according to an agenda obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Confidential documents previously obtained by the Free Beacon showed that Media Matters refers to right-leaning news sites when discussing “fake news” and that they had already consulted with a number of social media giants.

The Democracy Alliance, a secretive group of deep-pocketed donors who each push hundreds of thousands of dollars to progressive groups approved by the network, held their spring investment conference this week at the five-star InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta.

Top Democrats such as Terry McAuliffe, who is often floated as a potential 2020 candidate for president, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, and billionaire “Need to Impeach” campaign leader Tom Steyer were in attendance.

The conference featured a heavy security presence and only members of the Democracy Alliance could enter the hallways where the sessions were being held. Free Beacon reporterswho were on site throughout the gathering, obtained the group’s agenda and other documents that shed light on their discussions at the event.

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone spoke on the “New Tactics for a New Challenge” panel at the conference where he was joined by Bradley Beychok, the president of American Bridge, another group founded and led by Brock.

Carusone spoke to Democracy Alliance members about forcing social media giants to change their policies to combat fake news.

“Media Matters President Angelo Carusone will describe the importance of mapping and understanding the fake news ecosystem and how forcing policy changes at Google, Facebook, and YouTube, can prevent the proliferation of fake news and suppressive tactics online in the lead up to the midterms,” the event’s descriptionreads.

While Media Matters did not return a request for comment about what was said on the panel, the Free Beacon obtained confidential documents last year that laid out details on how the group would approach this agenda.

“Media Matters will continue our core mission of disarming right-wing information, while leading the fight against the next generation of conservative disinformation: The proliferation of fake news and propaganda now threatening the country’s information ecosystem,” the group’s documents read. “Utilizing our capacity as the nation’s premier progressive media watchdog and rapid-response research center, Media Matters will further increase our visibility in the ecosystem, strengthen the ability of our supporters and partners to influence it, and improve the infrastructure on which it rests.”

Within Brock’s agenda, Media Matters said that over the next four years the group would focus on exposing “serial misinformers and right-wing propagandists inhabiting everything from social media to the highest levels of government.”…

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

Terrorists in Gun-Free Schools

Pop quiz: True or false: 1 Florida’s students are safe – from every conceivable weapon – because the recently enacted Safety Act 2 prevents all violence: indeed, all laws are now followed by, and thus will stop, persons who are mentally ill; as well as persons who commit criminal acts, particularly Islamic jihad.

Not so fast. There are a lot of “ifs” to the Safety Act’s Guardian Program:3 “if the sheriff so chooses,” and if the school board approves, to appoint as “a School Guardian,” an individual who has a hyphenated job description – a teacher-administrator, (not just a teacher) – and jumps through more hoops of training than a unicorn at a circus operated by PETA.

Meanwhile, in Florida’s fantasy land, bureaucrats and taxpayers are willing to pony-up hundreds of thousands of dollars for armed police officers – School Resource Officers or Marshals – in every school. Of course not.

Don’t worry, here is our fail-safe: prevent the sale or transfer of any firearm to a person, age 18-21. That age group is responsible for all criminal acts throughout human history. Innocent is every person, age 17 and younger; as well as age 22 and older.

For the sake of our children, ignore the Second Amendment’s phrase, “…shall not be infringed.”

The above is ridiculous. Criminal acts, particularly Islamic jihad, have been committed by persons age 22 and older.

Is Florida’s Safety Act unconstitutional?

Declaratory and injunctive relief is sought in a Complaint4 by the National Rifle Association.5 Allegations are identified as [C-¶].

“The Second Amendment’s guarantee of ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’ secures to law-abiding, responsible, adult citizens the fundamental constitutional right to purchase and acquire firearms for the purpose of self-defense in the home. U.S. Const. amend. II.” [C-24]

“The Second Amendment right applies against the State of Florida under U.S. Const. amend. XIV.” [C-25]

“At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights. At 18, citizens are eligible to serve in the military–to fight and die by arms for the country.” [C-3] 6

“Florida law independently limits access to firearms for individuals who are considered unsafe, mentally unstable, or otherwise incapable of safely operating a firearm.” [C-15] 7

“Independent provisions of federal law also already significantly constrain the right of adult citizens … [A] federally licensed firearm dealer may not sell to any individual under the age of 21 any handgun–the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon’ which is ‘the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home.’” [C-16] 8

“Florida’s new ban9 broadens these preexisting limits, by (1) extending the ban to rifles and shotguns, in addition to handguns, and (2) prohibiting these law-abiding, adult citizens from purchasing these firearms from any source, not just federally licensed dealers.” [C-16]

“But for [… the] ban, [NRA members within this class, 18-21, would otherwise be lawfully eligible to] purchase handguns, rifles, or shotguns for lawful purposes … But for [… the] ban, some of these members would purchase handguns from a lawful source other than a federally licensed firearm dealer, such as a private seller or a family member.” [C-21]

“This ban particularly infringes upon, and imposes an impermissible burden upon, the Second Amendment rights of those NRA members described above who are female. Females between the ages of 18 and 21 pose a relatively slight risk of perpetrating a school shooting such as the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, or for that matter, a violent crime of any kind.” 10 [C-32]

Imagine you are between ages 18-21 today.

Consider these hypotheticals, which may concern a person of any age:

Are you a student in college? “Florida expressly prohibits the carrying of firearms on college campuses (including those by concealed weapons permit holders,” according to Armed Campuses,11 whose website notes a “Parking Lot Exception – In 2014, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals declared that universities could not prevent students (with concealed carry permits) from storing firearms in their cars.” Further restrictions can be imposed by trustees of a college 12 and university.13

Firearms likely are prohibited at venues of entertainment or sports.

Are firearms prohibited by your employer? If the business rents a location, does the lease prohibit firearms?

Is there a school or daycare affiliated with your church or synagogue? Does the school’s choir or other group have presentations in the sanctuary during worship services? This is a grey area of law, and a concern for the holder of a permit for a concealed weapon.

Terrorists in the gun-free school

“There is another reason to arm all teachers in our schools: the professional killers, the terrorists,” according to Vern Blanchette, author of Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers.14 “You know the lot of them. They are purpose driven and they hate any society that is not the way they want it to be.”15

The terrorists could be “just like the ones that flew the planes into the World Trade Center buildings … The lives of our children mean nothing to them, and they will commit the most heinous crimes against our children for their own twisted reasons. Remember, too, that these are suicide attacks. They do not expect to survive, so once they are in control of your children and the school staff, the ending can not be good. You will not even be given the satisfaction of seeing the terrorists tried in court and executed.” 16

The Beslan massacre

Pamela Geller marked the anniversary (6 September 2013): Raping for Allah: Terrible Anniversary of the 2004 Jihad attack in Beslan.

