Maryland/Virginia: Three of Five MS-13 Gang Members Arrested in Horrific Murder are ‘Refugees’

“Sadly, the American people pay for the rope to hang ourselves with by resettling these people as refugees.” – (Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review)

“The suspects allegedly stabbed the victim 100 times and set the body on fire.”

You probably heard something about this case in the days following the arrest last week of five gang members (New Americans!) for the murder of another gang member.

Maybe you didn’t pay attention because they were killing their own, but thanks to reader Joanne for directing me to this story yesterday by Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review where we learn that we actually supported these creeps with our tax dollars.

And, now of course your tax dollars—hundreds of thousands of dollars!—will be spent to try them in our courts and incarcerate them!

Editor: You should make it a point to read Horowitz’s work.  He gets his facts straight and knows the law.

Here is how Horowitz begins his sordid tale,

One of the biggest scams being perpetrated against the American people as part of this mass migration from Central America is the fact that we are treating those who engage in self-trafficking as victims of trafficking and those who commit heinous violence in our country as refugees from violence.

Nowhere is this more evident than with those who come here from Central America as teens by having their families pay to traffic them here, get resettled as refugees, and then join gangs and fuel violence in our cities greater than the violence in their home countries.

On Friday, police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, announced the arrest of five members of an MS-13 cell based in Fairfax County, Virginia, for the gruesome murder of a fellow gang member across the state line. The suspects allegedly stabbed the victim 100 times and set the body on fire, a hallmark of the Latin American gangs and cartels. All five suspects – Jose Ordonez-Zometa, 29; Jonathan Castillo Rivera, 20; Kevin Rodriguez Flores, 18; Cristhian Martinez Ramirez, 16; and Jose Hernandez-Garcia, 25 – are being charged with first-degree murder.

I’ve noticed a pattern of so many heinous crimes committed by young males from Central America and how many of them came in to the country as “unaccompanied alien children” several years ago. Under that rubric, we automatically treat them as refugees to be resettled, not illegal aliens to be deported. I reached out to ICE and was told that at least three of them were indeed resettled under the UAC program. Here is the information they sent out on the record:

Go to Conservative Review and read about each of the three ‘refugees.’  Then this…

Notice the common thread here? They were all released into the custody of other family here, most likely themselves illegal aliens who, based on what DHS officials have testified before Congress in recent years, most likely paid for them to be smuggled into the country.

Our laws aren’t broken. It’s our policies contorting the laws that are broken.

The relevant statute (Sec. 235(a) of the Wilberforce Act) authorizes the resettlement program only for those children who are 1) indeed children under 18; 2) have no parent or guardian present in the country; and 3) have been victims of “a severe form” of human trafficking. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these teens have legal guardians in America who themselves are here illegally. Yes: 80 percent of the UACs were settled with other illegal aliens, most often family members, and in almost all cases, they are self-trafficked, not victims of kidnapping. Thus, they are not unaccompanied.

Read it all! 

He goes on to explain that our crime rate is rising as more ‘unaccompanied children’ come here from Central America and the crime rate there drops—-because the criminals are coming here!

BTW, in addition to Central Americans, El Salvadorans like these gang members, Maryland has a large enclave of Salvadorans here on Temporary Protected Status. Many came here as well through the “Sanctuary movement” of a couple of decades ago.  Look for an upcoming post on “Sanctuary.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Somalis Stage Walkout at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Minnesota

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission.

Cyber Security Statistics for 2019

Cyber security is often seen as one of those big problems that only large entities like banks, tech companies, and governments have to worry about. In reality, a lot more people should be concerned with cybersecurity and not just the big corporations. The latter may be indeed responsible for more data. Still, it is the smaller entities, such as companies with less than 1000 employees, that are at the greatest risk.

TechJury compiled a list of cyber security statistics to help visualize what is happening in the field as well as what to expect in 2019.

Here are some of the most telling facts:

  • IT security can definitely use a boost; in most cases, it takes half a year to detect a data breach.
  • Consider that 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses to realize the immense scope of the threat.
  • Not only businesses are at risk, though, as 91% of attacks launch with a phishing email.
  • That makes sense because 85% of all attachments emailed daily are harmful for their intended recipients.
  • 38% of malicious attachments are masked as one Microsoft Office type of file or another.
  • Cyber criminals managed to exploit the credit cards of 48% of Americans back in 2016.
  • The global cost of online crime is expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021.

Let’s examine this global threat in greater detail.

Data Breaches

Often it is data breaches that steal the headlines.

  1. In most cases, it takes companies about 6 months to detect a data breach.

(Source: ZD Net)

If a robbery took place and the perpetrators got away, how much of a head start do they have if they want to cover their tracks? A day? An hour? Cyber criminals often get a neat 6-month head start, which makes tracking them down that much harder.

  1. There were 8,854 recorded breaches between January 1, 2005 and April 18, 2018.

(Source: Identity Theft Resource Center)

These breaches account for millions of records, with the price per record ranging anywhere from $120-$600. If we average these out at $360 per record, then the total price of these breaches is in the billions. People talk about the cost of cyber security, but they seldom think about the cost of not having it.

  1. In 2017, 61% of data breach victims were companies with less than 1000 employees.

(Source: Verizon)

While this number may be alarming, this has more to do with the fact that the larger-scale companies are more likely to have robust security than smaller companies. Many of these smaller companies simply do not have the means for proper defence to combat advanced cyber threats, which contributes heavily to these cyber security statistics.

Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks vary in sort and severity, but they can be absolutely devastating, especially for small business owners.

  1. 43% of cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses.

(Source: Small Business Trends)

It makes a lot of sense that the little guy is targeted so often. While the benefit of such attack for the hacker is relatively small, it is much easier to pull it off. Many small businesses have minimal security infrastructure, making them easy prey for data predators. Considering the number of cyber attacks per day, quite a few of those get targeted.

  1. Around 50% of the risk companies face come by way of having multiple security vendors.

(Source: Cisco)

One may think when it comes to security, the more the merrier. However, having multiple security vendors is a great way to complicate your security infrastructure in a way that is likely to create greater vulnerabilities. It is best to stick with one security vendor and comply with all security updates and recommendations the vendor presents, according to various hacking stats.

  1. IoT attacks were up by 600% in 2017.

(Source: Symantec)

Nearly everyone has a smartphone now, making hackers and cybercriminals have greater choice of targets for attack. A portion of the rise could be attributed to the increased number of IoT devices, but the greater issue is that security doesn’t keep up the pace of the growing threats.

  1. 31% of organizations have experienced cyber attacks on operational infrastructure.

(Source: Cisco)

Perhaps the more concerning side to cyber security statistics in general is the number of incidents that have gone unreported. Speculation would lead one to believe that the figure of 31% is significantly lower than reality. Whatever the case, this is an important figure to be aware of as it shows at the very least that hackers are proficient in finding the correct target.

  1. DDoS attacks account for 5% of monthly traffic related to gaming.

(Source: Cox BLUE)

Another prevalent form of attack comes in the form of DDoS. This attack attempts to disrupt regular traffic to the desired web endpoint. Video gaming is a popular place for these attacks to occur because there are predictable and specific endpoints for most devices.

  1. Just 38% of global organizations claim that they are equipped and able to handle a complex cyber attack

(Source: IBM)

Perhaps one of the most alarming cyber security statistics on this list is the understanding that 62% of global organizations cannot claim that they are equipped to handle a cyber attack. This void will lead the charge for improved cybersecurity in the future.

 

Malware

Malware is by far the most common type of malicious internet activity.

