Media Separated from Reality at Border

It’s one thing to tell a story that tugs on people’s heartstrings. It’s quite another to manipulate that story to color people’s view. Of course, the liberal media knows a thing or two about twisting the truth to suit their narrative. And, after days of posting gut-wrenching photos of children at the border, the facts are finally catching up with them. Turns out, the faces of the immigration debate aren’t faces from this crisis at all!Time magazine is one of the biggest offenders. Its latest cover, a crying toddler staring up at President Trump, was never separated from her mother at all. In what is turning out to be a major embarrassment for Time and the far-Left, the little girl’s father went to the press to correct the story, insisting that she and her mom were never separated at the border. To its credit, the Washington Post outed the magazine and pointed out that, “The heart-wrenching image, captured by award-winning Getty Images photographer John Moore, was spread across the front pages of international newspapers. It was used to promote a Facebook fundraiser that has collected more than $18 million to help reunite separated families.”

And Time isn’t the only outlet taking liberties with the truth. Other outlets have been forced to apologize on air for using a photo of a caged little boy, after describing him as “ripped from the arms of their mother” by the president’s immigration policy. The propaganda is so out of control that the New York Times took the rare step of shaming the Left in a column, “How Liberals Got Lost on the Story of Missing Children at the Border.” Using a picture of two little boys in a cage as an example, reporter Amanda Taub explains, “This image has been widely shared on social media in recent days, offered as an example of the Trump administration’s cruel policies toward immigrants, but in fact the picture was taken in 2014.”

The real irony is this — no one needs to manipulate the truth to horrify Americans about the situation. There are more than enough nightmarish stories to compel anyone to act — and we should. You’d have to be the Tin Man not to be moved by what’s happening to children before they even get to our borders. People at ground zero, like National Border Patrol Council spokesman Chris Cabrera, have seen enough to keep them awake every night of the week. On CNN, he explained the absolutely devastating impact our lawlessness has had on families.

“I don’t think everybody understands what’s happening down here. You know, a lot of these kids that are coming here, and put through terrible, terrible situations by their parents…When you see a 12-year-old girl with a Plan B pill, or their parents put her on birth control because they know getting violated is part of the journey, that’s just a terrible way to live. When you see a four-year-old girl traveling completely alone with just her parents’ phone number written across her shirt. I mean, come on now… We had a nine-year-old boy last year have heat stroke in front of us and die with no family around…”

Why? Because our refusal to enforce our laws has encouraged parents to gamble with their children’s lives. And despite the media’s anti-Trump drumbeat, the majority of Americans still hold the parents responsible. When families are arrested and separated after attempting to enter the United States illegally, Rasmussen reports, “54 percent of likely U.S. voters say the parents are more to blame for breaking the law… [O]nly 35 percent believe the federal government is more to blame for enforcing the law. Eleven percent are not sure.”

In the wake of President Trump’s executive order, which makes clear that compassion and upholding the law are not incompatible, you would think there would be political goodwill that could be used to address the overarching issue. Not so. Congressional Democrats aren’t interested in a solution. They’re interested in bypassing immigration laws altogether, regardless of the lives it costs and the havoc it wreaks.

But if they think the American people are on board with that approach, they’re mistaken. By a 3-to-1 margin, they reject Obama’s “catch and release” program, which essentially apprehends people at the border and then releases them into the country with a court date that they may or may not ignore. Even Democratic voters don’t agree with the idea, barely giving it 30 percent support.

The compassionate solution is not the status quo. This has, as Donald Trump pointed out, been going on for many decades. “Whether it was President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton — same policies. They can’t get them changed because both sides are always fighting… This is maybe a great chance to have a change.” He’s right — if liberal leaders will set aside their political games long enough to pursue it.


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


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Journalism Duo Offers Christian Alternative to Media’s Reporting on Trump

David Brody and Jenna Browder are hosts of the “Faith Nation” show on Christian Broadcasting Network and Brody recently published “The Faith of Donald J. Trump” with co-author Scott Lamb. Brody and Browder spoke to Daily Signal Editor-in-Chief Rob Bluey about what it’s like to cover President Trump, why they report the news from a biblical viewpoint, and how the media can regain Americans’ trust.

Rob Bluey: Both of you have had tremendous interactions with the Trump White House and the political scene in Washington, D.C. Let’s begin by talking about what it’s like to be members of the media in this incredible time in history. Almost every day, David and Jenna, we have some sort of major news development. How do you keep up with it all?

David Brody: Where do you begin? I guess you begin by over-the-counter medication, for sure Excedrin. It’s like living in a reality TV show. I mean, it really is. Trump is the reality TV president and we’re just contestants in it. It’s just intense, but intense in a good way.

CBN has been given great access, and I think that’s been exciting for us. And just to see Trump take evangelical Christians in a very serious way—to realize they have something to say and they have something to add to the conversation, whereas past presidents have said the same thing, but their actions haven’t necessarily followed.

It’s been pretty exciting to see this president do what he said he was going to do.

Jenna Browder: Absolutely. You just have to check Twitter to get a quick update. And I think the American people really like that. They like that they can go to Twitter and they can see exactly what the president is thinking at that given moment.

Like David said, the access has been incredible. While the president has lashed out against so much of the mainstream media, CBN News has been given incredible access.

David Brody and Jenna Browder of CBN News at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of CBN News)

Bluey: That was one of the reasons that we started The Daily Signal. We felt that you no longer had to go through these other channels to share information. Whether you’re Donald Trump or any other politician, the fact that you have these platforms in which you can talk directly to the American people, it certainly has changed the dynamic. What’s it like covering Trump in a situation like that? When you’re trying to convey information to your audience, what is it that goes into the journalism and how you make those stories relevant on a day-to-day basis?

Brody: There’s so much that goes into it. Obviously, it starts with journalism 101—just make sure we’re getting the who, what, where, when, why, and all of that. But beyond that, I think it’s important that we look at things from not a conservative viewpoint or a progressive viewpoint, but from a biblical viewpoint—a biblical worldview—and I think that’s our prism every day. And a biblical worldview, especially on topics like immigration, that runs the gamut, especially with millennials.

When covering Trump, it’s important to understand that our coverage really reflects what that 81 percent of, and let’s be honest, white evangelicals—because that’s the number that we’re hearing—81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016. And so if Trump’s numbers started to go in the tank, our coverage would reflect a lot of the concerns that they have. But right now, they don’t really have many concerns. I mean, it has just been one victory after another, and I think our coverage has reflected that enthusiasm.

Now remember, it’s not us being enthusiastic about this president, but it’s them clearly being enthusiastic, so we’re just reporting what we see on the front lines. I know Jenna, obviously you were in North Carolina, she’s been to places. I just go to Jersey. That’s my hometown.

Browder: We kind of joke that my unofficial beat has become the heartland, or that “deplorable” voter, as Hillary Clinton would call them. And what we’re hearing, just so much enthusiasm out in middle America.

I was just in North Carolina just a couple of days ago in Granville County, this is a swing county that was historically blue. But in 2016, it went red. And we were just there talking to voters. A lot of people, they don’t really identify with either party, but by and large, love President Trump there. They love what he’s doing and they feel like he’s restoring our country to a different time, to values of a different age.

Brody: The real question, Rob, is then: Will these folks in Granville actually vote in the midterm elections for the Republican Party? They seem to like Trump, but Republicans, it’s kind of two different situations.

Browder: I was talking to one. There was this one truck driver. I was telling you about him, David. And he voted for Trump in 2016. He said he would vote for him again in 2020, very enthusiastically. So I said, “So what about 2018? Will you vote in these fall midterms?” And he looked at me like I was crazy, as if he was saying, “Why would I vote in 2018? Trump’s not on the ballot.” And you know, that could be the sentiment among a lot of voters, among a lot of Americans. That’s yet to be seen.

David Brody and Jenna Browder on the set of “Fox & Friends” in New York. (Photo courtesy of CBN News)

Bluey: Jenna, let me ask you a follow-up question on that. Why is it so important to get out of Washington, D.C., and talk to people who are living completely different lives than the reporters who are here in the nation’s capital?

Browder: That is America. We get out in the heartland and we tell the stories of real, everyday Americans. And I think that’s what the mainstream media, by and large, is really missing. They’re in New York. They’re in Los Angeles and Washington and these big cities. And they’re very out of touch with so many people in middle America and so many people with heartland values.

So we try to get out, we try to talk to these people, and I like to say, take the pulse of the people in Kansas and Colorado and North Carolina—places that they don’t think the way we think here in Washington or in New York. And that, I feel, is just so important and we don’t see enough of it in the mainstream media.

