Leader of Hillary supported ‘Day Without a Woman’ strike deported for naturalization fraud

We raised concerns that Rasmieh Odeh, one of the leaders of the Day Without a Woman strike, was a convicted terrorist. According to Fox News:

A convicted terrorist is reportedly among the organizers of the so-called “Day Without a Woman” strike.

In a letter posted by The Guardian, the female authors – including Rasmea Yousef Odeh – call on women around the world to join them in a “new wave of militant feminist struggle.”

Rasmea Odeh listens to supporters after leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. A judge sentenced the Chicago activist to 18 months in federal prison Thursday for failing to disclose her convictions for bombings in Israel when she applied to be a U.S. citizen. Odeh, 67, also was stripped of her citizenship and eventually will be deported. But she will remain free while she appeals the case. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Rasmea Odeh leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

We now learn that Odeh has been deported for naturalization fraud. The Investigative Project on Terrorism in an article titled Breaking News: Rasmieh Odeh Reportedly Accepts Plea Deal reports:

Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh, who faces a May 16 retrial for naturalization fraud, reportedly has agreed to plead guilty and leave the United States in exchange for avoiding any prison time.

According to a statement from her supporters, Odeh “has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement.” [Emphasis original.] The statement hailed the decision as “a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years.”

No court papers have been filed to confirm the report.

Odeh was convicted in November 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, the loss of her citizenship and deportation. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain in February 2016, ruling that he improperly barred testimony supporting Odeh’s claim that she failed to disclose her Israeli conviction for participating in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, including one at a grocery story that killed two Hebrew University students.

Drain granted a new trial including the testimony, prompting federal prosecutors to issue a new indictment adding greater emphasis on Odeh’s acknowledged membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.

Read more…

Refinery 29’s Landon Peoples in an article Why Hillary Clinton Wore A Red Pantsuit Today noted:

Hillary Clinton proved during the election that she knows the potential of a good pantsuit. At various times during her campaign, she’s chosen various colors to convey messages of empowerment and unity. And today, at the Girls, Inc. luncheon in New York, the former Democratic nominee wore a red pantsuit to add support to another important initiative: A Day Without A Woman.

Clinton spoke to the New York sector of Girls, Inc. as she honored Lisa Blau, Annie and Maggie Ford Danielson, Shaun Robinson, and Barry Sternlicht who were all dressed in red, too — the official color of A Day Without A Woman. “Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward and one step back, particularly when it comes to advancing the rights and opportunities, and full participation of women and girls,” Clinton said in her speech. “It can seem discouraging whether you’ve been on that road for a long time, or you’re just starting out, but think how different the world would be today if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged, but because of that, had given up.”

It appears we once again see the Red/Green alliance in full force. Hillary the socialist wearing red and Rasmieh Odeh, an Islamic supremacist and convicted terrorist, representing the color green representing Islam.

When is comes to those who believe in the power of government over the people must be absolute, birds of a feather really do flock together. Most recently in support of the Day Without a Woman strike.

EXPLAINED: Government Healthcare is not Christian

The latest salvo against Christians who are politically conservative is to charge in the most morally superior of tones that failure to continually expand welfare programs is in direct defiance of biblical teachings.

This is true, of course, as long as you don’t actually read the Bible.

But the lack of truth rarely slows a political assailment, particularly against Christians who are politically conservative.

So this quickly became an attack line against the healthcare reform program Republicans proposed in Congress last week. It wasn’t the substance of the need to stem the bleeding of Obamacare; it wasn’t the skyrocketing insurance costs the program incurred; it wasn’t the all-important personal freedoms at stake that we spelled out previously.

It was this, best represented in a couple of tweets from CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers retweeting one of her followers. Her follower tweeted: “We do not require religious writings to know that it is right for gov to have compassion for the poor.” To which Powers added: “This is true. And it’s sad that so many people demanding scripture citations have such antipathy toward the poor.”

They are probably demanding those citations in relationship to the role of government. And in that, there are none to be found.

Personal experience with this

This is not a new line of attack.

Many years ago, I was at a luncheon function sitting at a large table with others from the newspaper where I worked. As the speaker was walking up to the podium, the editorial page editor — an older, liberal atheist man who knew I was both Christian and politically conservative — turned and said, “Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t liberals.” He then turned away toward the speaker as the program began, allowing no time for a response.

That was purposely timed. I wrote him an extensive explanation. But he never responded, nor could I get him to engage when I saw him, because he did not want a discussion or a better understanding. He wanted to take a cheap shot, feel smugly self-satisfied and move on.

That is a lot of what we are seeing here today. Many of the people saying that any opposition to government-funded or government-run healthcare insurance is un-Christian are themselves not even Christians. (Powers, to be noted, is a Christian.)

It’s a dual purpose political attack line to score points for big-government welfare programs among the uninformed while also taking a whack at RWRN (social media slang for Right Wing Religious Nuts.)

But they have an empty case on multiple levels, and they should be and can be knocked down vigorously.

Christianity and government healthcare

Let’s take the Sermon on the Mount, as this is a favorite for those who skim the Bible, or hear it paraphrased from others who have skimmed it.

The problem with the editorial page editor’s cheap shot is that it suffered from a fatal fallacy. Jesus teaches for three full chapters in Matthew on the deeper Christian life of joy, suffering and generosity toward others. In one portion of one chapter, Jesus says:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus not only is speaking directly to his followers — that is, those who are now called Christians — but he is also telling them to not be generous in ways that call attention to ourselves. Do it quietly, even secretly when possible. In the very passage he is talking about giving to the needy, he exhorts his followers to do it tacitly, humbly.

No place in these three chapters does he mention a role for government in his teachings. This is consistent throughout Scripture. Some argue that just because Jesus did not overtly say this should be done by government does not mean he opposed it.

That is true, but that is not what defenders of big government welfare programs are asserting. They are saying Christians are compelled to support helping the poor through government programs because they are Christians. But Christianity is based on the Bible, and it is clear that is not what the Bible says at all.

Further, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to spell out a Christianized government role when talking to soldiers, centurions, Roman leaders, Pontius Pilate and so on. And he stayed mum.

Given his teachings that were always aimed at the responsibilities of the individual believer and not the government, and his choice to stay mute when given the open opportunity to spell out the role of government, it seems more than likely that he was disinterested in government doing what individual Christians should be doing.

The error of compassionate government

Compassionate government is an impossible combination.