  1. Over 24,000 malicious mobile apps are blocked from the various app stores each day.

(Source: Symantec)

Apple has generally been on top of its app store, not allowing malicious or harmful software onto iOS devices. Android has had a longer journey there because of the freedom afforded to developers. Nevertheless, it improved radically over the past several years. Such malicious apps can still be accessed, but most devices do require user approval before installing any unverified third-party applications. Cyber attack statistics show this to be a key reason why harmful software for mobile devices is not such an issue anymore.

  1. $2.4 million is the average cost of a malware attack in 2017.

(Source: Accenture)

One of the most prevalent attacks comes in the form of malware. Malware can cripple entire systems or even render them useless. A successful malware attack resulting in a cybersecurity breach can crumble an entire company as well as ruin its public reputation.

  1. There was an 80% increase in malware attacks on Mac computers in 2017.

(Source: Cisco)

Mac computers have always been renowned for their threat security. As far as out of the box security goes, Mac has been the gold standard for quite some time, but things seem to be changing. Malware statistics point to an astronomical increase that raises a few eyebrows. Is it possible that cybercriminals have found new vulnerabilities?

  1. 75% of the healthcare industry has been infected with malware at some point in time.

(Source: CISION: PR Newswire)

The healthcare industry accounts for the most records lost. This has to do with many factors including outdated systems, lack of training, and substandard protocols. In short, healthcare providers are an easy target with a lot to offer to potential criminals. It is no wonder why this industry is so often a target of large scale cyber attacks.

  1. Around 60% of malicious web domains are associated with spam campaigns.

(Source: Cisco)

For some reason I find it concerning when a company tells me to check my spam folder. The spam folder is where many people get taken advantage of. Spam campaigns attempt to send the user to insecure or malicious domains in an attempt to mine data.

  1. 38% of malicious files came in formats used by the Microsoft Office suite of products.

(Source: Cisco)

Microsoft Office is one of the most familiar sights in a modern working environment. Cybercriminals use these formats for their malicious files in attempts to lure unsuspecting victims into thinking it is just a simple spreadsheet or report. This is valid not only for recent cyber attacks, as executable files masked as harmless, well-known files are a popular digital bait for years now.

Cyber Security Is in High Demand

Security specialist is one of the most promising career choices in the IT sector.

  1. There are over 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States, with the demand rising each year.

(Source: Cybint Solutions)

If you are a college freshman deciding on a major, then cybersecurity might be an attractive option. Not only are there plenty of openings, but the demand is expected to rise at an unprecedented rate. There are plenty of jobs available in tech nowadays, but perhaps none are as vital than as security. The next few cyber security stats show just how pressing this need may be.

  1. By 2021, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs is expected to balloon to 3.5 million.

(Source: The Hill)

The expected rise in jobs is still outpaced by the expected need for them. Chances are, companies will not be able to get enough cybersecurity experts. There’s simply not going to be enough people with this type of competency to fill all available spots. Let’s just stop and consider what it means that so many companies will not be able to get proper protection from cybercrimes. As cybercrime statistics show, this is one of the biggest problems that companies have to solve.

  1. Cybersecurity job postings are up 74% over the past five years.

(Source: Cybint Solutions)

This is the silver lining to these attacks. Many young people will be able to find gainful work in the cyber security sector. The unfortunate reality is much of this will be in response to attacks that will take place, and that there will be many more data breaches affecting millions of people within the next few years. Data breach statistics don’t suggest that the need for experts in the field will be lessened any time soon.

  1. Cybersecurity expenditures are expected to rise above $1 trillion by 2025.

(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)

Once again, just like the jobs figures, this points to a very secure future for those pursuing a career in cybersecurity. The question remains if these expected expenditures will be enough prevent data breaches or at least bring them down significantly.

  1. The annual cost of cybercrime damages is expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021.

(Source: CyberSecurity Ventures)

The rate of these crimes is only expected to increase. Criminals are finding increasingly clever and diabolical ways to get their hands on data. This, coupled with the projections for further data breaches, spells an unwelcome story going forward. Some estimates have the number as high as $10 trillion. In this context, whatever the cost of cybersecurity may be it seems like a worthy investment.

  1. 65% of companies have over 500 employees that have never changed their password.

(Source: Varonis)

I believe most people are guilty of not changing their password often enough. This is just making it easy for would-be cybercriminals to have easy access to sensitive information through compromised passwords. An easy solution to these problems is an automated system that requires employees to regularly change passwords. Many such programs are free and easily implemented by IT professionals.

Ransomware Has Run Rampant

Ransomware, especially with the advent of cryptocurrencies, is an increasingly popular way for hackers to make money.

  1. Ransomware attacks are growing more than 350% annually.

(Source: Cisco)

A ransomware attack is designed to hijack the targets’ systems and hold them hostage in exchange for certain demands. These attacks are particularly effective and growing in number as the data from Cisco shows. The increase in cyber attacks is bound to continue in the foreseeable future.

  1. The damage costs of ransomware will rise to $11.5 billion in 2019.

(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)

Once again, ransomware holds data and entire systems hostage until demands are met. Independent risk evaluators postulate that compliance with the perpetrator leads to greater security vulnerabilities and greater total loss.

  1. A business falls victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds.

(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)

Something that differentiates cybercrime from any other kind of crime is the automation that can be deployed by perpetrators. Automation allows for cyber attacks to be deployed simultaneously and relentlessly. Failed attacks can be tried again almost infinitely. The number of cyber attacks each day keeps going up. Automation may also be the key to protection from these types of attacks, but for now it is not yet clear how to utilize this technology. As the stakes get higher and cyber criminals become more aggressive, the incentive to develop a solution will rise as well.

Unprotected, Progressively Vulnerable, and Ignored

System upgrades are not the easiest thing to implement. However, they become increasingly necessary to address adequately the growing security threats.

  1. Of all files, 21% remain completely unprotected.

(Source: Varonis)

This isn’t as startling of a revelation when compared to the other cyber security stats, but it is an alarming number of unprotected files. Of course, just because a file isn’t protected, doesn’t mean it’s accessible. Still, there’s a number of cases where that kind of protection is called for, but is not present.

  1. Reported system vulnerabilities went up by 16% in 2017.

(Source: Varonis)

The full reports for 2018 have not become available at the time of this writing, but early indications have this figure even higher over the past year. As tech evolves, most do not upgrade immediately. Older systems have different security vulnerabilities. If these are not addressed in a timely manner the systems are exposed even more with every passing day.

  1. 95% of data breaches have cause attributed to human error

(Source: Cybint Solutions)

With a large data breach, all eyes and fingers begin pointing to the IT department. The fact of the matter is these data breaches can very rarely be attributed to the folks over in IT. Information technology security breaches are few and far between. User error or actions that fall outside of IT recommended behavior will always cause more problems than just following the guidelines set by the IT department.

Phishing

Phishing mail, just like the popular hobby with similar name, is extremely common and simple.

  1. 30% of U.S. users open phishing emails.

(Source: Verizon)

Unsurprisingly, phishing attacks make up a large amount of cyber security incidents. It is quite likely that most of us have opened phishing emails at some point in time. Kaspersky’s anti-phishing software has caught hundreds of millions of them every year.

  1. 12% of those who opened phishing emails later opened the infected links or attachments.

(Source: Verizon)

As we await the arrival of 2019 cyber security statistics, the report from Verizon shows that phishing attacks had a moderately high success rate. With more and more people understanding the dangers that lurk with these attacks, the hope is that this number will continue to fall in the coming years.

  1. In the last year, 76% of businesses reported that they had been a victim of a phishing attack.

(Source: Wombat)

Phishing attacks are the most common cyber security attack. This type of attacks are a big part of why there are so many compromised passwords. If you check your spam folder in your email, it is more than likely that you will find several of them. If a phishing emails makes it past filters into the inbox, to the untrained eye they will seem like legitimate messages that can be trusted.