Bluey: I agree. David, you mentioned something earlier that I want to go back to. And that is how you approach the news, covering it from a biblical perspective. That’s the approach you take. I think you’ve established a loyal audience in that respect because there’s not a whole lot of other media outlets that do that. In that respect, though, the media habits of your audience have obviously changed. How have you and Jenna changed your approach to making sure that information is still relevant and top of mind, and they’re still getting it?

Brody: That’s a really good question, and I think it’s a daily occurrence. To a degree, it’s an hour-to-hour occurrence. We have to kind of figure out how to do this, not just on television, but online as well. And I think that’s key, quite frankly.

Jenna’s Twitter account is exploding. And here’s why: Because she and myself and others, we’re putting up relevant interviews. The other day, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for example. This is the type of stuff that we’re bringing to our audience in a way that maybe others aren’t asking the same questions. And I think that’s the key.

A lot of times, what’s above the fold in The Washington Post and New York Times is not above the fold at CBN. It’s much different. The questions are different. But the questions are relevant, and so I think that’s important. Do they care about Russia? Let’s be honest. Evangelicals care about Russia and they care about Stormy Daniels, but here’s the thing …

Browder: To an extent.

Brody: To an extent, but they hear it all the time. The truth of the matter is, they are watching a bit of CNN, a bit, and other places. But they get it there, so we’ve got to show a little bit more than just those two stories, which of course, we do.

Bluey: Jenna, let’s talk about “Faith Nation.” What is it and why did you start it?

Browder: “Faith Nation,” it really kind of started out as a weekly show that we would do. But what we’ve found is that the audience has more of an appetite for 10 or 15 minute segments, so when news is happening, we are there on the “Faith Nation” set providing live analysis. A lot of the stuff we do is just maybe a Sarah Huckabee Sanders press conference. Those do really well. That has become kind of must-see TV in a lot ways.

Bluey: It certainly has.

Browder: So that’s an event we might do, or other big ones like the Billy Graham funeral, or events on any given day. It just depends. But we found a lot of success with that. That seems to be the appetite that most of our viewers have, are these shorter segments.

Brody: And a couple of those shorter segments, for example, Lila Rose and the story that Planned Parenthood had basically contributed to child sexual abuse by not reporting it to authorities. We had Lila Rose from Live Action on for a 10-minute segment. And Rick Klein from ABC News, the political director, talking about faith and the Democrats and the media and whether or not the Democrats are getting their message out because of Russia and Stormy Daniels. We’ll kind of like target specific areas, and it’s been pretty successful so far.

Browder: It’s the intersection of faith and politics—two forbidden areas to talk about. But, yeah, we’ve found a lot of success with it, and we just have fun doing it. It’s a really fun show.

David Brody and Jenna Browder on the set of their “Faith Nation” show. (Photo courtesy of CBN News)

Bluey: You have also had success with your interviews with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. What is it like to be in a setting like that with the vice president, David, which you’ve done a couple of times, or President Trump, which you did many times, including once for The Daily Signal when you were contributing here. What’s it like to be in that setting with them?

Brody: It’s very casual. As you might imagine, Trump is an impromptu-type guy who doesn’t get really caught up into protocol too much. And that’s what you find in these interviews. And Jenna and I have both been blessed. And that’s the word, blessed.

We like to call it crazy favor from God, for sure, to be in those settings, not just with interviews. I’ll let you take some of the behind-the-scenes stories that we’ve been at the White House for.

But in terms of the interviews, it’s very impromptu. I’ll give you an example. One time on the road during the campaign, we had everything all set up for him in terms of a side that he likes to be shot on and the whole thing, everything. Last moment, he says, “You know what, let’s do it this way,” and he switched and he went into my chair and I went into his chair. And he just wanted to do something different.

He’s kind of just going rogue a little bit. And we see that a lot in the interviews. And it’s just a lot of fun to kind of see how he operates and thinks. He talks quite a bit during those times. He’s a lot more pensive than people give him credit for.

Browder: We were at an off-the-record meeting at the White House a few weeks ago. And it was a group of people sitting in the Roosevelt Room. And in the middle of the meeting, the president stops everybody and says, “Hey, let’s go across the hallway to the Oval Office.” So he takes all of us into this beautiful Oval Office. He’s just impromptu like that. You never know what he’s going to do.

Brody: And he also asked people at the time, “Anybody been to the Oval Office?” A lot of people said, “No.” And he goes, “Come on. Let’s go.” And it was like a field trip, and so that was neat.

What I found out is that what he was telling us off the record in the Oval Office, which we of course can’t talk about, I also started hearing him talk about on television two days later. And that’s a bit of the charm of Donald Trump—off the record is really on the record with Trump. And that’s what makes him very authentic and why he got elected president.

Bluey: David, you and Scott Lamb wrote a book about the president and his faith, “The Faith of Donald J. Trump.” It’s not something you hear a whole lot about. Why did you write it?

Brody: This has nothing to with Donald Trump being a Boy Scout. I like to say it’s not the sainthood of Donald Trump, it’s the faith of Donald Trump. This is not apologetics book for Donald Trump at all. But he is the president of the United States, last time I checked. And so my co-author, Scott Lamb, and I felt we needed to have something on record, if you will, something in the historical record about Donald Trump and his faith, and it’s actually pretty interesting.

It’s a pretty deep dive. And Scott Lamb did a lot of this research, especially in the first part of the book, where we go back into his mother’s childhood, his father’s childhood, and where he gets some of that Scottish braveheart that we see quite often from Donald Trump today. He gets it from his mother’s side, and that Lutheranism from his father’s side, that hard work ethic.

So anyhow, a lot of interesting parts in the book, including the fact that he has a bit of viking blood in him, it turns out, which what a shock that he’s got some viking blood in him.

Browder: I think twice we’ve seen the vice president endorsing this book.

Brody: Saw it the other day.

Browder: Yeah, it was the Family Research Council, and he surprised this group of pastors. He’s up there giving this impromptu speech. And he just says, “And by the way, if you have time I’d recommend checking out David Brody’s new book, ‘The Faith of Donald Trump.’” A lot of people are speaking really highly of it.

Bluey: It’s another example of tackling a topic that very few in the media are willing to do. And that goes to the heart of my next question, which is, we’ve seen poll after poll come out where the Americans’ trust in media is at historic lows. And yet, I know there are people who write to us at The Daily Signal who are just so thankful and appreciative that there are alternative sources out there. David, you’ve worked alongside these people for a long time. What are they doing wrong to have lost this trust? And what can they do better?

Brody: It really is the $64,000 question. A couple things. First, they’re an echo chamber. They talk to themselves a lot. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich one time told me it’s the latte-sipping crowd, and that they actually sit around a table and discuss what, in essence, are the talking points for the next day. And I really mean that.

They literally do this, and so there’s a bit of a coordinated effort by the New York-Washington Acela corridor media, to in essence kind of come up with a game plan as to what the talking points will be for the next day. You see it on “Morning Joe” all the time. And so I think that’s part of it.

But remember, Donald Trump talks about the deep state a lot. The deep state, the way he views it, the way Steve Bannon views it, the media is part of it. And all that simply means is that the media have been in this town for a very long time, just like entrenched bureaucrats have been in this town for a very long time.

If you drink this Potomac water for long enough, you are going to get really poisoned. And I think that’s what we’ve seen. That’s a big part of it. They don’t understand another competing worldview. That’s part of the problem here, especially the Christian worldview.

Browder: After the election there seemed to be a moment where some of the outlets, The New York Times and different mainstream media outlets, were taking a step back and reflecting and saying, “Hmm. How did we go wrong? Why did we miss this?” And that was kind of refreshing to see. But that seemed to evaporate really quickly.

“They don’t understand the worldview of a lot of people in middle America and flyover country. And that’s the whole disconnect there.” —Jenna Browder

It’s a difference of a worldview, in that they don’t like the president’s worldview. They don’t like a lot of people, the worldview, or they don’t understand. They don’t understand the worldview of a lot of people in middle America and flyover country. And that’s the whole disconnect there. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s getting any better.

Brody: By the way, this whole fake news terminology, Donald Trump, he’s a master brander, so he’s great at that. But let’s be honest. We all knew for a long time that “fake news” was out there. We just called it the liberal mainstream media. We didn’t call it fake news, but Donald Trump takes it to a different level and is able to brand it very, very well.

Browder: That’s one of his strongest suits, his branding and marketing.

Brody: Greatest showman.

Browder: Everything, it sticks.

Brody: It does stick.

Browder: Lyin’ Ted.

Brody: Now it’s Punchy. Robert De Niro is now Punchy.

Browder: Right, exactly.

Bluey: It is truly fascinating to watch. What exciting things do you have on the horizon? What do you want to tell our listeners about that you’re doing at CBN?

Brody: There’s quite a bit.

