A Troubling Year in Review

Fr. Gerald Murray: If the dark clouds of 2018 have a silver lining, it’s that there’s a chance that immoral priests and bishops will no longer be tolerated. 


One aspect of getting older, and wiser, is the shedding of once comforting, but in fact naïve illusions about individuals or groups. We normally trust that certain people and groups who profess to carry out a particular and demanding mission in society are in fact going to do just that. Past performance, as far as we know, was good and the future promises more of the same.

But reality is more complicated than that. Illusions give way to a more realistic understanding. High expectations about people and groups are often shown to be illusions based on incomplete knowledge of their past performance. The reputation for competence and integrity may exist largely because contradictory evidence of failure was carefully hidden from public view, or downplayed when made public.

The overcoming of the false impressions that once buttressed our appreciation of persons and groups is a good and necessary step in facing the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be. I remember being told that growth into maturity consists in the ever-increasing ability to deal effectively with complexity. Simplistic judgments are often attractive but are not usually sufficient.

Knowing the complexity of things, however, should not mean losing our sense of awe for God’s providence in guiding the course of the world and His Church. Discovering facts and casting aside illusions is unsettling, especially when it comes to the way the Church manages her affairs, which means how the leaders of the Church carry out their duties, which should be in absolute fidelity to the teaching of Christ.

These year-end reflections on illusion and reality are of course prompted by what has been happening in our Church during the past twelve months. The reality is that the once common high regard for bishops as a group, and for many individual bishops, has been shattered by the revelation of sexual abuse and episcopal patterns of covering up immorality and malfeasance.

Catholics in the United States and elsewhere were genuinely stunned to discover the sordid story of ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s depredations, the hidden payoffs made by other bishops to seminarian and priest victims of McCarrick, and the seemingly unhurried response of the Holy See in pursuing these canonical crimes.

McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals in July and was ordered to live a life of prayer and penance without travel and public appearances while awaiting completion of a canonical process. He was first accused of molesting a seminarian in September 2017. The Holy See judged this accusation to be credible in June 2018. McCarrick has not been tried by a canonical court as of December 2018. Why the delay if the evidence was compelling six months ago?

In August, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released and precipitated the downfall of the most influential American cardinal, Washington’s Archbishop Donald Wuerl. Shortly thereafter, Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling, West Virginia, a McCarrick protégé, was abruptly retired and placed under investigation for sexual harassment of adults.

Dante and Virgil speak to Pope Nicholas III in the Eighth Circle of Hell by Gustave Doré, 1861 [The engraving was among a number Doré did illustrating The Divine Comedy. Nicholas III was pope from 1270-1280 and was accused of selling ecclesiastical offices, a.k.a. simony.]

There followed accusations by the former Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that many people in the Holy See, in particular Pope Francis, knew about McCarrick’s immorality and abuse of authority and acted in ways that kept him from being held accountable.

When Pope Francis refused to answer journalists’ questions about Viganò’s charges on a flight back from Ireland, he frustrated those who want to know how McCarrick amassed such power and prestige when his behavior had been reported multiple times to the Holy See in the past. Francis told the journalists to do their job and look into Viganò’s charges. But when journalists started to call the cardinals and bishops named in Viganò’s memorandum no one wanted to respond. A cone of silence seemed to descend on the Vatican.

The American bishops asked for an investigation of McCarrick’s rise. The Holy See has only responded that a review of documents in various curial offices is being conducted. While a good first step, that hardly constitutes a thorough investigation. What about taking testimony from those in the know? Or promising to make public the evidence and the findings? Or inviting McCarrick’s victims to meet with the Holy Father and tell him directly what happened, as was the case in Chile?

The U.S. bishops were set to take concrete steps at their annual November meeting to put an end to a hierarchical culture in which priests, and even bishops such as McCarrick, were protected from revelations of crimes and allowed to continue in place, thanks to payoffs and confidentiality agreements. The last-minute instruction from the Holy See to take no action until after a February meeting in the Vatican was met with stunned incredulity. Is this the right way to address a five-alarm crisis of confidence in the Church and her leaders regarding horrendous crimes and malfeasance?

The faith and love of Catholics for Christ and His Church has been severely tried this year. The common expectation among Catholics that the bishops as a whole shared the same horror of sexual, and in particular of homosexual, immorality among the clergy has been shown to be an illusion. So be it.

Love for the Church has prompted laity to call for a reform of the hierarchy. Accountability for past failures to root out sexual immorality is the first necessity, as is a clear demonstration that a repeat of the career path of a Theodore McCarrick will be impossible in the future.

Bishops will only regain the respect of ordinary Catholics if they truly live up to what we all believe is the Church’s true mission, the salvation of souls. If the dark clouds of 2018 have a silver lining, it’s that there is now at least some chance that immoral and conniving priests and bishops will no longer be tolerated, protected, or promoted, but rather called to repent and held to account.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured photo is by Giulio Del Prete on Unsplash.

The Curry Wall: Preventing access to public information. Maybe we should “recycle” politicians?

Putting stuff into the yellow-topped curbside recycling bins may make homeowners feel virtuous, but it probably isn’t saving the taxpayers any money.

The popular notion is that the garbage is sold and the operation breaks even or makes a profit.

Not quite.

The city does get $1.5 million in revenue, but it spends $2.2 million, not even counting the cost of collection. (It also avoids using space in the landfill.)

What is more, the prospects are dim for improving the situation.

Waste Management, which is heavily involved in trying to make recycling work, has been closing recycling centers and its CEO has noted: “To be sustainable overtime, recycling operations must make economic sense.”

The reasons that recycling is losing ground are that processing costs are up and commodity prices are down.

Contamination is a major problem and is the main reason much of the material collected after considerable time and expense ends up in a landfill, by a circuitous route.

Homeowners can help by recycling all empty bottles, cans and paper, and keeping food, liquids and loose plastic bags out of the recycling bin.

Turning garbage into gold isn’t magic.

Duval County collected nearly 3 million tons of solid waste last year. Only five other counties had more.

One interesting note: Among the largest counties, Duval collects the most waste per capita – an eye-opening 17.3 pounds per person per day. That number has been growing since 2013.

Duval had a recycling rate of 58 percent, which was better than the top five but more waste went into landfill than four of the top five, because Duval burns almost no solid waste. Hillsborough recycles less but burns 27 percent of the waste it collects and Palm Beach burns 36 percent.

At one time, Duval burned much of its waste. During the 1980s there was a proposal to build an incinerator that would produce energy, but it failed to pass the City Council.

Florida, incidentally, has an ambitious goal of reaching 75 percent recycling by 2020, but isn’t even meeting the current 60 percent goal.

One reason is that the commercial sector generates two-thirds of the waste. Household recycling alone simply won’t do the job.

Since recycling, burying and burning all entail a cost, the question is whether Jacksonville is using the most cost/efficient mix of waste disposal.

It affects everyone. Currently, using recycling is optional. It could become mandatory and even more burdensome on the homeowner if he is required to separate materials himself.

We wanted to ask City Hall about this and other matters pertaining to solid waste disposal but were unable to break through the Curry Wall, which prevents access to public information.