References:

  1. ZD Net
  2. Identity Theft Resource Center
  3. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report
  4. Small Business Trends
  5. Cisco
  6. Symantec
  7. Cisco Data Privacy Study
  8. Cox BLUE
  9. IBM Cost of Data Breach Study
  10. Symantec Internet Security Threat Report
  11. Accenture
  12. Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report 2018
  13. CISION: PR Newswire
  14. Cisco Data Privacy Study
  15. Cisco Data Privacy Study
  16. Cybint Solutions
  17. The Hill
  18. Cybint Solutions
  19. Cybersecurity Ventures
  20. Cybersecurity Ventures Cybercrime Report
  21. Varonis Global Data Risk Report
  22. Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report 2018
  23. Cybersecurity Ventures
  24. Cybersecurity Ventures Cybercrime Report
  25. Varonis Global Data Risk Report
  26. Varonis Global Data Risk Report
  27. Cybint Solutions
  28. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report
  29. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report
  30. Wombat Security

Related documents and reading:

  1. Know Before
  2. Ponemon
  3. Kaspersky
  4. Cyberark
  5. Time
  6. Ponemon State of Endpoint Security Risk Report
  7. Accenture Cost of Cybercrime Study
  8. Accenture Cyber Threatscape Report
  9. IBM Cost of Data Breach Study
  10. Ponemon Global Cost of Data Breach Study
  11. CSO Online
  12. Accenture Achieving Data-Centric Security
  13. Forbes Technology Council
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VIDEO: President of Venezuela Juan Guaidó — Names Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar As Moguls of Socialism

The dealership that services my car has a number of young men working for them. One is named Christian, he is from Venezuela. Each time I see him I ask him about his family, who are still there. He explains to me how bad it is but he has hope that the dictator Nicolás Maduro will be gone and that the new government under President of Venezuela Juan Guaidó will take over soon.

On February 4, 2019 Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo wrote:

We welcome the decision today by Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to recognize Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela. We are also heartened by the European Parliament’s January 31 resolution recognizing Juan Guaido as Interim President. They join the United States and more than 23 other countries in recognizing Juan Guaido as Interim President, in accordance with Venezuela’s constitution.

We encourage all countries, including other EU member states, to support the Venezuelan people by recognizing Interim President Guaido and supporting the National Assembly’s efforts to return constitutional democracy to Venezuela. We repeat our call to the Venezuelan military and security forces to support their country’s constitution and protect all Venezuelan citizens, including Interim President Guaido and his family, as well as U.S. and other foreign citizens in Venezuela.

To date the over fifty countries have recognized Juan Guaidó as the acting President of Venezuela.

Resistencia Venezuela posted the interview below with President Guaidó on its YouTube channel titled “Venezuela’s Guaidó mulls foreign military intervention for humanitarian aid“:

It is time to free the people of Venezuela from their socialist dictator. It is time for Americans to fully realize that socialism has never, and will never, work. It is the big lie.

Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services

On March 14, pro-gun Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination against the firearms industry in the provision of financial services.

We have long been reporting on how anti-gun activists are seeking to use access to financial services as a means to punish and suppress lawful firearm-related commerce.

First came Operation Choke Point, a supposed “anti-fraud” effort during the Obama administration that morphed into a campaign by federal regulators to intimidate banks and payment processers into refusing business with politically disfavored clients, including firearm-related businesses. That program was officially repudiated by the Trump Administration, but for some businesses, the damage had already been done.

Anti-gunners next turned directly to the financial service providers themselves, extorting them with “social justice” condemnation for “financing” mass shootings and insisting they drop their firearm industry clients or impose gun control-like conditions on doing business with them. Several national banks did just that.

Activist institutional investors in publicly-traded gun companies also tried to embarrass those companies with proxy actions designed to portray the businesses in a negative light. To date, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful.   The Freedom Financing Act aims to put a stop to this discrimination by ensuring that banks participating in certain federal programs – as well as credit card companies, credit unions, and users of the Automated Clearing House Network — cannot refuse business with law-abiding federal firearm licensees for political or “reputational” reasons.

More recently, anti-gun members of Congress have reverted to Choke Point-like tactics in a continuing effort to intimidate banks and marginalize law-abiding businesses in the firearm sector. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went so far as to berate the president and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank during a public oversight hearing for refusing to buckle to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby’s demands.

“How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?” Maloney demanded to know.

To his credit, the Wells Fargo executive stood firm, replying, “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.”

The Freedom Financing Act aims to put a stop to this discrimination by ensuring that banks participating in certain federal programs – as well as credit card companies, credit unions, and users of the Automated Clearing House Network — cannot refuse business with law-abiding federal firearm licensees for political or “reputational” reasons.

It is important to keep in mind that the national banks targeted by this legislation owe their very existence in large part to government and taxpayer largesse. Among other things, they benefit from public bailouts and federally-subsidized loan programs, as well as from infrastructure financed or subsidized by the government.

Private businesses generally enjoy broad discretion in setting their own policies and objectives, as is appropriate in our free market system. But exclusionary politics in the financial services industries hearken back to some of the most shameful episodes in American history. They are rightfully condemned, and have long been rightfully prohibited in other contexts.

The NRA thanks Sens. Cramer and Kennedy for their leadership in this important effort and commends the bill for swift action by the Senate.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Illinois Court Throws Out Deerfield Gun Ban

U.S. Politicians Cheer New Zealand Gun Confiscation

Alaska State Commission for Human Rights Director Attacks Human’s Rights

Legacy Media Push New Zealand Gun Confiscation Using Lies about Australian Ban

NRA Praises Vermont Superior Court Decision on Magazine Bans

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA New Mexico FAL Couple — Fighting Bloomberg Gun Control

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission.

The Democrats Missed Their Moment – What Now?

Democratic leaders have been cynical and slow in addressing Jew-hatred within their party, perhaps because they believe most Jews will remain Democrats regardless of how the party treats them or regards Israel.


Despite indignant denials, the Democratic Party has enabled anti-Semitism as progressives have embraced ancient stereotypes and asserted them against Israel.  Haters who push claims of undue Jewish influence, divided loyalties, and even blood libel are accepted under the mantle of inclusiveness, and partisan apologists sanitize bigotry by calling it political speech, mendaciously distinguishing contempt for Israel from hatred of Jews, and tolerating slanders against the Jewish State.

When challenged for permitting such conduct, they invoke free speech to defend those who make ridiculous accusations – e.g., that Israel engages in ethnic cleansing, controls international finance, or practices apartheid. But after the election of a few high-profile extremists last November, some Democrats finally began to admit they had a problem, although they failed to seize the moment, acknowledge responsibility, and pledge genuine change.

Not all Democrats can agree on whether a problem even exists; and those who do are divided over whether to punish the offenders or issue denunciations that specifically mention anti-Semitism.  The glaring hypocrisy is that Democrats would not tolerate such moral ambiguity from across the aisle. If Congressional Republicans were to repeatedly malign African Americans, gay people, or women, Democrats would demand that the offenders be publicly chastised as racists, homophobes, and sexists; and they would be outraged at any attempt to dilute the message to appease party extremists.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, however, too many Democrats seem to be ethically challenged and morally blind.

Their inability to condemn anti-Semitism without qualification should not be surprising, given their failure to confront the tide of Jew-hatred that surged during the Obama administration.  Or their tendency to deflect by blaming Republicans for intolerance that today comes predominantly from the left. The inconvenient truth is that the skyrocketing rate of bias incidents against Jews is not primarily the fault of conservatives or the political right, but increasingly of progressives and their constituencies.

