The Brave New World of Legalized Sports Betting [Infographic]

For the past 25 years, betting legally on sports was possible in only one US state. However, in May this year, the US sports betting industry had a breakthrough. The US Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA. This decision meant that every state has the right to decide whether it would allow sports betting or not.

We’ll guide you through the changes that came with the US Supreme Court overturning the PASPA law. Which states have legalized sports betting? What kind of economic impact should the US expect? How will the employment rate change? The team at NJgames.org has prepared this infographic that holds all the answers you need.

So, here’s a brief of what you’ll find out in the infographic below. One of the first things you’ll discover is how New Jersey fought against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act law.

We’ll also share with you an in-depth insight into the legal status of sports betting in each US state. Below, you’ll find a graphical representation of states where sports betting has already been legalized after the US Supreme Court struck down the PASPA law. Other states have been grouped based on the direction they’ve taken towards legalization.

Did you know that Utah is the only state that won’t act on the US Supreme Court ruling in favor of sports betting? They won’t change their initial decision to disallow betting on sports. However, many other states that have already made progress in a different direction and that is to make sport betting legal.

The infographic also covers the impact sports betting legalization is expected to make on the US economy. Taking into account that the gambling industry in the United States already generates around $208 billion for 2018, sports betting legalization is expected to increase this sum even further. Sports betting operations will also result in an increase in jobs. The infographic will provide you with an estimated number of both direct and indirect jobs that will open with the introduction of sports betting.

Another important section is related to the monetization of real-time sports data. The two leading sports data companies are Sportradar and Stats. These two companies have a different target audience. While Sportradar works with gambling operators, Stats focuses on media providers. Will these companies stay on top of real-time sports data? What are the future trends that could possibly replace them? At the time being, Stats plans on investing in Artificial Intelligence, but the blockchain technology is also coming into play.

We cannot leave out betting on eSports from the picture. Our infographic will also provide you with valuable info about the potential revenue betting on eSports could generate in the next couple of years.

We hope you’ll enjoy it!

 

EDITORS NOTE: This column with infographic is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Keenan Constance on Unsplash.

Anti-blasphemy Laws, Free Speech and Religious Freedom

Anti-blasphemy restrictions essentially require people to accord sanctity to doctrines they do not endorse and subordinate their spiritual ideals to those who consider them infidels.


Freedom of speech is taken for granted in western society, but it is an essential right that is necessary for the perpetuation of constitutional democracy.  Unfortunately, it also seems to be an endangered species under stealth attack by extremism masquerading as diversity and tolerance.

As European courts enforce laws criminalizing the critical discussion of certain religions, and as the political left blames western society for inflaming Islamist passions by refusing to accommodate radical dictates, the right to speak freely is being threatened by a stultifying political correctness. What is being eroded are classical liberal values.

Nothing illustrates this better than a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights affirming an Austrian court’s verdict against a woman for suggesting that Muhammad’s marriage to a young girl as recounted in Muslim scripture was tantamount to child abuse.  The Human Rights Court held that her comments could be perceived as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam” and thus were properly subject to prosecution under Austrian law.

The net consequence of this ruling, however, was to enforce an anti-blasphemy restriction against speech, though the offending words were uttered in a pluralistic country that supposedly values freedom of expression.

Although criticism of specific belief systems could certainly offend their adherents, empirical analysis or even disparagement of any faith would be perfectly legal in the United States, where free speech is constitutionally protected and government is prohibited from favoring or promoting any particular religion.

The Austrian law affirmed by the European Human Rights Court would be unenforceable under the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and worship and prohibits the establishment of any state religion.

From an American perspective, restrictions on speech concerning Islam or any religion would be problematic because they implicitly imbue ideologies with human rights, though such rights adhere uniquely to human beings, not abstract ideas, beliefs or creeds.  Human rights are not inherent in thoughts per se, but rather in the people who express them. However, the premise that belief systems possess innate rights can be used to silence divergent thought; and rendering criticism of particular faiths unlawful may force people to submit to dogmas that conflict with their own ethical or spiritual principles.  Such overreach impairs the right to speak and worship freely while empowering ideological supremacism by eliminating public discourse.

Selective punishment of speech considered offensive to any faith community could encourage discrimination against people who believe differently.

  • Would such restrictions outlaw public criticism of Sharia by Jews and Christians who are deemed subjugated and inferior there under?
  • Would it be illegal for Jews to challenge those parts of Islamic tradition which hold that they are descended from apes and pigs or must be exterminated in the end of days?

It seems such laws could effectively require people to acquiesce to doctrines that are contrary to their own beliefs.

Those who support anti-blasphemy restrictions under the guise of hate-speech regulation do not truly respect or understand the freedoms that characterize western society  While advocates may claim that laws penalizing disparagement of faith protect all religions, such laws never seem to be enforced equally.  But regardless of whether they are applied generally or selectively, anti-blasphemy laws would not pass constitutional muster in the United States because they would require government involvement in ecclesiastical matters and potentially elevate certain faiths over others – all in violation of the First Amendment.

Regarding matters of faith, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  These two phrases together comprise the Establishment Clause, which prohibits government from establishing a national religion or favoring particular faiths.

Those seeking to stifle criticism of religion undeniably include Islamists who are anti-Semitic and denigrate other beliefs as matters of doctrine.  It seems ironic that secular proponents of speech regulations do not see a similar need to protect their own communities from radicals who promote anti-Semitism and hatred of western values, or who preach genocide and the destruction of Israel – a nation whose land they claim through past conquest and whose people they deem unworthy of respect or national autonomy.

Taken to its logical extreme, restricting the right to challenge supremacist ideologies would in fact insulate hateful words as long as they are uttered as expressions of faith.  In addition, such restrictions would essentially require people to accord sanctity to doctrines they do not endorse and subordinate their spiritual ideals to those who consider them infidels.

According to common dictionary usage, “blasphemy” is irreverent behavior toward things held sacred, and “sacred” is defined as veneration by association with the divine.  Consequently, sanctity is determined by ecclesiastical fiat, not objective universal standards. For words to be truly blasphemous, therefore, the speaker must recognize the sanctity of the target.  But disrespectful conduct cannot be blasphemous in the eyes of the offender – no matter how rude, boorish, or insensitive – if he does not acknowledge the object of his derision as sacred.  Thus, for example, non-Hindus who do not revere cows cannot be considered blasphemers for eating beef in India. Likewise, non-Jews do not sin by failing to observe Torah commandments binding only on Jews.

Proponents of speech restrictions argue that defamation of religion constitutes a human rights violation, but this is sophistry which assigns inalienable rights to concepts instead of the people who espouse them.  And although anti-blasphemy apologists may claim concern for the integrity of all faiths, their lack of regard for Judaism and western religions is glaring. In fact, those who discourage critical analysis of Islam (usually progressives) generally show little respect for Jews or Christians – either in the west or in Sharia states where they and other religious and ethnic minorities are marginalized and oppressed.

Where is liberal European outrage over the persecution of Christians or Zoroastrians in the Islamic world?  Why is there silence when Yazidis are murdered and their daughters forced into sexual slavery in Iraq or Copts are harassed and massacred in Egypt?  Progressive society seems interested in protecting only one religion from insult and bestowing minority status on a global faith community that comprises nearly two-billion people and has a history of aggressive expansion.