Browder: You first, David.

Brody: Oh, thank you so much, Jenna.

We have Secretary of Energy Rick Perry joining us soon on “Faith Nation” in the next week or so, that’ll be exciting. There will be a lot more Cabinet members coming by CBN to talk about biblically-based issues, which is important.

Biblically-based issues, which will serve not just our audience, but quite frankly, society, to hear more of that traditional Judeo-Christian viewpoint from these Cabinet members because President Trump has surrounded himself with a lot of them. Watch for that coming soon.

Browder: Then also just getting on the road, going to the swing states and getting a pulse for the voters heading into these 2018 elections. One thing we have in the works is getting on the road with Ivanka Trump. We’ll be getting out with her and just going around and talking to the people of middle America.

Bluey: David, Jenna, thanks for speaking to The Daily Signal.

Browder: Thank you so much.

Brody: Thanks, Rob.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. Send an email to Rob. Twitter: @RobertBluey.

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 David Brody and Jenna Browder who have made CBN News and their “Faith Nation” show a popular program for White House interviews. (Photo courtesy of CBN News)

New Yorker’s ‘Fact-Checker’ Defamed a Combat Veteran. She Hasn’t Even Apologized.

Confirmation bias damages reputations. It ruins credibility. It destroys lives.

When researchers ignore contradictory data that undermines their assumptions, junk science prevails. When police conduct investigations with predetermined outcomes, wrongful convictions abound. And when reporters cherry-pick facts and distort images to serve political agendas, media outlets become dangerous weapons of mass manipulation.

Talia Lavin

Take Talia Lavin, a young journalist who has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Her pedigree appears impeccable on its face: She graduated with a degree in comparative literature from Harvard University six years ago. After graduation, she won a Fulbright Scholar fellowship to study in Ukraine. She “worked in all realms” of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news agency and wire service, copy-edited for the feminist Lilith magazine, and contributed stories and translations for the Huffington Post.

Lavin has held the coveted position of “fact-checker” for the revered New Yorker for the past three years. The publication brags that its “fact-checking department is known for its high standards.” It demands the ability “to quickly analyze a manuscript for factual errors, logical flaws, and significant omissions.” The editorial department requires “a strong understanding of ethical reporting standards and practices” and prefers “proficiency or fluency in a second language.”

Impressively, Lavin speaks four languages (Russian, Hebrew, Ukrainian, and English). Her abdication of ethical reporting standards, however, raises fundamental questions not only about her competence, but also about her integrity—not to mention The New Yorker’s journalistic judgment.

With a single tweet, The New Yorker’s professional fact-checker smeared Justin Gaertner, a combat-wounded war veteran and computer forensic analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Lavin, the professional fact-checker, rushed to judgment. She abused her platform. Amid the national media hysteria over President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies, Lavin derided a photo of Gaertner shared by ICE, which had spotlighted his work rescuing abused children. Scrutinizing his tattoos, she claimed an image on his left elbow was an Iron Cross—a symbol of valor commonly and erroneously linked to Nazis.

The meme spread like social media tuberculosis: Look! The jackboots at ICE who hate children and families employ a real-life white supremacist.

Only it wasn’t an Iron Cross. It was a Maltese Cross, the symbol of double amputee Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan, Titan 2. He lost both legs during an improvised explosive device-clearing mission and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor and the Purple Heart before joining ICE to combat online child exploitation.

When actual military veterans, whom Lavin failed to consult before defaming Gaertner so glibly, pointed out that the image looked more like a Maltese Cross, Lavin deleted her original tweet “so as not to spread misinformation.”

Too late. The harm to Gaertner’s name and honor is irreparable and cannot be unseen, unread, or unpublished.

The New Yorker issued an obligatory apology and acknowledged that “a staff member erroneously made a derogatory assumption about ICE agent Justin Gaertner’s tattoo.” But what consequences will there be for her journalistic malpractice? Who is supervising her work at the famed publication? What other lapses might she be responsible for during her present and past stints as a checker of facts and arbiter of truth?

The magazine editors claim “we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” yet the abject ignorance of, and knee-jerk bigotry against, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and the military underlying Lavin’s slime run rampant in New York media circles. And they all know it.

Lavin has not commented on the matter and instead turned her Twitter account private. But we can infer her attitude about her present troubles from a defiant piece she published just last week in The Forward magazine, where she pens a regular column. Titled “No, We Don’t Have To Be Friends with Trump Supporters,” the piece, laden with Nazi allusions, decries asylum reform, strengthened borders, and ICE agents enforcing the law.

Rejecting calls for decency in public debate over these contentious matters, she spat: “[T]ough nuts, sugar. When they go low, stomp them on the head.”

She further raged:

It is high time, when you find yourself next at a dinner party with someone who has gone Trump, to smash your glass to shards and leave. It is time to push yourself away from the table. It is time to cease to behave with subservient politesse toward those who embrace barbarity with unfettered glee.

Better “gone Trump” than gone mad. In her unfettered haste to condemn those with whom she disagrees, The New Yorker’s professional fact-checker failed to check her own toxic biases.

Lavin’s act was no innocent gaffe. Like the journalists-turned-propagandists who have falsely spread Obama-era photos of immigrant detention centers to attack the Trump White House, Lavin engaged in mass manipulation under the guise of resistance journalism.

Truth is collateral damage.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is a columnist for The Daily Signal, senior editor at Conservative Review, a best-selling author, and Fox News contributor. 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 Justin Gaertner who lost both legs after being hit by an IED in Afghanistan. (Photo: Kathleen Flynn/Zuma Press/Newscom)

U.S. Makes the Right Call to Quit UN Human Rights Council

The United States announced Tuesday that it will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This is hardly surprising. As Ambassador Nikki Haley explained in Geneva last year, the Human Rights Council remains beset by three fundamental problems.

1. Bias against Israel.

According to UN Watch, the council had adopted 169 condemnatory resolutions on countries as of the end of May. Of those, nearly half (47 percent) focused on Israel. In addition, the council has convened 28 special sessions to address human rights violations or related emergencies. Of those 28 sessions, eight focused on Israel.

Moreover, Israel is the only country subject to a separate agenda item: Item 7, labeled “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” Every other country is examined under Item 4, “Human rights situations that require the council’s attention.”

The council’s fixation on Israel is absurd. By spending exponentially more time on Israel than on North Korea or Syria, the council only underscores the politicization and bias of its agenda.

2. Human rights abusers sit on the council.

Governments deemed “not free” and “partly free” by Freedom House historically have comprised a majority of the council’s members. Not even the world’s most repressive regimes have been excluded.

Currently, 14 of the 47 members of the council (including Burundi, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela) are ranked “not free” by Freedom House. This is the highest number of “not free” countries in council history, indicating that the majority of the world’s governments see no problem with electing human rights violators to the U.N.’s highest human rights body.

Even defenders of the Human Rights Council acknowledge this problem. As Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, noted, “[T]he Trump administration is correct that [membership] is suboptimal … . To make matters worse, some abusive governments try to join the council in the hope of protecting themselves and their kind from condemnation.”

3. Consistent failure to address serious human rights situations equally and objectively.

In stark contrast to its obsessive focus on Israel, the council is notably incurious about the human rights situations in some of the world’s most oppressive counties.

For instance, the Human Rights Council has never passed a condemnatory resolution on China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe, despite their terrible records of religious persecutionpunishment of political dissenthostility to freedom of the pressunequal rights for women, and use of force against civil society and government opponents, respectively.

One can also look at the Universal Periodic Review, a process under which every country undergoes a review of its human rights practices and receives recommendations for improvement. According to UPR Info, the country that has received the most recommendations for improvement is the United States.

That’s right. The Human Rights Council’s process has concluded that the U.S. has more need of human rights advice than Cuba, Iran, and Sudan. Israel is also in the top 25, naturally, right ahead of China.

For over a year, the U.S. has tried to rally support among other member states to reform the council to address these problems. Unfortunately, most governments either prefer a weak, biased council or are unwilling to devote the effort needed to reform it.

This is not a recent development in response to the Trump administration. The Obama administration met similar resistance when it proposed reforms at the mandatory 2011 review of the council.

Nonetheless, over the past year, the U.S. has tried again. Led by Haley and strongly supported by U.S. diplomats in Geneva, New York, Washington, and around the world, the U.S. has engaged bilaterally and multilaterally to promote reforms to address anti-Israel bias, membership quality, and improve the council’s efficiency.

They have been met with disinterest and hostility. Even European governments and human rights groups have opposed the U.S. reform effort out of fear that countries hostile to human rights might seize the opportunity to weaken the council.

This is a self-fulfilling prophesy that condemns the council to its current gravely disappointing status quo. Worse, as long as this fear exists, any future reform effort will be stillborn.