The conduct of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D. Minn.) highlights the ethical ambivalence of her party.  Representative Omar has repeatedly insulted Israel and her supporters using traditional anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes.  For example, she accused the Jewish lobbying organization AIPAC of using money to influence American Mideast policy, thus evoking the classical myth of disproportionate Jewish wealth and influence.  And during the 2012 Gaza War instigated by Hamas, she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized” the world, implicitly raising the timeworn slander of Jewish mind control (which was often associated with the blood libel).  Despite issuing an empty apology at the insistence of others, she has continued to assert ugly stereotypes against the Jewish State with the apparent encouragement of party progressives.

The Democratic response to Omar’s outrageous words was a proposed resolution to condemn anti-Semitism.  Though there should be no dissension within a party that claims to stand against all forms of prejudice, the resolution could not be approved until its focus on anti-Semitism was watered down, allusions to Omar and her remarks were deleted, and references to racism, white supremacism, and Islamophobia were added to render any condemnation of Jew-hatred contextual.  Clearly, the party could not make anti-Semitism the focal point without enraging progressive members who have antipathy for Jews and Israel. As insulting as this moral cowardice was, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it worse by denying that Omar’s comments were biased, stating: “I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning, that she didn’t realize.”

Would Speaker Pelosi have been so charitable if a white supremacist had used traditional racial slurs to refer to any African nation?  Would she have absolved an unrepentant sexist for using his legislative platform to slander the character, talents, and abilities of women?  Would she have excused a right-to-life advocate for disagreeing with liberal abortion policy? The answer is certainly “no” on all counts.

Although a number of Republicans voted against the Democrats’ final resolution, they did so primarily because it eliminated the singular focus on anti-Semitism and failed to mention Omar by name.  They refused to endorse a resolution that was rewritten to avoid offending those who deny Israel’s right to exist or defend anti-Jewish stereotypes as political speech. In addition, Republicans were incensed that Rep. Omar was allowed to retain her seat on the influential Foreign Affairs Committee – unlike Rep. Steven King (R. Iowa), who was stripped of his Committee assignments for comments deemed racist by fellow Republicans.

Progressives often engage in historical revisionism to suit their political needs and seem to believe it is better to be morally correct (assuming one agrees with their morals) than factually accurate.  However, past history should bear on current events; and the conservative record of acknowledging anti-Semitism and seeking corrective change should inform the Democrats’ present situation.

Twenty-six years ago, the late William F. Buckley purged the “National Review” of contributors whose criticisms of Israel he came to believe were motivated by anti-Semitism.  He then wrote a magazine-length piece (republished in book form) entitled, “In Search of Anti-Semitism,” which represented a significant moment in political self-analysis and accountability.  Buckley did not deny the history of anti-Semitic bigotry, nor did he blame Jews for their troubles or offer revisionist justifications.  Rather, he recognized the existence and political impact of anti-Jewish prejudice and the role of partisan ideologues and intellectuals in shaping public thought and opinion.

Through this literary endeavor, Buckley provided a forum for discussion and analysis that made anti-Semitism a relevant and important subject for non-Jews.

Thereafter, conservatives became more sensitized to an issue that many had never before cared about, and the legacy is a Republican Party today whose support for Israel puts Democrats to shame and which is generally more vigilant against anti-Semitism and supportive of Jewish historical rights and values.  It is noteworthy that Republicans do not condition their Israel policy on Jewish support for their party, inasmuch as most Jewish voters have remained registered Democrats. In contrast, Democratic leaders have been cynical and slow in addressing Jew-hatred within their party, perhaps because they believe most Jews will remain Democrats regardless of how the party treats them or regards Israel.

Whatever the reason, liberals and Democrats have yet to engage in the kind of soul searching that conservatives did in the 1990s.  Rather, they continue to excuse progressive anti-Semitism as political speech and protect its purveyors – especially those legitimized beyond reproach through identity politics.  Whereas apologists try to attribute Democratic anti-Semitism to the “hard left,” it has clearly infected the party’s mainstream. This is illustrated by rank-and-file Democratic support for the BDS movement, rejection of Jewish historical rights, embrace of anti-Zionism, and refusal to ostracize compatriots whose venom clearly sounds in traditional anti-Semitism.

Though most Democrats believe liberalism is inherently more tolerant of Jews and Judaism than conservatism, such presumptions are nonsense.  Liberal tradition is fraught with anti-Semitic excess – starting with Voltaire himself, running through the European progressive, socialist and communist movements, and festering in a modern left-wing that rationalizes Islamism, justifies terrorism, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State.  It was no coincidence that Theodor Herzl’s quest for Jewish national revival began in response to the anti-Semitism that permeated liberal France at the time of the Dreyfus affair. The very hatred that Herzl encountered in nineteenth century Europe is currently playing out in twenty-first century America.

The Democrats had their moment to acknowledge and renounce anti-Semitism in their midst but failed to rise to the occasion.  They instead bowed to extremist pressure and let the opportunity slip by. But if there are truly any moderates left in the Democratic party – and if they wish to reclaim the classical values of free speech and equal treatment for all – they would do well to emulate the vision displayed years ago by conservatives who recognized anti-Semitism as a political and moral dilemma and dealt with it through honest discourse and intellectual analysis.  So far, they haven’t come close.

EDITORS NOTE: This Israel National News column is republished with permission.

Planned Parenthood’s Political Juggernaut Is Meeting Its Match

By Peter B. Gemma

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider and a powerful multi-million-dollar political machine. Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding go for its non-profit “family planning services.” In truth, however, that facilitates Planned Parenthood’s political activities, underwritten by private donations, in support of politicians who keep the federal funding flowing.

Fortunately for the pro-life side, the Susan B. Anthony List has reached parity in political fundraising and organizational operations on the ground. Of course, it gets no tax dollars. And the Trump administration has been a great restrictor of the abortion giant with executive guidelines.

Recently, the Trump administration enacted a rule that would require family planning clinics to be housed in separate buildings from abortion clinics, a move that would cut off Planned Parenthood from some federal funding. The new guidelines apply to a $286 million-a-year grant, known as Title X, that pays for birth control and testing of sexually transmitted diseases for four million of its low-income clients. It requires the “physical and financial” separation of family planning services and abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood clinics will be able to talk to mothers about abortion, but not where they can go to get one. The organization receives between $50 million and $60 million from Title X.

Of course, the new federal rule is being challenged in court. Several state officials, including Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and presidential candidate/Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, have announced an intent to sue over the new policy.

Legal battles may not be good news because right to life advocates have not fared well in the courts lately.

In June 2017, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Medicaid Act “authorizes a private right of action,” allowing Medicaid recipients to challenge the disqualification of a health care provider. Louisiana and Kansas, which had stripped Planned Parenthood of state Medicaid funds after evidence that the abortion provider was harvesting and selling fetal body parts, proceeded to appeal the ruling to the U. S. Supreme Court. On Dec. 10 2018, by a vote of six to three, the High Court declined to hear the appeal, letting the lower court ruling stand. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissented. Instead of supplying the fourth vote needed just to allow for a hearing, Chief Justice Roberts and, in a surprise to many (not all) pro-lifers, Justice Kavanaugh, sided with the four liberals on the Court.

Meanwhile for Planned Parenthood, it’s business-as-usual and business is good as it is cashing in on the Trump era. In 2018, taxpayers were charged for a $20 million increase in federal funding according to the organization’s annual report – a total of $564.8 million in government subsidies. Planned Parenthood also received $100 million more from private contributions and bequests in 2018 than it did in 2017, with Warren Buffett, the investment guru, leading the way. He has donated $63.5 million to Planned Parenthood since 2014 through his family’s foundation. Planned Parenthood’s total net assets have increased from $1.6 billion last year to nearly $1.9 billion in 2018.

