Denver Sticking to Sanctuary Policy Following Arrest of Hit-and-Run Suspect Who Was Already Deported Six Times
by Jason Hopkins
Denver officials do not plan on fully cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they release an illegal alien who was deported six times before getting arrested for fleeing the scene of a deadly hit-and-run accident.
Juan Sanchez, a Mexican national living in the U.S. illegally, is accused of striking a pedestrian in the Denver area with a vehicle and immediately fleeing the scene. If Sanchez — who lives in a state that largely limits cooperation with ICE — is able to make bond, his release back into the community could pose another showdown between local officials and federal immigration authorities.
The City and County of Denver reiterated its position on transferring custody of illegal aliens when approached by the Daily Caller News Foundation about Sanchez’s case.
A Colorado woman, Annette Conquering Bear, was running an errand Dec. 17 when an oncoming SUV struck her while she tried to cross an intersection. The vehicle drove away without stopping, according to the Denver Police Department. A witness to the accident flagged down a nearby ambulance, but Conquering Bear was pronounced dead at the scene.
Law enforcement was able to locate the vehicle, a white GMC Sierra crew cab truck, and arrest its driver, Sanchez. The 39-year-old Mexican national was charged with vehicular homicide and fleeing the scene of an accident. Officials set his bond at $500,000.
ICE revealed Sanchez carries an extensive list of immigration violations that spans nearly two decades. Not only is he living in the U.S. illegally, but he was deported from the country six times: once in 2012, three times in 2008, and twice in 2002. It’s not immediately clear how Sanchez was able to make so many unauthorized re-entries into the U.S., which is a felony under federal law.
Colorado’s state government, which is under the control of the Democratic Party, has become increasingly antagonistic toward federal immigration authorities. Gov. Jared Polis, for example, signed into law in May legislation that prohibits local law enforcement from detaining a suspected illegal alien solely on the basis of an ICE request, prohibits officers from providing an illegal alien’s personal information to ICE, and requires police to read illegal aliens their Miranda rights when coordinating an ICE interview.
Given Sanchez’s repeated violations of U.S. immigration law, the DCNF asked Denver’s government if it would allow for a coordinated transfer with ICE, should Sanchez make bond. The DCNF received the following response:
“Pursuant to the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act, when the Denver Sheriff Department receives a request for notification from ICE the inmate is advised of their rights upon receipt and prior to release. We fax ICE notification of release when the individual enters into the release process. It is the responsibility of ICE to take the individual into custody. We do not do any secure handoff and do not participate in the transfer unless an incident would occur that would threaten the safety of the community.”
The statement, provided by the communications director of the sheriff’s department, was noted as the standard protocol for all illegal aliens in their custody.
However, ICE said this policy doesn’t cut it, noting that such a last-minute notification is not “functional.”
“Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer form asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody,” an ICE spokesperson told the DCNF.
“A notification that an alien is about to be released to the lobby is not a functional way to ensure transfer of custody,” the spokesperson continued.
Should Sanchez be released from custody and ICE is not able to make an apprehension in time, he would be far from the first illegal alien to evade capture from the agency because of local sanctuary policies. Illegal aliens who have been released in defiance of ICE detainer requests have been charged with homicide, child sex abuse, and a host of other crimes across the country.
“When law enforcement agencies can’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat,” the spokesperson added.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
As I conclude my first year representing Tennessee’s Seventh District in Congress, I’m more convinced than ever that the only thing that will save America is what started America: Federalism.
Imagine that governing is like two concentric circles representing the major tenets and beliefs of the two political parties in America. There used to be considerable overlap between the two circles, allowing Congress to govern in the overlap.
But with each year that passes, these circles grow further and further apart as the philosophies between the parties become more divided, and the ability to reach consensus and solve the problems facing our country becomes more difficult.
Today, the differences are so stark that there is almost no overlap between the two circles. As a result of this ever-growing polarization, here’s how we are governing:
Might makes right. The majority wins, and the majority makes the rules.
This is the extreme our Founders tried to prevent — the consolidation of power, the centralization of decision-making into the hands of an elite few, in a word, tyranny.
