Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Voter Purge Law

A five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s voter purge system, finding the process by which the state removes inactive voters from the rolls does not violate federal law.

Although critics of Ohio’s practice charge the state’s true purpose is the removal of left-leaning voters from the registry, the high court found the process is consistent with federal law.

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“Today’s decision is a victory for election integrity, and a defeat for those who use the federal court system to make election law across the country,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said. “This decision is validation of Ohio’s efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing nation’s highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use.”

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Stephen Breyer led the liberal bloc in dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

Ohio’s maintenance process is fairly straightforward. Voters who do not cast a ballot during a full federal election cycle (which runs two years) are sent a mailer confirming they are still residents of Ohio who wish to remain registered voters. If the mailer is not returned, and if the individual does not vote for the next four years, they are removed from state rolls.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act requires all states to adopt policies providing for the removal of ineligible voters from state rolls. In his opinion for the court, Alito claimed 24 million voter registrations are currently “invalid or significantly inaccurate,” according to a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States. However, the National Voter Registration Act forbids removal “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.”

Civil rights and good government groups challenged the Ohio procedure, arguing it targets and prunes voters on the basis of their inactivity. Nonvoting, the challengers point out, is used twice by the state’s process: once as the trigger for the mailer, and again as a condition for final removal. But Alito explained that the National Voter Registration Act only prohibits the use of nonvoting as the sole cause for deregistration.

“We reject this argument because the Failure-to-Vote Clause, as originally enacted in the NVRA … simply forbids the use of nonvoting as the sole criterion for removing a registrant, and Ohio does not use it that way,” he wrote.

Sotomayor wrote her own dissent connecting Ohio’s procedure to “concerted state efforts to prevent minorities from voting and to undermine the efficacy of their votes,” which the National Voter Registration Act sought to curtail. Progressive organizers hit a similar tenor speaking after the ruling.

“Countless voters, including homeless and housing-insecure Ohioans, have already been stripped of their rights as a result of Ohio’s unjust and illogical purge process,” said Chris Knestrick, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. “By green-lighting Ohio’s purge process, the court allowed states to shut out the voices of these voters.”

Defenders of the process say it ensures the states maintain accurate voter rolls, which are not often updated to reflect forms of attrition like death or relocation. Opponents charge it is yet another iteration of GOP voter-suppression tactics, particularly because nonvoting is a poor proxy change in residence.

The civil rights groups challenging Ohio’s policy seized on this point, citing another provision of the National Voter Registration Act that permits states to use U.S. Postal Service data when sending confirmation mailers of the sort Ohio uses. This, the plaintiffs said, indicates that states may only use data points with a high degree of correlation to relocation as a trigger for the mailer, like USPS information or tax records.

But Alito rejected that arguments as well, stressing that their role was not to scrutinize the good faith policy judgements of Ohio’s state Legislature.

“What matters for present purposes is not whether the Ohio legislature overestimated the correlation between nonvoting and moving or whether it reached a wise policy judgment about when return cards should be sent,” he wrote. “For us, all that matters is that no provision of the NVRA prohibits the legislature from implementing that judgment.”

Some 30 states filed amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs in the dispute. A coalition of 12 Democratic states filed a brief arguing Ohio’s practices were unlawful, while 17 Republican states urged the high court to uphold them.

COLUMN BY

Kevin Daley

Kevin Daley is a legal affairs reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @kevindaleydc.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Supreme Court Gives States the Green Light to Clean Up Voter Rolls

Judicial Watch Statement on Supreme Court Decision Upholding Ohio Efforts to Maintain Clean Voter Rolls

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You Don’t Get to Rewrite the Constitution Because You Dislike Donald Trump

“Trump might not have a wingman running the Justice Department, but nothing in the Constitution stipulates that he has to prostrate himself in front of prosecutors, much less prosecutors who have veered far from their initial charge,” David Harsanyi writes of President Donald Trump.

If your contention is that President Donald Trump has the propensity to sound like a bully and an authoritarian, I’m with you. If you’re arguing that Trump’s rhetoric is sometimes coarse and unpresidential, I can’t disagree.

I’m often turned off by the aesthetic and tonal quality of his presidency. And, yes, Trump has an unhealthy tendency to push theories that exaggerate and embellish small truths to galvanize his fans for political gain. Those are all legitimate political concerns.

Yet the ubiquitous claim that Trump acts in a way that uniquely undermines the rule of law is, to this point, simply untrue.

At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has it right when he argues that “elites” often seem more concerned about the “mellifluous” tone of leaders rather than their abuse of power. “Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential,’” he writes. “Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens.”

But while former President Barack Obama’s agreeable tone had plenty to do with his lack of media scrutiny, many largely justified, and even cheered, his abuses because they furthered progressive causes. Not only did liberals often ignore the rule of law when it was ideologically convenient for them; they now want the new president to play by a set of rules that doesn’t even exist.

Partisans tend to conflate their own policy preferences with the rule of law, or democracy or patriotism. But the pervasive claim that the Trump administration has uniquely undermined the law, a claim that dominates coverage, typically amounts to concerns regarding how he comports himself.

For example, entering into international treaties without the Senate or creating fiscal subsidizes without Congress are the types of things that corrode the rule of law. Firing (or threatening to fire) your subordinates at the Justice Department, on the other hand, is well within the purview of presidential powers.

Trump, as far as I know, hasn’t shut down a single investigation into himself or anyone in his administration or campaign, despite evidence that a special counsel’s creation was based on politically motivated information.

Though he may be wrong, it’s not an attack on the rule of law for the president to claim privilege. Nor is a president undermining the rule of law if he pushes back against an investigation into Russian collusion.

Now, Trump might not have a wingman running the Justice Department, but nothing in the Constitution stipulates that he has to prostrate himself in front of prosecutors, much less prosecutors who have veered far from their initial charge.