And Planned Parenthood has now ramped-up its abortion services. They are providing travel expenses and financial assistance for clients in states where abortion is restricted and regulated, to states where controls are loose to non-existent.

Curiously, despite receiving regular increases via taxpayer dollars and boosts in their private fund-raising efforts, Planned Parenthood’s services have declined. The organization’s 2015-2016 report revealed that Planned Parenthood served 100,000 fewer women in 2015-2016 as compared to 2014-2015. But their abortion machine is in high gear: 323,999 abortions performed two years ago, 328,348 last year, and 332,757 in 2018. Planned Parenthood has cornered 35 percent of the abortion market.

In 2015-2016, Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral. The abortion giant referred about 3,000 women to adoption services during 2018, one thousand less than the year before.

Planned Parenthood’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, has acknowledged that abortion isn’t just a service the organization provides, but the bottom line of their business: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight.”

What is the secret of Planned Parenthood’s success? The organization’s previous CEO, Cecile Richards, put it simply: “We have the potential to swing the vote and that’s a lot of power. The question is, what are we going to do with it? We’re going to be the largest kickass advocacy organization in the country!

Planned Parenthood and its political arms are separate on paper (because taxpayers are forced to give the abortion chain over $500 million a year for health services). However, private and corporate donors direct their money into Planned Parenthood’s political agenda – and abortion business – rather than to fund the other services the organization provides. In 2018, donors invested $532.7 million dollars in Planned Parenthood, including $21 million from left-wing billionaire George Soros.

Planned Parenthood has some 40 corporate backers, including:

  • American Express
  • Levi Strauss
  • AT & T
  • Macy’s
  • Avon
  • Microsoft
  • Bank of America
  • Nike
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Pepsi-Co
  • Clorox
  • Starbucks
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Verizon

Federal law prohibits government funding “to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion” (except in cases of rape, incest, or an amorphous ‘danger to the life of the mother’). That’s where Planned Parenthood’s private donors step in. Last year they bankrolled the organization’s $160 million expenditure on “public policy” (lobbying) and “movement building to engage communities” (grassroots organizing; there are more than 50,000 student members on 350 campuses.)

In addition, Planned Parenthood poured over $20 million directly into the 2018 midterm election. And there’s more. Because of its partnership with the Win Justice Coalition (which includes the Service Employees International Union, the Center for Community Change Action, and the Color of Change PAC), Planned Parenthood’s 2018 war chest actually topped $28 million.

In 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission, Planned Parenthood invested $12.6 million into independent expenditures – nearly all of it to support Democrats or oppose Republicans. That figure includes $2.8 million to attack Donald Trump and $2.4 million to back Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

George Soros and his family are major donors to Planned Parenthood Votes, giving a combined $4.75 million in two election cycles. Last year, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City, contributed $1 million to one of Planned Parenthood’s political operations.

On the positive side, the largest pro-life political action committee that is a muscular match for Planned Parenthood, the Susan B. Anthony List, has matched the abortion giant’s financial clout politically along with its organizational skills. The group raised and spent some $28 million in 2018, which matches Planned Parenthood and its partnership organizations combined. The Susan B. Anthony List also marshaled enough troops to knock on the doors of some 2.7 million pro-life households as part of its grassroots efforts to get out the vote.

The Susan B. Anthony List has become a force to be reckoned with and one that, while largely ignored by a medial that is slavish in producing pro-abortion puff pieces, is making its presence known in political elections.

Of course, the newest and biggest asset of the right to life movement is the Trump administration.

Scores of federal judges who, by-in-large, have pro-life records have been nominated and appointed and the impact is now being felt. This month, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Ohio’s right to defund Planned Parenthood, asserting that there is no “Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions.” It reversed a lower court’s decision by an 11–6 vote, with all four Trump appointees ruling against Planned Parenthood.

Many federal government agencies and departments are creating pro-life policies.

For example, President Trump has expanded policies to ensure American tax dollars are not used to fund the abortion industry in all global health programs. The new Trump policy protects over $8.8 billion overseas aid from funding abortion. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services  established the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office for Civil Rights that will work to protect health care professionals who do not want to participate in abortion.

And the Trump administration has hired pro-life personnel.

Bethany Kozma, senior adviser for the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meeting that the “U.S. is a pro-life nation.” An overstatement for certain, especially considering the strengthening political clout of Planned Parenthood, but it rings truer than it has in a long, long time.

ABOUT PETER B. GEMMA

Peter B. Gemma is a freelance writer whose articles and commentaries have appeared in USA Today, AmericanThinker.com, and the DailyCaller.com.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

Shame on Bob Moser and all the Others who Kept the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Secrets (until now)

Who is Bob Moser you ask?

He is a writer at The New Yorker who tells us over a decade later what he learned about the frauds at the Southern Poverty Law Center when he worked there in the early 2000’s.

Moser told his story yesterday about how much of the staff (mostly former staff now!) was well aware of the hypocrisy of the organization that was driven more by a desire to make its leaders rich than doing good for the down and out.

I don’t know why he even wrote this article (clearing his conscious maybe), but I am glad he did.

What most outraged me was the fact that all of these employees he references knew what was going on, yet many stayed and worked there for a time with apparent total disregard for what their ‘good works’ could do to regular Americans who have opinions—people like me!

Frankly, the SPLC’s money-generating “hate-group list” puts my safety in jeopardy!

It is long, but the New Yorker story is a must-read and a must-send to everyone you know!

Here is how Moser begins,

The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center

(How about a subtitle:  And the reckoning of all the gullible libs who worked there, saw the truth, and kept their mouths shut till now!)

In the days since the stunning dismissal of Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on March 14th, I’ve been thinking about the jokes my S.P.L.C. colleagues and I used to tell to keep ourselves sane. Walking to lunch past the center’s Maya Lin–designed memorial to civil-rights martyrs, we’d cast a glance at the inscription from Martin Luther King, Jr., etched into the black marble—“Until justice rolls down like waters”—and intone, in our deepest voices, “Until justice rolls down like dollars.”The Law Center had a way of turning idealists into cynics; like most liberals, our view of the S.P.L.C. before we arrived had been shaped by its oft-cited listings of U.S. hate groups, its reputation for winning cases against the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations, and its stream of direct-mail pleas for money to keep the good work going. The mailers, in particular, painted a vivid picture of a scrappy band of intrepid attorneys and hate-group monitors, working under constant threat of death to fight hatred and injustice in the deepest heart of Dixie. When the S.P.L.C. hired me as a writer, in 2001, I figured I knew what to expect: long hours working with humble resources and a highly diverse bunch of super-dedicated colleagues. I felt self-righteous about the work before I’d even begun it.

The first surprise was the office itself.

Continue here.

Hate-group list was a masterstroke by Dees!

Then this after a lengthy discussion about how it was more about raking in money especially from gullible northerners who would read about the “hate groups” in stories written by biased and uninformed reporters.

By the time I touched down in Montgomery, the center had increased its staff and branched out considerably—adding an educational component called Teaching Tolerance and expanding its legal and intelligence operations to target a broad range of right-wing groups and injustices—but the basic formula perfected in the eighties remained the same. The annual hate-group list, which in 2018 included a thousand and twenty organizations, both small and large, remains a valuable resource for journalists and a masterstroke of Dees’s marketing talents; every year, when the center publishes it, mainstream outlets write about the “rising tide of hate” discovered by the S.P.L.C.’s researchers, and reporters frequently refer to the list when they write about the groups.

Read the whole article.

Then send it to every local newspaper that uses the annual “hate-group list.”

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission.