An entity such as a government cannot have compassion. People can have compassion because it is a uniquely human trait. Anthropomorphizing government is a grave error leading to terrible policies — exactly what we’ve seen for decades.

Government as an institution has a critical role, but it has nothing to do with compassion or love or anger or any other human emotions or traits. The American government’s primary role was meant to be the protection of individual human rights. That’s why the very Declaration separating us from a distant tyrant launches with:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Government is meant to secure the rights of the individual, and protect them from intrusion by other individuals and by the government itself. Hence we have a system of checks and balances within the government so as to keep itself in check because by nature it is not compassionate. It was a machine designed to protect us from itself.

Endowing government with human attributes such as compassion and placing upon it the burden of caring for individuals is a doomed proposition. We see it fail again and again and again.

Opposition to government healthcare is not hatred

Kind of an absurd point to have to make, but alas, here we are. Powers used the word “antipathy.”

An American, whether Christian or not, can believe that X should be done and also think that it is wrong for government to do X. We can believe in helping the poor individually, through churches and synagogues and other charitable organizations and oppose the government doing the same. It is not an either/or proposition.

What we’ve seen is that when government fills this space, it displaces charities that would otherwise be doing the work. And it does it inefficiently while creating an entitlement mentality among those receiving it. Instead of gratefulness to an individual or a church or an organization, recipients see the gifts bestowed from government as a virtual right. And if the gifts are not sufficiently large, they are angered and will protest for more.

That alone is a bad sign for the soul.

So we spend about $1.3 trillion every year on various safety net programs and in return we get deep familial dysfunction, enablement of bad behavior, more debt that eventually we will be unable to pay off and, maybe as much as anything, we lock the poor into generational poverty and ingratitude.

Opposing the system doing this is not hatred. In fact, it may actually be more loving and therefor more Christian. But politicians cannot take credit for that system. Only when ladled by their generous hand can they take the credit and secure future votes — accomplished by forcibly taking money from others. There is no love in any of that.

There is nothing virtuous about giving other people’s money to the poor. In fact, if you want to go to Scripture, Jesus has a few harsh things to say about such grandstanding.

We cannot outsource moral obligations

Shifting responsibility to the government is a pathway for us to feel relieved of any personal duty to help those in need. For many, merely advocating for more money to go to the poor proves our compassion and moral superiority.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives tend to want a system where there is minimal welfare, just enough to help people get back on their feet. The institutional variety we have now breeds ever more welfare and robs people of their self-worth, making them comfortable living in poverty on handouts.

That is not loving and it certainly is not Christian.

So any Biblical case for Christians being required to support government healthcare and other welfare programs is DOA — if we actually read the Scriptures.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72%

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

HEALTHCARE REFORM: Freedom Is Its Own Indispensable Goal

The healthcare debate in D.C. is following predictable form: Miles off track with the media hyperfocused on the politics, rather than the substance. The coverage focuses heavily on the daily ins and outs of the political struggle, the D.C. winners and losers.

Will Republicans be able to placate the Freedom Caucus and still keep moderates? Will they put together something that can get through the House and have any life in the Senate? Is Ryan back-peddling? Is Trump? Will McConnell detonate the nuclear option? Is it Trumpcare or Ryancare?

The thing is, most Americans outside of political junkies don’t really care about that.

They do care about whether they will be able to afford health insurance. They do care about whether our country will drowned itself in unsustainable debt. They do care about their children’s future. But those are rarely the story. Because the truth is that in Washington, D.C., Americans are basically pawns to be played in the furtherance of personal agendas.

On the rare occasions when the substance of the proposal is actually explored, it is mostly along the lines of how many people are covered, will be covered, won’t be covered, how much it will cost, how the changes will play out politically for each party, etc. Those are fine in their place, and should be regularly reported on. They are not.

What Washington and the media never, ever talk about is the principle of American freedoms, which is at the heart of this. Virtually no one wants to talk about it.

So, status quo in the swamp. And for Americans.

The Old Liberties for Security Trade

But here is the whittled down nub of the issue: How much personal freedom are we willing to give away to get a little healthcare security? Because the reality of the human condition always and forever is that some people will be irresponsible with their life decisions — from relationships to finances to health.

So there will always be a percentage of Americans who do not want to purchase, or simply will not purchase, health insurance. Here’s the thing: They should be free to not and that point of freedom should be argued strenuously.

Because the only way to stop that dynamic is to give government total authority to force every single person to have health insurance. That was what Obamacare attempted to do, require every American to either buy a product — health insurance — or be fined increasing amounts by the government to financially force them to to buy it.

In an enormously tragic precedence, the Supreme Court made a political calculation and approved the forcible purchase requirements under Obamacare by calling it what it was not, what is authors including President Obama argued it was not, so as the court could rule it “constitutional.” Truly, a constitutional travesty.

Among the many things wrong with Obamacare, this was perhaps the most egregious because it went to undermining fundamental freedoms. It wasn’t just bad policy, or inefficient, or expensive — which are all true. It was a denial of basic liberty, the concept upon which our nation was founded and thrived to be what she is today.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Franklin was looking at the real physical and economic threat of a distant tyrant.

And so are we, though not so distant.

The Real Cost

Obamacare undoubtedly reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans, or more accurately, uncovered Americans. This was accomplished by expanding Medicaid — direct welfare — subsidizing plans in the state exchanges — indirect welfare — and forcing every American to participate — coercion. Even then, the total number of Americans not covered in some fashion, only declined a few percentage points.

Trillions of dollars, catastrophic rises in premiums and deductibles, loss of health care insurance options — often down to one in an entire state — all to pick up a few percentage points. About 9 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

If Republicans did nothing more than simply repeal the Obamacare mandate, at least 10 million people would no longer have coverage, according to the Office of Management and Budget estimate of the repeal measure. The media reports this as Americans who will “lose” their coverage, but this particular 10 million will actually choose not to have coverage.

Whether that is a good idea or not is debatable. What is not debatable is what it represents: Freedom.

Because unless the government forces people by law to have health insurance, some will not. Freedom calls us to allow them to not and accept the consequences. Otherwise, with this precedent in place, the government could also make the case for regulating what we eat (because eating healthy is good for us) and forcing us to exercise (because exercising is good for us.) It could also require us to buy, say, solar panels and electric cars, because it deems those to be a good thing like health care insurance is a good thing.

You see the problem here. There is really no end to it, which is why it was a line that should never have been crossed.

