Why Impeachment Failed

It’s comforting, no doubt, to believe that Donald Trump has survived the impeachment trial because he possesses a tighter hold on his party than did Barack Obama or George W. Bush or any other contemporary president. In truth, Trump, often because of his own actions, has engendered less loyalty than the average president.

It’s difficult to recall, after all, a single Democratic senator throwing anything but hosannas Obama’s way, which allowed the former president to ride his high horse from one scandalous attack on the Constitution to the next.

In 1998, no Democrat voted to convict Bill Clinton, who had engaged in wrongdoing for wholly self-serving reasons, despite the GOP’s case being far more methodical and incriminating.

The chances of any party’s removing its sitting president without overwhelming evidence that fuels massive voter pressure are negligible. It’s never happened in American history—unless you count the preemptive removal of Richard Nixon—and probably never will. Democrats are demanding the GOP adopt standards that no party has ever lived by.


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Perhaps if the public hadn’t been subjected to four years of interminable hysteria over the United States’ imaginary descent into fascism, it might have been less apathetic toward the fate of “vital” Ukrainian aid that most Democrats had voted against when Obama was president.

And perhaps if institutional media hadn’t spent three years pushing a hyperbolically paranoid narrative of Russian collusion—a debunked conspiracy theory incessantly repeated by Democrats during the impeachment trial—the public wouldn’t be anesthetized to another alleged national emergency.

You simply can’t expect a well-adjusted voter to maintain CNN-levels of indignation for years on end.

Beyond the public’s mood, the Democrats’ strategy was a mess. House Democrats and their 17 witnesses set impossible-to-meet expectations, declaring that Trump had engaged in the worst wrongdoing ever committed by any president in history. (I’m not exaggerating.) When it comes to Trump criticism, everything is always “the worst thing ever!”

Even if Trump’s actions had risen to the level of removal, Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler were terrible messengers to make the case. These are not the politicians you tap to persuade jurors; they’re the politicians you pick to rile up your base.

Despite all the fabricated praise directed at Schiff over the past couple of weeks, the man reeks of partisanship. Not only because he’s been caught lying about the presence of damning evidence against Trump on more than one occasion, but because he played a sketchy role in helping the whistleblower responsible for sparking the impeachment come forward.

Even then, instead of spending the appropriate time building a solid case, subpoenaing all the “vital” witnesses, and laying out a timeline, House Democrats, by their own admission, rushed forward.

They justified taking shortcuts by warning that the country was in a race to stop Trump from stealing the 2020 election just as he had allegedly stolen the 2016 election.

That wouldn’t have been a big deal if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hadn’t exposed the supposed need for urgency as a ruse, by withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate for weeks.

She did so despite having zero standing to dictate the terms of the trial, no constitutional right to attempt to dictate them, and no political leverage.

In the end, she got nothing from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for her trouble.

Meanwhile, Democrats had spent most of the House hearings focusing on difficult-to-prove specific criminal offenses of “bribery” and “extortion”—poll-tested words that were taken up after the House realized “quid pro quo” didn’t play as well with the public.

Then, they didn’t even bother including the “crimes”—no, you don’t need a violation of criminal law to impeach, but the word was incessantly used by House Democrats anyway—in their open-ended articles of impeachment, written expressly to compel Senate Republicans to investigate for them.

The House had no right to demand that, and the Senate had no reason to comply. So as soon as the upper chamber took up impeachment, Democrats began dropping one “bombshell” leak after the next—the same strategy they deployed during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings—to drag out the spectacle and maximize the political damage.

Some of us would certainly have preferred that more Republicans concede Trump’s call was unbecoming and, in parts, inappropriate, even if it didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense. But Democrats keep demanding that Republicans play under a different set of rules.

The Constitution, a document under attack by the very people claiming to save it from the president, worked exactly as it should.

The House is free to subpoena all the “vital” witnesses Republicans have supposedly ignored, and then send a new batch of impeachment articles. Impeachment isn’t tantamount to a “coup” any more than Senate acquittal is unconstitutional or corrupt.

Pretending that democracy is on the precipice of extinction simply because you didn’t get your way, though, is nothing but histrionics.

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COMMENTARY BY

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .


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The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

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The 2010s: A Decade of Marital and Sexual Erosion

Originally published by USA Today.

A decade ago, President Barack Obama affirmed that marriage unites a man and woman. So did 45 states and the federal government.

The only states to redefine marriage had done so through activist court rulings or, in 2009, legislative action. At the ballot box, citizens had uniformly voted against redefinition. A majority agreed with Obama.

Then, in 2012, Obama “evolved,” and the Supreme Court took cases involving marriage law.


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


Nothing in the Constitution answered the actual question at hand: What is marriage? The court should have left the issue to the people. But in 2013, it struck down the federal definition of marriage as a male-female union in a 5-4 ruling.

The court also punted on a challenge to a state definition of marriage adopted in a 2008 constitutional referendum by which a majority of Californians—yes, Californians—overturned an activist court.

Only in 2015 did the Supreme Court, breaking 5-4 again, redefine marriage for the nation, provoking four irrefutable dissents.

Same-sex marriage advocates told the public that they sought only the “freedom to marry.” Same-sex couples were already free to live as they chose, but legal recognition was about the definition of marriage for all of society. It was about affirmation—by the government and everyone else.

It was never really about “live and let live”—that was a merely tactical stance.

It’s unsurprising that once a campaign that used to cry “live and let live” prevailed, it began working to shut down Catholic adoption agencies and harass evangelical bakers and florists.

This shows it was never really about “live and let live”—that was a merely tactical stance.

Family, Marriage—Redefined

While these were the early effects of redefinition, the more profound consequences will be to marriage itself. Law shapes culture; culture shapes beliefs; beliefs shape action.

The law now effectively teaches that mothers and fathers are replaceable, that marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships, of whatever formation the parties happen to prefer. This undermines the truth that children deserve a mother and a father—one of each.

It also undercuts any reasonable justification for marital norms. After all, if marriage is about romantic connection, why require monogamy?

There’s nothing magical about the number two, as defenders of “polyamory” point out. If marriage isn’t a conjugal union uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, why should it involve or imply sexual exclusivity? If it isn’t a comprehensive union inherently ordered to childbearing and rearing, why should it be pledged to permanence?

The law now effectively teaches that mothers and fathers are replaceable, that marriage is simply about consenting adult relationships, of whatever formation the parties happen to prefer.

Marriage redefiners could not answer these questions when challenged to show that the elimination of sexual complementarity did not undermine other marital norms. Today, they increasingly admit that they have no stake in upholding norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence.

Same-sex marriage didn’t create these problems. Many in America had unwisely already gone along with the erosion of marital norms in the wake of the sexual revolution—with the rise of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, no-fault divorce, and the hookup culture.

It was no surprise that many would then question the relevance of the male-female norm. Legal redefinition is a consequence of the cultural breakdown of marriage.

Monogamy Is Old News

But same-sex marriage is a catalyst for further erosion. Already, we see respectable opinion-makers mainstreaming “throuples,” “ethical nonmonogamy” and “open relationships.” This was predictable; we and others predicted it.