The Sinister Side of the Gender War

“But it’s just a phase!” How many parents have made that same desperate plea to a teacher, a counselor, or doctor? Deep down, they know their children weren’t born in the wrong body. They know the confusion about their teenager’s identity is coming from somewhere else — a struggle that doesn’t have to be permanent. But in a culture that’s determined to indulge these fantasy, at any cost, who will believe them?

The stories from parents are real-life nightmares. On a panel about gender ideology at the Heritage Foundation, attorneys shared one heart-wrenching testimony after another. Jennifer Chavez, a liberal with liberal clients, explained that she may disagree with conservatives on abortion or taxes, but the transgender movement is a place where every Americans can come together. Why? Because this ideology is no respecter of persons. It will haunt families — and rob futures — on both sides.

Chavez told the story of a 13-year-old girl, who came home and told her parents she was “transgender” after watching a presentation about it at school. “Without evaluation or therapy, the mother was told by a ‘gender therapist’ to buy her child a breast binder and put her on puberty-blocking drugs. If she didn’t comply, she was told, her child would face a high risk of suicide. She only realized later how inaccurate and baseless this clinical advice had been.” Furious, the liberal mom wrote, “Why are physicians medicalizing children in the name of an unproven, malleable gender identity? Why are lawmakers enshrining gender identity into state and federal laws?”

National Review’s Madeleine Kearns horrified people with the testimony of a family, whose 14-year-old girl accused her parents of “child abuse” because they wouldn’t use her male name. “Without my knowledge, a pediatric endocrinologist taught my daughter, a minor, to inject herself with testosterone. She then ran away to Oregon where state law at the age of 17 allowed her… to undergo a double mastectomy and radical hysterectomy… The level of outrage and rage I’m experiencing as a mother is indescribable. Why does Oregon law allow children to make life-altering medical decisions? …Why are doctors who took an oath to first do no harm allowed to sterilize and surgically mutilate mentally ill, delusional children?”

Why? Because America is being hijacked by an aggressive, take-no-prisoners LGBT agenda that doesn’t care about your rights as parents — or your children’s wellbeing. If they did, they’d know that “98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls accept their biological sex after puberty.” Suggesting that these kids are anything other than their biological gender, the American College of Pediatricians argues, is “child abuse” that will scar them for life.

Fortunately, a brave group of young adults is coming forward to make that case themselves. As teenagers, they identified as transgender. Now, they want the world to know what a mistake that was. The founders of the Pique Resilience Project talk about their journeys in an interview with NRO, each drawing the same conclusion: transgenderism is a false and dangerous ideology.

“Helena had a history of not fitting in and feeling uncomfortable with her body. She had been badly bullied and was feeling very low when she turned to transgenderism. She took high doses of testosterone, which has altered her voice. At the age of 18, she wasn’t thinking about her long-term future. She wasn’t thinking about the serious risks and possible infertility. Now, she has some advice for other young people who think they might be transgender:

‘Step back from the activism, the ideology, the community — think about the reasons why you might feel this way about your body. Because there’s just a lot of people with just glaringly obvious reasons why they don’t like their body…'”

Read Helena’s story and powerful testimonies at National Review. Then, make sure you download FRC’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Speech Righter: Trump Tackles College Censorship

A Day to Celebrate Life

Female HS student files civil rights complaint: ‘I felt very violated’ changing in locker room when transgender student was ‘looking at me’

RELATED VIDEO: The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left – Heritage Foundation.

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Speech Righter: Trump Tackles College Censorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump’s Executive Order to Colleges: Protect Free Speech or Risk Billions in Federal Grants

The Sinister Side of the Gender War

A Day to Celebrate Life

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Israel’s High Court–When Legality Loses its Legitimacy

In overturning a previous decision of the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee, the High Court took another giant step towards further undermining the already dwindling public confidence in the Israeli judiciary.


In Israel, the negative impact of the judicialization of politics on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is already beginning to show its mark. Over the past decade, the public image of the Supreme Court as an autonomous and impartial arbiter has been increasingly eroded… [T]he court and its judges are increasingly viewed by a considerable portion of the Israeli public as pushing forward their own political agenda… – Prof. Ran Hirschl, Towards Juristocracy, Harvard University Press, 2004.

The public is further losing its faith in…the legal system, with only 36 percent of the Jewish public expressing confidence in the courts…– “Public’s faith in Israel’s justice system continues to plummet,” Haaretz, August 15, 2013.

A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: 

  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  2. incitement to racism;
  3. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel. – Basic Law Knesset– Article 7A

This week, the High Court took another giant step towards further undermining the already dwindling public confidence in the Israeli judiciary.

Eroding confidence in judiciary

On Sunday (March 17) it overturned a previous decision by the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee, and ruled to prohibit the participation in the upcoming elections of the hardline Right-wing candidate, Dr Michael Ben Ari, while permitting that of the undisguisedly anti-Zionist list “Balad” and the self-professed anti-Zionist candidate, Ofer Cassif. In doing so, High Court once again underscored the growing divergence between the average man-in-the-street’s perception of common-sense and sense of justice, on the one hand, and many judicial rulings, on the other. But more on that a little later

Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic erosion of the public’s faith in the Israeli judiciary, in general, and in the High Court, in particular. Thus, according to an ongoing study at Haifa University, the confidence of the Jewish population in court system plunged from 61% in 2003 to a mere 36% in 2013.

A later study found that, overall, public confidence in the High Court plummeted from 80% in 2000, to 61% in 2014, to just 49% in 2017. Commenting on these findings, Einav Schiff, of the mass circulation daily Yedioth Aharonot, wrote “This isn’t a slip or a drop, it’s a collapse.”

He warned: “Needless to say, the High Court’s image among the public cannot remain as it is now. Eventually, there will be a political constellation that could enable another constitutional revolution.”

“…crass and misguided interference in Israeli democracy”

Schiff’s diagnosis proved a prescient prognosis of Justice Minister Ayalet Shaked’s outraged reaction to the High Court’s decision, which she labelleda crass and misguided interference in the heart of Israeli democracy”, and pledged to revolutionize the method by which High Court judges are appointed. At the top of her list of planned measures was the elimination of the judicial appointments committee for the High Court, in which sitting justices have, in effect, veto power over new appointments to the High Court.

Instead, according to her proposed reform, justices would be appointed at the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, who would bring a candidate for approval by the cabinet and the Knesset, with a public hearing being conducted for High Court justices.

Clearly, if implemented, this measure could go some way towards addressing the kind of perceived disconnect, described by Prof. Hirschl in the introductory excerpt (see above), between the world views of the judiciary and the democratically elected bodies of government.

Elsewhere in his book, Hirschl articulates precisely the process of judicial override of decisions made by elected bodies, as reflected in the verdict to overrule the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee. He writes: “…political representatives of minority groups [such as the anti-Zionist Arab factions and their members – MS] have come to realize that political arrangements and public policies agreed upon in majoritarian decision-making arenas [such as the Knesset’s Central Election’s Committee—MS] are likely to be reviewed by an often hostile Supreme Court.

Clear contravention of the letter of the law

Clearly, the recent ruling of the High Court was the outcome of “minority political groups” inducing review—indeed, reversal—of “majoritarian decisions” by a contrary judicial body. But in several important aspects it was a particularly striking case of court intervention in the democratic process.

For while the rationale for barring the anti-Zionists candidates, Balad and Cassif, was, in effect, almost self-evident—and indeed un-denied by them, the rationale for barring the Right-wing candidate, Ben Ari,  was largely a matter of inferred interpretation, which was disputed by him.

Thus, the Balad platform openly rejects Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, explicitly declaring its aspirations to convert into it into a “state of all its citizens”—which, one might have thought—given stipulation of Article 7A (1) of the Basic Law: Knesset (see introductory excerpt above)—should, on its own, be enough to disqualify it from participation in the Knesset elections. Yet for some reason the Justices of the High Court chose to disregard the unequivocal letter of the law.

