Speech Righter: Trump Tackles College Censorship

Going to college is tough for any teenager. But for conservatives, it can be downright dangerous. These days, parents are sending their kids off to six-figure war zones, where even moderate speakers need armies of protection — if they’re allowed to speak at all. Christians brave enough to talk about their views are stigmatized if they’re lucky, and physically attacked if they’re not. We’ve wiped campuses clean of so many words, ideas, and values that an entire generation is leaving college completely unprepared for the cruel world from which higher education is “sparing” them.

Like a lot of parents, Donald Trump is fed up. College campuses are so toxically liberal today that conservatives have gotten everything from death threats to docked grades. We’ve watched Christians like Isabella Chow lose her student government sponsorship. Even a simple act like recruiting for a college club is an excuse to throw punches. That’s not education — it’s state-sponsored hazing. And this administration has decided to do something about it.

Today, the president had a warning for liberal incubators like Berkeley: shut down free speech and the government will shut down your federal funding. Under a new executive order, the penalties for schools censoring students will be, in Trump’s words “very costly.” “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” the president tweeted. So far, no one has had the nerve to hit higher education where it hurts. But then, not everyone is President Trump.

Charlie Kirk, who heads the group Hayden Williams was attacked for promoting, thinks it’s about time someone stepped in and stopped the First Amendment’s death spiral on college campuses. But how, he wonders, will the liberal media take it? After all, they’re “an ideologically homogeneous group, need to thread the needle of wanting to appear to be in favor of free speech while arguing that the president requiring free speech is somehow dangerous. That isn’t easy…” After all, he points out:

“Burn an American flag on campus or stand on a bench and decry the Constitution as racist and you will be allowed to speak. Wear an American flag on your shirt or hand out copies of the Constitution and you will be accused of triggering and sent off to the campus equivalent of the broom closet, called ‘Free Speech Zones,’ in order to continue to express your thoughts.”

And that intolerance has never cut both ways. Liberals used to care about the free exchange of ideas — until theirs became impossible to defend. Now, they’ve decided they don’t want to try to win the debate. They want to stop the debate from taking place. After years of policing speech and punishing speakers, the Left’s brainwashing is paying off. Thirty-percent of college students think shouting down people like Ben Shapiro is acceptable. Another 10 percent said it was okay to use violence to stop students like Hayden. And where did these extremists-in-training learn how to bully conservatives? From their adult counterparts, of course. They’re just mirroring what they’ve seen from the leaders of “get-up-in-their-face,” “tell-them-they’re-not-welcome,” “we-kick-them” liberalism.

This new army of young radicals thinks they’re on the “morally righteous side” in this culture war, Hayden says, “and in order to win, they must silence any form of dissent.” Now, thanks to President Trump, that silence will hurt any college who encourages it. “For an industry that loves to preach against capitalism, they sure do love their money,” Kirk points out. “This will hopefully start to get their attention. Unlike their students, if they don’t like it, they are certainly free to speak out.”


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Public University Suspends Prof. for Advising Foreign Student to Learn English

In a bothersome case of political correctness gone amok, a professor at a highly ranked public university in the United States has been suspended for suggesting a foreign student “learn English.”

The egregious incident occurred this month at the University of Kansas (UK), a taxpayer-funded institution with an enrollment of 28,500 that ranks among the nation’s top public universities. Situated in the northeast Kansas town of Lawrence, the school is the state’s flagship university and a premier research institution.

The “offending” professor, Gary Minden, teaches electrical engineering and computer science in the highly regarded school of engineering. Minden, an acclaimed academic, is a UK alum who received undergraduate and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the school.

In the 1990s he served as information technology program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Pentagon agency with a $3 billion budget dedicated to developing technologies for the military. “DARPA goes to great lengths to identify, recruit and support excellent program managers—extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their fields and are hungry for the opportunity to push the limits of their disciplines,” according to the agency’s website. “These leaders, who are at the very heart of DARPA’s history of success, come from academia, industry and government agencies for limited stints, generally three to five years.”

During a recent class, Minden told a foreign student who was using an online translation system on a cell phone that the student should “learn English,” according to a local newspaper report. The unidentified student evidently was not bothered over the suggestion, but others in the class were offended and an “hourlong discussion” ensued in the engineering class which focuses on embedded systems.

During the discussion things apparently got heated and many students in the class became very upset. The professor told the local newspaper that he’s “frustrated” over the incident but refused to comment further for obvious reasons. In the article a university spokeswoman said “a number of students have raised concerns about events that occurred in their engineering class. In response to these concerns, the university has assigned a different instructor to teach the course while the matter is reviewed.”

This is hardly an isolated case of political correctness at taxpayer-funded schools in the United States. Public elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges have taken an extreme leftist turn on several issues over the years and Judicial Watch has reported or taken legal action in several of the cases.

