COVER-UP: Broward County Sheriff’s son held down 14-year old boy while friend sodomized him with a baseball bat

Bob Norman an investigative reporter for ABC News in Miami in his article “Parents call for investigation into Stoneman Douglas assault involving sheriff’s son” reports:

…But now, a report that recently surfaced has some victims’ families calling for a renewed investigation of [Broward Deputy Sheriff and Stoneman Douglas resource officer] Peterson for a case he handled four years to the day prior to the massacre. The case involved two 17-year-old students bullying a 14-year-old freshman, with one holding down the younger boy by his ankles while the other kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals and then took the victim’s own baseball bat and began shoving it against his buttocks, simulating rape, through the boy’s clothes. 

One of those assailants, the boy who allegedly held down the victim, was Israel’s son, Brett. Defense attorney Alex Arreaza, who represents shooting victim Anthony Borges, who was shot five times in the Valentine’s Day massacre but survived, said the case could have led to felony charges.

“He could be charged with a lewd and lascivious, and I’m being conservative,” Arreaza said.

Peterson claims in the report that it was a “simple battery” under the board’s discipline matrix, and he decided to give both of the boy’s attackers a three-day suspension. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

Heavy.com in an article titled “Brett Israel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know” reports:

Deputy Scot Peterson is being sued by Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack who was shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Pollack told ABC Miami, “[Peterson] was lazy and this could have given him protection to keep his job at the school during those four years.” Pollack, who is also on an investigative committee looking into the Parkland massacre, said that Peterson was rewarded with job security for protecting the sheriff’s son.

Peterson was widely criticized for his perceived cowardice during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. As the school’s resource officer, Peterson did not engage the suspect.

[ … ]

On his Twitter page, Brett Israel has been constantly defending his father against attacks over the handling of the Douglas High School shooting.

[ … ]

Brett has also been [at] odds with Parkland survivor, Kyle Kashuv, who is known for placing the blame of the massacre at the feet of “the cowards of Broward,” referring to Sheriff Israel’s department. When Kashuv shared a Daily Caller article about a no-confidence vote for Sheriff Israel, Brett wrote on Twitter, “You know Kyle, I hate to denounce you because I like what you stand for but this whole “politically motivated” movement to have the Sheriff removed has to stop. There is no basis for criminal conduct.”

Read more.

It is the duty of the Broward County School Board to protect its students. It is the duty of the Broward County Sheriff to protect and defend the citizens of Broward County, Florida. As the case of Nickolas Cruz moves forward more information about the shooting will be revealed. As the civil suit moves forward more information will be revealed.

It appears the political systems in Broward county are dysfunctional at the least and potentially criminal at the worst.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Brett Israel from his Facebook page.

Gun Ownership Up, Accidental Shootings Fall

Gun ownership has risen to an all-time high. Accidental shooting deaths have fallen 48% since 1999.

Baffled. That’s the best way to describe the reaction by the liberal media outlets when they discover that statistics for accidental gun deaths are down, even as the number of Americans owning guns is at an all-time high. But somehow these media outlets, and their compatriots in groups like Michael Bloomberg’s so-called Everytown for Gun Safety, always have the answer: Despite the fact that many attempts by anti-gun politicians to enact more restrictions on Second Amendment-protected rights have failed, according to them, we can ultimately thank gun control for the decrease in accidents.

When you dig into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, the number of accidental shooting deaths since 1999 hasn’t merely declined—it has dropped off significantly. Taking into account population growth, the number of deaths is down by a whopping 48 percent! It certainly is a statistic to celebrate, and one would imagine we’d know exactly how and why this plummet has occurred.

According to Los Angeles Times contact reporter Kurtis Lee, “Experts attribute the decline to a mix of gun-safety education programs, state laws regulating gun storage in homes and a drop in the number of households that have guns.”

Who are those “experts”? Everytown for Gun Safety is of course at the top of Lee’s list. We know it as the organization that makes a mockery of real gun safety. Responsible gun owners know that safely storing firearms when they are not in use is key in preventing unauthorized access and accidental deaths. We know this because of true firearm safety education programs, not laws in some anti-gun states that take firearm storage mandates to the extreme.

What about the population of responsible gun owners in America? These “experts” also cite victory in the reduction in the number of households with guns. Yet fbi statistics from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (nics) indicate otherwise. When looking at the same period, 1999-2015, the number of background checks more than doubled, from 9,138,123 checks in 1999 to 23,141,970 in 2015. The numbers for 2016 and 2017 are also up from 2015, with nics stats reporting more than 25 million checks for each year.

Of the three reasons listed, Dr. Robert B. Young, of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, says that gun-safety education programs are most likely the real reason for the decrease.

“Thanks to the NRA, NSSF, SAF and countless state and local organizations and gun clubs, millions of people each year learn real gun control and safe shooting, and enjoy it,” Young said. “Reaching children through schools, Scouting and places of worship with programs teaching safety at relevant developmental levels is the optimal intervention.”

We know that despite its name, Everytown isn’t about gun safety. The group has stolen the term to cloak gun control initiatives. Real gun-safety programs go beyond social media shares and advertisements. Real programs educate. Teaching gun owners about safe storage practices and providing resources for parents and educators to talk about firearms and firearm safety with children through programs like the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program is having a positive effect.

How long might it be before the words “gun,” “firearm,” or “ammunition” become so monitored that we are no longer able to use them to connect with each other?

The Washington Examiner recently reported another reason for the decline in accidental gun deaths—one that has gun control advocates especially worried. A recent article highlights the “2017 gun sales surprise: Second best ever!” citing the increased social acceptance of firearms for a rise in sales.

Despite what the anti-gunners tell you, with 25 million background checks in 2017 and the increasingly powerful influence of social media over the past few years, American gun ownership is not declining. Concealed-carry permits and programs are on the rise, and training opportunities for ccw holders, such as the new NRA Carry Guard program, have increased as well.

Perhaps even more disconcerting to groups like Moms Demand Action is the fact that firearm ownership is not exclusively male. The number of women using guns is also growing, and shooting groups like The Well Armed Woman and A Girl and A Gun are thriving. Resources like NRA Women and Women’s Outdoor News are connecting with women from all walks of life, answering their questions and providing valuable information to help educate those interested in learning more about guns, personal protection and the shooting sports.

There is strength in numbers, and many gun owners no longer feel the need to be secretive. Where it can be taboo to talk about firearms at work or face-to-face, the rise of social media has provided an outlet. More and more, we’re seeing gun owners proudly share targets from range time sessions as well as their personal firearm interests by posting on their Facebook pages and sharing photos and videos on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Social media influencers aren’t just limited to actors, singers or beauty gurus. Gun influencers are also sharing their experiences on the range along with the importance of shooting sports, firearm safety programs and training opportunities. Even at the individual level, a simple “like” on a firearm manufacturer’s post or page is making it easier for lawful gun owners to identify one another and connect in ways never before possible.

Because of the virtual communities being built and growing on YouTube channels, blogs, Facebook groups and Instagram feeds, gun owners can now go beyond a Google search to find answers to their questions from real people they can interact with. As a result, they are discovering a thriving and knowledgeable firearm community that once existed solely at ranges or in gun clubs. 

This community is also dedicated to the preservation of rights and the knowledge that firearm safety is deeply connected with those rights. Its members are quick to share the importance of real gun safety. In many ways, it polices those who don’t use firearms safely through exposure. Social sharing trumps anti-gun media efforts in a real and personal way. This is terrifying for organizations that wish to control the narrative and, ultimately, control you.

Of course, media and gun control groups also use social media—and it’s often backed by anti-gun advertising dollars. Unlike those who use their influence and leadership to educate others about firearm safety rules and practices, a critical look exposes how these sites are centered solely around gun control activism. You won’t find basic firearm safety rules listed on any of their sites or accounts. They are anything but resources for education about firearm safety practices.