Political correctness offers an apologetic buffer for the doctrinal rejection of western values, and its practitioners seem willing to run interference for absolutist ideologies that mandate the subjugation of nonbelievers.  Suppressing speech under the guise of protecting religion might be consistent with rigid theocracy, but it is incompatible with the basic freedoms that define liberal democracy. And making it unlawful to question any specific ideology casts a repressive pall over individual expression and severely hampers the free exchange of ideas.

Free-speech advocates might recognize the threat posed by such laws, but few seem willing to challenge them for fear of being labeled bigots.  This reluctance recalls past ambivalence regarding UN anti-blasphemy proposals that sought to impose international standards for curtailing speech.  Over the years, various resolutions were proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and endorsed by its political allies. Though western support had subsided by the time the Defamation of Religions Resolution was passed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2010, many progressives had until then voiced sympathetic understanding for its motivations, if not its substance.  (Its non-Muslim state supporters included Bolivia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, and South Africa.)

Leftist support for speech restrictions would seem to corroborate the existence of a “red-green alliance” between radical Islam and a progressive left that denounces Jews, Christians and western values, while ignoring repression of religious and ethnic minorities throughout the Arab Mideast.  The point progressives conveniently ignore is that citizens in democratic society are free to worship as they choose.

It seems absurd when western courts effectively impose sanctions for the violation of imported sectarian standards that are contrary to mainstream cultural and religious norms.  Though Islamists might consider “infidels” subject to the dictates of Sharia, the notion that people can be controlled by parochial laws foreign to them is presumptuous and inconsistent with liberal democratic values.

European willingness to curb unflattering or “blasphemous” speech is not based on tolerance, but instead seems compelled by deference to authoritarian doctrines and anti-western sensibilities.  If the EU wants to maintain its liberal democratic traditions, however, it should make clear that while immigrants are welcome within its borders, they have no right to be insulated from speech they find offensive or to impose their religious standards on their host societies.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Israel National News. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Ricardo Mancía on Unsplash.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RESTRICTS CHINESE STUDENTS: Finally, America confronts a massive espionage operation.

On December 2, 2018 Voice Of America (VOA) published a news report, US Considers New Restrictions on Chinese Students.

This is certainly welcome news.  The actions of the Trump administration to restrict Chinese students studying in the United States has been long overdue given the outrageous conduct of the Chinese government in its massive spying program against the United States; which has been so pervasive that it has come to be sarcastically referred to by the American intelligence community as “Chinese Take-Out!”

Here is how the VOA article began:

The administration of American President Donald Trump is considering new restrictions on Chinese students entering the U.S.

U.S. officials say increased concerns over spying and the loss of new technologies are among the reasons.

In June, the U.S. State Department shortened the length of stay for visas given to Chinese graduate students studying in several fields. The fields include flight, robotics and some kinds of manufacturing. Visas were shortened from five years to one.

At the time, the officials said the goal was to limit the risk of spying and of the loss of intellectual property that is important to national security.

Now, the Trump administration is considering whether to carry out additional investigations of Chinese students attending U.S. schools.

Reuters news agency reported that officials want to examine student phone calls. They also are considering looking at students’ personal accounts on Chinese and U.S. social media sites.

Since taking office, President Trump has refused to follow the well-worn path of previous presidents who failed to put the interests of America and Americans first. This includes how the U.S. deals with China.

For decades, the relationship that the United States has had with China frequently defied comprehension and logic.  Consider that China enjoys Most Favored Trade Status, even while it has manipulated currency, has engaged in large-scale espionage and in the wide-spread hacking of U.S. computers that belong to our military, government agencies, corporations and even private citizens–in identity theft.

We must not lose sight that China, first and foremost, is governed by a totalitarian communist government that routinely and profoundly violates the rights of its own citizens.

Nevertheless, many American companies have moved their production lines to China providing China even greater opportunities to steal intellectual property from these U.S. companies.  This illustrates just how far CEOs of major companies will go to lower the cost of labor and overcome regulations while undermining the future of their own companies.  This practice is not a matter of corporate executives suffering from myopia but utter blindness, calling into question, not only the vision of those American executives, but their sanity as well.

Meanwhile for years, the United States has admitted hundreds of thousands of Chinese STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students and provided them with first-rate educations.

Chinese engineering students often take advantage of the expanding “Optional Practical Training” opportunities in the United States to work in U.S. companies that were of interest to the Chinese government to spy on, and acquire new technology.

Then these newly-minted engineers, computer programmers and other high-tech professionals return to China with their newly acquired skills to help build up China’s military.  When China rattles its sabers at the United States and other countries around the world, frequently those sabers were designed by those engineers who received their education in the United States.

Furthermore, indeed, all too frequently China also shares stolen technology with adversaries of the United States.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SEVP manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)–the web-based system DHS uses to maintain and manage information on the non-immigrants, whose primary purpose for coming to the United States is to study.

Every other year ICE issues a report about the enrollment of foreign students in the United States.  Here is the link to the latest such report:  SEVIS By The Numbers: Biannual Report On International Student Trends April 2018.

It disclosed, among other facts that:

Forty-nine percent of the F and M student population in the United States hailed from either China (377,070 students) or India (211,703 students), and interest continues to grow. Over the reporting period, both China and India saw proportional growth between 1 and 2 percent, with China sending 6,305 more students and India sending 2,356 more students. It is this level of participation from China and India that makes Asia far and away the most popular continent of origin. In fact, 77 percent of all international students in the United States call Asia home.

F student visas are for students enrolled in academic programs while M students are enrolled in trade schools.

While the report did not disclose how many Chinese students are enrolled in STEM courses of study, in years past, more than half of all Chinese students enrolled in STEM courses of study.

On December 10, 2018 Forbes Magazine published commentary by Arthur Herman, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, Huawei’s (And China’s) Dangerous High-Tech Game.  His piece focused on the implications of the December 1, 2018 arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada, allegedly because Huawei’s Hong Kong shell company, Skycom sold products to Iran that contained U.S. components in violation of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Here is an important excerpt from the piece:

What makes this arrest such a landmark isn’t just the fact that Meng is heir apparent to the Chinese tech company her father founded and which has gained nearly $100 billion in revenue in 2018; or because Huawei is currently the world’s biggest supplier of telecom network equipment and number two cellphone producer (Apple is third); or even the fact this arrest falls in the midst of a declared 90-day truce in the on-going trade battle between China and the Trump administration.

Instead, this is a shot across Beijing’s bow in a much bigger struggle, the one for high-tech supremacy between the U.S. and China—the one that will decide the fate of the 21st century. Meng’s arrest sends the message that Huawei, and its Chinese Communist Party puppet masters, are playing a dangerous game, if they think they can win this high-stakes struggle by any means fair or foul.

Three days later, on December 13th Herman wrote a followup piece, A Death In Silicon Valley ‘With Chinese Characteristics’ that reported on the suicide of the distinguished Chinese quantum physicist, venture capitalist, and Stanford University professor Zhang Shoucheng that took place on December 1, 2018, the same day that the CFO of Huawei was arrested in Canada.

Although Shoucheng was a naturalized U.S. citizen, he maintained disturbingly close links with the Chinese government.

Consider these excerpts from the article:

“Despite being a naturalized U.S. citizen, Zhang maintained close contact with the Communist regime in China (the head of ShanghaiTech, for example, is the son of former party leader Jiang Zemin). His company Digital Horizon Capital, known by the acronym DHVC, has been identified as part of a major Chinese infiltration effort into Silicon Valley, according to the U.S. Trade Representative Richard Lighthizer’s latest report on China—a report released just days before Zhang’s death.”