As the recent Task Force on Open Government noted, the Curry administration seals off access to public officials in order to “control the message,” which is one way of saying “spin it in the mayor’s favor.”

We couldn’t find the information on the city’s Web site (also criticized by the task force) so we went to the people who are supposed to provide the public with information.

Mayor Lenny Curry’s highly paid public information officer gave us several snarky replies to our requests, then basically told us to go get the information ourselves from the state government. That is where we obtained the figures about waste collection and disposal.

It doesn’t tell us anything about whether the city’s costly recycling program is efficient or worthwhile, but Eye on Jacksonville will continue to seek ways to climb Curry’s Wall and obtain information.

COLUMN BY

LLOYD BROWN

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared on Eye on Jacksonville. It is republished with permission.

Why a Judge Ruled Obamacare Unconstitutional, and What Policymakers Should Do Next

A judge has declared Obamacare unconstitutional—but the case is far from over.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a motion for summary judgement in favor of 20 states led by Texas that had filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act on Friday.

Now that O’Connor has ruled, the losing side is sure to appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and ultimately the Supreme Court.

However, as the case continues to wind its way through the legal system, it is imperative that policymakers pursue real health care reform. Obamacare isn’t working for too many American families and individuals slammed with high premiums and few choices. Rather than looking for ways to keep Obamacare in place amid these legal challenges, lawmakers should pursue real solutions.

The Judge’s Reasoning in Striking Down Obamacare

As part of the last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress repealed the financial penalty associated with failing to comply with the individual mandate, effective in 2019.

In 2012, in NFIB v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate by the narrowest of margins when Chief Justice John Roberts, providing the deciding vote, devised a novel theory construing the penalty associated with violating the individual mandate as a tax that Congress has the power to levy under the Constitution.

Texas argues that once the penalty is reduced to $0, it can no longer be considered a legitimate tax, and that therefore the individual mandate would no longer have a constitutional leg to stand on.

Moreover, Texas argues, in upholding the individual mandate, the Supreme Court appeared to rely on the argument that Congress considered the individual mandate to be a central—indeed, indispensable—component of Obamacare that is not “severable” from the rest of its provisions, and that without it, the rest of the law should be invalidated.

A group of 17 states led by California are defending the law, arguing that even a tax of $0 is still a tax, and that it was never Congress’ intent to get rid of the rest of Obamacare when it repealed the financial penalty associated with the individual mandates as part of last year’s tax bill.

In granting the plaintiffs’ motion, O’Connor stated, showing his agreement with Texas’ argument:

The [Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] eliminated that [individual mandate] tax. The Supreme Court’s reasoning in NFIB—buttressed by other binding precedent and plain text—thus compels the conclusion that the individual mandate may no longer be upheld under the tax power. And because the individual mandate continues to mandate the purchase of health insurance, it remains unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause—as the Supreme Court already held.

Finally, Congress stated many times unequivocally—through enacted text signed by the president—that the individual mandate is “essential” to the ACA. And this essentiality, the [Affordable Care Act’s] text makes clear, means the mandate must work ‘together with the other provisions’ for the Act to function as intended. All nine justices to review the [Affordable Care Act] acknowledged this text and Congress’s manifest intent to establish the individual mandate as the [Affordable Care Act’s] ‘essential’ provision. The current and previous administrations have recognized that, too. Because rewriting the ACA without its ‘essential’ feature is beyond the power of an Article III court, the Court thus adheres to Congress’s textually expressed intent and binding Supreme Court precedent to find the individual mandate is inseverable from the [Affordable Care Act’s] remaining provisions.

What Should Be Next

But the legal fight aside, we need a better health care solution than Obamacare.

One of Obamacare’s core conceits was that what (allegedly) worked in Massachusetts would also work on a national scale. That hasn’t borne out.

Instead, Obamacare led to years of increasing costs and decreasing choices. Premiums doubled in the first four years of the program. Millions lost the coverage they used to have. Americans found it harder to pick the right plan and doctor, as health plan choices declined and provider networks narrowed. Frustrated providers are drowning in red tape and increasingly feeling burned out. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the hook for the money needed to paper over Obamacare’s flawed structure.

Those who seem to benefit most from Obamacare are big insurance companies that embraced the law and receive a steady stream of taxpayer subsidies and politicians who made endless promises to reform Obamacare but failed to deliver.

Real Solutions for Pre-Existing Conditions

Regardless of these facts, expect many in Congress to call for immediate restoration of Obamacare in the name of protecting the sick and people with pre-existing conditions.

Some on the left claim Congress must protect Obamacare because only Obamacare allows Americans with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. That’s an irresponsible, false dilemma and Congress should reject it.  

There are steps that states can take right now to ensure people with pre-existing conditions are protected, even if Obamacare ultimately goes away.

Congress should let states review their health care regulations and pursue innovative ways to make coverage more affordable and accessible to Americans—regardless of their income or medical status.  Every state legislature is about to go into session in early 2019, so this is both a desirable and possible approach.

Empower the States

Congress does have a role to play in helping families and individuals get the quality private coverage they want, and helping health care professionals meet their needs. Conservatives have a proposal to achieve this: the Health Care Choices Proposal, which undoes Obamacare’s damage by letting states innovate.

Under Obamacare, insurance companies receive taxpayer subsidies dollar for dollar as they raise prices.  This proposal does away with that flawed spending scheme.

Instead, it would convert existing Obamacare spending into a grant that states would use to ensure chronically-ill patients have access to the health coverage of their choice. Greater flexibility and resources to the states means that all Americans, even those who are chronically sick, would have access to more health plans at better prices.

The Health Care Choices Proposal would lower premiums up to an estimated 32 percent and ensure that everyone can access a quality private coverage arrangement of their choice.

And everyone who gets a subsidy could decide what coverage to use it for, including private or employer-sponsored health insurance.

Individuals and families would be able to decide what coverage arrangement works for them, and decide whether to work directly with a doctor for primary care and buy catastrophic coverage, or get a plan that covers more costs up front. The proposal would be especially helpful to the working poor, who may want to have private coverage but lack the means to pay for it.

For most people, this is a much better option than what happens today: being pushed onto a government-controlled plan a bureaucrat thinks is best for them.

This proposal would build on a promising, emerging trend already happening in the states. When states have been given even a little bit of freedom from Obamacare’s mandates, they’ve been able to lower premiums using tools that ensure that the sick still retain access to care.

Politicians have long promised to replace Obamacare with solutions that help everyone. It’s time to deliver—no matter which way the courts go.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Marie Fishpaw

Marie Fishpaw

Marie Fishpaw is director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.

Portrait of John G. Malcolm

John G. Malcolm is the vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, overseeing The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: The Right Way to Overhaul Our Health Care System


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom.

Trump administration places Pakistan on list of worst violators of religious freedom

The Trump administration has put Pakistan “on its annual list of worst offenders for nations that it says infringe on religious freedom,” largely because of its infamous blasphemy laws. The high profile case of “Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was recently acquitted of blasphemy but has been unable to leave the country due to riots and death threats against her” highlights the severity of Islamic oppression in that country, where Muslims were hunting house to house to find and kill Bibi and her family.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom also released a report that accused “South East Asian nations of systematically failing to protect their populations’ religious rights, noting that ‘state officials’ in Pakistan often shield criminals forcing Christian or Hindu women into a Muslim marriage,” citing Pakistan as “home to the most egregious violations mentioned in the study.”