Something we didn’t predict are the headlines about transgender and nonbinary “identities.” A decade ago, few Americans had given much thought to the “T” in “LGBT.” Today, transgender identity seems to dominate the discussion of sexuality and sexual morality.

There’s a logic here. If we can’t see the point of our sexual embodiment where it matters most—in marriage—we’ll question whether it matters at all. Hence the push to see gender as “fluid” and existing along a “spectrum” of nonbinary options.

There’s a deeper logic, too. Implicit in the push for same-sex marriage was body-self dualism—the idea that we’re actually nonphysical entities inhabiting physical bodies, or ghosts in machines. That’s why the “plumbing” in sexual acts seemed not to matter.

True one-flesh union, the foundation of conjugal marriage, was thought illusory. What mattered was emotional union and partners’ use of their bodies to induce desirable sensations and feelings.

Of course, two men or two women (or throuples or even larger sexual ensembles) could do that. But the logic didn’t stay with marriage. If the body is mere plumbing, then sex matters less than identity.

This has had tragic consequences, especially for children.

Children Burdened by Our Mistakes

Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body, even that their bodies are merely like Pop-Tarts foil packets, as one expert explained.

Nearly unthinkable a decade ago, certain medical professionals tell children experiencing gender dysphoria that they are trapped in the wrong body.

Some doctors now prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to otherwise healthy children struggling to accept their bodies. They prescribe cross-sex hormones for young teens to transform their bodies to align with their gender identities.

As part of a government grant-supported study, doctors even performed double mastectomies on adolescent girls—including two 13-year-olds.

These changes weren’t grassroots movements. They’ve come from people wielding political, economic, and cultural power to advance sexual-liberationist ideology.

The change has been top-down—from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters to business executives boycotting states over religious freedom laws. Having lost at the ballot box over and over—even in California—activists found new avenues: ideologically friendly courts, federal agencies, big corporations.

Having secured a judicial redefinition of marriage, they pivoted to the “T,” with the Obama administration redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity” and imposing a new policy on all schools.

The change has been top down—from Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters to business executives boycotting states over religious-freedom laws.

And having won government support, activists turned to eliminating private dissent. Former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wants to yank the tax-exemption of noncompliant churches. Megadonor Tim Gill vows to spend his fortunes to “punish the wicked.”

Who are “the wicked”? Those who refuse to accept the new sexual orthodoxy.

All of us, including those identifying as LGBT, are made in God’s image, are endowed with profound dignity and thus deserve respect. It’s because of this dignity and out of such respect that the institutions serving the human good—like the marriage-based family—should be supported, not undermined or redefined. That basic rights like religious freedom ought to be upheld, not infringed. That a healthy moral and physical ecology—especially for children—must be preserved.

The “progress” of the past decade has exacted steep costs.

COMMENTARY BY

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research. Twitter: .

Robert George is the McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, where he directs the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He also serves on The Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Twitter: .

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Is socialism really morally sound?

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LGBT Activists Could Be to Blame for Falling LGBT Acceptance

In a recent hit single, “You Need to Calm Down,” Taylor Swift mocks people who stand firm in their beliefs about sexuality, asking that they stop their bigotry and “calm down.”

The music video, which went viral, depicts conservatives as ignorant hicks who reject gays and are driven by animus. They are ugly, dated, and lack basic hygiene. By contrast, the LGBT folks in the video are bright, happy, and boast perfectly coiffed hair.

Moreover, the angry hicks are a dwindling minority, while the upbeat LGBT folks are shown to be ascendant—on the right side of history, you might say.

Despite these crass portrayals, which only confirm the left’s worst prejudices, a new survey released Monday suggests that young people are not actually falling in line with the LGBT movement as the common narrative suggests. In fact, they’re increasingly uncomfortable with it.

According to the annual Accelerating Acceptance report, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, the number of Americans 18 to 34 who are comfortable with LGBT people in various situations slipped from 53% in 2017 down to 45% in 2018. And the 53% figure is down from 63% in 2016.

The survey asked men and women of various age brackets whether they are uncomfortable with the following:

  • Learning a family member is LGBT.
  • Having your child placed in class with an LGBT teacher.
  • Learning your doctor is LGBT.
  • Learning your child had a LGBT history lesson in school.

The largest drop in “acceptance” appears to be among the youngest age bracket.

In 2018, 36% of young people said they were uncomfortable learning a family member was LGBT, compared with 29% in 2017. Likewise, 34% were uncomfortable learning their doctor was LGBT vs. only 27% a year earlier.

In addition, 39% said they would be uncomfortable learning their child had a school lesson on LGBT history vs. 27% two years prior.

It appears young women have dropped the most in their comfortability with LGBT people. In 2017, 64% were comfortable compared to 52% in 2018.

Also of note, in 2017, people ages 72 and up were the most uncomfortable learning a child had an LGBT lesson in school.

John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, expressed concern over these numbers to USA TODAY: “We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant. These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination.”

USA Today reported that when Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, looked closer, she discovered the younger age bracket actually interacted more with LBGT people, “particularly individuals who are non-binary and don’t identify simply as lesbian or gay.”

She blamed their lower comfort level on “a newness that takes time for people to understand.”

Both Gerzema and Ellis blamed the lack of tolerance on the Trump administration’s policy efforts regarding transgender people in the military and religious liberty issues.

But this makes no sense. If politics is really downstream from culture, and there is more equality in America than ever before, wouldn’t the culture reflect and accept that notion of being more tolerant?

A better way to understand the survey results might be to look at how pushy, even aggressive, the LGBT movement has been in ensuring its rights supersede the rights of others.

Whether it’s lawsuits for “bathroom rights” or lawsuits against religious people who can’t in good conscience bake a certain cake, the LGBT community is not advocating “equal rights” but supreme rights that marginalize everyone else’s.

This aggressive push for LGBT “equality” may actually be backfiring, causing even young people to feel discomfort and alienation.

At first glance, Swift’s song might seem to align with this study, since she too is decrying society’s rejection of LGBT people. But what she ignores, just like Ellis, is that people are uncomfortable for a reason that is likely of the LGBT movement’s own making.

The LGBT movement is now defined by fighting against gender norms, demanding that children in drag become an accepted new normal, and filing lawsuits so that biological males can use women’s restrooms.

This kind of aggressive, entitled behavior is difficult to acquiesce to, especially when it infringes upon the rights of others who would rather not participate.

Instead of hoping people would become more “comfortable” around the LGBT community, it may be worthwhile for GLAAD and other groups to consider the effect their campaign is having on other people. Maybe they’re the ones that “need to calm down.”

COMMENTARY BY

Nicole Russell is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review, Politico, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, and Parents Magazine. Twitter: .

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If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

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VIDEO: Judicial Watch Gives Testimony on Capitol Hill about Clinton Foundation

When I was asked by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Government Operations to testify this week about the Clinton Foundation, I knew the challenge would be organizing the vast trove of information we have accumulated through court action over the past several years.

That evidence, I told the committee, warrants a serious investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Moreover, there is evidence that the Obama Justice Department suppressed an investigation of the Foundation.

In my testimony, I said that we were suspicious from the very beginning of Hillary Clinton’s term at the State Department if she and Bill could keep Foundation and government business separate. By 2014, it was evident that we were right, and we issued a report with the Washington Examiner:

A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton‘s tenure as secretary of state…

State Department officials charged with reviewing Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches did not object to a single one.