The intelligence community is not sacred. Americans have no patriotic duty to respect former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or former CIA Director John Brennan. The president is free to accuse them of partisanship. Doing so is not an attack on the rule of law any more than the reverse.

Considering the amount of politically motivated leaking and false accusations that have been made over the past year, it seems absurd to expect anything different. The Clintons pushed back against Ken Starr, and Trump pushes back against Robert Mueller. Democrats shouldn’t have boxed themselves in by convincing their constituents that some incontrovertible proof of illicit or seditious behavior was just waiting to be uncovered.

Nor does Trump undermine the rule of law when offering presidential commutations and pardons (nor would he even, perhaps, if he were to pardon himself).

If Americans are displeased, they have recourse. Unlike presidents who pardon, say, personal campaign financers or terrorists near the end of their terms to avoid fallout, nothing stops today’s voters from electing representatives to impeach and remove Trump if they desire. That is the mechanism in place to stop the president.

Nor does Trump undermine the rule of law when he rolls back the previous administration’s unilateral abuses on immigration and bogus treaties. In many ways, Trump has strengthened the checks and balances that were broken by the rhetorically soothing President Obama. Mock it if you like, “but Gorsuch” will likely do more to curb the state’s overreach than any justice the left would ever put on any bench.

Now, any defense of the Trump administration will, of course, meet charges of sycophancy and “anti-anti-Trumpism.” But none of this is to argue that the Trump administration is a paragon of lawfulness. It’s far from it. So stop exaggerating. The astoundingly terrible and hypocritical arguments of the president’s detractors often make it imperative to defend neutral principles and process.

You don’t get to fabricate a new Constitution every time there’s a president you dislike. American patriotism isn’t predicated on pretending that Russia can flip our election with some Facebook ads, but it is certainly grounded in the idea that we all hold consistent constitutional principles.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” 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 of President Donald J. Trump is by Chris Kleponis/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom.

California Farmer Has Guns Confiscated and Faces Felony Charges After Trying to Register Rifle

California residents attempting to comply with the Golden State’s ever-increasing swamp of firearms laws and regulations should take warning. According to a report out of Bakersfield, a good faith effort to obey the state’s labyrinthine firearm rules will not spare a gun owner in technical violation of the law from the wrath of the California Department of Justice.

Back on May 17, local NBC affiliate KGET reported on the case of farmer Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann. According to the news outlet, the trouble started back in April when Kirschenmann attempted to register a rifle he owned with the California DOJ.

In California, “assault weapons,” or commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms with features the California State Assembly finds distasteful, are subject to registration. Pursuant to SB 880 and AB 1135, the California DOJ is now accepting registration of firearms lawfully owned prior to January 1, 2017 that fit the state’s new, stricter, definition of an “assault weapon” signed into law in July 2016. The change in definition targets firearms equipped with a “bullet button,” which allows the user to efficiently remove a fixed magazine with the use of a tool. The registration period runs through June 30, 2018.

The KGET report explained that during his attempt to comply with state law, Kirschenmann submitted photos of “an illegally modified” AR-15 to the California DOJ. This prompted an investigation by the DOJ that culminated in a raid of Kirschenmann’s home. Once inside the property, investigators allegedly discovered several unregistered “assault weapons,” a pair of suppressors, and what California terms a “multiburst trigger activator.”

Kirschenmann was arraigned on May 21 and given $150,000 bail. The farmer faces nine felony counts of unlawful possession of an “assault weapon,” two counts of possessing a suppressor, and one charge of possessing a “multiburst trigger activator.” There is nothing in the report to indicate Kirschenmann violated any federal laws or that he has misused his firearms in any manner.

The California DOJ’s persecution of Kirschenmann, following what appears to have been an honest attempt to obtain assistance in complying with state law, will sow further mistrust between the state government and gun owners.

The climate of distrust is understandable. Becerra and his predecessor, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have been at the forefront of demonizing gun owners. At Becerra’s 2017 confirmation hearing he told lawmakers that he considered his NRA F- rating “a badge of honor.” Back in February, Harris told the media that Americans can’t take pride in their country due to what she considers insufficient gun control laws.

Many gun owners are already reluctant to comply with registration laws, as such schemes are quite accurately viewed as a means to facilitate firearms confiscation. Moreover, Kirschenmann isn’t alone in his alleged failure to conform to Sacramento’s mandates. As history shows, when faced with California’s increasingly onerous and byzantine gun laws, many decent folks have unwittingly broken the law, ignored new restrictions, or opted for civil disobedience.

In 1989 California passed legislation that categorized certain semi-automatic firearms as “assault weapons” and required them to be registered. Few complied. Following the deadline and a “second chance” grace period, the Los Angeles Times reported that 46,062 firearms had been registered. Revealing the scale of noncompliance, the report went on to note that “The state Department of Justice has estimated there are 200,000 to 300,000 [commonly-owned semi-autos in the state]. Others have calculated as many as 450,000 to 600,000.”

With woeful registration compliance rates, one might expect gun control’s true believers to show leniency to those who make an attempt to comply with the law. Of course, that notion assumes gun control advocates consider registration in itself to be a valuable public policy. In truth, anti-gun advocates value registration only so far as it creates an additional barrier to gun ownership and enables confiscation.

Understanding this, California’s gun control laws have worked precisely as intended in Kirschenmann’s case. California officials have utilized them to remove firearms from one more benign American citizen and in doing so have inched closer to their goal of total civilian disarmament.

Chicago: The Real Story

What makes Chicago one of the best cities in the world for some, but one of the most violent in the world for others? Colion Noir goes to Chicago—walks the streets the politicians avoid, and talks to the people the media will never feature—to get the real story.

Media perceptions and influences. Politics. Identity. Pop-culture. Instagram. Backgrounds. The glorification of gangs. Economics. Modern segregation. History. Jobs. Education. These are the chapters that make up Chicago: The Real Story. And Colion Noir reads them without fear, finding truth through interviews with Karim Shakir, owner of Hyde Park Barber Studio; Dave Jeff of PHLI, Inc.; Leonard “GLC” Harris, Hip-Hop artist and community organizer; and Chip Eberhart, Master Instructor of Top Shot Academy.