As abusive as Pakistan is to religious minorities and women, it also a state sponsor of terrorism, and is attempting to enforce its Islamic blasphemy laws internationally. Its Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to go to the UN to stop all Muhammad cartoons and criticism of Islam, and Pakistan has already succeeded in compelling Twitter to enforce Sharia. Twitter has absurdly sent warnings out to Western foes of jihad terror and Sharia oppression, telling them that their tweets violate Pakistani blasphemy laws.

“US Downgrades Pakistan in Religious Freedom Rankings,” Associated Press, December 11, 2018:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday placed Pakistan on its annual list of worst offenders for nations that it says infringe on religious freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement he added Pakistan to the U.S. list of “countries of particular concern” regarding protection for people to worship according to their beliefs. Pakistan had previously been on a special watch list for religious freedom. The downgrade means that Pakistan could be hit with U.S. sanctions, although Pompeo waived those penalties in the U.S. national interest.

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said the decision to designate Pakistan was largely the result of criminal blasphemy laws in the country. He said half of the world’s population of prisoners jailed for blasphemy are in Pakistan. And he noted the recent high-profile case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was recently acquitted of blasphemy but has been unable to leave the country due to riots and death threats against her.

“It’s our hope that the new leadership in Pakistan will work to improve the situation,” Brownback told reporters on a conference call to detail Pompeo’s findings. “There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi.”

Other countries on the blacklist, which calls out nations for “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom,” are China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. All had been so designated in last year’s list. Aside from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkistan received sanctions waivers.

Uzbekistan had previously been named a “country of particular concern,” but Pompeo upgraded it to the special watch list. The watch list now also includes the Comoros Islands and Russia.

In addition, Pompeo designated several Islamic militant groups as “entities of particular concern” as they do not meet the definition of countries. Those are the al-Nusra front in Syria, the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida, Somalia’s al-Shabab, Boko Haram in West Africa, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Islamic State and the Taliban…..

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Sameer Akhtari on Unsplash.

The Conceit Behind California’s Bad Idea to Tax Text Messages

State bureaucrats are moving to impose a texting tax on California residents in the name of providing mobile services to the poor.


California routinely makes national headlines for its big government policies. This week is no different, as bureaucrats move to impose a texting tax on state residents in the name of providing mobile services to the poor.

In a November proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission, Commissioner Carla J. Peterman laid out the “proposed decision” exploring the potential effectiveness of the tax.

According to that 52-page report, California’s budget continues to increase even as tax revenues fall:

“A review of California’s total reported intrastate telecommunications industry revenue, which is used to fund universal service, shows a steady decline in revenue from $16.527 Billion in 2011 to $11.296 Billion in 2017. At the same time, California Public Purpose Program budgets show a steady increase from $670 million in 2011 to $998 million in 2017…”

California’s Public Purpose program, which adds a surcharge to consumers’ bills for utilities like gas in order to provide universal services to those who can’t afford them, would be tasked with facilitating the proposed text tax. And though the analysis refers to “industry revenue,” the funds would come from taxing individual wireless customers.

Mercury News, a San Jose-based news outlet, noted that while it is still unclear how much consumers would be forced to pay, the fee would “likely would be billed as a flat surcharge per customer” as opposed to a per-text rate.

While the Commission’s analysis acknowledges opposing arguments—including carrier companies’ assertions that the tax “would not preserve and advance universal service because it does not broaden the base of universal service consumers”—the commission ultimately advocated the additional tax burden.

Parties supporting the collection of surcharges on text messaging revenue argue that it will help preserve and advance universal service by increasing the revenue base upon which Public Purpose Programs rely,” they write. “We agree.”

Business advocacy groups like the Bay Area Council, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group estimated that the proposed tax could generate $44.5 million in tax revenue per year. However, “they add that under the regulators’ proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years—which they call ‘an alarming precedent’—and could amount to a bill of more than $220 million for California consumers,” Mercury News reports.

“It’s a dumb idea,” said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council business advocacy group. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

Wunderman also questioned the necessity of additional taxes, referencing California’s current budget surplus:

“While perhaps well-intentioned, the specific programs that the commissioners are hoping to fund with your tax dollars already has around $1 billion to spend. These programs are not in need of greater funding from texting or any other source, and even if they were, there is already an approved, transparent process at the commission to raise the necessary funds without the need to create new taxes.”

Further, the proposed fees make even less sense considering the rise in popularity of internet-based messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and Telegram, which would not be subject to the tax. In fact, the tax could very well push consumers further toward these internet-based apps to avoid extra costs.

The November document is not legally binding, but it does assert the Commission’s alleged power to impose a texting tax.

Whether or not the proposed tax becomes actual policy come January, the simple fact that it has been suggested at all illustrates the misguided yet pervasive belief in California that government omnipotence can create prosperity.

It’s precisely this type of thinking that has caused the Golden State to squander one of the largest economies in the world, driving away businesses and individuals alike and inflating costs of living with the imposition of convoluted, interventionist policies. Because of restrictive zoning laws and bureaucratic regulations that make housing inaccessible to the middle class and the poor, for example, California continues to claim the highest rate of poverty in the country despite the billions of dollars it spends on welfare and social services.

Despite the best—and heavy-handed—efforts of politicians and bureaucrats, the people they claim to represent continue to suffer under their policies. This should all come as no surprise. As economist Friedrich von Hayek observed:

“To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”

COLUMN BY

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler is a video blogger and Senior Editor for Anti-Media.

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

Muslim workers at Amazon demand longer prayer times, less work

Amazon has banned Jihad Watch from Amazon Smile and Amazon Associates, but its aid to jihadis has not led to its being accorded any breaks by its Muslim workers.

“Amazon says it has offered accommodations such as providing prayer mats for workers, converting a conference room into prayer space during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and approving shift transfers for fasting workers.”

But it isn’t enough.

“The workers, many of whom are practicing Muslims, say the required productivity rate is too high, the company is unconcerned about worker injuries and that the conditions don’t allow practicing Muslims to pray as they otherwise would.”

The idea is to reinforce the principle, already established in other cases, that Muslims must always have special privileges and accommodations that others do not have. This is true now at Amazon unless non-Muslim workers get time off work equal to the prayer breaks that Muslims are given. Islamic law denies non-Muslims basic rights; only Muslims enjoy full rights in an Islamic society. To establish a similar situation in the U.S. is the ultimate goal here.

“Somali-American Amazon workers demand better conditions,” by Kerem Yucel and Nova Safo, AFP, December 15, 2018 (thanks to Mark):

A group of Amazon workers in Minnesota who are Somali refugees resettled in the Midwestern US state demanded better working conditions Friday during a protest outside one of the retailer’s warehouses.

Hundreds braved frigid temperatures to demonstrate outside of the Amazon warehouse in the Minneapolis suburb of Shakopee—home to a sizable Somali immigrant population from which Amazon has heavily recruited….

“We don’t have rights in the company,” worker Abdulkadir Ahmad, 30, told AFP.

