Wednesday, October 12, 2016

'Islamapalooza,' the Islam Fair, Comes to University of Florida

Islam Appreciation Month kicked off this week at the University of Florida, a campaign that runs through October 24 that's sponsored by the student organization, Islam on Campus.
Islam on Campus – UF, according to its Facebook page, "is a student organization at the University of Florida devoted to strengthening and uniting the Muslim community on campus through service, activism, educational and social activities as well as to spreading awareness and educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike about the religion of Islam.", the online version of The Independent Florida Alligator campus newspaper, reports the event is usually a spring affair, but this year is being held in the fall, as a replacement to the Islam on Campus's annual fundraiser.
The big draw is Islamapalooza – or, as it was formerly called, the Islam Fair.
The Alligator reports:
"UF’s Islam On Campus is hosting Islam Appreciation Month this fall in lieu of its annual fundraiser.
"The month-long celebration is starting with Islamapalooza, formerly named Islam Fair, on the Plaza of the Americas today from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and it will continue Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event will feature booths where students can get henna tattoos, play trivia about Islam and eat falafels, pita and samosas. ...
"'[Islamapalooza] highlights a lot of the cultural aspects of Islam while getting the community at UF excited with incentives like free henna and food,' the 19-year-old UF psychology sophomore said.
"Maria Ilyas, 20, president of Islam On Campus, said the purpose of the event is to clear misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.
"'We’re trying to bring an awareness and appreciation to who Muslims are and what Islam is really about,' the UF microbiology senior said."
That's nice.
The Alligator goes on:
"Daniel Khokar, 18, who identifies as Muslim, said the event means a lot to him because it gives him a sense of belonging.
"'It makes me grateful that I can be a part of this event and, furthermore, grow from it,' the UF biology freshman said."
Shouldn't all religions then be given the same opportunity? Shouldn't Jews be given a month to spread the word about Jewish teachings, Christians a month to teach – Buddhists, Sikhs and so forth and so on?
Christine Williams, writing for Jihad Watch, makes some good points about the appreciation month:
"It is right that every innocent Muslim, as well as any member of any group, should feel a sense of belonging, but a sense of entitlement is not the equivalent of a sense of belonging. There are Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahai students too; and there are also Jews on campuses who are treated with contempt and intimidation by jihadist Muslim groups operating right under the noses of university administrators. Shame on the University of Florida for this outright preferential treatment for Muslims over any other group.
"Islamic Heritage Month was recently declared in Ontario, also to make Muslims feel better, with the objective of combating “Islamophobia,” despite the fact that no stats bear out that “Islamophobia” is a significant problem. Muslims are the ones attacking Westerners, and despite this fact, the targeting of Muslims remains minimal, which demonstrates the exceptional evolution of the West in terms of tolerance. Sadly, however, blacks and Jews remain by far the greatest groups targeted by hate crimes.
"If Muslims collectively want to feel more included, then they would also collectively (and openly) condemn all forms of jihad (stealth and violent), as well as anti-West and anti-Israel hate messages globally, and the hate that is routinely being preached in mosques, Islamic centers and madrassas right on Western soil."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

44 Afghan Troops Training on U.S. Military Bases Go Mysteriously Missing

Where did they go?
That's the big question and mystery surrounding 44 members of the Afghanistan military who've been training on U.S. soil, at U.S. military bases, but who've now gone missing.
As Fox News puts it:
"Nearly four dozen Afghan troops training in the U.S. have reportedly vanished in less than two years."
Since September alone, eight Afghan troops have gone missing, Reuters reported.
The disturbing news from the Pentagon is that the soldiers – in all, 44 of them – are prsumed to have disappeared into America's job market to live and work as illegal citizens. But presumed is the key word; in other words, nobody really knows.
"A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the frequency of Afghan troops disappearing from military training was truly concerning and 'out of the ordinary.' Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said that eight Afghan troops have left bases without permission.
"'The Defense Department is assessing ways to strengthen eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual Afghan willingly absconding from training in the U.S. and going AWOL,' Stump said."
The Afghans training on U.S. bases are supposedly vetted to make sure their pasts don't include ties to terrorism or to radicalize groups in the Middle East. And Stump also said no evidence exists to indicate the disappeared troops now pose a threat to America.
But again: Who can say for sure?
It's like a mad game of "Where's Waldo," only with national security as the stake.
As Reuters went on:
"Although the number of disappearances is relatively small – some 2,200 Afghan troops have received military training in the United States since 2007 – the incidents raise questions about security and screening procedures for the programs.
"They are also potentially embarrassing for U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, which has spent billions of dollars training Afghan troops as Washington seeks to extricate itself from the costly, 15-year-old war. The disclosure could fuel criticism by supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has accused the Obama administration of failing to properly vet immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and has pledged a much tougher stance if he wins."
Stump also told Reuters the Department of Defense is analyzing ways to strengthen the program's elegibility and vetting requirements, in order to lessen the chances of participants going AWOL in the future.
Good idea.
From Reuters, once again:
"The Afghan army has occasionally been infiltrated by Taliban militants who have carried out attacks on Afghan and U.S. troops, but such incidents have become less frequent due to tougher security measures."
First posted at, here: 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

