Obama’s Amnesty Travesty

People really need to read the U.S. Constitution. It says, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”

The Constitution makes no reference whatever to executive orders (EO). George Washington started the practice mostly because he had to. Traditionally executive orders have been treated by Congress as having the legal status of legislation, but only insofar as they apply to the management of how the government operates.

The Constitution makes it quite clear that the President has no power to enact laws, but as long as an EO does not unilaterally alter or negate existing legislation or run counter to the Constitution Congress usually accords it legitimacy. Those that do not honor the separation of powers have been struck down by the courts or by legislation that opposed them.

AA - Prez has no power to write lawAs is widely rumored and reported, if President Obama does attempt to issue amnesty to illegal aliens he would be over-riding or altering existing immigration law. He does not have the power to do that.

Such an executive order would be immediately challenged in the courts and if power in the Senate passes to the Republicans in the midterm elections, Congress would oppose it. With an eye on the 2016 elections, incumbent Democrats might not be willing to go along with an Obama amnesty EO.

Recent polls all demonstrate opposition to amnesty. In a September Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll 73% of the public said that Obama should work with Congress on immigration reform. After the invasion of an estimated 150,000 young people and others from Guatemala and San Salvador earlier this year, comprehensive immigration reform went from 54% approval last year to 48%.

When word leaked that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency had requested bids on a minimum of four million blank work permits and green cards a year for the next five years, there was an outcry in political and immigration policy circles. “There aren’t enough federal employees from here to Pluto to do adequate background checks on 34 million,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

In September, the Census Bureau released new data on the U.S. population finding that the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 41.3 million in July 2013, an increase of 1.4 million since July 2010. Since 2000, the immigrant population is up 10.2 million and double the number in 1990, nearly triple the number in 1980, and guadruple that in 1970, which it stood at 9.6 million.

It’s no secret President Obama has wanted to get as many immigrants as possible, especially those from south of the border, into America. He has winked at the laws that determine immigration and citizenship. In 2011 many believed he had “enacted” the Dream Act by EO, but he had not. His administration instead adopted a policy regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, granting them the option of applying for two-year work permits. Even conservatives could find some merit in this, allowing them to gain legal status and apply for citizenship.

The amnesty issue would play havoc prior to the November 4 midterm elections, so Obama will wait until after them to announce his intentions. I doubt he thinks an executive order will go unchallenged, but at that point it will not matter to him since he will not be running for reelection in 2016. His indifference to constitutional restraints on his power as President is well known.

On October 22 Iowa Rep. Steve King, a Republican, predicted Obama will “violate the Constitution, break the law and grant executive amnesty.”

“If the President takes this action,” said Rep. King, “ (that) he’s threatened to take we will have abandoned every pretext of the Constitution of the United States and if the American people take that setting down or lying down, then our constitutional republic has been destroyed.”

Rep. King is right, but the Obama EO will be challenged in the courts and in Congress. If that effort is opposed by Democrats in Congress, their midterm losses will barely rival what the 2016 election will hold for them.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

FL, GA Education Ethics Differ on Sexual Harassment?

Based on primary source documents and information from the Education Practices Commission of the State of Florida and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the penalty for a specific sexual harassment case seems to vary greatly with a wide range of extremes between the two states.

Former Miami-Dade County Public Schools assistant principal at Miami Central Senior High School and current principal/director with Clayton County (GA) County Public Schools Melvin K. Blocker received two vastly different outcomes stemming from a case of alleged sexual harassment from the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years.

According to the Florida EPC’s Final Order:

During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years, Respondent served as a principal of a public school in the state of Georgia. During this time, Respondent sexually harassed a teacher. Respondent’s conduct included, but was not limited to, stating that the teacher “was the kind of girl [he] and [his] friends would have run a train on in college,” or words to that effect.

Respondent retaliated against the teacher for seeking conciliation of her grievances. Respondent stated, “teachers who went to [Georgia Association of Educators] about issues no longer work at [Respondent’s] school,” or words to that effect.

As a result of this conduct, Case PSC 09-7-11 was opened, and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission found probable cause against Respondent.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission and Respondent entered into an agreement with respect to Case PSC 09-7-11. On or about June 30,2010, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission issued a Consent Order suspending Respondent’s educator’s certificate for five days, from June 8, 2009 through June 12, 2009.”

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission did indeed suspend his certificate for five days, which seems to many like a slap on the wrist.

To Florida’s credit, the Education Practices Commission permanently revoked his Florida Educator’s Certificate on October 15, 2014.

Why the stark difference?

According to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Mr. Blocker may indeed be in trouble given the teacher certification rules, which state:

The Clearance certificate is issued at the request of a the employing Georgia local unit of administration (LUA) to educators who satisfactorily complete fingerprint and background check requirements and do not have a certificate that is currently revoked or suspended in Georgia or any other state. All educators employed by a Georgia LUA must hold a Clearance certificate. There are no academic requirements necessary to qualify for this certificate. All holders of this certificate are subject to the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators.”

Strangely enough, the Florida EPC Final Order states copies were furnished to other related Florida Department of Education entities but not to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission- unless a separate communiqué was sent and not mentioned.

It will be interesting to see what course of action the Georgia Professional Standards Commission decides to take.

A reasonable person may conclude that they would not want a female relative or significant other in Mr. Blocker’s employ or purview.

Though these incidents have occurred 5-7 years ago, has Mr. Blocker truly learned the error of his ways or have other incidents occurred and were covered up and/or repressed afterwards?

Time, and a thorough investigation, will tell.

Emailgate: Did Sarasota School Board Member Shirley Brown violate Florida Law and her oath of office?

Elected officials make policy and have a responsibility to obey the policy they make. Every Florida elected official takes an oath of office to “[S]upport, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida” and to “well and faithfully perform the duties on which I am now about to enter.”

What if it is discovered that an elected official violates the policy they make? What if an elected official unfaithfully performs their duties?

Sarasota County School Board member Shirley Brown sent a series of emails to Ken Marsh and the Ken Marsh campaign for school board using the district email system. These emails include:

  • Inviting Austin Jambor, a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, to a Ken Marsh “reception” she is hosting “on Oct 1 in Prestancia.”
  • Touting campaign endorsements by local firefighters of Ken Marsh, Jane Goodwin and herself on the eve of the August 26th Florida primary elections.
  • Notifying the Ken Marsh campaign of a homosexual marriage event hosted by Equality Florida. Brown suggests that Ken Marsh and others from his campaign attend the event.

Florida Statutes 104.31 – Political activities of state, county, and municipal officers and employees, states:

(1) No officer or employee of the state, or of any county or municipality thereof, except as hereinafter exempted from provisions hereof, shall:

(a) Use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or a nomination of office or coercing or influencing another person’s vote or affecting the result thereof.

[ … ]

(3) Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

[Emphasis added]

The Sarasota County Schools Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures, page 28, under the heading “Appropriate Use of E-mail” states the following:

Sarasota County Schools guidelines prohibit certain types of e-mailThese include mail that may be perceived as harassment, political campaigning, or commercial solicitation. Chain mail is also prohibited. Violators will be subject to loss of computer access privileges, as well as additional disciplinary action as determined by the Sarasota County Schools disciplinary procedures. Certain types of e-mail, including but not limited to harassing e-mail, may also subject the sender to civil or criminal penalties. [Emphasis added]

It is important for elected officials to avoid even the “perception” of using public resources for “political campaigning”, particularly if that elected official implemented the policy forbidding it. It is important for elected officials at every level to abide by Florida state statues so as not to “coerce” or “influence” another person’s vote or to interfere with an election. It is important for elected officials to “faithfully perform their duties.” If not, then our Constitutional Republican form of government is in peril.