This includes exposing a Mexican separatist school that pushes Marxism and Anti-Americanism in Los Angeles, pervasive corruption in Chicago public schools and an after school Satan club in Washington State that received speedy tax-exempt approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Judicial Watch is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Berkeley Unified School District in California to obtain the records of a middle school teacher who is a national organizer for a radical leftist group.

The teacher, Yvette Felarca, works at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and is a prominent figure in By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an organized militant group founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League that uses raucous militant tactics to protest conservative speaking engagements. Felarca has been charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento.

A few years ago, Judicial Watch wrote about professors at a 54,000-student public university in south Florida that demanded the school protect illegal aliens by creating a “sanctuary campus.” The professors compared immigration enforcement to “fugitive slave laws.”

At the time students at colleges around the nation requested their undocumented classmates be protected, but the Florida professors blazed the trail as the first faculty members of an American taxpayer-funded establishment to officially call for campus-wide sanctuary in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential election.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission.

Guess Which Abrahamic Religion Shut Down Public School ‘LGBT Rights’ Classes in England?

QUESTIONS:

  1. Who are the victims in this case, those who are gay or those who follow the teachings of Mohammed?
  2. Which is worse Islamophobia or Homophobia?

It appears that in “tolerant” England there is a serious clash of cultures arising. Multicultural Great Britain created and funded the No Outsiders Project. According to the UK’s Economic and Research Council:

This [No Outsiders project] is a 28-month project (September 2006 to December 2008), supporting primary teachers in developing strategies to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in their own schools and classrooms.

The goals of the No Outsiders project are:

  • To add to the understanding of the operation of heteronormativity (the assumption that heterosexuality is normal, so anything else is abnormal) in school contexts.
  • To create a community of practice within which teachers can develop effective approaches to addressing sexualities equality within the broader context of inclusive education.

The No Outsiders “inclusion” classes are now being taught throughout Great Britain.

Merriam-Webster defines heteronormativity as, “of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality.”

Islamophobia versus Homophobia

The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all believe sodomy is a sin. Ash-Shura 25:165-166 states:

Do you approach males among the worlds (165). And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.”(166)

Quran 4:16 reads, “And the two who commit it [sodomy] among you, dishonor them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”

Who will win this argument in the end? The followers of Mohammed or those UK teachers of No Outsiders “inclusion”?

Intersectionality at a Crossroads

Intersectionality always hits a road block when two self-identified “oppressed minority groups” get into who’s the greater victim fight. So it is with the Muslim ummah and the LGBT community in Great Britain. In a BBC column titled “LGBT lessons row: More Birmingham schools stop classes

Four more schools in Birmingham have stopped teaching about LGBT rights following complaints by parents.

Leigh Trust said it was suspending the No Outsiders programme until an agreement with parents was reached.

Earlier this month the city’s Parkfield Community School suspended the lessons after protests were held.

Campaigner Amir Ahmed said some Muslims felt “victimised” but an LGBT group leader said No Outsiders helped pupils understand it is OK to be different.

Watch this YouTube video “Muslim Parents Livid over LGBT Sex Education Lessons at their Children’s School“:

As parents begin to understand that their children are being indoctrinated on values that they find abhorrent we will see more of these kinds of programs dismantled. Religious beliefs trump sin every time.

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VIDEO: DivestU

It’s no longer a secret that many college campuses today are nothing more than leftist indoctrination camps. But what can we do about it? Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, offers a simple and effective solution.

RELATED ARTICLE: There’s Rampant Academic Fraud

EDITORS NOTE: This video was made possible by a generous grant from Colorado Christian University. Learn more at PragerU.com/CCU.

TRANSCRIPT

Year after year, Americans pour billions of dollars into colleges and universities.

I’m not talking about the outrageous tuition costs, living expenses, and fees – the debt pit students fall into. And I’m not talking about the tax money – our money – colleges and universities get from federal and state governments. I’m talking about the money Americans are handing over to these institutions of their own free will.

In 2017, that number was $44 billion. $44 billion in donations in one year from alumni and other donors. And for what? To enhance the education of America’s youth?

Do you really think our college graduates are better educated, more literate, more versed in classical philosophy and American history than they were ten, twenty, or fifty years ago?

If your child goes to college and spends four years partying, skipping class, and playing video games, consider yourself lucky. It’s when they actually listen to their radical professors that you’re in trouble.

So what have our institutions been doing with all this money?

Well, the University of Michigan’s Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion makes $400,000 a year. The university spends close to eleven million dollars annually on diversity and inclusion staff and programs, according to a recent report.