I didn’t leave the Catholic Church, but Pope Francis has left us Catholics

In a review of Wim Wenders’ documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word  titled “Social Justice Warrior: A Review of ‘Pope Francis’  writes,

But what makes Pope Francis: A Man of His Word an utter failure is its refusal to engage the whole story of this papacy. Only a single, unspecific mention (at film’s end) is made concerning controversy, despite the fact that this is objectively the most divisive papacy since at least the last Medici (to be sure, for different reasons). [Emphasis added]

Why is Pope Francis the most divisive papacy since the last Medici?

Perhaps the most recent interview with Pope Francis in La Croix magazine by Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard sheds some light on his “divisiveness.” Here are excerpts from that interview with the Holy See [read the full interview by clicking here]:

QUESTION: In your speeches in Europe, you refer to the “roots” of the continent without ever describing them as Christian. Rather, you define “European identity” as “dynamic and multicultural.” In your view, is the expression “Christian roots” inappropriate for Europe?

POPE FRANCIS: We need to speak of roots in the plural because there are so many. In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones. John Paul II, however, spoke about it in a tranquil manner.

QUESTION: On April 16, you made a powerful gesture by bringing back the refugees from Lesbos to Rome. However, does Europe have the capacity to accept so many migrants?

POPE FRANCIS: That is a fair and responsible question because one cannot open the gates wide unreasonably. However, the deeper question is why there are so many migrants now.

[ … ]

More generally, this raises the question of a world economic system that has descended into the idolatry of money. The great majority of humanity’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a minority of the population.

A completely free market does not work. Markets in themselves are good but they also require a fulcrum, a third party, or a state to monitor and balance them. In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy. [Emphasis added]

QUESTION: The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?

POPE FRANCIS: Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.

In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq, where a strong government [under Saddam Hussein] previously existed. Or in Libya, where a tribal structure exists. We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account. As a Libyan said recently, “We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty.”

Ultimately, co-existence between Christians and Muslims is still possible. I come from a country where they co-habit on good terms.

QUESTION: The significance of Islam in France today, like the nation’s Christian historical foundation, raises recurring questions concerning the place of religion in the public arena. How would you characterize a positive form of laicity (Editor: ‘laicity’ refers to the French system of separation of Church and state)?

POPE FRANCIS: States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History. I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward. We are all equal as sons (and daughters) of God and with our personal dignity. However, everyone must have the freedom to externalize his or her own faith. If a Muslim woman wishes to wear a veil, she must be able to do so. Similarly, if a Catholic wishes to wear a cross. People must be free to profess their faith at the heart of their own culture not merely at its margins.

The modest critique that I would address to France in this regard is that it exaggerates laicity. This arises from a way of considering religions as sub-cultures rather than as fully-fledged cultures in their own right. I fear that this approach, which is understandable as part of the heritage of the Enlightenment, continues to exist. France needs to take a step forward on this issue in order to accept that openness to transcendence is a right for everyone.

QUESTION: In a secular setting, how should Catholics defend their concerns on societal issues such as euthanasia or same-sex marriage?

POPE FRANCIS: It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these issues]. That is how a society grows.

However, once a law has been adopted, the state must also respect [people’s] consciences. The right to conscientious objection must be recognized within each legal structure because it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is a human person. The state must also take criticism into account. That would be a genuine form of laicity.

You cannot sweep aside the arguments of Catholics by simply telling them that they “speak like a priest.” No, they base themselves on the kind of Christian thinking that France has so remarkably developed. [Emphasis added]

QUESTION: The Church in France, particularly in Lyon, has been shattered recently by historical pedophilia scandals. What should be done about this situation?

POPE FRANCIS: It is true that it is not easy to judge the facts decades later in a different context. Reality is not always so clear. Nevertheless, there can be no statute of limitations for the Church in this field. As a result of these abuses, a priest, whose vocation is to lead a child to God, destroys him. He disseminates evil, resentment, distress. As Benedict XVI said, there must be zero tolerance.

Based on the information that I have, I believe that Cardinal Barbarin in Lyon took the necessary measures and that he has matters under control. He is courageous, creative, a missionary. We now need to await the outcome of the civil judicial proceedings (Editor: As opposed to canon law proceedings).

What do these questions and answers say about Pope Francis?

Fundamentally they say he is more a politician and less and less a Pope. His answers go against the teachings of the Holy Bible. Let’s look at each of his answers above:

  1. “Christian roots” takes on “colonialist overtones.” Mark 16:15 NKJV, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” It is the duty of all Catholics, Christians and the Pope to preach the gospel to every creature. The Pope appears to believe that the success of France’s christian roots is something to denigrate rather than to preserve. Christianity has done much more for France and Europe than not.
  2. In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy. Government controlled economies create crisis that cause people to flee.Migrants are coming to Europe to flee government controlled socialist market systems. The same is true in South America, specifically Venezuela.
  3. Iraq, where a strong government [under Saddam Hussein] previously existed. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who murdered his own people using poison gas and started an extended war with Iran that led to the death of millions. Strong government is Communist/Islamic today. Pope Francis appears to be giving this form of government a green light.
  4. It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these societal issues i.e. euthanasia or same-sex marriage]. That is how a society grows. Society grows by following the word of the Bible on these issues. When euthanasia and same-sex marriage become the laws of the land society degenerates. Read Genesis 19, Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed.
  5. Church pedophiles “reality is not always so clear.” To clear the Catholic church of pedophiles the Church much defrock and excommunicate those accused of pedophilia. Not to do so gives succor to the sodomites.

