Los Angeles City Council Blacklists NRA Members

“The city council voted 14-0 to pass an ordinance that now requires any company that has a contract with the city to disclose any and all ties they have to the NRA. Let’s be clear about what this is. This is an attempt at public shaming for anyone in the city who supports the NRA. This is a direct attempt to go at someone’s wallet just for having ties with the NRA and believing in the Second Amendment.” —Grant Stinchfield

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Kerry Picket: What Meaningful Action Has Been Taken Since Parkland?

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

Muslim U.S. Air Force Intelligence Specialist tried to pass classified American information to Iran

But if anyone had questioned her loyalty, he or she would have been denounced as a racist, bigoted “Islamophobe.”


Monica Elfriede Witt (a.k.a.
Fatemah Zahra)

“Iran Conducted Cyber Hacks on U.S., Recruited U.S. Air Force Officer to Steal Classified Info,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, February 13, 2019:

WARSAW, Poland—The Trump administration announced a new package of sanctions on Iranian entities tied to the cyber backing of U.S. individuals, a move that comes on the heels of American authorities indicting a U.S. Air Force officer who allegedly tried to pass classified information to Tehran after defecting to the country.

The Department of Justice announced early Wednesday that it had indicted Monica Elfriede Witt, also known as Fatemah Zahra, a former active duty U.S. Air Force Intelligence Specialist and Special Agent, for attempting to pass classified American information to Iran.

Witt had access to secret and top-secret information, according to the indictment, unsealed early Wednesday.

Witt was deployed to several overseas location to conduct “classified missions collecting signals intelligence,” including those of adversaries.

Witt had access to “classified information, including details of ongoing counterintelligence operations, true names of sources, and the identities of U.S. agents involved in the recruitment of those sources,” according to the indictment.

“In or around January 2012 to in or around May 2015, in Iran, and elsewhere outside the jurisdiction of any particular State or district, defendant [Witt] did knowingly and unlawfully combine, confederate, and agree with other persons, both known and unknown to the grand jury, including officers of the IRGC, to knowingly and unlawfully communicate, deliver, and transmit to a foreign government, specifically Iran, and to that foreign government’s representatives, officers, and agents, directly and indirectly, documents and information relating to the national defense of the United States, with the intent and reason to believe that the same would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of Iran, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 794(a),” the indictment alleges.

The disclosure of this information leak was timed to coincide with an announcement by the Treasury Department that it is sanctioning a handful of Iranian entities for their role in cyber hacks on Americans.

The sanctions hit an Iranian-based entity tied to the country’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC. This includes “efforts to recruit and collect intelligence from foreign attendees [of various conferences], including U.S. persons, and four associated individuals,” according to the Treasury Department.

Sanctions also were leveled on “a separate Iran-based entity and six associated individuals involved in the targeting of current and former U.S. government and military personnel as part of a malicious cyber campaign to gain access to and implant malware on their computer systems.”…

RELATED ARTICLE: Health and Human Service’s Fugitives from Justice: all New Americans?

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

Hawaii’s Attempt to Raise Tobacco Age to 100 Reveals the Soft Tyranny of Neo-Moralists

No matter how noble a cause, efforts to legislate morality have a rather dubious track record.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And on that road, there is, perhaps, nothing more dangerous than legislators committed to making sure those intentions come to pass. However, no matter how noble a cause, efforts to legislate morality have a rather dubious track record.

Yet, no matter how true this may be, governments are always trying to regulate morality by banning behavior they deem wrong. From the prohibition of alcohol to the drug war to anti-dancing campaigns, we have seen this happen throughout US history. And the latest example comes from Hawaii, where buying cigarettes may become an illegal act for roughly 99 percent of the population.

Legislative season is upon us, and if one lawmaker from Hawaii gets his way, the state may become the first to effectively outlaw cigarettes. Though to be clear, the text of the proposed bill does not actually ban smoking—it just prohibits the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 100.

Already, Hawaii is one of six states that has raised the legal smoking age to 21. The other states include California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Maine. The proposed law takes this concept even further, incrementally raising the legal smoking age to 100. The legal age would rise to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, and 50 in 2022, finally reaching 100 in 2024. Vape devices and cigars would be exempt from the ban.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Richard Creagan, who is also a doctor, said, “We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.” As a doctor, Creagan is absolutely correct: It is his job to save lives, and he has sworn an oath to do so. As a legislator, however, he does not have the moral authority to tell his constituents which peaceful behaviors they can and cannot engage in, no matter how well-intentioned his motives may be.

Creagan commented:

We essentially have a group who are heavily addicted—in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry—which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it [is] highly lethal…And, it is.

While he is clearly passionate about the topic, that does not make his attempts to outlaw smoking any less of an affront to individual liberty. To be sure, smoking is an unhealthy habit. And while I recommend avoiding it at all costs, that is a decision for the individual to make, not their state representative.