“The Beslan school siege by jihadis started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, with over 1,100 people (mostly children) taken as hostages, and ended with the murder of at least 385 people.

Deaths: 385+ (334 hostages, 10 other civilians, 10+ security personnel, 31 terrorists)

Russia marked a grim, terrible anniversary in Beslan. On the first day of school, Muslim terrorists stormed a school, took everyone hostage and eventually committed one of the most grotesque and unspeakable crimes (even for jihad) in recent history.

Over 30 jihads seized the school early in the morning, when the children gathered in the yard to mark the start of the school year. The perpetrators forced the schoolchildren and their families, a total of more than a thousand people, into the school gym. The victims were held hostages there for three days, without food or water. Overall, the attack claimed lives of 334 people, including 318 hostages, 186 of whom were children.”

More information here, and pictures here.

A Beslan-style terror attack could happen in the United States

‘It is possible that [an American] school may be targeted by one of these groups,” Vern Blanchette reminds us: “[S]ome 50 terror plots of various kinds have been foiled since 9/11.” 17 He cited The Heritage Foundation (2012). Updated to 97 terror plots: The Heritage Foundation (2017).

Yet, firearms are prohibited via contracts often between teachers’ unions and school boards.

Bloomberg-backed, left-wing groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety (a coordinated effort between Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America) seek to prohibit armed school personnel: In WFTV’s report, at a meeting (04-17-18) of the School Board of Brevard County, Florida, the protestors were against the Sheriff Trained Onsite Marshal Program (STOMP). These ladies mean well, but their position – keeping gun-free schools – effectively communicates to terrorists that our children remain targets.

Yet the Brevard County Sheriff, Wayne Ivey, encourages a citizen to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon: “We’re in a different time now. We are in a time where you have to be prepared to [be] the first line of defense,” Sheriff Ivey said during an interview with WFTV (06-09-17). “We can’t afford to sit back and wait for the next act of terrorism.” See Sheriff Ivey’s Four As of Survival.

Conclusion

In his book, Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers, Vern Blanchette offers these sobering alternatives:18

“A. Students cowering in front of a murderer while being shot to death one by one, those not dead lying where they fell, their life-blood flowing out of torn tissue, splintered bones, and damaged organs, their trembling voices calling for their mothers with terrified, gasping breaths, confused and afraid, and medical help can’t reach them.”

Or…

“B. Students protected by their teachers, armed and trained professionals, who are able to take control away from the perpetrator within seconds, stopping the killing and then speeding medical help to those the killer hurt.”

“If you prefer the second scenario,” then Blanchette offers a solution: “[Y]ou owe it to your children, and the children of others, to get behind this national effort to arm our American educators and school staff. The bottom line is that all of our schools will be armed someday. It is only a matter of time and how much killing American citizens can tolerate before they say, ‘Enough is enough!’”

Meanwhile, the Americans may have all of the watches, but Islamic jihadis have all of the time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerald Lostutter is a Florida licensed attorney, college professor, journalist. His comedy can be heard on Central Florida Radio. Scroll down to WDBO-AM 580, and WMEL-AM 920. Author is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult a licensed attorney for advice.

REFERENCES:

1 To those who answered yes: For sale in Florida: Retirement homes in exclusive “Sinkhole Hills.”

2 “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” (Ch. 2018-3; SB 7026).

3 Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program in Safety Act, Section 5, F.S. 30.15(1)(k).

4 National Rifle Association of America, Inc. v. Pam Bondi, in her Official Capacity as Attorney Geeral of Florida; and Rick Swearingen, in his Official Capacity as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Case: 4:18-cv-00137-MW-CAS. It was filed March 9, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. This public record is online via Pacer, which will require the User’s account, and possible costs.

5 The “NRA promotes the safe and responsible purchase, possession, and use of firearms by law-abiding adults for lawful purposes, such as self-defense, target practice, marksmanship competition, and hunting. The NRA is the leading provider of firearms marksmanship and safety training for civilians and law-enforcement officers.” [C-8]

6 “Indeed, male citizens in this age-group are designated members of the milita by federal statute, 10 U.S.C. § 246(a), and may be conscripted to bear arms on behalf of their country, 50 U.S.C. § 3803(a).” [C-3]

7 “For instance, a firearm generally may not be purchased or possessed, under Florida law, by (1) any individual who has ever been convicted of a felony, id.§ 790.023(1)(a); (2) anyone who is subject to an injunction against committing acts of domestic violence, id.§ 790.233; (3) minors under the age of 18, id.§ 790.22(3); or (4)individuals who have been adjudicated mentally defective or are committed to a mental institution,  id.§ 790.065(2)(a)(4).” [C-15]

8 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1); QuotingDistrict of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 629 (2008).

9 “Senate Bill 7026, among other provisions, amends Fla. Stat. § 790.065 to add a new Subsection (13), which provides as follows: ‘A person younger than 21 years of age may not purchase a firearm. The sale or transfer of a firearm to a person younger than 21 years of age may not be made or facilitated by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer … The prohibitions of this subsection do not apply to the purchase of a rifle or shotgun by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, … or a servicemember.” [C-13]

10 “For example, in 2015, women in this age group accounted for only 1.8% of arrests for violent crime, while males in the same age bracket accounted for 8.7% of such arrests–and males between the ages of 21 and 24, who may lawfully purchase firearms under current law, accounted for 9.2%. See Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States: 2015 tbls. 39 and 40, available at https://goo.gl/8pVWnbsee also Bureau of Justice Statistics, Women Offenders at 2, 13 (2009)(female offenders responsible for only 14% of violent crimes, and only 10% of female offenders aged 18-20), available at https://goo.gl/3qAJXu.” [C-32]

11 Fla. Stat. § 790.06(12)9. Armed Campus’ disclaimer: “Policies are subject to change at any time, both during and between school years. In addition, individual school policies commonly include more details than can be succinctly captured by ArmedCampuses,org. Each school should be consulted for its most accurate, up-to-date policy.”

12 Fla. Stat. § 1001.64(5).

13 Fla. Stat. § 1001.706(7)(b).

14 Vern Blanchette, Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers (Dog Ear Publishing; 2013).

15 Safe Schools Now, p. 37.

16 Safe Schools Now, p. 52.

17 Safe Schools Now, p. 37, footnote 22.

18 Safe Schools Now, p. 116-17.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

Of Truth and Idols

Pope Francis celebrated and preached at the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning. He addressed the concelebrating priests on the themes of the closeness of God and the closeness that priests should have to their people. This priestly closeness is “an attitude that engages the whole person.” He praised street priests“who are ‘close’, available, priests who are there for people, who talk to everyone.”