If elected officials give even a “perception” of violating policy, state statues or their oath of office, then what signal does that send to those who work for them?

John Adams, American lawyer, politician and second President of the United States, in his 7th “Novanglus” letter, published in the Boston Gazette in 1774, wrote that we are “A government of laws, and not of men.” Some elected officials have forgotten this maxim.

What will happen to Ms. Brown now? Will she publicly apologize for her actions? Will she resign from office? Will this be investigated by the proper authorities?

We will continue to report on this ongoing scandal truthfully and without fear of retribution.

REFERENCES:

Brown invitation to reception for Ken Marsh

Brown touting campaign endorsements

Brown notifying the Ken Marsh campaign of a homosexual marriage event hosted by Equality Florida.

Chris Christie: Justice System Becoming an “Industry Unto Itself”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put legal reform on the list of issues governors must tackle.

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At the Legal Reform Summit put on by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Christie warned that while “everyone wants a fair system” where people are “able to sue for appropriate causes and injuries,” trial lawyers have turned the justice system into “cottage industry unto itself.”

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Christie_Tweet_3

The New Jersey governor explained that this creates a poor business environment, puts businesses in a defensive posture, and keeps them from creating jobs and investing in their companies, as Andrew Ramonas of Corporate Counsel reports:

“Companies would have a lot more income to be able to pay to their folks in their businesses if they didn’t have to worry about putting away the billions and tens of millions of dollars they have to put away for legal fees and legal settlements in the system that we have today,” he said.

The U.S. legal system shouldn’t help “a narrow group of people in this country who either have not been truly injured” or have injuries that incentivize class actions as a way to generate revenue, not as “a true redress of grievances,” Christie said.

“Everybody in this country wants to have a fair legal system, which gives people the ability to be able to sue for appropriate causes and injuries,” he said. “What we don’t need is for that tort system to become an industry unto itself. And in America, that’s what’s happening.”

List of 55 Florida Mayors Who Are Anti-Second Amendment And Pro-Bloomberg

bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

The following is a list of Florida mayors who are anti-Second Amendment. These Florida mayors have signed on to and are card carrying members of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).  Illegal guns are those in the hands of criminals, not those in the hands of law abiding citizens.

Regis Giles from GirlsJustWanttoHaveGuns.com, writes, “If your mayor is on the list, inform them of your dissatisfaction or better yet, vote them out of office this up coming election.”

Giles notes, “They may not have noticed that MAIG has opposed every pro-gun and pro-self-defense legislative initiative proposed in Florida and nationally since the group was founded.”

Florida’s 55 Bloomberg MAIG Mayors
Mayor City/County email/Contact
Susan Gottlieb Aventura sgottlieb@cityofaventura.com
Jean Rosenfield Bal Harbour mayor@balharbour.org
Robert Yaffe Bay Harbor Islands ryaffe@bayharborislands.org
David Coviello Biscayne Park dcoviello@biscayneparkfl.gov
Jerry Taylor Boynton Beach taylorj@bbfl.us
Rocky Randels Cape Canaveral r.randels@cityofcapecanaveral.org
Greg Ross Cooper City Mayor_Ross@CooperCityFL.org
Jim Cason Coral Gables jimcason@coralgables.com
Walter B. Duke Dania Beach walter@walterduke.com
Judy Paul Davie judy_paul@davie-fl.gov
Derrick L. Henry Daytona Beach henryd@codb.us
Cary Glickstein Delray Beach glickstein@mydelraybeach.com
Bruce Mount Eatonville bmount@townofeatonville.com
Daisy Black El Portal dblack@villageofelportal.org
Glenn Singer Golden Beach gsinger@goldenbeach.us
Samuel J. Ferreri Greenacres sferreri@ci.greenacres.fl.us
Charles Sanders Greenwood http://townofgreenwood.org/contact.cfm
Samuel Henderson Gulfport shenderson@mygulfport.us
Joy Cooper Hallandale Beach jcooper@hallandalebeachfl.gov
Peter Bober Hollywood pbober@hollywoodfl.org
Ken Schultz Hypoluxo mayor@hypoluxo.org
Ted Blackburn Islamorada ted.blackburn@islamorada.fl.us
Marlene M. Wagner Lake Hamilton wagner778@aol.com
Patricia Gerard Largo QUIT MAIG to SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS!
Barrington Russell Lauderdale Lakes barringtonr@lauderdalelakes.org
Richard J. Kaplan Lauderhill rkaplan@lauderhill-fl.gov
Howard Schieferdecker Maitland hschieferdecker@itsmymaitland.com
Tomás Regalado Miami tregalado@miamigov.com
Philip Levine Miami Beach philiplevine@miamibeachfl.gov
Oliver G. Gilbert Miami Gardens ogilbert@miamigardens-fl.gov
Wayne Slaton Miami Lakes slatonw@miamilakes-fl.gov
Carlos Gimenez Miami Dade County mayor@miamidade.gov
Lori C. Moseley Miramar lmoseley@ci.miramar.fl.us
Connie Leon-Kreps North Bay Village cleonkreps@nbvillage.com
Jack Brady North Lauderdale jbrady@nlauderdale.org
Lucie M. Tondreau North Miami QUIT MAIG to SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS!
Douglas A. Gibson Oak Hill QUIT MAIG to SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS!
John Adornato Oakland Park QUIT MAIG to SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS!
Myra Taylor Opa-Locka mtaylor@opalockafl.gov
Buddy Dyer Orlando buddy.dyer@cityoforlando.net
Dominic Persampiere Oviedo QUIT MAIG to SUPPORT YOUR RIGHTS!
Colin Walkes Pahokee cwalkes@cityofpahokee.com
William Capote Palm Bay mayor@palmbayflorida.org
Shelley Stanczyk Palmetto Bay sstanczyk@palmettobay-fl.gov
Frank C. Ortis Pembroke Pines fortis@ppines.com
Cindy Lerner Pinecrest clerner@pinecrest-fl.gov
Diane Veltri Bendekovic Plantation mayor@plantation.org
Thomas A. Masters Riviera Beach mayormasters@rivierabch.com
Philip K. Stoddard South Miami PStoddard@southmiamifl.gov
Rick Kriseman St. Petersberg mayor@stpete.org
Norman Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach nedelcup@sibfl.net
Michael J. Ryan Sunrise mryan@sunrisefl.gov
Daniel Dietch Surfside ddietch@townofsurfsidefl.gov
John Marks Tallahassee john.marks@talgov.com
Jeri Muoio West Palm Beach jmuoio@wpb.org
Eric H. Jones West Park EJones@cityofwestpark.org
Daniel J. Stermer Weston dstermer@westonfl.org
Dr Helen B. Miller White Springs helenbmiller@comcast.net
Gary Resnick Wilton Manors GResnick@wiltonmanors.com
Juan Otero Zolfo Springs mayor@townofzolfo.com

Emailgate claims its first casualty but is there more to it?

We began writing about some employees of the Sarasota County School District using the internal taxpayer funded email system for political purposes on October 6th. Due to our coverage Gary Leatherman has now become the first casualty of “Emailgate.”