London Gives Cleric Who Tells How to Kill Gays a 10-Day Pass to Speak in City

London has given the thumbs-up to a Muslim cleric with a past that includes teaching how to kill gays to come to the city and deliver 10 days worth of speeches and lectures at an organization that's backed by Iran's government.
Shaykh Hamza Sodagar, who delivered remarks earlier this year on "one of five" ways to kill homosexuals, is now set to speak at the Islamic Republic of Iran School in London.
Just how fiery was his speech against gays a few months ago?
As Breitbart reported, a recently surfaced video reveals his remarks: "If there's homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One – the easiest one maybe – chop their head off, that's the easiest. Second – burn them to death. Third – throw 'em off a cliff. Fourth – tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above."
And it's not as if Sodagar wants to keep his views to himself.
"According to a speaker biography, Mr. Sodagar regards himself as a 'role model' for 'young Muslims all around the world.'" ...
"As noted in 2014, he has also claimed Europeans and Americans are controlled by a 'Zionist web of media ... trying to control the minds of the people.'"
His speaking event was organized by the Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission.
So just to get this straight: Ahlulbayt, who not only advocates for the killings of homosexuals, but explains in an easy to remember five-point bullet list just how to do it, is granted a 10-day pass to London by British authorities – and not just to tour, but rather spread his vicious rhetoric and Islamist views.
But you know who's banned from Britain? Pamela Geller. Robert Spencer. Radio giant Michael Savage. Why? For telling the truth – or, as the government there considers it, for hate speech.
Here's what Spencer says about the matter, on his Jihad Watch website:
"Shaykh Hamza Sodagar lives in Iran. That means he was admitted into Britain in order to give these lectures. I am, of course, banned by the British government from traveling to Britain because I noted (correctly) that Islam is 'a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers.'
"It is unacceptable to say that in Britain today. Shaykh Hamza Sodagar said: 'If there’s homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One – the easiest one maybe – chop their head off, that’s the easiest. Second – burn them to death. Third – throw ’em off a cliff. Fourth – tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above.' That is acceptable to say in Britain today.
"So apparently believing that Islam mandates warfare against unbelievers is unacceptable so long as one is against that warfare. If one is for it and preaches it, that’s just fine.
"Britain is finished."
First posted at, here: 

Left on Terror: Soft on Muslims – But 'Donald Trump is a Domestic Terrorist'

Get a load of this, the latest in what passes for logic to the left: Muslims are by and large peaceful, Islam is not a religion of violence, but rather the wayward acts of a select deranged few – but Donald Trump is a terrorist.
That's the world according to New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, anyway. And sadly, it's shared by many on the left, including the present White House.
Here's what Blow wrote, in the pages of the newspaper, just this week:
"Donald Trump is a domestic terrorist; only his form of terror doesn’t boil down to blowing things up. He’s the 70-year-old toddler who knows nearly nothing, hurls insults, has simplistic solutions for complex problems and is quick to throw a tantrum. Also, in case you didn’t know it, this toddler is mean to girls and is a bit of a bigot."
To Blow's credit, he didn't try to define what he meant by the word "terrorist." And that's a good thing – because he already looks foolish enough for his view.
Let's swing on back to reality for a few and look deeper at the logic of the left.
President Obama can't stomach the idea of stringing together the words radical and Islamic and terrorist in one single phrase because, in his mind, terrorism has little if nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
Secretary of State John Kerry keeps calling ISIS "apostates," most notably in a speech from Rome just a few months ago in which he also seemed to suggest the terrorists were more like teens without fathers, raised by the streets, than violent men bent on spreading Sharia throughout the world.
As the Washington Post reported, Kerry said then:
"Daesh [Kerry's name for ISIS] is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves,” Kerry said. “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”
Nothing to do with the religion, right? Next thing you know, the administration will be touting jobs as the solution to terror .... oh wait. They already did ...
The headline from Fox News in February 2015: "State Department spokesman floats jobs as answer to ISIS."
The story read, in part:
"That's what a top State Department spokeswoman suggested when asked in a TV interview Monday night about what the U.S.-led coalition is doing to stop the slaughter of civilians by Islamic State militants across the region.
"'We're killing a lot of them, and we're going to keep killing more of them. ... But we cannot win this war by killing them,' department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on MSNBC's "Hardball." 'We need ... to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs, whether --'"
Left, meet Delusion; Delusion, Left. And the media's been playing right along with the insane viewpoints.
Trump the terrorist? Note to New York Times and Blow: Being "devoid of fixed principles," as you accuse as Trump's albatross, does not a terrorist make.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bill O'Reilly's Plea to President Obama: Call 'Islamic Terrorism' What It Is

Even Bill O'Reilly of Fox News fame doesn't think President Obama's outright refusal to string together the words "radical" and "Islamism" when discussing acts of radical Islamic terror attacks is the smartest move, either as a commander-in-chief or politically.
In comments this week to a mother whose "son gave his life for acts of terrorism," she said, CNN reported, Obama explained just why he refused to use "Islamic terrorist" as a term to describe what was taking place at the hands of Muslim jihadists, the world over.
Obama's comments, taken from CNN:
"'These are people who've killed children, killed Muslims, taken sex slaves, there's no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do,' he said. 'But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who, in this country, are fellow troops and police officers and fire fighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.'"
And American Freedom Defense Initiative president Pamela Geller's response, here:
"Obama will not say Islamic terrorism because he is a true believer and will not violate the speech laws (blasphemy) under Islamic law (sharia). He was born a Muslim and went to Islamic schools in Indonesia. It’s very much part of who he is."
And now comes O'Reilly, chiming in with a more moderate voice – but one that nonetheless carries the same message, and that's to insist: President Obama, you need to start telling the truth.
He said, on his recent Fox News broadcast:
"O'Reilly asserted that Obama is 'naive' when he declines to address Islamic terror by name.
"'Any rational Muslim is not going to take offense at the words 'Islamic terrorism,' O'Reilly said. 'Why? Because that would be irrational.'
"'The enemy needs to be defined, Mr. President, and if some people get their feelings hurt, that's too bad.'
"As for Obama's comments on law enforcement and race in America, O'Reilly said the president did not acknowledge that the 'overriding nobility' of America far outweighs individual bias and terrible mistakes on the part of a few police officers.
"Although Obama did mention the importance of respecting the flag and national anthem, he did not 'take a stand' or present 'strong leadership,' O'Reilly said.
"'Mr. Obama understands that diminishing America is a bad choice, but somehow he always equivocates and does not make his points with certainty and clarity.'"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Satanic Temple Gets OK for After-School Club for Elementary Kids

If this isn’t proof positive of the demise of America, then what is?