Supporters of the proposed legislation argue that the timing of the bill is right since the rise of tobaccoless vape products has resulted in a decrease in cigarette sales. Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health said:

Because smoking rates are getting so low, we can actually start thinking about what I call end-game strategy, meaning we’re at the point where we can feasibly just make smoking history…We couldn’t even talk about it when there was a large percentage of people smoking because there were too many people affected.

It is important to reiterate that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting people to quit smoking and live healthier lives. There is, however, something very wrong with prohibiting buyers and sellers of cigarettes from engaging in a peaceful transaction under the threat of force, which is what laws of this nature effectively do.

Already, innovative market alternatives to traditional tobacco products, like vape pens, are directing tobacco users away from cigarettes and towards safer products. This shows that the market is working without the need for regulation. It would be silly, then, for the local government to get involved when things are already getting better on their own. If anything, it shows that government bans are not needed.

Adding to the hysteria, Creagan said:

We don’t allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs…This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction, and freeing people from horrific enslavement.

You cannot force someone out of their own captivity; each individual is responsible for that. And as well-intentioned as Creagan is, he would be wise to heed the wisdom of Lysander Spooner (1808-1887), who reminded us that vices are not crimes.

In 1875, Lysander Spooner—an abolitionist and founder of America’s only private postal service—wrote an essay called “Vices Are Not Crimes,” in which he famously denounced the government’s proclivity for passing laws that attempt to regulate “unsavory” individual behavior. 

While Spooner does not praise “bad” behavior, he does assert that individuals, and to some extent their communities, are responsible for correcting their own actions. And by punishing and outlawing vices, like alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, no real personal transformation or change can occur. By relying on the state to determine what is right or wrong, individuals completely relinquish personal responsibility.

Spooner argues that it is for this reason that vices, which he describes as “those acts by which a man harms himself or his property,” should not be outlawed by governments. Instead, individuals should be free to learn through trial and error, so long as they are not harming others.

“And, unless he can be permitted to try these experiments to his own satisfaction,” Spooner writes, “he is restrained from the acquisition of knowledge, and, consequently, from pursuing the great purpose and duty of his life.”

In fact, Spooner viewed the freedom to experiment with potential vices with such importance, he believed it was the foundation of individual freedom. He wrote that “unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property.” One can only imagine how he would view Hawaii’s new proposal.

In juxtaposition to his definition of “vices,” Spooner defined “crimes” as “those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.” And unfortunately for Hawaii lawmakers, smoking cigarettes does not fit that definition. So long as smoking is done on private property where no one else’s liberties are being violated, there is no victim and thus, no crime.

He continues:

No one of us, therefore, can learn this indispensable lesson of happiness and unhappiness, of virtue and vice, for another. Each must learn it for himself. To learn it, he must be at liberty to try all experiments that commend themselves to his judgment.

Author C.S. Lewis also echoed this sentiment in his book God in the Dock: Essays on Theology when he wrote:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

Rep. Creagan most certainly cares about his constituents, but that does not justify his proposed legislation. Local governments can absolutely encourage individuals to be healthy. But they should not, under any circumstances, ban products or activities it finds undesirable. In order for individual liberty to flourish, people must be free to make their own choices, even if we think they have made the wrong choices.

COLUMN BY

Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter

Brittany is a senior writer for the Foundation for Economic Education. Additionally, she is a co-host of Beltway Banthas, a podcast that combines Star Wars and politics. Brittany believes that the most effective way to promote individual liberty and free-market economics is by telling timely stories that highlight timeless principles.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. Image credit: Pixabay.

VIDEO: How Democratic Party Lawyers Win Contested Elections

A fair and trustworthy vote accepted by all citizens is necessary for functioning democratic processes. The actions of the Democratic National Committee, Marc Elias, and George Soros have jeopardized that. What Elias has done in recounts is proof that we need strong election integrity laws, ones that partisans can’t overpower.

Watch our video on partisan election litigation here.

Support Capital Research Center’s award-winning journalism

Donate today to assist in promoting the principles of individual liberty in America. 

EDITORS NOTE: This CRC column with video and images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

What’s Good, Bad, and OK in the Omnibus Bill

Congress is back at it with a last-minute, massive spending bill that no one will have time to read.

Late Wednesday night, House and Senate negotiators released text of a nearly 1,200-page omnibus spending bill that does nothing to reduce wasteful spending and is a letdown for America’s taxpayers.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill by Thursday evening, less than 24 hours after its release, leaving no time for a thorough debate and amendment process.

In total, the compromise agreement provides $333 billion to fund the nine remaining Cabinet agencies and related programs through Sept. 30.