There appears to be a misunderstanding by some district employees about what publicly funded time, equipment and services can and cannot be used for.

There is confusion about what a public employee can and cannot do when engaged in even the “perception” of wrongdoing.

There is a “culture of corruption” in the Sarasota County School System but it did not begin with “Emailgate”.

This culture of corruption has been long in the making and caused, at least in part, by elected school board members, district staff and some employees pushing the envelope to the point that abuse of the taxpayer funded email system is now endemic. Violating not only district policy but Florida state statutes has become common place. Some historical perspective is in order.

BACKGROUND:

In doing background research for articles on the possible misuse and abuse of the Sarasota County School district email system we found the following:

1.  In an August 18, 2010 Sarasota Herald-Tribune column titled “Teachers union using school e-mail to campaign” Kim Hackett wrote:

School officials say the e-mail blasts have not been an issue until now. And union president Pat Gardner said that because all her members are school district employees, the district’s e-mail system is the easiest way to reach them.

“I can use the e-mail to do my political stuff,” said Gardner, who heads the Classified Teachers Association. “As long as it is in my newsletter.”

2.  We obtained two emails sent by SC/TA President Gardner dated September 11, 2014 Subject: List of Contributors to Bridget Ziegler and September 30, 2014 Subject:  Information for Restricted Class. This prompted our first article published on October 6, 2014. Neither of these two emails appear to be “newsletters.” The full text of these two emails may be read by clicking here.

3.  Further research discovered that the Sarasota County Schools Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures, page 28, under the heading “Appropriate Use of E-mail” states the following:

Sarasota County Schools guidelines prohibit certain types of e-mail. These include mail that may be perceived as harassment, political campaigning, or commercial solicitation. Chain mail is also prohibited. Violators will be subject to loss of computer access privileges, as well as additional disciplinary action as determined by the Sarasota County Schools disciplinary procedures. Certain types of e-mail, including but not limited to harassing e-mail, may also subject the sender to civil or criminal penalties.

4.  In response to our media request concerning the SC/TA use of the district email system for political campaigning Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist Sarasota County Schools, replied:

[Y]ou are correct that our procedures state that the district email system is not to be used for, among other things, political campaigning.

5.  Our research found Florida Statutes 104.31 – Political activities of state, county, and municipal officers and employees, which states:

(1) No officer or employee of the state, or of any county or municipality thereof, except as hereinafter exempted from provisions hereof, shall: (a) Use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or a nomination of office or coercing or influencing another person’s vote or affecting the result thereof. [ … ] (3) Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

6.  Prompted by our initial article Superintendent White on October 6, 2014 sent an email reminder to all school board employees stating:

As our community is in the midst of a number of political campaigns, I want to remind all employees about the School Board’s Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures which prohibit, among other things, using the School Board’s email system for any communication that may be perceived as political campaigning. While I encourage all our employees to be civically engaged in the electoral process, this engagement should not occur on work hours, nor should the School Board’s email system be used for this purpose.

7.  A third email was sent by SC/TA President Gardner dated October 8, 2014 Subject: Newlsletter [sic.] – Info for Restricted Class. The full text of this email may be read by clicking here. This email was sent after Sarasota School Superintendent Lori White reminded all district employees (see item 6 above) that it is “prohibited” to use “the School Board’s email system for any communication that may be perceived as political campaigning.” This email was in direct contravention of Superintendent White and district policy.

As a result of our research and four articles, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on October 17, 2014 picked up our story-line publishing an article titled “School spokesman worked on campaign while on duty.” In the article Lee Williams reports:

The communications director and chief spokesman for the Sarasota County Schools was disciplined this month for working on a political campaign while on duty, and for using the school’s email system for political purposes.

[ … ]

In his email accompanying the fundraising letter, Leatherman castigates Ziegler’s politics, saying the election was important because “having anyone elected from the Tea Party will force the Board to waste time in political wrangling and responding to frivolous criticism, rather than addressing the serious management issues involved in running a $750 million a year enterprise.” Leatherman declined to discuss the statement.

[ … ]

Superintendent Lori White issued Leatherman a “Letter of Instruction” Oct. 3, which acknowledged that he responded to a political campaign email during the work day. [ … ] T. Wayne Bailey, a political science professor at Stetson University for more than 50 years, echoed [School Board member] Ziegler that Leatherman should have been aware of state law. “I would think that a senior official would be very aware of what the rules for the School Board’s computer usage would be,” Bailey said. “This is a clear conflict of interest.”

The misuse of district assets for politicking by some district employees and even school board members has become common practice.  The School Board is doing nothing to stop it. The Superintendent has been accused of not taking a strong enough stand against this abuse of taxpayer dollars in the Gary Leatherman case. A school board member has called for Letterman’s dismissal. This same school board member has called for an “investigation” to determine just how deep and wide spread these abuses are.

Taking the politics out of the district email system can be done by the “loss of computer access privileges” as stated in district policy. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

The SC/TA classified and teachers contracts are being negotiated as we write this column. Perhaps it is time to rethink the SC/TA’s use of the district email system to communicate with its members? Perhaps it is time, in this digital world, to let the SC/TA run its own email system and do what it wishes with it?

What about those who, like Leatherman, have exhibited as Professor Bailey states “a clear conflict of interest?”

Will there be others who are punished under Florida Statutes 104.31? We will continue to cover this story as events unfold.

EDITORS NOTE: Below are the direct links to the four articles we have previously published on this issue:

Emailgate: Two Sarasota County School Board members violate Florida Law – will they be removed from office?

Sarasota School District Scandal: Board members, former superintendent, staff, teachers, union implicated in improper use of email system for political purposes

President of Sarasota Teachers Union calls Superintendent White’s bluff — sends out another ‘political email’

Sarasota School Board Candidate Ken Marsh gets a little help from his union friends

Islamic State Issues rules for journalists — Not unlike those introduced by U.S. Senate Democrats?

Senator Chuck Schumer D NY

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

It appears U.S. Senate Democrats and the Islamic State have something in common. They both have introduced strict rules for the control of journalists and what is reported. In the first case is S. 987 Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 introduced by Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer. The second is a report by Syria Deeply on the Islamic States’ issuing strict rules for journalists. Both attempt to define who can and cannot report the news. Both provide punishments for non-compliance.

Journalists, like me, are constantly under attack for reporting the truth. Those public figures who are exposed strike back, many using the legal system to file frivolous lawsuits, to keep the truth from the public.