The Portland chapter of the Satanic Temple – a reference that’s significant in itself, as it shows a plurality and therefore, growth of organized Satanism in America – has just won an accommodation from school officials to offer an after-school club for children.

It’s called the “After School Satan Club.” How nice. It’s aimed at attracting the elementary-age crowd.

Beginning Oct. 19, Sacramento Elementary School will open doors to the satanic activity, which is being billed as lessons “on science and rational thinking,” according to one of the temple’s local chapter heads, Finn Rezz.

Rezz kindly explained to the Oregonian it’s not that the members of the Satanic Temple are truly Satanists, worshiping some sort of spiritual or supernatural entity of the dark side. Rather, he went on, most are simply atheists who view Satan “as an allegory for free thought,” the newspaper said.

The club is solely to foster in its participants a sense of “benevolence and empathy for everybody,” Rezz said.

He also said the After School Satan Club is intended to provide students an option to the “Good News Club,” a get-together arranged by the Child Evangelism Fellowship – a Bible-based group – that’s allowed to meet at the school once a month.

As if the two groups are morally equivalent.

This is the Child Evangelism group’s stated mission, on its webpage: “Child Evangelism Fellowship is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, disciple them in the Word of God and establish them in a Bible believing church for Christian living. We are committed to helping local churches and individuals evangelize children.”

By comparison, the Satanic Temple touts its mission, on its own website, as “facilitate[ing] the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty.” The Satanic Temple also promises to “undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.” Really?

Note to Satanic Temple: Have you considered a Marketing 101 class?

But here’s a free thought observance – the Satanic Temple’s name is what it is because it aptly describes all that flows from its members and missions.

Wake up, America. This battle for the soul of our nation – which used to be clearly stated, taught and believed as a country where individual rights come from God, not government – is growing more intense. And the enemy is not only disguising its true intent, cloaking its wickedness in a guise of free thought and with a cloak of kindness – it’s setting sights on the youngest, most malleable minds of all: the children.

And it’s doing it in a way that Satan himself would be proud: by taking a truth and twisting it just enough to cause chaos and confusion – by citing the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause and demanding an equal access to the Christian groups. The end result is predictable: Local governing authorities, afraid of lawsuits, cave to the Satanic Temple’s demands.

Local citizens, even those of faith, ultimately bite their tongues and shake their heads, unsure how to fight off such logical, law-based demands. And atheists, progressives and others with similar mindsets who want nothing more than to tear down the Judeo-Christian fabric of America’s founding and usher in a secular society that breeds contempt for all-things-traditional, moral and virtuous, rub hands with glee, fueled by yet another chink in the nation’s faith-based armor.

Well, here’s a message to mull: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – one leading down a path of acceptance, conciliation, regret and loss and the other, down a path of bold and righteous indignation, brutal fights to the finish, glory for God, and honor to both individual and nation.

Which to choose? That, dear Christian and fellow patriot, will make all the difference.

First posted at the Blaze.

Christians Under Sharia in Iran Arrested, Face Floggings, for Taking Communion Wine

Three Christians in Iran have been arrested and charged with "acting against national security" for drinking wine during Communion in violation of Sharia law.

Communion wine
Now the three face sentences of flogging.

While the drinking of wine, which symbolizes the blood of Jesus, is common to the Christian faith, Sharia law apparently takes priority and Iran's police took the trio into custody this week. Initially, a pastor and his wife were detained, but police let them go.

Their court date is set for sometime next week, the Express reported. And if they're found guilty, they will be flogged.

The website Persecution, citing the Express, offers this commentary:

"Iran continues to demonstrate its intolerance for Christianity by sentencing three Christians to be flogged for drinking wine during Communion.

"Iranian police initially arrested five Christians but have since released a pastor and his wife. Iran's judicial system is based on Sharia law which forbids the consumption of wine, so Christians who choose to drink wine for religious reasons will be punished.

"Iran contends that the Christians are a national security risk and require an extensive punishment which could include anywhere from 10-100 lashes."

The Communion wine, which has been blessed by priests and considered holy, is used to celebrate the Eucharist. It's usually watered down so that children and those who abstain from the drinking of alcohol might take part, and it's served with a small bread wafer, known as the Sacramental Bread, the represents the body of Christ.

Flogging is an extreme punishment that often causes the victim to pass out from pain after just a few lashes. Iran's Sharia law allows those found guilty of adultery, kissing in public, homosexuality and blasphemy to be sentenced to flogging as well.

Posted at

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Texas to Obama: You Can Keep Your Refugee Resettlements – We Opt Out

Texas has taken the bold, in-your-face step of telling the federal government: You can take your refugee resettlement program and – find some other state to play.

Gov. Greg Abbott said his state wasn't going to participate in the Office of Refugee Resettlement program because of security concerns.

His comments come just a few days after terrorists struck New York and New Jersey in separate bombing incidents.