What do you think Vice Provosts of Equity and Inclusion (and almost all schools have one now) do all day? They, and the small armies they supervise, spend all day, every day, looking for racism, sexism, classism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and any other phobias they can dream up. If they don’t find some bias somewhere, they’re out of a job. So, guess what? They find it – even where it doesn’t exist.

The University of California at Santa Cruz now has an “activist-in-residence.” His job is to mint new leftist activists – as if we have a shortage.

Why are we voluntarily giving billions and billions of dollars to hopelessly corrupt institutions that overcharge, underdeliver and undermine the most basic values of Western Civilization? We should be starving this beast. Instead, we’re feeding it.

Are there exceptions to this rule? Colleges that are actually dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom? Of course, there are – and they are worthy of your financial support. But you can count them on two hands. The rest have a different mission. And they have more than enough coin to carry it out.

The aforementioned University of Michigan has an endowment of 12 billion dollars. But that’s small potatoes compared to Yale’s $30 billion or Harvard’s $40 billion. And donors keep giving them more.

It’s time to stop.

You’d be better throwing your money into a bonfire. That’s just a waste. But when you donate to your average university, you’re actually hurting your society.

You’re the reason kids – maybe your kids – are coming home:

• Loving socialism and hating free market capitalism; • Believing male and female don’t objectively exist; • Excusing rockets being shot into Israel, then blaming Israel for defending itself; • Romanticizing Che Guevara and reviling George Washington; • And dismissing America, arguably the most decent country ever created, as racist, genocidal, imperialist, white-supremacist, hate-filled, and misogynistic.

Your children are being fed a steady diet of this nihilism in grade school, middle school, and high school. But they have to come home for dinner every night.

College is where the leftist deal is sealed. They’re free of your influence and under the sway of their leftist professors and leftist peers.

Stop supporting institutions that don’t support your values; that, in fact, despise your values. And, believe me, they despise you when you’re back is turned. The only thing they love about you is your money.

Oh, you might say, I would never give money for all that diversity, equity, and inclusion nonsense! I designate my donations to the business school or the medical center. If you think that, you’re fooling yourself. Money is fungible. You can designate it for anything you want, but you can’t control what the university does with it.

I travel around the country every week trying to rescue kids from the leftist cult that is college. It’s bad enough that I have to battle administrators, professors, and leftist student bodies. I shouldn’t have to fight you, too.

College has become a big business. Most indoctrinate rather than educate. The best way to force them to change is to take away their cash. Your cash. Start today.

I’m Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, for Prager University.

College president Rejects Motion to Suspend Israel Study Abroad Program backed by Antisemitic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

“Students and faculty of California’s Pitzer College voted Thursday to suspend the study abroad partnership with Israel’s University of Haifa, but college president Melvin Oliver is declining to take any action on the program, calling it an “academic boycott of Israel.”

In a slap in the face of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and her antisemitic followers the President of Pitzer college rejected a move backed by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to suspend the Israel abroad study program. This is more than the Democratic controlled Congress did in the face of Tlaib’s antisemitism. Thank you President Melvin Oliver.

Read the Free Beacon column:

College President Rejects Motion to Suspend Israel Study Abroad Program

Anti-Israel Pitzer College proposal backed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib

BY: Brent Scher

Students and faculty of California’s Pitzer College voted Thursday to suspend the study abroad partnership with Israel’s University of Haifa, but college president Melvin Oliver is declining to take any action on the program, calling it an “academic boycott of Israel.”

The anti-Israel proposal, backed by radical leftist groups and Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, won the support of the Pitzer College Council in a Thursday vote taken by both students and faculty. Oliver says the vote amounts only to a recommendation to the president and is declining to take it.

Oliver made numerous arguments against the proposal in a Thursday message to the academic community, including that it was “prejudiced” against Israel, would “curtail academic freedom,” and that it is not the school’s role to take political positions.

“Although some claim that this is not an academic boycott of Israel, I disagree,” Oliver wrote. “The recommendation puts in place a form of academic boycott of Israel and, in the process, sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission. I categorically oppose any form of academic boycott of any country.”

READ MORE.

School Tries Concealing Drag Makeup Day

“You did what?!” Parents across Santa Ana couldn’t believe it. In one house after another, the answer to “How was school today?” was nothing like they expected. Moms and dads listened in disbelief as their middle schoolers talked about going to an “LGBT Fair” that no one bothered to ask their permission for. There were even people in drag, their 11-year-olds said, giving make-up lessons — right there in school.

Townhall’s Kira Davis listened as one mom fumed about not knowing about the fair until after it happened. There wasn’t even an opportunity to opt-out, she complained at last Tuesday’s school board meeting. Unfortunately, that was just one of the infuriating examples the largely-Hispanic community used to explain how fed-up they were with the state’s new sex ed law. But the problem is a lot bigger than the law, Davis explained. It’s how liberals are exploiting the Spanish-speaking communities to implement it.