Both the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 and the rules issued by the Islamic State take this one step further. The ideal is to control who is protected under the law as a journalist and who is not. This allows the state to control, via a central licensing authority, who will be permitted to report the truth and who will not. Who will be immune/protected from lawsuits and who will not. With the growth of the internet and citizen journalism this has become an issue for both the Islamic State and U.S. Senate Democrats like Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

Jessica Desvarieus, TRNN Producer on the Real News Network did an interview with David Greene, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Desvarieus began the interview with this statement:

Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a federal media shield law called the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 [S. 987] that provides legal protections for journalists. But some critics say that the legislation does not go far enough to protect independent journalists and it leaves too much room for judicial discretion and excludes whistleblowers, bloggers, and groups like WikiLeaks. [Emphasis added]

David Greene when asked about S. 987 said:

And it [S. 987] also tried to have in it what we call a functional definition, which would more broadly include those who were gathering news for the purposes of disseminating it to the general public. And that’s how it–and that was the 2007 bill. That was the starting point for this bill. What happened was before that bill [incompr.] committee senators, Senator Feinstein particularly, posed new language that would make it much more limited, that instead of defining covered persons, would actually try and define journalists and was really directed at covering only those persons who were either employed by a media entity or who had been employed with one for some steady period of time. And there were a few different formulas how you could qualify under that if you weren’t currently working for a media entity but had previously. [Emphasis added]

Now look at the eleven rules established by the Islamic State as reported by Syria Deeply:

  1. Correspondents must swear allegiance to the Caliph [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi … they are subjects of the Islamic State and, as subjects, they are obliged to swear loyalty to their imam.
  2. Their work will be under the exclusive supervision of the [ISIS] media offices.
  3. Journalists can work directly with international news agencies (such as Reuters, AFP and AP), but they are to avoid all international and local satellite TV channels. They are forbidden to provide any exclusive material or have any contact (sound or image) with them in any capacity.
  4. Journalists are forbidden to work in any way with the TV channels placed on the blacklist of channels that fight against Islamic countries (such as Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Orient). Violators will be held accountable.
  5. Journalists are allowed to cover events in the governorate with either written or still images without having to refer back to the [ISIS] media office. All published pieces and photos must carry the journalist’s and photographer’s names.
  6. Journalists are not allowed to publish any reportage (print or broadcast) without referring to the [ISIS] media office first.
  7. Journalists may have their own social media accounts and blogs to disseminate news and pictures. However, the ISIS media office must have the addresses and name handles of these accounts and pages.
  8. Journalists must abide by the regulations when taking photos within [ISIS territory] and avoid filming locations or security events where taking pictures is prohibited.
  9. ISIS media offices will follow up on the work of local journalists within [ISIS territory] and in the state media. Any violation of the rules in place will lead to suspending the journalist from his work, and he will be held accountable.
  10. The rules are not final and are subject to change at any time depending on the circumstances and the degree of cooperation between journalists and their commitment to their brothers in the ISIS media offices.
  11. Journalists are given a license to practice their work after submitting a license request at the [ISIS] media office.

Note that Islamic State rules 3, 4, 7, and 11 are defining who a journalist is and only covers those working for certain media entities, much like language added to S. 987 by Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein.

The Obama administration is concerned about the truth getting out on issues such as: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Obamacare, the NSA scandal, the IRS scandal and now the Ebola pandemic. S, 987, if ever passed, would allow this and any future administration to control journalism by narrowly defining it. Government transparency is the key.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

It appears the party of Jefferson and the Islamic State prefer the former?

Christian persecution in the U.S.: Openly gay Houston mayor demands pastors turn over sermons

My friends, the persecution of Christian pastors has begun in this country. We previously warned about the efforts of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and its secretive settlement with the IRS allowing them to demand sermons to scrutinize for “political activity.” Well, it has indeed happened, in one of the reddest of red states in the reddest county in America: Houston, Harris County, Texas.

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker

As reported by Fox News, “The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court. “The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.” ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

If there is anything that should unify Americans, it should be an assault on Christian ministers. It is absolutely amazing that the Obama administration sends a personal congratulatory note to the Islamic center in Oklahoma that spawned Alton Nolen who beheaded a 54-year-old American grandmother — and we have this openly lesbian progressive socialist tyrant allowing a subpoena against Christian pastors.

This is the test case (and as it happens I was just in Houston last week and will be back next Monday) and this is unconscionable! However, if this case is successful, it will be replicated elsewhere — and where is the Left screaming out about First Amendment rights of these pastors: “Freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof?” Where is the ACLU? After all, they care so much about the rights of unlawful enemy combatants aka Islamic jihadists and terrorists.

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” attorney Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.” Fox says, “the subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.”

This is just how upside down Mayor Parker is and reflects her intent to establish a radical far left, gender-blind agenda and through coercion and intimidation, destroy any opposition – including church leaders. This is the tyranny of the Left and the radical gay agenda in full display. And I just have to ask, how does this bring anyone into alignment with the gay community if they are fully supportive of these initiatives?

Houston is home to Pastor Joel Osteen and I wonder if he’s going to make a stand and speak out — or is his ministry just for show? I can bet that just up the road in San Antonio, Pastor John Hagee won’t be taking this lying down. And what about Pastor T.D. Jakes up in Dallas — where does he stand?

Many people laughed when the progressive socialists came out with their “Turn Texas Blue” campaign – who’s laughing now? The State Capitol of Texas, Austin, is well known as a bastion of progressive socialists and now look at what’s happened in Houston — perhaps Gov. Rick Perry should stop going to Blue states and asking them to move to Texas. Leftist progressives are like locusts; wherever they migrate they bring along their destructive policies and agenda in order to infest their new host — just look at how the migration of leftist progressives from California has affected Colorado? And now it’s happening to Texas.

Here’s a clear example of the radical gay agenda and tyranny of Houston Mayor Parker. Per Fox, “the Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.” As voter referendums supporting traditional marriage are being tossed aside by courts, judicial activism and legislating from the bench is alive and well.

“After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit, the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors. The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.”

Mayor Parker won’t explain why she wants to inspect the sermons — and what makes her believe she has the power to do so anyway. Mayor Parker’s director of communications, Janice Evans, said “We don’t comment on litigation.”

Fox reports that “ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots. Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity. The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law. “This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.” Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.”

I’ve said before that America is under assault from the unholy alliance of progressive socialists, Islamo-fascists, and secular humanists. What is happening in Houston is wrong on so many levels, it defies logic and reason but it is to be expected from the tyranny of the Left.

If Mayor Parker is successful, it will happen in other major American cities under radical progressive socialist control. It is time for all — especially Christian Pastors — to stand up, “be strong and courageous,” and defy this illegal edict reminiscent of Henry the Eighth, who proclaimed himself head of state and head of church.

Mayor Annise Parker is out of control, and knowing the backbone of true Texans and Houstonians, she will be defeated. To the gay community, if this is what you support and believe in, you’re not positively advancing your case – but demonstrating you advocate coercion as a means.

Time to rally America, and let’s send a message to Mayor Annise Parker of Houston: Molon Labe!

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

St. Louis policeman shoots black man armed with stolen gun – riots ensue

Blacks have been taunting the police and the St. Louis community since the shooting of Michael Brown. A black flash mob attacked the St. Louis Symphony and appeared at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Shots have been fired at the police by black rioters. Now we have yet another black man, and possible gang member, named Vonderrit Meyer, Jr. shot by a St. Louis police officer.

Watch a crowd of black protesters invade a St. Louis mall screaming at ‘racist’ white people:

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Vonderrit Myers Jr. (left) flashing gang sign.

Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D., Protective Intelligence and Assessment Specialist at Sentiel Intelligence Services, LLC, reports:

Vonderrit Myers, Jr. the suspect who fired upon a St. Louis, Missouri Police Officer upon which the officer returned fire killing Mr. Myers last Wednesday evening. The shooting incident quickly led to demonstrations and property destruction; hatred spewed towards the police as well as Caucasians.

The information below is quite different than what most of the public has been led to believe, which only adds to the sadness associated with this incident.

The media and political reports state that Mr. Myers was an “innocent teenager” who was “unarmed” when he was fired upon by the police officer. Much work to provoke hatred between races went into the initial reporting, but as you will see and read for yourself in the material below, not everything the media and political zealots state are necessarily true.