So yes, Obamacare is costing hundreds of billions of dollars and would continue to until its complete failure. But it’s real cost is the loss of American liberty. And precious few seem to care.

Alas, Republicans fighting on Democrat ground

Republicans however, will not fight this on the grounds of freedom, the high ground and the right ground. They allow Democrats and the media to define the terms and put Republicans on the defensive on bad ground.

Republicans are doing what they always do, and part of it is the swampy D.C. mentality. Republicans end up abandoning conservative principles and going with Democrat-lite. They are willing to expand government, just less so. They are willing to raise taxes, just not as high. They are willing to trade rights for securities, just not as fast. But inexorably this moves in the same direction: More government control, more “free” giveaways, fewer American freedoms.

The health care coverage debate is a perfect example.

Democrats built it on the Democrat ground of heavy-handed government control and giveaways, and dared Republicans to come after it. To boil it down, in Obamacare, Democrats gave more Americans more free stuff that was not their’s and that we cannot afford — at the cost of lost freedoms — and Republicans now want to take some of that free stuff and restore those freedoms.

Meanies.

This of course is rough politics for Republicans, as so many Americans have lost the sense of liberty, self-reliance and personal responsibility. Too many are willing to trade a lot of liberties for a little security. But part of the reason for that is that no one is making the case for this and other issues on the grounds of freedom.

But in reality, Republicans aren’t even making the freedom case — or do so rarely. They want to make sure enough Americans get enough free stuff so they can be re-elected.

Taking away an entitlement once in place is just never done, and Democrats knew that in 2010. A big part of Obamacare is the entitlement portion. But that is only a problem if Republicans fight this on the grounds of coverage and giveaways, and not on the grounds of essential liberties.

Republicans hold every nationally elected office of power and there is one window for fixing the Obamacare debacle. If it does not happen now, Obamacare will be a permanent fixture of our health care system until it totally fails, and sucks the healthcare system into its death swirl.

The final step will be nationalized healthcare.

And the result will be an even greater loss of freedoms, and precious little in the way of securities. The worst of trade-offs.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

GOP leaders unveil changes to healthcare bill

Nearly 200 State Lawmakers Are Pushing for Changes to GOP Obamacare Repeal Plan

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

School ‘Accountability’ Gone Wild

Children should not be measured like products of “factory style” schools, where we sort out the “defective” student products and throw them away. They should be educated based on their individual, God given spark of genius, to be the best they can be. When you test a monkey, a fish, and an elephant on their ability to climb a tree, the elephant and the fish will be left behind, but they, too, have unique talents.

“Holding teachers accountable” is a popular phrase. I am not supporting unions, but the design of incentives based on student scores is the major flaw in this plan. You get what you reward. Teachers (and administrators) will only teach to the test and game the system any way they can. Curriculum is narrowed, and cheating is rampant.

Teachers no longer control of what they teach and how they teach it. Administrators are openly calling them “facilitators” and not teachers. They are unfairly measured on elements out of their control.

Learning is clearly in decline, so well-meaning legislators want a means of escape from failing public schools, strangled in bloated bureaucracy, by creating vouchers or charter schools.

But unless we remove Common Core and the federal monopoly, the focus on charter schools and vouchers is meaningless, as all education is the same, with the same tests, the same curriculum, and the same counterproductive incentive system. When federal and state dollars are used to bludgeon schools to conform or lose funding, there will be no real education.

The move toward home schooling shows that parents are awakening to the fact that the legislature has sold our children down the river for the age old motives, MONEY and POWER. Tallahassee and DC are the swamps of education lobbyists selling their new testing and conformity toys to ignorant and/or greedy legislators who don’t understand or don’t care why our children are learning less every year.

We must break that mold and end Common Core and high stakes testing. We can use nationally normed testing on sample groups or even infrequently to determine progress without wasting SO much money and time that we have no time to learn. Teachers used to give tests, correct the tests and give a grade at the end. They were trained and certified to do that. They were managed, promoted and fired by locals who could observe their skills.

Unions and bad education schools made this difficult and the legislature responded by taking away their control. To get at this problem, other countries are good examples. Finland, with the best education results, trains their teachers better and longer. They are paid more and are well respected. Children do not waste their time on standardized testing until they are 16. They don’t even start school until they are 7. There are 15 minute breaks between classes in high school so that students can stretch and be prepared for learning. There is more recess in lower grades. All this and their results are outstanding!

Then there is the “annoying” US Constitution which is violated daily by the very people who have taken an oath to protect and defend it at all levels, from school boards to the President of the United States. The Constitution is crystal clear about the duties of the federal government in Article 1 section 8. They are “clear and defined.” There is NO mention of any duty whatsoever in the area of education. Then the “capper” is the 10th Amendment, which simply states that anything NOT identified in Article 1, section 8 belongs to the States or to the People. Our founding fathers had good reason for designing our federal government to be the servant and not the master of the sovereign states.

People who solve their problems and define their own success are more likely to achieve great things. Our country grew great because individuals were free to determine their own destiny. We must unleash that human potential once again by freeing our children from the slavish conformity now demanded through illegal and unconstitutional federal control of education.

Our state legislators were supposed to guard us against an intrusive federal government. They need to stand against unlawful overreach. They need to nullify laws that violate our Constitution such as the ESSA, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Instead, they crumble under the fear of “loss of federal money.” Their knees buckle when the USDOE coerces them with dollars and then they end up with unintended consequences and unfunded federal mandates like Common Core.

News Flash! Federal money comes out of my left pocket and State money comes out of the right. The federal government is taking money from my right pocket to the left and then keeping their cut like a mob protection racket.

Where is our Eliot Ness? Who in our state legislature will stand up to the “mob” in Washington D.C.?

Trillions in Debt and We’re Just Scratching the Surface by Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan

As the federal debt has gone from astounding to unbelievable to incomprehensible, a new problem has emerged: The US government is actually running out of places to borrow.

How Many Zeros Are in a Trillion?

The $20 trillion debt is already twice the annual revenues collected by all the world’s governments combined. Counting unfunded liabilities, which include promised Social Security, Medicare, and government pension payments that Washington will not have the money to pay, the federal government actually owes somewhere between $100 trillion and $200 trillion. The numbers are so ridiculously large that even the uncertainty in the figures exceeds the annual economic output of the entire planet.

Since 2000, the federal debt has grown at an average annual rate of 8.2%, doubling from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the past eight years alone. Who loaned the government this money? Four groups: foreigners, Americans, the Federal Reserve, and government trust funds. But over the past decade, three of these groups have cut back significantly on their lending.