As is the case with most compromises, the bill is far from perfect. It makes no effort to rein in wasteful spending and would limit funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide detention beds.

However, the agreement could have been even worse. Unlike past omnibus bills, this legislation does not include a laundry list of add-ons and does provide additional resources for border security.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the OK of the fiscal year 2019 omnibus bill.

The Good

Disaster Funding and Other Add-Ons Not Included

It was assumed that any compromise agreement would include billions of dollars in uncapped disaster spending. In the past month, the House and Senate both pursued disaster packages of $14.2 billion and $12.7 billion respectively.

While supplemental disaster funding is sometimes warranted, neither proposal directed any funding toward Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, the federal government’s primary lead in disaster response efforts. Instead, much of the money would have continued to abuse the disaster spending designation by sending funding to ineffective grant programs and subsidies that have no direct role in disaster response. 

Just because the omnibus didn’t include disaster funding doesn’t mean that Congress won’t pursue a package later. But the fact that Congress is separating disaster spending from a “must-pass” spending bill is a step in the right direction. It allows for a more thorough debate and alleviates the pressure for lawmakers to vote for something they may not agree with just because it is tied to a broader funding bill. 

The omnibus also didn’t attach reauthorization language for programs such as the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Violence Against Women Act programs. In the past, government shutdown threats have been exploited as an opportunity to stuff legislation full of unrelated provisions. Not doing so will allow these programs and other federal expenditures to be more fully and openly debated outside the context of a massive spending bill.

The Bad

Adheres to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Spending Levels

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 increased the Budget Control Act of 2011 discretionary spending caps by $296 for fiscal year 2018-19. This omnibus adheres to the higher spending levels.

Instead of using this bill as an opportunity to exhibit fiscal restraint and roll back some of the $68 billion in fiscal year 2019 domestic spending increases, Congress has instead chosen the status quo.

With the national debt now over $22 trillion, that’s doesn’t cut it. Lawmakers must get serious about making spending reforms and putting the budget back on a path to balance. This bill should have been the time to start taking small steps toward that goal.

Uses Gimmicks to Increase Spending

Changes in Mandatory Programs are one of the most commonly used gimmicks in the appropriations process. On paper, mandatory spending is delayed, creating new savings that can be put toward unrelated discretionary spending.

In reality, the vast majority of the delayed funding would never have been spent in the first place and generated no real savings. Each year, billions of dollars in new spending is enabled through Changes in Mandatory Programs.

The largest change each year is delayed spending from the Department of Justice’s Crime Victims Fund. The bill would cap spending from the Crime Victims Fund at $3.35 billion dollars in fiscal year 2019. However, the fund would consistently carry a balance of around $13 billion, meaning that any unobligated balance above $3.35 billion can now be captured as savings and used to circumvent the Budget Control Act caps.

And the Crime Victims Fund is not the only Change in Mandatory Programs. In fiscal year 2018, changes with no real savings increased spending by nearly $18 billion.

This gimmick undermines fiscal accountability and transparency and wastes taxpayers’ money. Congress must take steps to end this practice once and for all.

$3.3 Billion Federal Pay Raise Ignores Performance While Increasing Pay Inequity

The omnibus includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees, costing roughly $3.3 billion in 2019, and more than $40 billion over the next 10 years.

This would overturn a December 2018 executive order from President Donald Trump freezing federal pay. And, for more than half of federal workers, it will serve as their second pay raise in 2019 because federal workers receive both cost-of-living increases as well as step increases based on tenure.

On average, federal employees receive $121,000 in total compensation, compared to average private-sector total compensation of $69,000. Part of this differential stems from the fact that federal workers have more education and experience, on average, but studies consistently find that federal employees receive a significant compensation premium.

While a freeze in federal pay is not the most efficient way to address this gap (primarily because the government’s highest-level employees are actually undercompensated), it is one way of chipping away at the growing inequity.

Until Congress enacts comprehensive federal compensation reforms, lawmakers should not increase the compensation gap through automatic pay raises that ignore performance. A better solution would have been to provide funding for the president’s proposed $1 billion workforce fund to attract, retain, and reward the government’s highest performers.

Limits Funding For Immigrant Detention Beds and Fails to Close Loopholes

The area of the bill with the most potential for harm is in the critical areas of immigration enforcement, particularly detention beds.

As the number of caravans, children, families, and asylum seekers has drastically risen, the administration has been handcuffed by loopholes and prevented from quickly removing many illegal immigrants. The result is that many illegal border crossers or asylum seekers are “caught and released,” and many will disappear into the public and never be seen again.

The Trump administration has attempted to limit catch and release, both at the border but also in the interior, by expanding the number of detention beds.