Closeness, he believes, is “the key to mercy” and “also the key to truth.” Further, “truth is not only the definition of situations and things from a certain distance, by abstract and logical reasoning. It is more than that. Truth is also fidelity (émeth). It makes you name people with their real name, as the Lord names them, before categorizing them or defining ‘their situation.’”

Then Pope Francis made a startling claim:

We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths. They can be comfortable idols, always within easy reach; they offer a certain prestige and power and are difficult to discern. Because the “truth-idol” imitates, it dresses itself up in the words of the Gospel, but does not let those words touch the heart. Much worse, it distances ordinary people from the healing closeness of the word and of the sacraments of Jesus.

These words are troubling. An idol is a false god. Idolatry is rendering worship to something other than God – a grave offense against the First Commandment. Idolatry is essentially man worshipping himself through the medium of some created reality. He makes the choice of what idols are important to him. His false god is his own creation, and thus it serves him. This is the complete reversal of the true worship that man owes to his Creator.

Abstraction is the mental process by which we come to know metaphysical realities by considering those material things our reason grasps and drawing rational conclusions. By abstraction, we understand what underlies the reality before our eyes. Thus seeing individual men and abstracting from this knowledge, we come to know the category of humanity, and we begin to understand what constitutes human nature. Abstraction allows reality to reveal itself to our minds.

Truth is the conformity of mind and reality. The truth about God is understood when we accurately grasp the nature and purpose of His creation (natural theology), and when we believe in any supernatural revelation He may make. Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All truths have their origin in the Truth who is God made man. The Christian understands that the truth is a Person.

Dogmatic and moral truths come from and lead to God. The truth banishes error, especially idolatry, because all truth is found in the Word made flesh. What is true is good and beautiful because it unites us to the good and beautiful God. He created us so that we may know Him by knowing the truth that He is.

Given this, is it possible to make the truth into an idol? Can Catholic dogmatic teachings and the truths of the moral law become false gods that we worship so as to gain “a certain prestige and power”? It’s not possible. The truth as taught by the Church is what unites us to the true God and frees us from the errors of idolatry. Truth is not an idol, it is the remedy to idolatry.

Pope Francis states that “the ‘truth-idol’ imitates, it dresses itself up in the words of the Gospel, but does not let those words touch the heart.” Is the Gospel obscured or falsified by truths taught by the Magisterium of the Church – which are drawn from that Gospel?

If the truth could be an idol, then naturally any use of the Scriptures to illustrate that particular truth would be a charade. But the truth of God cannot be an idol because what God has made known to us is our means of entering into His reality – the goal of our existence.

Francis states that this “truth-idolatry” in fact “distances ordinary people from the healing closeness of the word and of the sacraments of Jesus.”

Here we have the interpretative key to what I think he is getting at. He is defending his decision in Amoris Laetitia to allow some people who are living in adulterous unions to receive the sacraments of penance and the Holy Eucharistic while intending to continue to engage in adulterous relations.

This doctrinal and disciplinary innovation, which contradicts all previous papal teaching and legislation, was confirmed as his unequivocal intention in his letter to the Argentinian bishops of the Buenos Aires region.

Those who defend the Church’s constant teaching and practice on this matter have been subjected to various aspersions. Now they are being categorized as engaging in a horrific violation of the First Commandment because they treat Catholic doctrine as inviolable, and thus binding upon all believers.

If truth could ever lose its quality of being the means to know the will of God, and become something false, and thus evil, then mankind is lost. Without immutable truth, we have no way to live in unity with God, with reality, and with one another.

The good news is that truth can never be false. It’s not an idol, and to defend the truth is not to lead people away from God towards false worship, but rather to invite them to embrace what is, in fact, their deepest desire for goodness, happiness, and peace.

The truth will set you free, it will not enslave you in error and darkness. Those who seek to be healed by coming close to Christ in his sacraments will only realize that goal by knowing and doing what Jesus asks of them. To reject in practice his words about the permanence of marriage and the obligation to avoid adultery, and then assert a right to receive the sacraments risks making an erroneous opinion into an idol.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City.

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured image is of His Holiness, Pope Francis [Franco Origlia/Getty Images].

Hundreds of Muslims from Bangladesh breaching U.S. border at Laredo, Texas

Longtime Geller Report readers know that Bangladesh has become a hotbed of jihad activity, with Muslims targeting atheist bloggers and others whom they consider to be infidels for assassination.

Now we learn that hundreds of Bangladeshi Muslims have crossed the border illegally at Laredo, Texas since the beginning of 2017. This report says:

“In a KGNS news special report, our Noraida Negron rides along with Border Patrol to find out why these cases are on the rise.”

Is jihad being considered as a possibility? Might at least some of these Muslims who are streaming across the border at Laredo be coming to commit murder and mayhem inside the United States? Judging from what is happening in their home country, that possibility must be considered and investigated fully.

“Bangladeshi nationals breaching US border,” KGNS, April 11, 2018:

LAREDO,Texas(KGNS)- It’s a growing concern for border patrol as Laredo has become the number 1 crossing point for Bangladeshi nationals, a country that has known ties to terrorism.

In a KGNS news special report, our Noraida Negron rides along with Border Patrol to find out why these cases are on the rise.

There is one specific area where they are crossing in South Laredo.

Agents have consistently detained 11 Bangladeshis during separate events.

That puts Laredo sector at the top, when it comes to having the highest apprehensions of Bangladeshi nationals compared to other border patrol sectors.

In 2017 they apprehended close to 180 Bangladeshi nationals, and since October of last year, there have been over 160 individuals caught….

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here. The featured image is of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent pears out of the open door of a helicopter during a patrol flight near the Texas-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Chick-Fil-A-Phobes Are Back With New Symptoms

Move over, Trump Derangement Syndrome. Another unhinged liberal pathology is back: Chick-fil-A-phobia.

Perhaps, in the interest of public health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should launch a weekly C-F-A-P surveillance report to map the recurrence of this culturally infectious disease. Early-onset symptoms include fear of pressure-cooked poultry, allergic reaction to waffle potato fries, and an irrational hatred of cow costumes. Anti-Christian prejudice and coastal elitism are common comorbidities associated with this debilitating progressive condition.

Ground zero for the latest outbreak? The headquarters of The New Yorker magazine.

This week’s issue online features the bigoted lament of writer Daniel Piepenbring, who decries the fast-food chain’s “creepy infiltration” of the Big Apple and warns against the company’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.”

Chick-fil-A opened its fourth location in the city last month. The largest franchise in the country, it seats 140, employs 150, and along with the other NYC locations, donates an estimated 17,000 pounds of food to a local pantry for the homeless and hungry. The company is reportedly on track to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the world.