Reuters has the story:

"The Texas State Refugee Coordinator sent a letter to the [federal Office of Refugee Resettlement] agency, giving 120 days notice of its intention to withdraw, charging the program was riddled with problems that present security risks, Republican Governor Greg Abbott said.

"The Office of Refugee Resettlement said in a statement its services to help integrate newcomers into U.S. society are only provided after they complete stringent U.S. security screenings.

"Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people,' Abbott said in a statement."

A politician who puts Americans first – listen up, President Obama. You could learn a thing or two.

Reuters went on:

"Texas, a bellwether state for conservative policies, has seen other Republican-led states follow its lead in challenging the Obama administration's refugee resettlement plans in and out of the courts."

Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently blind to the terrorist acts that were just committed on America's soil, and of the terrorism threat that open borders bring, had this to say, again from Reuters:

"The security vetting for this population, the most vulnerable of individuals, is extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive."

That was back in November in a joint statement with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to Abbott, outlining the resettlement program process.

Well, that's all fine and dandy, but neither Kerry nor Johnson live in Texas – or outside any community that's not protected by armed, specially trained law enforcement agents, for that matter.

For the rest of America, there's this, Reuters reported:

"Since Jan. 1, 2011, there have been 1,104 Syrian refugees resettled in Texas, according to the U.S. State Department-affiliated Refugee Processing Center. That is less than the 1,610 people resettled in California and the 1,515 sent to Michigan. ...

"The Obama administration said on Aug. 29 it would meet its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees during the current fiscal year a month ahead of schedule and was working with Congress to increase the target by a few thousand during 2017.

"U.S. admission of Syrian refugees has been a hot button issue in the 2016 presidential race.

"The civil war in Syria has led to a flood of refugees. The United States has offered refuge to far fewer than many of its allies. Germany has taken in over a million refugees from Syria, North Africa and Asia in the last year, while Canada admitted nearly 30,000 between November last year and May 1."

Reuters also reported a Texas withdrawal from the program wasn't likely "impair the work of private relief groups from resettling refugees in the state."

In other words: Texans are getting refugees, like it or not.

Post first appeared at,

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

'ISIS in America' Cases on the Rise: Feds Call for Vigilance

Talk about burying the lead.
Way at the bottom of a Reuters story on recent statistics of ISIS-tied prosecutions in America was this tidbit:
"The Department of Justice charged 60 people last year with supporting or committing crimes because of their sympathies to Islamic State, the largest annual figure on record."
Catch that? "The largest annual figure on record" means the number of ISIS terrorists and ISIS wanna-be terrorists has risen under President Obama, to levels never before seen.
As if for comfort, Reuters then adds this:
"The number arrested this year has been less than last year's figure."
But here's the real question to ask: Why are terrorists and terrorist-wanna-bes sneaking into America and roaming suburban communities in the first place?
Common sense says a combination of open borders and the present administration's habit of drawing a moral equivalence between America and all-things-Sharia is part of the problem. But U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, speaking to reporters at the Justice Department this week, seems to suggest the American people might be to blame, at least in part, and the U.S. Constitution, in other part.
Read this, from the same Reuters story:
"U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said on Monday that more than 110 people have been publicly charged in federal court since late 2013 on counts related to the Islamic State militant group that has overrun much of Syria and Iraq.
"Carlin said the U.S. Justice Department needs the American public to be more proactive about alerting federal authorities when they witness someone showing support for foreign terrorist organizations, such as Islamic State, in remarks to reporters at the U.S. Justice Department.
"In more than 80 percent of the Islamic State cases that have been prosecuted since 2013, someone in the community of the accused person believed they had witnessed the activity for which the person was ultimately charged, according to Carlin. In more than half of those cases, the witnesses did not report anything to law enforcement authorities until after the charges were made.
"Many of the Islamic State supporters prosecuted since 2013 have been charged under 'material support' statutes that prohibit supporting designated foreign terrorist organizations ... Carlin said he is open to considering whether affiliation with a domestic extremist group could 'warrant a special penalty' for people already charged with committing a violent crime. Simply supporting a domestic group where some of the members have committed crimes should not be prosecuted, Carlin said, because it 'runs into our Constitution and our values.'"
The figures and findings are alarming enough. But read between the lines, and it gets even more alarming. What's Carlin saying, exactly?
On one hand, it appears he credits the American people with reporting suspicious behaviors, leading to prosecutions of ISIS-tied individuals. But on the other, he's calling on Americans to be more proactive in reporting suspicious behaviors, while saying the Constitution does not allow for feds to take proactive action themselves.
But this is simply a red herring argument – and one that doesn't exactly assure the White House is going to fight terrorism in any sort of successful way.
The real problem is this: America's borders are porous and Obama's policies are weak. And until those factors are properly addressed, hopefully by the incoming administration, America's safety from terrorism is far from secured.
First posted at, here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

George Soros Lauds Efforts to Let Illegals Vote

In a Monday morning tweet, billionaire activist George Soros sent out some public praise for his own Open Society's work to make U.S. elections – in his mind – fairer, but that is really, in the views of constitutional, rule-of-law type Americans, aimed at giving illegal immigrants the ability to vote this November.

Soros is already on record supporting Hillary Clinton.

In July, Politico reported this:

"Soros has donated or committed more than $25 million to boost Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates and causes, according to Federal Election Commission records and interviews with his associates and Democratic fundraising operatives. And some of his associated say they expect Soros, who amassed a fortune estimated at $24.9 billion through risky currency trades, to give even more as Election Day nears."