In one of the more fiery exchanges of the night, a mom seethed that so many liberals were trying to marginalize California’s multi-ethnic communities. “How can a state that claims to be so much for the rights of immigrants and minorities then ignore our concerns on purpose? They are hypocrites!” Although California’s law does order schools to offer the curriculum outline in both languages, Santa Ana hasn’t made the Spanish materials available to parents. Hardly an accident, Kira argues, since most of the communities like this one are “whole-heartedly opposed to LGBT-based sex-ed.”

One thing’s for sure: The more radical the social policy, the greater the opportunity for conservatives. Santa Ana’s meeting room was bursting with the latest evidence that Democrats have a huge problem on their hands, especially when it comes to abortion and sex ed. What’s even more insulting, these parents pointed out, is how liberals are purposefully taking advantage of them — deceptively leaving families in the dark because they know “this particular community would absolutely not approve of the more graphic elements.” Not to mention, Kira goes on, “the unmonitored discussions” on gender and sexuality.

Like a lot of other California districts, these parents have reached their boiling point. Tuesday’s meeting was so jam-packed that even the overflow rooms could barely hold the families. Holding signs that read, “No SeXXEd!” moms and dads fended off the ACLU attorneys who’d been farmed out across the state to handle complaints. Later, parents were even more furious to find out that four of the five people who testified in favor of the curriculum didn’t even live in the district!

In between emotional testimonies, Kira was appalled at how condescending board members were, firing back hostile — and at times, demeaning — answers. “As an outside observer, I was terribly vexed by how dismissive and deceptive school authorities were to this particular group of parents. It was clear they did not believe immigrant Hispanic parents were engaged or informed enough to be welcomed into the process.”

“All these people were asking for was a say, a chance to be involved, to be heard and to be active participants in the education of their children. They were asking for respect and instead received nothing but contempt and disrespect from the very people they trust to care for the development of their students.” But, she warns, “If you think this is just another case of ‘whacky’ California paying the price for their ‘whacky’ voting habits, think again. This is coming to a state and a school district near you.”

Are you prepared for that day? Make sure you’ve read FRC’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education” — and share it with your friends.


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

College Admissions Scandal Is Likely Tip of the Iceberg

The recently disclosed college admissions scandal has angered everyone because it involves the classic vices of greed, lying, subterfuge, dirty money, snitches, and cheating. It also underscores the notion that the rich play by a different set of rules, and that the college admissions process is not based on merit.

By unsealing the indictment and criminal complaint against 50 people, the Department of Justice pulled back the curtain on the whole sordid underworld of side-door, backroom, dirty deals reached by select parents, coaches, college board administrators, and others who allegedly put status and greed over fairness and merit.

Each defendant, who is presumed innocent, faces serious criminal consequences given the information contained in the indictment and criminal complaint.

And this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The case centers on William Singer, the owner of a college counseling company in Newport Beach, California. Unlike other college counseling companies, Singer provided unique services that guaranteed admission of less-than-average students to the college of their parents’ choice through, as he termed it, the “side door.”

The side door involved bribing college coaches to admit students (not actual student athletes) as recruited athletes, cheating on SAT/ACT exams by paying off select administrators of those exams, doctoring grades, and more. In return for these services, parents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Singer’s fake charity, and some then took the tax deduction the next year.

Right after Singer was caught by the FBI and decided to become a cooperating witness, he tipped off some of his clients, which is why Singer was also charged with obstruction of justice. What we don’t know yet is who he tipped off, what was said, what actions (if any) those people took as a result of the tip, and whether more charges are forthcoming.

As a cooperating witness, Singer (thus living up to his last name) told the feds about his scam, and agreed to a series of recorded phone conversations with unsuspecting client parents regarding their ongoing conspiracy. Portions of those recorded conversations are contained in the complaint, and give the reader an unvarnished view into the quid pro quo nature of the scam.

Singer’s pitch was a simple business proposition: Name the college you want your kid to attend, get your kid a fake diagnosis of a learning disability, petition the college board for extra time to take the SAT/ACT because of the learning disability, Singer gets a fixer to take the exam for the student or “correct” the student’s exam at one of two special testing sites, work with Singer on a fake athlete profile for your kid, and pay Singer the money he required—and presto, your kid is admitted to the college of his or her choice as a “recruited athlete.”

Over an eight-year period, Singer conspired with dozens of parents to get their lackluster students into elite colleges and universities. He bragged about it to his clients. The Justice Department documents mention Stanford University, Yale University, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest University, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas, UCLA, and Georgetown University.