Lighthizer’s report specifically named Zhang’s DHVC as part of the “web of entities” set up in Silicon Valley “to further the industrial-policy goals of the Chinese government.” Zhang’s DHVC, as it turns out, is heavily back by the investment arm of an entity called the Zhongguancum Development Corporation (ZDG), a Chinese government state-owned firm, which revealed on its website during DHVC’s launch that Zhang’s outfit was going to focus on innovative technology being fostered at Stanford and elsewhere in Silicon Valley, for the benefit of ZDG.”

I addressed my concerns about Chinese aggression in three recent articles that were published earlier this year:

Fears About Chinese ‘Trade War’ Are Late And Dumb
China has been waging economic war against the U.S. for decades.

China Ratchets Up Its U.S. Spying Programs
American Universities and financial institutions are at risk.

Chinese Citizen Arrested By FBI For Spying On U.S.
A case that highlights the nexus between immigration and espionage.

On December 20, 2018 the DOJ issued a press release, “Two Chinese Hackers Associated With the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaigns Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information.”

On September 10, 2018 Newsweek reported, “China’s Role In Russia’s Largest War Games Shows Beijing-Moscow Ties Are Strengthening, Experts Say.”

On September 13, 2018 Newsweek reported, “Will China Bail Out Venezuela? Maduro Heads To Beijing Amid U.S. Invasion Rumors.”

As the article reported:

China has sent more than $50 billion to Venezuela over the past decade in the form of oil-for-loan deals, according to Reuters. These have allowed Beijing to secure much-needed fuel for its growing economy while supporting a vehemently anti-American government in South America.

Furthermore, as I noted in my recent article, Caravan Of ‘Migrants’ – A Crisis Decades In The Making, The President of Guatemala has claimed that cash-strapped Venezuela has provided funding to the “Caravan of Migrants.”

It is possible that China and/or Iran have provided cash to Venezuela that was then used to subsidize at least some of the costs of organizing and transporting thousands of aspiring illegal aliens who sought to enter the United States by whatever means possible.

On September 14, 2018 Newsweek reported,  “Chinese Deal To Take Over Key Israeli Port May Threaten U.S. Naval Operations, Critics Say.”

My dad taught me that bullies could intimidate me only if I permitted them to intimidate me.

President Trump is demonstrating a clear lesson to the thugs and bullies of the world that finally America will no longer be pushed around.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine. It is republished with permission.

E-Verify and Anti-Sanctuary Bills Filed In Florida

In the space of roughly a week, bills have been filed in the Florida Legislature to require mandatory E-Verify by all employers, and to prohibit sanctuary policies by local governments and state agencies. The Sunshine State’s lawmakers look to be gearing up for a productive session when they convene on March 5, and these bills could be considered during interim committee weeks already scheduled for January and February.

E-Verify

On December 11, Representative Thad Altman (R-Melbourne/Indialantic) filed House Bill (HB) 89. The bill would:

  • Require all private employers to register with E-Verify and use it to verify that all new employees hired after January 1, 2020, are legally authorized to work in the US;
  • Require all state agencies, local governments, public contractors and public subcontractors to register with E-Verify and use it to verify that all new employees hired after July 1, 2019, are legally authorized to work in the US;
  • Create an enforcement process for private employers, run by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), where employers lose their business licenses for employing illegal aliens;
  • Require DEO to report illegal alien employees to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);
  • Ban public contracts with contractors or subcontractors who don’t use E-Verify; and
  • Terminate existing public contracts if contractors or subcontractors employ illegal aliens or don’t use E-Verify.

“I think it’s fair and not onerous to businesses that want to follow the law … We are sending a clear message that if you want to do business in this state, you must employ legal U.S. citizens and residents,” Altman said of his bill. Unsurprisingly, the far-left Miami New Times almost immediately ran an op-ed condemning the bill, the E-Verify program generally, and Altman personally as anti-immigrant and racist.

But not to be dissuaded by such rhetoric, a week later, on December 18, Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville/Fernandina Beach) filed Senate Bill (SB) 164, which with very minor differences mirrors Altman’s bill.

A proposal to put mandatory E-Verify on this past November’s Florida ballot had failed in the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) back in April after a coalition of business groups bombarded the CRC at the last minute with unfounded horror stories about how it would impose huge costs and destroy the state’s economy. This was despite the fact that E-Verify is free to use and almost always instantaneous, and also despite that, according to FAIR’s research, in 12 out of 15 states that adopted it since 2008, the unemployment decreased more than did the national rate.

But on the campaign trail in July, now-Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted, “Cheap foreign labor is not an excuse to let lawlessness prevail in the sunshine state. We want people who come LEGALLY!” He can be expected to strongly support the new bills, so with backing in both chambers and the Governor’s Mansion, prospects for E-Verify in Florida appear good.

Anti-Sanctuary

On December 18, Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) filed SB 168. The following day, Sen. Bean filed SB 170. The bills are identical and would:

  • Define and ban sanctuary policies, both by local governments and state agencies such as public universities;
  • Require local governments and state agencies to honor immigration detainers;
  • Require local governments and state agencies to review available information on the immigration status of people they’ve arrested, and report them to ICE if the information indicates they’re an illegal alien;
  • Create a duty to report sanctuary policies by officers and employees of local governments and state agencies, and give them whistleblower protection against adverse employment action if they report their own employer;
  • Allow anyone to file a complaint about a sanctuary policy;
  • Create an investigation and enforcement process for both local state attorney’s offices and the attorney general, resulting in fines for sanctuary governments and agencies and a potential for removal from office for “sanctuary policymakers”; and
  • Allow people to sue a local government or state agency for damages if an illegal alien injures or kills someone due to a sanctuary policy.

A companion bill has not yet been filed in the House but can probably be expected shortly.

Sen. Bean sponsored SB 308 in the Senate last year to do the same thing. Sen. Gruters is a longstanding supporter of Governor-Elect DeSantis, “has relationships with … [DeSantis’] team,” and is being backed by DeSantis to be the next Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

As a candidate, then-Congressman DeSantis promised, “[a]s governor, this is what I am going to do: there are going to be no sanctuary cities in Florida,” and even committed himself to removing public officials from office for supporting sanctuary policies “if I’m able to do so.” These bills are the means to fulfilling those promises, so they are likely to garner his strong support.

Anti-sanctuary bills have now passed the House by wide margins three years in a row, only to die in the Senate without so much as a full committee hearing. But with such clear and strong support so far in advance of session, there is good reason to expect 2019 may be the year that changes.

COLUMN BY

David Jaroslav

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. © Copyright 2018 Federation For American Immigration Reform, all rights reserved.

Saying You’re Against Fascists Doesn’t Excuse Acting Like One

Despite claims that Antifa fights fascism, the group’s tactics actually mirror those of Benito Mussolini’s regime.


On March 23, 1919, Benito Mussolini, an Italian veteran of the Great War and a publisher of socialist newspapers, created the Fasci di Combattimento (commonly known as the Fascist Party) with the help of a few syndicalist friends.

Nearly one hundred years later, the word fascism remains at the forefront of our political discourse even though fascism is all but dead as a political force, and the word has lost much of its meaning (if not its power).

So why are we still talking about fascists?

On November 8, the late-night TV host Stephen Colbert took to Twitter to condemn a mob that had attacked the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“Fighting Tucker Carlson’s ideas is an American right,” Colbert wrote. “Targeting his home and terrorizing his family is an act of monstrous cowardice. Obviously, don’t do this, but also, take no pleasure in it happening. Feeding monsters just makes more monsters.”