In this bill, Democratic efforts to set a hard cap on immigration detention were stopped, but the bill does try to push the administration to reduce the number of detention beds by limiting funding. That said, administration is allowed to transfer or reprogram funds to expand detention, but does so at the expense of other homeland security programs.

In essence, the bill forces the Department of Homeland Security to steal from other important security and preparedness missions in order to fulfill the immigration enforcement mission.

Critically, the bill fails to address the key loopholes in U.S. immigration law that have encouraged the drastic increases in asylum claims and families and children coming to the border. Without fixes to these loopholes and other immigration enforcement tools, border security is only a superficial fix and detention beds will always be too few.

Overall, the bill may take some steps forward on immigration, but it falls short of providing the fixes we desperately need.

Continues Congress’ Dysfunctional Budget Process

Text of the 1,169-page compromise bill was released just before midnight on Wednesday. Within 24 hours, Congress will likely have voted on it and by Friday morning, the omnibus could already be law.

Once again, Congress is ignoring its own budget rules. The House requires that text of legislation be available for at least 72 hours before a vote is held.

This is not the way the process is supposed to work. It leaves no time for lawmakers to even read the bill, let alone have a chance to debate and offer amendments to improve the legislation.

That’s just a symptom of the larger problem. The fiscal year is already more than four months old and Congress still hasn’t finalized funding. If lawmakers were doing their job and passing budget and appropriations bills on time, continuing resolutions, omnibus bills, and government shutdowns could become obsolete, or at least the exception rather than the rule.

Congress should strengthen the budget process that it has in place and provide incentives to make the process function more smoothly.

One potential option would be a “no budget, no pay” provision, in which lawmakers’ salaries are withheld when budget deadlines are missed. This could motivate them to abide by budget deadlines. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Imd., recently introduced a bill that would implement this enforcement mechanism.

The OK

Provides New Border Wall and Technology Funding

The most controversial elements of the bill are the immigration provisions.

The bill includes $1.375 billion for new border wall funding—short of what the president has requested, but which will still be put to good use in high-traffic areas in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

It also included much-needed technology and tools that can support physical infrastructure and also support inspection of vehicles at ports of entry. Given that most dangerous drugs like Fentanyl and other opioids enter the U.S. through U.S. ports of entry, such tools are important additions.

These provisions strike a good balance between cost-effective border barriers, border security technology, and valuable infrastructure and tools at our ports of entry—yet they are unlikely to be enough to secure the border.

The bill also worryingly adds some limits on where border barriers can be placed, such as in various natural parks and some cities.

Taxpayers Deserve a Responsible and Transparent Spending Process

While the omnibus bill is not exactly what conservatives would have wanted, it could have been worse—for instance, spending even more money on wasteful programs and less money on border security.

But the process that led to this bill was a complete failure. Lawmakers must get serious about following the budget process that is already in place and stop this dysfunction. Taxpayers cannot afford year after year of bloated spending bills and budget uncertainty.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Justin Bogie

Justin Bogie

Justin Bogie is a senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: @JustinBogie

Portrait of David Inserra

David Inserra

David Inserra specializes in cyber and homeland security policy, including protection of critical infrastructure, as policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Read his research. Twitter: @dr_inserra

Portrait of Rachel Greszler

Rachel Greszler

Rachel Greszler is research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.

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Trump Demands California Pay Back Federal Government for Canceled Bullet Train Project

Senate Panel May Probe Alleged Plot to Oust Trump

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

Another Illegal Alien Arrested in Gruesome Murder

You have probably seen this news about another illegal alien killer, however I’m mentioning it because the sensational aspects of the case have made it news around the world.

The victim was beautiful and her body was stuffed in a suitcase and dumped in the woods making the news apparently more interesting to the mainstream media than the Reno, Nevada case I reported recently where four older Americans were killed in their homes by another illegal alien creep—a story that didn’t get nearly the coverage this one is getting.

The man alleged to have murdered the young and beautiful Valerie Reyes is in the country illegally as a visa overstay.

From the Washington Times,

Suspect in suitcase death in U.S. illegally, authorities say

A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and dumping her body in a suitcase in Connecticut is a citizen of Portugal who has been in the U.S. illegally for more than a year, federal authorities said Wednesday as the victim’s loved ones gathered for her funeral.

Javier Da Silva Rojas, who had been living in New York City, was taken into custody Monday and charged with kidnapping resulting in death in the killing of 24-year-old Valerie Reyes, of New Rochelle, New York. The charge carries the possibility of the death penalty.

Da Silva, also 24, entered the U.S. on May 8, 2017, through the Visa Waiver Program and was required to leave by Aug. 5, 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

If you are interested in reading more about the alleged killer, simply search his name and you will see stories about the murder everywhere.

We spend a lot of time talking about “the Wall,” but the feds need to do more to round-up visa overstays and get them the heck out of the country!  Why not let the President know how you feel about the need for greater enforcement!