We don’t know what other schools Singer placed students into over the years, what other parents he conspired with, and how many other college coaches, administrators, or persons he worked with to achieve his nefarious business purpose. But there certainly are others, which is why the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts mentioned that there may be more charges. Count on it.

Singer is facing a long time in jail, even though he pled guilty. He was charged in a criminal information with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of justice, RICO forfeiture, and money laundering. He had a strong incentive to take a plea and become a cooperating witness. No doubt he expects the sentencing judge to go easy on him when he is sentenced, but he very likely will do substantial prison time regardless of any sentence reduction.

The charges against the parents include conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, each of which carries a maximum sentence, if convicted, of no more than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. The charges against the coaches and teachers include racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) and carry the same sentence.

This case is just getting started. Several of the spouses, who were recorded in phone conversations, were not charged. Why? Either because they didn’t commit a crime, or because the government decided that not charging them at this time gives the government leverage over the indicted spouse.

It is certainly possible that as the government develops other facts, and as defendants weigh their options and decide to cooperate, other defendants may be charged. Furthermore, as individual colleges conduct internal investigations, they may uncover facts that they will turn over to the government, who in turn may charge more individuals.

Who are the victims, if any, at this point? Certainly those actual student athletes who had a reasonable shot at gaining admission into those schools during that recruiting year, who were denied that recruited athlete slot because it was rigged in favor of a privileged kid.

Perhaps there are other students of merit who applied to colleges but were denied admission, or were deferred, because these (and others we don’t know about) were granted admission based on bogus credentials. Time will tell.

Stand by for more, as other shoes are likely to drop.

COMMENTARY BY

Cully Stimson

Charles “Cully” Stimson is a leading expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, immigration and drug policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the Center for National Defense. Read his research. Twitter: .

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Dinesh D’Souza’s Full Speech at Stanford University

Dinesh D’Souza published on YouTube his most recent speech sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation chapter at Stanford University in California. D’Souza:

[M]akes the moral case for Trump’s border wall, reveals the ways the Left twists the truth to spread #FakeNews, calls out progressives over “social justice,” anti-capitalism, and other radical positions, and goes head-to-head with the campus Left during a fiery Q&A round!

Learn more at Dinesh D’Souza’s website.

STUDY: Using marijuana just once or twice may change teen’s brain structure

BREAKING . . .

Grey matter volume differences associated with extremely low levels of cannabis use in adolescence

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience today “presents evidence suggesting structural brain and cognitive effects of just one or two instances of cannabis use in adolescence.” The researchers note that nearly 35 percent of 10th graders report using marijuana.

Read study abstract here.


Teens and vaping marijuana: Understanding the dangers of “dabbing”

Dabbing among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is on the rise, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey. Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug abuse, which funds the survey, estimates that of the 3 million teens now vaping e-cigarettes, 30 to 40 percent are vaping marijuana.

The term vaping generally applies to heating capsules of nicotine in an e-cigarette and inhaling the fumes, while dabbing refers to inhaling fumes from a heated capsule of THC in a vape pen. And those THC capsules contain concentrates with 60 to 90 percent THC compared to about 12 percent THC in today’s marijuana that is smoked. Americans were getting high less than 5 percent THC in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

“This is a very dangerous trend,” Dr. Baler says. E-cigarettes and vape pens “are very easy to hide. They’re odorless, and they’re marketed very aggressively for kids, whether they have flavorings or high concentrations of nicotine or marijuana.”

He warns that an adolescent brain is still in development and “should be completely clean” of any “drug that can derail that trajectory of development.”

Read Chicago Sun Times story here.


Police: Vape shop owner, employees charged with selling marijuana to minors

Police arrested the owner and four employees at a vape shop called Kloudy Visionz in Taunton, Massachusetts after finding a stash of marijuana behind the counter, which allegedly was sold to teenagers.

Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for adults, Kloudy Visionz does not have a license to sell it to anyone, let alone someone under age 21. An investigation had revealed teenagers leaving through a side entrance with marijuana.

The store had been opened for only about a year, but its license to sell tobacco had expired.

Read WFXT Boston story here.


Thousands of people in DC area seek treatment for marijuana dependency each year

Several thousand people in the area surrounding Washington DC have sought treatment for the drug that “isn’t addictive” (marijuana) as many legalization proponents claim.

An investigation by the NBC Washington News4 I-Team found that Virginia health agencies admitted approximately 4,000 residents each year for the past four years to treat marijuana dependency. While the majority were men, more recent records show an uptick in women ages 31 to 40 seeking treatment.

In 2016, experts testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee told members that 8 percent to 9 percent of adults and 17 percent of adolescents who try marijuana become addicted. The experts estimated that some 2.7 million Americans were dependent on the drug.