Pope Francis is clearly working to change the Church to become more like the secular world. He is not up to the task of changing the world to be more like the Church. In this way alone is is much more dangerous that the Medici’s.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Non-Catholic’s Disappointment at Notre Dame

Supreme Court Ruling for Christian Baker Upholds First Amendment as the Founders Intended

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court upheld Jack Phillips’ constitutional—and natural—right to freely exercise his faith.

This important 7-2 decision dealt a blow to the inquisitorial and intolerant secularism that targeted the Constitution’s free exercise clause for radical redefinition.

As I argued in a 20-state brief to the court, the newly minted constitutional right to same-sex marriage that Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote into the Constitution two years ago should not abolish the long-standing constitutional right—free exercise of religion—that the Framers themselves placed at the top of the Bill of Rights.

This week’s decision is a victory for the First Amendment, which is specifically designed to protect—not persecute—religious faith.

We should thank God for this victory and the measure of relief it delivers for Phillips and those like him, but the onslaught nevertheless rages on. Defenders of religious freedom must not deceive ourselves about the nature of the fight. This is a clash of worldviews, and our opponents are not interested in compromising.

The other side is not simply asking for tolerance. It deceptively employs the language of “separation of church and state”—a phrase that does not actually appear in the First Amendment—to enforce rigid moral conformity using the coercive power of the state.

This is a strange inversion of the First Amendment’s purpose, which in fact was intended to accomplish the exact opposite: namely, to protect from government infringement the natural, unalienable right to worship our Creator and to live our lives in accord with his commands.

This inversion amounts to nothing less than the attempted establishment of a kind of secular orthodoxy that punishes dissent. What else are we to conclude when its advocates attempt to force a Christian baker to violate his moral convictions by publicly participating in a same-sex wedding?

This is not tolerance. It is the aggressive, punitive enforcement of secular dogma. It not only flies in the face of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment but also represents an outright rejection of the Founders’ own worldview.

The freedom of religion comes first in the Bill of Rights for a reason: It is foundational. It springs from the duties we owe to our Creator and therefore imposes on the state the legal responsibility to protect religion from public persecution.

Virtually to a man, the Founders were men of faith, and that faith was not merely private but infused their public lives as well. They understood that a flourishing America would be impossible without vibrant religious faith.

Their view, however, simply is not consistent with the new secular orthodoxy. As attorney general of Texas, everywhere I look people are being forced to choose between their reasonable moral convictions and invasive new dictates from activist judges.

The bullying of Phillips is only the most high-profile example. Innocuous expressions of Judeo-Christian piety are now wildly denounced, tried in court, and hounded from public view.

Even as we celebrate the victory in Masterpiecewe cannot forget the many other beleaguered Americans being subjected to the same attacks levelled against Phillips. Their cases are the next battlegrounds for religious freedom, and their legal defense will continue to be a defining characteristic of my tenure.

The details of these cases may vary, but the crux of the issue is always the same. Religion—particularly those in the Judeo-Christian tradition—falls afoul of the prevailing secularist convictions of our cultural elites.

This intolerant secularism then attempts to twist the Constitution’s straightforward protection of the “free exercise” of religion into its opposite: a weapon to bludgeon faith and expel it from the public square. George Orwell couldn’t have drawn it up any better.

Fortunately, the Constitution is a stubborn thing. The First Amendment does not lend itself easily to being marginalized. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump continues to appoint qualified, constitutionalist judges to the federal bench who will read the First Amendment’s protection of religious believers as it is plainly written.

Defenders of religious freedom must capitalize on this momentum: We must fight to apply the underlying principle that won the day in Masterpiece—the free exercise of religion—to similar cases all over the country. As attorney general of Texas, I will not budge in my defense of this most precious freedom from the onslaught of secularist orthodoxy.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ken Paxton

Ken Paxton is the attorney general of Texas. Twitter: .

Speculative climate chaos v. indisputable fossil fuel benefits

By Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek.

Judge William Alsup has a BS in engineering, has written computer programs for his ham radio hobby, delves deeply into the technical aspects of numerous cases before him, and even studied other programming languages for a complex Oracle v. Google lawsuit.

As presiding judge in People of the State of California v. BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, he insisted that the litigants present their best scientific evidence for and against the state’s assertion that fossil fuel emissions are causing dangerous climate change. Now he wants to see, not just the alleged damages from burning oil, natural gas and coal – but also the immense benefits to humanity and the people of California from using those fuels for the past 150 years and more.

Environmental and climate activists, including cities pursuing climate lawsuits against oil companies, almost never acknowledge those benefits, which are far-reaching and indisputable. We can only hope attorneys Anne Champion, Philip Curtis, Diehl Kemper, et al. and friends of the court will do justice to the many blessings attributable to our use of these once unimaginable energy resources.

For countless millennia, our ancestors struggled to survive amid deprivation and backbreaking dusk-to-dawn labor, often on the brink of starvation – with the bulk of humanity living little better than their domesticated animals. Average nasty, brutish and short life expectancy hovered in the low thirties.

But then, suddenly and miraculously, in barely two centuries, health, prosperity and longevity began to climb. First coal, then oil, then natural gas paved the way, providing the fuels for transportation, communication, refrigeration, electricity and other incredible technologies that improve, enhance, safeguard and save lives. Incomes increased eleven-fold. Mass die-offs so confidently predicted by Malthus and Ehrlich never materialized. In fact, global life spans more than doubled, and today billions of people enjoy living standards that even kings and queens could not dream of 120 years ago.

Sadly, equal numbers of people still struggle on the edge of survival. A billion and a half are still without electricity, two billion still exist on a few dollars a day, and millions still die every year from insect-borne, lung and intestinal diseases – largely because they still burn wood and dung, instead of fossil fuels.

In 1900, New York City’s 3.4 million people relied on 100,000 horses whose “tailpipes” emitted 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine every day. Sanitation crews cleaned it up, dumped it mostly in local rivers, and hauled dead horses to rendering plants. Farmers devoted thousands of acres just to growing horse feed. Imagine what today’s 8.6 million NYC residents would require and emit.