Real freedom disperses power. That’s the ideal our country was built on — a federal system that shares political power and the responsibilities of governing among local governments, state governments and the national government. Sovereignty is reserved to the states, and federal power is exercised as one of the enumerated powers specified in the Constitution. This original plan allowed for a state like California to do universal health care and a state like Tennessee to pursue a wholly different approach.
Our Founders understood that freedom is best preserved in a local context. However, today freedom — and the system of federalism that ensures it — is under massive attack as power continues to accumulate in the hands of an elite ruling class.
History is clear — concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands leads to tyranny.
By reserving power to the people, federalism releases citizens, local communities and state governments to innovate, create and specifically serve the wishes of the individuals in a given state or local jurisdiction. If Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez wants to implement universal rent control, as she has said, let New York do that, but Tennessee doesn’t want anything to do with it and should have that right.
Do you want Donald Trump to have less power? Federalism. Do you want Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to have less power? Federalism. History is clear — concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands leads to tyranny. And today, dispersed power and a renewed federalism are again needed to offset the dangers of a centralized state and prevent the wishes of one state from being forced onto another against their wishes.
The way I see it, we have two alternatives: we can restore the balance of power and renew the spirit of federalism that helped form America — protecting the sovereignty and power of the states and empowering local communities to conduct their own affairs. Or we can see one of the concentric circles win and force its views on the other — leading to tyranny.
The consequences of allowing tyranny are too great to consider. Let’s return to federalism, a fundamental concept of our nation’s founding, before it’s too late.
Rep. Mark Green is a graduate of West Point and a former special operations flight surgeon who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was part of the mission to capture Saddam Hussein, and he interviewed Saddam Hussein for six hours on the night of his capture. He was unanimously voted president of the Republican freshman class and serves on the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees.
The 2015 law requires women seeking an abortion to wait 48-hours between receiving in-person counseling from a doctor and returning to a clinic for an abortion.
Five abortion clinics filed suit shortly after law was enacted, but the case did not go to trial until September. Both sides submitted final written conclusions late last month. Senior Judge Bernard Friedman, a Michigan judge appointed to preside over the case, has no set timetable for issuing his ruling.
The clinics challenging the law claim it places an undue burden on those seeking abortions, the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992 when it upheld a 24-hour waiting period in Pennsylvania while rejecting a requirement women obtain consent of their husbands for an abortion.
The legal challenge also alleges the law discriminates against women.
The measure "subjects women to increased medical risk, emotional harm, protracted delays, and other burdens," their legal filing said.
"It is especially burdensome for low-income who make up the large majority of Plaintiff's patients; those who live far from a clinic and must travel significant distances to receive care; victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault; and women who seek abortions because of a fetal anomaly or concerns for their own health."
Lawyers with Tennessee's office of Attorney General who are defending the measure said the waiting period "helps to ensure that abortion decisions are made knowingly, competently and voluntarily."
Tennessee is one of 27 states that have enacted a waiting period for women seeking an abortion.
Since the waiting period was enacted, the number of abortions obtained by women in Tennessee has dropped by 12%, from 9,861 in 2014 to 8,636 in 2017, the most recent data available from the Tennessee health department.
There is a hub, like on a bicycle wheel, that points inward to the focus of what has taken place. Christian Apologetics identifies many of those spokes, pointing to the reality that in the history of the world, one event took place, that supersedes all others. “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one.” This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or “Messiah.”
Luke 2:11-12 NIV “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
I could name off many of those spokes, present the arguments, persuade with reasoning laced with factual evidence but in my estimation, individually they all fall short and collectively, even though they are mind boggling in themselves, they still fall short of the majesty and wonder of the birth of Jesus and the reality that He is and that we can know Him, today, here, right now.
He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord, He is alive and awaits our eyes to see Him and respond to His voice with our hearts.
You will hear of Him in the Christmas carols, you will be reminded of Him in the gifts that are exchanged and the lights that celebrate His birth plus the feast that normally follows, but these are reminders, just like the spokes of a bicycle wheel, they point to Him but they are not Him.
He is the Messiah. He is the Son of God, sent to a world that needs Him far beyond what we can even imagine.