Some of the speeches were delivered in global hotspots and were paid for by entities with business or policy interests in the U.S.

[ … ]

[A]n inspection by the Examiner and Judicial Watch of donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s personal financial disclosure forms, and the State Department conflict-of-interest reviews show that at least $48 million flowed to the Clintons’ personal coffers from many entities that clearly had interests in influencing the Obama administration — and perhaps currying favor with a future president as well.

I detailed for the committee Bill Clinton’s speeches in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China, all of which poured enormous sums into the Foundation. And there were Bill Clinton’s infamous speeches in Russia. There he gave two for $625,000. One was to the Russian investment bank, Renaissance Capital, at a 2010 event.

I also reminded the committee that it was our efforts that uncovered Hillary Clinton’s notorious private email system, which effectively shielded her various dealings. After our lawsuits forced the disclosure of the Clinton email server, another Judicial Watch lawsuit broke open what is now known as the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play scandal.

Emails we uncovered demonstrate that Clinton Foundation donors and supporters received special favors and consideration from the Clinton State Department. Just one example:

Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain: A Judicial Watch-obtained Huma Abedin-Doug Band email exchange from 2009 revealed that Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton but was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had spent $32 million in conjunction with CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.

I concluded my prepared remarks this way:

Judicial Watch will continue its various independent lawsuits and investigations, on behalf of the public interest, into the Clinton Foundation and the related Clinton email scandal.

Because the Clinton Foundation issue is not a “private” scandal. It is a State Department scandal, it is an FBI scandal, it is a Justice Department scandal, it a foreign potentate scandal, it is a shady corporation scandal, and, for sure, it is a government transparency scandal.

It was a privilege to represent you before Congress and to put forward in a public forum what we have known for a long time about Bill and Hillary Clinton and their Foundation: Influence pays handsomely.

You can watch my testimony and congressional follow-up questions here. If you wish, scroll directly to the 15-minute mark where I begin.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with videos and images is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Who Are the Most Powerful People in America?

The genius of America is that it was set up as a representative government, but increasingly, Americans are ruled over by leaders who are unelected, and very powerful. Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger unmasks the people who are really ruling our lives.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Alex Iby on Unsplash.

PODCAST: Judicial Watch’s Weekly Update: New Awan Bros Dem IT Suit

Clean House at Justice Department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned, bringing an end to his controversial tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. He advanced some significant policy advances for the rule of law, but made a terrible mistake in recusing himself needlessly from the so-called Russia investigation. This led to the abusive, unconstitutional Mueller special counsel investigation of President Trump. Frankly, President Trump has been terribly victimized by Justice Department and FBI corruption.

And disappointingly, the Justice Department under AG Sessions was a black hole in terms of transparency. It covered up institutional misconduct and, unbelievably, went out of its way to defend misconduct by Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials.

I hope transparency and rooting out corruption and abuse becomes the focus of any new attorney general.

Now that President Trump has removed AG Sessions and appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, the new DOJ leadership should end the abusive Mueller investigation and finally do a serious prosecution of Clinton’s email crimes and other misconduct.

In the meantime, your Judicial Watch will continue its independent oversight of the Justice Department through its myriad Freedom of Information Act lawsuits on Deep State abuses.


Major New Lawsuit on Awan Brothers Democratic IT Scandal

Of the many bizarre corruption stories in Congress, one of the strangest was the IT scandal in the House of Representatives on the Democratic side of the aisle. This scandal is of heightened public interest now that Democrats have gained control of the House.

As is often the case when the government refuses to fully investigate itself, we have stepped in, filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for all records of communications relating to the investigation into former Democratic information technology (IT) staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan and Hina R. Alvi (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02563)).

Imran Awan and his family were banned from the House computer network in February 2017 after the House’s top law enforcement officer wrote that Imran is “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems,” and that a server containing evidence had gone “missing.” The inspector general said server logs showed “unauthorized access” and procurement records were falsified.

Imran Awan was Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology aide. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until he was arrested in July, trying to board a flight for Pakistan.

Imran Awan was allowed a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud, but prosecutors found no evidence that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”

Color us skeptical that DOJ conducted a full investigation.

In October 2017, I participated in a discussion between House members and experts regarding the Wasserman Schultz/Awan Brothers/IT affair. During this discussion, I stated:

“Frankly when it comes to crimes with a political component, I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread. And because of the political nature of what went on (with the Awan family) they’re not going to push the House … and I fear that the Justice Department will be fearful of raising these issues with the House for fear of embarrassing the leadership of both parties … and that’s something we need to push the Justice Department on. That they don’t under-charge or under-investigate this for fear of the consequences that will happen if they push further and find something that no one wants to find, which is a national security threat at our breast here in the House.”

That is why Judicial Watch sued after the FBI failed to respond adequately to two FOIA requests.

The FBI claimed it could neither confirm nor deny records related to the first request, filed on May 26, 2017, seeking:

  • All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, and Hina R. Alvi. As part of this request, searches should of records [sic] should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
  • All records of communication sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the subjects in bullet item 1.

The timeframe for the requested records is May 2015 to the present.

Further, the FBI claimed that records related to a July 3, 2018, FOIA request were located in an investigative file and exempt from disclosure. That request sought:

  • All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, Hina R. Alvi and Rao Abbas. As part of this request, searches of records should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
  • All records of communications, including but not limited to emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages, instant chats or messages on the Lync system, sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the Awan brothers, Ms. Alvi and Mr. Abbas. Records of communications searched should include but not be limited to those between FBI officials, employees and contractors and officials with the Capitol Police, the Office of the Inspector General of the House, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House.

It’s time for the full truth to come out about the House Democrat IT scandal, especially with the impending change of power in the House. Let’s hope the new leadership at the DOJ will bring transparency to this case, as well as many other pending FOIA investigations.

President Trump is aware of this strange situation. On June 7, 2018, he tweeted, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a “plea deal” to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”

“Really bad” is right and Judicial Watch aims to get more of the truth about this major congressional scandal.

Judicial Watch Sues for Docs on Influence Peddling Scandal At Energy Department 

Michael Cohen was a personal lawyer for President Trump from 2006 until President Trump fired him in May 2018, a month after a federal investigation of Cohen became widely public. On August 21, 2018, Cohen pled guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud.

Coincidentally, we have also been looking into a questionable deal involving Cohen, the Energy Department and an investor in a nuclear plant project.

We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for all records of communications relating to Michael Cohen and the application for a $5 billion federal loan guarantee for the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Energy (No. 1:18-cv-02208)). Cohen, who was reportedly offered a $10 million “success fee” and paid a monthly retainer for his efforts on behalf of the Alabama nuclear-power project, never registered as a federal lobbyist.

The suit was filed after the Department of Energy failed to respond to an August 22, 2018, FOIA request for:

  • All records of communications between the Department of Energy (DOE), including oral communications, and Michael Cohen relating to the loan application for the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant.
  • All records of communications between the DOE and Michael Cohen in relation to any other loan application.
  • A copy of and all records related to the application of Nuclear Development, LLC for a loan application relating to the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.
  • A full and complete copy of DOE’s response to an August 9, 2018, letter to Secretary Perry from Senator Ed Markey regarding Franklin Haney, Nuclear Development, LLC, and Michael Cohen.