The attackers consisted of a group who called themselves Antifa. Few Americans had heard the word “Antifa” prior to 2016. But that’s no longer the case.

In addition to the attack on Carlson’s home, numerous high-profile incidents involving Antifa—the “Battle of Berkeley,” the tragedy in Charlottesville, and a series of street battles in Portland—have thrust the loosely organized political group into the national spotlight. (It’s difficult to miss gangs of black-clad individuals who wear masks, tote weapons, and pick fights with political opponents.)

Antifa, if you have not already guessed, is short for anti-fascism. Conduct a Google search, and you’ll see Antifa oppose fascist ideologies, people, and groups.

This is part of the brilliance of Antifa. Unlike most fringe political groups, Antifa is not named for something. Their name expresses opposition to an ideology, one that is at once vile and nebulous.

More than seven decades ago, the British writer George Orwell observed that the term fascism had lost any coherent meaning.

“The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable,’” Orwell wrote in his essay “Politics and the English Language.”

Because of the ambiguous nature of the word, Antifa and other alt-left groups have been able to brand thinkers as diverse as Charles MurrayChristina Hoff SommersJordan B. Peterson, and Ben Shapiro as “fascist.”

Moreover, by branding themselves as “antifascist,” Antifa inoculate themselves from the criticism that usually is directed toward extremist groups.

Colbert’s condemnation of Antifa’s attack on Tucker Carlson’s home notwithstanding, there has been a cultural reluctance to condemn Antifa’s political violence and tactics.

In 2017, following the tragic events in Charlottesville, which involved a showdown between white supremacists and Antifa members, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said it was wrong to equate fascists and anti-fascists.

“No, not the same,” Romney tweeted. “One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.”

Romney expressed a common belief, but Antifa is hardly the polar opposite of fascism. An examination of Antifa and the fascists of the 1920s and 1930s reveals striking similarities.

Many historians and political writers describe fascism as a right-wing movement, and the claim has an element of truth to it. When Mussolini and his syndicalist friends created the Fasci di Combattimento, it’s true they embraced Italian nationalism. Yet the party also called for the seizure of church lands, the confiscation of finance capital, and the abolition of the Italian monarchy and Senate.

In fact, Mussolini was an ardent Marxist for years. The son of a socialist-anarchist craftsman, he was well-versed in the works of Karl Marx, whom he praised as “a magnificent philosopher of working-class violence.” The extent to which Mussolini’s fascists simply copied their socialist predecessors has often been overlooked.

In his magnum opus Modern Times, the historian Paul Johnson explains that Mussolini was highly influenced by Kurt Eisner, who was cited several times in Mussolini’s fascist programme. Eisner’s “Bavarian fighting squads,” which inspired Mussolini’s Fasci di Combattimento, were themselves inspired by Lenin’s “men in black leather jerkins,” Johnson points out. Mussolini’s use of the term “vanguard minorities” to describe the shock troops of his revolution was almost certainly inspired by Lenin’s “vanguard fighters” (a term Lenin first used in 1903).

Communists and fascists of the 1920s and 1930s were unified by one thing above all else: their willingness to use political violence to achieve political goals. Mussolini, like Lenin, had no qualms about using violence in his effort to “make history, not endure it” (a Marx quote Mussolini was fond of employing).

The use of violence to attain political goals is a stance Antifa similarly embraces.

Antifa openly advocates and employs violence and intimidation. Like Mussolini’s “vanguard minorities,” they dress in black garb (though Antifa members often also cover their faces) and use intimidation and violence to prevent political opponents from assembling. These tactics include launching feces at law enforcement and using bricks, bats, chains, and knives in their street wars.

The methods are ostensibly reserved for fascists, yet so many have shown a willingness to overlook the fact that Antifa is employing fascist tactics. Antifa is given a pass because labeling the other side as “fascist” automatically makes them “good,” for they are the ones fighting against fascism. It’s a brilliant rhetorical trick. As Chris Cuomo said in defense of Antifa on a carefully-worded CNN segment in August, “fighting against hate matters.”

In a moral universe where the ends justify the means, using fascist tactics to fight fascists (or people deemed fascists) is entirely proper. The dangers of embracing the philosophy of violence, however, are severe. For as Solzhenitsyn observed, the first casualty of violence is the truth.

“Violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood,” the Russian writer observed prior to his exile from the Soviet Union. “Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his method must inexorably choose falsehood as his principle.”

Solzhenitsyn’s point is one Antifa should seriously consider. If they do not, and they persist in their defense and employment of violence as a means to their political ends, Antifa will continue to be “interwoven with falsehood.” Their grandiose aims will prove as empty and sterile as those of the Jacobins and Bolsheviks who preceded them.

In our next piece on the rise of Antifa, we will explore the root of their philosophy and examine precisely why they think it’s justifiable to use fascist techniques in the name of fighting fascism.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. Serving previously as Director of Digital Media at Intellectual Takeout, Jon was responsible for daily editorial content, web strategy, and social media operations. Before that, he was the Senior Editor of The History Channel Magazine, Managing Editor at Scout.com, and general assignment reporter for the Panama City News Herald. Jon also served as an intern in the speechwriting department under George W. Bush.

Tyler Brandt

Tyler Brandt

Tyler Brandt is a Content Associate at FEE. He is a graduate of UW-Madison with a B.A. in Political Science. In college, Tyler was a FEE Campus Ambassador, President of his campus YAL chapter, and Research Intern at the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

EDITORS NOTE: This column from FEE with images is republished with permission.

Judge Sullivan Must Recuse Himself From Flynn Case

When I was in sixth grade, I was chosen to be the defense attorney for a classmate. Evelyn was accused of passing an answer to a test question to a fellow student during an exam. She was accused of cheating.

Evelyn was a great student, and she had never been accused of cheating before, but her accuser was none other than the principal of the school, Dr. Gil Beltrán.

As it were, Dr. Beltrán had seen Evelyn pass the note to her friend when, while performing his routine rounds, he glanced through one of the door windows behind the class and saw the allegedly illegal act take place. Upon seeing the exchange of information, Dr. Beltrán opened the back door of the class, signaled to the receiving student to hand over whatever paper Evelyn had just handed him, and opened it.

You could hear a pin drop as Dr. Beltrán stared down at Evelyn and signaled for her to go to his office. Evelyn cried for hours after that prompting the rest of us to protest about the unfairness of the treatment to which Evelyn was being subjected.

At some point, and I am foggy on the details, Dr. Beltrán offered us our class a compromise. We would have a trial, one with witnesses, lawyers, and a judge; the whole deal. I think Dr. Beltrán (may he rest in peace) concluded this would be a great opportunity for us kids to engage in experiential learning. Of course, Evelyn was the defendant, and I was chosen by the principal himself to be her attorney. And to serve as my co-counsel, the principal chose Dagoberto, my best friend in the world.

But the principal also picked himself to serve as the judge, and the trial would take place in his office; in a week.

Dago and I zealously worked to get Evelyn off. First, we learned that what Evelyn had handed to her friend, was not an answer to the test, but a question about what they were going to do after school. Unfortunately, the principal, Dr. Beltrán, had since thrown away the piece of paper.

And in a great development for the defense, we were also able to procure the teacher as a witness who was willing to testify that not only did she not see Evelyn pass any piece of paper that day, but that Evelyn was a young lady of impeccable character and would be the last student the teacher would have expected to engage in cheating.

Overall, Dago and I were feeling pretty good about our case. At best, we might be able to get Evelyn off altogether. At worst, she would be found guilty of a lesser offense such as disruptive class behavior.