John 3:16 NIV “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In order to give us His Son, our heavenly Father had to actually send Him to us, in the person of a baby, who grew into a child, who grew into a man.
Christmas is our celebration of His birth, but it doesn’t stop there. If we don’t look beyond the cultural customs of the “holiday season”, if we only focus on the wrappings and overlook the gift that has and is being given, we’re missing it all.
The greatest gift that one can ever come to realize is that God is real, He sent us His Son, the promised Messiah, who did for us what we in ourselves could never do and through faith in Him and what He has done, we can actually call upon our Heavenly Father and experience the love and forgiveness that emulates from Him, because of Jesus.
Romans 8:29 NIV “ For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.“
Jesus is God’s first born, where death is defeated. His life is our life. This is why we celebrate His birth because in reality, it heralds our own birth, both now and in the life to come. This is our heavenly Father’s promise to us. Because He lives, we also shall live (John 14:19 NIV).
Interesting enough, in the Old Testament, God calls Israel His firstborn in Exodus 4:22 NIV, which would be under the coming Law. In the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we have Jesus being the first born under the coming grace. The holiness of the Law being met through the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalm 85:10 KJV)
Jesus is the personification of God’s mercy, where our sins are forgiven, where our life begins anew. To reject Jesus is to reject God’s mercy. We throw away the wrappings, don’t throw away God’s gift.
A blessed and joyous Christmas to all my friends!
You all have blessed me so many many times this past year and I thank you so much.
By Tim Frank Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage
Recently, the staff of one of the local funeral homes in our county hosted their annual “Hope for the Holidays” service and invited me to share a word of hope and practical help to those in attendance who had lost loved ones.
The holidays can be very difficult for an individual or a family as they grieve during this season which is normally filled with festivities and joy.
Here are 10 practical suggestions I share with those who have lost loved ones. May these thoughts be of help and comfort during this Christmas season.
• The holidays are a time to lean into your grief and find the comfort God brings. The Bible says in Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Grief is the price you pay for loving someone. It is normal to grieve when a loved one has died. Allow yourself to grieve.
• Realize and acknowledge that the holidays will never be the same again. Don’t pretend and go through the motions like nothing has happened. In the loss of a loved one, things will never be the same again. There can be healing and a new normal, but without your loved one things will not be the same.
• Some find that writing down a holiday plan can be helpful. A plan allows you to prioritize and plan the many activities, events and gatherings. This year, you may not be able to do everything. A plan will help sort through what stays and what goes. It may even mean that some new traditions will be established.
• Be ready for the emotional ambushes that may occur. These outbursts of emotion are often triggered by the sights, smells and settings which remind you of Christmas spent with your loved one.
• You may want to remember your loved one in a special way during family gatherings. Perhaps you may want to create a memorial spot, such as an area with a lit candle, a poinsettia or a picture. Such a remembrance acknowledges your loved one and gives others “permission” to share the memories they have of the person.
• Avoid isolating yourself from others during the holidays. It may be tempting to skip Christmas this year and hibernate by yourself until Jan. 1. However, there is comfort and encouragement in being together with those you love. If you go to another person’s home, you may want to drive, just in case you begin to feel overwhelmed and need to leave early.
• Hold your holiday plans loosely and reserve the right to change as needed. In grief, there are no “right” or “wrong” ways of doing Christmas. Every person is unique and your relationship with the deceased person was unique. The way you experience and express grief will also be unique. Don’t allow others to try to push you into their opinions of what you “ought” to do or feel.
• It’s okay to enjoy the holidays without your loved one. As you spend time with family and friends, there may be laughter, singing and smiles. That does not dishonor the memory of your deceased loved one. Be thankful and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Embrace and cherish your family and friends
• Draw close to Jesus during the holidays. Spend extra time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading. Find the comfort that only He can bring to your soul. You may want to read through the Psalms and find the strength of the Lord in your grief or the Christmas stories found in Matthew and Luke.
• In your quiet time with God, you may find it helpful to make a list of your blessings for which you are thankful. In grief, it is easy to become focused on your loss and fail to realize all you have for which to be thankful.