RELATED ARTICLE: Former U.S. Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Espionage on Behalf of Iran

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

New Study: Voter ID Laws Don’t Deter Turnout or Fraud

Yet another study has found that voter ID laws do not suppress voter turnout, but the study also asserted such laws have no clear effect on stopping voter fraud. 

The study was compiled by two professors, Vincent Pons of Harvard University Business School and Enrico Cantoni of the economics department at the University of Bologna in Italy. It was issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

“For all the heated debates around strict voter ID laws, our analysis of their effects obtains mostly null results,” the study says, adding: 

First, the fears that strict ID requirements would disenfranchise disadvantaged populations have not materialized. Second, contrary to the argument used by the Supreme Court in the 2008 case Crawford v. Marion County to uphold the constitutionality of one of the early strict ID laws, we find no significant impact on fraud or public confidence in election integrity. This result weakens the case for adopting such laws in the first place.

In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law in a 6-3 ruling in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. 

Typically, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed voter ID laws as a measure to prevent voter fraud, while Democratic lawmakers have alleged that such laws are voter suppression. 

Past studies have drawn the same conclusion that voter ID laws do not deter voter turnout, but the new study is “totally wrong” to conclude ID laws don’t prevent voter fraud, said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation. 

“How would you show it deters fraud if that’s something that didn’t happen because of voter ID laws?” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “You have to look at convictions in absentee ballot fraud cases. In just four states, the voter ID laws apply the same to both in-person and absentee voting. So, it’s difficult to say.”

Currently, 17 states have photo ID laws at the polls, and 18 states have voter ID laws that do not require a photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Various studies in recent years done by professors at the University of Missouri, the University of Delaware, the University of Nebraska surveying elections from 2000 through 2016 found similar results that voter ID laws do not suppress voter turnout. 

Of those states, the National Conference of State Legislatures classifies 10 states as “strict,” meaning if a voter is without acceptable voter ID under that state’s law, most vote on a provisional ballot. Three of those “strict” states do not require photo ID. 

The National Bureau of Economic Research study’s researchers used data from Catalist, a company that provides data for progressive-leaning groups that target voter turnout. 

It looks at elections from 2008 through 2016 with a sampling across 30 states. 

The study stated: “Measuring voter fraud represents a challenge, as federal and state agencies vary in the extent they collect and share information on it.”

The research cited The Heritage Foundation voter fraud database that includes 1,177 proven cases of voter fraud. Of those, 1,019 cases ended in criminal conviction. 

The study also used data from News21, an investigative project funded by the Carnegie Corp. and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Through research of government documents, the project found 2,068 cases of suspected voter fraud reported from 2000 through 2012. 

The study does not claim to be the last word on the matter. 

“Because states adopted strict ID laws only two to 12 years ago, our results should be interpreted with caution: we find negative participation effects neither in the first election after the adoption of the laws nor in following ones, but cannot rule out that such effects will arise in the future,” the study says. 

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

How Tech Giants Are Banning True Speech About Biological Sex

Like a strong cocktail that promises a quick buzz, social media offers us instant gratification that can be hard to resist.

But just as alcohol disguises the smell of chemicals, social media hides the bitter poison of identity politics—a poison that increasingly dominates the content we read.

This toxic cocktail is killing our freedom to speak the truth. And sadly, some of the world’s most powerful companies are siding against freedom and truth.

Twitter’s latest move against free thought came in the form of a ban on “misgendering” and “deadnaming.” This essentially means users who use pronouns and names that align with a person’s biology rather than their professed gender identity will be punished.

This is a victory of feelings over facts. Big tech is enabling identity politics to dominate the virtual public square—and it’s even aiding its takeover of the real one, too.

Take the United Kingdom. In England, police have already used tweets to investigate and arrest citizens for referring to individuals according to their biology rather than transgender ideology. In two separate incidents, police responded to complaints against women from men who identify as women.

Police arrested Kate Scottow at home in front of her children and then held her in a jail cell for seven hours after transgender activist Anthony Halliday (aka Stephanie Hayden) accused her of “misgendering” him.

Halliday/Hayden also seemed to suggest that transgender activists ought to “[storm] into” a parish church to ask “robust questions” of a priest’s wife who has opposed transgender ideology.

View image on Twitter

Police also went after a 74-year–old woman named Margaret Nelson. The reason: She posted two statements on Twitter that didn’t accord with transgender ideology: “gender is fashionable nonsense” and “in life or in death, trans women are not women, no matter how many times you say it’s so.”

Forced to Speak Untruths

In the novel “1984,” George Orwell coined the phrase “Big Brother is watching” to refer to the government. Today, he’d have to include social media companies as enforcers.