On August 2, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Franklin D. Haney, “a major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney [Michael Cohen] if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government …” The contract reportedly was given to Cohen “in early April to assist his efforts to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama, known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant …”

On August 10, 2018, the Washington Examiner reported:

“Cohen was also given a retainer payment for each month of lobbying on top of the $10 million ‘success fee’ for gaining final approval of a $5 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department. Cohen had made calls in the spring to the Energy Department to see if there was any way to speed up the approval process. The agreement between Haney and Cohen was reportedly rescinded, but Markey says the issue warrants further investigation to examine the integrity of the loan guarantee program that Perry oversees.”

Mr. Cohen may have broken basic lobbying disclosure and other laws in setting up a deal to advocate for a loan guarantee from the Energy Department. It is disappointing that the Energy Department is giving us the run around on this simple request, forcing us to go to federal court.

Government Warning: Narco-Terrorism will Worsen Under New Leftist Leader

Mexico held an election this year, too – on July 1 – and the result is not good for the United States, as our Corruption Chronicles blog reports. Our border is about to get a lot more dangerous.

The overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the United States already come from Mexico, and Mexican traffickers are the greatest criminal threat to the nation, but things are about to get worse when Mexico’s new leftwing president takes over. His name is Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known popularly as AMLO), he opposes hardline anti-drug policies and believes in amnesty for drug war criminals.

A State Department document obtained by Judicial Watch warns that Obrador, who takes over on December 1, will seek to decriminalize marijuana and poppy cultivation early in his term. He will also end Mexican military intervention in the drug war and pardon some drug offenders, according to the document which was issued recently by the agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and is titled “Mexico’s Drug War & AMLO” and subtitled “Crime; Drug Trafficking; Narco-Terrorism.”

Narco-violence and cartel-associated crime is already one of most dangerous threats against U.S. private-sector interests in Mexico, according to the State Department, and Obrador’s new policies will only worsen the crisis. “The promised amnesty deal with organized criminal groups and the pledge to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians, many of whom are in business with the cartels, prompts concern about increased impunity for violent offenders,” the new memo states.

It identifies “hot spots” for Mexican Criminal and Narco-Violence and reveals that the drug war and cartel infighting has caused severe, nationwide security repercussions. Five Mexican states (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas) have such high levels of violence that the U.S. government warns against travel. Common crimes include homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. “In these states, gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread,” the State Department writes. “Criminal organizations operate freely and sometimes with impunity. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of these states, as criminal organizations have laid territorial claim to significant portions of the region.”

In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handled 116 kidnappings in Mexico, 81 for ransoms, and during the 2018 general elections there were 774 attacks against politicians. More than 150 politicians were killed in the attacks, the State Department reveals, and 371 non-elected officials. On election day alone, 138 assaults were reported in Mexico and seven politicians were murdered, compared to nine during the entire 2012 election season. Clearly, our neighbor to the south is a perpetually unstable, crime-infested cesspool. Intra-cartel violence remains the most prevalent type of crime much like an outlaw society taken over by thugs.

“Although Mexico employs strict gun-control laws, criminals are often armed with guns, which has resulted in the increase of homicide incidents in Mexico,” according to the State Department memo. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred. In some states, members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.”

It’s difficult to imagine that the Mexican crisis will worsen in a few weeks. For years a variety of government audits have documented that the overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the U.S. come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest criminal threat to the country. A recent one that comes to mind is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment proclaiming that Mexican cartels are in a class of their own, that “no other group can challenge them in the near term.” The government classifies them as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) and they smuggle in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. We’re talking about sophisticated operations that have been smuggling huge amounts of illicit drugs into the U.S. for some time.

It doesn’t end there. The DEA has confirmed that major Mexican cartels are actually operating in the United States. They include the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) the Los Cuinis, Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG), Juarez Cartel, Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM), Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT), Los Zetas, and the renowned Sinaloa Cartel.

Mexican drug cartels have long benefitted from our susceptible southern border and the situation is more serious than ever because traffickers have joined forces with Middle Eastern terrorists to enter the U.S. Years ago Judicial Watch broke a story detailing how smugglers (“coyotes”) working for the Juárez Cartel help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” also smuggle ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. Judicial Watch’s high-level government sources say these specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.

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

VIDEO: Hillary Is Back To Lead the Democrat Mob

After Hillary Clinton called for her party to act without civility, Eric Holder declared, “when they go low, we kick them… that’s the new Democratic party.” Bongino exposes another reason why we all need to start owning the libs. Plus, the Senate race heats up in Texas. Bongino on why Beto cannot win. And, CNN calls Kanye West a “token negro.” Because tolerance.

Dan Bongino on NRATV

Country, service, the Second Amendment, the Truth and every Big R God-given Right. This is what WE STAND for and these are the American foundations Former Secret Service Agent and NYPD Officer Dan Bongino will defend every weekday at 4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET on NRATV.

Dan Bongino joins NRATV’s lineup, rounding out the most experienced and patriotic team of journalists and conservatives on the air today. Together, they are on a mission to Take Back The Truth.

Smart. Tough. Extraordinary background in law enforcement. In other words, enemy number one in the eyes of progressives. And what’s worse for those elitists? Dan welcomes Grant Stinchfield for each episode. So radical socialists—bring your best. We dare you to join that cage fight.

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Of Course The Liberal Mob Is Real

Giving Violence a Chance

High School Band Who Depicted Shooting Cops During Half-Time Performance Faces a Massive Penalty

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash.

VIDEO: ‘There has been an Air of Violence, Intimidation, and Lawlessness at the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings’

f you saw the antics of the leftwing protesters – and Democrat members of the Senate! – at today’s hearing for Judge Kavanaugh…

You know they reached a new low.

And now, your Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, is asking for your help to assure that this fine jurist does not fall prey to the left’s outrageous tactics:

As Tom says in his important video, “There has been an air of violence, intimidation, and lawlessness at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.”

And the assault was led by none other than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer!

Please help Judicial Watch make certain that Judge Kavanaugh gets the respect – and Senate approval — he deserves.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a protester being escorted out during the Kavanaugh hearing. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock.

Is CNN “The Enemy of the People”?

It began at the Trump Rally this past Tuesday in Tampa. I was covering the rally as part of the press corps for News Talk Florida. A sizable crowd was on hand and, as is customary, the attendees and media had to wait for a couple of hours for President Trump to take the podium. To fill the time, news reporters wrote their columns and the television media made brief on-air reports, including Jim Acosta of CNN, a well known adversary to this administration.

Seeing Mr. Acosta begin to make his live report, the crowd turned around towards the camera, waved their Trump signs and began to chant “CNN sucks” as well as “USA” and “Trump.” As more people began to notice what was going on, they joined in and their voices grew louder and louder. So much so, Mr. Acosta was forced to curtail his report. This happened not just once, but at least two times.

Trump supporter in Tampa, Florida. Photo by John Michael Chambers.