The workers, many of whom are practicing Muslims, say the required productivity rate is too high, the company is unconcerned about worker injuries and that the conditions don’t allow practicing Muslims to pray as they otherwise would.

“We do not have enough time to pray. There is a lot of pressure. They say your rate is too low,” Ahmad said.

The workers timed their protest during the busy holiday shopping season, hoping to force the online retailer to make changes.

Amazon’s accommodations

They already have had some success. Amazon says it has offered accommodations such as providing prayer mats for workers, converting a conference room into prayer space during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and approving shift transfers for fasting workers.

“Additionally, we’ve continued to hire and develop East African employees. We’re a leader in this space and we feel really good about our record here,” Amazon spokeswoman Shevaun Brown told AFP via email….

But workers say Amazon’s efforts so far have fallen short.

“We are appreciative they’ve sat down and talked with us, but we are not seeing real action,” activist Abdi Muse said.

Muse is the executive director of the Awood Center, a union-backed non-profit that organized the protest and helps East African workers in the state….

“When workers leave Amazon, they still live with the back pain, chronic illness, and hurt and harm caused during their employment,” said Ahmed Anshur, the imam at the Al-Ihsan Islamic Center in the nearby state capital of Saint Paul.

Protesters said they want the multibillion-dollar company to give back to the struggling community that has been a major source of its workforce in the Minneapolis area by giving money to a community fund to help struggling immigrant families.

“It’s not a handout or a donation,” said Mohamed Omar, imam at another Minneapolis suburban mosque….

Of course not. Why, who would think such a thing?\

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared on Jihad Watch. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash.

Illegal Immigration and the Cost of Stupidity

Boggles the mind. I mean really, have a look at the numbers and tell me what I am missing. Illegal Immigration and the Cost of Stupidity. It boggles the mind. Or does it? As you think through this, you may come to realize that they are de-cloaked. The enemy within has been going through a full scale de-cloaking and they are now hidden in plain sight. Check out my recent interview at INFOWARS for a more in depth view about the enemy within and their intentions (Globalization) and vision for America.

Nationalism vs. Globalism

So we can see in the recent transparent exchange between Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and President Trump (with VP Pence quietly and wisely observing) that we are heading for a showdown in a matter of days. Fundamentally, it comes down to this. Nationalism vs. Globalism, a clash of world views. I will tell you this. Trump will get his wall and Mexico in the end, will be paying for it.

I talked about the cost of illegal immigration recently in this interview. The immigration segment begins at time marker 36:10. But before we get into the cost of illegal immigration which is detailed below, I would like to share with you some views with regards to this subject. Why all the attacks and backlash against then candidate Trump and now President Trump? This is an easy one to explain. You see once you come to understand the ruling elite’s goal for a New World Order, a one world government (Globalism), it all begins to make sense.

Stripping away the sovereignty of nations began in Europe. The consolidation became known as the European Union. Border-less neighboring nations, one currency. Ah, kumbaya-not! Can you say BREXIT? So how did that work out? Disastrous. Turn on the evening news. Been to Paris lately? Meanwhile on the streets in Poland, England and France thousands are chanting “We want Trump”. Oh yeah, MSM failed to cover that. So Trump gains global support and is the most loved man alive today. But back on point.

As you stroll through somewhat recent history you find that the globalist’s plan was quite similar for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. A parallel move to the European Union and the Euro, was to be the North American Union and the Amero. Sure they called it a conspiracy, but as we know many of the conspiracy theories of yesterday have proven to be the conspiracy facts and realities of today in this great awakening that is taking place around the world today.

During George W. Bush’s time in the White House marching to the beat of Globalism just like his Poppy, (may he rest_ _ ), the plan was simply this. The U.S., Canada, and Mexico was to become the North American Union, a border-less nation with one currency called the Amero. Don’t believe me? It was on the floor of Congress.  Look it up. Get some skin in the game. Lou Dobbs, when at CNN at the time had this to say about the North American Union.

So here comes candidate Trump, upsetting the globalists apple cart. You can clearly see now in this de-cloaking stage I referred to earlier, why low energy Jeb, GWB and now deceased Poppy Bush all spoke out against then candidate Trump even after winning the GOP nomination. Nor did they did attend the RNC acceptance event. All three Bush’s also have denounced the now sitting President, President Donald Trump.

So again, here comes candidate and now President Trump. So why all the border backlash then and now? Well besides stripping the sovereignty of the U.S. via the North American Union, that border makes the deep state globalists a lot of money and feeds their goals to over throw America in many ways as well as feeding their sick, evil, demented perverted appetites. It is through this Mexican border where they control and cash in on running drugs, weapons and child sex trafficking.Thus catch and release and open border policies. Well there is a new Sheriff in town and this is about to end.

The Front Door is Closed

We all have a front door wherever it is that we live. It has a lock or locks on it too. Why? Well of course to keep us safe from uninvited intruders. After all you would not just let anyone into your home unless you invite them, know who they are, and why they will be coming into your home. Why? Because you want to protect yourself and your loved ones from being assaulted, raped, or killed. You want to protect the things you own from being damaged or stolen. Same goes for our country. My good friend Dr. Richard Davis, (R.I.P.), contributed this article to my website. Please read it. It is called My Front Door.

And Now The Numbers

Go ahead – have a look. Feast your eyes on these numbers. (then rush to the toilet because it may make you sick). You will never look at Pelosi and Schumer the same again giving our great President a song and a dance for $5 billion! These figures are excerpted from my book “Trump and the Resurrection of America” in chapter sixteen titled, “Immigration”.

1.  $14 billion to $22 billion dollars are spent each year on welfare to illegal aliens (that’s Billion with a ‘B’)

2. 22 billion dollars a year are spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens

3.  $7.5 billion dollars are spent each year on Medicaid for illegal aliens.

4.  $12 billion dollars are spent each year on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they still cannot speak a word of English

5.  $27 billion dollars are spent each year for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.

6.  $3 Million Dollars ‘PER DAY’ is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.  That’s $1.2 Billion a year.

7.  28% percent of all federal prison inmates are illegal aliens.

8.  $190 billion dollars are spent each year on illegal aliens for welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.

9.  $200 billion dollars per year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.

10.  The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that’s two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens.  In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US.

11.  During the year 2005, there were 8 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our southern border with as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from other terrorist countries.  Over 10,000 of those were middle-eastern terrorists.  Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin, crack, guns, and marijuana crossed into the U.S. from the southern border.

12.  The National Policy Institute, estimates that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion, or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.

13.  In 2006, illegal aliens sent home $65 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin, to their families and friends.

14.  The dark side of illegal immigration:  Over one million sex crimes have been committed by illegal immigrants in the United States!

The Denver Post?

Even the liberal Denver Post ran an article titled “What if They Left“. An excerpt is below,

I, Tina Griego, journalist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News wrote a column titled, “Mexican Visitor’s Lament.” I interviewed Mexican journalist Evangelina Hernandez while visiting Denver last week. Hernandez said, “Illegal aliens pay rent, buy groceries, buy clothes. What happens to your country’s economy if 20 million people go away?”