Twitter’s ban on “misgendering” and “deadnaming” crosses a red line. Twitter users should be able to choose what pronouns and names they use for each other. When Twitter punishes users for misgendering and deadnaming, the company pressures us to speak untruths.

Princeton University professor Robert George has warned, “Ordinary authoritarians are content to forbid people from saying things they know or believe to be true. Totalitarians insist on forcing people to say things they know or believe to be untrue.”

Social media companies’ embrace of identity politics has led to biased enforcement of content standards that favors transgender activists.

In Canada, for instance, feminist journalist Meghan Murphy testified before the Canadian Senate against the notorious Bill C-16, which added “misgendering” to the human rights code and criminal code in May 2017. In August 2018, Twitter told her to delete tweets that referred to a biological man, Ryan Kreut (who self-identifies as a woman named Lisa), as a man.

Then, last November, Murphy tweeted several rhetorical questions: “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” She referred to transgender activist Jonathan Yaniv according to his biology. In the past he had filed lawsuits against female beauticians who refused to give him “bikini waxes.”

Twitter classified these statements from Murphy as hateful and permanently shut down her account. Yaniv then bragged that he was personally responsible for getting Murphy banned from Twitter.

Murphy is now suing Twitter over the ban.

Companies like Twitter clearly see themselves as defending transgender individuals. But they are much more passive about enforcing “hateful conduct” policies when it comes to protecting women from transgender activists.

Trans activists frequently target Murphy and others by name, referring to them as trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). A website called terfisaslur.comdisplays tweets like “All TERFs deserve to be shot in the head.” “All TERFS need to cease existing. Wipe them from the earth.”

Transgender activists have also targeted Kaeley Triller, co-founder of Hands Across the Aisle, a coalition of women opposed to transgender ideology, on Facebook by posting her home address and violently threatening her children.

“Ironically,” Triller says, “the least ‘safe spaces’ in the history of the world are spaces where speech is censored and dissent is punished. If people are not safe to disagree, they are not safe at all.”

Social media companies could be protecting women from the violent, graphic, and threatening content against feminists documented at terfisaslur.com, but instead, Twitter is “protecting” those who identify as transgender from the “hateful conduct” of those who simply say that we are born male and female.

The Eclipse of Women’s Rights

For a brief moment during the #MeToo movement, it seemed that women were ascending the identity politics hierarchy. But as PayPal founder Peter Thiel predicted, when conflict comes between identity groups, the solution will be brokered in a way that most benefits the left as a coalition, not any particular group.

Twitter and Facebook’s double standards are proving Thiel correct. Transgenderism is making war on feminism, and feminists are losing out.

Identity politics is poisonous to freedom. It divides Americans up by ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., and ranks us in a hierarchy based upon degrees of “victimization.”

This is deeply out of step with America’s founding, which championed the legal equality of each citizen based on inalienable natural rights. It is also out of step with the way most Americans developed their identities—from their families, religious communities, and civic groups.

But as our society has become more atomized, identity politics has filled the void and offered an alternative kind of social identity—albeit a toxic one.

The Marxist struggle, which originally was seen as a struggle for power between economic classes, has been recast as a struggle between social identity groups. Individual guilt, virtue, and responsibility are replaced with collective guilt, virtue, and responsibility. And because this scheme treats the group as the fundamental unit of responsibility and agency, individual freedoms become irrelevant. At worst, they are seen as tools that “oppressors” can use to exploit the “oppressed.”

We should not be surprised, then, when incidents of identity politics seem to reveal a totalitarian streak. Identity politics doesn’t just produce a grievance culture, it produces a vengeance culture—one that never ends and can never be resolved.

When students and faculty who hold unpopular views are shouted down or even physically assaulted, we are witnessing the fruit of a tree that is rotten to the core. 

Identity politics requires the jettisoning of America’s constitutional heritage. It would ultimately replace ordered liberty with a society in which freedoms are enjoyed only by those who have earned them through victimization.

Tech Giants Driving the Train

Twitter, Facebook, and Apple are among 107 major companies that have endorsed federal legislation that would make “misgendering” a punishable offense. Named the “Equality Act,” this bill is anything but.

State and local bureaucrats have already used similar laws and policies to derail the careers of people like high school teacher Peter Vlaming and professor Nicholas Meriwether at Shawnee State University because they referred to students according to biology and not gender ideology.

These laws give government control over our freedom to speak and think according to the truth. The Equality Act would extend that to all 50 states.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer who survived life in the Soviet gulag, once told the Nobel Prize Committee: “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.”

As big tech seeks to restructure both our virtual and brick-and-mortar public squares according to the frame of identity politics, now more than ever, we must fight for the freedom to use language to speak the truth.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Emilie Kao

Emilie Kao

Emilie Kao is director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: @EmilieTHF.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

Red Flag Gun Laws Turn Due Process on Its Head

Americans should resist the trend of assumed guilt and demand elected officials end this assault on our constitutional rights.