Christmas is a celebration of God’s greatest gift, His greatest blessing to mankind; the birth of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Christmas has been called the sufferer’s holiday for in it is the hope we have in this life and in the life to come. Jesus spoke to grieving people at the tomb of His friend in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus is the hope you are seeking. He is hope for your holiday. He is hope for your life. He is the hope for eternity.B&R
The defense policy bill that is heading to President Donald Trump’s desk gives homeschooled students the green light to join their local Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, establishing a uniform policy across the nation and eliminating any ambiguity regarding homeschooled students’ eligibility.
While there previously was no law barring homeschooled students from joining JROTC programs, the National Defense Authorization Act includes a measure Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., introduced in February to ensure homeschoolers aren’t rejected from joining JROTC programs at local public and private high schools.
Cotton made the case for the provision on the Senate floor Wednesday and said that homeschooling parents “sacrifice a lot” when they decide to homeschool their children. He also argued that homeschooled students are often exemplary citizens because they understand the value of “patriotism, and faith, and hard work, and sacrifice.”
“Homeschool students therefore ought to be prime candidates for our Armed Forces for this very reason, but until now it hasn’t been clear in some places whether homeschool students were eligible to join a local Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program,” Cotton said.
Cotton added that the provision guarantees the homeschooled students have the ability to “sharpen and deploy their skills in service of our country” and that it “moves us closer to a society that fully accepts and indeed celebrates homeschooling families for the noble path they have chosen.”
According to a report from the National Center for Educations Statistics released in 2016, approximately 1.69 million students between the ages of 5-17 were homeschooled in the U.S. that spring. Homeschooling was not legal in all 50 states until 1993.
All 50 states have JROTC programs, in addition to U.S. schools overseas in countries including Japan, South Korea, Germany and others. Altogether, approximately 500,000 students are enrolled in JROTC programs, according to Cotton’s office.
The Department of Defense claims JROTC programs are designed to give high school students a foundation for leadership roles, and introduce cadets to activities including drill instruction and ceremonies, military customs, uniform inspections, marksmanship, among other things.
The students receive instruction from retired officers and enlisted personnel, and choose to participate in the program as an elective course in high school. They are not required to serve in the military following graduation from high school.
The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act last week. The Senate approved the measure Wednesday, and it is now awaiting Trump’s signature.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not commit to sending the articles of President Donald Trump’s impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate, citing concerns about fairness.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said of Senate Republicans immediately after the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump Wednesday evening. “I could not be prouder or more inspired than by the moral courage of the House Democrats,” she said.
House Democrats lodged two articles of impeachment against the president related to allegations that Trump sought Ukrainian interference in the upcoming presidential election and that he refused to cooperate with the ensuing House impeachment inquiry. The two articles alleged “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress,” and each passed in an overwhelmingly partisan vote.
All Republican House members voted against impeachment, with two Democrats voting against the first measure and three against the second. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii and a 2020 presidential contender, voted present for both measures.
The House must now pass another resolution to establish formal managers who will present the impeachment case in the Senate. The articles of impeachment would officially transfer to the upper chamber with the passage of that resolution. Pelosi, however, has hinged moving forward with the resolution on Senate actions, making its passage contingent upon House Democratic leadership’s perception of Senate Republicans’ fairness.
“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi declared. “Hopefully it will be fairer, and when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
Pelosi went a step further, however, refusing to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate at all. When a reporter asked about the possibility of her never sending the articles, she promptly shut him down, and in so doing, also confirmed the impeachment vote had less to do with “protecting democracy” and more to do with partisan political games and 2020 election strategy.
We are not having that discussion. We have done what we have set out to do. The House has acted on a very sad day to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, to do so in a way that was fair even though the other side was mischaracterizing it. Nonetheless, it was fair and appropriate — and urgent, and urgent. So we will make our decision as to when we’re going to send it when we see what they’re doing on the Senate side.
Sending the articles to the Senate “would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there,” Pelosi then replied to a different reporter, undercutting her own appeals to urgency.
Pelosi’s remarks shed further light on House Democrats’ true intentions, which are seemingly to smear Trump with an “impeachment” brand as voters venture into a highly contentious election year. “We did all we could, Elijah,” Pelosi said, referring to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. “We passed the two articles of impeachment. The president is impeached.”