Supporters of the Human Rights Council will criticize the U.S. decision as another example of the Trump administration’s rejection of multilateral engagement. This is wrong. The administration could have left the council any time in the past year, but it did not. Instead, it sought to work within the U.N. to fix the council. Only when other member states rebuffed these efforts did the U.S. pull back.

Sadly, the U.S. seems to be the only government that seriously wants the Human Rights Council to promote universal respect and protection of human rights, and to confront fundamental freedoms in a fair and equal manner. Unless other member states commit to fixing the council’s problems, the U.S. is better off focusing its time and effort on advancing human rights through other venues and means.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Brett Schaefer

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at The Heritage Foundation. Schaefer analyzes a broad range of foreign policy issues, focusing primarily on international organizations and sub-Saharan Africa. Read his research.

RELATED ARTICLE: U.N. Human Rights Council: Win, Lose, or Withdraw

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa USA/Newscom)

Tommy Robinson’s Full Letter from Prison

Before being moved from HMP Hull to HMP Onley, Tommy Robinson wrote this heart wrenching, though inspiring letter from prison.

Tommy’s Team has transcribed it below, in full, for you to read and share.

If you would like to send Tommy and email please go to: emailaprisoner.com.

TOMMY ROBINSON’S LETTER FROM HER MAJESTY’S PRISON ONLEY

So here we go again! Its Sunday night 10/6/18, the news of the amazing scenes yesterday in London are just filtering their way to me.

But before I start on the positives of yesterdays demonstration let me 1st start with some negatives. Let me share with you part of my wife’s letter I received yesterday:

“School rang me today though, before I went to work and said Spencer was really upset at school, to be honest he isn’t managing mate. Sam said to him ‘I’m doing a 5k run with my dad’, and Spencer said well I can’t do it with my dad and ran off crying. He cries himself to sleep. Sleeps with your pillow and ask me 50 times a day what day is dad coming home? I can’t even give him a rough date yet because you haven’t been give any! Just hope to keep telling him its not for long, nothing will change and he needs to be brave to make you proud. He said to me last night ‘I’m going to go and do something bad so I can be put in jail with dad at least then I will be with him’.”

I’m not going to lie, reading this broke my heart. The prison removed my wife’s phone number over a week ago so I have not even been able to speak with my children, it also upsets me that in my son’s head he must think his dad has done something bad to end up in prison.

Before I sit and feel too sorry for myself I should put it into perspective. I’m away from my family for a short duration. Members of our armed forces’ children must go through this all the time which is why I admire the sacrifices they make, past and present.

I’m not going to go too much into my case as my appeal is just being lodged. What I will talk about is the difference you have all made to me. When I landed in this prison I was totally gutted. Gutted about what my family were about to go through. Gutted for those who I was in discussions with who rely on me to tell their stories. I was also adamant I would be killed on this prison sentence.

When I was leading the [English Defence League] I waas sentence to 10 months in prison in 2012, I was separated from everyone for my own protection and kept on solitary confinement for 22 weeks. I believe this was because the government feared what may happen on the streets if I was murdered in prison.

Lee Rigby was beheaded in 2013 and our government witnessed that a soldier can be beheaded and no one will really react. I was then sent to prison in 2014 for 18 months. I was literally fed to the wolves. I was lucky to escape alive, fighting my way through violent beatings at the hands of Muslim inmates.

The government knew I could be killed and no one would really do anything. It was a sad moment for myself, realising that if I’m murdered my death wouldn’t make much difference or change. I also realised my family would not be looked after and would go on to struggle for safety and stability.

OH WHAT A CHANGE 4 YEARS MAKES!

In the first few days here I began to hear that thousands are protesting outside 10 Downing Street. This was within 24 horus of my abduction by the state. I was told ‘your petition has 100,000’, then ‘hey its now at 300,000’ and then half a million. I heard people were climbing the gates of Downing Street.

I thought the people telling me must be getting it wrong. They must be confused with our Day for Freedom demo. I was completely unaware what was unfolding outside of the prison was a world wide FREE TOMMY movement.

I was in danger in my first days in this prison, housed with Muslim prisoners, then something changed. I was whisked from my cell and wing and taken and separated to safety. I believe now this was the moment Lord Pearson spoke up about my safety. His actions could have literally saved my life.

I then heard protests were spreading across the globe. I heard politicians, police and barristers were speaking out. I’ve heard so many people who have sat on the fence for years were now speaking out. To hear that 20-30 thousand people travelled to London this weekend to stand in solidarity with me is an amazing feeling. I truly am gobsmacked at the reaction from the public. I feel so loved!! Loved and appreciated.

I receive a bag of letters and emails every day. I read every one. I’m so grateful, I want to say a thank you to every single person who has supported me.

I understand how difficult it is to speak out. I understand hat many people would have faced a backlash from friends, or even from work for speaking out on my behalf and I am truly grateful to people for standing with me.

Free speech is not free when it has social consequences. I sit here happy, happy that this sentence has backfired on the establishment. Happy that the public reaction has sent a message of the consequences if they have me murdered on this sentence.

I have said for so long that there will be a moment in our country, none of know what that moment will be but it will change the direction of our nation.

I think deeply about this and for a while now I’ve been sure that I will be murdered for opposing Islam. A scary thought. But not as scary as thinking it will make no difference. Although now I sit here smiling with the belief that my murder would start a revolution, I’m standing laughing out loud — that may seem mad — but knowing this is so satisfying.

I’ve always said I’d sacrifice my life tomorrow if it would end the Islamic takeover of our beautiful land. Our battle is not as simple as against flesh and blood, but we battle a system! A corrupt system. Sitting here gives you so much time to think. We can no longer be looking from the outside in. We must involve our voice and our movement into politics. I have so many plans on what I want to do when I get out. To hear that Geert Wilders travelled and spoke in London is so exciting for me.

When I started my activism I looked to Geert and the life changing decisions he made to speak out against Islam. He has been an inspiration to me. I can’t list all the people I need to thank as there are so many but I know Alex Jones at InfoWars would be leaidng the shout for my freedom. I love him, he cracks me up.

Gerard Batten of UKIP, Lord Perason, Raheem, Ezra, Katie Hopkins, my cousin Kevin Carroll jumping straight in with the demo. Danny for organising it. DONALD TRUMP JUNIOR for tweeting. I’d have done 6 months just for that recognition.

The list could go on and on. I’ll do my proper thank yous upon my release. One person I have to thank, my wife!

When I finally got through to her on the phone from prison I asked her, “Have you had enough yet?” Ha ha. I’ve not been a great husband but she has been a perfect wife and an amazing mother.

I simply couldn’t get through any of this without my family.

So Jenna, if you are reading this letter online then know I LOVE YOU and I MISS YOU.

My mates will ruin me for this soppy shit ha ha.

Lots of people say I give them hope, but I want you all to know that your reaction, whether it be supporting my family, paying for legal costs, or even just sharing videos or tweets, you have all given me hope and an absolutely priceless feeling.

Please excuse my handwriting but my hand is failing me. I’m using my time to put pen to paper and detail out my next book. I was already working on it before this sentence. Working title: “The Battle for Britain”. Basically bringing Enemy of the State [Tommy’s first book] up to date and also looking into the future.

So I’d like to thank Her Majesty for giving me the time alone on my own to work on it. Knowing that there are more plans for demonstrations unil my release is great. It’s great to know that I’ve not been forgotten and their attempts to silencce me won’t work. It’s now Monday evening and I’ve just watched LOVE ISLAND ha ha.

My wife’s number was put back on the system so I have spoke with my children today so I’m less stressed and more relaxed. My children will come to visit me in the near future.

Thank you all for the support. It’s your outcry and reaction that will keep me safe. Please know how inspired and grateful I am. I’m hoping Lord Pearson and Gerard Batten will also be visiting me here and lads if you are reading this ask Geert to pop into HMP Hull with you. My appeals have gone in, appeal sentence, appeal conviction and bail app.

Oh yeah thank you Pauline Hanson, thank you AFD for the offer of asylum.

The establishment thought this would close the book. Instead the public have just turned the page to continue the next chapter.

I love and thank you all.

Mum and dad sorry about the stress I give you ha ha.

Thank you to the free world.

It’s Tuesday, I’m being moved prison so my kids won’t see me this weekend.

ENDS

RELATED VIDEO: #FreeTommy Protest

EDITORS NOTE: Copyright © 2018 Tommy Robinson, All rights reserved.

Merkel’s Leadership Threatened by Killings by Immigrants, Wrought by Open Borders

Diana Feldman received an unusual text message from the phone of her 14-year-old daughter, Susanna, late last month.