What are the Chick-fil-A-phobes so afraid of?

A private business succeeding in the marketplace based on its merits, without coercion or cronyism. An enterprise that values hard work, honesty, and integrity. A family-owned American dream come true that creates jobs, pays taxes, satisfies customers of all backgrounds, and gives back to the community.

Horror of horrors, what menaces these sandwich-sellers of faith be!

Chick-fil-A’s corporate mission to “glorify God” and “enrich the lives of everyone we touch” leaves The New Yorker scribe terminally heartsick about the “ulterior motive” of its restaurant execs. So do the founding family’s commitments to faithful marriages, strong families, Sundays off, and the highest standards of character for their employees.

The frightened New Yorker critic is especially perturbed by the “Bible verses” enshrined at Chick-fil-A’s Atlanta headquarters and by the restaurant’s popular bovine mascots—which he dubs “morbid” and the “ultimate evangelists”—whose ubiquity on New York billboards and subway corridors is akin to a “carpet bombing.”

Notice, by the way, how these hysterical Chick-fil-A-phobes have no qualms about the success of Jewish-owned delis or the spread of Muslim halal food shop operators in New York City who openly pay tribute to their faiths. Imagine a reporter freaking out over Quran verses or Torah citations hung up on a business owner’s wall.

Welcome to Social Justice 101, where discriminating against Christian-owned business in the name of opposing discrimination is the definition of tolerance.

We’ve been here before, of course. It was a liberal activist reporter and gay marriage advocate at The New York Times, Kim Severson, who helped launch the first nationwide witch hunt against Chick-fil-A in 2011.

The former vice president of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association used her straight-news platform to invoke fear of “evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing” and spread false and libelous attacks on Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy and his family as “anti-gay.” Her propagandizing in the radical rag of record helped stoke boycotts and regulatory crackdowns by pandering Democrat Mayors Thomas Menino in Boston, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, and Bill de Blasio in New York City.

Ultimately, those media-manufactured efforts to stifle Chick-fil-A’s free enterprise and First Amendment rights failed. The company’s products have proved irresistible to customers on all sides of the political spectrum. Gastronomical satisfaction trumps anti-Christian zealotry and zealous anti-Trumpism.

And that’s what chaps the thin hides of the far-left journalists at The New York Times and The New Yorker who choke at the sights and smells of good, old-fashioned capitalism.

If leftists only want to eat and drink at a global fast-food company whose progressive CEO shares their Democrat-supporting, gun-grabbing, open-borders, gay marriage-boosting values, they should stick to Howard Schultz’s Starbucks cafes.

Oh, wait…

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is a columnist for The Daily Signal, senior editor at Conservative Review, a best-selling author, and Fox News contributor. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a Chick-fil-A that has moved in to New York City, to the chargrin of a few far-left writers. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters/Newscom)

VIDEO: Clinton & Mueller – A Tale of Two Investigations

In this episode of “Inside Judicial Watch,” host Jerry Dunleavy joins JW Senior Attorney Ramona Cotca to compare and contrast the Clinton email investigation & the ongoing Mueller special counsel investigation into alleged collusion between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 election.

Happy Birthday, Israel!

It was 70 years ago, according to the Hebrew calendar, that the Jewish state of Israel declared its independence. Eleven minutes after David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the modern state of Israel, made the declaration public, the United States became the first nation to recognize Israel’s rebirth.

Earlier today, we joined thousands of Israelis in celebrating this significant milestone as we kicked off a 10-day tour of the Holy Land. We started our day with a rare briefing and tour of one of Israel’s strategic air bases as citizens across the state took in military air shows and public displays of Israel’s military hardware.

For more, tune into “Washington Watch,” as former Rep. Michele Bachmann, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, and former Ambassador Ken Blackwell join me from Israel to discuss the significance of this 70th celebration.


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


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Erasing the past until the United States of America is culturally disemboweled

Click on the image to order Confronting The Deception by Tabitha Korol.

While reading Tabitha Korol’s new book “Confronting The Deception: Inflamed by 9/11, fired up by eight bad years” I came across this paragraph about Islamic jihad (holy war):

Jihad’s purpose is establishing Allah’s kingdom on earth, and expropriating booty and land. Defeat and death bring everlasting Paradise and spiritual benefit. The complete imperialism, Islam seeks to erase the past so the vanquished are culturally disemboweled, with nothing left of religion or relics of historical importance, their support system destabilized. [Emphasis added]

I suddenly realized that America is fading away much like H.G. Well’s the invisible man.

Korol does a masterful job in explaining how all of America’s cultural systems are being transformed. Korol notes:

Academia, from kindergarten to university, is disinviting valuable speakers, and turning patriots into globalists. Curricula, textbooks and teaching methods are being changed, inspiration quenched, and competition discouraged by an equalizing grading system, engineering the children’s psyche to produce a compliant, nonproductive generation.

Confronting the Deception” challenges the insidious propaganda with arguments supported by irrefutable facts.

Korol exposes the gravity of the threats we face with copious links to Koranic quotes, historic accounts, and trustworthy documentation not available in any other single source, and reveals the mentality that creates the jihadi terrorist, in order to help the reader to navigate the distortions that are peddled as truths.

Deception lays out the modus operandi of Islam and the Left.

We are being indoctrinated to disrespect and dislike America, to devalue our freedoms, and to cast aside the advancements we’ve made since our founding. The “Eight Years” have brought us an increase in divisiveness, intolerance, street violence, rapes, honor killings and FGM, combined with a drip-feed of false narratives to direct the thinking of the gullible. This book is an attempt to redress our endangered world by Confronting the Deception.

Korol concludes “Confronting the Deception” with this warning:

With the end of the eight Obama years came the hope that we might quickly overcome and repair the damage done to America. Instead, we are being subjected to an intensifying twofold attack. If there is a design, as many suspect, then these twin jaws are evidently engineered to crush the substance of our culture.

While Islam slowly operates to grind down our current generation by intimidation and indoctrination, in academia, the media, and religious institutions, the Left has grown obsessed with destroying our core institutions; demolishing our historic monuments; erasing our common sense and freedoms; redefining the family unit, the sexes, our laws and policies; dismembering our language, and dividing our citizens into separate antagonistic camps. The danger of multiculturalism is that it intimidates the generous heart to suspend all intelligent discernment. Islamophobia curbs our inalienable rights and makes us submissive; and, as Aristotle warned, “the worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” We are in danger of losing the best of what we have achieved. [Emphasis added]

This is a must read book for those who want to understand what is happening to America. We can only hope that there are those valiant warriors who will deliver us from these evils.