If they send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, Democratic lawmakers could ultimately end up with egg on their faces, a risky move heading into an election year — and a possibility Pelosi may well now be considering. For Trump is nearly guaranteed an acquittal in the Senate. For a president to be removed from office, the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in the upper chamber, which would necessitate that 20 of the Senate’s 53 GOP members join Democrats in expelling a Republican president.
However, egg on one’s face seems a small price to pay for supposedly saving the republic and remaining, as Pelosi said, “very true to the vision of our founders.”
I view this day, this vote, as something that we did to honor the vision of our Founders to establish the republic, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to defend our democracy and that republic, and the aspirations of our children that they will always live in a democracy and that we have tried to do everything we can to make sure that that is their reality.
Really? Everything you can do? Or just a rubber stamp maneuver to smear the duly elected president, whom Democrats have promised to impeach since his 2016 election?
“Right now, the president is impeached,” Pelosi declared, striking the podium with each word.
Kudos to a trio of Congressmen, including Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, for requesting that the State Department investigate the “innocuous sounding organization Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) and their ‘sister organization,’ the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)” for “promoting extremist ideology and terror finance”:
While they sell themselves as innocuous Muslim civil society organizations, they are, in fact, arms of one of the most radical networks in the world.
Fleischmann has good reasons to pursue this inquiry since individuals intimately tied to both ICNA and HHRD are active in Tennessee.
House Resolution 160, which preceded the Congressmen’s letter, claims HHRD and ICNA are domestic affiliates of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Jamaat-e-Islami is a jihadi South Asian Sunni revivalist movement dedicated to Islamic revolution, extremist Sunni Muslim ideology, and the establishment of a global caliphate.
The House Resolution also states that ICNA is "openly affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami,” and shares leadership with them, while HHRD collaborates with a Pakistani terrorist network.
Noted in the Congressmen’s November 1st letter, Iranian-born Middle East and Islamic world expert Vali Nasr “names ICNA as one of the most important branches of Jammat-e-Islami in the world” and “has received over ten million dollars in [U.S.] government grants.” An investigation is warranted, the Congressmen say, because “significant evidence” shows that HHRD and ICNA are “directly involved in terror finance.”
The editor of Weekly Blitz, a Bangladeshi paper, has exposed an equally concerning problem regarding Jamaat-e-Islami’s U.S. proxies ICNA and HHRD:
Despite its partnerships with terrorist organizations and its officials’ promotion of extremism, HHRD has long enjoyed non-Muslim support. HHRD reveals that its donors include the British government, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, and prominent American corporations such as Microsoft, Cisco, PepsiCo, and Dell.
HHRD has been reported as using radical Islamists to raise money for the organization, including Siraj Wahhaj, a featured speaker at the November HHRD benefit dinner in Memphis.
Wahhaj, who converted to Islam under the leadership of the Nation of Islam leader and notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, is the founder of the Brooklyn Al-Taqwa mosque. At Al-Taqwa, he cultivated a close relationship with Omar Abdel Rahman, aka the “blind Sheikh” and spiritual leader of Osama bin Laden. The connections between Wahhaj and his mosque to Rahman landed Wahhaj on the unindicted co-conspirator list for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Wahhaj occasionally speaks in Tennessee mosques and to college Muslim Student Associations. In 2016, Wahhaj was the keynote speaker for a Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council Knoxville event called “Stand Up For Justice: Advocating for Muslim Rights in Tennessee.” He is known for delivering messages which tie political power to his desire for a global caliphate.
If only Muslims were more clever politically, he told his New Jersey listeners, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. ‘If we were united and strong, we'd elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. ... Take my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.’”
Knoxville is also the home of Rafiq Mahdi, the Director of Community Development for ICNA Relief (USA), another Jammat-e-Islami domestic affiliate named in the House Resolution. Weekly Blitz reports that Jamaat-e-Islami is “now openly denouncing democracy and even preaching Caliphate.”
The ICNA Members Handbook makes clear that the organization’s overarching goal is establishing the global caliphate, or what Mahdi “envisions [as] an Islamic empire, a place where, if you don't follow Muslim rules, you are free -- to leave the country.”