Written in broken German, the message said she would be back home in a few weeks and that her mother should not try to find her.

Yet the message was not from Susanna. She had already been raped and strangled, and her body was dumped next to some railroad tracks in the city of Wiesbaden in western Germany.

Almost three years earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had faced a crisis. Millions were fleeing the humanitarian catastrophes in Iraq and Syria and heading to Europe, and the enormous flow of people was placing unsustainable pressure on landing ports in Greece and threatening the territorial integrity of the Balkans.

Merkel responded by opening Germany’s borders, subsequently letting in a mix of genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants.

One of the beneficiaries was Susanna Feldman’s killer.

Ali Bashar, a 20-year-old Iraqi Kurd, entered Germany in October 2015 with his parents and was a blight from the beginning. According to the BBC, he was allegedly tied to a robbery, possession of a weapon, and sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl in the refugee shelter where he lived (and where he dealt drugs).

Bashar’s asylum claim was rejected toward the end of 2016, but he was allowed to stay in the country while he appealed the decision.

Over 18 months later, when he killed Susanna, a decision on his appeal still had not been made. Days after his crime, Bashar and seven other members of his family returned to Iraq. However, he was tracked down by Kurdish authorities and extradited to Germany.

Bashar has since admitted to killing Susanna.

It’s clearly a tragic case, but it’s also not an isolated one.

Hussein Khavari arrived in Europe in January 2013. He proceeded to throw a woman over a cliff that summer in Corfu, Greece, and was subsequently imprisoned for 10 years in February 2014 for attempted murder. However, he was released after just 18 months, part of a government amnesty aimed at reducing strain on its overcrowded prisons.

Khavari journeyed on to Germany, where he arrived in November 2015, and claimed asylum the following February. He claimed to be a 17-year-old Afghan upon arrival, saying that his father had been killed fighting the Taliban.

In October 2016, Khavari raped and strangled Maria Ladenburger, a 19-year-old German student, in Freiburg, in southwest Germany. Khavari left his still-breathing victim to drown in a nearby river after his attack. He was sentenced to life in prison.

During his trial, it emerged that rather than being a 17-year-old fatherless Afghan, Khavari was a Iranian. His father was alive and well, living in Iran. Khavari’s asylum claim was also undecided at the time of Ladenburger’s killing.

Another case from southwest Germany, this time in Kandel, saw Mia Valentin, a 15-year-old girl, being stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend last December. The killer, Abdul D., came to Germany from Afghanistan in April 2016, claiming to be 14 years old. In reality, he is now 20.

Such stories—coming in the wake of the mass sexual assault of more than 1,000 women in Germany on New Year’s Eve of 2015—have a variety of consequences.

One consequence is political. Concern over immigration could lead to the collapse of Merkel’s coalition government. Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, wants to begin turning away refugees who have passed through another European Union country before getting to Germany. Merkel is refusing, concerned about the effects this would have on forging a coherent EU-wide refugee policy.

The coalition is splintering, and if an agreement cannot be reached, a vote of confidence in Merkel—and new elections—could be imminent.

Another consequence relates to security. One recent study demonstrated that violent crime had increased by more than 10 percent in 2015 and 2016. Ninety percent of that increase was because of violent crimes committed by male refugees.

Similarly, the sharp increase to the Islamist terrorism threat in Germany is not primarily from radicalized Germans, but from recently arrived asylum seekers. While some plots were thwarted, those in WurzburgAnsbachBerlin, and Hamburg were not.

In that environment, many Germans have turned to a radical, outsider party that made a platform out of cracking down on immigration. Alternative for Germany got about 6 million votes (13 percent) in September 2017 and is now the third-biggest party in Germany.

That’s not because Germany has a hitherto concealed population of racists who were unearthed in the election, but because Merkel very clearly made a cataclysmic mistake.

Germany did take in too many people. It did not know who they were then, and so, it has no idea who is living in the country now. It was too trusting in accepting asylum applicants’ backstories—and the German Medical Association is still speaking out against checking claimants’ ages.

Germany is not deporting enough of those who have no right to be in the country, or making decisions on asylum appeals quickly enough.

If this were solely a German problem, then perhaps it would be easier to contain. Yet it also extends to Sweden, which is dealing with a surge in crime in areas with high concentrations of immigrants.

One recent study in Sweden showed that more than 75 percent (at a minimum) of those claiming to be children were actually adults. Austria, Italy, and other countries in Europe face similar challenges.

A responsible approach would be for nations to listen to voters’ concerns and craft policies that address them.

Merkel’s desire for an EU-led solution demonstrates the hopelessness of the current approach. An unresponsiveness to democratic impulses in the EU is a well-established theme.

Meanwhile, the numbers continue to grow. About 10,000 new asylum seekers come to Germany every month. The government hopes they will integrate, but has no real idea how to make that happen, and the crisis rolls on.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Robin Simcox

Robin Simcox is the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump Is More Right Than Wrong About Migrant Crime in Germany

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

Free Speech Case Involving Twitter Moves Forward

I first told you about the case filed by Jared Taylor (American Renaissance) against Twitter here in February.

Now we learn that Taylor’s lawsuit can advance as a California judge refuses Twitter’s effort to dismiss the case.

Twitter-Jail-300

NOTE: I use Twitter almost daily and was steadily moving upward in follower numbers until a few months ago.  It isn’t my imagination, I know that Twitter is doing something (maybe shadow-banning to some of my 14 thousand followers) to keep my numbers down. So they don’t have to ban you outright as they did Taylor, they simply make sure you can’t expand your reach.

Here is the news from AP at ABC News:

Lawsuit over white nationalist’s Twitter ban clears hurdle

A California judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit that accuses Twitter of violating the free speech rights of a leading white nationalist figure by banning his social media account.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn ruled in Jared Taylor’s favor during a hearing Thursday on Twitter’s request to dismiss the suit, court records show.

Taylor claims Twitter permanently suspended accounts belonging to him and hundreds of other far-right users in December based solely on their political views and affiliations.

The judge described Taylor’s case as a “classic public interest lawsuit” and said it “goes to the heart of free speech principles that long precede our constitution,” according to a transcript of the hearing.

Jared Taylor 2

Jared Taylor

“Now, it may be speech that you and I don’t wish to enjoy, but that’s not germane to the determination of whether it’s public interest. Public interest doesn’t have a flavor of ideology to it; public interest is whether it benefits the public,” Kahn said.

Company attorney Patrick Carome argued that platforms like Twitter have a First Amendment editorial right to choose what kind of content to distribute.

[….]

The judge asked Carome if he was arguing Twitter has an “absolute First Amendment right” to remove anybody from its platform, including on the basis of their religion or gender.

“Twitter doesn’t do that,” Carome responded, “but that is what the First Amendment guarantees to First Amendment actors.”

Taylor is a Yale-educated, self-described “race realist” who founded an Oakton, Virginia-based, tax-exempt nonprofit called the New Century Foundation. He operates American Renaissance, an online magazine that touts a philosophy that it’s “entirely normal” for whites to want to be a majority race.

Taylor’s lawyers argue access to Twitter is “essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American democracy.”

More here.

LOL! I’m wondering if the SPLC is going to say AP and ABC News are racist outfits for publishing this important news about free speech.

This should be good—-stay tuned!

By the way, even if you aren’t on Twitter, you can see my Twitter feed in the right hand column of RRW. I post all of my RRW articles there plus other things that interest me.

If you are on Twitter, I am @RefugeeWatcher.  Yesterday’s post about the Maine man murdered by Somali ‘youths’ in Lewiston went viral on Twitter.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Lewiston, ME: Man attacked by gang of Somali teens dies

In new age of ‘Aquarius’, Mama Merkel between a rock and a hard place

Ronald Reagan was NOT responsible for Refugee Act of 1980; fake news from The Salt Lake Trib

Freed: Independent IGs Are Being Unshackled From Obama’s Muzzling

In light of Thursday’s bombshell IG report on the corruption, malfeasance and incompetence in the FBI and Department of Justice, it’s worth remembering what was largely ignored during the Obama years:

President Obama’s administration actively muzzled the independent Inspectors General in multiple federal agencies. In fact, it became so bad that six years into the Obama administration, more than half of the 73 federal IGs — the majority of whom were Obama appointees — signed a letter stating that the Obama administration had stonewalled the IGs “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

The IGs cited a long list of examples of the Obama administration refusing to turn over incriminating documents necessary for the IG to conduct fair investigations — from the EPA to Amtrak to OMB to the TARP bank bailout. These were not classified or secret documents, simply held in the trust of various Obama department heads.

This meant that the Obama administration was systematically putting up walls around its actions to keep the independent federal watchdogs from seeing what it was actually doing. Of course, this is not what honest, “scandal-free” administrations do.