New National Test Scores Show Betsy DeVos Was Right About Public Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” caused quite a bit of backlash from critics.

As my colleague Jonathan Butcher has written, “60 Minutes” ignored many of the facts about the state of education in America. Response to the interview drew quite a bit of criticism of DeVos and her policy solutions.

Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments came when she suggested that the United States’ heavy federal investment in education has not yielded any results. Stahl hit back, asserting that school performance has been on the rise.

But the latest government data show otherwise. According to the recently released 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s “report card,” we now have more evidence that DeVos was correct.

In fact, recent scores show virtually no improvement over 2015 scores. Eighth-grade reading saw a single point improvement over 2015 scores (10 points is considered equivalent to a grade level), while all other categories saw no improvement.

These lackluster results come on the heels of declines on the 2015 assessment, suggesting the beginning of a trend in the wrong direction for academic outcomes.

Indeed, Stahl’s claim that the state of public schools has gotten better simply doesn’t hold up to the data. It fact, DeVos is entirely correct to point out that public school outcomes have not meaningfully improved, and that our nation’s heavy federal intervention in K-12 education has failed to help the problem.

As Heritage Foundation education fellow Lindsey Burke writes:

Forty-nine out of 50 states were stagnant on the 2017 report card, and achievement gaps persist. Historically, federal education spending has been appropriated to close gaps, yet this spending—more than $2 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending at the federal level alone since 1965—has utterly failed to achieve that goal.

Increasing federal intervention over the past half-century, and the resulting burden of complying with federal programs, rules, and regulations, have created a parasitic relationship with federal education programs and states, and is straining the time and resources of local schools.

Indeed, for decades, Washington has poured billions of dollars into the public education system under the assumption that more federal spending will close achievement caps and improve the academic outcomes of students. With mounting evidence that more federal spending is not the answer, it may be time to consider other policy approaches.

DeVos is correct to suggest school choice as a solution to lackluster school performance. Parents who cannot afford to send their child to a school that is the right fit deserve to have options. As DeVos told Stahl:

Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children. Families that don’t have the power, that can’t decide, ‘I’m gonna move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb where I think the school is gonna be better for my child.’ If they don’t have that choice, and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.

In light of recent evidence from the nation’s report card, “60 Minutes” and other school choice critics should consider that DeVos was correct in her framing of problems facing the nation’s schools and is on the right track with possible solutions—namely, that empowering parents is the right approach to improving American education.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Mary Clare Amselem

Mary Clare Amselem is a policy analyst in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE:  Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped Students

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is by Amy Beth Bennett/TNS/Newscom.

Comprehensive new report shows ‘troubling’ social media censorship of conservative views

“War is being declared on the conservative movement in this space and conservatives are losing — badly.”

For years I have warned the greatest threat to our nation, our precious freedoms, was the left’s war on our first amendment rights. We filed suit against the social media giants — little notice was paid. As if censoring Geller was OK. No one wanted to dirty themselves with that fight. But it was never about Geller. It was about our freedom, I was merely the tip of the spear. Going on two years later, and now we have reached a tipping point which may be unrecoverable.

On Monday, the Media Research Center released a comprehensive report detailing the suppression of conservative opinions on major social media platforms. Empirical evidence what was previously described as a “rightwing conspiracy theory.”

There is conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact. This is surely the latter.

I document in detail the breathtaking war on free speech in social media in my book, FATWA: Hunted in America. Get the book, you will be shaken.

The 50-page report, “Censored! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech” examines the four largest internet entities — Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — and declares that their handling of political speech is “far more troubling than most conservatives realize.” Indeed. It lists the conservative blog Legal Insurrection, foreign policy commentator Pamela Geller, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, video bloggers Diamond and Silk, Dennis Prager’s PragerU series, and several pro-gun channels as having seen their videos either deleted, age-restricted, or demonetized, and in the cases of Geller and Legal Insurrection, their accounts terminated entirely [after taking action, my account was reinstated].

Facebook has adopted sharia-complaint policies for some time now. My feed is blocked from my millions of followers on Facebook, and I have seen my circulation drop precipitously in the past three months. For news publishers, Facebook is the motherboard of link traffic. No news site can survive without them. None of us are immune, which is why my traffic is down upwards of 70% since the block. My Facebook page has a million followers; add my organizations to that, and it is roughly 1.5 million people. Now imagine their sharing capability, and their friends and their friends — you get the picture. It’s how we fight fake news. All of my FB followers experience similar issues with their posts and shares. I receive scores of emails everyday from readers telling me of new blocks, bans and Facebook jail sentences. It’s why I am suing.

I do not know how far my lawsuit against the social media giants will get, but I do know that something must be done. Whether through legislation or anti-trust lawsuits, the chokehold that the uniformly leftist corporate media managers at social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google have on our means of communication must be broken.

If the US government could break up Ma Bell, the USG can break up Facebook. Today’s IP address is yesterday’s phone number. It’s how we communicate today — whether by FB comment, messenger, Twitter DM, etc.

Related: Facebook Executive travels to Pakistan to assure government it will remove “anti-Islam” material

NEW REPORT SHOWS ‘TROUBLING’ SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP OF CONSERVATIVE VIEWS

By Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews, April 17, 2018:

April 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — On Monday, the conservative Media Research Center released a comprehensive report detailing the suppression of conservative opinions on major social media platforms.

The 50-page report, “Censored! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech,” was written by Ashley Rae Goldenberg and Dan Gainor. It examines the four largest internet entities — Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube —  and declares that their handling of political speech is “far more troubling than most conservatives realize.”

“War is being declared on the conservative movement in this space and conservatives are losing — badly,” the report’s executive summary says. “If the right is silenced, billions of people will be cut off from conservative ideas and conservative media.”

The report finds that all four websites actively hide or deemphasize conservative content from users, and that in some cases staffers have admitted doing so was intentional. It further criticizes the platforms for relying on left-wing organizations to provide advice and screening sources that are presented as impartial.

The report finds that Google, the world’s most influential search engine, displayed a “tendency toward left-wing bias in its search results.” Its lead source was a study by Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, which found that search results for decided voters “were nearly twice as biased in favor of (Hillary) Clinton” in the 2016 presidential election.

“Censored!” also highlights a January 2018 Project Vertias video, which filmed Twitter employees admitting that they “shadow-ban” some conservative users — a practice by which others cannot see a shadow-banned user’s content, but the target has not been notified of an action against him. Twitter has attempted to block several pro-life advertisements, as well.

The report also notes that Twitter attorney Sean Edgett admitted to a House panel that during the election Twitter censored 25 percent of tweets carrying the #PodestaEmails hashtag, and 48 percent of those tagged #DNCLeak (referencing a scandal over leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee).