Moreover, his personal political adviser, Michael Vachon, had this to say in the same story:

"[T]his year, the political stakes are exceptionally high. They were high even before Trump became the nominee because of the hostility on the other side toward many of the issues George cares most about and has worked to support for many years, including immigration reform, criminal justice reform and religious tolerance."

And now this, from Soros' own Twitter account, @georgesoros, just Monday morning.

He first posted a photograph and beginning of a story entitled "Why the U.S. Elections Just Got a Little Fairer," the read: "A series of court rulings ensures hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will be able to exercise their rights at the polls this November.

And he praised the "advocates' work," mirroring what the story said aboout their ensuring "elgible U.S. voters" can actually cast ballots this November.

Only problem is: Click on the story, which was written in August for Soros' own Open Society Foundations, and you'll see the "eligible voters" he's talking about are mostly those who are anything but eligible.

The story, written by Erica Teasley Linnick, reads in part:

"Three years ago this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder left voters in 15 states without protections previously afforded them under the landmark civil rights legislation. State legislators whose election policies had previously been deemed discriminatory by the Justice Department were emboldened to enact voter ID and other suppressive measures that negatively impact voters of color, using false arguments about the prevalence of fraud to fuel their efforts.

In response to these challenges, the Open Society Foundations created the Shelby Response Fund, bringing together litigators, researchers, state and local advocates, communications strategists, and organizers. The fund’s members worked on a number of fronts to try to restore voting rights protections stripped away by the high court ruling.

Lately, one aspect of their efforts in particular has been bearing fruit. In recent weeks, our voting rights grantees have celebrated court victories ensuring that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will be able to exercise their rights at the polls this November.

On August 11, a federal district court in North Carolina held that the state legislature had unconstitutionally used race in redrawing district boundaries in 2011, unnecessarily increasing the percentage of black voters in districts where they had been successfully electing their candidates of choice for years. This case, filed by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, was five years in the making—an example of how long justice can take, as well as the importance of the courts as a corrective.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID legislation was enacted with discriminatory intent in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. This voter ID measure was infamously referred to as the “monster bill” because of its far-reaching impact on voting rights—it also eliminated early voting, same-day registration, preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and out-of-precinct voting.

Also in July, a federal court decided to provide a safety net for Wisconsin voters who, under a 2011 law, are required to present voter ID at the polls. With this ruling, the court gives voters who have a difficult time getting qualifying ID the option to vote by affidavit and receive a regular ballot instead of a provisional one. The court found that the state’s interests could not justify disenfranchising voters who cannot obtain ID with reasonable effort.In Texas, after three years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the state’s 2013 voter ID law does indeed violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by denying black and Latino voters an equal opportunity to cast a ballot.

And in North Dakota, a federal court ruled that North Dakota’s voter ID law placed a disproportionate burden on Native American voters who didn’t have driver’s licenses or a tribal ID that included an address. “[N]o eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote,” the court held.

The story ends with one final note of caution for citizens – legal ones – concerned about the possibility for shenanigans at the polls this fall.

"This work is by no means done," it read. "These refcent victories will help bolster the advocates' efforts in the coming months and years, and ensure that so many voters disenfranchised by suppressive laws have an opportunity to participate fully in the elections this November."

First posted at Here ...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Health: All Fun and Games Until the FBI Finds Coincidence

Once upon a time, a brash, bold-faced candidate called Hillary Clinton thought she’d take a seat in the back of the campaign room, collect donor dollars, and adopt a wait-and-see plan as her platform to the presidency, her sole strategy seeming: Donald Trump is a circus act and well – who ya gonna vote for, except me?

Her strategy was underscored by her 18 months-plus of dodging press conferences, and by her near-disappearance from the public campaign trails in August, in favor of private fundraisers.

Then came this, from the pundit and media class: What’s up with all her coughing during public speeches? And this, from the medical community, the latest of which included Dr. Drew: Her brain is malfunctioning due to past injury, and she ought to get a neurological exam to prove fitness for the presidency. And then this, perhaps most damning: The FBI itself reported a tie between Mrs. Clinton’s memory lapses and her prior concussion.

In the course of investigating Clinton’s long-running email scandal, and in the course of asking the former secretary of State to explain her take on the many briefings she attended while serving President Barack Obama’s administration that spelled out just how agents of government ought to handle classified information and public documents – queries she addressed by saying she didn’t remember -- the FBI, inadvertently but no less shockingly, drew a direct parallel between her brain injury and her inability to lead.

“In December of 2012,” the FBI wrote, in summary of interrogations of Clinton over her use of a private, home-based email server for secretary of State business, Reuters reported, “Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot. Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.”

While the FBI didn’t specifically say Clinton’s memory fails were due to her brain injury, the link speaks volumes. And when combined with other health-related snafus on the campaign trail, the question of her presidency has undergone a dramatic shift. No longer are Americans wondering which candidate, Clinton or Trump, would provide the best security, open the doors to the most vibrant economy, pave the way for the most sound and logical border plan. But rather the focus becomes: Will Hillary make it through the day without a visit to the hospital?

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has become like a NASCAR race – one boring lap after another, while waiting to see if there’s a crash and burn.

The New York Post ran this headline, in January: “Hillary Clinton Can’t Stop Coughing During Speech,” in reference to her address before Iowa supporters.

In mid-February, it was this from the Conservative Outfitters: “Hillary Clinton Suffers From Another Severe Coughing Fit While Speaking in NYC.”

In April, Mrs. Clinton suffered yet another bout of coughing during an interview with a radio station host, after which she pointed to the “allergy season” as the blame. In May, it was more of the same – this time, as the Washington Free Beacon reported – during a California campaign event.