Red flag laws have spurred quite a bit of controversy. This legislative movement seeks to create a process to remove firearms from the homes of people who are rumored to be dangerous to themselves or others. The proponents of such laws cite this as a possible way to help combat mass shootings and suicides. However, the truth is far more damning.

The 5th & 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution mandate that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Although this should be clear to anyone with a basic comprehension of English, it’s often ignored by judges and politicians. Depriving people of a constitutional right before a trial and without charges tramples on the notion of innocent until proven guilty and severely erodes the core values of justice.

Proponents of red flag laws argue due process is respected by allowing the deprived to appeal to the courts to reinstate their rights. However, this backward process would imply that the Second Amendment is a privilege, not a right. Furthermore, state agents finding cause for a warrant and subsequently seizing private property while denying access to a constitutional right seem to be a perfect setup for a kangaroo court system. There is a serious risk that citizens found guilty of nothing and charged with no crime will be paying expensive fees to petition the courts to restore what should be their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Such concerns aren’t just wild superstitions. Our nation’s history of the corrupt process of civil asset forfeiture gives ample reason to believe the aforementioned outcome is more likely than not.

If the open assault on our rights and criminal justice system wasn’t reason enough to reject red flag laws, one should note the paternalistic tone of the advocates. Proponents are selling these bills as a way to reduce suicides. But let’s take a step back and think about the core of this argument. We have authority figures claiming they need the means to deny you of your constitutional rights in order to protect you from yourself. This disturbingly authoritarian doublespeak implies that some of our elected officials believe that people can’t be trusted with their rights. This clear attempt to coax ordinary citizens into surrendering their rights should be rejected as the degradation of free society that it is.

Americans should also pay very close attention to states that have implemented these laws. In places like Maryland and Florida, success isn’t measured in lives saved. Intuitively, it’s impossible to determine how many lives were saved or if lives were ever truly at risk; thus the only practical measure of success for such a law is the number of guns seized and people denied their rights. Americans should resist the trend of assumed guilt and demand elected officials end this assault on our constitutional rights.

This article was reprinted from Intellectual Takeout.

COLUMN BY

Raheem Williams

Raheem Williams

Raheem Williams is an active economist who has worked for numerous liberty-based academic research centers and think-tanks. He received his B.A. in economics at Florida International University and his M.A. in financial economics from the University of Detroit Mercy. He is the founder of “The Policy,” a forum that promotes public policy dialogue across socio-economic levels.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Role of Mental Illness in Mass Shootings, Suicides

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. Image credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow

VIDEO: Fence and Sensibility

With all of the uproar over late-term abortion, it’s easy to forget that Congress is juggling other crises — including the one on our southern border. With the clock ticking down to another government shutdown, both parties have been hunkered down, trying to cobble together an immigration bill before time runs out on Friday. Yesterday, negotiators announced that they’d finally struck a deal. But agreeing to a compromise is one thing — getting the president to support it is another.

“I can’t say I’m happy,” President Trump said this afternoon. “I can’t say I’m thrilled.” It’s no wonder. The compromise includes less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion he requested for the wall. At just $1.3 billion, the administration would have enough money for 55 miles of fencing — not the 200 it wanted. In a small concession by Democrats, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wouldn’t have to cap the number of illegal detainees it holds. But by and large, the deal doesn’t include any meaningful immigration reform — not even to the DACA program.

“I would hope that there won’t be a shutdown,” Trump said before making it clear, “I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us.” At a rally in Texas last night, the president hinted that executive actions were still on the table to finish the other 150 miles of fencing. “Just so you know,” he told the crowd in El Paso, “we’re building the wall anyway.”

That would come as relief to the dozens of sheriffs and other law enforcement who showed up on the Hill yesterday to demand better immigration enforcement. “We are at wits end on this,” said Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. “This really is a catastrophe.” Over the weekend, two national sheriffs groups delivered letters to the House and Senate warning them that if they put a limit on detainees, most of these offenders would go out “and commit more crimes.” As for cutting ICE funding — an agenda near and dear to the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — the sheriffs warned, don’t even think about it. “They put our people at risk just to take care of their political agenda,” Hodgson argued.

Elsewhere, the deal is hardly a House Freedom Caucus dream either. Democrats aren’t being “serious” about border security Chair Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) fired back. Even after hearing about the needs from people on the ground, he points out, liberals still think they know better. “Border Patrol came in to brief the conference. They gave their top-three priorities. And the conferees have said ‘zero money for those top three priorities.’ How can you be serious about securing our border if the very people that are experts on securing it say, ‘These are our top three priorities, we need money,’ and yet they’re saying, ‘zero dollars for that?'”