Today, far more powerful, far less polluting, trucks, cars, buses, trains, subways and airplanes move people, food and products far more quickly and efficiently. They take us to work, school and worship services; to the grocery, bank, drug store, doctor and restaurant; to movies, picnics and sporting events. Fire trucks help us battle devastating conflagrations, and ambulances take our injured to hospitals.

All these vehicles (internal combustion and electric) exist because of, are fueled by – and travel on roadways made with fossil fuels: asphalt from oil, metal and concrete manufactured using fossil fuels.

Even electric cars require oil, gas and coal for manufacturing and recharging. Indeed, the earth-moving machines, drilling rigs and production platforms, pipelines, foundries, factories and other technologies needed to extract, process and fabricate raw materials into the world around us exist because of fossil fuels. Every bit of metal, plastic, concrete, wood, fabric and food we see results from fossil fuels. Even wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels are impossible without the fuels that California so loves to hate.

Medical devices, computers, cell phones, radios and televisions, kitchen appliances, household and office heating and air conditioning, millions of other products of every description require fossil fuels for their components, manufacturing and daily operation. The schools and research laboratories that made our amazing technologies and other advancements possible are themselves made possible by fossil fuels.

The modern agricultural equipment and practices that feed the world share the same ancestry: tractor and harvester fuel, ammonia fertilizer from natural gas, pesticides and herbicides from petrochemicals. Carbon dioxide from burning these fuels helps crop, forage, forest and grassland plants grow faster and better, with less water and better resistance to droughts and diseases. Our bounteous grain and other crops mean fewer famines, except where forced starvation is used to subdue and eliminate enemies.

Indeed, between 1961 and 2011, the total monetary value of CO2 enhancement for 45 crops reached an estimated cumulative value of $3.2 trillion! Carbon dioxide’s annual enrichment value rose from $19 billion in 1961 to $140 billion in 2010. Between 2012 and 2050, these benefits will total $9.8 trillion!

Pharmaceutical and cosmetic products all have their roots in petrochemicals – as do paints, synthetic fibers and plastics. Hockey and football players are dressed head to toe in fossil-fuel-sourced materials.

High-rise office and residential buildings made possible by steel and concrete allow our cities to grow upward, instead of just outward, preserving millions of acres of wildlife habitats and scenic areas.

Then there’s electricity. Look around you, and try to imagine your life without this wondrous, pervasive energy source. Electricity was properly ranked humanity’s second most significant innovation of the past 6,000 years, after the printing press! It has created, shaped, defined and powered the modern world, and facilitated virtually every technological achievement of the past century. Electrification of nations is undeniably the world’s most significant engineering and life-enhancing achievement of the past century.

Economic growth, quality of life and longevity are directly correlated to sufficient, reliable, affordable electricity. In today’s world, nothing happens without it: communication, transportation and research; the operation of every home, office, hospital, factory and airport; refrigeration to preserve food and medicine; heating and air conditioning to save lives and enable people to survive and prosper in any climate.

Electrification will be increasingly important in the 21st century, and world electricity consumption is forecast to double within four decades, as electricity supplies an increasing share of the world’s ever-increasing energy demand. Fossil fuels will continue generating at least 75% of electricity, even in 2050.

Hydroelectric and nuclear (which radical environmentalists also despise and oppose), a bit of geothermal, and a smattering of unreliable, weather-determined wind and solar power will supply the rest. The land, resource and environmental impacts of building and operating wind and solar must also be considered.

Social media and internet search engines (to run biased searches for alarmist climate news) also depend on electricity – 91.4% of which was generated by fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro in 2016 in the USA.

Increased productivity generated by all these technologies creates the leisure time and wealth that enable everyone to enjoy evenings, weekends and holidays – and the fossil fuel transportation to go places (including to faraway, exotic locales and 5-star hotels for IPCC climate change confabs).

Finally, aside from nuclear-powered ships, our highly mechanized military gets there “the fastest with the mostest” thanks to fossil fuels, to combat terrorism and provide for our national defense.

Judge Alsup’s case is thus really about highly speculative manmade climate disasters versus indisputable fossil fuel benefits – as further documented herehereherehereherehereherehere and elsewhere. Indeed, today’s undeniable fossil fuel benefits outweigh any hypothesized climate, sea level and other costs by literally orders of magnitude: at least 50:1 to more than 200:1.

Barring major efficiency, battery storage and other technology improvements, renewable energy cannot possibly replace fossil fuels. Judge Alsup has no choice but to rule in favor of the oil company defendants … and all who rely on oil, gas and coal for the countless, life-enhancing benefits barely touched on here.

About the Authors: 

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

Roger Bezdek

Dr. Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and President of Management Information Services, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Hong Kong is by Arisa Chattasa@golfarisa.

At SCOTUS, a Make or Bake Moment

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I sat down with CBS’s “Face the Nation” and told a very surprised Bob Schieffer about the battle for religious freedom that was raging. Like many people, he seemed astonished to hear that any American — let alone the wedding industry — would be punished for their mainstream views on marriage. “I must say this is under my radar. I haven’t — I haven’t heard this.” Today, almost three full years into Obergefell, nearly everyone has heard their stories. And this morning, in the same court that created the mess of same-sex marriage, at least one of them has a happy ending.

For Jack Phillips, the national nightmare of June 26, 2015 came long after his own personal one. It would be two years until five justices on the Supreme Court empowered themselves to redefine an institution as old as civilization itself. Even then, the war for the freedom of dozens of bakers, florists, and wedding photographers had already begun. His own chapter in the broader drama started like so many others already had. Two men walked into his bakery and tried to order a custom cake for their same-sex wedding reception. As he had done before, Jack politely explained that as a Christian, he didn’t make cakes for activities that violate his conscience. Halloween, for instance. Divorce parties, for another. And yes, same-sex marriages.