“On June 4,” the American Mirror reported, “Clinton was [simply] listening during a round table discussion when she began hacking uncontrollably.”

Now this latest, another spasm of coughing just this week in Ohio – and videos are making the rounds.

As the Daily Beast opined: “Is Hillary Clinton’s Cough the New Benghazi?”

It’s actually a valid question – and one, like Benghazi and the death of four Americans on Mrs. Clinton’s watch, the mainstream media hates to ask. CNN even has a name for those who question Mrs. Clinton’s physical ability to hold the high office – “healthers,” a play on the “birthers” who doubted Mr. Obama’s constitutional right to the presidency.

But the facts are: Mrs. Clinton suffered a concussion in 2012. She was shortly after hospitalized for a blood clot in her head. She can’t remember key details of her own government briefings, according to the FBI. And now, her campaign trail is marked by one curious coughing fit after another. Her supporters may scoff, but the reality remains: A president who can’t speak, is going to be hard pressed at diplomacy. A president who isn’t healthy, especially in brain and in head, sets an uncertain White House tone and therefore, puts the fate of the nation at risk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Human Chip Implants Move Mainstream, Despite ‘Mark of Beast’ Fears

Call it the coolness factor. Blame the millennial mindset of convenience at all costs. Or shrug it off as a natural technological progression – the inability of a society to close a Pandora’s Box once it’s been opened. But what’s becoming increasingly clear is what used to be regarded as creepy and science fiction-like has now gone mainstream.

Take RFID technology. Formerly the stuff of animal identification chip implants, the technology’s now moved into the human hand. It’s not – as this headline from the mainstream CBS News shows – exactly a topic of underground discussion any longer.

“Meet the humans with microchips implanted in them,” the news organization reported in June, in a piece about a Minnesota software engineer who used his chip in his finger to control his smartphone and a Dallas woman who used hers to open doors at her place of work, in place of a key card.

The once-queasy technology seems destined now to grow popularity. Catholic Online may have recently written how “a microchip implanted on human beings has chilling implications, conjuring up images of the ‘Mark of the Beast’ as mentioned in the Book of Revelations.” But in the same article, it was noted at length: the boon for society from chip implant technology is being touted as just too good to pass up.

The genie’s out and he ain’t headed back to his lamp any time soon.

Fox News reported this, way back in 2014: “[For] soldiers and journalists in war zones, such an implant could be the difference between life and death. A chip implant could also help law enforcement quickly locate a kidnapped child, … help monitor the location of people with Alzheimer’s … track the activities of felons who have been released from prison.”

All good – inarguably so.

Meanwhile, on the convenience side, there’s this: Chip implants in hands could make it really fast to open a locked door, speed through a security checkpoint at the airport, to provide crucial medical information to emergency response officials. And don’t forget the quick-pay option. Rather than waste valuable seconds fishing into pockets or pawing through purses to find debit or credit cards – or even more archaic, personal checkbooks or cash – customers may one day be able to pay for purchases simply by flashing a hand over a scanner.

But technology doesn’t always mean convenience. Just ask somebody whose computer’s been hacked, or car alarm’s been activated. Technology also doesn’t always mean progress. Sometimes it brings loss of personal freedom, and opens the door for government intrusion and control.

This, also from Fox News: “Chips are being used today to manage farm animals. Farmers can track sheep, pigs and horses as they move through a gate, weigh them instantly and make sure they are eating properly.”

Never mind the imagery from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” that passage brings to mind. The real question that emerges is this: Is any technology that’s being used to manage farm animals really something that human beings, created in the image of an omniscient, omnipresent God, ought to be volunteering to implant? Common sense says no. The constitutionally wise say heck no. And those of faith with fears of taking the “Mark of the Beast” should stick with their instincts: The chip itself may not be satanic, but the road it could lead to sure doesn’t pass the smell test of the discerning.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Obama’s Sneak Attack on U.S. Sovereignty Sets Stage for Climate Regulation Nightmare

The regulations, they are a-coming.

That’s what at least one noted climate skeptic warned, pointing to the very capable pen and phone politicking of President Obama that’s allowed him great success in bypassing Congress on various pet agendas – particularly, on those dealing with the environment, and even more particularly, on one provision he signed earlier this year, the Paris Accord. The measure supposedly commits America to abide what the Obama administration described as “the most ambitious climate change agreement in history.”

But as Marc Morano, publisher of “Climate Depot” and producer of the new film, “Climate Hustle,” a production that exposes the propaganda side of environmentalism, said in an interview: The commitment is smoke and mirrors, but a “cunning” Obama may see his long-held green-based regulatory visions achieve reality all the same, due to an unaware populace.

The accord itself is far-reaching and requires participating nations to actively prevent, via regulatory controls, the average global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius above “pre-industrial levels,” and to “undertake rapid reductions” on various emission levels around the world. In other words, bye-bye U.S. economic production.

Technically, though, Obama’s signature means nothing. Why?

The Senate never ratified the treaty, as required by the Constitution. Obama can sign all he wants, but truly, the accord won’t last past January, when his administration ends.

So says the legalese, anyway.

But this president operates under a policy of act first, seek permission – never. And if America turns a blind eye to what he’s done in recent months -- not just with the Paris treaty, but with his use of the Environmental Protection Agency to press regulatory controls turned down by Congress -- the reality is the provisions of the accord and more will take root and become the new national norm. It won’t be long before all these environmental measures are considered binding.

“If the next president continues the policies of President Obama with the EPA and the U.N. climate treaty, we are going to have a situation where these climate regulations will be codified,” Morano said.

One immediate impact?

“The coal industry will be long dead and buried,” he said.

More detriments will soon follow.