When it comes to a dollar figure for the wall, Meadows said there’s plenty of room for improvement. “Honestly, when you look at 0 to 5.7, somewhere in the middle would be a $2 billion to $3 billion range,” he said. “But it’s not as much just the dollar amount. It’s the flexibility in how to spend it.”

For now, President Trump insists he’s “considering everything.” One thing he won’t have to worry about is the country’s support. CBS polling showed Americans solidly in the administration’s camp on this issue. Seventy-two percent who watched the State of the Union agreed with the president’s ideas on immigration. And fortunately, those ideas didn’t include political surrender.

For more on the debate, check out FRC’s Ken Blackwell on Fox Business last night.


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


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

VIDEO: In The UK Misgendering Gets You Thrown in Jail — Coming to America?

British citizens are being handcuffed and jailed for posting on Facebook about transsexuals. Is the same thing coming to the USA?

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is from Pixabay.

Fight Corporate Sexploitation Now! Watch Video of 12 American Sex Exploiters

Watch the reveal of the 2019 Dirty Dozen List – which names 12 mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation in America.

Science is Falsifiable. Take Climate Change As An Example.

The Clear Energy Alliance produced the below video on global warming stating:

In order to know if a theory could be true, there must be a way to prove it to be false. Unfortunately, many climate change scientists, the media and activists are ignoring this cornerstone of science. In this bizarre new world, all unwelcome climate events are caused by climate change. But as legendary scientific philosopher Karl Popper noted, “A theory that explains everything, explains nothing.” Guest host Marc Morano explains.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Global Warming Theory Scientific?

EDITORS NOTE: This video by Clear Energy Alliance is republished from their YouTube channel. The featured image is from Pixabay.

VIDEO: The Sun City Cell – Investigative Documentary by Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch presents “The Sun City Cell” – a stunning investigative documentary detailing the Narco-Terrorist Cell operating out of El Paso, Texas!

Featuring Judicial Watch’s Director of Investigations, Chris Farrell, “The Sun City Cell” exposes a chilling narco-terror plot that government officials deny.

In this 40-minute expose, you follow the trail of corruption. You see the actual court documentation. You listen up close and personal to the confidential informants. And with Chris Farrell as your guide, you follow the four-year investigation and meet the sources inside the law enforcement and government who risk their lives to get the truth to the American people.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch documentary with images and video is republished with permission.

REVIEW: The Movie ‘Destroyer’ Mirrors the Decline and Fall of Los Angeles, California

I went to see the movie “Destroyer” staring Nichole Kidman. The film takes place in Los Angeles, California. When I first saw Nichole Kidman, who plays Detective Erin Bell, I was struck by how she looked. Kidman won a Golden Globe Award for her role in “Destroyer.”

Watch the trailer:

Kidman was physically, emotionally and morally a reflection of Los Angeles, California.

Let me explain why. Kidman’s character was:

  1. Erin Bell is an LAPD law enforcement officer sworn to protect and defend the people. She failed in all of her duties. Bell was a liar, thief, violent psychopath and murderer. A mirror image of Los Angeles, California.
  2. Erin Bell’s life is a series of self-inflicted wounds. She brought about everything that happened to her because she repeatedly made bad decisions. Exactly like Los Angeles, California.
  3. Erin Bell has a child out of wedlock with her partner. The rule rather than the exception in Los Angeles, California.
  4. Erin Bell was a failed mother. Her daughter made the decision to live with her step father rather than with her dysfunctional biological mother. This speaks volumes.
  5. Erin Bell was morally, physically and mentally broken. Exactly like Los Angeles, California.
  6. In the end she died from massive internal bleeding. So it is in Los Angeles, California. The City of Los Angeles is bleeding internally from its public policies.
  7. Bell initially was an undercover federal agent who got her partner/lover/father of her child killed. She was bent on revenge and got it at the end by breaking the law repeatedly. Essentially Detective Erin Bell was a “basket case.” So too is Los Angeles, California.
  8. In the end Erin Bell sub-conscientiously reflects upon her failed life as it slowly drains out of her while she is parked in her car under a underpass in a Los Angeles ghetto. Los Angeles is dying slowly and it can’t seem to help itself.

Kidman deserves her Golden Globe award. The irony is Hollywood didn’t realize that they were making a movie showing how dysfunctional the city, of which they are an integral part, really is.

I saw Kidman, a beautiful actress, turning into a monster physically, emotionally, professionally and morally. Hollywood and Los Angeles have become monsters physically, emotionally and morally.

Kidman was masterful in showing how evil begets evil. Evil has come to Los Angeles, California.

Thank you Nichole for doing such a great job in enlightening us on the rot that is at the core of your character and the City of Angels, an oxymoron, in which you live, play and work.

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