Despite our success at building the case: the accuser was also the judge. I remember Dago and I worried that we would not be able to bring Dr. Beltrán to the stand because a) he was the principal; and b) he was the judge. How do you get the judge to serve as a witness? Dago and I asked ourselves. For the answer to this question, Dago and I would need a classmate friend’s parent who was also an attorney! But try as we did, we couldn’t find one.

Our school, La Lúz School, was a small private, Cuban immigrant school where the Cuban National Anthem was played immediately following the American National Anthem every morning while we stood in ranks with our hands on our hearts and where the Cuban flag proudly waived next to the Stars and Stripes.

At that time, most Cubans had not had the time in country to become members of the learned professions.

So, into trial at the principal’s office we went with the whole class as our audience.

I’ll never forget it! I thought our team performed marvelously. We laid out the facts of the case by calling our witnesses to the stand and having each tell his or her story. We were able to ascertain that the note was not an answer to a test question, that Evelyn had impeccable character, and that no one, except the accuser, ever saw her even pass the paper; a paper no one could produce!

Still, we lost.

Why? Because the judge, who was also the accuser and who was not called to the stand said he knew what he saw, and that Evelyn was guilty.

It wouldn’t be until years later, during a high school civics class, that I learned that the judge could not be a witness or a party to the case!! I needed to move that the judge recuse himself because he was the witness AND the accuser! 

The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because it was the first thing that came to mind when I heard of the shenanigans that took place yesterday at General Michael Flynn’s sentencing hearing.

Let me be clear. I believe that General Flynn lied to the FBI and in so doing broke the law. I also believe he was set up to lie by a manipulative, vindictive, and agenda-driven FBI bent on entrapping the General. What’s more, I believe the investigators in this case were the primary reason General Flynn was without an attorney at their meeting of Jan. 24, 2017, and to allow the FBI to get away with that level of disrespect to a defendant’s rights is repulsive.

But yesterday, a new offense arose. Yesterday, we learned for the first time, that Judge Emmet Sullivan, the judge assigned to the Flynn case, is horribly and irreparably biased against Flynn, and we know this from the judge’s very words.

During the hearing, Judge Sullivan is quoted as saying to Flynn, “I am not hiding my disgust, my disdain for your criminal offense.” At one point, the judge went on to state that Flynn, a 33-year Army veteran of war and peace, had betrayed his country and asked whether General Flynn could be accused of treason. Treason!

That is the only crime so egregious, so vile, and so disgusting to the Framers that it stands as the only one mentioned by name in the Constitution of the United States and punishable by hanging. The same crime for which Jane Fonda was not accused when she pranced around in her short shorts in front of the Viet Cong and sat on an anti-aircraft battery for a photo op.

This is what Judge Sullivan thinks of General Flynn! I notice that Judge Sullivan never served in our nation’s military. Never saw bullets flying nearby while wearing a helmet and shrapnel vest, and never spent months overseas away from his family not knowing if he would ever get back home because he might say hello to an enemy bullet first.

With all due respect to the judge, I will put one year of General Flynn’s service to this great country against the judge’s whole career any day and easily come out winning.

Admittedly, the judge corrected himself and apologized for his remarks, to which I will respond in kind. I apologize for those last two paragraphs and strike them from the record.

But regardless of how I feel about this case, we still have a very significant problem. We still have a judge who is disgusted by the defendant and holds disdain for him to the point where he would consider employing the word treason around this American hero.

It’s like having Dr. Belrtrán try a case all over again, except this time, although I am not Flynn’s attorney, I know better.

Judge Sullivan, recuse yourself from this case!

RELATED ARTICLE: The Evidence Coming Out Of The Flynn Case Makes Mueller Look Worse And Worse

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured photo is by rawpixel on Unsplash.

Justice Ginsburg Told Audience Her Health Was ‘Fine’ Days Before Cancer Operation

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she was in good health during a public appearance in New York City Saturday, just days before she had surgery for lung cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg interviewed Ginsburg at the Museum of the City of New York on Dec. 15, where she asked the 85-year-old justice about her health.

“It’s fine, thank you,” Ginsburg replied. She went on to say that she had resumed her vaunted fitness regiment with her personal trainer after fracturing three ribs in a November fall at her chambers in the Supreme Court.

Less than a week later, doctors in New York removed two cancerous nodules from her left lung. The procedure is called a pulmonary lobectomy. Medical personnel at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., made the diagnosis in November while her fractured ribs were treated.

It is not clear when the surgery was scheduled, and it is not unusual for the justices to defer announcements relating to surgeries or milder forms of medical treatment until after they have taken place.

There is no standardized process for Supreme Court justices to make disclosures as to their health, and the justices themselves are sometimes imprecise about their ailments or overall well-being. For example, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist underwent a tracheotomy in 2004 relating to his thyroid cancer. That procedure is not typical of thyroid cancer treatment, however, prompting speculation as to possible complications and his general prognosis.

WATCH Justice Ginsburg’s interview with Nina Totenberg:

The House Judiciary Committee adopted legislation that would require the justices to submit for regular medical exams on Sept. 13. Among other things, the bill requires the attending physician to inform the chief judge or justice of a particular court if they make a diagnosis that would inhibit a member of the court from fulfilling their duties. 

The high court says Friday’s surgery was successful. Pre-surgery scans “indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” according to Ginsburg’s surgeon, Dr. Valerie Rusch.

“Currently, no further treatment is planned,” Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement Friday. “Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.”

The Supreme Court is currently adjourned for the holidays. The justices are not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 4, when they will discuss pending petitions. Oral arguments will resume on Jan. 7.

Ginsburg has never missed a day of official business. She even continued her work as a justice while receiving chemo and radiation therapy for colon cancer in 1999. However, she was absent for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s ceremonial investiture on Nov. 8 due to her fractured ribs.

COLUMN BY

Kevin Daley

Send tips to kevin@dailycallernewsfoundation.org


EDITORS NOTE: This column by The Daily Caller with images is republished with permission. 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 of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Stop Big Tech From Derailing Anti-Trafficking Legislation

December 24th, 2016 — that’s the night that 16-year-old Desiree Robinson was murdered by the man who purchased her for sex on Backpage.com.

Backpage.com had operated as an advertisement website, akin to Craigslist, for years and made millions of dollars by posting ads for prostitution and sex trafficking, just like the ad that delivered Desiree to her murderer.

It took several months of relentless effort by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and key allies before Congress passed FOSTA-SESTA.

This was a monumental victory. It removed the de facto immunity for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking and prostitution online, and it allows survivors to go to court against websites that acted as virtual pimps.

But it didn’t end there.

Big Tech has tried to get language that would once again give immunity to knowingly facilitating sexual exploitation into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

They realized that if Big Tech succeeds here, the prospects of similar language becoming boilerplate for future trade negotiations with other countries is high. The result: global export of criminal and civil immunity for websites that facilitate sex trafficking.

NCOSE joined various allies responding to this new threat. By utilizing the coalition’s network, the alarm reached the White House and the draft NAFTA language was released with a special provision protecting against sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, and prostitution.

While we breathe a sigh of relief, we know that this struggle is not over. Big Tech is still actively looking for ways to circumvent this law—whether through trade agreements or through lawsuits.

Supporters like you are a vital part of keeping online ads for sex trafficking and prostitution illegal. Your donations make it possible for us to advocate for sex trafficking survivors and victims in Washington DC. Not only for Desiree, but the other 242 individuals ranging in age from 3 to 71, whose murders the anti-trafficking advocacy groups identified as occurring as a result of ads on websites like Backpage and Craigslist.