The media, as noted by Dr. Rapacki, is not telling the truth.

mug shot voderrit myers

Jim Hoft Vonderrit Myers, Jr. mug shot.

POLICE REPORT: Vonderrit Myers, Jr. Was Firing a STOLEN GUN at Police Officer

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, October 9, 2014, 5:45 PM

18 year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was shot dead by a police officer in St. Louis City Wednesday night. Myers, Jr. reportedly shot at the officer three times during a chase. A 9mm Ruger was recovered from the scene. The gun was stolen. 18 Year-Old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. Had Gun Felony Conviction & Ankle Monitor, Myers Jr. had an electronic monitor and was on house arrest.

The St. Louis Police Department released information on the fatal shooting last night on Shaw Boulevard. Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was shot dead by an off duty police officer. Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was firing a stolen gun.

From the police report: “The suspect’s 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene. The gun was reported stolen on 9/26/14.”

At least three police vehicles were damaged in the rioting last night after the fatal shooting.

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Myers shooting police report. For a larger view click on the image.

RELATED ARTICLE: Police Beefed Up Capabilities Because a Crime-Weary Nation Wanted Them To

RELATED PHOTOS:

vonderitte myers with guns before shooting

Vonderitte Myers with guns before shooting. The gun on the left appears to be a Ruger 9mm Model SR9. The type of gun allegedly stolen by Myers and found at the crime scene.

vonderrit-gun

Vonderrit Myers (lower right) with gun.

st louis police car damage

Damage to St. Louis police car.

st louis police car damage 2

Damage to St. Louis Police car #2.

VIDEO: Demonstrators ‘disrupt’ STL symphony singing a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’

A Supreme Court, Not Supreme Wisdom

I am not a lawyer, but I have read the Constitution and I cannot find any indication that the Founding Fathers intended the guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” in the 14th Amendment to include same-sex marriage.

The idea would have been regarded as an abomination to the men who created the Constitution. To many who regard the institution of marriage a sacred bond between a man and a woman, the decisions of lower courts that have facilitated same-sex marriage are deeply offensive

When the Supreme Court decided not to decide upon appeals from seven states regarding lower court rulings that their bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, they essentially endorsed same-sex marriage. It is now legal in 25 states, paving the way for a total of 30 states that recognize it, but only by popular vote in three of them; the rest had it imposed through the courts.

The same can be said of the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 that permitted abortion as a legal right. Here again, the 14th Amendment was cited. As one source noted, “The Court summarily announced that the ‘Fourteen Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action” includes “a right to personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy and that “this right of privacy…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

As this is being written, there have been more than 57,245,810 fetuses aborted since 1973 and, this year, there have been 840,045. Thus, decisions that the Supreme Court makes can literally result in life or death.

One of the most dramatic decisions of an earlier Supreme Court was the 1857 Dred Scott case that ruled that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and thus had no standing to sue in federal court, nor that the federal government had any power to regulate slavery in the territories acquired after the creation of the nation. The Civil War would follow in 1861 and last until 1865, resulting in more than 600,000 casualties, but finally ending slavery in America. Even some of the Founding Fathers had predicted that conflict.

When the Supreme Court has wandered into the area of social policy and culture, it has made decisions that were contrary to the majority of the population. The decision about slavery was about property—the slave–but many regarded slavery as an institution that must be ended.

The Supreme Court, of course, is not one long list of bad decisions. It has done much good and one man is credited with setting it on its course as a co-equal brand of the federal government. That man was John Marshall. I doubt that his name and deeds are even taught in the schools of America.

Cover - John MarshallAs a brilliant and very entertaining biography by Harlow Giles Unger, “John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Save the Nation”, reveals, “Marshall’s pronouncements would ensure the integrity and eminence of the Constitution and the federal government and catapult him into the pantheon of American Founding Fathers as the father of the American federal justice system.”

“He would become the longest serving Chief Justice in U.S. history, signing 1,180 decisions and writing 549 of them, or nearly half, himself.” America was fortunate to have a legal scholar, utterly devoted to the Constitution, in its early, formative years. “Case by case he defined, asserted, and when necessary, invented the authority he and the Court needed to render justice, stabilize the federal government, and preserve the Union and the Constitution.”

Chief among Marshall’s achievements was to assert that the Supreme Court had the right and duty to declare federal and state laws to be either constitutional or unconstitutional. With that it became the third equal but separate branch of government.

Marshall had fought in the American Revolution and had had a distinguished career as a lawyer. As Unger says, “Clouds of doom shrouded the nation in 1800. George Washington was dead. For the first time in their twenty-five year struggle to govern themselves, Americans faced a future without the father of their country to lead them. And they lost their way.”

“Absent their commander-in-chief, the men who helped him lead the nation to independence went mad. Chaos engulfed the land as surviving Founding Fathers—Adams, Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Monroe, and others—turned on each other as they clawed at Washington’s fallen mantle.” Jefferson as the third President wanted to rule as a virtual tyrant, but Adams’ appointment of Marshall put a brake those ambitions.

The United States is passing thought a period of governance in which the Congress is so locked in partisanship and so divided that it is barely able to function in the national interest. The current President is losing the popularity he enjoyed when first elected and, now into his second term, he is losing the support and confidence of a majority of Americans. Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed his displeasure with a Constitution that places limits on his power as President.

As Unger notes “Nothing in the Constitution gives a President power to issue proclamations or executive orders with the force of law. Only Congress can legislate, yet presidents have issued more than 13,500 proclamations and executive orders since the founding of the Republic, while the Congress has enacted only about 20,000 laws.”

The Constitution remains supreme above the office of President and, in great measure, we can thank the work of Chief Justice John Marshall.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

How the pro-family movement helped spread “gay marriage” across America

The “gay marriage” steamroller is in the news again, with another big win in the courts. Pro-family people across the country are wringing their hands in anguish. How is this happening? Well, it’s about time we started being honest with ourselves. In many ways, the biggest help to the homosexual cause has been the dishonesty, incompetence, and cowardliness of the pro-family movement itself in dealing with this issue.

If the mainstream pro-family movement had the guts of these Rhode Island activists, we’d all be a lot better off!
[MassResistance photo]

On Monday, Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not review any of the seven appeals from five states where federal judges had “struck down” the states’ bans on “gay marriage.” This decision not to act is seen as a major blow.

It is not altogether final. There are two other federal cases pending, and if either of those rule to uphold the ban (which is likely) many experts predict that the Supreme Court will then take it up and decide. In particular, the Sixth Circuit is most likely (though not certain) to rule to uphold the ban.

However, it looks to be a losing court battle in the long run. Just a decade ago no one would have dreamed that the federal court system would be forcing such a perverse thing on Americans, especially where they’ve voted overwhelmingly against it statewide.

How did we get to this point?

Until just a few years ago, “gay marriage” was still an anomaly that took enormous effort to “legalize.” It had been voted down in 31 states in a row. In a few states the homosexual lobby was able to get activist state judges to rule their way, starting with Massachusetts in 2003. But their main successes came from a campaign of expensive and sophisticated lobbying in a handful of liberal state legislatures.

In 2012 they were able to win in their first four statewide referenda by outspending the pro-family opponents by enormous margins. And additional liberal state legislatures fell to their lobbying blitz. But most of the country was still unreachable by that radical agenda.