“Be afraid, be very afraid of the U.N. agenda,” Morano said. “The U.N. has been trying now since at least 1992 to get the U.S. tied up in an environmental regulatory scheme … but the United Nations openly admits they want to redistribute wealth via climate policy. It’s social engineering.”

The situation is all the more alarming because the will of the American people has been clear for years: Voters don’t want overly restrictive climate change regulations. Not only has cap-and-trade consistently gone down in legislative flames – not only has the United Nations failed to receive U.S. Senate ratification on its many environmental treaties and accords. But these climate skeptic camp wins have come even as Democrats have held a clean sweep of the country’s highest political offices == while holding majorities in both House and Senate and serving under their own party’s president.

“We are facing political defeat for the first time on global warming,” Morano warned.

All eyes may be currently turned on the presidential campaign. And voters of free-market minds and conservative bents may be waiting with anticipation and relief for the exodus of Obama. But his departure does not automatically undo the last eight years. Remember, it was Attorney General Loretta Lynch who said in early 2016 her “goal is to position” the Justice Department to continue President Obama’s law enforcement agenda, long after he leaves office.

It seems the White House has set the same designs on Obama’s environmental agenda, leaving the fate of America’s sovereignty, post-January 2017, in a state of uncertainty, danger and potentially further demise. Only an aware constituency, emboldened by a passion for freedom and a love of country, can control the bureaucratic beast of Washington and press the new president, whomever that might be, to keep to an “American first” mindset. 

First published at the Blaze:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Donald Trump and his Chicken Little detractors

It’s late August, the campaign clock is ticking. Donald Trump’s poll numbers are down – and not just by slim margins – and Hillary Clinton’s camp has all but locked up the race.

So the story goes, anyway.

But Donald Trump, if nothing else, is a competitor. His entire campaign has been marked by detractors, scoffers, mockers, predictors of gloom, declarers of doom, prognosticators of losses and more losses – and yet, in the end, the candidate’s steadfastly risen to the top. The smart voter, the savvy pundit, ought not close the door on a Trump administration just yet.

Guessing in August which candidate will win in November is nearly as impossible as predicting the Second Coming – and that’s not even based on polls. That’s just common sense. Why? Polls are snapshots in time, fickle by nature. They’re also about as scientific as climate change modeling, with outcomes that depend largely on the data that’s inputted. A poll that queries, “If the election were held today, would you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump,” is going to bring a lot different results than one that poses 10 questions about platforms, policies and issues and then asks, after each, “Which candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, would do the best job” on the particular topic. Heck, polls are so persnickety that even the order of the candidates during the presentation of the question, or the phrasing – the inquiring, for example, of which would prove more “successful” versus “do a better job” -- influences the respondents and therefore, the results.

Historically speaking, polls just aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

U.S. News & World Report wrote in September 2015, in a piece bluntly titled, “The Problem With Polls,” how Mitt Romney was supposed to beat Barack Obama, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was supposed to lose to political upstart Alison Lundergan Grimes and Scots weren’t all that decided on whether to declare independence from Great Britain – all according to separate surveys at the time. Well, how wrong the pollsters were, leading the news outlet to conclude “public opinion polls have racked up a few big-time fails in recent years, embarrassments that compelled a leading firm to conduct an internal audit to find out what went wrong.”

Yet here we are, a year later, gasping a collective breath about what MSNBC reports: “Latest polls reinforce Republicans’ sense of dread.” Fox News hosts and pundits Eric Bolling and Dana Perino gave a real-time sense of what this supposed dread’s all about during a recent televised discussion on Trump’s falling numbers and the validity and value of polls. When Bolling cited skewing as a factor, Perino blasted back, in essence: Don’t be absurd.

“The future of this party is at risk,” she tweeted, shortly after. And in another tweet, she vowed, “I will not lie to you about the state of this race.”

But really, isn’t the only truth here the one that says predicting the outcome of this presidential race is impossible?

Both Trump defenders and Trump detractors can find plenty in the polls to support their respective causes. On the pro-Trump side, there’s the botched Literary Digest straw poll in 1936 that predicted Alf Landon over Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the 1996 failure of three television stations to properly place Bob Dole in the race against Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan for the presidential primary in Arizona; the epic exit polling fails, and subsequent mistaken media announcements, that gave wins to the wrong presidential candidates in 2000 -- Al Gore over George Bush – and in 2004, John Kerry over again, Mr. Bush. Don’t forget the famous Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter campaign season, and the wide discrepancies in real numbers versus polled numbers. 

On the “Trump’s going down in flames” side, however, there’s this: Polls sometimes prove correct. And just because they aren’t 100 percent accurate, that doesn’t mean they aren’t sometimes accurate.

If that’s the argument – and it has to be, because that’s the base truth of the matter – then the smart voter, the smart pundit, resists the panicked “sky is falling” politicking and realizes the race is long, the candidates are savvy, the campaigns are both making adjustments and in response, so will the numbers. Let’s not call the race just yet – let’s put Chicken Little back in the cage.

First published at the Washington Times:  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Massachusetts Uber Tax Sheds Light on the Socialist Mindset

Massachusetts has a new tax aimed at punishing Uber and Lyft drivers who dare to compete with the government regulated taxi companies.

Of course, the tax advocates don’t describe it that way. Rather, they say the 20-cent fee – and note, it’s always a fee in bureau-speak, never tax – is a win-win for all that will take a cut of all Uber and Lyft rides to distribute among the taxi companies, the cities and towns and to the state. The estimated pot of this fee-not-tax could reach millions of dollars annually, and provide big bucks to the state’s transportation fund. On top of that, the revenues will also be used to help taxi services identify and put in place “new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities” that could also lead to more workforce development, according to the text of the bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican no less.