The next day, the White House correspondent was interviewed on CNN and was visibly upset with the heckling in Tampa, whining, “It felt like we weren’t in America anymore,” and portrayed himself as a victim.

Some reports claimed President Trump had instigated the verbal attack on Mr. Acosta. This is simply not true as it happened long before Mr. Trump took the stage.

He also claimed the media worried about their safety. Frankly, the only person singled out by the crowd was Mr. Acosta during his report. Nobody cared about him when the camera was turned off. No other member of the media was addressed, other than a member of the press asking an attendee a question.

This is evidently a common occurrence with Mr. Acosta as it has happened at other events. Bottom-line, the Trump supporters know who Mr. Acosta is and are acutely aware of his adversarial relationship with the president, which they do not appreciate.

Pursuant to this, in Thursday’s press conference, Mr. Acosta persisted in asking the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, if the Trump administration considered the media, “The enemy of the people.” Although she dodged the question, she claimed to be offended by the attacks by the press on her personally.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter issued a statement that, No, she didn’t consider the media as an enemy of the people. This caused President Trump to Tweet on Thursday, “They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!”

It is no secret the public no longer trusts the media, reaching incredible lows. Republicans and independents generally regard it as an organ of the Democrats.

When there is any push back to a story in the press, particularly by the president, they claim foul. Ever since the beginning of his candidacy, Mr. Trump knew he wasn’t liked by the press, which is typical for most Republican presidents. Unlike his predecessors though who simply took the abuse, Mr. Trump is not afraid to return fire which annoys the press to no end, claiming he is being “unpresidential.” He refutes this comment by saying, “It is a lot easier to act presidential than to do what I do,” a reference to his results orientation.

Sitting there as a member of the press, I was asked my opinions on various subjects. Inevitably, the first question asked was, “Are you with CNN?” After I assured them I was not, they asked some rather interesting questions about the media and politics in general.

Basically, I think CNN’s Jim Acosta is getting a small taste of his own medicine, and certainly doesn’t like it. Somehow he believes he should be exempted from criticism. The heckling he receives at the Trump rallies is a result of his own doing. He has gone out of his way to irritate the administration and certainly doesn’t come across as “fair and balanced.” Supporters of the president recognize this and treats him accordingly.

Somehow I am reminded of the old saying, “If you cannot stand the heat…”

Keep the Faith!

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RELATED VIDEO: Jim Acosta is a cry baby.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

VIDEOS: They’re Helping Killers and Terrorists, Not Law-Abiding Citizens Like You.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah

They’re giving terrorists like Ahmed Abu Khatallah rights, and not protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens like you.

Miguel Hernandez

Have you ever heard of Miguel Hernandez? I doubt it.

On July 27, 2014, the registered sex offender violently beat and strangled a 56-year-old-man inside of his home. When the police found Hernandez, he had covered himself in blood and was claiming to work for “the dark prince.”

No law stopped Hernandez from killing. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They’re helping killers like Miguel Hernandez, not law-abiding citizens like you.

The Jones

Have you ever heard of Michael and Heather Jones? I doubt it.

They starved, tortured and beat 7-year-old Adrian Jones for most of his young life. In 2015, after they killed him, they fed his remains to pigs.

No law stopped these monsters. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They weren’t able to stop killers like Michael and Heather Jones, so don’t let them take away the rights of law-abiding citizens like you.

Dominic Cinelli

Have you ever heard of Dominic Cinelli? I doubt it.

In 2009, he was granted parole from three life sentences for shooting a security guard during an armed robbery. In 2010, the day after Christmas, he shot and killed a police officer.

No law stopped Cinelli from killing. So when you hear people wanting to restrict your right to protect yourself, know this: They’re helping killers like Dominic Cinelli, not law-abiding citizens like you.

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VIDEO: What Is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality is the newest fad in political activism. What is it? Who’s involved? And furthermore, what does it even mean? No one is better prepared to answer these questions than Daily Wire editor-in-chief and podcast sensation Ben Shapiro, who breaks it all down in this invaluable video.

Click here to take a brief survey about this video.

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INTERSECTIONALITY: Leftist Politics Designed to Fail

Designated for Destruction

 

VIDEO: A Watched Gun Hasn’t Fired for Nearly One Year — GunCam Miracle?

Will the gun on 2ndVote GunCam make it through an entire year without committing a crime? The countdown is on.

American left and its allies in the media have long insisted that it is guns, and not people, that commit acts of violence. Pieces at Psychology TodayThe NationThe Washington PostThe Huffington PostRolling Stoneand even the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association have all supported the alleged accuracy of this notion.

Given this conclusion, it is nothing short of a miracle that 2ndVote’s GunCam video has recorded zero deaths and zero crimes committed by a gun which we have closely observed for nearly a year. Don’t take our word for it! Check out the live stream video below:

Perhaps we’re being unfair to those who believe inanimate objects can choose to kill human beings. That’s why we’re carefully scrutinizing GunCam. Will this pistol suddenly jump up and run away? Will it pivot and target the video camera by which it is being observed?

We doubt it. And like several companies which have recently separated from Dick’s Sporting Goods over its anti-Second Amendment corporate decisions, we’re very confident that no other guns will commit any crimes of any sort under their own volition. Like those companies, we know that millions of Americans safely use guns — many to defend themselves and their families.

Then again, Enterprise seems to disagreeSo do dozens of other companies. Who is right — 2ndVote and America’s Founders, or these companies’ leaders who are afraid of anti-gun zealots?

The answer is still in the Great Unknown. So we shall continue our careful scrutiny of GunCam to ascertain the answer!

Help us continue developing the content and research that conservatives are using to hold corporations for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

Shariah Crime Stoppers Videos for American Citizens Released

All videos shown below are for Citizen Briefings, to engage the communities and discussions needed to inform the public and the local Law Enforcement.  The briefings are meant to provide a sample of what is included in the certified Law Enforcement training being offered.

To begin those discussions, an introduction is available here:

Citizen Briefing videos available below:

  • Women & Sharia
  • Sharia Compliant Mosques

To see the full list, place your cursor in the upper left corner of the video window and click on that icon for all of the videos available.


ABOUT SHARIA CRIME STOPPERS

Sharia Crime Stoppers is a forthright campaign demanding that the American justice system effectively deal with the criminal aspects of Islamic Law, otherwise known as  Sharia.  Law Enforcement and Prosecutors must be trained in the ideology of Sharia and Citizens must demand that the full force of American law be applied in their communities, despite political pressure to the contrary.

Sharia Crime Stoppers is a campaign to provide training to citizens across America so they can engage their local Law Enforcement, from the Officers on the Street to Judges, in a conversation to determine the depth of their understanding of Sharia sanctioned crimes.

Sharia Crime Stoppers training is free to all attendees and also available to churches, synagogues, and community groups… in a variety of formats. Only cost is for instructors travel expenses.

Certified Law Enforcement Training

Citizen Briefings

Questions for Local Law Enforcement Officials – THEY MUST BE ABLE TO ANSWER!

Certified Law Enforcement Training and Citizen Briefings are available. Check out our Facebook page:  Sharia Crime Stoppers.