Social media is still a thriving forum for free expression. Slowly but surely, however, we are seeing more controls placed on how we can use it. Pro-gun voices are being silenced on YouTube, with channels locked down or deleted. How long might it be before the words “gun,” “firearm,” or “ammunition” become so monitored that we are no longer able to use them to connect with each other?

The increasingly common idea that the truth can vary from person to person is equally dangerous to our rights. The media and Hollywood thrive on creating and storytelling such falsehoods, and these “personal” or media truths are in some cases becoming more important than the real truth. Case in point, the L.A. Times cited reasons for the decline in both accidental gun deaths and the number of gun owners in the United States. Can we now expect to see a whole new level of activism through entertainment—one that dictates how we should feel and what we should believe through the “personal” truths of those who fight for gun control?  Despite box office failures like “Miss Sloane,” Hollywood is tenacious.

The success our gun community has with connecting one gun owner to another might be ignored, but it cannot be denied. We don’t rely on “personal” truths, but the real truth based on facts and statistics. As social media begins to regulate the gun owner, we need to find ways to keep connecting. We must be willing to keep the conversation going by sharing facts and experiences—not for mere social acceptance but to maintain our way of life.

At the same time, we must encourage and welcome those who want to learn more. Unlike gun control groups, the NRA is more than just a Second Amendment activist or lobbying group. Real resources, training programs, support for the shooting sports community and media outreach efforts such as NRATV prove how dedicated we are to safety and personal freedom.

In the end, it’s not at all “baffling” to see how true gun safety programs and initiatives—combined with our thriving, connected firearm community—are to be credited with the decline in accidental gun deaths. It is not “our” truth, but the truth. Please share it.

ABOUT JULIE GOLOB

Julie Golob is one of the most accomplished professional shooters in the world with more than 130 championship titles in international, national and regional marksmanship competitions in seven different shooting disciplines. A veteran of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, she is regularly featured on outdoor television programming offering introduction and insight into the shooting sports and actively shares the importance of safety and training as lead instructor of NRA Women’s “Love at First Shot” and content contributor for NRA media outlets.

Gun Rights Were Expanded: Once Again, No Problems

As readers of our legislative alerts are only too aware, whenever NRA efforts to create more freedoms for law-abiding gun owners, anti-gun lawmakers and activists immediately begin repeating their doom-and-gloom mantra that the streets will run red with the blood of innocents, or some other outrageous claim.  As readers are also aware, however, the predicted carnage or other negative impacts simply fail to materialize.

Most frequently, the sky-is-falling nonsense erupts around the right to carry firearms for personal protection.  It began in the late-80s, when the push for Right to Carry (RTC) laws began to bear fruit with the passage of the Florida RTC law.  Soon, state after state passed laws that began to respect the right to self-defense by rolling back unnecessary restrictions or outright prohibitions on law-abiding gun owners carrying firearms.  And while dire results are always predicted by anti-gun extremists with the proposal or passage of every pro-gun reform, their claims are continually shown to be fabricated, unsupportable, and simply untrue.

You would think they would be grateful to be so wrong so frequently, or at least embarrassed.

Attorney and law professor David Kopel noted as far back as 1996, “Whenever a state legislature first considers a concealed carry bill, opponents typically warn of horrible consequences….But within a year of passage, the issue usually drops off the news media’s radar screen, while gun-control advocates in the legislature conclude that the law wasn’t so bad after all.”  More than two decades later, things haven’t changed very much.

Case in point: Arkansas.

During the 2017 legislative session in The Natural State, NRA worked with lawmakers on the passage of legislation that eventually became an enhanced carry permit system, which was signed into law.  The new law allows law-abiding Arkansans, who choose to upgrade their standard permit to the enhanced permit, to carry their concealed personal protection firearm in a number of otherwise prohibited places.  This, of course, caused the anti-gun crowd to go apoplectic, especially over the ability of enhanced permit holders to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses.

The Arkansas Times reported in January of 2017 that state Representative Clarke Tucker (D-35), when commenting about an early version of the bill, said its passage would hurt the ability of universities to recruit academics and students from out of state.  After passage of the bill, an anti-gun activist was quoted in an Associated Press article as claiming, “This legislation will make everyday life in Arkansas more dangerous.”

So, how prescient were the anti-gun opponents of this personal protection law?  As usual, not very.

The enhanced permit law was enacted in September of last year, but the system wasn’t actually operational until earlier this year.  With new, enhanced permits having been issued over the last several months, lawmakers invited some school administrators and campus law enforcement officials to Little Rock to comment last week about their experiences.

Those who support the right to personal protection will not be surprised to hear that there were no actual problems reported.

Captain Chris Bentley of the University of Central Arkansas told legislators, “We have not seen an issue yet on campus.”  The same sentiment was shared by several other college and university representatives.  In spite of the lack of issues, however, some still expressed they had reservations about the law.  Some people, as we all know, have an inherent distrust of ALL law-abiding gun owners, no matter how law-abiding they prove to be.

Fortunately, at least one voice spoke out in support of the law.

Henderson State University Police Chief Johnny Campbell noted that enhanced permit holders could help if a violent criminal does attempt to commit a violent act on campus, as the response time for police could be several minutes.  As we often note, the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun, and enhanced permit holders are the good guys (and gals).

As for the ridiculous student recruiting concern raised last year by Representative Tucker, it doesn’t appear any administrators lamented about enrollment being down.

Ultimately, it should be patently clear by now that when you trust law-abiding gun owners by reducing restrictions on their rights, the only people who should be concerned are violent criminals.  Regardless of what anti-gun extremists want you to believe.

Class dismissed.

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America’s Firearms Industry, National Security

On Thursday, the Trump Administration published two rulemakings designed to enhance the competitiveness of American companies in the firearms and ammunition sectors, remove burdens for small businesses, and modernize export controls for the post-Cold War era.  The moves will benefit both the domestic firearms industry and improve national security. The publication of the proposals also triggered a 45-day comment period during which members of the public can provide feedback on the plans and share their own experiences with the underlying regulations.

The rulemakings are part of a larger, longstanding project to modernize America’s export regime for military and “dual-use” equipment and technology. Dual-use items are those considered to have both military and civilian applications. The governing philosophy of the project is to “build a taller fence around a smaller yard” by strengthening controls on the most militarily sensitive items while allowing less sensitive material with well-established civilian uses and markets to be subject to a more business-friendly regulatory climate.

They two big players overseeing U.S. exports are the State Department, which administers the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the U.S. Commerce Department, which handles the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The items regulated by the ITAR are on what is known as the U.S. Munitions List (USML), while those subject to the EAR are on the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Whether on the USML or CCL, however, the items are still subject to close government oversight, including the requirement in most cases that any person or entity wishing to export them to any foreign nation get a federally-issued license to do so.

Nevertheless, items on the USML controlled under ITAR are generally treated more strictly, with national and international security considerations trumping all other factors in the granting of licenses. Any business that manufactures an item on the USML, or even just a part or component of such an item, also has to register with the State Department and pay an annual fee, which is currently set at $2,250. This registration is required even if the manufacturer has no intent to ever export the items. Compliance fees, including for licenses, are also generally higher for USML items, given the complexity of the regulations and the more stringent vetting given to license applications. 

Manufacturers of items on the CCL, or their parts or components, do not have to pay an annual registration fee to the Commerce Department. Moreover, regulation of these items is more flexible to promote the goal of increasing U.S. manufacturers’ and businesses’ worldwide competitiveness.

By properly apportioning export control between the two lists, the government will be able to apply maximum resources to overseeing the most consequential and sensitive equipment, while giving American businesses who manufacture consumer products a larger footprint in international markets. The result is greater security and a more robust U.S. economy. 

Currently, most firearms and ammunition (with the exception of certain sporting shotguns and shotgun shells) are controlled under ITAR and the USML. This has led to a host of problems for gun-related businesses in the U.S. and made it more difficult for U.S. businesses in this sector to be competitive internationally.