The frustrated nonpartisan IGs cited systematic Obama administration refusals to turn over what was likely incriminating evidence and basic documents that were central to their investigations. When 47 Inspectors General sign a letter complaining of a pattern of roadblocks and obstruction in their efforts to do their job, there’s a pretty good chance bad things were being done.

That is an astonishing level of condemnation from generally staid and nonpartisan IGs, and one almost no one knows about because of the media’s chronically soft and protective coverage of President Obama. That both IG Michael Horowitz and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have been allowed to pursue their investigations with largely unfettered cooperation from the White House is particularly refreshing.

If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, considering the laundry list of scandals and corruption in her past, it seems likely we would never have had this investigation or seen any such report. Nor would we have had the IG’s previous report that ended up being a criminal referral for fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. At least six other FBI employees retired, resigned or were fired resulting from that report — which also likely would not have seen the light of day under a President Hillary Clinton.

Ironically considering the unfounded charges of Trump and fascism and threat to the Republic nonsense, his administration is allowing all of the investigations and light to be shone on them. And that is a substantial departure from the Obama years and is a step toward saving the Republic.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

ICYMI: Facebook Is Still Targeting Conservatives, Protecting Planned Parenthood’s Abuse Cover-Ups

Last week, we told you that Starbucks is still funding Planned Parenthood despite the abortion giant’s cover-ups of sexual abuse of underage girls. We’ve now been made aware that Live Action — the amazing organization which has exposed this illegal and immoral practice — has been blocked from promoting one of their videos on Facebook!

Check out that video here.

Live Action’s exposure campaign may be followed here and here.

We all know that Facebook doesn’t like conservatives. But blocking access to exposing a taxpayer-funded organization’s shocking cover-ups is just too far. Planned Parenthood has long protected its abortion bottom line by sending little girls back to sexual abusers. One abortion center in Mobile, Alabama gave two abortions to one girl in 2014 in just four months — and only admitted it to state authorities after they were caught.

That’s illegal. But authorities let Planned Parenthood slide, just as corporate backers have. This must stop. We urge you to spend your second vote dollars at companies that don’t back Planned Parenthood. This is an abortion company which protects sexual abusers, kills unborn children, and has illegally sold babies’ body parts.

You can see all the companies that support Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry on 2ndVote’s resource page here. Let them know they won’t be getting your second vote!

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

‘A Cloud’: 4 Top Takeaways of Watchdog Report on FBI’s Clinton Email Probe

A review of the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal found no evidence that political bias affected the probe, but that many actions “cast a cloud” over the outcome that spared her from prosecution.

The long-awaited, 568-page report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General notes political commentary in text messages by five FBI officials. But, it says, “our review did not find evidence to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed.”

While President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state from 2009 through 2012, Clinton conducted official business using a private, unsecured email account and server, rather than the required government communications system.

The investigation of Clinton’s email practices overseen by then-FBI Director James Comey concluded that she had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, but determined that she didn’t do so intentionally.

Clinton, the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nominee, has blamed the investigation and Comey for her election loss to the Republicans’ nominee, Donald Trump.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced he would look into the FBI’s Clinton probe in January 2017. His report examines whether investigative decisions were political or otherwise improper, and determines that “these judgment calls were not unreasonable.”

Horowitz’s report says it would not second-guess the FBI’s conclusions in the Clinton email investigation, but examine only that investigation itself.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking to reporters after the release of the report Thursday afternoon, said it reinforces Trump’s suspicion of bias in the FBI.

Here are four major takeaways from the inspector general’s report.

1. Comey ‘Deviated’ From Norms

Horowitz did not conclude that Comey had an agenda in publicly announcing the decision not to seek a prosecution of Clinton in July 2016, and then announcing days before the Nov. 8 election that the FBI had reopened the investigation.

Comey departed “clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms” such as consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, his boss, the inspector general’s report says.

“We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions,” the report says.

Comey told Horowitz’s investigators that in April 2016, he told then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates that “the closer they got to the political conventions, the more likely he would be to insist that a special counsel be appointed, because he did not believe the department could credibly announce the closing of the investigation once Clinton was the Democratic Party nominee.”

But, the report says, Comey likely wanted only to “induce” the Justice Department to move more quickly in completing the investigation.

Comey explained why he acted outside the chain of command, according to the report:

Comey told the OIG [Office of the Inspector General] that a separate public statement was warranted by the ‘500-year flood’ in which the FBI found itself, and that he weighed the need to preserve the credibility and integrity of the Department and the FBI, and the need to protect ‘a sense of justice more broadly in the country—that things are fair not fixed, and they’re done independently.’

2. Agent Strzok: ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump

The exchange of electronic text messages in which FBI official Peter Strzok and a colleague, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, expressed pro-Clinton and anti-Trump sentiments already was known because it came out during Horowitz’s investigation.

However, his report specifies a previously unknown, shocking statement coming from an FBI official during a presidential election campaign.

On Aug. 8, 2016, Page asked Strzok in a text message whether Trump would win the presidential election that was three months away.

Strzok responded: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Congress previously released texts in which Strzok wrote about an “insurance policy” in the unlikely event that Trump won the election.

Strzok reportedly was involved in changing Comey’s language in the draft Clinton findings, softening the characterization of her email practices from “grossly negligent,” which implies strong legal culpability, to “extremely careless.”

The inspector general’s report refers to the Clinton email probe as the “Midyear Exam,” as the FBI and Justice Department did. It says the August 2016 text from Strzok to Page seemed to refer to the investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia, which the FBI had begun as a counterintelligence probe the previous month:

Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review. Nonetheless, the suggestion in certain Russia-related text messages in August 2016 that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact presidential candidate Trump’s electoral prospects caused us to question the earlier Midyear investigative decisions in which Strzok was involved, and whether he took specific actions in the Midyear investigation based on his political views.

After the first batch of Strzok-Page text messages came to light, special counsel Robert Mueller booted Strzok from his investigation of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Asked Thursday whether Trump believes Strzok should still have a job, Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: “I haven’t specifically asked him that question, but my guess would be no.”

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General, United States Department Of Justice, appears to testify before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary oversight hearing to examine the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and attempts to influence US elections, focusing on lessons learned from current and prior administrations on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia//ADMEDIA_adm_072617_Judiciary_CNP_005/Credit:Ron Sachs/SIPA/1707262205 (Newscom TagID: sfphotostwo925499.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

3. An ‘Inappropriate Discussion’

The report also delved into Lynch’s meeting June 27, 2016, with the Democratic nominee’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, on the attorney general’s plane as it sat at an airport in Arizona.

While the two said publicly that they didn’t speak about the email investigation, a visit to the attorney general by the husband of the subject of an FBI investigation raised suspicion.

Just days later, Comey announced that he wouldn’t recommend a prosecution of Clinton.

“Lynch told the OIG that she became increasingly concerned as the meeting ‘went on and on,’ and stated ‘that it was just too long a conversation to have had,’” the inspector general’s report says.

The report found fault with the appropriateness of the Lynch-Clinton meeting, but found no evidence that it had an effect on the FBI investigation of Clinton’s wife:

Although we found no evidence that Lynch and former President Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or engaged in other inappropriate discussion during their tarmac meeting, we also found that Lynch’s failure to recognize the appearance problem created by former President Clinton’s visit and to take action to cut the visit short was an error in judgment. We further concluded that her efforts to respond to the meeting by explaining what her role would be in the investigation going forward created public confusion and did not adequately address the situation.

Comey later cited the meeting as one of his reasons for making the announcement about the FBI’s findings in the Clinton probe without including Lynch.

The report cites “troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication” between Comey and Lynch before Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference or before his Oct. 28, 2016, letter to Congress about reopening the probe because of newly discovered emails.

“We found it extraordinary that, in advance of two such consequential decisions, the FBI director decided that the best course of conduct was to not speak directly and substantively with the attorney general about how best to navigate those decisions,” the report says.

Lynch previously had said she would go along with Comey’s recommendation in the Clinton matter.

4. Conducting Hillary’s Interview

The inspector general’s report says the FBI’s interview with Hillary Clinton took place with two other people present who were questioned separately in the investigation–Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the former a longtime aide and both her attorneys.

The only way the FBI could require Clinton to testify alone would be before a grand jury, the report says.

“We found that one of the reasons for not using the grand jury for testimony involved concerns about exposing grand jurors to classified information,” the report says.

The report cited a lack of “persuasive” proof that this unusual approach to questioning, which was not recorded, either biased or hindered the probe of Clinton’s email practices:

We found no persuasive evidence that Mills’s or Samuelson’s presence influenced Clinton’s interview. Nevertheless, we found the decision to allow them to attend the interview was inconsistent with typical investigative strategy.