Like Wahhaj, Rafiq Mahdi is a black American convert to Islam who also started his Muslim life with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. Before becoming the unofficial Imam of the Knoxville Muslim community, Mahdi led the Masjid Al-Iman in Florida. This “small fundamentalist mosque” gained national attention because it allegedly was the spiritual home of the “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla who had ties to al Qaeda and was convicted of planning a jihad attack in 2002.
That same year Madhi helped fundraise for the KindHearts Foundation which was dissolved under suspicion of raising money for Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Mahdi, however, claims that most Muslims do not see Hamas as a terrorist organization, and says he is not convinced that Osama Bin Laden was behind 9/11.
At last count, HHRD employs fifteen regional coordinators spread throughout the U.S. and hosts fundraising events in cities from coast to coast. The organization’s latest 990 form shows total revenue of over $52 million dollars.
ICNA maintains operations in sixty-eight locations spread throughout the country.
Two weeks ago, the Middle East Forum hosted a panel of experts on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana), sponsor of House Resolution 160, to address the threat posed by Jamaat-e-Islami’s network. Panelists emphasized the organization’s commitment to establishing a global Caliphate and the “continued calls for jihad expressed by senior Jamaati leaders.”
Abha Shankar of the Investigative Project on Terrorism noted that ICNA is more closely tied to Jamaat-e-Islami than was previously known:
‘Jamaat-e-Islami believes in Islamic revolution, with the ultimate goal of establishing a global Islamic superstate, ruled by sharia,’ Shankar explained. ‘This is exactly what is preached by ICNA at its conventions, at its events and in its publications.’
There should be no question about whether ICNA and HHRD are investigated and the emerging U.S. terror threat stopped.
Cathy Hinners is a decorated retired New York state police officer and was a participant in the Intel Liaison Division while she was active in an emerging Middle Eastern/ Muslim community. Based upon this experience, she developed a 3-day course on Middle Eastern Crime, Culture and Community which she has delivered to thousands of law enforcement officers across the country.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Wednesday that an investigation by his office has uncovered hundreds of illegally registered non-citizen voters, 77 of whom cast ballots in the November 2018 election.
In a letter to Attorney Dave Yost on December 4, LaRose, a Republican, explained, "As a result of our review, my office has identified 277 individuals who registered to vote in Ohio and 77 individuals who cast a ballot in an Ohio election and who appear to be legally present, noncitizens."
The Secretary of State said the review "utilized a cross-matching of the voter rolls in the Statewide Voter Registration Database with the list of individuals who have Ohio driver licenses or state identification cards." He noted that while the state does not maintain a "comprehensive database" of non-citizens in Ohio, Bureau of Motor Vehicles records do indicate the citizenship status of individuals who apply for driver's licenses or state identification cards.
The 277 individuals who registered to vote and the 77 who cast a ballot "each provided the BMV with documentation identifying themselves as non-citizens on at least two occasions, once before their voter activity and once after," LaRose said.
It remains to be seen whether the attorney general, also a Republican, will charge and push for convictions for the individuals who committed voter fraud, but LaRose urged him to take action: "I’m confident that you will give this matter the seriousness that our representative democracy deserves by acting quickly to complete your investigations and pursuing prosecution as warranted."
While the number of fraudulent votes in this case is relatively small—77 votes out 4,496,834 ballots cast in November 2018 —the perpetrators should have the book thrown at them. Election fraud is serious business, and those trying to subvert our democratic system deserve to be punished.
Not surprisingly, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has a long history of criticizing efforts to crack down on illegal voting, gave cover to the fraudsters, saying that non-citizens who register to vote "do so mistakenly, not understanding the laws around voting," according to "elections officials and activists."
Voting-rights activists continue to insist that voter fraud is rare. “For the most part, fraud is just very, very rare,” Mike Brickner, Ohio director of a voting-rights nonprofit, told the Plain Dealer. “These cases oftentimes boil down to people didn’t understand the rules and were confused.”
LaRose seems to agree. “Thanks to the controls and processes of our election system, both voter fraud and voter suppression are exceedingly rare and certainly not as systemic as some claim,” he said in a statement. “However, neither are ever acceptable -- even in rare or isolated instances. The only way to continue this high standard is by committing to enforce the law when it is broken.”