Hmmm, I thought, what would happen? So I did my due diligence, buried my nose as a reporter into the FACTS I found below. It’s a good question… it deserves an honest answer. Over 80% of Americans demand secured borders and illegal migration stopped. But what would happen if all 20 million or more vacated America? The answers I found may surprise you!

In California, if 3.5 million illegal aliens moved back to Mexico, it would leave an extra $10.2 billion to spend on overloaded school systems, bankrupt hospitals and overrun prisons. It would leave highways cleaner, safer and less congested. Everyone could understand one another as English became the dominant language again.

In Colorado, 500,000 illegal migrants, plus their 300,000 kids and grandchildren would move back “home,” mostly to Mexico. That would save Colorado an estimated $2 billion (other experts say $7 billion) annually in taxes that pay for schooling, medical, social-services and incarceration costs.  It means 12,000 gang members would vanish out of Denver alone.  Colorado would save more than $20 million in prison costs, and the terror that those 7,300 alien criminals set upon local citizens.  Denver Officer Don Young and hundreds of Colorado victims would not have suffered death, accidents, rapes and other crimes by illegals.  Denver Public Schools would not suffer a 67% dropout/flunk rate because of thousands of illegal alien students speaking 41 different languages.  At least 200,000 vehicles would vanish from our gridlocked cities in Colorado.  Denver’s 4% unemployment rate would vanish as our working poor would gain jobs at a living wage.

In Florida, 1.5 million illegals would return the Sunshine State back to America, the rule of law, and English.

In Chicago, Illinois, 2.1 million illegals would free up hospitals, schools, prisons and highways for a safer, cleaner and more crime-free experience.

If 20 million illegal aliens returned ‘home,’ the U.S.economy would return to the rule of law.  Employers would hire legal American citizens at a living wage. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes because they wouldn’t be working off the books.  That would result in an additional $401 billion in IRS income taxes collected annually, and an equal amount for local, state and city coffers.

No more push ‘1’ for Spanish or ‘2’ for English.  No more confusion in American schools that now must contend with over 100 languages that degrade the educational system for American kids.  Our overcrowded schools would lose more than two million illegal alien kids at a cost of billions in ESL and free breakfasts and lunches.

We would lose 500,000 illegal criminal alien inmates at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually.  That includes 15,000 MS-13 gang members who distribute $130 billion in drugs annually would vacate our country.  In cities like L.A., 20,000 members of the ’18th Street Gang’ would vanish from our nation.  No more Mexican forgery gangs for ID theft from Americans! No more foreign rapists and child molesters!

Losing more than 20 million people would clear up our crowded highways and gridlock.  Cleaner air and less drinking and driving American deaths by illegal aliens!

America’s economy is drained.  Taxpayers are harmed.  Employers get rich Over $80 billion annually wouldn’t return to the aliens’ home countries by cash transfers.  Illegal migrants earned half that money un taxed,which further drains America’s economy which currently suffers a $20 trillion debt.  $20 trillion debt!!!

At least 400,000 anchor babies would not be born in our country, costing us $109 billion per year per cycle.

At least 86 hospitals in California, Georgia and Florida would still be operating instead of being bankrupt out of existence because illegals pay nothing via the EMTOLA Act.  Americans wouldn’t suffer thousands of TB and hepatitis cases rampant in our country – brought in by illegals un-screened at our borders.

Our cities would see 20 million less people driving, polluting and grid locking our cities.  It would also put the ‘progressives’ on the horns of a dilemma; illegal aliens and their families cause 11% of our greenhouse gases.

Over one million of Mexico’s poorest citizens now live inside and along our border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego, California, in what the New York Times called, ‘colonies’ or new neighborhoods.  Trouble is, those living areas resemble Bombay and Calcutta where grinding poverty, filth, diseases, drugs, crimes, no sanitation and worse.  They live without sewage, clean water,streets, roads, electricity, or any kind of sanitation.  The New York Times reported them to be America’s new ‘ Third World ‘ inside our own country.  Within 20 years, at their current growth rate, they expect 20 million residents of those colonies.  (I’ve seen them personally in Texas and Arizona; it’s sickening beyond anything you can imagine.)  By enforcing our laws, we could repatriate them back to Mexico.  We should invite 20 million aliens to go home, fix their own countries and/or make a better life in Mexico.  We already invite a million people into our country legally annually, more than all other countries combined.  We cannot and must not allow anarchy at our borders, more anarchy within our borders and growing lawlessness at every level in our nation.

It’s time to stand up for our country, our culture, our civilization and our way of life.

 Conclusion

Immigration and the cost of stupidity? It’s not about the numbers as you can see. This game from Pelosi and company will backfire. Trump will build his wall. Mexico will pay for it. Oh yeah…follow Q. Carry on my friends, carry on.

It’s no longer about Democrat vs. Republican, left vs. right. This facade is nothing more than a corrupt controlled, contrived divide and conquer. We shall unite for the good of humanity as we strive to resurrect America from this post constitutional republic of utter lawlessness. We are now embarking upon this path.

The ultra left? Forget about them. We will deal with them at a later date. But your friends, neighbors, associates, family members who are Democrats? They are coming aboard. And soon the swamp will be drained both left and right. Share with them this post. Intelligent common people of good will may see the light. There are any fronts where we can help our friends and neighbors to see the light. This article focused on immigration. There are many unifying topics that will bring us together in life and at the ballot box in 2020. Pedophilia for example. I have written about this subject on and off over the past two years as well as in my book “Trump and the Resurrection of America. Here is a link to get you started.

Dangerous and challenging times indeed. But when your children and grand children ask you”What were you doing when the global governance was being thrust upon America and the world?” What will YOUR answer be? Freedom, it’s up to us! Stay safe. Pray for our President. Stay the course. We are winning my friends, we are winning!

RELATED ARTICLE: White House, Congress Gear Up For a Potential Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding 

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Brandi Ibrao on Unsplash.

An Ominous Pattern Is Emerging In Our Country, And It Should Scare All Of Us!

This week, from a published plea deal with prosecutors from the Southern District of New York (SDNY), we learned that American Media, Inc. (AMI), the National Enquirer‘s parent company, admitted to “making a contribution and expenditure. . . to the campaign of a candidate for President of the United States.”  In exchange for this admission, the SDNY agreed not to prosecute AMI for any crimes related to this contribution with the exception of any criminal tax violations that may have arisen.  Although the admission allows AMI to avoid prosecution for its campaign contribution, a neutral review of the facts laid out in the addendum to the September 30th plea deal calls to question whether a contribution to any campaign even occurred.

According to the plea deal arrangement published by SDNY, AMI made a contribution to the Trump campaign when it paid $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal in order to procure the rights to her story regarding her extra-marital affair with Donald Trump.  Prosecutors claim that the money paid to McDougal by AMI represented a campaign contribution because it was made with the intent of influencing the results of the election and in coordination with Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and unnamed “members or agents of the Trump campaign.”