We need you if we are going to fight online sex trafficking. Together, we have a chance. But without you, Big Tech will be one step closer to victory. Please donate today, and every dollar will be doubled thanks to a matching grant!

EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Hadis Safari on Unsplash.

BREAKING: Trump Moves Towards Shutdown Over Wall Funding

President Donald Trump informed GOP leadership that he will not sign a continuing resolution passed by the Senate late Wednesday because it does not contain funding for his proposed wall along U.S. southern border, House Speaker Paul Ryan revealed at the White House Thursday afternoon.

Ryan spoke alongside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy after meeting with Trump for nearly an hour. Ryan told reporters that Trump informed them he would not sign the bill without border security funding. McCarthy said he was optimistic that some deal could be reached within Congress ahead of the Friday deadline.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly released a statement declaring:

President Trump just met with Republican Members of the House. Not surprisingly, they all feel strongly about Border Security — stopping the flow of drugs, stopping human trafficking, and stopping terrorism. We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation. We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall.

Trump’s declaration to Ryan is the latest in a head-spinning saga of shutdown politics with a central fight for funding his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border. Democratic lawmakers insist they will give Trump no more than $1.3 billion in funding while Republicans say they need $5 billion.

Trump originally pledged to shut the government down during a fiery Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The president went so far as to declare he would be “proud” to do the shutdown and that it would be politically beneficial to him.

This posture changed significantly, however, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders broke from this hardline position Tuesday.

As she related to Fox News, “There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use — that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations — that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border.”

Trump’s newest declaration to Ryan appears to show he is back where he began and that shutdown may be unavoidable.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Border wall symbolizes security, not racism

GoFundMe – We The People Will Fund The Wall

Twice-Deported Illegal Immigrant Embarks on Murderous ‘Reign of Terror’ Thanks to Sanctuary Laws

GoFundMe For Trump’s Border Wall Surpasses $5 Million In Less Than Four Days

White House Condemns ‘Activism’ Of Judge Who Wants Deportees Back in The U.S.

Is Trump Blowing His Last Chance To Get The Wall?

Meadows Calls McConnell’s Short-Term Funding Bill a Gift for Democrats

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images was originally published by The Daily Caller Foundation. It is republished with permission.

Why Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity (SOGI) Doesn’t Belong in the Law

In recent years, efforts by LGBT activists to insert “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (“SOGI”) as specially protected categories in the law have continued at the state and local levels, but they have not made much progress in Congress. With Democrats taking over the House in 2019, that may change. We can expect a renewed push for the sweeping and extreme bill called the “Equality Act.” Some members of Congress may even respond by proposing an ill-conceived compromise, dubbed “Fairness for All,” that combines a SOGI law with limited religious liberty protections.

In anticipation of these debates, FRC has already produced a new publication with a concise explanation of Why “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” Should Never Be Specially Protected Categories Under the Law. Written by Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg, the new Issue Brief explains that SOGI laws

  • are not justified in principle;
  • are invasive and cause tangible harms; and
  • are coercive and cannot be reconciled with religious liberty.

For example, the paper distinguishes constitutional rights — which belong to every citizen equally — from the special protections granted by “non-discrimination laws.” Such laws always increase government interference in the free market, and SOGI laws do so for the sake of characteristics completely unlike those found in Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because they involve a large element of chosen behavior, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” differ from traits that are clearly inborn, involuntary, and immutable, such as “race, color,” and “sex.” And unlike “religion,” they have no foundation in the text of the Constitution. The tangible harms of SOGI laws include costly lawsuits, and the threat to personal privacy that comes from abandoning biological sex as the grounds for separating male and female showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms. SOGI laws have been used to force some businesses — like those in the wedding industry — to violate their moral and religious convictions, and the “religious exemptions” sometimes offered do not adequately protect people of faith. Finally, such laws “legislate morality” — but it is the morality of the sexual revolution, stigmatizing as bigoted any disapproval of homosexual or transgender conduct.

If you’ve ever wondered how to respond to emotional pleas for “LGBT rights,” this publication will give you the answers you need.


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Will We Abandon Syria’s Christians?

The Good News about 2018

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images from Family Research Council is republished with permission.

45 States Consider Criminal Probe into Catholic Church

Pennsylvania attorney general says Church could face investigation in most of the country.


DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) – Officials from as many as 45 states have asked Pennsylvania law enforcement for advice about prosecuting predator priests.

Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro told USA Today in a recent interview that prosecutors, attorneys general and other officials from across the country have asked him for assistance with investigating alleged sex crimes by Catholic clergy and efforts by Church leaders to cover up those crimes.

The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, which came out in August, detailed sex abuse allegations against 301 clergy and religious across six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses. The other two had been subject to previous investigations.

In the aftermath, 14 other states’ attorneys general have publicly announced plans to launch investigations into the Catholic Church, modeled after the Pennsylvania grand jury’s investigation.

Shapiro says the Pennsylvania report was just the beginning.

“Law enforcement, in many ways, is just getting started,” he said. “I think we’re probably in the third or fourth inning, meaning that we still have a good ways to go and a lot more horrors to unearth.The Pennsylvania grand jury report has led to some 1,450 calls coming into a Pennsylvania hotline. Shapiro said in reference to the abundance of new tips and information, “There is a lot that is of interest to us; there is a lot that is of interest to law enforcement in other jurisdictions.”

“It is too soon to say what could be actionable or not,” he added.

Shapiro noted that the grand jury report itself did not include much that was “actionable,” since almost all of the allegations were outside the statutes of limitations.

The attorney general pointed out that the Church leaders who covered for the abusers could not be criminally prosecuted either at the time of the grand jury’s investigations.

“None of those who enabled the cover-up could be charged under our laws,” he said.

He complained that during the investigation, Church leaders “fought us every step of the way.”

“Every opportunity they had to do the right thing, they did the opposite,” he added.

When Shapiro was interviewed by The New York Times in late August, he confirmed that representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice had reached out to him in regards to the recent grand jury report.

The attorneys general of Kentucky, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Michigan and other states have proposed or announced plans for broad, extensive investigations into Catholic clerical sex abuse.

In Texas, several law enforcement agencies raided the chancery of the Galveston-Houston archdiocese on Nov. 28. Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said at a press conference outside the office building during the raid, “The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has been very helpful, and kind of helping us structure some of what we’re looking for.”

Ligon also said that “unnamed” federal agencies were present for the raid. He explained that the feds were present in case the raid unearthed evidence related to cases across state lines.

The district attorney explained that law enforcement is treating this search the same way they would treat searching through files at a bank or other business.

He claimed, “This is not a shot at Catholic parishioners, and this is not a shot at the Catholic Church. This is an investigation into a Catholic priest who was employed by the Catholic Church, and this church happens to be holding those records.”

The priest he alluded to is Fr. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, a priest of the archdiocese who was arrested in September on charges of sexually abusing minors.


Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by Church Militant is republished with permission.

Pennsylvania Doctor Denied Handgun over Legal Medical Marijuana Use Sues FBI, ATF

The case could have far-reaching Second Amendment implications and has the potential to affect millions of gun owners in the U.S.


On an April afternoon in 2018, Dr. Matthew Roman and a friend drove together to a Philadelphia gun store, Firing Lane Inc. Seeking to purchase a firearm for home defense, Roman walked up to a clerk and asked to see a Smith and Wesson 638.