However, Horowitz reiterates earlier reports that the FBI already appeared to have made its decision before interviewing Clinton in the “Midyear” case.

“We found that these decisions were occurring at a time when Comey and the Midyear team had already concluded that there was likely no prosecutable case,” the report says.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLE: The IG’s Report May Be Half-Baked

RELATED VIDEO: Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discusses the IG report, the Clinton email scandal brewing in court, and a Supreme Court election integrity victory.

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

Report From Watchdog: FBI Official Texted That ‘We’ll Stop’ a Trump Presidency

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog has found that FBI official Peter Strzok, a main player in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, texted about stopping Donald Trump from becoming president, Bloomberg News first reported.

The report from Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, says Strzok sent an electronic text to FBI colleague Lisa Page on Aug. 8, 2016, three months before Trump defeated Clinton.

Page, an FBI lawyer, had asked Strzok via text: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Hours after Bloomberg published its story,  the full report was released around 2 p.m. Thursday on the website of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General:

Horowitz writes in the report, according to Bloomberg, that “we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”

But, referring to Strzok and Page, the inspector general writes that “the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”

The two FBI officials reportedly were having an extramarital affair at the time.

The inspector general’s report is critical of then-FBI Director James Comey, who Trump ousted in May 2017.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” Horowitz writes.

A day ahead of the expected release of the report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said firings could result.

“If anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination, we will do so,” Sessions told The Hill news organization.

Page recently left the FBI. Special counsel Robert Mueller dismissed Strzok from his team investigating Trump campaign coordination with Russia after some of the pair’s hundreds of exchanged texts first surfaced through Horowitz’s investigation.

Clinton, while serving as President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state from 2009 through 2012, did official business through email using a private server.

Comey announced in July 2016 that the FBI found that Clinton sent and received classified information on the personal email account, rather than using a secure government account, but determined she didn’t do so intentionally. The FBI director apparently did not consult his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in saying the government would not prosecute Clinton.

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee has blamed the FBI investigation and Comey for her election loss to Trump.

Horowitz announced he would look into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe in January 2017.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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

The Dark Underbelly of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S.

When I first began writing this blog in July 2007, one of the issues that attracted my attention was the puzzling decision by the Virginia Council of Churches, working for major resettlement contractor Church World Service, to place refugees in one of the worst buildings in the worst section of Hagerstown, MD.

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But, here we are 11 years later and Church World Service has placed Congolese refugees in Greensboro, NC in housing that is managed by a company that has a record of many years of troubling business practices.

I’m sure CWS rejoinder is—well give us more taxpayer money and we will get them nicer apartments. 

And, I say, this was supposed to be a public-private partnership, so how about you, CWS, raising private money from your churches to help these Africans you placed (so that North Carolina meatpackers could have cheap compliant labor)!

It all began with that fire that killed five Congolese children.  We wrote about it here (fire marshal determined food had been left on the stove).

But, that isn’t the end of it as a Congolese refugee, the father of the dead children, asks (in a heated meeting):

“We are refugees from Africa, we want to know if we have rights.”

I know what some of my readers will say to the Africans, but have some compassion, I’m sure most were never fully informed of what to expect in America.

CWS does much of our processing in Africa and they surely painted a rosy welcoming picture for the Congolese.  (In June 2013, the Obama Administration told the UN that we would take 50,000 from the DR Congo over 5 years. They are still coming!)

From Triad City Beat:

Safety concerns persist at complex that houses Congolese refugees

Congolese refugees, resettlement agencies and the owners of the Heritage Apartments give conflicting accounts of maintenance efforts in the wake of a deadly fire that took the lives of five children last month.

Greensboro meeting

Refugee contractors face unhappy tenants.

Representatives of two agencies that resettle and support refugees in Greensboro had given lengthy presentations about their menu of services to the group of Congolese refugees packed into a sweltering community room at Heritage Apartments on a recent Saturday.

One of the residents, the father of five children who were killed in a fire last month at the apartment complex, asked a pointed question.

“We are refugees from Africa,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “We want to know if we have rights.”

Many of the residents, who work low-paying and grueling jobs in chicken plants in Wilkes and Lee counties, complained about going to the hospital for treatment and coming home with insurmountable hospital bills. Others complained that their apartments lack air-conditioning units.

How about BIG CHICKEN coming up with money for the hospital bills (and air conditioners for their workers)!

Earlier in the meeting, Lynn Thompson, outreach director for the New Arrivals Institute, ventured an answer to the question about refugees’ rights, alluding to widespread community concern about the deadly fire and poor conditions at the apartment complex, which is owned and managed by the Agapion family.

Go buy your own air conditioners says resettlement agency!

“It’s really bad for us,” Anzuruni Juma said through a translator. “When we moved in we didn’t know we only had heating to keep warm in the winter, and nothing to keep cool in the summer. Sometimes we can’t even sleep and have to go to a neighbor’s place to cool off.”

Rachel Lee, a program coordinator for African Services Coalition — one of two resettlement agencies, along with Church World Services, responsible for placing refugees at Heritage Apartments — suggested the residents go to Lowes or Walmart to purchase window units for their apartments. The residents said they don’t earn enough money to be able to afford air-conditioning, prompting some talk that the refugee agencies might turn to churches for donations.

Refugee advocates not happy with Church World Serve and African Services Coalition (Ethiopian Community Development Council)

Some of the advocates directed pointed questions, alongside the residents, at the representatives of the two resettlement agencies.

See Heritage Apartments landlord has history of tenant conflict (2008), and so didn’t CWS or this ECDC subcontractor know any of this?  Do the contractors get some special benefits from choosing certain landlords?

More here.

See other posts on Greensboro, here.

So where are the humanitarian churches*** willing to help the refugees of Greensboro (and America!)?

Too busy protesting the President to do their Christian duty?

cws protest at WH 2

Those small circled signs are CWS signs. How about if CWS spends less time protesting at the White House with CAIR and more time taking better care of the refugees they place in your towns and cities!

Do you belong to one of these churches represented by CWS? If so, ask what is your church getting out of it?

***CWS Member Communions:

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Post Singapore, What is Next for Freedom in North Korea?

Yesterday in Singapore the on-again/off-again summit between President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un made history as President Trump became the first U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader. The focal point of the carefully planned and choreographed summit was the private meeting between Trump and Kim where the discussion focused on bringing North Korea out of the dark age of a repressive regime pursuing nuclearization into the modern world. While all the details of their discussion have not been disclosed, we do know there is finally a solid verifiable path forward for the United States, North Korea, and the world. An agreement in which North Korea affirmed that it will work toward complete denuclearization, and in exchange the United States committing to helping North Korea prosper and ensuring its security.

While the United States has achieved an important milestone in the pursuit of the denuclearization of North Korea, the details and specifics are yet to come. What are the next steps? What incentives will the U.S. provide? What changes beyond dismantling their nuclear program will Kim have to make? All of those details will most likely be hammered out in subsequent meetings overseen by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I am confident, based upon my conversation with Vice President Pence yesterday, that the United States will ensure that religious freedom and human rights are substantively integrated into that process.

At the press conference following the summit, President Trump affirmed that he initiated a conversation about these matters with the North Korean leader during their talks: “[W]e did discuss [the issue of human rights] today pretty strongly.” Even though the main purpose of the talks was “denuking,” human rights were discussed “at pretty good length.” On that topic, they will “agree to something,” as it was “one of the primary topics” that “was discussed at length outside of the nuclear situation.” In President Trump’s view, this “has to” change in order to move forward, and he will not remove sanctions “without significant improvement in the human rights situation.”

This is good news, as was the president’s response to an additional question about the fate of Christians in North Korea. “We . . . brought it up very strongly.” This issue “did come up, and things will be happening,” the president continued, recognizing that Franklin Graham has focused on this issue and has “got it very close to his heart.”

Photos and smiles aside, North Korea under Kim is one of, if not the most repressive place on the planet, as our own government has recognized in the State Department’s 2017 Religious Freedom Report. North Korea keeps an iron grip on any worship which could alter the state’s power, promoting in place of religious freedom what is akin to a state religion worshiping the “Great Leader” Kim Il-Sung. The experiences of North Korean Christians are such that when freedom opens the door just a crack, it is violently slammed shut by the government. The research makes clear and the Trump administration understands, that the only path to true cultural, political and economic long-term stability in North Korea is for religious freedom to provide the foundation.

Thankfully, we have already seen the impact that U.S. prioritization of religious freedom can have. After President Trump pointedly raised religious persecution in Nigeria with that country’s president, additional security forces were immediately deployed to vulnerable areas upon his return. While North Korea is different by orders of magnitude, the Trump administration must clearly and directly confront the issue of religious freedom. If religious freedom is not dealt with, North Korea will not be able to economically move into the modern world anyway (something it seems to want to do), and the North Korean people will be deprived rights which derive from their very humanity and creation in the image of God.