The payment was allegedly made to McDougal after AMI CEO David Pecker received assurances from Cohen that he would reimburse Pecker for the transaction, and after Cohen created a shell corporation housing the money to be used to reimburse Pecker and AMI. However, despite the execution of the deal between McDougal and AMI, Pecker later called Cohen to tell him “that the deal was off and that Cohen should tear up the assignment agreement.”  The addendum does not explain why Pecker called off the deal with Cohen, but it does say that AMI subsequently published articles and pictures of McDougal on many of its magazines “to keep the model from commenting publicly about her story and her agreement with AMI.” Consequently, neither Cohen, Trump, nor the Trump campaign ever gave the money to AMI (the parent company of the National Enquirer).

Under these circumstances it is debatable whether the actions by Pecker were contributions to the Trump campaign or a business transaction voluntarily undertaken by Pecker and independent of any political campaign.  Moreover, even if there was a deal with Cohen, pending the identification of the “members and agents of the campaign” and their participation in the transaction, it appears Cohen was acting as Trump’s personal attorney and not as an agent of the campaign.

And finally, being that AMI never consummated the deal with Cohen, doesn’t that obviate whatever association AMI may have had with Cohen and therefore the campaign?  Regardless, it certainly seems unpalatable that a campaign finance statute would be written so broadly as to capture any activity that any person undertook in support of a candidate in the absence of any participation on the part of the campaign.  Such a statute would be impossible to enforce and an open affront to the protections enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.

So if AMI never consummated a deal with Cohen or the Trump campaign, was it really a campaign contribution?  And if it was not, then why would AMI make a deal with prosecutors in exchange for immunity?

The answer is simple: economic and legal expediency.

Pecker knows that a legal defense of this matter would likely run in the scores of thousands of dollars regardless of whether or not he prevails.  Additionally, although this transaction may be defendable, there’s no telling what other things prosecutors may turn up about AMI independent of the Trump dealings that may place it in real legal turmoil.  So in the end, it pays for AMI, which has no unbreakable interest in Trump, to just agree to the deal and tell prosecutors whatever they know.  After all, the admission of an illegal campaign contribution on the part of the National Enquirer will neither hurt its public standing nor its sales. AMI gets its immunity, and the prosecutors get a cooperative witness with which to pursue its case against the President.  And the world moves on.

Indeed, if the AMI matter had taken place in isolation there would be little impetus for a story here.  But consider the events involving Jerome Corsi.

Mr. Corsi is a journalist and an author notable for his book Obama Nation.  Corsi was approached by Special Counsel Bob Mueller regarding his alleged interactions with Candidate Trump Adviser Roger Stone and Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange.  These contacts resulted from Corsi’s investigations of the Wikileaks July 22, 2016, publication of Hillary Clinton’s emails where he noted the absence of a batch of emails between Clinton and her former campaign manager, John Podesta.  According to the later-filed complaint by Corsi’s lawyers, that observation led Corsi to contact Assange regarding Assange’s possible possession of the Podesta emails and their potential publication.

As a result of this contact, Mueller suspected Corsi of possibly aiding Russia in colluding with the Trump campaign through Assange.  According to Corsi’s complaint, Mueller and his team then attempted to coerce Corsi into admitting that he was colluding with the Russians on behalf of Candidate Trump. In this case, however, Corsi refused to admit engaging in activity in which he was not involved and fought back by filing a lawsuit against Mueller.

But the Corsi and AMI affairs are not the only two examples of potential prosecutorial coercion in the Trump affair.  General Michael Flynn is a soldier and public servant with an impeccable reputation dating back over thirty years.  In 2017, Flynn served as President Trump’s first National Security Advisor.  In December 2016, Flynn had two conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. On January 24, 2017, four days into his tenure as NSA, FBI agents approached Flynn regarding those contacts.  Among the FBI agents conducting the interview was Peter Strzock, the same agent who was later disgraced because of personal texts where he openly expressed his intense bias against President Donald Trump.

Apparently, during that interview, General Flynn was asked whether he had ever spoken to Kislyak.  Flynn denied such a conversation.  When confronted about this discrepancy, Flynn said that he did not initially recall the contacts.  And in point of fact, Flynn had reason to not be as defensive and careful as he would have been had he known the prosecutorial peril under which he had been placed.  First, even though the law specifically prohibits knowingly and willfully lying to the FBI, Flynn was never placed under oath nor told that anything he said could and would be held against him; a basic tenet of prosecutorial conduct and fair play.  Second, when Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe approached Flynn via a telephone conversation, he billed the interview as being for the purpose of pursuing information regarding media coverage of the leaked memos.  Even more damning was McCabe’s reassurances to Flynn that the latter did not need his attorney to be present.  This latter fact is perhaps the most implicative of a concerted entrapment on the part of the FBI even before one considers that then FBI Director James Comey recently observed that that he knowingly broke protocol in this case because the Trump administration was a mere three days into its tenure and “disorganized.”

Based on these coercive and unethical, and likely unconstitutional circumstances, Flynn would be threatened with prosecution unless he admitted to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak and cooperated with the Mueller investigation of President Trump.  After losing his house to the overwhelming legal bills and seeing his son similarly threatened by prosecutors, Flynn acquiesced.  The case is presently under judicial review for possible prosecutorial malfeasance.  A decision on this matter is expected this Tuesday as part of Flynn’s sentencing hearing.

Then there’s President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admittedly a category onto himself.  Mr. Cohen was recently sentenced to three years imprisonment on charges of campaign finance violations stemming from payments he made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from speaking regarding her affair with Trump prior to his becoming President.  Once again, the legal premise under which prosecutors sought to indict Cohen was controversial.  There is significant disagreement over whether Cohen was engaging in campaign activities when he made the arrangements with Stormy Daniels.  His actions, although shady, could have reasonably been found to have taken place on behalf of Donald J. Trump’s personal capacity and outside the purview of Trump’s presidential campaign.  But once again coercive prosecutorial activities come into play, and Cohen worked out a deal so to not have to defend himself in court.

In the end, Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail, largely based on his less than total candor with prosecutors. However, still unresolved is the question of whether his actions were truly illegal.  Regardless, prosecutors now can use a possibly erroneous admission of guilt as another brick in their efforts to take down a sitting president.

And just this week, we learned that Dennis Nathan Cain’s home was raided by the FBI, a protected whistleblower regarding the troubled Clinton Foundation’s Uranium One dealings; a raid that may in fact be illegal.

And now we are witnessing the next phase of coercive and politically motivated prosecutions/persecutions; the use of governmental authority to intimidate targeted political rivals and their associates. In a tweet aimed at Donald Trump, Jr., incoming congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatened the president’s son with a subpoena for the offense of criticizing her in public.  Her comments have appropriately raised the possibility of an ethics investigation on an elected public official who has yet to take power.

In the meantime, newly elected New York State Attorney Letitia James, a state official and one with no prior contact with Trump or the Trump investigations has already made it her priority to investigate the President, his family, and his associates.  She has been quoted as saying, “We will use every area of the law to investigate Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.” She says this despite the fact that no scintilla of evidence has been specifically brought to her regarding potential state crimes performed by any of the individuals or entities within the ambit of the broad net which she casts; a clear sign of politically based targeting of American citizens and reminiscent of the targeted attacks undertaken by the IRS against conservative groups under the Obama administration.

The implications of these activities are immensely troubling.  The tendencies towards the abuse of power and prosecutorial misconduct that these cases demonstrate represent clear affronts to our democratic system of government and a testament to the dreadful state of affairs our into which our nation will devolve should they not be checked.