Foreign investors have slowed the growth in their lending from over 20% per year in the early 2000s to less than 3% per year today. Excluding the Great Recession years, American investors have been cutting back on how much they lend the federal government by an average of 2% each year.

Social Security, though, presents an even bigger problem. The federal government borrowed all the Social Security surpluses of the past 80 years. But starting this year, and continuing either forever or until Congress overhauls the program (which may be the same thing), Social Security will only generate deficits. Not only is the government no longer able to borrow from Social Security, it will have to start paying back what it owes – assuming the government plans on making good on its obligations.

With federal borrowing growing at more than 6% per year, with foreign and American investors becoming more reluctant to lend, and with the Social Security trust fund drying up, the Fed is the only game left in town. Since 2001, the Fed has increased its lending to the federal government by over 11% each year, on average. Expect that trend to continue.

Inflation to Make You Cry

For decades, often in word but always in deed, politicians have told voters that government debt didn’t matter. We, and many economists, disagree. Yet even if the politicians were right, the absence of available creditors would be an insurmountable problem—were it not for the Federal Reserve. But when the Federal Reserve acts as the lender of last resort, unpleasant realities follow. Because, as everyone should be keenly aware, the Fed simply prints the money it loans.

A Fed loan devalues every dollar already in circulation, from those in people’s savings accounts to those in their pockets. The result is inflation, which is, in essence, a tax on frugal savers to fund a spendthrift government.

Since the end of World War II, inflation in the US has averaged less than 4% per year. When the Fed starts printing money in earnest because the government can’t obtain loans elsewhere, inflation will rise dramatically. How far is difficult to say, but we have some recent examples of countries that tried to finance runaway government spending by printing money.

From 1975 to 1990, the Greek people suffered 15% annual inflation as their government printed money to finance stimulus spending. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Russia printed money to keep its government running. The result was five years over which inflation averaged 750%. Today, Venezuela’s government prints money to pay its bills, causing 200% inflation which the International Monetary Fund expects to skyrocket to 1,600% this year.

For nearly a century, politicians have treated deficit spending as a magic wand. In a recession? We need jobs, so government must spend more money! In an expansion? There’s more tax revenue, so government can spend more money! Always and everywhere, politicians argued only about how much to increase spending, never whether to increase spending. A century of this has left us with a debt so large that it dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet. And now we are coming to the point at which there will be no one left from whom to borrow. When creditors finally disappear completely, all that will remain is a reckoning.

This article first appeared in InsideSources.

Antony Davies

Antony Davies

Antony Davies is an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburg.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.


James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan is the Senior Research Fellow at Strata, in Logan, Utah.

VIDEOS: Why We’re Being Watched by Kelly Wright

Wikileaks has just published over 8,000 files they say were leaked from the CIA, explaining how the CIA developed the capacity to spy on you through your phone, your computer, and even your television. And Wikileaks’s Julian Assange claims these “Vault 7” documents are just one percent of all the CIA documents they have.

The media will be combing through these for weeks or months, so now is a perfect moment for us to reconsider the role of privacy, transparency, and limited government in a free society.

We’ve put together a quick list of the six best Learn Liberty resources on government spying and whistleblowing to help inform this discussion.

1. War Is Why We’re Being Watched

Why is the US government spying on its citizens in the first place? Professor Abby Hall Blanco says that expansive state snooping at home is actually the result of America’s military interventionism abroad:

2. Is Privacy the Price of Security?

Yes, you may think, the government is snooping on us, but it’s doing that to keep us safe!

That’s the most common justification for sweeping and intrusive surveillance, so we held a debate between two experts to get right to the heart of it. Moderated by TK Coleman, this debate between Professor Ronald Sievert and Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was inspired in part by the revelations about NSA surveillance leaked by Edward Snowden in June 2013.

3. Freedom Requires Whistleblowers

People are already drawing parallels between the Snowden leaks and the Vault 7 revelations. If the leaks are indeed coming from a Snowden-like whistleblower, that will once again raise the issue of government prosecution of people who reveal classified information to the public.

Professor James Otteson argues that a free society requires a transparent government, and whistleblowers play a key role in creating that accountability. Otteson also sounds a warning that should resonate with many Americans today:

Maybe you’re not concerned about the invasions of privacy that the federal government agencies are engaging in because you think, “Well, I haven’t done anything wrong. What do I have to fear?” Maybe you think, “I like and support this president. I voted for him.”

But what about the next president?  The powers that we let the government have under one president are the same powers that the next president will have too.

What if the next president is one you don’t support? He, too, will have all the power that you were willing to give the president you now support.”

4. Encryption Is a Human Rights Issue

Documents from Vault 7 suggest that the CIA has been so stymied by encrypted-messaging apps, such as Signal and Whatsapp, that it has resorted to taking over entire smartphones to read messages before they are sent.

That turns out to be a costly, targeted, and time-consuming business that doesn’t allow for mass data collection. But for decades, government officials have tried to require tech companies to give the government a backdoor into their encryption. In “Encryption Is a Human Rights Issue,” Amul Kalia argues that protecting encryption from government is essential to our safety and freedom.

5. The Police Know Where You Live

It turns out that it’s not just spy agencies that have access to detailed information about your life. Ordinary police officers have it, too, and they often face little supervision or accountability. As Cassie Whalen explains, “Across the United States, police officers abuse their access to confidential databases to look up information on neighbors, love interests, politicians, and others who had no connection to a criminal investigation.”

Surveillance is a serious issue at every level of government.

6. Understanding NSA Surveillance

If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level, check out our complete video course on mass government surveillance with Professor Elizabeth Foley. In it, you’ll learn what you need to know to make sense of the NSA scandal in particular and mass surveillance in general.

Reprinted from Learn Liberty.

Kelly Wright

Kelly Wright

Kelly Wright is an Online Programs Coordinator at the Institute for Humane Studies.

RELATED ARTICLE: Deterrence and Human Nature

GOP Repeal/Replace Bill Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars

On the White House website one of the key accomplishments of President Trump’s first 50 days in office is:

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

Katie Pavlich in a Townhall article titled ATR: Obamacare Replacement Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars reports:

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released its official score for the Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, better known as the American Health Care Act.

Reaction to the scoring, which estimates an additional 21 million Americans will become uninsured by 2020, was mixed. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last night he is “encouraged” by the score. However, the Trump administration is hardly pleased.