Regarding Facebook, the report calls attention to a 2016 Gizmodo report that quoted several former employees as admitting that Facebook “routinely” manipulated its trending news feature to exclude topics such as the Conservative Political Action Conference, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and the scandal concerning former IRS official Lois Lerner.

“It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is,” one former news curator is quoted as saying.

YouTube has suppressed conservative content as well, according to MRC. It lists the conservative blog Legal Insurrection, foreign policy commentator Pamela Geller, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, video bloggers Diamond and Silk, Dennis Prager’s PragerU series, and several pro-gun channels as having seen their videos either deleted, age-restricted, or demonetized, and in the cases of Geller and Legal Insurrection, their accounts terminated entirely.

Prager and Diamond and Silk’s cases are ongoing, but YouTube has since reversed most of the decisions listed here, claiming they were unintentional errors.

Nevertheless, suspicions remain that the trend is due to a persistent, deliberate bias rather than occasional, benign mistakes. “Censored!” notes that each company takes advice and outsources some fact-checking and guideline enforcement to organizations that themselves have left-wing biases.

Twitter relies on a “Trust and Safety Council” to provide advice on “safety products, policies, and programs.” Its America-based member organizations include just one conservative group, the Network of Enlightened Women, but 12 left-wing groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the pro-homosexual GLAAD. Bothorganizations have labeled mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

ADL is also one of the groups YouTube employs to flag “hateful content” for restriction, as is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), another left-wing organization infamous for accusing mainstream conservatives of “hate.”

Facebook’s “fact-checking” feature relies primarily on left-leaning publications such as Snopes and PolitiFact for ostensibly-impartial “fact checking,” as well (in fairness, the conservative Weekly Standard is also listed as a fact-checker). Facebook does not formally employ SPLC as part of that process, but in August 2017 it deleted 57 of more than 200 alleged “hate groups” suggested by SPLC. Google faces similar criticism.

The report lists several recommendations for tech companies, including greater transparency for when and how content restriction decisions are made, publishing clear guidelines for ideological content, cutting ties with “bad actors” such as GLAAD and SPLC, employing truly neutral fact-checkers, and overhauling their algorithms, advertising policies, and systems for flagging and reporting disputed content.

“The conservative movement is facing a threat to its very existence — a new, insidious form of media censorship,” Goldenberg and Gainor warned. “It’s almost too much for conservatives even to contemplate fighting. But they need to do much more than contemplate it.

“Americans have always had to be willing to fight for a righteous cause, from Lexington and Concord to the beaches of Normandy,” they concluded. “Now it’s the conservative movement’s turn to fight. This is a different kind of battle, but it’s still a fight for freedom.”

White House:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/#page
Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  Email: Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Urgent Case for Legislation against Facebook and Google – American Thinker

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here. The featured image is by Zach Guinta. Twitter: @zach_guinta.

Thomas More Law Center Will Provide Legal Assistance To Students On National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is again collaborating with American Life League’s annual National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day which will take place this Friday, April 20, 2018. TMLC lawyers will defend, without charge, the right for students to wear their pro-life t-shirts. Students requiring legal assistance from TMLC should contact Margaret at Life Defenders via email at mhaislmaier@all.org or by phone at 571-398-9904.

American Life League has spearheaded National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day (“NPLTD”) for over two decades. The goal of NPLTD is to empower young people to witness to the dignity of all human beings by wearing their favorite t-shirt with a pro-life message. Students are encouraged to post pictures on social media wearing their t-shirts and use the hashtag #NPLTD18.

This year’s featured t-shirt, pictured above, was designed by two teenage brothers, who created the shirt to resemble a nutrition label found on most packaged food products. The purpose of the design is to show the value of the preborn, the elderly and people of all abilities as being worthy of the right to life. The design features the “ingredients” as virtues needed to be pro-life: courage, compassion, charity, hope, understanding, and perseverance.

TMLC proudly stands with American Life League to support the students choosing to participate in the National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day.

Trump’s Vitally Important Anti-Poverty Initiative

It takes a lot of courage for a president to target almost a quarter of the federal budget for reform in an election year.

But this is exactly what President Donald Trump is doing with his executive order, “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.”

We’re now spending more than $700 billion per year on low-income assistance, which is more than we are spending on our national defense. And there are plenty of reasons to believe this spending is inefficient, wasteful, and counterproductive.

Over the last half-century, some $22 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty programs and yet the percentage of poor in this nation remains unchanged. And it is not only a matter of the percentage staying the same but also that the people and families who are born poor stay that way.

The “Better Way” report produced by the House speaker’s office in 2016 reported that 34 percent of those born and raised in the bottom fifth of the income scale remain there all their lives.

The point has often been made that the greatest charitable gesture is teaching those in need to help themselves.

This principle defines the president’s reforms to our anti-poverty programs and spending. Let’s make sure that every dollar spent goes to those truly in need and that those dollars are spent to maximize the likelihood that the recipients will get on their feet and become independent, productive, income-earning citizens.

The executive order directs federal agencies to review the some 80 federal anti-poverty programs, consolidate where there is redundancy and overlap, and look to reform by applying the principles of hard work and self-sufficiency.

Needless to say, the usual left-wing megaphones, those that can’t tell the difference between compassion and spending billions of other people’s dollars, have wasted no time to go on attack.

The headline from the Southern Poverty Law Center screams, “Trump’s executive order on work requirements punishes low-income people for being poor.”

Calling the executive order “heartless,” the Southern Poverty Law Center rejects the premise that there are those receiving benefits from these programs who could work but don’t.

However, Robert Doar of the American Enterprise Institute reports that there are almost 20 million working-age Americans receiving benefits under Medicaid and food stamps who don’t work.

The Better Way report notes that “44 percent of work-capable households using federal rental assistance report no annual income from wages.”

But it’s not just about work requirements.

Vital to this reform project is moving programs out of Washington’s grasp and into the administrations at the state and local levels. Assistance programs need humanity and flexibility. This can only be done locally. There’s no way an army of bureaucrats in Washington can develop and implement programs for 50 million needy individuals that can properly recognize what unique individuals need to move out of poverty.

Assistance programs need to promote and embody those principles that go hand in hand with prosperity—ownership, investment, savings, and personal freedom and responsibility.

According to the Better Way report, almost 10 million Americans have no bank account and another 25 million have an account but get financial services outside of the banking system.

When I was a young woman on welfare, I saw the destruction that occurs when assistance programs penalize work, marriage, and saving, as was the case with the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Subsequently, this was reformed and transformed with great success to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

We can’t go on spending hundreds of billions of dollars of limited taxpayer funds on programs that may have been conceived with sincerity and compassion but don’t work.