There’s no question that any tendency towards politically based prosecutorial misconduct must be shut down.  The problem is that doing so may place any resistor or whistleblower at legal and personal risk and simply for calling it out. And that is the greatest danger of all.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Heather Mount on Unsplash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ … ]

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

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

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

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

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

I concluded my prepared remarks this way:

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

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

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

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

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

College Campuses: America’s Biggest Speech Impediment?

The most dangerous threat to Americans may be the colleges teaching them. In a country where a majority of students are afraid to voice their views, here’s the irony: most campuses don’t allow it anyway. That’s the bottom line of a new report on U.S. colleges, where a whopping nine in 10 are the First Amendment’s worst enemy.The survey, “Spotlight on Speech Codes 2019: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,” combed through the policies of almost 500 American schools to see how well they protect free speech. Of the 466, a whopping 89.7 percent have rules that “restrict — or too easily could restrict — student and faculty expression.” To most people — especially parents with kids in college — it’s probably not a surprise that campuses are hostile to debate. What is a surprise is how widespread that hostility has become.

Laura Beltz, lead author of the report at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), was also taken aback by the depth of the censorship. “Colleges should be a place for open debate and intellectual inquiry, but today, almost all colleges silence expression through policies that are often illiberal and, at public institutions, unconstitutional.” Almost a quarter of the 466 universities got a red-light rating, the worst on FIRE’s scale. It’s important to point out, she explains, that this isn’t just a problem on public college campuses. Private schools are just as likely to crackdown on speech as the rest of them.

Amazingly, 11 states and the District of Columbia make up the bulk of the red-light campuses: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Some even have “free-speech zones,” which have either been struck down by the courts or negotiated away in settlements.

In a country that already has a First Amendment problem, the idea that colleges are creating even more antagonism for free speech is a scary prospect. There’s nothing more dangerous to a republic than the rise of totalitarians shutting down debate. Americans are already paying the price for years of political correctness. And now, even the supposed guardians of the free flow of ideas are nowhere to be found. “When was the last time you saw the American Civil Liberties Union stand up for free speech on college campuses?” Harvard Law Professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz asks.

“We can no longer count on the ACLU. We can no longer count on all college administrators. We have to count on people of good sense on college campuses to try to restore a situation where we can hear conservative points of views as well as liberal points of view.” The real heroes, he says, “are the students — the conservative students, the pro-Israel students, the students who stand up for free speech rather than the administrators, and the faculty who are prepared to go along with this censorship…” It only takes a few students to make a difference. Raise yours to have the courage to be one of them!


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


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

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

We hear a lot about “fake news.” We regularly see data miscoded and statistics misused. What we have seen several times over the last several months does not really fit any of those categories.

CBS News published an article last month with the headline, “Gun death statistics: CDC study says gun deaths are on the rise after years of decline.”

Twenty-seven days later, The New York Times published an article last week with the headline, “U.S. Murder Rate for 2018 is on Track for a Big Drop.”

Those two headlines don’t mesh well.

The CBS News headline neglected to mention that the data is from 2016, as the CDC report discussed in the article compared data from 2015-2016 with 2012-2013. The data is two years old, but the CBS News headline framed the rise as current.

The CDC report itself is less sensational but it does use two non-consecutive two-year periods as the time period for the analysis. Compared to the fear-inducing headline used by CBS News, that seems like nitpicking. The more problematic issue with the CBS News headline – and we’re sure there were others like it when the CDC Report came out – is that it is shaping up to be incorrect, when read in the present tense.

The New York Times article is forward-looking, to say the least. Using city-level data on the 66 largest cities in the country, crime analyst Jeff Asher predicts “the country is moving toward the largest national drop in murder since a 3.6 percent decline in 2013.”  Asher notes that estimating national trends from city data is difficult, but the cities used in his analysis accurately predicted the movement of the national murder rate every year except 2002. The extent of the drop is less clear than the likelihood of a drop. Asher predicts that, if the cities in his analysis hold their average 7% decrease in murder rate from 2017 through the end of this year, than the national murder rate should be down somewhere between 4%-5% from last year.

Asher dutifully notes that “there is still no consensus on why murder rose nationally in 2015 and 2016…” and offers a handful of possibly contributing factors for a drop in the murder rate this year, including better technology, community intervention programs, and, interestingly, cold weather. Asher provides links to actual research backing up each possible factor.

We understand that data analysis can take time. It takes time for federal agencies to collect, aggregate, and analyze data from state and local agencies all over the country. The CDC only recently published data for 2017, and the FBI won’t release 2018 data until sometime next September.

However, reporting on years-old data while also combining all firearms-related deaths regardless of intent – homicide, suicide, accidents, or unknown intent – with a present-tense headline is more than misleading. The CDC report includes this statement: “It is too soon to know whether recent increases in firearm homicide rates represent a short-term fluctuation or the beginning of a longer-term trend.”

Based on Mr. Asher’s work with more recent data, it looks like a short-term fluctuation.

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

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor and billionaire patron of the Nanny State, may be gearing up for the presidential race in 2020. He gave the idea of running as an independent candidate “serious consideration” in 2016, but ultimately decided against it.

A recent Washington Post story on Mr. Bloomberg’s potential 2020 bid highlighted what it called his “disturbing attitude toward the First Amendment,” which safeguards, among other things, freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government interference. Mr. Bloomberg, the founder of the eponymous Bloomberg L.P., a privately-held financial information and media company that operates Bloomberg News, indicated in a radio interview earlier this month, that, “[q]uite honestly, I don’t want the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me… I don’t want them to be independent.” To ensure that the coverage from his own news outlet would be consistent with these expectations, he added that, should he run for president, one option would be to eliminate any political reporting by his employees. Kathy Kiely, who wrote the Post story, is herself the former politics editor at Bloomberg News who resigned in 2016 over concerns that the media company could not cover its owner’s possible presidential run in the same way that it reported on other candidates.

This authoritarian outlook is hardly a revelation to anyone who has followed Mr. Bloomberg’s activism regarding another fundamental constitutional right.

While professing his support for the Second Amendment and that “no one wants to take away anyone’s guns,” his efforts – through his Everytown gun control group and otherwise – have included advocating for bans on the manufacture and sale of “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” increased background checks, and in Washington State, spending a quarter of a million dollars to push through an initiative in November that bans the purchase and possession of semiautomatic rifles by law-abiding young adults, without an exception for guns lawfully acquired before the law takes effect. In an appearance in 2015, he apparently went so far as to advocate an age, race and gender-based ban, to “get the guns” away from minority males.

In a move evocative of his “bad story” strategy, in 2015 Mr. Bloomberg set up The Trace, an anti-gun news outlet “whose only mission is to write on gun issues from his perspective” and ensure that the “news” on guns and gun control is in line with his own messaging.

Contrary to this record (and perhaps mindful that most Americans take a dim view of any meddling with their civil rights), Mr. Bloomberg appeared on television a few days ago to assure viewers that “the Second Amendment gives you the right to own weapons and there’s nothing wrong with that,” and “if you want to buy a gun and go through a background check process … I’m not opposed, I’m not in favor of taking that away one bit.”