“We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out. We believe that our plan will cover more individuals at a lower cost and give them the choices that they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and for their families, not that the government forces them to buy,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at the White House Monday evening.

But Americans For Tax Reform sees some good news. If passed, the bill will cut taxes by $883 billion. Here’s where the cuts come from:

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs
Flexible Spending Account Tax
Chronic Care Tax
HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike
Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning
Health Insurance Tax
Employer Mandate Tax
Surtax on Investment Income
Payroll Tax Hike
Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
Tax on Prescription Medicine
Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage
$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives

You can read more about the details and specific amounts behind this list of tax repeals here.

As we have said, this bill is out in the open. Now is the time for every citizen to read it and then contact their U.S. Senators and member of Congress and tell them what you think about this bill.

We’ve come a long way to get to this point, we’ve got a long way to go to make sure it gets done right.

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Democrats and the Science of ‘Thintelligence’

Michael Crichton is a man, author, filmmaker, doctor, teacher and visionary. Crichton is the author of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park.

Crichton in Jurassic Park wrote, “They don’t have intelligence. They have what I call ‘thintelligence.’ They see the immediate situation. They think narrowly and they call it ‘being focused.’ They don’t see the surround. They don’t see the consequences.”

Democrats suffer from “thintelligence.”

An example of Democrat’s thintelligence is climate change. In an March 9th, 2017 article titled 30 New (2017) Scientific Papers Crush The Hockey Stick Graph And ‘Global’-Scale Warming Claims Kenneth Richard writes:

There were at least 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2016 demonstrating that  Today’s Warming Isn’t Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable.

As of the end of January, another 17 papers had already been published in 201717 New (2017) Scientific Papers Affirm Today’s Warming Is Not Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable

Within the last month, another 14 papers have been published that continue to cast doubt on the popularized conception of an especially unusual global-scale warming during modern times.

Yes, some regions of the Earth have been warming in recent decades or at some point in the last 100 years.  Some regions have been cooling for decades at a time.  And many regions have shown no significant net changes or trends in either direction relative to the last few hundred to thousands of years.  In other words, there is nothing historically unprecedented or remarkable about today’s climate when viewed in the context of natural variability.

Read more…

What natural variability deniers fail to see is “the surround.” By not seeing the surround they don’t see the consequences of their actions to try to halt the natural variability of the climate. Blinded by thintelligence they push forward an agenda to reduce CO2 emissions (CO2 being necessary for plant growth), regulate water use, impose CAFE standards on all motor vehicles and worst of all use food (corn) for fuel (ethanol).

There are three indisputable facts about the climate:

  1. The climate (weather) changes. If you don’t believe this just look out your window.
  2. These changes are cyclical that adhere to nature and nature’s laws (natural variability). If you don’t believe this then why does the earth have a summer, fall, winter and spring seasons?
  3. There is nothing that mankind can do change nature and nature’s laws. Man cannot control the weather (climate) by his own actions or inaction.

Crichton observed, “You know what’s wrong with scientific power? It’s a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are.”

Crichton warned, “In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.”

We agree with Dr. Crichton.

RELATED ARTICLE: Axing Wasteful EPA Program that Gave Leftist Groups Millions Called “Racist” – Judicial Watch

The Radical Ties of the Imam Behind the Trump Immigration Lawsuit by Jordan Schachtel

Originally published in the Conservative Review, March 10, 2017:

The plaintiff listed in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration is a member of an organization that has several current and former leaders tied to terrorist activity.

Dr. Ismail Elshikh — the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — is suing Trump in reaction to the second version of his immigration moratorium, which was signed on Monday. The order imposed a 90-day hold on foreign nationals from six terror-tied countries from entering the United States.

According to the Muslim Association of Hawaii website, Imam Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), a fringe Islamic organization that has a board and current leadership stacked with radical Islamic connections.

Kyle Shideler, a terrorism expert and director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, tells CR that it’s concerning that Imam Elshikh is a part of NAIF.

“Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts,” Shideler said.

He added: “That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”

Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, also voiced his concerns about Elshikh’s associations. He tells CR:

“NAIF is an extremely radical Islamist group whose leaders and members have defended some of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Some members have been found to be actually linked to acts of Islamist terrorism. This is a group, some prosecutors have argued, whose incitement for violence could qualify their categorization as a providing material support for terrorism.”

Current NAIF board members include the former leader of an al-Qaeda-connected mosque and a radical preacher. Former leaders include a man convicted of leading an international death squad, and a prominent Islamist preacher who has praised Osama bin Laden.

Current NAIF leadership

Omar Shahin, a current board member of NAIF, is the former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a mosque that was once utilized as the “de-facto al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. As imam of the mosque, Shahin raised funds for the Holy Land Foundation, which was later shut down for funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. He also held fundraisers for the Global Relief Foundation, which was later deemed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be connected to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

El Shikh received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Foundation Islamic Studies Department, which is headed by Shahin. The program was created in collaboration with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was started as a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Dr. Waleed Meneese, another NAIF board member, has explicitly called for fellow Muslims to kill Jews. “When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” Meneese said in a recent sermon. “And they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand. In any case, God Almighty has promised them destruction whenever they cause corruption,” he said of the Jewish people.

Meneese has also called for the killing of apostates from Islam, and for the treating of non-Muslims as second-class citizens.

Former NAIF leadership

Ashrafuzzaman Khan is the former president of NAIF and a current leader at the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In 2013, he was tried in a Bangladesh court as he was accused of drafting a kill list of intellectuals inside the country. He was charged with 11 counts of war crimes as the alleged leader of the Al-Badr death squad. In 2013, he and an accomplice were sentenced in absentia for the abduction and murder of 18 people, including nine university professors, six journalists, and three physicians.

Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim was the chairman of NAIF at the turn of the century. In 2005, he agreed to deportation to Qatar after U.S. authorities were concerned about his potential connections to terrorist organizations. Ghoneim has called Osama bin Laden a “martyred heroic mujahid” and is now closely tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has been banned from entering several countries due to his radicalism.

LINK: Wagdi Ghoneim Video

Another former NAIF board member is Siraj Wahhaj, who was infamously listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Wahhaj testified in defense of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who served a life sentence for being the mastermind behind terrorist plots in the United States.

What else?

The North American Imam Federation is perhaps best known as the group that allegedly planned and staged the “flying imams” incident. After a 2006 NAIF conference, several imams connected to the group were booted from a domestic flight after exhibiting bizarre, threatening behavior, terrifying fellow passengers. NAIF and the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) showcased the incident as a prime example of America’s supposed problem with “Islamophobia.”