“Everyone is welcome in my shop,” he tried to explain in an op-ed for the Washington Post, “be it homeless folks (many of whom I’ve befriended over coffee, cookies and conversation), the two men who are suing me, or anyone else who finds their way in. The God that I serve, whose arms are open to all, expects that of me, and it is my joy to obey Him. But creating a cake that celebrates a view of marriage in conflict with my faith is not something that I can do.”

The men sued — and in a case that took five years to resolve, the justices finally gave Jack his freedom back. In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed: Colorado’s treatment of Masterpiece Cakes was “inconsistent with the state’s obligation of religious neutrality.” “The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote on behalf of the court.” The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in its obvious contempt for Jack’s beliefs, “was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious beliefs.” The judgment, they concluded, “is reversed.”

For the Phillipses, who suffered through a half-decade of harassment, business losses, death threats, and everything else from the extreme Left’s playbook, the outcome was worth the wait. “It’s hard to believe that the government punished me for operating my business consistent with my beliefs about marriage. That isn’t freedom or tolerance,” he said. “I’m so thankful to the U.S. Supreme Court for this ruling.” Although the ruling was limited to Jack’s case, it’s an incredible victory — not just for the Phillipses, but for America’s long-cherished freedom to believe.

No one — and certainly no American — should be forced to compromise their views just because they’re unpopular with the government entity in charge. The newest member of the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, touched on this in his own concurrence. “… No bureaucratic judgment condemning a sincerely held religious belief as ‘irrational’ or ‘offensive’ will ever survive strict scrutiny under the First Amendment.” In this country, he writes, “the place of secular officials isn’t to sit in judgment of religious beliefs, but only to protect their free exercise… Popular religious views are easy enough to defend. It is in protecting unpopular religious beliefs that we prove this country’s commitment to serving as a refuge for religious freedom.”

Like us, Justice Clarence Thomas knew this crisis was coming. “In Obergefell, I warned that the Court’s decision would ‘inevitabl[y]… come into conflict’ with religious liberty, ‘as individuals . . . are confronted with demands to partic­ipate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.’ This case proves that the conflict has already emerged. Because the Court’s decision vindicates Phillips’ right to free exercise, it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day. But, in future cases, the free­dom of speech could be essential to preventing Obergefell from being used to ‘stamp out every vestige of dissent’ and ‘vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.’ If that freedom is to maintain its vitality, reasoning like the Colorado Court of Appeals’ must be rejected.”

The time is coming — and soon — when the court will have to wade into the bigger clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriage. When it does, let’s hope it agrees with the majority of Americans, who understand that — regardless of what you think about marriage — no one should be forced to violate revealed and established biblical truth. “Now that the decision has arrived, I can see the sun once again,” Jack wrote in an emotional response today. How much longer until dozens of other Christians can see theirs?

For more analysis on the Masterpiece ruling, check out this post from FRC’s Travis Weber.


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


RELATED ARTICLE: Black to Basics on School Shootings

1 Year After Trump’s Approval, Where Keystone XL, Dakota Pipelines Stand

It’s been a little more than a year since President Donald Trump approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines amid concerns the projects would destroy the environment.

Trump signed an executive order in January 2017, approving both pipelines as activists claimed they would desecrate the land. Keystone XL is getting bogged down in regulatory morass, but the so-called DAPL is humming along, producing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day.

dcnf-logo

Former President Barack Obama rejected DAPL before leaving office in 2016 and blocked Keystone XL in early 2015, claiming the Canadian line was unnecessary and hurt the U.S.’ credibility as a climate crusader. Trump overturned both orders, giving DAPL immediate approval and XL permission once local entities okay construction on the Keystone extension.

DAPL, which crosses underneath the Missouri River in North Dakota, began pumping oil in May 2017 and has caused oil production in North Dakota to skyrocket—reaching nearly 1.2 million barrels of crude oil produced per day in October.

The state also reported 60 active drilling rigs in April—more than double the number that were operational in May 2016. North Dakota launched 14,450 producing wells, the highest on record.

Officials also anticipate as much as $250 million in additional revenues during the 2018 budget term, surpassing the state treasury’s expectations. Increased energy production provided significant tax revenues for the state, with North Dakota’s Legacy Fund surpassing $5 billion in May. Oil production from DAPL was the catalyst for the improved fortunes, officials believe.

The project would not have seen completion were it not for Trump’s intervention. American Indian groups and environmentalists initially helped prod Obama into nixing the $3.8 billion pipeline. Members of Standing Rock Sioux, for example, believed the multibillion-dollar pipeline risked poisoning the tribe’s water supply and treading on sacred land, despite assessments concluding the DAPL was safe and largely avoided sensitive areas.

Activists ramped-up their anti-DAPL crusade shortly after Trump was elected. Two environmentalists with a long history of engaging in eco-terrorism were arrested in July 2017 for allegedly using blowtorches to burn heavy equipment on the pipeline route in North Iowa.

Keystone XL has seen similar reactions but has not yet received the go-ahead to begin construction.

TransCanada has dealt with years of delays and stonewalling. The Calgary-based company was relatively unknown until it proposed extending Canada’s oil pipeline system TransCanada projects. Keystone’s extension, which is expected to cost around $8 billion, will transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Keystone XL has also been bogged down in significant legal quagmires. Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club, among others, initiated a lawsuit in March 2017, claiming Trump’s approval was unlawful. Their case is being held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

But things could be looking up for TransCanada. The company already received enough commitments from oil companies to extend the pipeline, it announced in January. TransCanada believes work on the controversial project could begin in 2019.

TransCanada still needs easements from landowners in Nebraska and must secure water-crossing permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and land rights and construction approvals from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

EDITORS NOTE: Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

PODCAST: The Legal Grounds on Which Jack Phillips Won Supreme Court Case

The Heritage Foundation’s Emilie Kao joins us to discuss the Supreme Court ruling Monday on the case of Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Plus: Bill Clinton gets defensive about Monica Lewinsky and the #MeToo movement.