First, many American firearm businesses are small operations that do not export their products and never intend to do so but still have to pay annual registration fees to the State Department because what they do is considered “manufacturing.” So if a U.S. company that manufacturers springs wants to branch out into magazine or recoil springs for firearms, for example, it has to pay the State Department’s registration fee, even if those springs are exclusively sold in the U.S.

On the other hand, if a foreign company wanted to use those springs in the firearms it manufactures abroad, it would have pay more for doing so because of all the ITAR red tape the U.S. spring maker would have to go through to export the springs. This makes the U.S. springs a less attractive option.

Two other problems that arose with the ITAR during the Obama administration concern what is considered controlled “technical data” and who is considered a regulated “manufacturer.” 

As we reported at the time, part of building the “taller fence” for export control involved an initiative to tighten up rules for the “export” of “technical data.” In practice, this meant that publishers of technical information about firearms and ammunition – including exploded parts diagrams, gunsmithing tutorials, and handloading information – risked being swept up into the ITAR’s regulatory scope, particularly for items posted online.

Obama’s State Department also issued a confusing “guidance” document that expansively defined firearm “manufacturing” to include various common gunsmithing operations performed on existing firearms. This drove many smaller gunsmiths to limit or quit their business activity for fear of triggering the ITAR’s registration requirements or of incurring inadvertent violations that could bring ruinous penalties. 

All of these problems would be alleviated if the Trump administration’s rules were enacted as proposed, as most non-automatic firearms of .50 caliber or less, as well as their parts, components, accessories, and magazines of up to 50 rounds capacity, would be moved from the USML to the CCL. 

Another Obama-era ITAR change made it much more difficult for private individuals to travel abroad with personally owned firearms for lawful purposes such as hunting or competition because of an added requirement to document the “export” through an official website designed for commercial exporters. That requirement, unfortunately, would persist under the current version of the Commerce Department proposal but might be changed if affected parties explained their concerns during the comment period.

A further basis for comment could include the rules’ treatment of sound suppressors. Although these items are very common among hunters and recreational shooters both in the U.S. and abroad and do not provide the U.S. or its allies with any special military advantage, the published proposals would leave them on the USML. 

The easiest way to file comments is through the U.S. government’s online regulatory portal, Regulations.gov. The State Department’s proposed rule and comment form are available at this link. Use this link for the Commerce Department’s proposal. 

President Trump promised to be a friend to America’s gun owners, and these proposed rules show him making good on that pledge. Your input will encourage the Commerce and State departments to see these rules through to final enactment and help guide the process in the most positive direction possible. The NRA has long advocated for these changes and is extremely pleased to see progress being made toward that end. 

‘Collusion against Trump’ Timeline by Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson is an Emmy award winning investigative journalist, host of Sinclair’s Sunday morning news program “Full Measure,” and author of the New York Times bestsellers: “The Smear” and Stonewalled.” Ms. Attkisson has compiled a complete collusion against Donald J. Trump timeline and published it on her website. This timeline is most valuable as it connects-the-dots from 2011 to the present.

I highly recommend you visit Ms. Attkisson’s collusion against Trump timeline to understand the who, what, where and why of what is now become known as “Spygate.”

Ms. Attkisson writes:

t’s easy to find timelines that detail Trump-Russia collusion developments. Here are links to two of them I recommend:

Politifact Russia-Trump timeline

Washington Post Russia-Trump timeline

On the other side, evidence has emerged in the past year that makes it clear there were organized efforts to collude against candidate Donald Trump–and then President Trump. For example:

  • Anti-Russian Ukrainians allegedly helped coordinate and execute a campaign against Trump in partnership with the Democratic National Committee and news reporters.
  • A Yemen-born ex-British spy reportedly delivered political opposition research against Trump to reporters, Sen. John McCain, and the FBI; the latter of which used the material–in part–to obtain wiretaps against one or more Trump-related associates.
  • There were orchestrated leaks of anti-Trump information and allegations to the press, including by ex-FBI Director James Comey.
  • The U.S. intel community allegedly engaged in questionable surveillance practices and politially-motivated “unmaskings” of U.S. citizens, including Trump officials.
  • Alleged conflicts of interests have surfaced regarding FBI officials who cleared Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information and who investigated Trump’s alleged Russia ties.

But it’s not so easy to find a timeline pertinent to the investigations into these events.

Here’s a work in progress.

(Please note that nobody cited has been charged with wrongdoing or crimes, unless the charge is specifically referenced. Temporal relationships are not necessarily evidence of a correlation.)

“Collusion against Trump” Timeline

 

President Trump to U.S. Naval Academy graduates: ‘You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet’

President Donald J. Trump addressed the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on May 25, 2018. At the beginning of his remarks the President of the United States used the words “righteous force.” The word righteous appears in Bible 493 times. From Genesis to Revelation righteousness is used to show how evil is defeated. Revelation 15:4:

Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Here are some excerpts (watch the full speech below):

You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet: the United States military. Each of you will make your own mark on the Navy, the Marine Corps, the military, and the history of our great nation…There is no hill our Marines our can’t take and there is no stronghold the SEALs can’t breach. There is no sea the Navy can’t brave.

Together you are the tip of the spear, the edge of the blade and the front of the shield defending and protecting our great country. America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice, and freedom in the history of the world.

[ … ]

Together their is nothing America can’t do. Absolutely nothing. We are all in for America like never before. We are all in for our great country.

Strive for excellence, live for adventure, think big, dream bigger, push further, sail faster, fly higher, and never, ever stop reaching for greatness. As long as we are united with the same mission, the same purpose, the same patriotic heart, we will win because we are one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

President Trump understands that our military must be righteous in order to be a “glorious nation under God.”

An American in Israel, During the Move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

By Mary Wierbicki.

The United West team with Dr. Roni Wexler and Heritage Study Programs planned a tour of Israel, with Judge Jeanine Pirro, nearly a year out from it’s scheduled dates (May 5 – 15, 2018).  Then learned that so much more was happening during the tour dates that it became quite an historic time to be there.

Tuesday May 8… President Trump announced the U.S. is out of the Iran, JCPOA

Sunday May 13… 51st Jerusalem Day, celebrating victory of the Arabs in 1967

Monday May 14… 70th Anniversary of the “Rebirth” of Israel, May 14, 1948

Monday May 14… Historic move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Tuesday May 15… “Nakba Day” (catastrophe) Arabs protesting the 1948 decision (which was moved by the Arabs to May 14th to coincide with the day the U.S. Embassy opened)

Dr. Roni Wexler, the Judge, and I along with about 100 others on this tour experienced the jubilation of the people of Israel, but also saw the hatred and devastation that is a continual threat to Israel.  But… what an amazing land, people, and self determination!   It is truly a blessed land!

Dr. Wexler, Jeanine Pirro and I were invited guests of the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to be at the Embassy opening ceremonies in Jerusalem.  At which time, Jeanine was able to get a private interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Here is that interview in 2 parts:

Part I:

Part II:

VIDEO: How to Stop the Media From Inspiring Killers — #NoMSM

TRANSCRIPT

Can anyone tell me the last time a mass school shooter left a manifesto, a comment on social media, or a video where they said they were inspired to commit their atrocity … by a firearm. Name one. I’m sure you can’t and neither can I.

Because as much as the media love to pivot the conversation after a mass school shooting to gun control, the pen is still mightier than the sword. These kids aren’t being inspired by an innate hunk of plastic and metal laying on a table, they’re inspired by the infamous glory of past shooters who they relate to … and no entity on the planet does a better job whether directly or indirectly, of glorifying these killers, and thereby providing the inspiration for the next one … than our mainstream media.

You may hate guns and want to ban every single one of them, but even you know what I just said is true.

Attention seeking in this country is at an all time high and if social media has proven one thing, it’s that there are people out there willing to do anything for attention, even if it means slaughtering classmates they hate but letting the ones they like live so that they can tell their story to every mainstream media news outlet who are itching like fiends to be the FIRST to do a deep sea dive into the killers’ background.

As they see it, they get to leave a legacy of carnage, and the higher the body count the better—and we all know Wolf-Blitzer will be right there with the death toll counter keeping score.

While they’re doing all of that, the next mass shooter is quietly watching in envy as the guy who was just like him gets his name etched into the history books as he’s showered with attention and even love letters from women who would otherwise never acknowledge his existence. And this kid will be inspired to not only do the same thing, but to outdo the last kid and get as one high school student once said to me, “a higher score.”

It’s time to put an end to this glorification of carnage in pursuit of ratings, because it is killing our kids. It’s time for Congress to step up and pass legislation putting common sense limitations on our mainstream media’s ability to report on these school shootings.

There’s no need to cover these shootings for two weeks straight plastering the kids’ face over and over and over again. Pass a law stopping the media from reporting the killer’s name or showing his face.

You can still report on the shootings … we just need reasonable laws that place limitations on the glory and fame you give to these killers and their twisted motivations…

You know that feeling of anxiety that shot through your body when I said the government should pass laws to limit the media’s ability to exercise their First Amendment right.

That’s the same feeling gun owners get when they hear people say the same thing about the Second Amendment. Hearing me advocate for the government’s ability to limit anyone’s First Amendment rights, including the media, should anger all of you watching this video, the same way it should anger you when anyone tries to use the same limitations on the Second Amendment.

Here’s the thing. I do believe our mainstream media news outlets should hold themselves accountable in the way they cover school shootings. They should take into account how over reporting on school shootings inspires other shooters.

I honestly believe ignoring shooters and not giving them any attention will do more to stop school shootings than any gun control measure ever will.

However, I vehemently disagree with the government infringing on the media’s First Amendment rights the same way I don’t believe the government should infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

The solution to the problem we all want to solve will only come with a firm commitment to all of our rights—not just the ones you think are important.

Colion Noir
Host

The enigmatic Internet sensation never holds back or stays between the narrow lines of political correctness. As a NRA Commentator and the host of NOIR, his mission is to spread the facts about guns and hopefully change some minds. The practicing attorney, urban enthusiast and new face of gun culture didn’t pick up a firearm until later in life, and wasn’t pro-gun until the day he went to a range. “It was an eye-opener,” he said. The reality behind a firearm is, “It doesn’t have a soul, it isn’t evil, it’s just an inanimate object.”

Keep an eye out for new episodes of Colion’s show NOIR dropping year round here on NRATV.

Activist Judges Scrub Bathroom Complaint

If you think it’s tough speaking up as an adult in today’s culture, try being a kid. Christian teenagers are swimming against a strong tide these days, but that hasn’t stopped Alexis Lightcap. The Boyertown student wants every classmate to feel safe — even if it means fighting school leaders to guarantee it.

Going to the bathroom at school shouldn’t be a life-changing experience – but that’s exactly what it became for Alexis the day she walked into girls’ restroom and saw a man’s face in the mirror. “My body went into immediate shock,” Lightcap writes in her new op-ed. “My first thought was to get out.” So she did. She raced down the hall to a teacher and didn’t look back.

“The teacher told me to tell the principal, so I did. And the principal did nothing.” Instead of listening to her concerns she said, “they made me feel like I was the problem for feeling uncomfortable, unsafe, and vulnerable with a boy in the bathroom.” Alexis couldn’t believe it. Neither could her parents — who, like most Boyertown families — had no idea the policy was in effect. The Lightcaps’ attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Christiana Holcomb, explained that the only ones that did seem to know were a couple of students who identified as the opposite sex.

“It felt like a specific group of people were protected while the rest of the population was not,” Alexis said. And thinking about her little sister having the same experience made her realize: if the school didn’t care, she had to make them. “You have a say in this world, and you need to speak up,” she remembered her adoptive parents telling her. “In that moment, I knew I had to do something.”

That “something” was joining a high-profile lawsuit against the school. Months earlier, a male classmate – known only as Joel Doe — had taken Boyertown to court. He was just as horrified as Alexis had been when he walked into the boys’ locker room and saw a biological girl in a sports bra and shorts. The administrator he talked to told him to “tolerate it” — to “make it as natural as possible.” Did they really think everyone would enjoy the surprise and just embrace this idea, Alexis asked? “No one prepared us, warned us, counseled us,” she wrote.

According to the people on the blogs and at the microphones, those of us who object to finding ourselves in private spaces with people of the opposite sex must be bigots, or religious extremists, to deny our peers who identify with the opposite sex their choice of restroom. I guess it’s always easier to label people than to think about where they’re coming from.

Alexis could have fought the policy anonymously. Instead, she decided, “I have a chance to speak up. I’m a representative for all those people who don’t have a voice.” No other girl, she vowed, should have to go through what she did. “It’s common sense that boys shouldn’t be in girls’ locker rooms, restrooms, and shower areas. Every student matters and schools should put our privacy, safety, and dignity first.”

Unfortunately for Alexis and the other 1,649 kids in Berks County, the courts don’t agree. This week, her case with Joel Doe made it all the way to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where, to everyone’s amazement, a three-judge panel ruled unanimously that Alexis and Joel didn’t prove that school was infringing on their “bodily privacy.” In an unusual move — rare enough that every newspaper covering the story seemed to notice — the court took less than an hour to rule. A stunned ACLU attorney on the other side told reporters, “We were not expecting a decision when we walked in the door today.”

Thanks to our friends at ADF, it may not be the last one. Although Alexis and her co-plaintiff are weighing their options, odds are the group will appeal to the full Third Circuit court. “The school administrators failed her,” Holcomb said. “She reported her concerns. She brought it to the adults in the room — the adults who should have been protecting her — and they ignored her.” One of the biggest problems in districts like Boyertown, she explains, “is that the policies are tailored to a small group of students at the expense of every other student at the school.” What families want are policies that protect everyone’s privacy, everyone’s dignity.

Meanwhile, if you want to know why President Trump’s judicial confirmations matter, kids like Alexis are exhibit A. Back in November of last year, the Senate sent reinforcements to the Third Circuit in the form of Judge Stephanos Bibas, the first White House pick to fill a vacancy on that bench. Two more are waiting in the wings — Paul Matey and David Porter, both strict constructionists who are waiting for their turn on the fast track of Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) committee. Once they make it through the process (which, given the lightning-quick pace of this Senate’s confirmations, could be any day) maybe they can help inject some common sense into Alexis’s case.

In the meantime, we applaud ADF and these courageous students, who may be half the school administration’s age, but they sure have twice the wisdom!


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Laying Down Their Lives for Their Friends

Watchmen: Standing on the Wall and in the Gap

Laying Down Their Lives for Their Friends

“It’s something I will never forget. Never,” recalled 106-year-old Ray Chavez, America’s oldest survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor in an interview this morning with FRC’s radio producer Russ Jones. The World War II veteran was honored yesterday by President Trump — a visit Chavez called “the highlight of my life.” But he also shared another motivator for traveling more than 2,600 miles away from his home in Poway, California: to ensure the nation never forgets “what we went through.”

Last year, the San Diego Tribune reported Chavez’s role in history on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack:

“Chavez had just gone to bed after a night aboard the Condor. A San Diego fishing boat that had been converted into a minesweeper and stationed in Hawaii, the Condor was cruising near Pearl Harbor when a lookout spotted a submarine. ‘We’ve got company!’ the lookout yelled.

At the helm, Chavez couldn’t see the intruder. When a friend relieved him, he walked to the Condor’s port side and scanned the dark sea.

“All I saw was a periscope,” he said.

“About 3:50 a.m. on December 7, the Condor reported the sighting. The destroyer Ward searched the area and around 6:37 a.m., sighted and attacked the sub.

“Preceding the Zeros assault on Pearl Harbor by more than an hour, this was the first American action in World War II.”

Within hours, 2,341 of his fellow brave Americans in uniform would lay down their lives for the cause of freedom. On this Memorial Day, we can and should remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many others who have given the last full measure of devotion to this country of ours. This is not just another three-day weekend. It’s a time for remembrance. It’s a time for thanksgiving, that our country still has so many who are willing to risk all in this world for the sake of their families, and fellow Americans.

We also honor all those who stand ready to defend America. As President Trump said yesterday in announcing the cancellation of the summit with North Korea, “I’ve spoken to General Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world that has been greatly enhanced recently, as you all know, is ready if necessary.” And more ready they are – especially now that they finally have a commander-in-chief who is putting the focus on the military’s mission: preparing to fight and win wars.

North Korea’s Kim Jun Un is learning that this is a president who won’t be pushed around like President Obama. As FRC’s General Boykin noted, “Kim got overconfident and pushed the president too far. He is now most likely thinking through where he went wrong and what he has to do to resurrect the summit.”

A lot is at stake especially for the estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea – with as many as 50,000 of them in hard labor camps. Open Doors USA ranks North Korea as #1 in the world as the most dangerous country to be a Christian. To the relief of North Korea’s Christians and so many persecuted people of different faiths around the globe, America is regaining its voice on international religious liberty. While the move toward North Korea’s denuclearization is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must continue to pray and press North Korea to move away from totalitarianism where religious minorities have suffered so greatly.

As we pray that the people of North Korea will one day live in freedom, let us thank God for the freedoms we enjoy. And let us also remember that freedom is not free, which is what Memorial Day is designed to do. So this weekend take time to pray; pray a prayer of thanksgiving for those who have bought and fought for our freedom. And just as importantly, pray for those families who are reminded of the cost of freedom each time they see the empty seat at the table or the absence at the family gathering. In remembering their deeds, paying homage to their memory, and praying for those left behind, we preserve this last best hope of men on earth.


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Activist Judges Scrub Bathroom Complaint

Watchmen: Standing on the Wall and in the Gap

Watchmen: Standing on the Wall and in the Gap

If you want to win over a room full of pastors, tell them you’ll repeal the Johnson Amendment! That’s exactly what Vice President Mike Pence did this morning during a surprise visit at our Watchmen on the Wall conference. Like his boss, the vice president feels very strongly that America would have more watchmen if it had more freedom. And he and the president are more determined than ever to restore it to the nation’s pulpits.

For the 500-plus pastors, spouses, and church leaders in the room, seeing the vice president was thrilling for a lot of reasons — but mainly because it gave them a chance to applaud this White House for all its done on the issues their congregations care about: life, religious liberty, Israel, and so much more. As far as Mike Pence is concerned, though, America’s church leaders were the ones worthy of praise. “The ministries you lead, the prayers you pray,” he said, “are the greatest consequences of our nation.” He talked about the importance of faith – not just in America, but in this administration.

To the cheers of everyone in the room, Vice President Pence said sincerely, “I couldn’t be more proud to serve under the most #prolife president America has ever seen.” One standing ovation after another, he rattled off the impressive list of promises this administration kept, including the appointment of a man who spoke earlier in the day: Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. Watchmen had the chance to hear from the former Kansas governor, who’s right now standing on the front lines of the war on the persecuted. “This is an incredible time for religious freedom around the world,” he encouraged people. “This is the time to push and the gates will fly open.”

John Bevere, who spoke about the urgency of “standing firm and loving well,” explained the need for the church to look itself hard in the mirror. “There is no true faith in Jesus without repentance. The difference between the unrepented and the repented: saying I want what’s best for my life vs. I want what God says is best for my life.” Hopefully, more pastors than ever leave this city energized to pursue exactly that: the best God has for their lives — and our nation.

To watch Mike Pence, check out the video below. For more information about how to become a Watchmen pastor or get involved in FRC’s ministry to churches, visit the website.


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


RELATED ARTICLES:

Activist Judges Scrub Bathroom Complaint

Laying Down Their Lives for Their Friends

VIDEO: College Conservatism 2018 with Charlie Kirk & Turning Point USA

Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson did an extensive interview with Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA. Peterson writes:

A number of people in recent months suggested that I speak with Charlie Kirk, a young man who heads Turning Point USA (https://www.tpusa.com/), an organization whose mission is, in its own words, to ” educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” Turning Point has a presence on more than 1000 campus, and appears to be growing quickly. It seems to me to be a reaction to the overwhelming dominance of radical left ideology in such arenas. We discussed his views, recent activity, and future plans.

Here’s the full interview:

Solution to Arab Israeli Conflict: Rename Gaza to ‘Palestine’

Matthew Hausman wrote a column titled “Two-State delusion divides American and Israeli Jews.” Hausman wrote:

Ronald Lauder’s recent New York Times editorial, “Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds,” exposed a growing rift between American and Israeli Jews over the elusive two-state solution, which has been further exacerbated by the violence currently roiling Gaza.  Israelis from across the spectrum seem to recognize it as a chimera without historical foundation, whereas secular and progressive Jews in North America increasingly view it as doctrine to be imposed on others 5,700 miles away, regardless of the consequences.

Two-state advocates often demand that Israel make concessions despite the anti-Semitic rejectionism which permeates Palestinian society. But if forced on Israel, their solution would leave her with enemy sovereigns at her doorstep – as has been graphically demonstrated by the Gaza situation.

In reply to the column David Fern wrote the following:

ב״ה

now i know
just how stupid
people can be

there’s already
an answer
to the problem

but most people
are just to blind
to see it

rename gaza
to palestine
problem solved

and yes
it is
just that easy

שלום עליכם

Problem solved?!

Ted Cruz Says Media Is Avoiding Santa Fe School Shooting Because Texas Students Don’t Want Gun Control

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says students from the high school near Houston where the deadly shooting occurred told him they don’t believe more gun control is the way to make schools safer.

In an interview in his Senate office Tuesday with The Daily Signal, Cruz said support for the Second Amendment in Texas is why CNN and other media outlets aren’t giving these students the kind of wall-to-wall coverage that followed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Cruz also talked about why the Senate should work full workweeks and potentially skip the August recess to get more done. From making tax reform for individuals and small businesses permanent to repealing Obamacare’s employer mandate, the Texas senator said plenty of legislative priorities could be passed with a simple majority and Republicans should take advantage of the relatively rare opportunity of being in charge in Washington.

Cruz also applauded President Donald Trump both for listening to many views and for standing up to much of official Washington and fulfilling his promises to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and get America out of the Iran nuclear deal. 

Watch the video of the full interview below. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Genevieve Wood: Sen. Cruz, thank you for sitting down with The Daily Signal. We appreciate it.

Sen. Ted Cruz: Always glad to be with you.

Wood: Let’s start first with our home state of Texas. A tragedy happened last week at a high school in Santa Fe. What are you hearing from folks on the ground there?

Cruz: The shooting Friday morning was just horrific. Santa Fe is a town that is about 30 miles outside of Houston, which is my hometown, about 30 minutes from my house. I was at home Friday morning when the shooting occurred, and I spent the entire day in Santa Fe.

At this point, we know that this deranged gunman, this young man who was a student at the school, he came in at 7:30 in the morning with a shotgun and revolver, and he murdered 10 people—eight students and two teachers. He injured an additional 13.

It was truly horrific. I spent a great deal of time with law enforcement officers, teachers, with parents, with students. The shock and trauma, it’s powerful. I went to the hospital and visited with some of the students who had been wounded.

I remember one particular hospital room, where there was a young man named Clayton who had been shot in the leg and he’d been shot in the arm. He’d just come out of surgery and he was conscious and in good spirits. Clayton is a bull rider and also a pole vaulter. I asked him what his best height was, and he said 13 and a half feet.

It was his left elbow that had been shot pretty badly. He had pins all up and down his left arm. I asked him, “Are you a lefty or are you a righty?” He said, “I’m a lefty.” He just smiled and said, “But I’ll learn to ride bulls with my right hand.”

Wood: Great spirit.

Cruz: It was that kind of—even in the face of horror—that spirit of hope and optimism. Probably a dozen students were there in that hospital room visiting Clayton, most of whom had been at the school. The agony the parents went through, I mean, that’s every parent’s nightmare. You send your daughter, your son off to school that morning, and they never come home.

Wood: Many parents, obviously in Texas but across the country, are asking, “Should I be worried about any of this?” Where does this move us in the whole issue addressing school safety?

Cruz: Well, listen. There have been too dang many of these. We’ve seen them over and over again, whether Santa Fe, or Parkland, or just six months ago in Texas, Sutherland Springs, the worst church shooting in the history of our country. I’ve too many times gone and cried with and held and comforted and prayed with the victims of these shootings.

Something’s wrong. When we were kids, this wasn’t a part of going to school. You might worry about getting a black eye at school or something, but you didn’t worry about someone, some lunatic coming in and shooting and murdering as many people as they could. That was not part of school.

Wood: And you have a lot of folks saying mental health problems here are an issue, and violence we see in video games and movies and all the like. But so, what do we do about that?

Cruz: I think there’s a lot we can do about it. You can focus on schools, but you can focus on also gun violence more generally. On schools, it was interesting: We’re in that hospital visiting with those students. I was there with the governor of Texas [Republican Greg Abbott], the two of us were there. We asked: “What’s the answer? What should we do?” And then we just shut up, we just listened.

And it was really striking. Out of a dozen students who just hours earlier had been in this shooting, every one of them said the answer is not gun control. They said, don’t take our guns. They said if you take our guns, it won’t make us safer, it will just mean the killers and murderers have guns.

A lot of the students there said, “Well, maybe more metal detectors in schools. Maybe more armed police officers in schools, so that you’re able to stop something like this when it happens.” Several of the students brought up that they thought teachers should be able to be armed.

One student who was there, he was in the adjoining classroom … he said his teacher was a former Marine, who was trained to handle a firearm, obviously, in the Marines. He said he wished his teacher had been armed; he might have been able to stop the killer before he killed so many people.

Those are the ideas that the students were suggesting. Now I will say, it’s fairly striking that, you look at the mainstream media, CNN, after the Parkland shooting, it was round-the-clock coverage of the students calling for aggressive gun control because that happens to be the political agenda of most of the media. In this case, where the students aren’t calling for that, suddenly … the media isn’t interested in covering it.

Wood: They’re not as interested. And you know, this is so much of a local issue, a state issue. But is there something at the federal level that …

Cruz: There’s a lot that can be done and should be done. Just a couple of months ago, in the federal budget deal, we included $2.5 billion of funding that could be spent on school safety, could be spent on things like metal detectors and police officers.

Things like examining the footprint of a school and reducing the number of entrances and exits, so that you don’t have—this shooter came in essentially a back door of an annex, where the art [class] was. If you had just one or two entrances where you had metal detectors and armed guards …

Wood: The way you have in this building [the Dirksen Senate Office Building].

Cruz: The way you have—

Wood: Several entrances were closed when we tried to enter here today.

Cruz: In this building … there are a ton of buildings where [you have] one or two entrances, and you have a security point to keep people safe. I think that’s something that should be examined closely.

I also think that there’s a lot more we can do going after violent criminals. Inevitably, people say, “We’ve got to do something.” That’s right, we do have to do something. But we need to do something that works. The proposals from Democrats, of taking away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, they don’t work. They’re not effective in reducing violent crime.

If you look at the jurisdictions across the country with the strictest gun control, almost inevitably they have among the highest crime rates, the highest murder rates. It’s actually what the students told me on Friday is true, that when you disarm the law-abiding citizens, then it means the criminals are the ones that have guns.

If you want to stop these kinds of crimes, there are things we can do. In 2013, I introduced legislation along with Chuck Grassley from Iowa, it was called the Grassley-Cruz legislation. It targets violent criminals. On the school safety front, it provided $300 million in additional school safety funding, funding that maybe could have made a difference preventing Parkland, preventing Santa Fe, if there were additional officers there.

Sadly, Grassley-Cruz, the Democrats filibustered it. They didn’t allow it to pass into law. We’ve got a majority of senators voted for Grassley-Cruz, but the Senate Democrats, [then-Minority Leader] Harry Reid and the Democrats demanded 60 votes and they killed it.

But not only that, Grassley-Cruz focused on the bad guys. If you look at Sutherland Springs, it was already contrary to federal law for that gunman to have a firearm. He had a felony conviction, a domestic violence conviction. But the Obama administration never reported his conviction to the background check database, so it was never in the database.

Grassley-Cruz required an audit to make sure that every conviction is in that database, so the database doesn’t have holes. And it required the Department of Justice to prosecute felons and fugitives who tried to illegally buy firearms.

What that means is, if Grassley-Cruz had passed into law, if the Democrats hadn’t filibustered it, the shooter at Sutherland Springs, when he tried to illegally buy that gun, he would’ve been arrested, he would have been prosecuted, and he would have been in federal jail instead of murdering innocent men, women, and children at that beautiful church in central Texas.

Wood: Would you consider reintroducing Grassley-Cruz? Is that something that could come back?

Cruz: It is, and I have reintroduced it. I’m pressing for it. Let’s take it up for a vote. Let’s pass it into law. Let’s focus on what actually works. The odd thing is, the media and many Senate Democrats, they aren’t interested in what works to reduce crime.

Sutherland Springs is another shooting they never like to talk about, because what stopped that shooting was another citizen. Stephen Willeford, law-abiding citizen, lived a block away from the church, who heard about it, ran over barefoot with his AR-15 and engaged the gunman. And ultimately saved many, many lives. Far too often what stops a bad person is a good person with a gun.

But that’s not what the media wants. They want to ban firearms for law-abiding citizens. If you want to stop violent crime, focus on the criminals. That’s something I’ve led the effort to do in the Senate. That’s something I’m going to continue leading the effort on.

Wood: You also have teamed up with some other senators who recently said there are a number of things that we need to do instead that aren’t getting done. I think you sided with maybe 16 other senators that sent a letter … to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, “Why don’t we work on Monday and Fridays? Why don’t we cancel the August recess?” Not only so you can get more nominations through, but we don’t end up against the clock on funding the government bill. Where are you on that? Do you think the majority leader is going to agree?

Cruz: You know, I hope so. But we’ll see. We need to get—

Wood: Why is it so important? Why are things so jammed here?

Cruz: We need to get more done. And we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have. A few weeks ago, I did a presentation to the Senate Republican Conference. I was walking through an elaborate PowerPoint where I said in the last 100 years, we have had unified Republican control of the federal government—Republican House, Senate, and White House—four times, in 100 years. Since World War II, it’s only been a total of eight years that we’ve had unified Republican control. History teaches us this is rare.

This is an unusual opportunity. In my view, we shouldn’t waste a second. We should be working every minute of every hour of every day as long as the voters entrust us with unified control.

Now listen, in the last year and a half, I think we’ve gotten a great deal done. A great deal done that the media never talks about. They’re obsessed with whatever the latest porn star eruption is. I have to say, in Texas nobody cares about that.

If you look at what we’ve gotten accomplished: historic tax cuts, major regulatory reform, lifting job-killing regulations from small businesses and job creators, repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, which is real tax relief to the 6 and a half million Americans who are fined every year by the IRS because they can’t afford health insurance, confirming a record number of constitutionalist judges. All of those are critically important.

We’ve gotten those accomplished, but what I’ve been urging our leadership and my colleagues to do is let’s keep working and delivering. That means, let’s not take recesses, let’s not take vacations. Right now, the Senate typically works a three- to four-day week.

We’re facing historic Democratic obstruction, filibusters. The mantra of the Democrats—they’re listening to their extreme left wing—is fight, obstruct, resist. Resist is what they say over and over again.

Wood: So you don’t think they want to get anything passed?

Cruz: They want nothing. The Democrats’ position right now is “Hell, no.” On everything. They’re captive to the far left wing of their party. That can’t be an excuse for us not to deliver on the promises we made to the voters.