President Trump’s immigration moratorium, blocking non-citizens from coming into the U.S. from the six terror havens of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Libya, will go into effect next week, barring a successful legal challenge by Elshikh and Hawaii or other actors.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

A Short History of Islam in Hawaii

DTN: North American Imams Federation 

President Trump’s First 50 Days of Action: Achieving Results for the American People

JUMPSTARTING JOB CREATION: President Donald J. Trump is looking out for the American workers who Washington has left behind.

  • President Trump has worked with the private sector to deliver tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
  • President Trump ordered the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and negotiations.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete its construction.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to help ensure that new pipeline construction and repair work use materials and equipment from the United States.

CUTTING GOVERNMENT RED TAPE: President Trump has quickly taken steps to get the Government out of the way of job creation.

  • President Trump directed each agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to identify costly and unnecessary regulations in need of modification or repeal.
  • President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
  • President Trump directed the Department of Commerce to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers.
  • President Trump signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 38, to prevent the burdensome “Stream Protection Rule” from causing further harm to the coal industry.
  • President Trump ordered the review of the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States,” known as the WOTUS rule, to evaluate whether it is stifling economic growth or job creation.

REFORMING WASHINGTON: President Trump has taken actions to reform the old Washington way of doing business and to ensure that his entire Administration are working for the American people.

  • President Trump put in place a hiring freeze for Federal civilian employees to stop the further expansion of an already bloated government.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees, putting in place a five-year lobbying ban and a permanent ban on lobbying for foreign governments, so that appointees serve the American people instead of their own interests.

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

PRIORITIZING AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY: President Trump has taken action to ensure the safety and security of the United States homeland, its borders, and its people.

  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of the Treasury sanctioned 25 entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
  • President Trump implemented new protections against foreign terrorists entering our country.
  • President Trump has proposed increasing the military’s budget by $54 billion so that it can begin to rebuild.
  • As a result of a Presidential Memorandum President Trump signed on January 28, he has received a plan to defeat ISIS designed by the Secretary of Defense and other members of his Cabinet.
  • President Trump ordered a review of military readiness and made it the policy of the United States to rebuild the United States’ Armed Forces.
  • President Trump has negotiated to bring down the price of the F-35, saving millions of dollars.

DELIVERING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM: President Trump has made enforcing the Nation’s immigration laws a priority of his Administration.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to start work on a southern border wall.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to enhance the public safety of Americans through enforcement of immigration laws.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to halt funding to jurisdictions in the United States that do not comply with Federal immigration rules.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to begin the removal of illegal immigrants who have committed certain crimes.
  • Following through on President Trump’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security will hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents and 5,000 border patrol agents.

RESTORING PUBLIC SAFETY TO AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: President Trump is following through on his promise to restore public safety for all Americans.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who engage in crimes against law enforcement officers.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to establish a task force, led by the Attorney General, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across America.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order re-focusing the Federal Government’s energy and resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, such as drug cartels.

HELPING WOMEN AND MINORITIES SUCCEED: President Trump knows the country cannot reach its potential unless every American has a chance to prosper.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order strengthening and repositioning the Historically Black Colleges and Universities initiatives within the White House to foster better opportunities in higher education.
  • President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
  • President Trump signed into law the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act to encourage the National Science Foundation’s entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.
  • President Trump signed into law the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act to encourage women to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts.

KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION: President Trump promised a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the mold of late Justice Antonin Scalia selected from his previously announced list of 20 judges

  • President Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his consistent record defending the Constitution.

RELATED ARTICLE: How President Trump Is Performing on His Promises Halfway to First 100 Days

Head Start Programs Are Setting Kids Up for Failure by Annie Holmquist

In recent years, support for preschool education has grown by leaps and bounds. After all, who wouldn’t want to help adorable little kids get an early jump on success?

But the enthusiasm for Pre-K dampened a bit with the release of two studies, one from 2012 which studied children in a Head Start program and another from 2016 which studied children in Tennessee’s statewide preschool program. The Head Start study found that its children were more inclined to behavioral problems than those who did not participate. The Tennessee study, on the other hand, found that participants did worse academically several years into school than those who had not participated.We need to study the effects of preschool education more before we wholeheartedly commit to public Pre-K programs.

The news that these Pre-K programs may hurt rather than help was not received favorably by preschool advocates. And according to a recent Brookings Institute article by scholars Dale Farran and Mark Lipsey, Pre-K advocates have done their best to discredit these studies.

But as Farran and Lipsey explain, the attempts to dismiss these findings “are based on incorrect and misleading characterizations of each study.”

For starters, the Head Start study is dismissed on the grounds that some participants ended up in the wrong study group. But according to Farran and Lipsey, such occurrences happen in many scientific studies, and as such, are controlled for in the final statistics. The authors caution that this does not change the fact that children who participated in the Head Start program exhibited more aggressive behavior, the most concerning factor of the study.

Secondly, Farran and Lipsey explain that the Tennessee study is dismissed on the grounds that it is not a “high-quality” program such as those in major cities like Boston and Tulsa. However, when sample sizes are taken from each of these programs, Farran and Lipsey note that there is no major difference between the academic outcomes of each program. In other words, because of the similarity in the outcomes, those who dismiss the Tennessee preschool program as being low quality must also dismiss the programs they hold up as models.

Given this information, does it seem we need to study the effects of preschool education more before we wholeheartedly commit to public Pre-K programs? Is it possible that young children would learn more and have greater long-term success if they weren’t subjected to the classroom at such early ages?

Republished from Intellectual Takeout.

President Trump opens ‘all available’ Gulf of Mexico waters to oil drilling

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” said Zinke.

And not only that: it will also cut off a great part of the funding for the global jihad, which goes from our gasoline money to oil-producing states, where all too much of it finds its way into the hands of the jihadists who have vowed to destroy the U.S. and the free world.

“Trump Opens ‘All Available’ Gulf Of Mexico Waters To Oil Drilling,” by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, March 7, 2017:

The Department of the Interior will include “all available” federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that have not already been leased out for offshore oil drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Monday 73 million acres off the coast of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida would be offered at a lease sale in August as part of the Interior Department’s five-year leasing plan.

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” Zinke said in a statement.