After Roman, 33, indicated he’d like to purchase the small six-shooter, the clerk began to ask Roman a few questions, including if he possessed a medical cannabis card, pursuant to question 11e on the ATF’s 4473 form. Roman, who has no criminal history, told the clerk truthfully that he has a medical prescription for marijuana. Sorry, the clerk told him, no gun.

Roman’s application was denied due to his medical use of cannabis, which is legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In November, he filed a lawsuit that names acting attorney general Michael Whitaker and the directors of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The case could have far-reaching Second Amendment implications and has the potential to affect millions of gun owners in the U.S. (Medical marijuana use is legal in 32 states.)

In addition to being licensed to prescribe marijuana for medical use in Pennsylvania, Roman also has his own license and uses the plant to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the most commonly accepted uses.

Roman has no criminal history—of violence or any other offenses. But because of the 1968 Gun Control Act, and the federal government’s continued designation of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, his purchase was denied—even though medical marijuana is legal in most U.S. states.

The 1968 law prohibits anyone who uses an “unlawful” substance from purchasing a firearm. Roman is asserting this violates the Second Amendment, as well as his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; federal firearm transaction forms require medical marijuana users to report that they use the drug unlawfully even when it is legal in their state.

Though the 1968 law has been on the books for decades, in 2011, the ATF issued a clarifying statement to federal firearms licensees asserting medical marijuana users were not entitled to exercise their right to bear arms because of the federal government’s prohibition. Citing the government’s inclusion of the popular plant in the Controlled Substances Act, the agency said: “[T]here are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law.”

According to Roman’s complaint:

Defendants have intentionally denied those who have registered to use medical cannabis pursuant to state law the right to lawfully purchase firearms without providing any due process prior to depriving this class of individuals of their constitutional right.

The complaint argues that “this strict, rigid, blanket prohibition violates the fundamental constitutional rights of tens of thousands of non-violent, law-abiding citizens, and thus violates the Second and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.”

This is not the first time the federal government’s policy on cannabis use and gun rights has faced legal opposition. In 2011, a Nevada woman was blocked from purchasing a firearm because she had a medical marijuana license. She filed a suit, and in 2016, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the ATF’s policy explicitly restricting individuals who lawfully use cannabis in their states from owning firearms. The decision applied to nine western states within the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Oregon, and Washington.

A notable element of court’s ruling was the assertion that illicit drug use is linked to violence (border states with legal access to cannabis have actually seen a decrease in violent crime as Mexican cartels lose power). The judges alluded to government claims in similar cases, citing “a significant link between drug use, including marijuana use, and violence.” While government officials claim marijuana legalization has fueled violence, the data is inconclusive at best.

They also cited Congress’s “reasonable conclusion” that, among other drugs, cannabis use “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”While government officials in some states claim marijuana legalization has fueled violence, the data is inconclusive at best. These dubious claims about the role of cannabis use in driving violent crime unsurprisingly illustrate the government’s fixation with obeying authority for authority’s sake.

The federal government imposes no gun restrictions on alcohol use, which has an established link to violence, nor does it restrict firearm ownership based on individuals’ consumption of potent pharmaceutical drugs. (This is not to suggest the government should impose such prohibitions on those substances in the name of “public safety” but rather to highlight its lack of consistency and simultaneous preoccupation with following “the law”—regardless of how little practical sense it makes.)

The latest suit in Pennsylvania addresses this disparity. As John Weston, Roman’s attorney, told HuffPost:

You have alcoholics who are not prohibited from owning firearms. Ambien has side effects that are arguably much worse than those of medical marijuana, and yet a person who’s being prescribed Ambien for this same condition has the absolute constitutional right to own a firearm for self-defense in his home.

Weston accused the feds of “picking on medical marijuana … when it’s much less harmful than any of the other medicines you can use to treat this condition.”

Indeed, the main difference between cannabis and other drugs, like alcohol and pharmaceuticals—aside from the greater health risks the federally-approved substances pose—is that cannabis is banned and alcohol and pharmaceuticals are legal.

Weston is optimistic about the case and believes the outcome will be different than the 9th Circuit Court decision. But first, the case must survive a motion to dismiss, which Weston told FEE, he expects the government to file in the coming weeks. If the motion is denied, all bets are off.

Weston suggested there is a wide variety of potential victories that could range from the restoration of Roman’s individual right to purchase a revolver to a complete overhaul of the federal government’s policy on medical marijuana and gun ownership.

“Under the medical marijuana act in Pennsylvania, it’s my view that the prohibition doesn’t apply at all,” he said.

A Congressional Solution?

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky, appears to agree with this sentiment. Though he did not comment specifically on this case, he has drafted legislation to remove question 11e, which barred Roman from purchasing his chosen revolver, from the 4473 form. Massie plans to introduce the bill during the next session of Congress and hopes to gain bipartisan support.

But the bill, he says, would do more than simply do away with the question.

“[The legislation] will take the question off the form, but my bill goes deeper than that,” he recently told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview.

“It makes it legal for marijuana users to also be gun owners, is what my bill does.”

Regardless of the pending legislation, Roman’s current case has received tepid media attention but failed to draw significant coverage. A possible reason for this is that the case does not fit neatly into either side of America’s dominant ideologies.

The modern political left and right both seek to restrict some individual rights while endorsing others, and Roman’s complaint asserts rights both sides deny. While the left may support medical marijuana and cannabis legalization in general, they fail to support gun rights in any substantial way. While the right may support gun rights, they continue to support cannabis prohibition—or, at least, punitive measures against cannabis users—so long as the plant remains illegal at the federal level.

The policy Roman’s case is seeking to overturn ultimately represents the intersection of a growing threat in the United States: Americans’ tendency to endorse stamping out some rights while championing others, an intolerant and often arbitrary approach that puts all rights—and liberty itself—at risk.

COLUMN BY

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler is a video blogger and Senior Editor for Anti-Media.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FEE is republished with permission. Photo By: Cpl. Mark W. Stroud.

Obama’s Mexican Gunrunning Op Could Help Sinaloa Drug Lord’s Defense

Obama’s scandalous Mexican gunrunning operation could help in the defense of a notorious drug lord on trial in New York and the feds are trying to ban its mention in the courtroom. It’s yet another ripple effect of a shameful Obama experiment known as Fast and Furious that let Mexican drug traffickers obtain U.S.-sold weapons.

The failed program was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and allowed guns from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of hundreds of weapons which were used in an unknown number of crimes, including the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona.

Now Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, wants to use Fast and Furious to strengthen his defense. The Sinaloa cartel is one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations and Guzman has been charged with a multitude of crimes, including drug trafficking, illegal firearms, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Federal prosecutors say Guzman smuggled enormous amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the U.S. and, as the leader of a multi-national criminal enterprise, used violence—including torture and murder—to maintain an iron-fisted grip on the drug trade across the U.S.-Mexico border. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) refers to Guzman as one of the most dangerous and feared drug kingpins. He was extradited from Mexico last year.

In 2016, Judicial Watch obtained Justice Department documents showing that Fast and Furious weapons have been widely used by members of major Mexican drug cartels, including Guzman. The documents reveal that 94 Fast and Furious firearms have been recovered in Mexico City and 12 Mexican states, with the majority being seized in Sonora, Chihuahua, and Sinaloa. Of the weapons recovered, 82 were rifles and 12 were pistols. Twenty were involved in “violent recoveries,” which means they were utilized in several mass killings.