Then came the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions by the US Supreme Court in 2013. That was the watershed moment that opened the floodgates. In the months since, the homosexual movement has been on a roll in the federal courts. With astonishing speed, they persuaded dishonest, activist federal judges to cavalierly overturn state laws and even constitutional amendments in state after state that banned “gay marriage.”

This didn’t happen by accident. The homosexual movement put together an extremely well funded and well planned campaign to push this through the courts. It included:

  1. Bringing together skilled attorneys, staffs, assorted experts
  2. Shrewd judge-shopping
  3. A very well crafted, emotionally compelling legal argument
  4. A media and public relations juggernaut
  5. “Training” sessions for judges on “gay marriage” by sympathetic bar associations
  6. Psychologically focused lobbying of judges and other high officials (e.g., telling them, “it’s on the right side of history” – the classic Marxist dictum)
  7. Effectively using the influence of a new generation of gullible, liberal activist federal judges (many of whom were unopposed by Republicans in their Senate confirmations)

The main legal hammer was the clear misuse of the Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” clause, which was endorsed by the US Supreme court in the DOMA ruling. On its face, it’s an absurd attempt at legal reasoning that depends on such ideas as homosexuals being a legitimate “class” of people, rather than simply people engaging in perverse and dangerous behaviors. But it is now an “official” legal construct with the imprimatur of the Supreme Court, and can be wielded with considerable power.

Most of this was happening below the radar of the average person, so these cases looked like a relatively normal set of circumstances, not the gargantuan legal blitzkrieg that it actually was. In fact, it’s likely that nothing like this has ever been seen before in America, or anywhere else.

The resulting string of federal court losses have had the psychological effect on the pro-family movement as happened in early WWII with the Japanese takeover of the Pacific. Virtually everything fell, and that momentum seemed unstoppable.

The incompetence of the pro-family legal side

As overwhelming as the “gay” blitzkrieg was, it would not have been successful without the terrible incompetence of the lawyers on our side. This included pro-family lawyers, state attorneys general, and even private lawyers hired to assist.

It’s painful for us to discuss this. We are reluctant to sound unkind to the pro-family legal people who worked hard on these cases. But this is such a horrible outcome that something must be said.

Many of you may recall that we had a similar reaction to the pro-family legal team in our analysis of DOMA and Prop-8 cases.

Both of those cases suffered from an unaggressive and short-sighted approach that bordered on malpractice. The pro-family side did not present a credible case in either one. They were deathly afraid that telling the truth about homosexuality might offend someone. By not effectively countering the absurd arguments and assumptions by the homosexual movement, they made it easy for the judges to rule as they did.

The handling of the Prop 8 case was so bad that the Federal District Court judge — the “out” homosexual — rebuked the pro-family lawyers for the lack of evidence they presented! It was almost as if the judge had no choice but to rule against us, based on what he had to work with.

Since then, the same losing strategy has been repeated over and over across the country. Similar to the Prop 8 debacle, in some cases it’s been so pathetic that the judge almost had no choice but to award the ruling to the homosexual side.

Many conservatives were furious at the nasty manner that Federal Judge Richard Posner slapped down the arguments from the lawyers of Wisconsin and Indiana. The pro-homosexual press certainly had a field day with it. But if you read the reports carefully, you can almost feel a bit of empathy for Posner having to listen to pathetic legal arguments that never went beyond “marriage is a tradition” or that “ it’s about the welfare of children.”

It’s especially frustrating to know that there are so many excellent and unassailable (albeit not “politically correct”) arguments and facts about homosexual behavior that were never used.

The pro-family lawyers refused to consider using the vast storehouse of medical dangers, diseases,  psychological problems, addictions, domestic violence rates, multiple partners, “gay pride” perversions, or suicidal behavior, etc. associated with homosexuality, as counter-arguments. They wouldn’t bring up natural law or morality. They certainly would not talk about the emotional trauma suffered by children growing up around homosexual behavior. Nor would they talk about the ex-gay movement (proof that homosexuality is not inborn) and the changes that come with healing.

Instead our side came up with only soft arguments like “every child needs a father and a mother,” “marriage is about procreation, ” the need to respect “the long history of traditional marriage,” and similar blather. In fact, many lawyers on our side accepted civil unions as a reasonable alternative and had no argument against homosexual “parenting” — which made their “mother and father” argument impossible to defend.

Logically speaking, if homosexual behavior is not dangerous and immoral, but simply something we don’t prefer, then there is no reason not to let them same-sex couples marry. Our people made their own case virtually unwinnable.

Possibly even worse, they accepted the concept of homosexuals as a “class” of people, which led right into the absurd pro-gay-rights interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment (see above).

The decades-long capitulation of the mainstream pro-family movement

To be fair, the recent legal fight only reflected the ideological decay that has enveloped most of the pro-family movement across America. Though most people probably haven’t even noticed it, this has emasculated our movement severely.

Current Massachusetts State Law still describes homosexuality as “the abominable and detestable crime against nature.” The Bible has similar exhortations. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at how today’s mainstream “pro-family” movement in America sidesteps, compromises, and capitulates on the issue.

This problem is most pronounced when you look at in context over time. In the early 1990’s the national homosexual movement began pushing an informal list of demands, which they vigorously pursued in nearly all their actions.

Those goals from the early 1990s included:

  • Tolerance of homosexual behavior in general society
  • Homosexuality as not immoral, but natural
  • The concept of loving homosexual couples as a legitimate part of society
  • Homosexuals as a “class” of people protected in law, not a behavior
  • Official legal sanctions of homosexual “civil unions” (marriage was to wait until later)
  • Acceptance of the concept of young “gay students” — who need protection in schools
  • Acceptance of homosexual couples adopting children
  • Laws to ban discrimination against homosexuality in the workplace

At the time they seemed outlandish and offensive. But now — incredibly — every one of those demands is accepted in some way (or not publicly challenged) by the mainstream pro-family movement in America.

Furthermore, it is almost impossible to find a pro-family group that will speak publicly against any of those demands; on the contrary, many pro-family groups will rebuke you as “hateful”  if you do.

A few examples (out of hundreds we could bring up):

  • Numerous state and national pro-family groups have publicly supported civil unions and refused to challenge the concept of  “gay” adoptions.
  • The president of a national pro-marriage organization was featured in a video of his visit to the home of notorious anti-Christion hater Dan Savage and his “husband” to show his tolerance of their lifestyle.
  • In 2009, the founder and then-board member of a national pro-marriage organization told a crowd at Boston College Law School, “It’s possible that gay couples could on average be much better parents than opposite-sex couples precisely because they don’t have children as a result of sexual passion.”
  • This year, a major theme of the annual rally of a national pro-marriage organization was “tolerance” and showing that we’re “not haters.”
  • Recently the largest pro-family group in Utah posted a nasty attack against a longtime Utah pro-family leader because she had described gay parenting as “child abuse.”
  • To our knowledge, no national pro-family conference (generally held in Washington, DC) has had a speaker on homosexual medical issues or the homosexual agenda in the schools.

Much of this comes about because pro-family people are afraid of liberals and don’t want to be called names. They want to be seen as “reasonable.” They want to be nice. There is a lot of more cowardice in the pro-family movement than most of us would like to admit.

A great deal of this also emanates from a deeply flawed  interpretation of Scripture, which puts being “nice” and “loving” on a higher level than stopping evil, protecting children, or even telling the truth. This is the first religious-based movement we know of — certainly in America — that has done that.

We can learn a lot from the emerging pro-family groups in other countries. From Jamaica to Africa to Eastern Europe and beyond, we have seen pro-family groups that are fearless, truthful, and understand the battle very clearly.

And to be fair, there are some U.S. pro-family groups on the state and national level — and many smaller informal groups — that do the right thing. But sadly, they are in the distinct minority.

A misguided grasp of the constitutional role of courts

Can a federal judge re-define marriage years after a state’s voters have had their say? Does the US Constitution give the federal government authority over this kind of issue? Many feel that it’s a ridiculous idea and an unbelievable stretch constitutionally.

In fact, the framers of the US Constitution and most state constitutions intended for the courts to have very narrow powers, usually limited to disputes over a case at hand. They did not want judges to be able to act as unelected dictators, creating, changing, and removing laws as they pleased, and re-defining basic terms or changing their intent. Judges have always been known to be imperfect, and are often swayed by emotion, the political climate, and egotism. The infamous Dred Scott decision is often brought up as an example, but there many others.

Within hours of the October 6 notification by the Supreme Court, top public officials (including some “conservative” Republicans) in Colorado, Wisconsin, Indiana, Utah, and Virginia declared that gay marriage was now “the law of the land” (or similar rhetoric) and announced that they would immediately begin to comply. In other states, officials are holding back.

It brings back memories of 2004 when then-Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts was passionately advised by numerous legal commentators around the country to push back and not extend the Goodridge “gay marriage” ruling to the entire state. There was no legal requirement for him to do anything, they argued. But instead, Romney declared that “it’s the law now” and went ahead and began implementing “gay marriage.”

Indeed, many scholars have argued that courts’ rulings outside of their particular cases are not “law” and officials are not compelled to treat them as general law. Furthermore, what we have now are simply more “Dred Scott” types of decisions by a federal judiciary that is out of control. State officials and citizens must look at it in that light.

In your face: Last summer left-wing Boston officials raised the rainbow flag over City Hall to celebrate ten years of “gay marriage” in Massachusetts. But what if the Governor had simply said “no” back in 2004?
[MassResistance photo]

Conclusion

In the context of history one can’t overstate how insane the actions of the federal courts have been in their “gay marriage” revolution. They are declaring the equivalent of 1 + 1 = 3, that the fictional construct of “gay marriage” (with its nonsensical label “marriage equality”) not only exists but must be recognized by an unwilling citizenry.

We have all suffered because pro-family groups, religious groups, and legal groups have too often taken the easy road and have abandoned their moral obligation to tell the truth. It saddens us to have to say that so bluntly, but it’s true.

A refocusing of our movement, at least by those willing to take on the battle, must take place.

NEXT: What we all must do.

Dixie County, FL: Vietnam Veteran Appears in Court, Gets Arrested for Failure to Appear (+Audio)

Jason W. Hoyt, from American Patriots radio, wrote on his blog:

Terry Trussell, a resident of Dixie County and a husband, father and Vietnam Veteran, was asked to serve as the Foreman of the Dixie County Grand Jury for a 6 month term, ending on October 19, 2014. As he did in the Army several decades ago, Terry answered the call once again and swore an Oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

In accordance with his oath and the instructions provided at the outset of his term and upon being made aware of criminal activity occurring within Dixie County, he attempted to convene a meeting of the Dixie County Grand Jury to present evidence and invoke the Grand Jury’s Presentment power as granted in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992.

On Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014, however, Terry Trussell was arrested and taken to jail.

Reporting a Crime is Now Considered Criminal Activity!

Read more. 

Terry G. Trussell was arraigned and appeared in a Dixie County, Florida court. Three times the judge asks if the defendant [Trussell] is in court, three times Trussell answers that he is in court. The judge then declares Trussell has failed to appear.

Hoyt notes, “Upon contacting the County Clerk to begin the process of convening the Grand Jury it was reported that he was met with resistance and interference.  Terry filed a Bill of Information on Tuesday, August 5th at the Dixie County Clerk of Court detailing his interactions with State Attorney, Jeffrey A. Siegmeister.  The Bill of Information, notarized and stamped received by Clerk of the Court, Dana Johnson, lists several infractions committed by State Attorney, Jeffrey A. Siegmeister.” The Bill of Information, states in part:

A Grand Jury for Dixie County, Florida was chosen in 2014, whereby Terry G. Trussell was appointed as Foreman of the Jury.

On Friday, August 1, 2014, a selected Grand Jury for Dixie County was called together to address a criminal issue which was reported to the Grand Jury Foreman in Dixie County.

The Foreman demanded that a packet of crucial information be sent to all the Jurors to prepare them for the issue before the Jury.

State Attorney Jeffery Siegmeister failed to send the information packet as requested out to the Jurors.

State Attorney Jeffery Siegmeister, then caused and did corrupt the Grand Jury for Dixie County, Florida by calling them.

Read more.

Trussell also sent a document to Judge Cynthia Muttkittrick outlining the violations of the Grand Jury process by State Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister. Listen to this report by Jason W. Hoyt, from American Patriots Radio, who has been following the Trussell case:

President of Sarasota Teachers Union calls Superintendent White’s bluff — sends out another ‘political email’

PUBLISHERS NOTE: I, Dr. Rich Swier, regret having used the term “illegal” in this and any other article to describe actions by Ms. Pat Gardner and the SC/TA.

Superintendent Lori White has been called out by the Sarasota Teacher/Classified Association (SC/TA) President Pat Gardner. Who will prevail? Many are calling this a direct challenge to Superintendent White’s leadership as the district Chief-Education-Officer.

As we reported SC/TA President Patricia “Pat” Gardner and SC/TA Treasurer Kevyn Fitzgerald, the union representative at Riverview High School, have been using the district official email service to repeatedly send out political and harassing messages to all district employees in violation of District policy. Superintendent White’s staff admitted that:

Outside of the SC/TA’s ability to communicate with the employees, you [Dr. Rich Swier] are correct that our procedures state that the district email system is not to be used for, among other things, political campaigning.

Superintendent White then sent a reminder to all employees of this prohibition. The reminder stated:

As our community is in the midst of a number of political campaigns, I want to remind all employees about the School Board’s Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures which prohibit, among other things, using the School Board’s email system for any communication that may be perceived as political campaigning. While I encourage all our employees to be civically engaged in the electoral process, this engagement should not occur on work hours, nor should the School Board’s email system be used for this purpose.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pat210-302

Photo of Pat Gardner from SC/TA website.

Gardner has ignored Superintendent White’s reminder. Gardner and Fitzgerald sent out the following message in direct violation of School Board policy:

From: Fitzgerald Kevyn
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2014 2:14 PM
To: REDACTED
Subject: FW: Newlsletter – Info for Restricted Class

From: Gardner Pat
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2014 1:50 PM
Subject: Newlsletter – Info for Restricted Class

Please forward:

They’re running scared and starting to play dirty. I’m on the blogs today with a story that I’m doing illegal things by sending out email to my members. They used a picture of me from 12 years ago, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. Here I go again:

Get those absentee ballots in as soon as possible.

Our endorsed candidates are:

Charlie Crist – Governor
Ken Marsh – School Board District 1

Our suggested candidate is George Sheldon for Attorney General.

NO on Amendment 3.

We will be getting Ken Marsh signs in the office and will deliver them if you would like them or feel free to pick them up. Let us know if you would like any. Ken Marsh will be doing sign waving and I will try to send out his schedule if you would like to join them.

Have a great day.

Pat

What will Superintendent White do now?

We have sent a request to Superintendent White and have not received a response as of the posting of this column.

This is a test of Superintendent White’s leadership and her staff’s ability to enforce school board policy equally upon all district employees.

Supreme Court Decision to Refuse to Take Up Marriage Cases and its Impact in Florida

Florida Family Policy Council President, John Stemberger, released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to accept appeals in marriage cases involving only the five states of Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin:

“The Supreme Court decision to not rule on these lower court opinions, which undermine natural marriage and the rule of law, has no legal effect in Florida and is only legally binding in the five states where the appeal was brought. Florida’s opponents of natural marriage are trying to argue that the Attorney General and Florida courts should ignore the legitimate process and procedure and become social change agents. Unless and until a federal appeals court over Florida issues an adverse ruling, then Florida’s current valid marriage laws should continue to be upheld by the Attorney General and Florida judges alike. Further, no same-sex marriage licenses should be issued, and any decision otherwise by a Florida court or a clerk of court, would be irresponsible and illegitimate.

The high court’s failure to take this matter up is, in part, a disregard of it’s duty, but it is also an indication that they are not going to force a “one- size-fits-all” Roe v. Wade type decision on marriage around the country.

Over the last 15 years, more than 40 million Americans in more than 30 states have voted at the ballot box to define marriage as one man and one woman – the same definition of marriage used worldwide. In the last nano-second of human civilization, some U.S. judges have attempted to ignore and erase those votes. The Supreme Court risks losing enormous institutional legitimacy if they ignore biology, logic, anthropology, social science and the collective wisdom of human history, and overturn an act of direct democracy by such an overwhelming number of American voters who protected marriage in their state constitutions.

Marriage is about more than who you love; it’s about bringing together the two great halves of humanity, male and female– not gay and straight.

Also it’s important to recognize that legalizing same-sex marriage ignores and eliminates the importance of gender in society: it costs kids either a mom or a dad (who are not interchangeable), and it costs people of faith their First Amendment rights as government imposes the new definition across all aspects of society. States and counties that have so-called “non-discrimination” laws which cover sexual orientation are being used as weapons to punish people of faith, and mainly Christians, for failure to facilitate or host same sex marriage ceremonies. We as a state and a society need to carefully count those costs before we run headlong into this latest social experiment with marriage, which will have negative impact on so many areas of life and law.”

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Justice Kennedy Blocks Gay Marriage Ruling in Idaho, Nevada

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over

Supreme Court Decision Will Lead to Gay Marriage in Five More States. Why That’s Wrong.

Text and Analysis of Florida Amendment 1: “The Water and Land Conservation Initiative”

Dan Peterson, Executive Director of the Coalition for Property Rights, provides the following detailed analysis of Florida Amendment 1:

BALLOT TITLE:

Water and Land Conservation – Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.

BALLOT SUMMARY:

Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.

Amendment 1 alters SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund to include:

a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents. b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes: 1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands. 2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e). c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.

IMPACT ON PRIVATE PROPERTY

Amendment One departs From a Historical Philosophical Perspective of Private Property

In the first half of our nation’s history, it was the practice of the government to encourage private ownership through land grants and other such vehicles. This amendment reverses that tradition. It seems to embrace a philosophy found in this quote (a philosophy which is supported by many of the pro-conservation/sustainable development organizations):

“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.

Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle…

Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset…”

From the Preamble, UN Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 1976

Amendment One Departs From Our Founding Fathers’ Intent For Private Property

Our Founding Fathers placed safeguards into our Constitution as a hedge or safeguard against government tyranny. As a result, America became an exceptional and unique place on earth by virtue of being founded upon the right of private citizens to own and use property.

Amendment One dangerously opens the door for government to own and control more land. That means less land is owned and control by private property owners. This amendment presents an alternative view to that intended by our founding fathers.

Today, more than 50% of the American west is owned by government. In the state of Utah, 87% of the land is owned and controlled by the federal government. Despite efforts by the state to reclaim their land, the federal government refuses to return it.

Giving government large sums of money to buy land puts Florida on a trajectory similar to Utah. The intent of this amendment is primarily land acquisition for the purpose of conservation.

IMPACT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS

As the amount of government owned lands increases, two things happen fiscally:

First, the amount of private lands on the tax rolls will be decreased. Therefore, tax revenues will decrease making less funding available for things like law enforcement, first responders, local services, infrastructure maintenance, and local education. Local governments will have to raise property taxes or take the rarely seen step of cutting their budgets.

Second, more taxpayer money will need to be diverted to pay for increased maintenance costs of ever increasing amounts of conservation lands. Currently, the state lacks money to maintain the properties owned by government.

Counties with the most land in government owned conservation lands, have the highest tax rates.

IMPACT ON THE STATE BUDGET

It is the Florida Legislature’s constitutional responsibility to work with the Governor to craft an annual balanced budget to meet the needs of our state. Through the Legislature, all the needs of the state are considered, debated, and approved by elected representatives. This is designed to address in a balanced way, the comprehensive state needs.

Amendment One restricts the Legislature’s ability and flexibility to budget or allocate funding for an array of state-wide critical needs such as transportation, education, affordable housing, and economic development, etc.

The purchase of land by government is a one-time expense. But, the maintenance of government property is a growing, on-going expense to also be remembered. As government ownership of land increases, so maintenance costs increase requiring more employees (and their pensions) , more facilities, and more equipment.

IMPACT ON THE STATE ECONOMY

Nearly one-third of Florida land is used for agriculture. Agriculture, including farming and ranching, is the backbone of our state’s economy providing jobs and produce. Amendment One names both for acquisition. The majority of lands put into conservation make little to no contribution to the economy.

As private land, with its real or potential contribution to our state’s economy, is removed from production, it moves from being a producer of revenue to becoming a user of revenue. Thus, the state’s economy is weakened. Less land in production means our state is less productive and less competitive in the world.

IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Today, more than 27% of Florida is already in conservation according to The Florida Natural Areas Inventory. Add lands for government facilities and the amount of land owned by government is more than 30%.

Florida has more land per square mile under government ownership than any other state east of the Mississippi River. The amount of government owned land will be greatly increased if a projected $18 B were to become available for additional land purchases.

Environmentalist groups have plans to purchase millions of additional acres for additional parks, wildlife refuges, wildlife corridors, forests and conservation areas, just to name a few. Amendment One supplies the cash to do so.

SUMMARY

Amendment One would be bad for Florida because it is an unneeded and harmful addition to the Florida Constitution. It will reduce the amount of privately owned property and negatively impact local revenues. It also intrudes on the legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to allocate our state’s revenues in the interests of our entire state.

Nearly one-third of our state is owned by government. Approximately another third is in agriculture. Documentary transaction stamps are already used to fund a number or environmental programs. The Florida Forever program continues to receive millions of dollars annually through the legislature to acquire conservation land. A growing economy already allows for more money to be allocated for government land purchases.

A more radical option should be considered. Doc stamps are expensive, adding significantly to the transaction costs of real estate. Why not reduce or eliminate the Doc Stamp tax altogether to help, in no small way, all Floridians to exercise their rights of property ownership?