Those seeking treatment are encouraged to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free, confidential hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Read NBC Washington story and see video here.


Marijuana use and driving in Washington State: Risk perceptions and behaviors before and after implementation of retail sales

This roadside study surveyed drivers in Washington State the month before marijuana retail sales began, 5 to 6 months later, and 1 year later. Some 2,355 drivers completed the survey.

They were asked about their past and current marijuana use and whether they believed driving after use increased their risk for having an accident. They also were drug tested for the presence of THC in oral fluids or blood.

The proportion of daytime THC-positive drivers increased from 8 percent before retail sales to 23 percent 6 months after sales began. No such change occurred among nighttime drivers. The odds of being THC positive were 40 percent lower among drivers who believe marijuana can impair driving.

Further research should continue to monitor marijuana and driving and to develop a way to determine impairment.

Read Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study here.

1 Rape Video Game Removed, 2,000 Similar Video Games Remain

After coming under fire from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for listing a video game featuring the rape and murder of women, major video game distributor Steam has backtracked and removed the game. Despite their “allow everything” that isn’t “illegal, or straight up trolling”content policy, Steam delisted the game due to posing “unknown costs and risks”.

Steam’s vacuous explanation for removing this game highlights the utter inadequacy of their content policy which fails to ban sexual exploitation games. Instead of clear content guidelines, Steam appears to merely remove games whenever the company starts receiving bad press. While we’re glad this disturbing game has been removed, Steam’s slow response exposes a deep flaw in their current content policy.

In a statement Steam wrote, “Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary.”

It is hypocritical of Steam to remove one game while continuing to sell some 2,000 sexually exploitive games, many of which feature graphic sexual violence and pornographic themes. Further, their content filters are deeply inadequate, leaving millions of underage gamers exposed. We’re calling on Steam to improve their filters and set clear content guidelines that restrict sexually exploitive and graphic content.

In September, Steam approved for sale its first “100% uncensored” porn game featuring “pressured sexual relationships” and “abusive marriages”. This game, and others featuring similar content, remain for sale on the platform.

Steam was placed on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List. The Dirty Dozen List names 12 mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation and works to change corporate policy via grassroots activism. Click here to learn more about the Dirty Dozen List.

EDITORS NOTE: This NCOSE column is republished with permission.

Turning Point USA — Reclaiming America’s Youth

Turning Point USA (TPUSA) is an amazing organization that is focused on bringing the truth about America to college and university campuses and into public schools nationwide.

Here are two videos of leaders of the TPUSA movement who are making a difference each and every day.

Charlie Kirk, founder and Executive Director of TPUSA, at CPAC 2019.

Candace Owens, member of TPUSA and founder of BLEXIT, at CPAC 2019.

Hawaii Legislators Push Sex Change for Autistic Children

by Andrew Walden

Autistic children are in the DoE’s budget crosshairs again.

Millions of dollars from the DoE budget are on the line if HB664 or SB674  “Relating to Gender Identity” becomes law. 

The bills would prohibit “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity” except the definition in SB674 of “‘gender identity change efforts’ shall not include counseling supporting a person seeking to transition from one gender identity to another.”  The bills apply only to therapy on “a person under eighteen years of age.”   

What does this have to do with the DoE budget?  The key is special education, specifically autism. 

Several studies show that transgenders are as much as 85 times more likely to be autistic than the general population:  

2018 report in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders cites several studies and explains: “Transgender people assigned female were more likely to have clinically significant autistic traits compared to any other group.” 

2012 study cited by the authors shows “Nearly 30% of transgender men… fell within the autistic phenotype….” 

2014 study shows: “7.1% percent of transgender men had Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores that might indicate the presence of a clinical diagnosis of AutismSpectrum Condition (ASC) compared to only 1% in cisgender women, although this difference was not significant. For transgender females and cisgender males the rate was 4.7 and 3.9% respectively.” 

2016 study of self-identified transgenders shows: “Nearly 40% of the sample scored above the AQ-10 cut-off, indicating risk for possible clinical ASC and 14% self-reported a clinical diagnosis of ASC (17% for assigned females at birth and 10% for assigned males at birth). These values are considerably higher than the prevalence of ASC in the general population, which is estimated at 1.5% for men and 0.2% for women.”  (Note: 0.2% x 85 = 17%)

SB674 requires: “Any person who is licensed to provide professional counseling who engages in or attempts to engage in the offering of sexual orientation change efforts or gender identity change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age shall be subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate professional licensing authority.”  In other words—the therapist could lose his or her license. 