Among them was a .50 caliber rifle seized from Guzman’s hideout in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where he was eventually arrested. Guzman’s attorneys want to use Fast and Furious as part of the defense strategy, according to a New York newspaper covering the trial, and federal prosecutors are trying to stop it. “They’re asking a federal judge to block any defense questions about the program in which federal agents allowed illegal weapons to flow over the border to Mexico in an effort to gain intelligence on drug cartels,” the article states. Why? Prosecutors assert that, by focusing on the failures of the Fast and Furious (and there are many), Guzman will “distract and confuse the jury.”

The government pulled the same stunt when two of the men involved in Terry’s murder were tried in federal court. A seasoned Border Patrol agent and Marine Corps veteran, Terry was killed by a Mexican gang member in 2010 in Peck Canyon, Arizona. Federal authorities say he was fatally shot when he and other agents encountered a group of men known as a “rip crew” (a criminal gang that attempts to steal from drug and alien smugglers) operating in a rural area north of Nogales.

The guns—assault weapons known as AK-47s—were traced through their serial numbers to a Glendale, Arizona dealer that led to a Phoenix man the feds repeatedly allowed to smuggle firearms into Mexico. Six men have been charged with crimes involving Terry’s murder and earlier this year, the assailant was extradited from Mexico. A few years ago, when two members of the rip crew were tried in connection to Terry’s murder, federal prosecutors asked the judge to ban mentioning Fast and Furious during proceedings.

The judge agreed, ruling that defendants could not refer to or elicit any testimony regarding the failed gunrunning operation. Terry’s brother, Kent Terry, told Judicial Watch the government wants to keep Fast and Furious out of the limelight for political reasons. “It’s upsetting,” Kent Terry said this week. “If I commit a crime with a gun don’t you think it’s relevant to ask where I got that gun? They’re protecting the criminal.”

Even Mexican media has reported that the Sinaloa drug cartel was able to access more weapons thanks to Operation Fast and Furious. One outlet published an in-depth piece titled “Fast and Furious: Arms for El Chapo”  that reveals U.S. intelligence agencies knew from the start that the Sinaloa cartel was the prime recipient of weapons. Regardless, the U.S. continued the operation and lied to the Mexican government, the article states.

RELATED ARTICLE: More Caravan Crime on the Border

EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Lubo Minar on Unsplash.

VIDEO: Parkland Father Andrew Pollack Is Leading the Charge for Safer Schools

Andrew Pollack: “Numerous Entities Failed My Daughter.” 10 Months After Parkland.

Father of Meadow Pollack, Andrew Pollack, joins Grant to discuss his efforts to secure schools and protect our children 10 months after the Parkland massacre.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video is republished with permission. The featured image is from Andrew Pollack – Parkland Parent @meadowmovement Facebook page.

Growing Blame America First Crowd Rushes To The Border

In describing the 1984 San Francisco Democrats, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jeane Kirkpatrick said, “They always blame America first.” She was referring of the fringe elements of the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, because of monopolistic control of the culture-moving powers, what is fringe in the Democratic Party becomes more mainstream over time, and we see that clearly in this era.

The Blame America Firsters have been enthralled at the chance to show how terrible America is at every turn, and the basic national sovereignty issue of having secure borders is just the perfect issue.

Of course Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cut her protesting chops by going down to the border during the manufactured crisis of separating children from their parents, which was done at the orders of the 9th Circuit Court ostensibly to protect the children and implemented by President Obama. The separating of children was painted as exemplar of Americans not caring about the plight of the poor, and of course being racist — despite the fact that America does more for the world’s poor by many factors than any other country, or most continents, and Africans don’t seem to think we are too racist as they choose America in droves.

Throughout the traipsing northward of the caravan of illegal immigrants (they broke their way into Mexico, so it is accurate to call them illegal immigrants even before trying to break their way into America) there has been a sort of delight at the prospect of being able to paint America as uncaring and racist for having so much and giving so little.

Every poor or dangerous decision made by a migrant on their way illegally across Mexico to America was portrayed as America’s fault.

But this came to a head when a seven-year-old Honduran girl died a few hours after her father knowingly and unlawfully took her across the border. The girl had apparently not eaten or drank for several days. She went into convulsions on the bus on which she was being transported to the nearest border crossing post (where her father should have been seeking to enter) and paramedics had been alerted and were waiting. From there she was emergency flown to a hospital but could not be saved.

She went on a months long trek across deserts and dangerous terrain, was exhausted and clearly depleted of nutrition and water. But here were the headlines splashed everywhere by the Blame America First media:

USA Today’s headline: “Migrant girl, 7, dies in Border Patrol custody of dehydration, shock”

NBC News headline: “Girl who crossed border with dad died in Border Patrol custody”

KTLA headline: “7-Year-Old Immigrant Girl Dies After Being Arrested by Border Patrol”

CNN’ headline: “Thousands of miles away, grieving family wants to know how 7-year-old girl died in US custody”

The CNN story is particularly nauseating in it’s blame America first. Here’s the lead:

“Jakelin Caal Maquin jumped up and down when her father told her they’re leaving their impoverished Guatemalan village for the United States. When the rest of her family sent them off, nobody imagined the 7-year-old girl would not come back alive.

She died last week after Border Patrol agents detained her and her father in the New Mexico desert. Her death, which was only made public Thursday, has raised questions from members of Congress and advocates about how migrants are treated at the border.”

Just shameless. But more.

“The girl’s death comes months after a toddler died six weeks after being released from an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley, Texas. The toddler’s mother and her attorneys alleged she contracted a respiratory infection after they arrived at the detention center and that ICE provided substandard medical care for the 19-month-old.”

See, an illegal immigrant dies hours after being arrested by American authorities and her dehydration and starvation are not to blame, it’s the American’s fault. But a toddler dies six weeks after leaving an American facility and…it’s the American’s fault. In the same story!

The purposeful juxtaposition of the girl’s arrest by the Border Patrol — which was obviously her best hope for survival — was meant to blame the Americans for her death. No other way to read it. (Yes, this all conflates with raging Trump hatred in the media.)

Even the girl’s father said the American agents did everything they could and he had no complaints about the care — which was probably a thousand times better than it would have been in rural Honduras. Apparently an ambulance chasing lawyer had not gotten to the father to explain he needed to blame America so the lawyer could get a fat check from taxpayers. That will come.

Speaking of lawyers, next in the congo line of Blame America First was the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization just spiraling down the partisan toilet (see Christine Ford and the collapse of civil rights protections for political correctness.)

Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said the Honduran girl’s death shows the “inhumane conditions” at border patrol facilities. (Ironically, again, so much irony, the facilities would be less overrun if we actually had a wall.)

“Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths,” Pompa said. Because there is no responsibility for anyone anywhere based on their own actions. It’s all America’s fault.

Then came the lowest forms of Blame America First — the politicians, slithering below even the lawyers to slap America.

Twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: “There are no words to capture the horror of a seven-year-old girl dying of dehydration in U.S. custody. What’s happening at our borders is a humanitarian crisis.”

Grandstander Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, said Homeland Security officials would face questions on the matter in a hearing scheduled for Thursday. We “will be demanding immediate answers to this tragedy,” Nadler said.

Lost in all of this rush to blame America first is the actual tragedy of a 7-year-old girl who is dead and a father who is grieving — neither of which would have happened if the father had not made a series of choices that put her in such a dangerous situation. The only role America played was being the most attractive country in the world in which to live.

We probably shouldn’t apologize for that.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Sophie Potyka on Unsplash.