Moreover, with regard to Ofir Cassif, the candidate for the “non-Zionist” Hadash list, it is not only his blatant self-professed anti-Zionism that should have prevented his candidacy, but his support for armed conflict against Israel. Indeed, even the judges—or at least some of them—seem to acknowledge this.

Thus, when Justices Noam Sohlberg, David Mintz and Neal Hendel pressed Cassif’s attorney on Cassif’s statements approving attacks on IDF soldiers, he tried to rebut them by claiming his client was discussing the matter on an academic philosophical level and not on an operational one. In response, Justice Hendel retorted that it was unrealistic to expect average readers to understand Cassif’s articles as if he does not support armed conflict.

Arab enmity not Arab ethnicity

Yet despite these incontrovertible violations of Article 7A of Basic Law: Knesset, the High Court—almost inconceivably—overturned the Knesset Central Elections Committee decision, ruling that Cassif could participate in the upcoming elections.

However, when it came to the far Right candidate, Ben Ari, things were very different. Accused of racism because of his harsh denunciation of the Arab sector in Israel and his blanket allegation of pervasive lack of Arab loyalty to Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, Ben Ari explained that that his attitude was not determined by the Arabs’ ethnic origins but by the Arab’s political enmity to Israel. Indeed, this point was made by Ben-Ari’s representative who declared that his client had “no problem” with Arab Israelis who are loyal to the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

Without going in the debate of whether Ben-Ari—himself of Afghan-Iranian origins—were inappropriate or in poor taste, it does seem a bit of a stretch to brand them as racism—particularly as Ben-Ari has served in the Knesset previously (2009-13) without any charges of racist conduct being brought against him. Indeed, if charges of racism, a crime punishable by up to ten years imprisonment by Israeli law, could be substantiated, one can only wonder why Ben-Ari has not been prosecuted for them!

Yet, despite his denial of any racist intent in his recriminations against the Arab population, the High Court ruled to interpret Ben-Ari’s declarations as racism and to prohibit his participation in the elections, overturning the decision of the Knesset Central Elections Committee to permit it.

Saving the judiciary from itself

The High Court decision produced outrage among Right-wing Knesset members who vowed to take action to curtail judicial intervention in the decision-making process of elected bodies.

For example former Defense Minister of Yisrael Beitenu  fumed: “it is absurd that the court would intervene in decisions of the Central Election Committee, to allow Ben-Ari to run, and to ban those who hate Israel…I will propose a law in the next Knesset to ban the court from intervening in committee decisions. We will do everything we can to prevent the Arab fifth column from getting into the Knesset altogether.”

Echoing similar sentiments was the newly appointed head of the Jewish Home party, Rafi Peretz, who issued a statement saying: “In the State of Israel, there is democracy in appearance only. The judiciary has taken the  Right to choose for Israeli citizens in an unprecedented manner. Kassif and Tibi [who served for years as advisor to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat] are in, but Ben Ari, a Zionist Jew whose sons serve in the IDF, is out.

The judicial system will disregard these rumblings at its peril. For when judicial rulings are overwhelmingly at odds with public perception of common sense and justice, it cannot but lose the very credibility imperative for it to function

Indeed, two talkbacks, on a well-trafficked news-site, reflect this danger:

Ahmed Tibi is a champion of Yasser Arafat, the worst mass murderer of Jews since Adolf Hitler. Disqualifying Ben-Ari and not Tibi exposes a very alarming anti-Jewish bias in the High Court.”—Jacob

…by approving [C]assif but banning Ben Ari, our esteemed judges just ensured more votes for the Right. Are they on the payroll of Bennett/Shaked campaign?–Alexander

High Court justices would be well advised to heed the caveat that when legality loses its legitimacy, the entire edifice of the rule of law is imperiled.

Virginia Raises Smoking Age to 21—as Congressional Members Seek to Lower Voting Age to 16

It’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and other nicotine products to 21. The move isn’t just a misguided nanny-state intervention into the decisions of adults, but it also spells disaster for public health.

By the age of 18, Americans can sign contracts, vote, and even (theoretically) get drafted into the army. They are also tried as adults and, at times, face life prison sentences for crimes. There is even talk now about lowering the voting age to 16, with 14 states and Washington DC already allowing teenagers to pre-register to vote.

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”

Earlier this month, freshman Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley filed legislation that would require states to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections.

Voting matters aside, it’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals and exposed to an American prison’s brutality—but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.

There are effective deterrents in tobacco control policy, like cigarette tax hikes. But the same can’t be said for new age restrictions. Longstanding bans on cigarette sales to those under 18 have done nothing to prevent over 8.1 percent of American high schoolers and 1.8 percent of middle schoolers from taking up smoking. It’s not hard to see why: It’s fairly easy for youngsters to borrow cigarettes off adults or to ask adults to purchase cigarettes for them. There’s no reason to think things will play out differently if the legal age is raised to 21.

Proponents of the law might argue that raising the age requirement does have precedent. After all, the legal drinking age is 21. But that’s not even a good example. Indeed, many developed, western nations maintain a legal drinking age that is far lower than 21—sometimes as low as 16—and have lower rates of alcohol-fueled violence and binge drinking.

Indeed, more than 120 college presidents have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative, which notes the negative consequences of America’s late legal drinking age, like higher rates of binge drinking, the proliferation of fake IDs, and the impracticality of enforcement.

The age requirement also moves drinkers from open, social environments that are easier to regulate—like bars—to locked dorm rooms, apartments, or other discrete locations where irresponsible behavior is easier to hide and more likely to occur.Raising the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and nicotine products will also play into the hands of the tobacco black market—already a multi-billion dollar global industry known to fund other illicit enterprises like human trafficking and terrorism. Aside from impinging on individual liberty, this also means less tax revenue for the government since the black market will grow to accommodate new demand.

But the worst consequence of Northam’s law will be making it harder for current smokers to access life-saving vaping technology. Receiving nicotine from a vape rather than a cigarette allows smokers to satiate their cravings without exposure to the tar, toxins, and carcinogens produced by burning tobacco. Denying legal access to vaping will either remove incentives for young smokers to quit or push smokers and vapers onto potentially dangerous, unregulated products sold online.

Vaping isn’t completely safe, but compared to smoking, it’s a much better option. The UK Royal College of Physicians conservatively estimates that it is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking—and likely to be even less harmful.

Medical authoritiesaround the world recognize vaping’s value as a quit-smoking strategy that adds decades to the lives of smokers who transition.It makes no sense, then, to restrict the sale of nicotine vapes or juices to adult smokers trying to make responsible decisions about their own health when other nicotine-infused, less effective quitting aids like patches and gums are available to adults.

Dire implications aside, raising the legal smoking age amounts to little more than a condescending excuse to intrude into the decisions of adults that primarily affect just themselves. But that won’t stop politicians like Northam from finding any excuse to pat themselves on the back for appearing to be tough on smoking.

COLUMN BY

VIDEO: Will the Death of Nuance Lead to a Civil War?

Clarion Project’s Shillman Fellow and head of Clarion Intelligence Network Ryan Mauro talks about the death of nuance in our political discourse and the ensuing “War of the Extremes.”

The extreme forces operative in our country and world — from Islamist terrorists to white supremacists to “progressive” facists — thrive on the chaos created by each new terror attack, which drives support to each of these causes. Will this chaos eventually cause a civil war?

Listen to Ryan’s analysis and see find out how to counter these different forms of extremism:

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Twitter, Facebook and Google: A Soft Form of Extremism?