Interior finalized its current five-year offshore leasing program in January, just before Trump took office. The current plan includes 11 potential lease sales — 10 in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

The Obama administration, however, did not include any lease sales in most of the Arctic Ocean and all of the Atlantic Ocean. The administration initially considered offshore drilling in those areas, but decided not to on the urging of environment groups.For now, it seems like the Trump administration will stick with current policies. that could possibly change one Secretary Zinke gets all his appointees in place. The Senate confirmed Zinke last week, and it’s unclear when they will hold confirmation hearings for other high-level Interior positions.

“The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Zinke said….

Shortly before leaving office, former President Barack Obama locked up even more offshore areas from drilling, issuing an executive order in December making 31 canyons in the Atlantic off limits to drilling. The order took 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic ocean out of play for drillers.

In that same order, Obama designated “the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing.”

Environmentalists supported keeping Arctic and Atlantic waters off limits to drilling. Activists say it’s necessary to protect marine life and slow global warming.

Trump, on the other hand, promised to boost U.S. energy production through opening more federal lands and waters for exploration and eliminating regulations. That includes rolling back Obama-era policies blocking offshore drilling.

“This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work,” Trump said of Exxon’s investments announced Monday….

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A Solid Case for the Full Adoption of LED Street Lighting

led street lights comparisonLEDs are fast replacing regular filament bulbs in many spaces. This is largely due to the ability of LEDs to save energy and provide a better quality of light. LEDs can be controlled to vary their intensity depending on traffic density and other factors. A typical HPS lamp uses 75% more electricity than an LED lamp. The quality of the LED light is higher, despite the lower power consumption.

There has been an argument that LED lights are 5 times more expensive to buy and install but a study showed that the street lights can pay for themselves within 6 years through the reduced electricity and recurrent maintenance costs.

Where LED street lighting has been tested, the problem that kept coming up was glare. The good news is that there are researchers in Germany who have made low-glare LEDs to be used for streetlighting. Here is our argument for the adoption of low-glare LEDs for street lights.

Environmental Conservation

One of the biggest drawbacks associated with the HPS lamps that are used for streetlights in many areas, is that they contribute to the mercury dumped on land.  HPS lights carry an estimated 6mg/100W of mercury while LEDs carry zero. The use of LEDs is also likely to reduce the emission of CO2 gases by 125 tons per year.

Dimming

It is possible to dim an HPS lamp. However, it is not easy to do so. The reason for that is special ballast is required to dim HPS lamps and the dimming limit is 50%. LEDs on the other hand can be dimmed easily. All that is needed is a small program to run the dimming. LEDs and the Internet of Things are easily compatible, making it possible to control LED lights remotely. A LED streetlight has a low dimming limit of 10%, which means it can be dimmed by more than 90%.

Longevity

The HPS lamp is likely to last between 10,000 and 24,000 hours before it burns up and needs replacing. While that is a decent mileage, LED lights can last well over 50,000 hours. The financial implication is that money spent on acquiring 2 HPS lamps can go towards the acquisition of an LED lamp.

Low-Glare

The most exciting development in LEDs for streetlighting is the discovery of a way through which to reduce glare. This has been a problem because it increases the risk of accidents happening. With this new development, there simply is no logical reason why streetlights should not be LED-lit.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by by Sergey Zolkin.

A Mother’s Plea for Her Son: The travesty of Derrick Miller

As a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel I stand with those soldiers who are put in harms way and are doing what they have been trained to do, close with and destroy the enemy using all means available.

I have written about the rules of engagement under the previous administration. In a column “President Obama killing our soldiers softly with his Rules of Engagement” Billy & Karen Vaughn wrote:

US soldiers in Afghanistan are now forced to fight a two-fronted war. Before each deployment, these soldiers understand fully that day after day they will do battle against relentless terrorists with shifting loyalties and unspeakable hatred. But what none of them could have foreseen was the killing field that would open from their rear…the Continental United States.

Our government’s incessant tightening of already restrictive ROE (Rules of Engagement), compounded by the failed COIN (Counterinsurgency) strategy—also known as “winning hearts and minds,” has made an otherwise primitive enemy formidable.

Our best and brightest come home in body bags as politicians and lawyers dine over white linen tablecloths; writing, modifying, and re-modifying these lethal rules…rules that favor the enemy rather than the American soldier. Rules so absurd they’re difficult to believe until you hear the same stories over and again from those returning from battle.

Billy and Karen Vaughn lost their son Navy SEAL Arron due to the rules of engagement, which benefit the enemy and harm, and kill, our men and women in uniform.

Sgt Derrick Miller

U.S. Army Sergeant Derrick Miller

I received this pleas for the mother of U.S. Army Sergeant Derrick Miller,

I am so thankful that Major Donahue asked me to send this e-mail to you today…

My name is Renee Myers and my son is Sgt. Derrick Miller of the Maryland National Guard.

Derrick is the kind of man every mother wants her son to grow up to be – strong, kind and loyal. He’s a proud daddy who adores his two daughters – this photo is one of my favorites of him holding his oldest daughter, Karina.

But what I love the most about my son is that he felt it was his duty as an American to join the National Guard. In fact, he volunteered for two of his three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, I wish I could go back in time and tell him not to…

Because for volunteering to defend our nation, Derrick has been sentenced to life in prison for doing exactly what the Army trained him to do!

You see, while on a combat mission in September of 2010, Derrick watched an Afghani national walk through his unit’s defense perimeter. The same man had been detained the day before under suspicion of driving insurgents to a nearby combat firefight.

So to be safe, Derrick and another U.S. soldier took him into custody for questioning with an Afghani interpreter.

Derrick asked the man why he was within the American defense perimeter. First, the man claimed to be an electrician responding to a downed power line. Then he claimed to be there to fix a water pump. Either way, he had no tools with him.

The Afghani grew more and more agitated as Derrick continued asking questions. Suddenly, he grabbed for Derrick’s weapon.

Derrick reacted immediately – firing and killing the suspect.

Richard, just days after the incident, Derrick was arrested and charged with “premeditated murder” of the Afghani insurgent!

For eight terrible months, we waited for the trial that would finally set the record straight and bring Derrick home to us. After all, there were witnesses who saw the whole incident and would testify on his behalf.

But instead, our government turned its back on Derrick – a decorated U.S. soldier – to appease Afghanistan officials.

Remember, another soldier had witnessed the interrogation and confirmed Derrick’s account. But he changed his story after the government threatened to charge him with accessory to murder.

The other witness was the Afghani translator. And in exchange for testifying against Derrick, he was granted U.S. citizenship.