What makes this North Korea summit different from others that have failed? As our own General Jerry Boykin shared with me on Washington Watch, the summit approached the matter by allowing negotiations at the top, with the leaders meeting and committing to the end goal of denuclearization, leaving subordinates to work out the details. Usually these meetings develop from the bottom up, as did Secretary of State Kerry’s negotiations over Iran.

This doesn’t mean we should be naive. As the General (who with decades of traveling the world in defense of U.S. interests, is no stranger to the skepticism one may develop about world affairs) recognizes, “[w]e need to let Kim know that we consider his nuclear program an existential threat to the United States and are willing to use all available means to oppose it.” At the same time, the implicit threat in this message constitutes the very pressure which will get Kim to the negotiating table and cause him to think twice before walking away from working with the United States.

President Trump deserves a great deal of credit for the way he has handled this summit. What many haven’t seen is the private diplomacy between the United States and China leading up to the summit, which ultimately resulted in China supporting the general concept of North Korean denuclearization. Moreover, in no small way, the president’s recent withdrawal from the Iran deal played a part in moving the ball forward with North Korea. With that one act of U.S. withdrawal, Kim at once knew two things: he would not get a weak deal with the United States, and the United States would not accept another nuclear-armed state—whether Iran or North Korea—that threatens us or our allies.

Yesterday’s summit was a milestone, but the journey is far from over. Please continue to pray for a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s nuclear build up and for the persecuted that remain behind the walls of North Korea that freedom would soon come to them.


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


RELATED ARTICLES: 

Falling down To Build up A Nation

Podcast: What’s Next for North Korea, US

Trump Says He Will ‘Absolutely’ Invite Kim Jong Un to the White House

Suspending Military Exercises in South Korea Carries Risks

Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Twitter All Work With Left-Wing SPLC

Four of the world’s biggest tech platforms have working partnerships with a left-wing nonprofit that has a track record of inaccuracies and routinely labels conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Twitter all work with or consult the Southern Poverty Law Center in policing their platforms for “hate speech” or “hate groups,” a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

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The SPLC is on a list of “external experts and organizations” that Facebook works with “to inform our hate speech policies,” Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

Facebook consults the outside organizations when developing changes to hate speech policies, Budhraja said, noting that Facebook representatives will typically hold between one and three meetings with the groups.

Citing privacy concerns, the Facebook spokeswoman declined to name all the outside groups working with Facebook, but confirmed the SPLC’s participation.

Budhraja emphasized that Facebook’s definition of “hate group” is distinct from the SPLC’s definition and said that Facebook consults with groups across the political spectrum.

The SPLC accused Facebook in a May 8 article of not doing enough to censor “anti-Muslim hate” on the platform. That article did not disclose the SPLC’s working partnership with Facebook.

“We have our own process and our processes are different and I think that’s why we get the criticism [from the SPLC], because organizations that are hate organizations by their standards don’t match ours,” Budhraja said.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a process in place, and that definitely doesn’t mean we want the platform to be a place for hate but we aren’t going to map to the SPLC’s list or process,” she said.

Of the four companies, Amazon gives the SPLC the most direct authority over its platform, The Daily Caller News Foundation found.

While Facebook emphasizes its independence from the SPLC, Amazon does the opposite: Jeff Bezos’ company grants the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program, while claiming to remain unbiased.

“We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Amazon grants the SPLC that power “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever,” said the spokeswoman, who could not say whether Amazon considers the SPLC to be unbiased.

The Smile program allows customers to identify a charity to receive 0.5 percent of the proceeds from their purchases on Amazon. Customers have given more than $8 million to charities through the program since 2013, according to Amazon.

Only one participant in the program, the SPLC, gets to determine which other groups are allowed to join it.

Christian legal groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom—which recently successfully represented a Christian baker at the Supreme Court—are barred from the Amazon Smile program, while openly anti-Semitic groups remain, The Daily Caller News Foundation found in May.

One month later, the anti-Semitic groups—but not the Alliance Defending Freedom—are still able to participate in the program.

Twitter lists the SPLC as a “safety partner” working with Twitter to combat “hateful conduct and harassment.”

The platform also includes the Trust and Safety Council, which “provides input on our safety products, policies, and programs,” according to Twitter. Free speech advocates have criticized it as Orwellian.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment on the SPLC specifically, but said the company is “in regular contact with a wide range of civil society organizations and [nongovernmental organizations].”

Google uses the SPLC to help police hate speech on YouTube as part of YouTube’s “Trusted Flagger” program, The Daily Caller reported in February, citing a source with knowledge of the agreement. Following that report, the SPLC confirmed it’s policing hate speech on YouTube.

The SPLC and other third-party groups in the Trusted Flagger program work closely with YouTube’s employees to crack down on extremist content in two ways, according to YouTube.

First, the flaggers are equipped with digital tools allowing them to mass flag content for review by YouTube personnel. Second, the groups act as guides to YouTube’s content monitors and engineers who design the algorithms policing the video platform, but may lack the expertise needed to tackle a given subject.

The SPLC is one of over 300 government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the YouTube program, the vast majority of which remain hidden behind confidentiality agreements.

The SPLC has consistently courted controversy in publishing lists of “extremists” and “hate groups.” The nonprofit has been plagued by inaccuracies this year, retracting four articles in March and April alone.

The well-funded nonprofit, which did not return a request for comment, deleted three Russia-related articles in March after challenges to their accuracy followed by legal threats.

All three articles focused on drawing conspiratorial connections between anti-establishment American political figures and Russian influence operations in the United States.

The SPLC removed a controversial “anti-Muslim extremist” list in April, after British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz threatened to sue over his inclusion on the list. The SPLC had accused the supposed extremists of inciting anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Somali-born women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali also made the list.

Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation who now advocates against the practice, is an award-winning human rights activist. But according to the SPLC’s since-deleted list, she was an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

Ali criticized Apple CEO Tim Cook in August 2017 for donating to the SPLC, which she described as “an organization that has lost its way, smearing people who are fighting for liberty and turning a blind eye to an ideology and political movement that has much in common with Nazism.”

Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is now the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was surprised to find out in February 2015 that the SPLC had placed him on an “extremist watch list” for his conservative beliefs.

“When embracing traditional Christian values is equated to hatred, we are approaching the stage where wrong is called right and right is called wrong. It is important for us to once again advocate true tolerance,” Carson said in response.

“That means being respectful of those with whom we disagree and allowing people to live according to their values without harassment,” he continued. “It is nothing but projectionism when some groups label those who disagree with them as haters.”

Following a backlash, the SPLC apologized and removed him from its list. Carson was on the list for four months before the SPLC removed the “extremist” label.

Floyd Lee Corkins, who attempted a mass shooting at the conservative Family Research Council in 2012, said he chose the organization for his act of violence because the SPLC listed it as a “hate group.”

The SPLC has faced tough criticisms not just from conservatives, but from establishment publications as well.

“At a time when the line between ‘hate group’ and mainstream politics is getting thinner and the need for productive civil discourse is growing more serious, fanning liberal fears, while a great opportunity for the SPLC, might be a problem for the nation,” Ben Schreckinger, now with GQ, wrote in a June 2017 piece for Politico.

The Washington Post’s Megan McArdle, while still at Bloomberg, similarly criticized the SPLC’s flimsy definition of “hate group” in  September 2017. Media outlets who trust the SPLC’s labels, McArdle warned, “will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors.”

COLUMN BY

Twitter CEO Caves to Liberal Backlash, Says He Was Wrong to Eat Chick-Fil-A

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday expressed regret over eating at Chick-fil-A because of the chicken company’s CEO’s personal views on gay marriage.

Dorsey tweeted a screenshot from his phone that showed a purchase he had made at Chick-fil-A using a mobile application. After a liberal backlash, however, Dorsey apologized for eating at the popular fast-food restaurant.

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At issue was Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s 2012 support for defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which he described as “the biblical definition of a family.”

Screenshot/Twitter

(Screenshot/Twitter)

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien was among those to call out Dorsey for eating at the self-described home of the original chicken sandwich.

O’Brien indicated that Dorsey had sinned by publicly eating at Chick-fil-A during gay pride month.

(Screenshot/Twitter)

“You’re right,” Dorsey conceded. “Completely forgot about their background.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Peter Hasson

Peter Hasson

Peter J. Hasson is a reporter for The Daily Caller. Twitter: @peterjhasson.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who posted a screenshot of his Chick-fil-A meal and received liberal backlash. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters/Newscom)