Trump deserves credit for exercising the courage and vision to move to fix what is broken in our anti-poverty programs. It is vital for the poor and vital for the nation.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Star Parker

Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Ivy Imboden, originally from Anchorage, Alaska, clutching a warm drink after arriving at a new tent established for the homeless in San Diego, California. (Photo: John Gastaldo/Zuma Press/Newscom). The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

Gorsuch Defends the Rule of Law in Immigration Case

If you take anything away from Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion concurring with the Supreme Court’s so-called “liberal” bloc in an immigration case this week, it should be his continued faithfulness to the rule of law and the separation of powers.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the court’s opinion—joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and in part by Gorsuch—holding that part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines a “crime of violence” for purposes of removal proceedings, is unconstitutionally vague.

Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion expressing concerns about how vague laws can lead to the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.

Some media outlets and noted conservatives have suggested that Gorsuch’s opinion is surprising or misguided, ruling with the liberal justices and against the Trump administration. For example, a New York Post headline reads, “Gorsuch Sides With Liberal Justices in Supreme Court Immigration Vote.” And Mark Levin tweeted, “Gorsuch blows it, big time.”

Whatever you think of any immigration policies or other issues surrounding this case, one thing is clear: Gorsuch faithfully applied fundamental constitutional principles and upheld the rule of law.

In many ways, Gorsuch also carried on Justice Antonin Scalia’s legacy.

Consider what the law in this case required, and what Gorsuch wrote.

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, any alien who is convicted of an “aggravated felony” in the United States is subject to deportation, regardless of their ties to the country. Congress defined “aggravated felony” by a long list of specific offenses and offense types (at 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)), one of which is “a crime of violence” punishable by imprisonment for at least one year.

Congress defined “crime of violence” elsewhere, in 18 U. S. C. §16, in part by stating that it includes any felony “that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

Only that provision, known as the residual clause, was at issue in this case.

But in order to figure out which convictions trigger that residual clause, the court assesses the presence of “substantial risk” by looking not at the facts of the case, or the elements of the crime, but to “the ‘nature of the offense’ generally speaking,” and asks this: Does “‘the ordinary case’ of [this] offense pose[] the requisite risk”?

Immigration judges held that James Dimaya, a Philippine native and lawful permanent resident, is deportable because he was convicted—twice—of first-degree burglary under California law. The government sought to remove Dimaya after his second conviction, and immigration judges found that first-degree burglary counts as a “crime of violence” under federal law.

Dimaya appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the “residual clause” is unconstitutionally vague.

The 9th Circuit relied in part on Johnson v. United States, a 2015 opinion that the Supreme Court published while Dimaya’s appeal was pending.

In Johnson, the court struck down part of the definition of “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act on vagueness grounds.

That law increased the sentence of a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if he had three or more previous “violent felony” convictions, which includes any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the court in that case, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Scalia concluded that the residual clause left “grave uncertainty about how to estimate the risk posed by a crime,” and further “uncertainty about how much risk it takes for a crime to qualify as a violent felony.” Rather than make up those aspects of the law himself, Scalia chose instead to send Congress back to the drawing board.

For that, Scalia’s opinion advanced the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Gorsuch’s Concurring Opinion

In his concurring opinion this week in Dimaya, Gorsuch provided thorough reasoning for a narrow conclusion: that “to the extent it requires an ‘ordinary case’ analysis, the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act before us fails the fair notice test for the reasons Justice Scalia identified in Johnson.”

Gorsuch’s concern in Dimaya was, like Scalia’s in Johnson, a fundamentally conservative one: hostility to vague laws and arbitrary power.

Gorsuch wrote that “vague laws … can invite the exercise of arbitrary power … by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” Gorsuch explained:

[T]he Immigration and Nationality Act requires a judge to determine that the ordinary case of the alien’s crime of conviction involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used. But what does that mean? Just take the crime at issue in this case, California burglary, which applies to everyone from armed home intruders to door-to-door salesmen peddling shady products. How, on that vast spectrum, is anyone supposed to locate the ordinary case and say whether it includes a substantial risk of physical force? The truth is, no one knows.

Gorsuch gave the following examples of the confusion that results from the “ordinary case analysis”:

Does a conviction for witness tampering ordinarily involve a threat to the kneecaps or just the promise of a bribe? Does a conviction for kidnapping ordinarily involve throwing someone into a car trunk or a noncustodial parent picking up a child from daycare? These questions do not suggest obvious answers.

Because the statute “leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate,” Gorsuch wrote, “the Constitution demands more.”

And Gorsuch explained exactly why that is.

Looking to history, Gorsuch cited early American court cases and turned to the Federalist Papers for the principle that “[w]ithout an assurance that the laws supply fair notice, so much else of the Constitution risks becoming only a ‘parchment barrie[r]’ against arbitrary power.”

And Gorsuch discussed exactly how vague laws might jeopardize other constitutional rights.

“Take the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause,” Gorsuch wrote, “and consider what would be left of that requirement if the alleged crime had no meaningful boundaries.”

Finally, Gorsuch observed precisely how vague criminal laws undermine the separation of powers.

Only Congress may enact law, but if Congress writes vague statutes, Gorsuch wrote, then it leaves judges, prosecutors, and police “free to ‘condem[n] all that [they] personally disapprove and for no better reason than [they] disapprove it.’”

Thus, to “keep the separate branches within their proper spheres,” Gorsuch wrote, is “the more important aspect” of the vagueness doctrine.

And that is the most important aspect of Gorsuch’s opinion in Dimaya.

To judge how individual justices vote in particular cases in relation to one another, without regard to the substance of their opinions, unjustifiably politicizes the judiciary.

Dimaya is interesting not because of how the justices voted in relation to one another, but because of how the justices—especially Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas—debated legal history and precedent, and did so respectfully.

Yes, the other conservative justices all dissented. Roberts dissented, joined by Thomas and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito, arguing that, unlike the law in Johnson, the statute at issue in this case was not vague.

Thomas also wrote a separate dissent, joined by Kennedy and Alito, challenging Gorsuch on the merits of the vagueness doctrine.

And yes, Gorsuch’s opinion is not what the government hoped for in this case.

The government had pointed to the executive’s “considerable constitutional authority” in immigration and foreign affairs but, as Gorsuch wrote, “to acknowledge that the president has broad authority to act in this general area supplies no justification for allowing judges to give content to an impermissibly vague law.”

Now, Congress can go back to the drawing board and draft a more precise law.