To discuss details or schedule training, contact :    spearpoint911@shariacrimestoppers.org 

Problematic Women: Melania Trump’s Approval Ratings Reach a Personal ‘Best’

Michelle Obama demeans women who voted for President Donald Trump (again), Melania Trump’s favorability ratings reach a personal “best,” and did celebrities at the Met Gala appropriate Catholic culture? Plus: women stand up against the leader of the “resistance,” and a special tribute for Mother’s Day. All that and more in this week’s edition of Problematic Women. Watch in the video above, or listen in the podcast below.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Kelsey Harkness

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

Portrait of Bre Payton

Bre Payton is the culture and millennial politics reporter for The Federalist. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of First Lady Melania Trump announcing her “Be Best” children’s initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

9 Amazing Benefits of Technology in the Classroom (+18 Best Ways to Incorporate Technology)

Have you ever wondered if technology improves learning? Educational technology supporters and researchers tout the amazing benefits of incorporating technology in the classroom. Those who are on the fence about how useful technology is in the modern classroom provide several counterarguments that warrant further discussion about how to find a happy medium between using technology and traditional teaching strategies.

Technology has its place. The trick is using it to enhance learning instead of doing the same thing in a different way. This article presents a balanced perspective on the advantages of using technology in the classroom. Each benefit provides actionable tips you can use to put on your technology A-game in your classroom.

Creates a Better Learning Environment

Think about your primary to tertiary level learning experiences. You probably were educated in an era when technology wasn’t as ubiquitous and the chalk-and-talk approach to teaching was all teachers knew. Ah, the good ol’ days when you were fighting the urge to sleep every five minutes.

Educase indicates that the world has so drastically changed that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been updated to include access to Wifi as a fundamental human need. The 21st century student desires to be connected with the world. Finding ways to help your students create this connection in the classroom is necessary. A study conducted by Justin Tosco, a Masters student at Saint Catherine University, shows that students prefer lessons that use technology.

Effectively engaging your students throughout a lesson helps you win half the battle of getting them to learn the content.  In fact, a classroom environment that promotes learning engages students by:

  • Encouraging them to ask meaningful questions
  • Helping them develop the ability to solve real problems
  • Promoting an environment of inclusion where each learner’s needs are met and each learner’s thoughts are valued
  • Using a variety of learning models
  • Providing them with assessments that are done to promote learning instead of meet administrative requirements
  • Having clear standards for excellence

It is true that such an environment can be created without technology. Some teachers have no choice but to find ways to do this because technological resources are limited. This articleemphasises the numerous benefits technology offers to rural school but also discusses the limitations access to technology poses on teachers and students.

Nevertheless, innovative teachers find ways to use technology to create a vibrant learning environment. Two such strategies are described below.

How To Create a Vibrant Learning Environment

  1. Appeal to a Variety of Modalities

A home theatre projector is a worthwhile investment that either a teacher or school administrator can make  for a classroom. Projectors allow you to add audio-visual stimuli to a lesson, even if there is no Wifi access at your school. A study conducted by Rasul, Bukhsh and Batool showed that audio-visual aids make the teaching and learning process more effective.

A variety of apps are available that have audio-visual and kinesthetic elements. For instance, graphs are a common problem for high school students. You can encourage your school’s administration to purchase a class set of graphing calculators if your school is in an area with limited or no internet access. However, if your school is in an area that has internet access and digital tablets, you can consider incorporating the Free Calculator-Pocket CAS lite app in your lessons.

You can also recommend that parents purchase an Osmo Pro Genius Kit for their children. This kit allows children to extend their learning outside of class in a practical way.This review explains how the kit can be used to create tangrams, help children learn new words and develop Physics skills.

2. Develop Problem Solving Skills

One of the arguments against the use of technology in the classroom is that it perpetuates a growing problem amongst generation Y and Z students. They spend so many hours engaging with devices that they lose the ability to think critically and develop motor and social skills.

You, therefore, have a responsibility to ensure that the technological tools you use are meaningful. All technology used in your lesson should help students develop essential skills such as problem solving and team work. They shouldn’t be mindless activities.

Epistemic games offer a solution to this problem. These games essentially help players model real-world skills required to excel in particular professions. A plethora of epistemic games can be found here.

Improves Knowledge Retention

You think you’ve done a good job comprehensively explaining a concept to your students. They’re answering the questions correctly in class and, therefore, should be ready for a test.  However, after administering the test you discover that something went terribly wrong.

Students’ poor performance is closely linked to their ability to retain information. A study conducted by Kamuche and Ledman showed a non-linear relationship between length of time and knowledge retention. Their study explained that the amount that was initially learned plays the most important role in long-term retention.

Technology in the classroom can facilitate an increase in the amount of information retained. However, this can only be effectively accomplished when you carefully plan how technology will be incorporated in your lesson.

Teachers have experienced vast improvements in their students’ performances when they incorporate technology in their lessons. One of the most profound success stories is that of the engineering-technology program at Rochester Institute of Technology.

A study was conducted over a 6 year period. The focus was identifying how to decrease the amount of students who either failed or left the engineering-technology program. Lecturers began using multiple types of technology, such as tablets, collaborative software, and projection screens. The result was an improvement of the retention rate to 71 percent. Students indicated that this success resulted from them being able to retain more information using the technology available.

Another study conducted by Justin Tusco ina Montessori elementary classroom showed a 16 percent increase in test scores when technology was used in instruction. Both sets of results provide substantial evidence in support of the use of technology in the classroom.

How To Promote Knowledge Retention

  1. Utilize the Features of Blended Learning

Blended learning merges the best of both worlds. It combines the benefits of technology with face-to-face instruction. Technology should be used to enhance traditional instruction, not replace it. As futureready.org puts it, “Blended learning models intentionally integrate technology to boost learning and leverage talent; they don’t just layer technology on top of business as usual.”

Key features of blended learning are listed below:

  • Students must be given some control over the content and instruction. This control includes monitoring the pace and timing of instruction. Think of it like an e-learning course on Udemy
  • The online and face-to-face components must work in harmony. They must connect in a way that makes sense
  • The technology used should adapt to each students’ abilities and unique needs
  • The ability to record and report student data. You must be able to track the progress of each student.
  • Appropriate follow-up actions should be recommended based on the data received
  • Online results should be used to inform in-class instruction

2. Use Games to Increase Practice

Consistent practice outside the classroom is important. Many students don’t develop the intrinsic motivation needed to get additional practice and support. For them, it’s more exciting to find ways to have fun.

Feed that excitement by introducing your students to gamification.Top Hat explains four interesting ways to include gamification in your instruction.

Encourages Individual Learning

Teaching for the average student is easier than differentiating instruction. A one-size-fits-all strategy, however, can’t work when your classroom is filled with diverse learners. Some students are slower than others, some process information quicker than others, and some fall somewhere in between.

Differentiated instruction is a useful concept in theory. You would ideally love to create a personalized learning plan for each student. The demands placed on you, however, often make it impossible for you to plan such ideal lessons all the time.

Technology provides solutions that make planning differentiated lessons easier. Activities can be created to match each learner’s unique needs and pace. This is particularly evident in the Math classroom where consistent practice is necessary for mastery. As Kelly Tenkley, a technology teacher, states technology enables struggling students to interact with material suitable for their level and progress at their own pace.