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AUDIO: Tennessee and Government Lawyers Spar Over The Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

The Federal Government’s “Unconstitutional Compulsion.”

In a case with critical constitutional implications for the principles of federalism and state sovereignty, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Tuesday morning on Tennessee’s challenge to the federal refugee resettlement program.

Attorney John Bursch appearing for the Thomas More Law Center, argued on behalf of Tennessee’s General Assembly, while DOJ attorney Samantha Lee Chaifetz argued for the Federal Government. Each side had 15 minutes to present its case. Mr. Bursch took 10 minutes for his initial presentation and reserved 5 minutes for rebuttal.

Both lawyers were peppered with questions by Judge Boggs. By the end, it still remained unclear whether the judges were leaning towards one side or the other.

However, I have linked below to the court-provided audio of the entire oral argument, so you can judge for yourself.  Also, separately linked is Mr. Bursch’s 5-minute rebuttal which counters the arguments made by the Federal Government.

Listed below are some salient quotes from Mr. Bursch’s argument to the 3-judge panel:

  • “When the Federal Government implements an exclusively federal program, it cannot commandeer state funds to pay for it under a threat that the Federal Government will cut 20% of a state’s budget if it does not comply. That is unconstitutional compulsion.”
  • “The Tennessee General Assembly is the institutional plaintiff asserting an institutional injury. It can’t satisfy its State Constitutional obligations under Article 2 Section 24 of the State Constitution to have a balanced state budget because the Federal Government can simply syphon off state funds from the Tennessee general program whenever it wants to by placing more refugees.” 
  • “The question is whether the Federal Government’s pressure has turned into compulsion or coercion or duress.
  • The only one telling the Tennessee legislature that it can’t defend its own interest is the Federal Government. The same Federal Government which can yank those 20% of the Medicaid funds, the 20% of the State budget, if we don’t comply.”
  • “The language the Supreme Court uses when the Federal Government uses funding mechanisms where pressure turns into compulsion, coercion, pressure, duress that’s when it violates this 10th amendment federalism principle.
  • “The Assembly members take an oath to uphold state and federal law at the time they go into office and if they would propose a statute with a plan that didn’t result in us paying for this federal program, we would be violating federal law.”

Click here to listen to the entire oral argument.
Click here to listen to John Bursch’s 5-minute rebuttal.

VIDEO: Beto Gives His Unwanted and Unnecessary Permission for AR-15 Ownership

“Dude, I don’t need your permission for that. I have a lot of AR-15s. And do you know why I have a lot of AR-15s? Because I’m a grown-ass woman, and I can.” —Dana Loesch

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IMMIGRATION: The Big Lies

How the establishment media’s distortion of the truth undermines America.


The Third Reich’s principle of the “Big Lie” involved the frequent repetition of lies until they became perceived as the truth by the masses.

George Orwell noted, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”

In this era of “Fake News” those tactics are purposely wielded by “journalists” to mislead Americans.

On March 15, 2019, News Leader, a subsidiary of USA Today, published an infuriating opinion piece, “School owes apology for ICE agent talk at Kate Collins Middle: Our View.”

While the article noted that the ICE agent was invited to the school and limited his activities to simply addressing the students of that school to explain the mission of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the mere presence of that federal agent at a public school was enough to set off the editors who wrote their hit piece.

The editors of the publication then spewed utter lies and false “facts” from beginning to end to justify their vitriolic attack on the agency that is charged with enforcing federal immigration laws.

Here is the opening salvo they fired against ICE:

If you were born in 1968 or before, you’ve spent most of your adult life in American without any awareness of ICE. Because it didn’t exist. There was no entity called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was only created in 2003.

Before that time, we had immigrations officials who dealt with cases of people overstaying their visa or being in the country illegally. We had the FBI to investigate criminal issues related to terrorism as it relates to trade, travel and immigration.

ICE is a modern creation, an experiment. It’s one we should regret.

To begin with, ICE is not an “experiment” but was created as an element of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was itself created in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Prior to the creation of the DHS, the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws was the domain of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was ultimately split into multiple components after 9/11. I have argued in my articles and in testimony I provided at several congressional hearings that breaking the former INS into multiple agencies actually impeded the effective enforcement of our immigration laws.

Nevertheless, arrests of illegal aliens were commonplace for INS agents long before DHS was created through the passage and enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

In fact, I began my career with the former INS in October 1971 as an Immigration Inspector and I became an INS agent in 1975. We frequently and routinely arrested illegal aliens for both administrative as well as for criminal law violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Administrative law violations were addressed through the immigration hearings which could result in an alien being stripped of any lawful status they may have acquired and then deported from the United States.

Criminal law violations of the INA would lead to those defendants being charged with crimes the same way that drug traffickers, tax evaders, counterfeiters and bank robbers would be charged in federal court. While most of the defendants in the immigration prosecutions were aliens, United States citizens who violated those laws by smuggling aliens, engaging in fraud conspiracies or otherwise violated criminal provisions of the INA could and were also charged criminally.

The notion that prior to the creation of ICE that there was no immigration law enforcement is a huge, flaming lie. The article complains about how ICE agents raid factories. I cannot remember how many such factory raids I participated in back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The article then went on to detail several arrests by ICE agents of illegal aliens who were found with family members or in other such circumstances creating a false image to discredit and vilify the agents and turning criminal aliens into victims.

Those aliens were, in fact, wanted for involvement in felonies in the U.S. and Mexico.

Consider the case of Perla Morales-Luna, whose arrest by the Border Patrol was included in the editorial. The Washington Examiner posted an article about that arrest, “The ‘scandal’ of Perla Morales-Luna’s arrest is fake news” and included this tweet by the Border Patrol:

Perla Morales-Luna was identified as an organizer for a transnational criminal smuggling organization operating in East County, San Diego.  She was arrested as a result of a targeted operation on March 3, 2018, in National City for being in the country illegally.

The editorial also included a breathless account of the arrest of Joel Arrona-Lara by ICE agents. At the time of his arrest he was purportedly driving his pregnant wife to the hospital.

What the editorial failed to disclose is that Arrona-Lara is wanted in Mexico for his involvement in a homicide. Information about his situation was reported upon in a Los Angeles Times report, “Warrant confirms man detained while on way to hospital with pregnant wife is wanted for murder in Mexico.”

The editorial also referred to an outrageous ACLU piece, “Citizenship service conspired with ICE to ‘trap’ immigrants at visa interviews, ACLU says.”

This is yet another example of the application of “The Big Lie.” USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the division of the DHS charged with adjudicating more than 6 million applications for various immigration benefits. Prior to the creation of the DHS it was a component of the former INS.

Aliens who have criminal convictions or who enter the United States illegally after deportation are not eligible for immigration benefits but may be subject to criminal prosecution for concealing material facts in their applications and/or for other crimes such as unlawful reentry which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. These aliens are also subject to deportation from the United States.

The best and safest place to take criminals into custody is at a federal building where they are not likely to be carrying firearms or other weapons.

In 1973 I was given a one-year temporary assignment to the unit that adjudicated applications for residency based on marriage to U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants. I worked closely with INS agents to develop fraud cases and, in fact, one of those cases led to the arrest and conviction of an immigration lawyer for arranging sham marriages between citizens of China who had jumped ship and married American women who, for the most part, were of Puerto Rican ancestry and engaged in prostitution.

A wide variety of government agencies on all levels seek the arrest and prosecution of those who file false applications.

It is important to note that  the official report 9/11 and Terrorist Travel warned, “Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud.”

The title of my recent article will serve as the summation for my commentary today: “The Truth About Immigration Can Unite All Americans.”

RELATED VIDEO: Over $100 Billion Sent To Other Countries In Remittances Not Taxed, Tucker Carlson Commentary.

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission.