What Exactly Is Wrong With A President Putting America First?

My latest in PJ Media:

Today is the day we ostensibly remember the American presidents, and as it comes around this year we all know that to say “America First” is racist, anti-Semitic, and evil in all kinds of other ways, and that the best U.S. presidents have been those who were most respected around the world, in places such as Communist China, the socialist European Union, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Don’t we?

Well, there are still a few dissenters among us. While roughly half of the American population today thinks that the current occupant of the White House is one of the worst presidents in history, an active danger to the nation, there is still that pesky other half, which refuses to bow to our socialist, internationalist moral superiors and regards president Trump as an unparalleled champion of the American people, a true defender of the common man in a way that has not been seen in Washington for many, many decades.

On this President’s Day, it’s worthwhile to ask the question: what exactly is wrong with being America First? If the president of the United States doesn’t put America first, exactly which country should he put first? Or should he put some nebulous idea of “global interests” first, with those interests being defined not by Americans, but by the likes of China, the EU, and Iran?

In Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 2017, he declared: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First…. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.” In response, neoconservative (and now Democrat) elitist William Kristol tweeted: “I’ll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim ‘America First.’”

Profoundly depressing and vulgar for the chief executive of a nation to put the interests of that nation before other considerations? Really? Throughout the history of the United States, most Americans would have found Kristol’s statement somewhere between baffling and treasonous. Yet Trump’s statement that “it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first” primarily, rather than those of the world at large, has been out of fashion since World War II, and in many ways since World War I. It has been mislabeled, derided, and dismissed as “Isolationism,” a fear or unwillingness to engage with the wider world, even as it is becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent.

But to be America First does not necessarily mean that America will withdraw from the world; it only means that in dealing with the world, American presidents will be looking out primarily for the good of Americans. The term America First has also been associated, quite unfairly, with racism and anti-Semitism. The founding principles of the Republic, notably the proposition that, as the Declaration of Independence puts it, “all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” shows that putting America First has nothing to do with such petty and irrational hatreds.

In fact, the Founding Fathers and every president up until Woodrow Wilson took for granted that the president of the United States should put his nation first and would have thought it strange in the extreme that this idea should even be controversial.

Indeed, this is the oldest criterion of all for judging the success and failure of various presidents: were they good for America and Americans, or were they not? This should still be the primary way that the success or failure of presidents is judged. It is the guiding criterion that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Founding Fathers who were not presidents such as Alexander Hamilton would likely use when judging the occupants of the White House up to the present day.

The president’s most important job is clear from the oath that every president recites in order to assume office, and it isn’t to provide health care for illegal aliens, or to make sure that Somalia isn’t riven by civil war, or to make sure America is “diverse.” It is simply this: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

So what makes a great president? One who preserved, protected, and defended the Constitution of the United States. Or to put it even more simply, a great president is one who putAmerica first. That’s the criterion I used in my forthcoming book, Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster.

There is much more. Read the rest here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

PODCAST: In Which Direction Are the Democrats Heading?

It is not much of a secret the Democrats have a divided party. One side consists of “moderates,” representing traditional party values, and the other consisting of “extreme-Leftists,” representing radical politics, such as Socialism, the New Green Deal, and a plethora of entitlements. The question is, which side is winning? In 2019, and for the first time ever, a Gallup Poll noted the majority of the party classified themselves as “liberals.” This is to be expected as the Democrats began to turn extreme-left in 2016 when Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, began preaching his far-left dogma on the campaign trail to the Democrats. This opened the door in 2018 allowing extremist Democrats to be voted into the House of Representatives, e.g., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) (aka, “AOC”), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13).

We are now in the early stages of the political primary season, and already we are learning more about Democrat inclinations from the voters. Between the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), both generally acknowledged as representatives of the extreme-Left, pulled approximately 40% of the votes cast. This leaves approximately 60% for the other Democrat candidates. Some would claim Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former VP Joe Biden, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are “moderates,” but their background suggests otherwise as they subscribe to liberal doctrine. None could possibly be accused of being a conservative. All support abortion, open borders, health care, and additional entitlements. So much so, the Democrats are now referred to as the party of “giveaways.”

The fact there is a 60/40 split in the party suggests the majority of Democrats are traditionalists and do not necessarily embrace radical concepts like Socialism. Yet, if front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders lands the nomination, this is precisely what the party will ask Democrats to accept.

News reports claim voter turnout was down in both Iowa and New Hampshire. I could not verify this, but if it is true, why? Three possible reasons: general voter apathy, people believe there isn’t a candidate who can beat President Trump, or more likely, the extreme-Left leanings are turning off traditional Democrats. Apathetic voters do not bode well for the party as we approach the elections.

The perspective of the party split is still a bit hazy, but will become clearer following the primaries of Nevada, South Carolina, and Super Tuesday. After this, we should have a complete picture of who is leading the party, “moderates” or the “extreme-Left.”

As an aside, the New Hampshire primary also had a Republican contest. At this time, President Trump received approximately 128K votes, representing the largest voter approval by an incumbent President in history, easily trouncing the last three incumbent Presidents:

2020 – Donald Trump – 128,781
2012 – Barack Obama – 49,080
2004 – George W. Bush – 53,962
1996 – Bill Clinton – 76,797

The President received strong support as he has energized his base through a solid economy and anti-extreme-Left policies. It appears the more he is attacked by the Democrats, the stronger he becomes politically.

So, are the Democrats prepared to accept extreme-Left doctrine? Maybe, but the American people overall are not. Either way, this will be an awkward election for the Democrats.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. © All rights reserved. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Paganism in 21st-century Europe – what’s the attraction?

Some Europeans have turned to ancient pagan religion to fill the spiritual vacuum created by today’s materialistic world – with a bit of tweaking here and there.


Our ancestors worshipped an array of nature spirits and deities before the advent of Christianity. The shaman (to use a generic term) was the intermediary between spirit beings and people. Fictitious beings such as fairies, pixies and elves were also part of this picture. The more advanced ancient civilizations developed complex belief systems involving pantheons and priesthoods. It all falls under the broad heading of ‘religion’ – pagan religion. (A good background source is Ken Dowden’s ‘European Paganism: The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages’, 2000.)

Pagan beliefs have not completely vanished from Western culture. The Easter bunny, the mistletoe as a harbinger of future romantic love, and aspects of the Arthurian legends (the sword in the stone and the druids, for instance) have withstood the ravages of time to become part of our cultural heritage.

Most of us do not consciously think of these as relics of European paganism. But some people in our midst take all this quaint stuff deadly seriously to the point of professing belief in the chimeras our distant past throws up. They even call themselves ‘pagans’ despite the pejorative connotations of the term in common usage – paganism has long had bad press, including films such as the 1973 box-office success ‘The Wicker Man’ (a play on the word ‘wicca’) with sterling performances by Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee but apparently intent on portraying pagan religion as an orgy of barbarity and licentiousness.

Some commentators have applied the label ‘neo-pagan’ to the modern phenomenon. However, many self-professing pagans object to this term because of its alleged association with Nazism, particularly within the SS – Heinrich Himmler harboured eccentric views harking back to Germany’s pre-Christian past which he supposedly infused into SS ideology. What I will do in this article is use ‘Pagan’ (capital ‘P’) when referring to organised modern paganism.

Paganism is well established in a number of European countries including Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, where the Home Office recognized it as a bona fide religion in 1971; one of the practical implications of that official recognition is that prisoners can ask to be visited by Pagan chaplains. As well as having a website, the British Pagan Federation produces the quarterly ‘Pagan Dawn’ – one edition for each season beginning with spring, identified using ancient Celtic names. I subscribed to this journal for several years and took part in some of the lively discussion that arose in the ‘Letters’ section.

My personal association with European paganism actually arises from my first name, which is of ancient Caucasian origin and is an allusion to the bear as a totem animal – given my generous BMI and the beard, that seems rather appropriate!

At a more intellectual level, what I am interested in is what makes the 21st century Western Pagan tick. There appears to be a dearth of scholarly interest in the matter, although the past decades have seen a lot of attention being paid to the ‘New Age’ phenomenon which overlaps with Paganism but should not be confused with it.

Some social scientists seem to be taking note – see, for instance, Irving Hexham’s ‘Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth’ in the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 36 No. 3 1999. I have formed my own impressions from Pagan source materials and come up with the following themes:

A romanticized view of our pre-Christian past.

There are shades of Garden of Eden mythology in Pagan writings when alluding to our distant past. Everything was honky-dory in those halcyon days of yore when paganism ruled the roost until outsiders came and screwed it all up. Perhaps Goscinny and Uderzo, the creators of the ‘Asterix and Obelix’ comic books, have something to answer for in this regard – look at all those happy, healthy, well-nourished folk in the idyllic Gaul village that those awful Romans are trying to subdue. (Not a hope while the Druid can still brew his magic potion, of course… remember, the one Obelix fell into as a baby?)

First it was the Romans bringing dreaded modernity; then later it was Christians who really put the boot in (as they see it). Hankering for a return to a mythical ‘perfect day’ past appears to be something many Pagans share with at least some Christians!

Hostility towards Christianity.

To claim that Pagans are contemptuous of Christianity is an understatement. They rightly point to the persecution of pagans by Christendom throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 17th century. To the Christian establishment, paganism was a tool of Satan. The widely recognised elk’s head with horns as a symbol of Satanism actually arose from an ancient European fertility ritual involving a guy prancing around in that head attire.

The hysteria surrounding the witch-hunts was largely attributable to the belief that witches – in practice, usually local ‘wise women’ who practised ‘the craft’ inherited from traditional paganism – were the Devil’s fifth columnists. The early Protestants were of much the same view and dealt with the perceived threat in much the same barbaric manner.

The most appalling atrocities were committed against innocent people because of the association the Christian authorities made between paganism and Satanism. Today’s Pagans have neither forgiven nor forgotten the main perpetrators (as they see it) responsible for that dark period in European history.

The ‘spiritual dimension’ that Paganism provides.

Pagans on the whole display a cynical attitude towards the modern materialistic lifestyle. They seek a spiritual dimension to existence but unequivocally reject the one that Christianity offers. For them, Paganism fills the vacuum. It moreover does so by returning them to their ethnocultural roots, giving them a sense of belonging that the ostensibly universal belief systems, particularly Christianity, do not.

The ‘roots movement’ aspect of Paganism is a sensitive one. I recall a vibrant discussion in the pages of ‘Pagan Dawn’ about 20 years ago concerning the ethnic aspect of pagan beliefs. Some commentators were aghast at the suggestion that there is any ‘racial’ aspect to Paganism, but I interpreted this as a kneejerk reaction to the prospect of being called ‘racist’, which is what one has to anticipate these days when to self-identify as a member of a European ethnic group is likely to be wilfully misinterpreted.

However, it is impossible to remove ethnicity from the pagan equation. Only Greek Pagans worship Zeus, and only Irish Pagans acknowledge the existence of leprechauns. Having said that, classical pagan beliefs are mostly local or regional rather than national. A Cornwallian Pagan and a Highlands Scottish Pagan share few pagan traditions or beliefs.

The special status of women in paganism.

This aspect of paganism past and present would merit several doctoral theses in its own right. The somewhat idealised Pagan reconstruction of pre-history presents an ‘equal but different’ gender scenario in which women formed a religious society that ran parallel to men’s, with its own hierarchy and rituals. Women in Paganism are considered to be endowed with extraordinary spiritual powers which are manifested through certain aspects of wicca (‘the craft’).

A lot of women who belong to the Pagan movement call themselves ‘white witches’ or just plain ‘witch’ – a term of respect in Pagan society. Many female Pagans worship goddesses – some reverentially speak of ‘The Goddess’. There’s plenty of room in Paganism for feminism, albeit with its own distinctive spin.

Paganism as environmentalism.

Paganism is replete with nature spirits that animate the natural world. The notion of sacredness is extended to living entities such as trees and geological features such as mountains. Harmony with Nature is a recurring theme in Pagan literature. Many Pagans are passionate about the natural environment, particularly those parts of it that remain relatively unspoiled. Pagans stand shoulder to shoulder with environmental activists in protecting such sites from exploitation.

Despite some of the trimmings that make Paganism appear more of a lark than a serious spiritual movement, it deserves to be taken seriously. Akin to many adherents of mainstream religion, bona fide Pagans are profoundly concerned about the direction our societies have taken – and have come up with countermeasures drawn from their own European religious past.

COLUMN BY

Barend Vlaardingerbroek

Barend Vlaardingerbroek BA BSc BEdSt PGDipLaws MAppSc PhD is at the American University of Beirut. Feedback welcome at bv00@aub.edu.lbI would be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who shares my academic interest in current-day European Paganism.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Coming Out of the Closet

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky is a conservative, a label sometimes distracting; an invitation for controversy. But preaching the truth and acting on it is a Catholic thing.


At times, priests reveal intimate secrets about themselves from the pulpit.  I’ve always hesitated to do so mostly because a sermon should be about Jesus, and innermost secrets and feelings are none of your business. But there are certain advantages that a priest has in the twilight of his priesthood.  The expanding mosaic of his experiences – good and bad – can provide others with useful insights.

Parishioners notice many uncomfortable details about priests, ranging from personal hygiene to personality quirks.  Depending upon circumstances, a pastor may have a duty to affirm or deny rumors for the sake of tranquility, and transparency.  These acknowledgments can be painful but necessary.

So here is one of my many secrets:  I am a conservative.

I prefer the term “Catholic.” But since I have an obligation before God to conserve and preach what I have received, after careful consideration, I have come to accept the conservative characterization.

But I wasn’t “born that way.” My Baltimore Catechism upbringing, my undergraduate training in philosophy and logic, and even my professional grasp of accounting – that debits must always equal credits – contributed to a conservative understanding of words and reality. Honesty and realism are the stuff of a traditionalist spirit.  Nonetheless, the life of a conservative is not without real conflict.

Years ago, over lunch, a retired priest dismissed me as an “arch-conservative.”  Puzzled, I questioned the venerable old man. Did he consider me a heretic?  No. Did he disagree with me on any doctrinal matter?  No. Was he referring to my political positions, if he knew them?  No. Did he object to my preference for traditional Catholic practices?  No. What, then, is an arch-conservative? No answer.

I concluded that a “conservative” dares to vocalize the hard truths of Church teaching, and an “arch-conservative” – like the priests who deny pro-abortion politicians Communion – acts on his beliefs.  Of course, conservative testimony may be more imprudent or contrarian than courageous.  But even if the delivery isn’t picture-perfect, bold witness comes with a priest’s job description.  “Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we too believe, and so we speak.” (2 Cor. 4:13)

*

Many Gospel passages boldly challenge and deeply disturb souls.  Years ago, a permanent deacon read the Gospel and preached the homily during a Mass I celebrated. The Gospel included this phrase:  “every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Mt. 5:31-32)

To avoid controversy, the deacon ignored the passage in his homily and preached his customary platitudes.  After Mass, an irate parishioner – failing to distinguish between the sermon and the Gospel text – lambasted him for suggesting certain behavior was adulterous. The Gospel not only provokes consciences but can even implicate hesitant and timid messenger boys.

The new secular moral world order is far more demanding and unforgiving than the Ten Commandments.  Violations of political correctness provoke mean-spiritedness, hate, and intolerance.  The politically incorrect is an unforgivable infraction of the politics of inclusion, and respectable society must banish all offenders.

Even children are not immune.  Recently, prominent banks withheld scholarship money from Christian schools because of their religious opposition to gender ideology.

Perhaps, for the sake of peace, priests should insist that the Ten Commandments are not their personal opinions.  They are merely delivery boys, reporting to parishioners what God teaches us through His Church.

After all, priests and people alike fail to live up the demands of the Ten Commandments. We all hope for a patient, kindly, and an understanding priest for Confession. Not to put too fine a point on it, we might argue that if you disagree with the Ten Commandments, do not crucify the messengers. You actually want to crucify the Divine Author.

Alas, Jesus even has an uncomfortable answer to that scheme:   “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” (John 15:20)

Contrary to the dogmas of political correctness and heterodoxy within the Church, intolerance is not exclusively a conservative vice.  The breakdown in the seminary system over the last fifty years is old news, though there seem to be recent improvements.  (Most senior priests like me are too far out of the loop to know for sure.)  But some of us recall past intolerance of Catholic orthodoxy and still have our seminary PTSD flashbacks.

In 1984, as a new seminary recruit, I attended a day of recollection at a retreat house in the Midwest.  Over beverages and snacks that evening, the conversation turned to the hot theological topics of the day.  I boldly weighed in on the questions of celibacy and the ordination of women, supporting Church teaching.  But I unwittingly violated a taboo and paid the price.

The vocations secretary breezily dismissed me with, “Jerry, you’re so conservative.”  I responded with good cheer. “You flatter me.”  But the rest of the evening, I found myself excluded from the conversation by seminarians who likely feared guilt by association.  It was an early encounter with the soft tyranny of institutional theological dissent.  In those days, many counted on the “spirit of Vatican II” (not the texts) to change the Church. Dismayed and isolated, I returned to the dormitory room and retired.

By and by, there was a gentle knock on the door; it was a young seminarian.  He introduced himself and asked:  “Doesn’t it bother you that they think of you as conservative? So am I, but I haven’t told them!”

In time, I moved on to happier ecclesial hunting grounds and lost track of the young Nicodemus, who always kept his distance, publicly at any rate.  In recent years, he was consecrated a bishop. Maybe he has come out of the closet.

The “conservative” label may be distracting and an invitation for controversy.  But preaching the truth and acting on it is a Catholic thing – and the cause for hope.

COLUMN BY

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Michael Bloomberg’s Plan for Immigration: We Need More!

I pay fairly close attention to the 2020 campaign news and especially when it comes to the Dem candidate’s plans for immigration should they regain the White House.

But, I think it’s odd that with all the other news about Michael Bloomberg, there is little mentioned about his now decade-long plan to increase immigration as seen in his National Partnership for a New American Economy.

I told you all about it here last November, but I have been writing about it off and on for years.

Now I see that there is a short piece at Bloomberg news briefly summarizing his immigration plans.

But, strangely, no mention of his organization that has been gradually softening up mayors by handing out grant money and praising elected officials for a decade through his New American Economy network.

Michael Bloomberg Unveils Plan for ‘Broken’ Immigration System

Michael Bloomberg proposed an immigration plan similar to proposals from his moderate [LOL!] Democratic presidential rivals that includes reversing President Donald Trump’s policies, creating a path to U.S. citizenship for undocumented residents and allowing “place-based” visas.

The former New York mayor does not go as far as progressive rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who would decriminalize migration.Bloomberg’s plan contains many of the same elements as those offered by Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. They include rescinding Trump’s travel ban, ending family separations at the border, protecting so-called dreamers — young adults who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children — as well as increasing the cap on resettling refugees and updating the asylum process.

[….]

Bloomberg would expand temporary worker visas to address labor shortages and allow certain localities to petition for “place-based” immigrant visas to meet economic or social needs in their communities.

For regular readers of ‘Frauds and Crooks‘ this should give you a chuckle….

He would also allow more opportunities for foreign-born doctors, nurses and other health professionals to address the shortage of health-care workers in under-served areas.

More here.

And, now see his platform that includes increasing refugee admissions to 125,000 per year!  (Trump’s is presently set at 18,000.)

End policies that run counter to our deepest values as Americans

Mike will rescind President Trump’s disgraceful travel ban, end family separations at the border, establish rigorous safeguards for children, and promote alternatives to detention for individuals and families who pose no threat to public safety. Mike will set the annual refugee resettlement target at 125,000 and also restore fairness and timeliness to the asylum process. And he will honor and protect immigrant service members, veterans and their families.

[….]

Mike will create a federal Office of New Americans to support the integration of newcomers….

With that he is recycling an Obama White House plan.

Read it all.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

How Not to Learn About a Religion

Randall Smith: Modern secular views of religion purport to have respect for each of them but often breed a sort of dilettantish disrespect for all of them. 


Periodically, I find myself wanting to learn more about other religions.  It might be a major world religion such as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam, or something more obscure, such as what Mormons hold or Seventh Day Adventists.  I am not usually interested in a “deep dive” into the nuts and bolts, just a nodding acquaintance.  But I also want something that does justice to their beliefs so I can gain a better understanding of why they believe what they believe.

I occasionally turn to books on “comparative” or “world religions” since these books are usually written by “experts in the field.” I read about Hinduism or Confucianism for a while. But then my eyes glaze over, and I wonder why people believe all this weird, boring stuff.

But then, I go to the section on Christianity. I don’t start there because I don’t go to such books to learn about Christianity; I go to the Bible and the great texts of the Christian tradition: Genesis and Exodus, the Gospel of John, and the writings of Basil, Gregory, Augustine, and Aquinas.

When I open my “world religions” textbook and read the section on Christianity, soon my eyes glaze over and I would wonder why people believe all this weird, boring stuff if I weren’t already Christian.  What I actually say is: “What’s this?  This is what these people think Christianity is?  Anyone reading this would have only the strangest, most distant notion of what Christians believe or of what animates their lives.”

Reading their descriptions of Christianity is like looking at a shadow puppet of a dog.  You can say it “looks like a dog” – if you know what a dog actually looks like.  But if you start by looking at the shadow puppet and then search around for something that “looks” like that, thinking “I know what a dog is,” you would be more wrong than right. And you would certainly never understand why people love their dogs.

I have had conversations with friends from other religious traditions who report having had the same experience. They read the description of their religion, and their reaction is: “We believe that?  Well, sort of.  But not exactly.”  It’s like hearing someone who speaks another language use an English colloquialism who doesn’t get it quite right.  “I am going to do the kicking of the butt” is not really the same as “I’m gonna kick your butt!”  I once heard a Frenchman say to his Belgian friend: “Are you in the picture on this?”  That’s like something we say, but not quite.

Reading these descriptions is also a bit like the experience a Latina friend had going to a class on “Hispanic Culture and Spirituality.”  The professor kept telling the mostly white college kids what “Hispanics” believe and what Hispanic culture was like.  She, an actual Hispanic, kept wondering why none of this resembled anything she had experienced in her large extended family or extensive Hispanic community.  Granted, there are different ways of being “Hispanic,” but when you go to a class about your own people, it shouldn’t be like hearing about a strange race from another planet.  And this is often what reading these books on Christianity is like.

So if all of us from every religion say, “That’s not my religion; that description has not captured the heart of what we believe or why it animates our lives,” then what are such books teaching?

Actually, I don’t know.  But I fear that the effect may be a lack of real respect for all religions. The message is: Here are about a dozen different ways people could think about religion, but there is no good reason to actually accept any one of them, other than your own autonomous choice.  In the marketplace of religions, which do you choose?  Or would you prefer to take little from column A, some from column B, and perhaps a smattering from column C?

What people who read such books should understand is that very few of the adherents of the religions they are reading about (perhaps none of the authentic believers) “chose” their religion in this way.  Rather, it chose them.  They saw themselves as “called” by a truth larger than themselves. And accepting this truth led them to a more authentic life, a life of meaning and goodness. It wasn’t a smorgasbord from which they selected what looked tasty.

People who have dabbled in a lot of religions probably understand very little about any of them – not the way you know something you love, something deeply moving and meaningful.  It is fine to “get acquainted” with a religion.  Just don’t say you “know” a religion if you hold yourself aloof from it and examine it as you would examine a car you are thinking about buying.  “I like this one, but with different tires and in yellow.”  To treat a religion this way is to misunderstand what “faith” is for those who have it and have dedicated their lives to it.

If you want to understand a religious tradition and take it seriously, first, get it from those who have dedicated their lives to it.  And second, examine it as a series of responses to the “fundamental questions” that St. John Paul II mentions in the first paragraphs of his encyclical Fides et Ratio:  Who am I?  Where am I from?  Where am I going?  What about suffering, death, and the afterlife?  What is the nature of the human person and human flourishing?   These are questions we should ask of any religious or philosophical tradition – including our own.

But we should treat other traditions with the respect with which we would wish them to treat ours.  The problem with modern secular treatments of religion is that, although they purport to provide a greater respect for each religion, they often breed a sort of dilettantish disrespect – for all of them.

COLUMN BY

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is the Scanlan Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. His most recent book, Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide, is now available at Amazon and from Emmaus Academic Press.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: Deny sex is binary, embrace conversion therapy and then theirs Pete Buttigieg


EDITORS NOTE: This is the eleventh in a series titled Decadent Democrats. You may read the previous installments here:

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Pedophilia to Sex with Animals

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Electing a Dream ‘Queer Latina’ Candidate to No Incarceration For Drug Use of Any Kind

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: The Enemies of America are Our Best Friends Forever

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe Diatribe to Abortion to Climate Change [+Videos]

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From Creating Weak Men and Disorderly Women to Making Sex a Biological Reality Illegal

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The Democratic Party is all in when it comes to homosexuals. The party of Catholic President John F. Kennedy can’t help itself. Democrats even have, for the first time in history, Pete Buttigieg, a homosexual, running for president in their primary.

This is a turn around in policy and politics. We must remember what President Barack Obama, Oct. 27, 2010, in in an interview with liberal bloggers discussed his views on gay marriage:

“I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage. But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine.”

Then in May, 2012 Politico reported that President Obama evolved in his opinion of same-sex marriage stating:

“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Rhuaridh Marr in a July 27, 2016 article The Democratic Party Platform is the most pro-LGBT in history reported:

This week, in Philadelphia, Democrats approved the most pro-LGBT party platform in their history. Almost half a century in the making, it represents a culmination of the struggle of LGBT activists to be recognized at the highest levels of politics. If 2012 was a watershed moment, when marriage equality was enshrined in that year’s party platform, 2016’s platform is an affirmation, a celebration of the rights of every LGBT American. The sheer breadth of the platform stands in contrast to the hate and opposition of its Republican counterpart.

Why do Democrats fully embrace the LGBTQ agenda?

The LGBTQ agenda includes:

  • Conversion therapy.
  • Teaching children about homosexuality in elementary schools.
  • Supporting male transgenders into women and girl sports.
  • Call anyone who disagrees with the LGBTQ agenda homophobic.
  • Embracing pedophiles such as Jeffery Epstein.
  • Passing policy The Equality Act on on May 17, 2019. The Equality Act is a bill passed by the United States House of Representatives that would amend the Civil Rights Act to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity.”

ANSWER: Because the Democratic Party loves what they consider homosexuals to be consummate victims.

For Democrats homosexuals are victims, just as are blacks, Muslims, illegal aliens, pedophiles, transsexuals, Hispanics, etc. Victimhood is a prerequisite to becoming a member of the Democrat Party.

What is most interesting is that Democrats embrace a lifestyle that is both harmful and hurts individuals according to recent studies.

Democrats ignore science, genetics, DNA and multiple scientific studies that show homosexuality is neither natural nor normal. In fact science tells us that homosexuality is harmful and hurtful.

But this doesn’t matter because its all about getting votes.

Sex is Binary

In a February 14, 2020 Breitbart article titled No Sex ‘Spectrum’ Beyond Male and Female Thomas D. Williams, PH. D wrote:

The Wall Street Journal has issued a throwdown to the gender lobby, insisting in an op-ed Thursday that sex is binary and there is no “spectrum.”

“In humans, reproductive anatomy is unambiguously male or female at birth more than 99.98% of the time,” note biologists Colin M. Wright and Emma N. Hilton. “The evolutionary function of these two anatomies is to aid in reproduction via the fusion of sperm and ova.”

“No third type of sex cell exists in humans, and therefore there is no sex ‘spectrum’ or additional sexes beyond male and female. Sex is binary,” they assert.

In a February 16, 2020 article in the journal Public Discourse titled Transition as Treatment: The Best Studies Show the Worst Outcomes notes:

A pattern begins to emerge as we survey some of the best and longest outcome studies on gender transition: the longer the studies and the better the methods, the more negative the results.

The [conversion therapy]treatment for this particular disorder is severe: lifelong experimental medicalization, sterilization, and complete removal of healthy body parts—a treatment Dr. Ray Blanchard, one of the world’s foremost sexologists, calls “palliative.” In spite of its severity, however, medical gender transition is no longer a rarity. It is the recommended treatment for gender dysphoria, a diagnosable disorder of incongruence between one’s felt “gender” and one’s natal sex, the prevalence of which is increasing tremendously throughout the world. More and more children and adolescents are being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and are undergoing medical treatment prior even to completing puberty.

For those who express caution or concern there is a familiar retort: “Trust the experts.” If you don’t, “you’re a bigot.”

This argument, however, makes a mockery of the fact that three of the most influential sex researchers of the last couple decades—Ray BlanchardMichael Bailey, and the recently vindicated Ken Zucker—all have problems with the affirmation-only transition narrative that is currently being promoted. You could add to this list names like James CantorEric VilainStephen LevineDebra Soh, and Lisa Littman.

In the February 13, 2020 article Science, Sex, and Suicide   asks, “Why would Scientific American urge a ban on therapies that may free some from an identity associated with greater depression and suicide, and yet never question “treatments” for gender dysphoria that lead to increased confusion, depression, and suicidal tendencies?

Otto explains:

Scientific American started off the new year—the publication’s 175th—with an editorial that unintentionally demonstrates the reality that science is not simply the dispassionate determination of the laws of nature. A great deal more than genetics and biology seems to be involved when the subject is LGBTQ-related, particularly when it concerns young people who are questioning their sexual identity.

The editorial, “Time’s Up for ‘Anti-Gay Therapy,’” calls for a federal resolution banning “conversion therapy.” The editors begin by referring to the story of a man named McKrae Game, a former champion of conversion therapy who recently left his wife and his ministry, “Hope for Wholeness.” Game has now come out as gay, pleading forgiveness for the harm he did by promoting what his organization called “freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ.” Game joins a growing number of former leaders of so-called “anti-gay therapy” who have recently disavowed the practice.

Conclusion

Democrats are hell bent on pushing the LGBTQ agenda on all Americans. Saying that sex is binary, believing that marriage is between one man and one woman are considered “hate speech” by Democrats.

Pointing out  that conversion therapy is harmful is deemed non-scientific, when the science is clear. The entire concepts of boy and girl, man and woman, husband and wife are now foreign to the Democratic Party.

Same-sex marriage may be legal but it is not common. What is common is that since the legalization of same-sex marriage the Democrats in concert with LGBTQ activists have made it their mission to fundamentally transform the ideal that sex is binary.

© All rights reserved.

For more articles on the LGBTQ Agenda click here.

Does the Catholic Church Really Have An ‘Islamophobia’ Problem?

My latest at PJ Media:

Out of India this week comes the harrowing story of T.J. Joseph, a professor at a Catholic college and member of the Syro Malabar Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with Rome. Ten years ago, Joseph was accused of blasphemy, whereupon a Muslim group attacked him and severed his hand. In the ensuing years, the Syro Malabar Church, aghast not at the attack but at Joseph’s alleged “Islamophobia,” fired him from his job and excommunicated him. The day after that story came out, one Jordan Denari Duffner of Georgetown University’s Hamas-linked Bridge Initiative, published a piece in the Religion News Service (RNS) claiming that Catholics have an “Islamophobia” problem. Ask T.J. Joseph what he thinks of that, Ms. Duffner.

Duffner piece focused upon the case of the Rev. Nick VanDenBroeke, about which I wrote here at PJ Media. VanDenBroeke landed in hot water when he called Islam “the greatest threat” to Christianity and the U.S., and was subsequently forced to recant and apologize by his boss, Archbishop Bernard Hebda. “The whole incident,” says Duffner, “is reflective of a deeper problem,” which is unlikely to be something she would say about the excommunication of T.J. Joseph. No, Duffner is more worried about what she characterizes as “the discrepancy between the church’s positive official teaching on Muslims and the Islamophobia that often permeates U.S. Catholic communities and discourse.”

Duffner reminds us that “in its 1965 ‘Declaration on Non-Christian Religions,’ issued during the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church begins by declaring its high esteem and respect for Muslims.” She apparently would have us believe that VanDenBroeke, by identifying a threat from the religion that preaches warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers, is demonstrating a lack of esteem and respect for Muslims. For “the most important aspect of the church’s statement about Muslims,” she says, “is the first line — the teaching that we are to treat Muslims with respect and hold them in high regard. In other words, as Catholics our default attitude toward Muslims is to be a positive one.”

Back in the real world, however, the real problem the Catholic Church has is not the spurious neologism “Islamophobia,” but a fantasy-based Islamophilia that denies obvious reality and is ruthlessly enforced, as the outrages the Church committed against T.J. Joseph demonstrates, and of which Duffner’s article is an example.

Duffner is either spectacularly naive or outrageously deceptive or both; in all her writings, not just this one in RNS, she completely ignores the reality of jihad violence and the violent exhortations in the Qur’an and Sunnah. She continuously writes as if Muslims were victims of widespread discrimination and harassment in the U.S., which they are not and should not be, and that any examination of the motivating ideology behind that jihad violence is tantamount to inciting violence against innocent Muslims.

In her book Finding Jesus among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic, Duffner even laments the “Islamophobia” of a Christian family in Jordan she stayed with as an exchange student, claiming they picked it up from Christian television channels and not from their lived experience, which she assumes would have given them a positive impression of Islam: “Despite the fact that they lived among Muslims — who are the vast majority of the population in Jordan — my Christian host family bought into these Christian TV channels’ negative portrayals of Islam.”

There is much more. Read the rest here.

RELATED ARTICLE: HBO runs yet another anti-Catholic series, remains silent on Muslims

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Lawmakers in 9 States Move to Protect Children From LGBT ‘Transition’ Agenda

Conservative lawmakers have decided to become proactive about the transgender epidemic infiltrating the nation’s youth.

In the past couple of months, Republican lawmakers in at least nine states have introduced legislation to ban medical providers from helping boys and girls undergo a medical transition via surgery and/or hormone replacement therapy before they turn 18.

Some of the bills would make it a felony to prescribe hormones or perform related surgeries for minors.

In South Dakota, state Rep. Fred Deutsch, a Republican, spearheaded the effort. The South Dakota Legislature passed its version of the bill just this month.


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If Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, signs the bill into law, doctors who offer medical transitions in the form of hormone replacements or surgery to children under 16 could receive a one-year jail sentence or a hefty fine.

Colorado, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, and Kentucky all have similar provisions in the works, although the details vary.

In a tweet, Deutsch said: “The world is upside-down that protecting children from sterilization and mutilation is causing a firestorm.”

In a statement emailed to USA Today, he said:

Every child in South Dakota should be protected from dangerous drugs and procedures. The solution for children’s identification with the opposite sex isn’t to poison their bodies with mega-doses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs.

Sex reassignment surgery—a phrase the LGBTQ lobby hijacked and changed to “gender reassignment surgery,” a subtle but important difference—has had enough success and failure for lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to use to their advantage.

Or so they think. A USA Today article, which is rather thorough, paints GOP lawmakers as interventionists who suddenly want to get involved in people’s “personal” lives. It cites professionals who voice disdain for lawmakers who would keep today’s youth from living as their feelings dictate.

These lawmakers face an uphill battle because of LGBTQ backlash and public relations. Reputable medical groups such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have come out in favor of providing surgical and hormone replacement transitions as appropriate treatment for children struggling with gender dysphoria, despite little evidence it cures the dysphoria.

In fact, while little evidence exists either for or against medical transitions, because it’s such a new phenomenon, statistics show that some people who transition experience regret.

Fortunately, conservative lawmakers who propose these bills come from a place of education, combined with empathy and caution.

Because this is optional surgery, and not a life-or-death medical procedure (such as neurosurgery following a stroke), Republican lawmakers propose banning the surgery for teenagers, to err on the side of safety.

Although a speckling of success stories are told by medically transitioned teens and adults, more tales of failure, and horror, are out there.

These stories abound, though critics of the proposed bills seem to ignore them entirely.

In a powerful essay published by The New York Times in 2018, a writer who was born a man and was about to medically transition to a woman admitted, as the headline stated: “My new vagina won’t make me happy.” But the writer wanted to go ahead with the surgery anyway.

Jazz Jennings, 19, was born a biological male but socially transitioned to female years ago. The teen’s transgender journey has been a hit TLC show.

Doctors recently performed a third surgery on Jennings to further the transition from young man to young woman. Jennings suffered from severe complications after receiving a “new vagina.”

Walt Heyer is well known for his crusade against such medical transitions. Heyer, a fellow contributor to The Daily Signal, lived as a woman for several years. After taking female hormones, he had breast implants but was still suicidal after a short reprieve.

Eventually Heyer came to the belief not only that sex reassignment surgeries didn’t make him female, but that his issues were rooted in trauma and abuse—as they are for most people.

Heyer wrote in The Daily Signal in 2017:

Too many post-surgical patients contact me to report they deeply regret the gender change surgery and that the false hope of surgical outcomes was a factor. For children, the focus on encouraging, assisting, and affirming them toward changing genders at earlier and earlier ages, with no research showing the outcomes, may lead to more suicides.

Although it’s true that many conservatives would reject government involvement in the family via heavy-handed legislation, there are times when it’s necessary, specifically when safety—even common sense—is rejected in favor of the cause du jour.

This is such a time, when parents and activists are blindly answering the rallying cry of progressives who favor feelings over facts, even when it means leading our own children down a path of pain and regret.

COMMENTARY BY

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

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My New Life After Transgender Despair

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

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

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Linda Sarsour Uses Nazi Tactic to Dehumanize Israelis

Sharia-activist Linda Sarsour used a classic Nazi tactic employed against Jews when she urged her followers not to fall into the trap of “humanizing” Israelis. Dehumanization was a classic Nazi tactic used against Jews during World War II.

Sarsour made the comments while endorsing the many different anti-Israel strategies employed by activists. But the bottom line, she said, was,

“If you are on the side of the oppressor, or you are defending the oppressor or you are actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem, sisters and brothers, and we gotta be able to say that is not the position of the Muslim-American community.”

As noted in the tweet, British journalist Mehdi Hasan “nods along as Linda Sarsour warns against ‘humanizing’ Israelis.”

In addition, the tweeter, Stephen Knight, rightly comments, “The dehumanization of opponents is a bright red flag for anyone knowledgeable on extremism and fascism.”

Dehumanization was  a classic Nazi tactic used during World War II to turn the German people against the Jews, who were referred to as rats and vermin.

Psychologists warn that the first step in mass murder is to dehumanize the victim. In a talk titled “’Less Than Human’: The Psychology of Cruelty,” David Livingstone Smith, co-founder and director of the Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New England, notes,

“[For the Nazis, Jews] were untermenschen — subhumans — and as such were excluded from the system of moral rights and obligations that bind humankind together. It’s wrong to kill a person, but permissible to exterminate a rat.”

Sarsour’s comments came just before the United Nations published a blacklist of Israeli businesses that operate in Jewish areas located beyond the 1967 lines in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

As The Jerusalem Post noted, “Israel is the only country against which such a list has been complied of businesses suspected [of] breaking international law.”

There are close to 100 land disputes worldwide that have not been subject to a similar blacklist, which means that the UN action falls under the classic definition of anti-Semitism, i.e. treating Jews or Israel with different standards than other people or countries in the world.

This is the main reason why the U.S., as well many other countries have deemed the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel anti-Semitic at its core. Sarsour is a huge proponent of the BDS movement.

After a year-long legal investigation by the U.S. State Department, in November 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

RELATED STORIES:

Linda Sarsour to Fundraise for Terror-Tied Organization

Linda Sarsour Uses Latest Women’s March to Spew Anti-Semitism

CAIR Leads Fight for ‘Right’ of Universities to Promote Anti-Semitism

EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

To Prosper, Africans Must be Free to Innovate

The African Union must focus on reducing the overbearing costs of intellectual property across the region.


Africa’s potential to flourish in the coming years is enormous. The newly-minted African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) is set to immediately get rid of 90 percent of tariffs on goods traded between member states upon its July 1 implementation, which will dramatically ramp up trade and add billions to the continent’s economy.

Already, 29 of the 55 African Union (AU) nations have ratified the agreement. But to truly reap the potential benefits of this new trade area, African states must drastically reform existing intellectual property laws in order to allow and encourage innovation among their citizenry.

A recent report from the Brookings Institution found that in 2017, African countries registered a mere 1,330 patents. This amount is a fraction of the 592,508 patents registered in Asia and the 116,359 registered in Europe in the same year. What’s more, the majority of patents in Africa are registered by non-residents—and that’s not the case in the rest of the world. As a continent with a young and increasingly educated population, it’s vital that Africans are free to innovate and reap the rewards for doing so.

As Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, notes:

Africa has a great tradition of innovation and creativity and has extraordinary creative resources but has often struggled to realize their full economic potential.

The main reason this potential is hindered is because of the hefty costs of patent registration. Indeed, Africa has some of the steepest registration costs in the world.

In two of the continent’s fastest-growing economies, Kenya and Ethiopia, patent registration fees are a whopping 13 and eight times the national average income respectively. To put that in perspective, in the U.S., patent registration costs equate to just 0.1 times average incomes, and in Germany, just 0.3. African innovators, who are mostly young with either no job, or a low-paying job, therefore struggle to afford these exorbitant fees.

To make matters worse, in some cases, new technologies are required to be registered in every single country they enter, meaning further costs for entrepreneurs who are often already facing significant financial challenges. Making it easier for Africans to obtain patents would help the states’ and the overall region’s economies, as it would boost the production and export of higher-value goods, rather than having nations primarily reliant on exporting commodities.

Today, many African economies rely heavily on exporting raw materials. And for three-quarters of African nations, commodities (which are typically exported outside of the continent) account for at least 70 percent of their exports. This is bad news for African nations, as raw materials are especially prone to price fluctuations, so reliance on commodities risks economic volatility, and creates unstable business environments.

However, when African states trade with one another, the goods traded are almost three times more likely to be higher-valued manufactured products, when compared to the goods that leave the continent. And as one of the main aims of the AfCFTA is to increase intra-regional trade, the enormous barriers to entry posed by large patent registration fees must be reformed in order for the continent to harness the talents of innovators and boost the trade of such manufactured and technological goods.

Indeed, the benefits of lowering the cost of patent registration have already been demonstrated in a variety of outliers across the continent. Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa, for example, all have patent registration costs far below the African average, and partly as a result, have a much more diverse export market, which helps create a more stable business environment.

Phase I of the AfCFTA negotiations, which largely focused on removing concessions for goods traded intra-continentally, are coming to a close. The AU is now starting to look ahead at Phase II, which will largely focus on competition policy and, perhaps most importantly, intellectual property rights.

As Phase II draws closer, the AU must focus on reducing the overbearing costs of intellectual property across the region. Without a universal set cost, or unilateral lowering of patent registration fees, it seems the AfCFTA’s goal of drastically boosting intra-regional trade will be harder to achieve.

By reducing the costs of patents, African innovators will be free to reap the rewards of their innovations without being crippled by burdensome governmental regulation. If the AU fails to address this growing problem, intellectual property rights on the continent will remain something typically enjoyed by wealthy foreigners, and that’s not a future Africa should strive for.

This article is republished with permission from the Pulse by Business Insider. 

COLUMN BY

Alexander Hammond

Alexander C. R. Hammond is a researcher at a Washington D.C. think tank and Senior Fellow for African Liberty. He is also a Young Voices contributor and frequently writes about economic freedom, African development, and globalization.

RELATED ARTICLE: LA’s Traffic Safety Policies Were Supposed to Reduce Deaths. Instead, More People Are Dying

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

The Prosecution of Roger Stone by an Overzealous and Politicized Justice Department

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.  It is a silent acquiescence to evil.  The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”  –  Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” –  Thomas Jefferson

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

“Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.” –  Julian Assange


President Trump tweeted minutes after Stone’s conviction, “Now they have convicted Roger Stone for lying to Congress and want to give him a long prison term. What about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok and Page who helped launch Crossfire Hurricane, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Schiff, Ohr, Steele and Mueller himself who all lied and have not been prosecuted. This is double standard like never seen before in our country.”

No charges against any of them, or any charges against the treachery committed by Hillary Clinton whose home server was hacked in real time by Red China and other foreign nations for classified government documents.  And corrupt cop Comey set her free on the request of Attorney General Loretta Lynch who met with Bill on the tarmac in a Phoenix airport.

The President is right, all of them lied under oath to Congress about consequential matters.  Yet, Judge Amy Berman Jackson specifically prohibited Stone defense lawyers from arguing that Stone’s case was one of “selective prosecution.”  (Trump suggested a pardon for Mr. Stone after he heard the harsh and drastic punitive sentencing.)

Roger Stone needs our help.  Please consider donating to his legal defense fund at StoneDefenseFund.com.

The Stone prosecution is a disgrace, it’s lawless, and it was rigged from the beginning.

Excessive Punishment

Judge Jackson put Paul Manafort in solitary confinement for nine months before he was even convicted.  At his age, the man was sentenced to die in prison, and that’s what they want to do to Roger Stone.  The prosecutions’ recommendation of seven to nine years for a 67-year-old, non-violent first offender has finally revealed Robert Mueller’s prosecution team for the corrupt Deep State monsters they are.

Stone did nothing that was of a criminal nature that threatened the people of this country or violated the laws that helped the Trump campaign win an allegedly “illegal election.”  His only crime was supporting Donald J. Trump for President, just like Lt. General Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and so many others.

Roger Stone was charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to the special counsel. Significantly, the alleged false statements specified in the indictment were about conduct, which, if admitted, was not criminal.

On January 23, 2019, Mueller’s office illegally leaked Roger Stone’s indictment, written by Andrew Weissmann, to CNN. The illegal leak is a bigger crime that carries a heavier penalty than what Stone was charged with. See the entire Mueller timeline.

Mueller’s witch hunt was closed last May, although several prosecutors had remained behind to handle cases like Stone’s — prompting conservative commentators to openly wonder if politics had motivated their desire for an especially harsh sentence for Stone.

Prosecutors Resign

Timothy Shea is the new interim U.S. attorney for the D.C. office replacing Jessie Liu. Liu’s office oversaw prosecutions including those against Trump associates Paul Manafort, General Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone.

President Trump withdrew his nomination of Liu to serve as a top Treasury Department official.  She had worked in Justice during the Bush administration and became a member of Trump’s transition team and was appointed U.S. Attorney for DC.

Last year, AG Barr tried to promote her to the number three slot in justice, but that plan was thwarted by Senator Mike Lee. As it turned out, Liu was a pro-abort and she had opposed the confirmation of Samuel Alito. Senator Lee and AG Barr actually got into a shouting match when Liu was blocked for not being conservative.

The president’s move to withdraw Liu’s nomination comes just hours after four Justice Department lawyers quit following a move by senior leaders at the department to overrule the prosecutors’ judgment by seeking a lesser sentence for long-time Trump ally Roger Stone after he was found guilty of lying to Congress.

Timothy Shea is a former close adviser to AG Barr.  As a top Barr aide, Shea helped manage the Epstein crisis and oversee the lingering Mueller Cases in D.C.  As explained in my previous article, the entire Mueller drama was unnecessary and everyone knew it; the goal was to destroy those who had supported Donald Trump in order to discredit him.

Front-line prosecutors, two previously with Mueller’s team, argued for a sentence on the higher end for Stone than some of their supervisors were comfortable with, according to people familiar with the discussions.  Just as interestingly, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney, Shea, approved this aggressive stance, though not without some pushback.  The judge actually does the sentencing, the prosecutors only suggest punishment.

Four career DOJ prosecutors, abruptly resigned from their posts on Tuesday, February 10th in an apparent dramatic protest just hours after senior leaders at the DOJ said they would take the extraordinary step of effectively overruling the prosecutors’ judgment by seeking a lesser sentence for President Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone.

Jonathan Kravis, Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando all withdrew.  Jed and Zelensky were prosecutors who worked for Robert Mueller.  All four quit in a crybaby huff because they weren’t getting their way.  Well, good riddance!

After the withdrawals by other attorneys, the DOJ’s new sentencing memo in Stone’s case was signed only by John Crabb Jr., the acting head of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, DC.

Former acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker said, “There is no precedent for a harsh sentence recommendation for Roger Stone.” The sentencing judgment was draconian for the conviction.  The average time a rapist spends in prison is four years, an armed robber serves three years and for violent assault, one and half years. Link

Nowhere on the web can anyone even find what Stone lied to Congress about! The prosecution’s desire to imprison Stone for seven to nine years is more than vicious, it’s despotic.

DOJ Alters Sentence

The decision to alter the sentencing recommendation was made before President Trump’s tweet, said Kerri Kupec, the director of DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs. Kupec said the DOJ has had no contact with the White House regarding the sentencing recommendation.

The democrats went into their typical Trump Derangement Syndrome hysteria and threatened another impeachment with Schiff accusing Trump of an “abuse of power.”

Speaker Pelosi, (D-CA) repeated the tired and preposterous meme.  Rep. Eric Swalwell, (D-CA) a chronic impeachment enthusiast, refused to rule out another attempt to remove Trump from office.  The unhinged harangues were all predicated on a brazen assumption that Trump had directed AG Barr to overrule the trial prosecutors and recommend a more appropriate and equitable sentence for Stone, which by the way, he has the right to do.  The deranged left is angry at Trump for exposing the wrongdoing.

Pelosi’s gang of psychotic lunatics are now using Barr as a political punching bag, and unfortunately Trump’s tweets made it worse.

Barr Complains About Tweets

AG Barr publicly complained that Trump’s tweets make it difficult for him to do his job.  He told ABC News, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president.  Well, as you know, the Stone case was prosecuted while I was attorney general. And I supported it. I think it was established, he was convicted of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. And I thought that was a righteous prosecution. And I was happy that he was convicted.”  Well, if Barr thinks this is a righteous case, then where are indictments for McCabe and Comey?  AG Barr stressed, however, that the president never asked him to interfere in the criminal case against Stone, a longtime friend of the president.

Barr was disrespectful of our president and his first amendment rights; Donald J. Trump is the boss, not Bill Barr. Tweeting is how the President communicates with the American people.  The AG should have had a private meeting with President Trump rather than voicing his disapproval publicly.  Link

Two-Tiered Justice

A prime example of two-tiered justice is the reason the president withdrew his nomination of Jessie Liu.  During her time as U.S. attorney she helped a man by the name of James Wolfe get away with leaking classified information and ultimately lying to the FBI.

Wolfe was the former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee. He was indicted in 2018 for leaking info to four journalists including one with whom he was having an affair.   He lied to the FBI and according to his indictment Wolfe picked up a highly classified document on the 17th of March to take to the intel committee.  A later FBI sentencing recommendation confirms that that document contained the first two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants for Carter Page and was the foundation for accelerated “Spygate.”

So, what happened to James Wolfe?  He was never charged with leaking classified information.  Politico reports that during the lame duck session after the 2018 midterms, Senators Warner, Richard Burr and Diane Feinstein asked for leniency in his case and that’s where Jessie Liu comes back into the case.  Link

Also, on March 17, Democratic Senator, Intel committee chairman, Sen. Mark Warner texted Christopher Steele’s attorney, Adam Waldman, that he was “going into the skiff.” (The skiff is a secure room.) What did they talk about?  March 17th is also the date stamped on the released FISA warrants that allowed the spying to begin on Carter Page.  And from that, it is fair to say that James Wolfe took custody of the Carter Page FISA applications and delivered them to the skiff where they were reviewed by Senator Warner and then leaked to the press by James Wolfe.

It was Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and U.S. Attorney for DC Jessie Liu who were the decision-makers.  U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu dropped most of the charges against Wolfe; she allowed him to plead guilty to only one count of lying to investigators.  Wolfe served exactly two months in prison.  Did Liu help coverup the Wolfe case?  It sure looks like it. Remember, two months in prison.  The President has pulled the nomination of Jessie Liu, and it’s not because of Roger Stone.

The disparity in treatment of those connected to President Trump is shocking when one considers the leniency to James Wolfe via the democrat senators requests.  Consider that none of the people responsible for the phony Russian collusion story have been prosecuted.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz filed criminal referrals against former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. AG Barr refused to indict, and no action has been taken against them.

IG Horowitz determined that officials at the FBI and Justice Department deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and obtained illegal warrants without probable cause in order to spy on a Trump campaign associate. So far, no one has been held accountable.

Conclusion

And oh yes, it was Roger Stone who came up with Make America Great Again (MAGA)!  On September 16, 2011, Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political advisor and a veteran of Reagan’s 1980 campaign, tweeted the slogan, “Make America Great Again -Trump Huckabee 2012.” Two months later, in December 2011, Trump made a statement in which he said he was unwilling to rule out running as a presidential candidate in the future, explaining “I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again.”

© All rights reserved.

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Parkland Dad, Andrew Pollack: “March for Our Lives” Made Kids LESS SAFE

Andrew Pollack is the father of Meadow Pollack, a victim of the Parkland mass murderer.  He works to get the truth out while gun control zealots work to hide the truth by blaming guns.  This courageous story is a must read for those who really want to know the truth.

Parkland Dad Andrew Pollack: ‘March for Our Lives’ Made America’s Kids Less Safe

By Andrew Pollack

Breitbart

February 14, 2020

Two years ago today, my daughter Meadow and sixteen others were murdered in the Parkland school shooting. For the families of the victims, it was an unspeakable tragedy. But for others, it was an incredible political opportunity.

The shooting propelled a handful of shrill student activists to fame. The most prominent one, David Hogg, later mused, “We really only remember a few hundred people, if that many, out of the billions that have ever lived. Is that what I was destined to become?”

No, David. My daughter wasn’t murdered so that you could fulfill your “destiny” of tweeting about historically marginalized “indigenous lgbtq women and non binary” gun control activists.

She was murdered because of the failures of the Broward County school district, sheriff’s office, and mental health services. Failures that partisan agitprop, spewed by you and the other March For Our Lives (MFOL) activists, helped to shield from the public eye.

Although I disagreed with the gun control kids politically, I made it a rule not to criticize them publicly. Because I figured that despite our differences, we all wanted the same thing: safe schools…

Read the full story here.

Court victory for UK ‘transphobia’ delinquent

Tweeting rhymes against transgenderism is allowed in a non-Orwellian state, says a judge.


Former British police officer Harry Miller has successfully challenged the use of Hate Crime Operational guidelines, issued by the College of Policing in 2014 and followed by police forces nationally.

A Judge found that they had been unlawfully used to interfere with Mr Miller’s freedom of speech when he was visited by a policeman to question him over a “transphobic limerick” he shared on Twitter.

The guidelines deal with actions “perceived to be motivated by hostility towards religion, race or transgender identity,” which must be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element.”

Although the police accepted that “such incidents are not crimes, they are still logged on a system and can show up during a criminal records check” when an individual applies for a job.

In a landmark ruling at the High Court, Mr Justice Julian Knowles ruled the tweets were lawful, and that there was not “the slightest risk” that Mr Miller “would commit a criminal offence by continuing to tweet.” The judge added that the UK has never been an “Orwellian society,” nor had it experienced “a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi.” (“Judge rules in favour of free speech in ‘transphobic’ limerick case,” Telegraph, February 15, 2020).

But precisely because we have never lived in a police state – rather, having been used to a political system in which open debate brings about changes in the law and in society by democratic means – we have been slow to recognise the threat of fundamental changes introduced by stealth, incrementally and promoting apparently benign measures.

Coming from different angles, in fact it was a pincer movement conducted by social campaigners on one side and legal activists on the other, in whose grip the majority are suddenly finding themselves trapped.

After his self-funded challenge, Mr Miller celebrated his victory outside court, hailing the outcome as a “watershed moment for liberty” and vowing to continue tweeting. However, Mr Justice Knowles rejected his wider challenge to the lawfulness of the College of Policing’s guidance, ruling that it “serves legitimate purpose and is not disproportionate.”’

The case will now be tested at the Supreme Court after Mr Justice Knowles granted a “leapfrog certificate” to allow it to skip the Court of Appeal stage, but as the Telegraph points out, although “scathing in his judgment of Mr Miller’s treatment,” Mr Justice Knowles “defended the College of Policing’s guidelines on ‘non-crime hate incidents’,” even though they are the source of the problem.

The guidelines speak of incidents that are “perceived … to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice” and which are to be recorded “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element.”

Moreover, although “the police say they are working hard and that they just do not have the money or time to attend every crime scene,” they are putting huge efforts into “recording non-crimes”. The Government has pledged to introduce 20,000 new police officers, but “the Home Office must make sure that they are deployed to tackle actual crime, not people’s opinions.” (Telegraph comment, “Non-crimes should not waste police time,” February 15, 2020).

Thanks to Freedom of Information requests made by the Telegraph – and cited in court by Mr Miller – it has emerged that ‘nearly 120,000 “non-crime” hate incidents were recorded by police forces between 2014 and 2019.

Mr Miller was investigated by PC Mansoor Gul, a “community cohesion officer” who said Mr Miller needed to “check his thinking” – at which point, he says, he knew the police had gone too far. He told The Telegraph the incident was indicative of the growing “political corruption” of British policing, recalling strict instructions, during his time in the force, when policing public marches “to not even step in time with the music in case it gave the impression of being political,” although now they are doing the complete opposite. “I even have one picture of a British police officer carrying a riot shield painted in the trans flag colours.” (“’Don’t tell me to check my thinking … that is not the job of the police’,” Telegraph, February 15, 2020).

PC Gul disputes Mr Miller’s claim, but in fact it is the police that need to “check their thinking” – even check whether they are still thinking. For several years now, uniformed police have marched in Gay Pride marches. Far from fostering community cohesion, they have been dragged in to become enforcers of sexual diversity, thereby setting the majority against a tiny number of troubled individuals, at the behest of their self-appointed champions.

It is said that he who pays the piper calls the tune, but although the public pays for policing they do not pay to be policed; it is the sexual diversity campaign that is calling the tune to which the police are marching in lockstep. And the Supreme Court, which will hear Mr Miller’s case and may reject it, thus entrenching intolerance in law, has shown its left-liberal bias regarding Brexit.

In 2010 the Equality Act introduced legal protections on the basis of race and disability – things that cannot be helped – but also sexual activity and identity – things that can be helped.

Recently, an employment tribunal judge ruled that the view of tax expert Maya Forstater, who expressed criticism of trans issues online, was not “a protected philosophical belief under the 2010 Equality Act,” that there was “no legal right to question whether a transgender person is a man or a woman,” and that Ms Forstater’s belief was ‘“not worthy of respect in a democratic society’.” (“Test case rules against tax expert sacked over transgender tweet,” Telegraph, December 19, 2019).

An Orwellian situation has morphed into a Kafkaesque one, where no one knows exactly what they are accused of and no one knows exactly what they are allowed to say – consequently the safest course is to say nothing on the subject. The activists who police other people’s speech are the ones who decide who is guilty and who is innocent, and they can be as offensive as they like – nobody will investigate them.

Indeed, although the police guidelines purport to protect religion, anyone quoting the Bible or citing it in defence of traditional Christian beliefs on sexuality, is in danger of being arrested or sacked.

We have gone from true tolerance – where everyone has a right to their opinion – to the self-identifying policers of public speech believing that only their opinion is the truth. Of course, though everyone has a right to their opinion, everyone’s opinion cannot be right, but it does help to be backed up by medical science. In the case of trans issues this is entirely lacking, yet we have come to a point where, in the face of biological evidence, a tiny number of individuals who believe themselves to be the opposite sex, must be believed.

Indeed, their beliefs must be affirmed and even celebrated, as clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson found in 2017 when he refused to refer to individuals in line with their chosen gender. He famously protested an Ontario Human Rights Commission ruling that “refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity” in a workplace or a school, would probably be considered discrimination.”

Peterson argued that his objections were on the grounds of free speech, and nothing to do with discrimination, and that at no time in British Common Law history has the legal code mandated what we must say, as opposed to what we must not say. He did add that “he would use the gender-neutral pronoun of a particular person, if they asked him.” (Mick Brown, “What’s wrong with the Petersons?” Telegraph, February 15, 2020).

In a very short time we have gone from policing speech to censoring speech to compelled speech, but even those who defend the right to free speech fall silent on the issue of banning silent prayer outside abortion clinics.

This is chiefly because the defenders of free speech are on the Left, and although on trans issues they have truth on their side, the strongest party will win if politicians continue to back the trans campaign. In this war of words, the trans fascists will succeed in silencing every mention of the issue apart from fulsome praise for all things trans.

The anti-trans campaigners reject dire warnings that criticism can be hurtful, insisting that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. In this case, however, the words of the trans activists will not only hurt the right to free speech, but kill it off entirely.

COLUMN BY

ANN FARMER

Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Granddaughter of Slaying Victim, 92, Backs Trump’s Fight Against Illegal-Immigrant ‘Sanctuaries’

VIDEO:


Daria Ortiz’s voice cracked when speaking at a White House event Friday, as she described how New York City’s “sanctuary city” status let her family—and the rest of the city’s residents—down.

Her 92-year-old grandmother, Maria Fuertes, a legal immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was sexually assaulted and killed last month, and police have charged illegal immigrant and alleged repeat criminal offender Reeaz Khan, 21.

Khan, from Guyana, was previously arrested on assault charges, but the city released him, despite an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request.

Sanctuary jurisdictions are cities, counties, and states that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants—in some cases, dangerous criminals—and obstruct federal immigration enforcement. That usually comes in the form of ignoring ICE detainer orders, except when there is a court order.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“Before coming to America, [Fuertes] worked as a secretary for the president in her native country, the Dominican Republic. She is a shining example of people who come legally to this country, work hard and do the right thing, and are law-abiding citizens,” Ortiz said. “My grandmother raised her children and her grandchildren while working hard to give us a future.”

Ortiz stood with President Donald Trump in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, speaking to a crowd of about 220 U.S. Border Patrol agents and family members at a gathering of the National Border Patrol Council, the agents’ union.

During the event, Trump spoke about his administration’s immigration policies, the border wall, and cracking down on sanctuary jurisdictions.

The Justice Department recently filed lawsuits against the states of California and New Jersey, as well as against King County, Washington. All three lawsuits argue that the states and the county have violated the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the Constitution, contending the jurisdictions are flouting federal immigration laws.

“Unfortunately, my grandmother had to be the example of why something like this horrific crime should never happen,” Ortiz said, adding:

Our family’s hope is that her death was not in vain and that preventative measures are put into place to ensure that nothing like this happens to anyone again.

The tragedy in all of this is the fact that this could have been avoided had there been no sanctuary law.

She then talked about Khan, the defendant, facing seven charges, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, and tampering with physical evidence.

“The man that is responsible for this should have never had the opportunity to do this, had his multiple offenses not been ignored,” Ortiz said, adding:

The system not only failed our family, but it failed our city. Our family would like to thank the administration for acknowledging my family’s tragedy and extending their concern.

Trump, who introduced Ortiz, returned to the podium and called for Congress to pass legislation that would allow the families of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue municipalities over sanctuary laws.

A bill to do just that, the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and a companion House bill was introduced by Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., last summer. No action has taken place on either bill, according to Congress.gov.

“Not one more American life should be stolen by sanctuary cities,” the president said. “They are all over the place, and a lot of people don’t want them. Many, many communities don’t want them in California. The politicians want them for whatever reason.”

The California Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom made it the nation’s first sanctuary state.

“That’s why we are calling on Congress to pass legislation giving American victims the right to sue sanctuary cities and hold them accountable for the suffering and the damages that they’ve caused,” Trump said.

“American citizens are entitled to safe neighborhoods and safe streets that, really, the people in this room have provided when given the opportunity,” he said, referring to the Border Patrol agents at the event. “The sanctuary cities are not really giving that opportunity.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

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

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.