Freedom loving citizens shouldn’t be fooled into thinking Mr. Bloomberg has become much more open-minded about the Second Amendment as part of his possible bid for the White House. After all, we already know that he thinks we’re “pretty stupid” for exercising our constitutional rights.

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

Despite Recent Incidents, Airbnb’s Gender Ideology Puts Women at Risk

Airbnb is facing some media backlash after the deaths of several people who used their services to find rental accommodations. Via USA TODAY:

But in recent weeks, a couple of deaths have raised questions about the safety of Airbnb rentals.

Last week, a security guard at a villa in Costa Rica was arrested for the murder of a Florida woman who traveled there to celebrate her 36th birthday. Carla Stefaniak’s body was found in the woods near her Airbnb rental with a blunt force wound to her head. Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, 32, has been arrested for the attack.

Last month, a New Orleans couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning in an Airbnb rental in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Authorities have said that Edward Winders and Barbara Moller apparently inhaled gas emitted by a faulty heater in their rental.

Defenders of Airbnb correctly point out that the company has millions of listings, and that there is always risk in travel — whether it’s through Airbnb or a traditional hotel. However, the above incidents draw attention to a dangerous Airbnb policy which puts women’s safety at risk.

Per Airbnb’s policies:

Gender Identity

Airbnb does not assign a gender identity to our users. We consider the gender of an individual to be what they identify and/or designate on their user profile.

  • Airbnb hosts may not

    • Decline to rent to a guest based on gender unless the host shares living spaces (for example, bathroom, kitchen, or common areas) with the guest.

    • Impose any different terms or conditions based on gender unless the host shares living spaces with the guest.

    • Post any listing or make any statement that discourages or indicates a preference for or against any guest on account of gender, unless the host shares living spaces with the guest.

Airbnb’s policy literally states that women who use Airbnb must allow men who say they are women — regardless of the realities of biology or the actual feelings of said man — to stay at their homes if living quarters are separate. Of course, such a barrier won’t do much to stop a determined predator.

This abandonment of safety in favor of political correctness is part and parcel of Airbnb’s left-wing agenda. 2ndVote’s research shows that Airbnb has fully bought into the gender-confusion principle by joining business groups which want to force business owners and their customers to abandon biological realities when it comes to bathrooms and other private facilities.

2ndVote cares deeply about the safety and security of women, especially survivors of sexual assault. Make sure Airbnb knows of your displeasure with their discriminatory and harmful policy by not using Airbnb for your Christmas travels.

Many of our better Christmas alternatives have online retail options and all the items in our 2018 Christmas Gift Guide are linked to vetted online retailers. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Airbnb Boycotted And Sued For Discrimination Following Israel Settlement Ban


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Shutterstock.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is a Big Fan of Discrimination

There are few better examples of left-wing hypocrisy than Apple CEO Tim Cook. This is the same CEO who ferociously opposed the very modest HB2 law in 2016 and Indiana’s brief religious liberty law in 2015 because of his beliefs on discrimination…all while cozying up to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. Ironically, Cook — whose company supports laws to restrict the rights of businesses when it comes to LGBT issues — declined to donate money to the Republican National Convention in 2016 because of personal beliefs about then-candidate Donald Trump.

Well, now Cook is at it again. The Federalist caught this doozy earlier in December:

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday night that not using one’s judgement to kick certain people off of tech platforms is a sin. While accepting the first-ever “Courage Against Hate” award from the Anti-Defamation League in New York City, Cook said that Apple is proud of exercising its judgement to kick certain people off of its platforms.

“At Apple, we’re not afraid to say our values drive our curation decisions,” he said. “And why should we be?”

“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms,” Cook said. “You have no home here.”

“I believe the most sacred thing each of us is given is our judgement, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong,” Cook said. “Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin.”

It’s simple, really. Cook is a hypocrite. Given how he and his company attacked conservatives who wanted to ensure that right for business people and their customers in 2016, apparently only some people to have the right “to separate right from wrong.” None of those people are traditional-minded Christians. His company wants to strip the right to live out one’s faith in the public square. They’ll do this while happily doing whatever it takes to improve their bottom-line, even sell iPhones in Iran.

Perhaps we should all take a page out of Cook’s book and get our phones anywhere but Apple? After all, he is definitely pushing division. His company supports the hateful and violent actions of the Iranian regime. And Christians’ “judgement…morality…[and] innate desire to separate right from wrong” is definitely opposed to the left-wing agenda which Apple continues to support.

Many of our better Christmas alternatives have online retail options and all the items in our 2018 Christmas Gift Guide are linked to vetted online retailers. 


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Shutterstock.

They Weren’t Prepared for This

Where does raising a white flag in the battle over your core values lead? Ask the Boy Scouts of America. After throwing up their hands on 103 years of conviction, the group may finally be learning that standing on principle isn’t easy — but it’s a whole lot better than the alternative.The fight to live out your beliefs can be an exhausting one. Until 2000, the Scouts had spent years in court just for the freedom to stick to its moral code. They won, but — to the organization’s dismay — the battle didn’t end. Waves of LGBT activists kept coming, and the pressure built until 2013, when BSA leaders gave into the lie that compromise would be their salvation. Five years later, we all can see: there’s almost nothing left to save.

A half-decade into its LGBT experiment, the Boy Scouts are a step away from bankruptcy. Turns out, their defining moment may also be a fatal one. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the group has been bleeding members since it broke camp and allowed in kids and leaders who openly identify as gay and transgender. Not long after that, one of its biggest backers, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the withdrawal of tens of thousands of young LDS from the program. Then, the paper points out, there was the fallout from recruiting girls, which not only angered its base — but pitted the organization in a legal war with Girl Scouts USA. Now, a program that used to be one of America’s finest is considering Chapter 11.

Friends, if you’re wondering where the road of compromise leads, this is it. This is the future of anyone in the Christian community who exchanges the truth for cowardly conformism. The Boy Scouts dropped their moral mandate to accommodate what they don’t believe. In the current climate, that’s called “inclusion.” But if the Scouts were being more inclusive, why didn’t their numbers grow? Because, when you try to appeal to a conflicting moral viewpoint you only end up attracting the conflict!

Right now, too many churches, Christian colleges, and leaders are dangerously close to making the same mistake. They’re so desperate or fearful — or both — that they’re willing to water down who they are to protect the small space they’re standing on. There’s just one problem: the gospel’s truth isn’t up for negotiation. And in their rush to soften the blow of its confrontation, some believers are losing their identity.

Christians in Paul’s time were no different. Like humans throughout history, they craved acceptance. “I am astonished,” Paul wrote to the Galatians, “that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ… Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? …If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The Boy Scouts wandered so far away from their identity that by the end of 2016, they even dropped their most defining characteristic: boys. In the end, it ruined them. That’s the destiny of any Christian who takes the naïve view that world can be placated. It can’t. True love, I Corinthians 13:6 tells us, is truth. It’s being salt and light in a draining, unforgiving culture. “Come out from them and be separate,” Paul said, because he understands that in the end, it’s not our sameness with the world that transforms people. It’s our distinction. And one of the greatest is standing for truth — even when we’re standing alone.


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


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Last Call for Liberty

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