Wood: And as you all have said, we really want to make sure we don’t come up against the clock in September on spending, we want to get more nominations through. Democrats are also blaming Republicans right now for an increase in health care premiums. Is there a chance in your view to go back and revisit complete repeal of Obamacare between now and November?

Cruz:  Absolutely. What I did in the presentation to the Republican conference, I walked through probably 30 or 40 bills that different Republican senators had introduced, all across the conference, all sorts of different senators.

I said, look, these are all bills that I think have a real shot at getting 50 votes, at unifying the Republican conference, that will deliver real results. They run the gamut, from things like, on tax reform, making the individual tax cuts permanent, making small business tax cuts permanent, making [business] expensing permanent.

On Obamacare, there are a lot of things that could easily get 50 votes in the Republican conference. Ending the employer mandate, which would be an enormous benefit to jobs and small businesses. Expanding health savings accounts. Letting people who use health savings accounts to pay for premiums. That would effectively reduce premiums 20 to 30 percent like that. Codifying association health plans and short-term limited duration plans, which gives consumers more choices and drives down the cost of health care.

All of those are things we could do. Regulatory reform, codifying the REINS Act that says any economic regulation that imposes $100 million in cost to the economy or more can’t go into effect without an affirmative up-down vote from Congress. Enormously impactful.

What I urged my colleagues to do is, if you look at almost everything we got accomplished last year, we did it through legislative vehicles that only take 50 votes, that can’t be filibustered. So what I encouraged everyone, let’s decide what we want to accomplish as a conference in the next eight months and then let’s take up legislative votes that the Democrats can’t filibuster.

We know they’re going to obstruct. So let’s actually fight to win. Let’s have a strategy of here’s what we want to go to the American people saying, we promised you we would deliver and we did. Here’s our strategy to get it through in the face of Democratic obstruction.

I think there are a lot of members who agree with me on this. This is an active debate within the conference. I hope we’ll follow through and step up.

Wood: We’ll be watching to see. Final question. On the international front, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a big speech this week on what’s next after the Iran deal. One of the things he talked about was the administration believes this probably ought to be a treaty if we’re going to move forward with something. Is that something you think the Senate would take up?

Cruz: I absolutely believe that any deal with Iran should be a treaty. It should be confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate. One of the things that Barack Obama did with the Iran deal is he subverted the constitutional requirements for a treaty because he knew it couldn’t get confirmed.

Remember, the Obama Iran deal was opposed by a bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress. Not only couldn’t he get two-thirds to ratify it, he couldn’t get even a majority of either house.

Whether there’s a new Iran deal or not, I want to say that President Trump in the last two weeks has been incredibly consequential to foreign policy. Two events that occurred within days of each other. One was opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Last Monday, I was in Jerusalem. It was the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern state of Israel. It was truly a moment of history. When David Ben-Gurion formed the modern state of Israel, 11 minutes later President Harry Truman recognized Israel. America’s leadership with Israel has been powerful for the 70 years since then.

Presidents of both parties have promised they would move our American Embassy to Jerusalem. It’s the capital of Israel, it’s where the government is based, it’s where the Supreme Court [is], it’s where the Knesset is, it’s where the prime minister is, it’s where the president is. And yet, [U.S.] presidents of both parties have failed to follow through.

In the Trump administration, there was a big, active debate and argument about whether and when to move the embassy. The State Department and Defense Department both pressed back against moving the embassy. I was very, very active urging the president to do it and that this was the right thing to do.

Those within the administration who didn’t want the embassy moved, what they said is, “Look, we want to see peace in the Middle East. Moving the embassy makes that harder.” I’ll tell you what I told the president.

I said, listen, No. 1, the impediment to peace is not Israel. No one wants peace more than Israel. It is the Israeli babies that are being murdered. The impediment to peace is as long as the Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and embraces terrorism, I don’t believe there will be peace.

But what I also told the president is that whatever the chances are of peace, they are increased by moving the embassy. Why is that? Because although we can expect, and this did happen, that our Arab allies in the region would protest, we would see cries of dismay from Egypt and the Saudis, the Jordanians. They would have to, they would believe for domestic political reasons they would have to.

What I told the president is that I believe privately they would be incredibly relieved. Because what they would say is that a president strong enough to stand up to the criticism of the global media elite, to say to the world, “We stand by our friends and we stand up to our enemies,” is also a president strong enough to pull out of Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal. For our Arab allies, they recognize that a nuclear Iran is the greatest threat to our security, to their security, to Israel’s security.

So on Monday [May 14], we finally opened that embassy. It was a piece of history. I was there for it. There’s no way I was going to be anywhere else but right there in Jerusalem.

Also, within days [on May 8], the president did the right thing, pulled out of the Iran deal. There was the exact same debate within the administration. The same forces that didn’t want to move the embassy didn’t want to end the Iran deal. Once again, I spent a great deal of time urging the president, this is the right thing to do.

I’ll tell you, I was sitting in the Oval Office with President Trump and with [national security adviser] John Bolton 30 minutes before the Iran speech pulling out of [the nuclear deal] and helping, working with them on that speech.

It’s the right thing to do because the Obama Iran deal sent billions of dollars to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It put Iran on an inevitable path to acquire nuclear weapons. The Ayatollah [Ruhollah] Khomeini, when he chants, “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” I believe him.

What I urged the president to do and what he’s done, and what Secretary Pompeo’s speech said, is under no circumstances ever will the Ayatollah Khomeini be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. That’s what the position of the United States should be, and I’m very gratified that’s the position the administration is taking.

Wood: Final question for you. As you saw him walk through that decision-making process … President Trump, how does he make these decisions? Why do you think he came down the way he did?

Cruz: Listen, on a great many of these issues, you’ve got multiple voices. You’ve got voices within the Cabinet. You’ve got voices in the business community. You’ve got the media pushing you. I can tell you, I think he hears all of them.

Wood: He just met with the French president [who supports the Iran deal].

Cruz: He did. President [Emmanuel] Macron. And also all of the European leaders were pressing him to remain in the deal. I will say … my office is speaking with the White House every day, and sometimes every hour.

Really, the two things that are consuming my time in the Senate are, No. 1, doing everything I can to encourage the president, encourage the administration on a positive direction, not a negative direction. No. 2, doing everything that I can to bring Republicans together in the Senate to deliver on our promises, not to waste this unique opportunity.

I’ve been very, very pleased that—there’s a lot of chaos, it’s the political circus, it’s insane. In Washington, the media are consumed with the scandal of the day. My approach when I walk down the hallways in the Capitol and the reporters start asking questions, I say, you know what? I don’t comment on tweets, I won’t comment on the random comment of the day.

If you want to talk substance, you want to talk policy, you want to talk tax reform, reg reform, Obamacare, judges, you want to talk national security, Iran, Israel, North Korea, I’ll talk about any of those. But if you want to talk about whatever has the talking heads on cable lighting their hair on fire, I’ve got nothing to say.

I’m not going to defend the indefensible. But what Texans are interested in, they’re not interested in the latest clutch-my-pearls scandal in Washington. They’re interested in real results. More jobs, higher wages, more opportunity, protect our rights.

That’s my focus, and I’ve been very encouraged that the Trump administration, over and over again, the president has been willing to make the right decision after hearing counsel from a lot of people.

Wood: Sen. Cruz, thank you very much.

Cruz: Thank you.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve. Twitter: @genevievewood.

RELATED ARTICLE: Obama’s Education Secretary Is Wrong About Gun Control Being Best Way to Keep Kids Safe

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 Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is by Ron Sachs/dpa/Picture Alliance/Newscom.

Two-State delusion divides American and Israeli Jews

Ronald Lauder’s recent New York Times editorial, “Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds,” exposed a growing rift between American and Israeli Jews over the elusive two-state solution, which has been further exacerbated by the violence currently roiling Gaza.  Israelis from across the spectrum seem to recognize it as a chimera without historical foundation, whereas secular and progressive Jews in North America increasingly view it as doctrine to be imposed on others 5,700 miles away, regardless of the consequences.