Yes, our government brought him here to the U.S. and paid for him to live in an on-base hotel for six months with food, a personal van, and a $630 per month allowance – all provided at taxpayer expense!

Worst of all, the Army destroyed every bit of forensic evidence that could have proved Derrick was acting in self-defense. There were no photos. No autopsy. Nothing.

But I still believed the government would do the right thing. Instead, I held hands with my husband and Derrick’s wife, Katherine, and listened in shock as Derrick was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

His feet were shackled, his hands cuffed to a leather belt around his waist, and, just like that, my only child was taken from me.

Since then, the world has simply fallen apart for his precious family.

The military immediately stopped Derrick’s paychecks. Derrick’s wife and my husband and I had pooled together all our money to hire a civilian attorney to represent Derrick. It cost $50,000 – every cent we had.

Now, with no money in the bank, his wife couldn’t pay their mortgage, utilities, car payment, or Derrick’s student loans.

Derrick had always worked two jobs so his wife could stay home after their babies were born. Now she can’t. The girls are so little and they don’t understand. They ask her over and over again, Why can’t Daddy come home?”

They wake up at night and cry for him. And honestly, sometimes so do I.

Richard, I can’t bear the thought of the girls growing up without their dad. Or Derrick not being able to scoop them up in his arms before they’re grown. But we have only one hope left now…

You see, Major Donahue heard about Derrick’s case and contacted me immediately.

As you know, Major Donahue knows firsthand from combat tours of Vietnam that you can’t send U.S. soldiers into terrorist combat zones and second-guess their actions from a desk in Washington. And now UAP is ready to help Derrick.

But first, they have to raise money for an appeal, which will require hours of legal research, expert witnesses, and legal motions. Remember, UAP is a non-profit organization, which means they don’t receive any funding from the federal government – only private donations from patriotic Americans.

It also means that I’m going to take a deep breath and ask you one of the hardest questions I’ve ever asked another person:

Can you help me fight to free my son by sending a check for any amount to UAP?

Your gift is tax-deductible. And it will help us pay for Derrick’s appeal – and help other innocent soldiers who have been unfairly charged, too.

The federal government has already spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to convict Derrick and grant U.S. citizenship to the Afghani who testified against him.

But I must rely on the generous hearts of people like you to save my son.

That’s why I’m writing you today – to do what I can as the mother of a U.S. soldier to find good-hearted people out there who care about defending our nation’s troops.

Our attorney is going above and beyond the call of duty to fight for Derrick. But mounting his defense will cost us at least $30,000. It’s money we simply don’t have.

Can you please help UAP fund this legal battle and bring Derrick home to us?

Your $35 contribution could be the difference between letting my son rot in prison for the rest of his life for a “crime” he didn’t commit… or bringing him home to me and his girls where he belongs!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for any help you can send to UAP today.

Yours truly,

Mrs. Renee Myers

P.S. As a member of the National Guard who volunteered for two of his three tours of duty, my son has sacrificed so much for our country. Yet in return, our government has taken away his family and his freedom! Right now Derrick desperately needs to know that he hasn’t been forgotten! Thank you for whatever amount you can send today to give him hope and to help bring him home!

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would have resulted in some 75,000 law-abiding beneficiaries losing their Second Amendment rights each year. 

The SSA rulemaking was issued in the waning weeks of Obama’s presidency and targeted those receiving disability insurance or Supplementary Security Income based on SSA’s listed mental disorders and who were appointed a “representative payee” to help them manage their benefits. The agency –for the first time in its history– sought to portray these individuals as “mental defectives” who were prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms under federal law. It had planned to notify them of their prohibited status and to report them to NICS.

Making matters worse, the beneficiaries would have had no ability to argue about their suitability to possess firearms before their rights were lost. Instead, they would have been reduced to filing a petition for “restoration” of their rights, an expensive and bureaucratic process that would have required them to pay for a mental health evaluation and to prove they were not dangerous, a premise the government never established in the first place.

The plan drew fire not just from the NRA, but also from the ACLU and a wide range of mental health advocacy and treatment groups from across the political spectrum. Also opposing the plan was the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. The NCD issued a statement explaining:

Since the action was first proposed in 2013, NCD has consistently taken the position that equating the need for assistance in managing one’s finances with a false presumption of incapacity in other areas of life, including possession of a firearm, unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right and increases the stigma that [affects] those who may need a representative payee. The overly broad classification of “mental disorder,” includes a wide range of limitations and a shifting set of criteria relevant to whether or not one can engage in substantial gainful activity. NCD remains steadfast in our position that this classification remains irrelevant to the question of whether one can be a responsible gun owner.

The SSA received tens of thousands of comments in opposition to the rule. The NRA-ILA’s submission explained in detail how the rule was contrary to the underlying statute, to the U.S. Constitution and would function mainly to stigmatize the SSA beneficiaries and discourage others from seeking treatment and benefits to which they were entitled. It also argued that there was no empirical support for the notion that the rule would promote public safety.

The SSA, however, ignored the comments and issued the rule essentially as proposed. 

It also brazenly brushed aside proffered evidence that the targeted beneficiaries were not at any increased risk for committing violence with firearms. “We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence,” the SSA wrote. “Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA, which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories identified in 18 U.S.C. 922(g).”

Fortunately, pro-gun majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate acted quickly to disapprove the rule under the Congressional Review Act, a federal statute that allows Congress to use an expedited legislative process to overrule administrative actions passed in the waning days of an outgoing administration.

The efforts to roll back this unjustified and legally unauthorized rule were predictably met with a withering barrage of negative and fake reporting from the anti-gun media, with supposed “news” outlets issuing such ludicrous headlines as “Senate, House hand guns to seriously mentally ill.” All these reports completely ignored the fact that existing restrictions on persons who had been involuntarily committed or adjudicated mentally incompetent remained fully intact. By acting to block the rule, Congress simply disapproved the Obama administration’s attempt to create a new class of prohibited persons by “reinterpreting” a federal gun control statute passed in 1968.

President Trump’s signing of the measure not only served to help repair the damage to the Second Amendment wrought by the Obama administration, it ushered in what many hope will be a new era of respect for the right to keep and bear arms. Just over a month into his presidency, Trump signed a free-standing pro-gun bill into law. 

The NRA, of course, was among the earliest and staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid. We thank him for his quick action on this measure and look forward to working with him and the pro-gun majorities in Congress to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.