Wow. It’s like a wonder drug -- a cure-all for the state’s transportation and job opportunity woes that seem to include failing taxi technology, whatever that means. But peer past the politicking and take a whiff of the stink. The tax, which take a nickel per Uber ride for the taxi companies, a dime per ride for the local governments, and another nickel for the state to deposit in its transportation coffers, is rooted in socialist ideology.

As Reuters reported, Larry Meister of the Boston-area Independent Taxi Operator’s Association cheered its passage by saying it’s about time – Uber and Lyft drivers have been dodging the regulations that taxi companies have had to abide for years. One such regulation? Vehicular inspections by police.

“They’ve been breaking the laws that are on the books that we’ve been following for many years,” Meister reportedly said.

So the answer is more laws – more fees, taxes and government controls and interventions? That’s a miserable mentality that has no place in a free-market America.

As Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten ride service, said while opposing the tax in the same Reuters story: “I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors.”

That’s exactly right.

Only a socialist – someone who thinks the government should oversee and control business and the economy – could applaud a tax that takes money from a private enterprise and siphons it into the hands of another private enterprise. It’s particularly galling, though, when the money being taken from the private business is being used to bolster the bottom line of a competing business – and then sold as a “safety” benefit for all.

This is theft, pure and simple.  And the perpetrator is the government.

Calling it a fee, dressing it as a workforce development benefit, touting it as a safety measure and talking it up as a fairness issue that levels the free market field so all can compete is nothing but spin. You want an equitable playing field for both taxi and Uber drivers – one that provides a fair shot at profit for all? Think less government, not more. Think capitalism, not socialism.

Taxi drivers ought to be fighting for less regulation of their companies, not more rules and burdens for their competitors. That, after all, is the free-market way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LGBTs vs. the First Amendment: The Fight for Religious Freedom Ratchets

Tread carefully, America. The skirmishes around the nation centered on rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are not really about rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

They’re about the decimation of the First Amendment and the destruction of traditional family. And the latest local battle to drive a wedge in the national norm is in Utah, where 25 groups dedicated to advancing the LGBT rights’ movement have signed on to a letter urging the Big 12, which is considering a team expansion, to turn a blind eye on Brigham Young University.

Of the Mormon school, the coalition wrote: “[BYU] actively and openly discriminates against its LGBT students and staff. In fact, through its policies, BYU is very clear about its intent to discriminate against openly LGBT students, with sanctions that can include suspension or dismissal for being openly LGBT or in a same-sex relationship. … Given BYU’s homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices, BYU should not be rewarded with Big 12 membership.”

But that’s typical special interest-driven bunk.

BYU, a private facility in Provo that’s owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, does in fact have policies regarding homosexual relations. It also has them – and curious, but the coalition’s letter doesn’t speak to this – for heterosexuals. In fact, the school’s honor code, which speaks to the need of students and staff to “demonstrate in daily living on and off-campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” is specific in its expectations for everybody who attends. It requires all BYUers to “be honest,” to live a chaste and virtuous life,” and to “participate regularly in church services.” It doesn’t even allow them to swear – or drink coffee or caffeinated tea.

It’s in the context of discussing the do’s and don’ts of proper BYUer behaviors that homosexuality is brought up, in a special section that makes clear: “Homosexual behavior is inappropriate.”

But before cracking the “see, I told you so” whip wielded by the rabidly pro-LGBT rights’ crowd, read a little bit more. Simply professing same-sex attraction is not a code violation.

“One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue,” the policy reads. “[BYU] will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction.”

That means an honor code violation is only given in those instances when students or staffers act on those sexual attractions. But here’s the part the LGBT agenda-drivers conveniently overlook and ignore: BYU’s sex-based prohibitions apply equally to homosexuals as well as heterosexuals. In other words: the honor code demands chastity for all unmarried students and staffers, no matter their sexual preferences.

If the whole LGBT movement is aimed at demanding and receiving equal rights and equal treatment – at getting the same types of societal benefits as heterosexuals – then the reaction to BYU’s honor code should be this: Mission accomplished. But it’s not. And that’s because the LGBT community’s clamor for rights at choice spots around the nation in recent months has little to do with justice and equality and everything to do with destroying societal roots, norms and standards.

In 2012, lesbian activist Masha Gessen said in a speech “it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist” and that sanctioning a man and a woman as the legal caretakers of children is ridiculous.

In 2013, the far-left Nation published opinions from LGBT activists Tamara Metz and Amber Hollibaugh who said, respectively, the next step for the movement was to “disestablish marriage” and to “queer” the country’s economy.

“I want a LGBTQ movement that queers the reality of Walmart line jobs, sex work and homeless shelters,” Hollibaugh wrote.

And in 2016, the Huffington Post’s “Queer Voices” section blasted this headline in a story about offering stock photographs of gays to wire services like Getty: “Redefining the ‘Traditional’ American Family in 7 Stunning Images.”

Meanwhile, the battle over bathroom genders goes on, with entities from the White House to Target retail demanding men dressed as women be given access to female facilities, and vice versa. But this BYU battle is a First Amendment religious freedom hit in disguise. What the coalition of LGBT groups is in effect saying in their letter is that Christian-based organizations have a right to their religious beliefs – so long as those religious beliefs don’t conflict or oppose the LGBT agenda. And they’re trying to steamroll that belief into the common culture via the sports world. Americans, particularly those of Christian faith and patriotic bent, take heed. BYU today; the local church tomorrow.