Two-state advocates often demand that Israel make concessions despite the anti-Semitic rejectionism which permeates Palestinian society. But if forced on Israel, their solution would leave her with enemy sovereigns at her doorstep – as has been graphically demonstrated by the Gaza situation.

Americans who believe that most Palestinian Arabs accept the concept of “two states for two peoples” seem undeterred by surveys showing precisely the opposite or by the PA and Hamas Charters – though both deny Israel’s right to exist and one calls for genocide.  Foregoing critical analysis, many accept the dubious Palestinian narrative while overlooking anti-Israel rhetoric that is revisionist on its face and anti-Semitic at its core.  Whereas many proclaim they are saving Israel from herself, their seeming tolerance of Palestinian revisionism would suggest otherwise.

Though generally assumed to be liberal policy, the two-state paradigm is increasingly accepted by self-identified conservatives (e.g., Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress) who are secular and/or affiliated with the non-Orthodox movements.

Unfortunately, the paradigm is compromised by conflicting narratives that are irreconcilable.  It presumes the authenticity of Palestinian national claims that lack provenance, but which Palestinians legitimize by denigrating the Jews’ ancient connection to and continuous presence in their homeland.  While Israel could agree to any resolutional framework for political reasons with an entity that accepts her existence, she cannot validate a myth that repudiates Jewish history and sovereignty.

In his New York Times piece, Lauder suggested that Israel risks becoming repressive absent a Palestinian state, writing: “If current trends continue, Israel will face a stark choice: Grant Palestinians full rights and cease being a Jewish state or rescind their rights and cease being a democracy. To avoid these unacceptable outcomes, the only path forward is the two-state solution.”

He also took issue with the orthodox establishment, suggesting its pervasive influence on Israeli society will alienate diaspora Jewry and lead to semi-theocracy.  Nobody can argue with his pro-Israel bona fides. But what is concerning when such claims come from conservatives is that they invoke presumptions often associated with progressives.

These presumptions, however, begin to crumble when parsed against the “March of Return” and subsequent violence orchestrated by Hamas in Gaza, which though clearly rejectionist and anti-Semitic have been regarded favorably by the western media.  Sympathetic bias was evident in news commentary that compared the Gaza protests to Martin Luther King’s 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, and thus analogized Hamas-inspired violence to American civil rights advocacy. Whereas Dr. King sought to unite people in the spirit of human dignity, however, Hamas aims to demonize Jews and encourage genocide.  Any comparison between Selma and Gaza bespeaks either ignorance or artifice.

Sympathy for the Gaza protestors has also been expressed by liberal groups like J Street, which issued a press release stating, among other things, the following:

“J Street is saddened and disturbed by renewed violence today at the Gaza-Israel border…

“While there are reports of a small number of Palestinians attempting to breach the fence or otherwise attack Israeli soldiers, the vast majority of those who have gathered appear to be exercising their legitimate and important right to engage in nonviolent protest…

[ . . . ]

“We call on Hamas to stop inciting violence within peaceful protests. We call on Palestinian leaders to resume efforts to negotiate a path to political reconciliation. And, echoing numerous Israeli peace organizations and political parties, we call on the Israeli government to ease the siege of Gaza, help alleviate the suffering of its people and actively pursue a two-state resolution to the underlying conflict…”

The implication that Hamas usurped the protests of a peaceful majority does not jibe with facts on the ground. There was nothing incidental about the involvement of Hamas, which planned the violence in Gaza, knowing mainstream journalists would whitewash its coordinated mayhem, mischaracterize its intentions, and criticize any Israeli response as disproportionate.  Apparently, Hamas could also count on western progressives to vouch for its supporters’ integrity and raise the false specter of Israeli culpability.

On-site reports described widespread violence, with participants burning tires, pelting IDF soldiers with rocks, hurling incendiary projectiles, and breaching the security fence at the border.  The unrest has been pervasive and not limited to extremist outliers; and notwithstanding fatuous reports of Israeli soldiers killing young and elderly Arab civilians, almost all casualties have been identified as terrorists or adults of fighting age, including members of Hamas’s “Nukhba” commando unit.  Moreover, the renewal of violence to coincide with the US embassy opening in Jerusalem has been described by non-Israeli military experts as a coordinated, tactical terrorist operation.

Despite Hamas’s admission that most of those killed were terrorists, liberal Jewish groups nonetheless have publicly mourned the deaths of “innocents.”  And news reports from Gaza continue to portray the violence as an understandable expression of frustration over “the occupation.” Although Israel’s complete disengagement in 2006 illustrates the absurdity of such claims, it is ignored by activist reporters who persist in characterizing Gaza as occupied despite the lack of any Israeli presence or rule

Dishonest reporting and claims of disproportionate Israeli reactions are intended to evoke false images of Jewish colonial repression – images that are reinforced by liberals who support the revisionist myth that Israel’s existence without a Palestinian state violates the intent of the original Mandate for Palestine.  Such arguments are nonsense, however, insofar as the San Remo Convention of 1920, the Transjordan Memorandum of 1922, and the Palestine Mandate of 1923 never advocated creating a state for “Palestinians,” who had no sovereign existence and whose national identity would not be invented for decades.  To the extent these enabling documents may have contemplated an Arab state alongside a Jewish one in the ancient Jewish homeland, that intent was fulfilled by the creation of Transjordan (Jordan) in 1921.

This history – not Palestinian mythology – should set the parameters for any resolutional framework.  It is well and good that Israel is a vibrant democracy that respects minorities and encourages free participation in the electoral process.  Israel’s primary existential purpose, however, is to provide national autonomy for Jews in their homeland. Her equal treatment of all citizens, whether Jewish or Arab, is a projection of her ancestral values and starkly contrasts with the ethnic and religious persecution and strife that characterize the rest of the Mideast.

And yet, progressives never condemn countries like Saudi Arabia for financing extremism, subjugating women, and suppressing speech, or Iran for persecuting non-Muslims, killing gay people, and exporting terrorism. They prefer instead to denounce Israel using an assortment of unsupportable straw arguments.

One of easiest calumnies is to accuse Israel of apartheid, because the mere use of the word inflames passions beyond reason, especially among those who are unaware that it is a crime with a specific definition.  The International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute of 2002 defines “apartheid” as consisting of acts “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”  This definition hardly fits Israel, however, where Arab citizens have the same legal rights as Jews, live where they want, and serve in government as Knesset members, cabinet ministers, and judges.

Another common subterfuge is the “demographic time-bomb” argument, which claims Arab population growth will displace Jews and result in the suspension of democracy to maintain Jewish supremacy.  But Israel’s population last year totaled approximately 8,680,000, broken down by percentage as 75% Jewish, 20% Arab, and 4.5% “other.” Moreover, Jewish birthrates are higher than those of Arabs, even among secular Jews, and they continue to rise as Arab birthrates decline, both in pre 1967 Israel and in Judea and Samaria.

Finally, those who believe two-statism is necessary to preserve Israel’s democracy also tend to represent orthodoxy as a threat to democratic freedom, though orthodox hegemony does not seem to bother average Israelis.  The anti-religious fervor of secular non-Israelis seems to ignore the fact that orthodox influence is maintained through Israel’s political process and is ultimately subject to domestic political pressures.  It seems, however, that what secular progressives really want is to remake Israel in their own image from afar.

Perhaps it is diaspora Jews who are alienating Israelis, and not vice versa.

Regardless of motivation, secular Americans often sound presumptuous in declaring what would be best for Israel – oblivious to how their partisan ideals might threaten her sovereign integrity.  If they are truly concerned about Israel’s survival, however, they would do well to learn her history, acknowledge the reality of Palestinian rejectionism, understand what is really happening in Gaza, and recognize that Israeli citizens are capable of determining their own national needs and priorities.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Israel National News.  The featured image of a dead end sign is by jhwink.