The Hawaii DoE spent millions of taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers to fight the parents of autistic children demanding their rights under the Felix Consent Decree.  Finally a 2015 Federal Court order in DOE v. Loveland Academy held that Hawaii Act 129 of 2011 is overruled by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This obligates the DoE to spend millions of dollars to provide autistic students with special education private schools such as Loveland because the DoE is incapable of providing the necessary level of treatment.

According to Rep Sylvia Luke, quoted in the Star-Advertiser, August 19, 2018, the DoE has been missing out on $50M to $100M annually for years.  The DoE is budgeting $367M for SPED for FY2018.  A list of annual Medicaid reimbursements to the DoE 2008 to 2018 shows none of them exceed $1M.

Medicaid funding is available to reimburse Special Education expenses—but only when “performed by a licensed provider.”  Hawaii’s very limited pool of state-employed ‘Licensed providers’ are represented by the HGEA, not HSTA and are mostly employed by the state DHS or DoH, not DoE.  Others are employed in the private sector.

Will millions of SPED budget dollars shift from DoE to DHS and DoH?

If HB664 or SB674 becomes law, those “licensed providers” will be exclusively made up of individuals ready and willing to push a sex-change on your child.  All others will gradually be stripped of their licenses. 

Parents will be less likely to seek treatment from a DoH or DHS ‘licensed provider’ with a sex-change agenda — so they will be more likely to stay with substandard treatment from the unlicensed providers in the DoE.

As amended, two bills now have slightly different wording which is a standard legislative maneuver to force them into a secretive conference committee.

Both bills are set for a crossover vote Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

HB664: Text, Status

SB674: Text, Status

Background:

EDITORS NOTE: This Hawaii Free Press column is republished with permission. The featured image of an autistic child is by Wikimedia Commons.

America’s Historical Ignorance

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the darling of the new socialist Democrats in this country, recently referred to the three branches of government. She said, they are the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. John Roberts, call your office.

Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in a great misunderstanding of our history. Many Americans have an abysmal knowledge of our history and some of the basics of American civics.

The results of a recently-released survey (2/15/19) are not encouraging. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation reports that, “in the highest-performing state, only 53 percent of the people were able to earn a passing grade for U.S. history. People in every other state failed; in the lowest-performing state, only 27 percent were able to pass.” [Emphasis theirs.]

The states that did the best were Vermont, Wyoming, and South Dakota. The states that did the worst were Louisiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas. When I first read that, I thought, “Then, what are those Vermonters doing, voting for Senator Bernie Sanders again and again?” As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Some examples of the common ignorance of Americans uncovered by the survey:

  • 57% did not know that Woodrow Wilson was the Commander in Chief during World War I.
  • 85% could not identify the correct year the Constitution was written (1787).
  • 75% could not identify how many amendments have been added to the document (27).
  • 25% did not know that freedom of speech was guaranteed under the First Amendment.

The Foundation concluded: “[A] waning knowledge of American history may be one of the greatest educational challenges facing the U.S.”

This survey is consistent with other findings through the years. We have dumbed down our schools.

Our loss of the knowledge of basic history and civics is a tragedy. We suffer from what I call, American Amnesia. I even wrote a whole book about it. God is the source of our freedom, but we forget this to our peril. As John F. Kennedy put it, “[T]he rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

I once interviewed the late Mel and Norma Gabler of Longview, Texas, who reviewed textbooks, from a Christian and conservative perspective. They told me of a textbook which dedicated seven pages to Marilyn Monroe, but only a paragraph to George Washington—and in that paragraph it mentioned that he had false teeth.

Our young people today know more about the trivia of today’s celebrities than they do the men and women who sacrificed everything to bequeath our freedoms to us.

Karl Marx once said, “Take away a people’s roots, and they can easily be moved.” Dr. Peter Lillback, with whom I had the privilege to write a book on the faith of George Washington, said in his book on church/state relations, Wall of Misconception, “One of our great national dangers is ignorance of America’s profound legacy of freedom. I firmly believe that ignorance is a threat to freedom.”

Lillback compiled the following quotes on the link between education and freedom:

  • Thomas Jefferson said, “A nation has never been ignorant and free; that has never been and will never be.”
  • James Madison observed, “The diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty….It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”
  • Samuel Adams pointed out the importance “of inculcating in the minds of the youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country.” God and charity first, said the Lightning Rod of the American Revolution, country second.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, says the Bible, which was in the first 200 years of America the chief textbook in one way or another. That includes the small but powerful New England Primer, which trained whole generations in Christian theology (in the Calvinist tradition), while teaching them even the basics of reading and writing.

Even their ABC’s were based on Biblical truths. Says the New England Primer: “A, In Adam’s Fall, We Sinned All. B, Thy Life to Mend, the Bible Tend. C, Christ Crucif’ed, For Sinners Died,” and so on.

Back then, with a Bible-based education, literacy was so high that John Adams said that to find an illiterate man in New England was as rare as a comet. It is too bad that as a society we continue to forget God, and we continue to reap the consequences, including the loss of our history and heritage of liberty.

Why does this matter? George Orwell, a former British Marxist, told us why in his classic novel, 1984: “Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by geralt on Pixabay.

Florida’s Universal Education Choice Moment

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that the state legislature intends to establish Equal Opportunity Scholarships designed to end the current waiting list on the tax credit scholarship program—a move the Republican chief executive supports.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship—which provides scholarships to eligible children to attend a private school of choice, and which is financed through corporate donations—currently has a waitlist of an estimated 13,000 families.

As the Tampa Bay Times reported, DeSantis would like those waiting students to have an immediate school choice option.

“If the taxpayer is paying for education, it’s public education,” regardless of where the student attends, DeSantis said.

He also said:

We have parents who are lining up for a tax credit scholarship. They would not do that if the program was not succeeding. … The question for us now is, should we be satisfied there is a growing waitlist, or should we build off the successes?

He is indeed correct to want to build off the success of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and end the waitlist. And the announcement follows on the heels of DeSantis’ promise earlier this month to eliminate the waitlist on the state’s education savings account program, which provides those accounts to students with special needs to get a customized education.

DeSantis’ remarks underscore the need to safeguard education choice for those hoping to exercise it; namely, students on the waitlist across the Sunshine State.

Now Florida should take the next step, and make education choice universally available to every student in the state.

Florida policymakers—along with DeSantis and his newly appointed education commissioner, Richard Corcoran (another staunch supporter of school choice)—should establish universal education savings accounts available to all students in the state.

As the Fordham Institute’s Robert Pondiscio explained, Republicans control the governor’s office, the state Senate, and the state House—a “trifecta” bolstered by DeSantis’ appointment of three conservatives to the Florida Supreme Court, shifting the balance on the court from a liberal majority to a conservative-leaning court.

Although Pondiscio notes that some are wary of expanding choice too quickly, “[a]lmost without exception, every state official and school choice advocate I recently met in Florida believes the state will be the first to have ‘universal’ education savings accounts, opening private-school choice options to all who seek them,” he noted.

As Jason Bedrick of EdChoice and I recently explained, Florida’s tax credit scholarship program is benefiting some of the most disadvantaged students in the state, with participating families’ average household income being just 8.2 percent above the federal poverty line (at $25,362).

Participating students scored lower on standardized exams prior to entry into the program than their peers, yet performed up to the national average (and exceeded their demographic peers) after using a scholarship.

Moreover, on Feb. 4, the Urban Institute released an evaluation finding that tax credit scholarship students are more likely to go to college and graduate.

Those are likely a few of the reasons parents are highly satisfied with the school choice option. Ninety-two percent of parents are satisfied with the program, including 89 percent who reported being highly satisfied.

Notably, as we found in this study—currently, the largest survey ever conducted of school choice program participants—parents are seeking out things the public school system cannot or will not provide:

Parents place a high value on their child’s character development. When asked to list the top three factors that influenced their decision to have their child attend their chosen school, the only factors to be selected by a majority of scholarship parents were religious environment/instruction (66 percent) and morals/character/values instruction (52 percent).

These two highly influential factors were followed by a safe environment (36 percent), academic reputation (34 percent), and small classes (31 percent).

The least important factor was standardized test scores, which only 4 percent of parents listed as one of their top three factors.

Parents in Florida want expanded education choice options. There are high levels of satisfaction among families in the current programs, high demand for more options (as evidenced by the waitlist), and the opportunity to go bold.

More than 100,000 children currently attend a school of their choice, thanks to the tax credit scholarship program, and 13,000 remain on the waitlist.

If implemented, Equal Opportunity Scholarships would give immediate school choice access to those students.

Florida should also seize this critical moment in time, as Pondiscio explains, to go bold on school choice:

Now the political stars have aligned to allow Florida Republicans—if they choose—to push the school choice agenda even further.

With the election of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a victory credited by The Wall Street Journal to African-American ‘school choice moms’ voting to protect tax credit scholarships and charter schools, choice proponents are champing at the bit to push school choice into the middle class, even making Florida the first state in the nation with universal choice.

Florida should do just that, providing education savings accounts to every child in the Sunshine State. Such a move would maintain Florida’s status as a leader in education choice, and improve educational opportunity to all families.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Lindsey Burke

Lindsey Burke

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: @lindseymburke.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

VIDEO: Parkland Dad Reflects on Feelings of Loss, Motivation to Make Change

“February 14th—we live it every day. I don’t need February 14th to remind me that my daughter was murdered on that day… But we’ve been [working] non-stop in Broward since this murder.” —Andrew Pollack

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