Gorsuch’s opinion has explained why that is a job for Congress, echoing his prior statements on the role of the judge: “to put aside their personal politics and preferences to decide cases and to follow the law and not try and make it.”

And by echoing Scalia’s opinion in Johnson, this case also illustrates how Gorsuch carries Scalia’s legacy.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John-Michael Seibler

John-Michael Seibler is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now. The featured image of Justice Neil Gorsuch is by Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/Newscom.

Parkland Student Plans Conservative Livestream on Columbine Anniversary [April 20, 2018]

Conservative Parkland student Kyle Kashuv is organizing a pro-Second Amendment Facebook Live show on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Kashuv, 16, tweeted that the goal is to “discuss ways to save lives without infringing on [the Second Amendment] and the importance of mental health and not bullying.”

Confirmed speakers for the livestream so far include Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump; Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA; Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director; and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Originally, Kashuv planned to bring Kirk to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Friday for a discussion of the Second Amendment.

However, the school blocked Kirk from coming on the grounds that “non-school sponsored, student-initiated guest speaker assemblies/meetings are not permitted to take place on campus,” according to a spokeswoman with Broward school district, reported the Sun Sentinel.

Kirk spoke to “Fox & Friends” Sunday about his intended message, had he been allowed to speak in Florida.

“My mission would not have been to offend. I did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but instead … here’s what really troubles me. Ever since that horrific shooting, the national conversation predominantly from students from that school has been about gun confiscation, about taking people’s guns away,” he said.

Kirk went on to say that conversations about the law enforcement failures at state and local levels are important to address, even though the left wants to stay focused on gun control.

Another Parkland student, David Hogg, is promoting a walkout Friday.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Ginny. Twitter: @GinnyMontalbano.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Better Treatment of the Mentally Ill Could Reduce Mass Shootings

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Kyle Kashuv and Patrick Petty, both Parkland survivors, hugging outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 13. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch /UPI/Newscom). The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

The Church and Islam: Nostalgia for the Sixties

William Kilpatrick notes that many (including the pope) adhere to an outdated, multicultural view of Islam, which has lately reverted to its 7th-century militancy.

I recently received an email from a reader who took issue with my skeptical view of Islam. Between 1963 and 1965, he worked for the Peace Corps in a Muslim area of Nigeria. He came away from the experience convinced that “all people are basically the same” and “all want the same basic things.” Cultural differences, he maintained, were merely surface phenomena.

His view is common among people who came of age in the Sixties and Seventies. And, since many of our society’s controlling narratives were developed in that period, that optimistic view is still widespread. But times change, even if narratives don’t.

For example, the reality in Nigeria today is quite different from what my correspondent experienced in the mid-1960s. It no longer seems that all want the “same basic things.” In fact, many Muslims want to deny Christians some of those basics – such as the right to worship in peace, and even the right to life.

Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan (in northwestern Nigeria) reports that in his diocese alone: “53 villages burned down, 808 people murdered and 57 wounded, 1422 houses and 16 Churches destroyed.” Moreover, last year a report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law revealed that 16,000 Christians had been murdered in Nigeria since June 2015.

What’s happening in Nigeria has been happening all over the Muslim world. Open Doors USA reports that globally some 215-million Christians face severe persecution, mostly at the hands of Muslims. The question is, which is the real Islam: the peaceable Islam experienced by my correspondent in the mid-Sixties or the aggressive Islam of today?

In the context of Islam’s 1,400 years of aggression, the relatively peaceful interval that began with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century seems to be the aberration. At the time my correspondent worked for the Peace Corps in Nigeria, the Muslim world was far more moderate than it is today or was in the past. The Islam he experienced was a marked departure from traditional Islam.

Some of the flavor of that period is captured in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Ali A. Allawi, a former Iraqi cabinet minister:

I was born into a mildly observant Muslim family in Iraq. At that time, the 1950s, secularism was ascendant among the political, cultural, and intellectual elites of the Middle East. It appeared to be only a matter of time before Islam would lose whatever hold it still had on the Muslim world. Even that term – “Muslim world” – was unusual, as Muslims were more likely to identify themselves by their national, ethnic, or ideological affinities than by their religion.

The face of Islam in Nigeria

In short, Muslim societies were more moderate in those days because they were moving away from Islam. As Allawi notes: “To an impressionable child, it was clear that society was decoupling from Islam. Though religion was a mandatory course in school, nobody taught us the rules of prayer or expected us to fast during Ramadan. We memorized the shorter verses of the Koran, but the holy book itself was kept on the shelf or in drawers, mostly unread.”

The more moderate Muslim world of the last century was not the result of deeper piety, but rather of increased secularization. There are still remnants of that moderation in Muslim lands, but it should be clear to anyone who is paying attention to current events that traditional, by-the-book Islam is once again ascendant. Mini-skirts are no longer worn in Tehran and Kabul as they were in the Seventies, and the hijab has made a comeback almost everywhere in the Muslim world. In other words, the process of secularization has been reversed.

The amazing thing is that much of the Western world hasn’t caught up with the changes. Why? Perhaps because the return of 7thcentury Islam undercuts the multicultural belief that all cultures share the same values. Hence, many prefer to think that the Muslim world is still much the same as it was in the days of King Farouk and the Shah of Iran – that relatively brief moment when “secularism was ascendant.”

Unfortunately, one of the important organizations that still lives in the past in regard to Islam is the Catholic Church. Many in the Church seem to think and act as though it’s still 1965, and that Nostra Aetate (which was promulgated in 1965) is still the last word on Islam.

The section on the “Moslems” in Nostra Aetate reflects the multicultural notion that cultural differences are unimportant, and that all people have the same basic desires. Thus, the writers of the document took pains to emphasize the similarities between Christianity and Islam, even going so far as to suggest that the two faiths share the same moral values.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the radicalization that so many Muslims have undergone since 1965. But in their anxiety to preserve the Nostra Aetate “narrative” about Islam, Church leaders have found a way to get around this inconvenient fact.  Muslims who persecute and terrorize non-Muslims are said to have “distorted” or “perverted” their religion because, in the words of Pope Francis,“authentic Islam and a proper understanding of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

Indeed, as recently as March 16, Pope Francis told the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that there is no link between Islam and terrorism. On other occasions, the pope had even said that the remedy for radicalization is for Muslims to go deeper into their faith, and find guidance in the Koran. That, of course, is the very opposite of Allawi’s first-hand observation that moderation is the result not of deepened faith, but of “decoupling from Islam.”

Church leaders are still clinging to a view of Islam that should have gone out with the Seventies. Unless and until they acquire a longer view of Islam, they will continue to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

William Kilpatrick

William Kilpatrick

William Kilpatrick is the author of Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, and a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, The Turning Point Project.

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