How to Plan a Differentiated Technology Lesson

  1. Differentiate the content.

You can plan tiered lessons. In tiered lessons, learners are divided into 3 groups: upper, middle and lower. The content of the lesson can be adjusted to suit each level of students. Upper-tiered students can handle more advanced content than lower-tiered students. Students can be provided with the opportunity to move from one tier to the other once they have mastered the content of their current tier.

  1. Differentiate the process

The upper-tiered group can work collaboratively on higher-ended tasks related to the content. The middle-tiered group can use videos from websites such as Moby Max, Khan Academy and IXL to guide their activities. The lower-tiered group can receive individual attention from you supported by technology games and resources.

3. Differentiate the product.

Upper-tiered students can be challenged to create presentations using websites such as Prezi, Powtoon and EduBlogs. After you’ve vetted these presentations, these students can be asked to use their presentations to teach the class.  Lower-tiered students can use collaborative tools, such as Google Docs, to share what they learned from the presentations.

Students in each group can also prepare written work for presentation. This written work can be projected for the class to view during the presentation using a document camera. This article highlights some of the best document cameras for your classroom.

Project-based learning can also be differentiated. The students can be placed in homogenous groups and asked to choose a topic. Each group would use some type of technology to make their presentations. For instance, you could provide each group with a camcorder to create a music video depicting the topic. A discussion can be facilitated at the end of each presentation to see how much the students have learned.

4. Provide resources that can be used outside the classroom.

Students should be provided with additional resources that they can access outside of the classroom. This is what truly allows them to work at their own pace. Make videos and practice assignments available to students outside the classroom.

Encourages Collaboration

Students must be provided with opportunities to work together.Working in isolation isn’t the way the world works. Collaborative learning is student-centered and allows students to work together to solve real-world problems.

Carefully planned collaborative instruction allows students to develop crucial skills. These skills include:

  • Critical-thinking
  • Self-management
  • Leadership
  • Learning to work with diverse people

Collaborative learning isn’t merely placing students in groups and giving them practice questions to complete. It is a discussion-rich environment that challenges students to think outside the box. Focusing on recall and lower-level tasks has no place in the collaborative learning environment.

How To Use Technology in Collaborative Learning

  1. Connect with classrooms around the world

Technology allows teachers around the world to provide opportunities for their students to collaborate on projects. Rockingham Middle School in North Carolina collaborated with a classroom in Sweden on a science project. The collaboration made the project more interesting since students were able to share their results and learn more about each other.

2. Create a Google Classroom

Google classroom allows you to create a collaborative online environment for your students.  There are over 50 apps that integrate with Google classroom. You can use a combination of apps that meet the unique needs of your students.

3. Utilize other online learning platforms and digital tools

Other online learning platforms and digital tools also exist. Each platform offers various combinations of features that you can adapt to suit your classroom. Some of these platforms and digital tools include:

  • Blackboard Collaborate
  • Learn Boost
  • Moodle
  • Class Dojo
  • Pixton
  • Voice Thread
  • Socrative
  • Engrade
  • Top Hat
  • Trello
  • Kahoot
  • ReadWriteThink

Creates a System for Managing Learning (a LMS)

A Learning Management System (LMS) is an internet-based software application that allows users to create eLearning courses, monitor these courses, track students’ progress, and provide relevant student-related reports. A LMS is used in a variety of industries to make training more accessible.Some of the software previously mentioned, such as Moodle, are examples of LMSs.

Tertiary-level institutions in particular depend heavily on a LMS for course delivery. The University of Buffalo indicates that approximately 99 percent of tertiary-level institutions use a LMS. Such prominent use of the software can be attributed to the following benefits:

  • The ability to access content anywhere, anytime
  • Reliable tools for monitoring student progress
  • Closer monitoring of assignment submission
  • The creation of a communication pathway between teachers and students

One of the strongest benefits of a LMS is the ability for students to collaborate. However, Steven Lonn, in his research on the use of a LMS for collaboration and knowledge construction, discovered that although the students effectively interacted using the system, there was little knowledge construction. Therefore, you must be very deliberate about helping students acquire new knowledge through critical thinking if you plan to use a LMS.

How to Use a LMS to Develop Critical Thinking

  1. Create student-centered activities

Student-centered teaching is commonly discussed amongst educators. Teachers are often encouraged to become facilitators of learning instead of deliverers of content. The reality, however, is that it’s often difficult to create such an environment.

A question that may be running through your mind is, “How can I ensure that all my students learn the correct concepts if I’m not telling them what to do?” A well-planned lesson that allows you to ask the right questions that guide learning, and effectively incorporates a LMS, is the answer.

Remember that you’re using blended learning as previously discussed. Consequently, there’ll be elements of your lesson that use technology and others that don’t. Both instructional media should incorporate opportunities for collaborative learning, research, and informal assessments.

Collaborative learning helps students learn from enriched discussions. A LMS typically provides opportunities to create group forums and allows participants to leave comments on other’s posts. Some LMSs also allow users to collaborate on documents. Pose the right discussion questions and allow your students to collaborate to find the answers.

Independent research is important for self-paced learning. The video tutorials and material you create for your LMS should encourage students to do further research. It is through extending their learning that they will make the necessary connections to learn new concepts.

Students dread assessments. Watch the reactions on your students’ faces the next time you tell them that they have a graded assessment to complete. A LMS allows you to create fun, interactive informal assessments that students will appreciate. These assessments also help both you and your students have a clear picture of what has been learned.

Prepares Students for the Future

The world has changed. Traditional jobs are gradually becoming obsolete as technology gains prominence. The World Economic Forum states that about 65 percent of primary-school aged children will eventually get jobs that don’t exist today. They further state that there will be about 1.5 million new technology-related jobs by 2020.

Students must be prepared to meet the demands of this changing world. Consequently, the way students are taught must help them develop the skills needed to meet the demands of the IT world.

Technology is improving at a faster rate than our education system. Improvements have been made to the education system over the past decade, but students still don’t have the requisite skills and knowledge they need to truly succeed in this digital world. Dr. William Daggett states supports this point by saying that “society demands a higher level and different skill sets than schools were ever designed to teach.”

He further highlights that although money has been spent to include technology in the classrooms, many teachers aren’t using it effectively. This points to a lack of training about integrating technology into instruction.

This growing need has encouraged discussions about the characteristics of a future-ready school. Such robust discussions resulted in the creation of the futureready.org website. This website provides a plethora of digital resources to help you plan lessons that prepare your students for the future. The organization also offers micro-courses to train teachers, school administrators and district leaders in strategies for creating a future-ready school framework.

How To Create a Future-Ready School

  1. Provide ubiquitous access to technology.

Future-ready schools have internet access and technological resources for all students. You won’t be able to create technologically- enriched lessons without access to the right technology.

The benefits of technology highlighted in this article are based on the assumption that all teachers and students have equal access to technology resources. Sadly, this isn’t the case. There is a huge gap between technology access for low and high income communities.A report published by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education states that computer ownership, the quality of devices, and internet access is lower for lower-income teens and teens of color than it is for high-income and white teens.