COMMENTARY BY

BREAKING: Jack Phillips Wins His Case

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor today of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, who declined to bake a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding because of his religious beliefs.

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a historic case involving religious liberty, LGBT rights, and the First Amendment.

In the 7-2 ruling, the high court said the Colorado Commission of Civil Rights, which had ruled against Phillips, demonstrated “clear and impermissible hostility” toward the baker and cake artist’s Christian belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

“The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [Phillips’] objection,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, in 2014 Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner Diann Rice compared Phillips’ not making a cake to slavery and the Holocaust. Rice apparently didn’t know that Phillips’ father fought in World War II and was part of a group that helped liberate Buchenwald concentration camp.

“For her to compare not making a cake to the Holocaust, knowing what my dad went through, is ludicrous, and personally offensive,” Phillips, 62, told The Daily Signal.

“This is a big win for the religious liberty of all Americans,” says Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “The Court held that the state of Colorado was ‘neither tolerant nor respectful’ of Jack Phillips’s beliefs about marriage. But as the Court also noted ‘religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.’”

“Americans should be free to live their lives, including at work, in accordance with their belief that marriage unites husband and wife. Congress and the states should make this crystal clear by passing legislation, such as the First Amendment Defense Act, which explicitly prevents the type of government intolerance that took place in Colorado,” Anderson added.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness is a senior news producer at The Daily Signal and co-host of “Problematic Women,” a podcast and Facebook Live show. Send an email to Kelsey. Twitter: @kelseyjharkness.

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In Baker Decision, Justice Kennedy Stresses the Importance of Religious Freedom

After Declining to Make a Wedding Cake, He’s Going to the Supreme Court. Here’s How That Journey Challenged His Faith.

4 Highlights From Christian Baker’s Wedding Cake Case at Supreme Court

Meet the Lawyer Who Argued at Supreme Court for Christian Baker’s Right to Free Speech

Underreported: Christian Baker Reacts to Government Official Comparing Him to a Nazi

Christian Baker Fears Loss of ‘Everything’ Unless Supreme Court Upholds Right Not to Make Cakes for Gay Marriages

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 TODA

Second Thoughts on First Amendment?

If there were a book on how to agitate an anti-faith extremist, chapter one would almost certainly recommend talking about the importance of religious liberty in America. That definitely worked on LA Times’s opinion writer Michael McGough, who was so perturbed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on international religious freedom report that he spent 446 words quibbling over the order of our First Amendment.

What did the secretary say that was so offensive, exactly? Nothing that isn’t common knowledge to everyone who’s taken fifth grade history. “Religious freedom is in the American bloodstream,” Pompeo said. “It’s what brought the pilgrims here from England. Our founders understood it as our first freedom. That is why they articulated it so clearly in the First Amendment.”

McGough, who must have missed the class on religious persecution in 17th century England, took issue with Pompeo’s observation that religious liberty was the key to all other freedoms. “Not quite,” he fired back.

“[B]y linking ‘first freedom’ to “First Amendment,” the secretary of state seemed also to be suggesting — erroneously — some connection between the two ‘firsts.’ If so, he wouldn’t be alone. In 1993, during a debate on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said: ‘It was no accident that the Framers of our Bill of Rights chose to place the free exercise of religion first among our fundamental freedoms.'”

“It’s true that the 1st Amendment mentions religion before it moves on to guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances… But the idea that this makes either the First Amendment, or freedom of religion, more important than other constitutional rights is a pious fiction.”

Of course, the freedom of religion was of preeminent importance to the framers. They were only a century and a half removed from the nightmare that drove 102 people to take a two-month journey to an unforgiving land on a ship the size of a volleyball court. They didn’t do that because they were adventurers — or in search of great riches. They came here for the freedom King James I denied them: the ability to worship freely and in peace. Years later, Samuel Adams talked about the relationship between these liberties when he said, “Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”

If McGough wants to squabble over the order of our First Amendment freedoms, let him. But that still doesn’t alter the reality that a free society hinges on free religion. And, ironically, by invoking Jerrold Nadler (who is as liberal as they come), McGough is exposing just how far outside the mainstream his position really is. If the importance of religious liberty is acknowledged by even the fiercest of New York Democrats, then this reporter is only marginalizing himself by attacking it. That — not Pompeo — is the real extremism.

Religious liberty is for everyone — not just for conservatives, and certainly not just for Americans. It’s a human right on which all other freedoms are built. “God who gave us life gave us liberty,” Thomas Jefferson said. “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”


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


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Farmer settles $2 million lawsuit against high-flying Green realtors

After a decade of litigation involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, Virginia farmer Martha Boneta has reached a settlement in her $2 million lawsuit against a husband-and-wife team of realtors whom she accused of colluding with an environmental group to drive her off her land.

While the terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed, Boneta is pleased with the outcome of her ordeal. “Justice has been served,” Boneta said triumphantly. “But no American should have to endure ten years of torment. No amount of money can ever make up for the suffering my family and I have had to go through.”

Boneta is the owner of a 64-acre farm located in Fauquier County, Va., about 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. Nestled on the edge of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Liberty Farm, as her property is known, has been painstakingly restored by Boneta, whose family purchased it in 2006. In addition to producing a variety of crops, the property serves as an animal-rescue farm, providing a home for sheep, goats, alpacas, emus, llamas, and other animals.

But casting a dark shadow over Liberty Farm have been efforts by well-connected people who, she believes, coveted her land. In her lawsuit against Phil and Patricia Thomas, Boneta accused the pair of malicious interference in her business, relentless harassment, and a host of other disturbing actions. Phil Thomas is owner of Thomas & Talbot Real Estate in high-end Middleburg, Va.; Patricia Thomas is principal broker with the firm and an attorney licensed to practice in the Old Dominion.

Targeting her Mortgage

Court records in Fauquier County show that the realtors colluded with an environmental group and government officials to purchase the farmer’s mortgage and otherwise meddle with her mortgage, including contacting the lender several times demanding that it sell her mortgage to the realtors. Court records also show that the realtors contacted various government agencies demanding that they investigate Boneta for such activities as carving pumpkins on her farm, hosting hay rides, and allowing visitors to pick their own vegetables. Records also reveal that Patricia Thomas used her law firm’s letterhead in letters to government officials urging them to take action against Boneta.

To avoid her communications from coming to light under the Freedom of Information Act, Thomas, court records show, sent packages with documents she obtained using her Virginia realtor license to the residences of government officials. These documents included Boneta’s banking records.

In one bizarre incident, court records show that Patricia Thomas called 911 one winter day claiming that Boneta’s cattle were freezing, requiring authorities to spend taxpayer funds to send inspector to her farm, only to find that the animals were in good care. More details on the harassment of Boneta can be found here.

Such was the demonization of Boneta that she was forced to shut down her farm in 2012. But public outrage over her mistreatment led in 2014 to enactment of legislation – known as the “Boneta Bill” — in the Virginia General Assembly that provided additional protection to farmers and enabled her farm to reopen.

Boneta has also filed suit against the Warrenton, Va.-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), in which she accuses the group of colluding the Thomases and of abusing its oversight of a conservation easement the PEC holds on her farm. That suit is still pending, and the future of the PEC’s oversight of the conservation easement remains in doubt.

“Fight for the American Dream”

What is not in doubt is that, in coming out swinging against the Thomases and the PEC, Martha Boneta has shown that the little guy or gal can fight back and win. Thanks to the example she has set, Boneta was named as one of the nation’s most amazing women by Country Women magazine. Two film documentaries – “Farming in Fear” and “Unsung Hero” have been made about her struggle to hold on to her farm.

“No matter how long it takes, stand you ground, and justice will be served,” she says. “When the bad guys try to steal your land and everything you have worked for your entire life, dig in your heels and fight for the American Dream.”

About the Author: 

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

RELATED ARTICLE: Neighbors, Farmer Settle Pitched Lawsuit Over Green Groups and Her Property Rights

VIDEO: Geert Wilders speaks out, demands the release of ‘freedom fighter’ Tommy Robinson

Jerry Gordon in his September, 2017 column “Telegraaf interview Dutch MP Geert Wilders — ‘In my opinion Islam is not a religion‘” wrote:

Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders is deeply concerned about Muslim integration. In our series Islam in the Netherlands  he is warning about the “perishing”of our culture. “It is not five to twelve or two to twelve, it is almost morning!” The leader of the second party in the country is pondering about very far-reaching measures.

It appears that England’s culture is perishing with the arrest and imprisonment of Tommy Robinson. Geert Wilders calls Tommy Robinson a “freedom fighter.” MP Wilders should know. His freedom to speak about Islam has led to his being sued by his own government.

RT.com in an article titled “‘UK behaving like Saudi Arabia’: Geert Wilders calls for release of Tommy Robinson” reports:

A petition asking Prime Minister Theresa May to free Robinson has collected over 400,000 signatures.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Tommy Robinson’s supporters on Saturday,  May 26, 2018 outside Downing Street / Facebook.

COVER-UP: Broward County Sheriff’s son held down 14-year old boy while friend sodomized him with a baseball bat

Bob Norman an investigative reporter for ABC News in Miami in his article “Parents call for investigation into Stoneman Douglas assault involving sheriff’s son” reports:

…But now, a report that recently surfaced has some victims’ families calling for a renewed investigation of [Broward Deputy Sheriff and Stoneman Douglas resource officer] Peterson for a case he handled four years to the day prior to the massacre. The case involved two 17-year-old students bullying a 14-year-old freshman, with one holding down the younger boy by his ankles while the other kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals and then took the victim’s own baseball bat and began shoving it against his buttocks, simulating rape, through the boy’s clothes. 

One of those assailants, the boy who allegedly held down the victim, was Israel’s son, Brett. Defense attorney Alex Arreaza, who represents shooting victim Anthony Borges, who was shot five times in the Valentine’s Day massacre but survived, said the case could have led to felony charges.

“He could be charged with a lewd and lascivious, and I’m being conservative,” Arreaza said.

Peterson claims in the report that it was a “simple battery” under the board’s discipline matrix, and he decided to give both of the boy’s attackers a three-day suspension. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

Heavy.com in an article titled “Brett Israel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know” reports:

Deputy Scot Peterson is being sued by Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack who was shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Pollack told ABC Miami, “[Peterson] was lazy and this could have given him protection to keep his job at the school during those four years.” Pollack, who is also on an investigative committee looking into the Parkland massacre, said that Peterson was rewarded with job security for protecting the sheriff’s son.

Peterson was widely criticized for his perceived cowardice during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. As the school’s resource officer, Peterson did not engage the suspect.

[ … ]

On his Twitter page, Brett Israel has been constantly defending his father against attacks over the handling of the Douglas High School shooting.

[ … ]

Brett has also been [at] odds with Parkland survivor, Kyle Kashuv, who is known for placing the blame of the massacre at the feet of “the cowards of Broward,” referring to Sheriff Israel’s department. When Kashuv shared a Daily Caller article about a no-confidence vote for Sheriff Israel, Brett wrote on Twitter, “You know Kyle, I hate to denounce you because I like what you stand for but this whole “politically motivated” movement to have the Sheriff removed has to stop. There is no basis for criminal conduct.”

Read more.

It is the duty of the Broward County School Board to protect its students. It is the duty of the Broward County Sheriff to protect and defend the citizens of Broward County, Florida. As the case of Nickolas Cruz moves forward more information about the shooting will be revealed. As the civil suit moves forward more information will be revealed.

It appears the political systems in Broward county are dysfunctional at the least and potentially criminal at the worst.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Brett Israel from his Facebook page.