This presents a grave cause for concern since there are more low-income students and students of color in the U.S. education system than there are high-income and white students. Lower-income students often aren’t provided with the quality of technology instruction they need since resources are limited, teachers aren’t adequately trained, and they don’t have access to technology at home. Teachers, school administrators, and other key education stakeholders must find ways to bridge the gap so that these students can experience the enhanced learning experience technology provides.

Adapting technology to suit the context of low income communities is another concern. Michael Trucano, in an article published on the World Bank’s blog, says that “most products, services, usage models, expertise, and research related to ICT use in education come from high-income contexts and environments.” This leads to the conclusion that ICT use in low-income classrooms is useless because the results achieved in high income environments aren’t the same in the more challenging, low-income environments.

These points emphasise the need for careful consideration about the integration of technology in low-income communities and classrooms. Educators and policy-makers must pay attention to the type of technology being implemented and how accessible it is to all stakeholders.

2. Provide training to both school leaders and teachers.

People can’t be thrown into the deep without learning to swim. Dr. Tim Ham cites a source in this article that states that any program that prepares school leaders and teachers to embrace technology in education “should be an adaptive and open system which is dynamic, differentiated and a continued renewal process that leads to continuous learning.” Technology will always be advancing. Training programs must, therefore, offer continuous learning opportunities.

An approach that school districts can use to train teachers is to link technology training with incentives. Madison School District developed 3 types of training initiatives that rewarded teachers with technological resources upon successful completion of each course.

One was differentiated and allowed teachers to choose specific courses that met their teaching needs. The other involved selecting a teacher from each school in the district to be trained on using technology to improve teacher achievement.This teacher was then charge with using what was learned to train others. The final program included coursework that teachers took at their own pace. Successful completion of the coursework resulted in each teacher being rewarded with a laptop.

The program has received resounding success. Teachers have voluntarily participated and received SmartBoards, document cameras, and response pads for their classrooms. A continuous training program that offers such incentives could be useful for encouraging teachers to willingly participate in training opportunities.

However, it must be noted that creating a classroom transformed by technology doesn’t happen overnight. The Shelby County School District encouraged school leaders to make technology integration a mandatory part of their teacher assessments. They also created a series of training sessions on the effective use of technology. True change didn’t occur until 2 years later.

Helps Teachers Reach Students

Technology helps you reach students outside the classroom. It also helps you appeal to students’ interests. Both elements are important in the teaching and learning process.

Students must view themselves as lifelong learners. They must see learning as an extension of what they do in the classroom, not a separate experience.  An article published by the University of Washington states that students have greater autonomy of the learning process when they have access to course material outside of class, do additional reading, watch pre-recorded video lectures, and complete research assignments.

A teacher who gets students excited about learning has won half the battle of having them retain information. You want to be this teacher. Jake Spanberger cites a study in which 70 percent of the students who participated stated that they learn best in a blended learning environment.  Fifty percent of the respondents also stated that they are more engaged in classes that use technology.

How to Use Technology to Reach Students

  1. Plan technology related activities for students to complete outside of class.

Some of the ways technology can be used outside the classroom were mentioned earlier in the article. Some additional strategies that can be used are a webquest, a class webpage, an email exchange, or a class blog.

This article highlights the numerous benefits of WebQuests. A WebQuest is a discovery learning tool that provides students with step-by-step online resources to complete a task. The resources act as the map for the quest.  The quest begins with a challenge question related to a real-world problem.

For instance, the students could be given the following scenario, “Mrs. Lilly wants to build a rectangular garden plot that has an area of 120 ft2 . How many tomato seeds can she plant in this plot? How would she have to plant them?” The students will then be taken through a list of online resources that provide information about how to plant tomato seeds and how to create a garden plot. You could then require the students to collaborate and make presentations that demonstrate their findings.

There are several free website creator tools that can be used to create a class website. The most popular tools are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. The website  can be used to feature students’ work and classroom activities, provide access to assignments and syllabuses, and communicate with parents.

An email exchange allows students to see themselves as global citizens, develop email writing skills and interact with other students outside of their school. It’s a modern take on the penpal system of the 90s. The email exchange can be further extended to cross-boundary class projects.

A class blog can be a good tool for helping your students develop their writing skills. It’s also good for extending learning outside the classroom. Two of the most popular classroom blog creators are Kidblog.com and Edublog.com.

2.  Provide choices.

Provide students with choices of the technology media to use in the classroom. Larry Ferlazzo states that students can be happier and more willing to learn and accept challenges if they are given choices. Choices can include video creation, animations, 3D printing, creating comics, creating simple apps, online games, app games, or augmented reality. The options you provide depend on the resources available.

Helps Teachers Better Prepare Lessons

Teaching requires constant creativity. It can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to come up with engaging activities to teach concepts. Thankfully, there are numerous online resources available to help you plan creative lessons.

Planning creative lessons isn’t your only task as a teacher. You must become a lifelong learner willing to hone your skills to become the best possible educator. This requires a lot of reading, interaction with other colleagues, and actively pursuing professional development opportunities.

How to Use Technology to Better Prepare Lessons

  1. Collaborate with other teachers.

Technology provides more than just an opportunity to get sample lesson plans. Teachers can collaborate with other teachers from around the world to get ideas for effectively reaching their students.

2. Keep Up-to-Date With Recent Education Developments

Research is ongoing in the education industry. New developments can help you better tailor your lessons to suit your students. There are also a variety of education conferences held throughout the year that can help you keep current.

Helps School Leaders Keep Track of a School’s Progress

School leaders must carefully monitor the progress of their students. Each district sets annual targets which school leaders must either meet or exceed. Achieving such success is only possible if school leaders effectively communicate these goals and expectations to teachers and consistently monitor students’ progress.

How To Keep Track of Students’ Progress as an Administrator

  1. Implement and monitor the effective use of a student data system.

A report published by the U.S. Department of Education underscores the importance of data-driven educational decisions. The report states that these decisions center on “a set of expectations and practices around the ongoing examination of student data to ascertain the effectiveness of educational activities and subsequently refine programs and practices to improve outcomes for students.” Therefore, school administrators must not only find the right student data system for their schools. They must also train teachers on how to use the data obtained from this system to improve results.

Effective use of the data obtained from a student data system makes the possibility of no child being left behind a greater reality.

A student data system can only work if:

  • teachers regularly upload grades, attendance records, and disciplinary data
  • all assessments  are meaningful and free of discrepancies
  • strategies are implemented to address the challenges identified in the data

Encourage your school’s administrator to make this a reality if it isn’t already happening at your school.

Putting It All Together

Our children are a part of the third industrial revolution. The skills they need to succeed in today’s digital world surpass those you needed for your career. Technology must be effectively implemented in instruction so that all students can develop the skills needed to excel in this new era.

Effective use of technology in the classroom focuses on student-centered learning. Students are active participants who develop the critical thinking skills needed to solve real-world problems. It’s more than just piquing their interest.

As an educator, it’s important for you to embrace blended instruction. Technology and teacher facilitated instruction must come together in your classroom. You can only make this happen if you:

  • Take the time to deliberately plan your lessons
  • Plan activities that provide students with the appropriate challenge
  • Provide opportunities for students to collaborate
  • Use technology for individual learning
  • Differentiate instruction
  • Encourage and guide students through the use of various technology media.

The task seems challenging, but the results are ultimately worth every ounce of effort.