While I give LaRose credit for ferreting out these cases of voter fraud, in reality, no one knows how much of it goes on — or how many election outcomes are affected — because it's difficult to detect and even harder to prosecute election crimes. Fraud could be minimal or it could be widespread and systemic. In Ohio, where voters need only present a utility bill or government check to cast a ballot, and any voter in the state can request an absentee ballot for any or no reason at all, it's relatively easy for someone desiring to skirt the law to do so. During my years as a poll worker and presiding judge, I had zero confidence that voters presenting non-photo IDs were who they claimed to be—and there was nothing I could do about it. The problem is worse now that my county has gone to electronic poll books, which make it virtually impossible to verify a signature match (not that it was a whole lot easier with the paper poll books). (Back in 2012, I gave some examples of how someone could very easily vote illegally, based on my experience as a poll worker.)
The White House has a list of voter fraud convictions across the nation, based on a report from the Heritage Foundation. Here are but a few examples from Ohio:
False Registrations: Rebecca Hammonds, of East Liverpool, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of making a false registration and one count of election falsification. While working as a canvasser for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Hammonds falsely registered voters, including deceased individuals and residents who no longer lived in the community. Hammonds was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail.
Duplicate Voting: Dominique Atkins pleaded guilty to misdemeanor attempted illegal voting, admitting that she received, filled out, and returned two absentee ballots in the 2010 elections. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but the judge suspended her sentence if she agreed to pay a $500 fine.
False Registrations: Robert Gilchrist, a former director of the Lorain County Community Action Agency and a Lorain city official, was indicted on four felony counts of illegal voting. Gilchrist used the address of an old apartment to enable him to vote in four elections between November 2009 and May 2011 in a ward in which he did not live. Gilchrist was ordered to enter a one-year diversion program.
Fraudulent Use of Absentee Ballots During the 2012 election: Russell Glassop obtained and submitted an absentee ballot in the name of his deceased wife. After Glassop pleaded guilty to absentee ballot fraud, the judge sentenced him to a diversion program.
Fraudulent Use of Absentee Ballots: Sister Marguerite Kloos pleaded guilty and resigned as the Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities for The College of Mount St. Joseph’s, after admitting that she cast an absentee ballot in the name of the late Sister Rose Marie Hewitt, who had died one month before the election. She was sentenced to a diversion program.
Duplicate Voting: Melowese Richardson, a Cincinnati poll worker, voted twice in the 2012 election, once by absentee and once in person. Not an isolated event, she voted in the names of others--including her comatose sister--in three other elections. Richardson was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, but was released early.
Ballot Petition Fraud: During a 2012 campaign for the statewide ballot petition on the “Voters First Ohio Amendment,” a group associated with the AFLCIO called Working America hired Timothy Zureick to collect petition signatures. Zureick forged the names of 22 prominent Athens Democrats, including those on the Athens County Board of Elections. The Democrats on the board alerted officials when their signatures appeared on the petitions they were certifying. Zureick entered into a plea agreement that stipulated he serve no prison time, but the judge nevertheless sentenced him to a week in jail to impress upon Zureick the gravity of his actions. The judge also ordered Zureick to pay all court costs within 60 days, and to perform 100 hours of community service within the first 24 months of his community control.
Fraudulent Use of Absentee Ballots, Ballot Petition Fraud: Deshara M. McKinney, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to falsifying signatures on applications for absentee ballots while working as a canvasser in the 2009 ballot initiative to allow casinos in Ohio. McKinney fled the state after her fraud was discovered, and was eventually arrested in Michigan. She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service. She was also required to pay court costs and the cost of her extradition.
The list goes on and on and includes a whole host of community-organizer types and poll workers, who understand better than anyone how easy it is to game the system.
Requiring a photo ID in order to vote and limiting absentee voting to those who truly need it would go along way toward ensuring election integrity and easing the public's mind about what goes on in precincts large and small across the U.S., but those commonsense measures are considered racist by those on the left who believe people of color aren't smart enough to vote without their assistance. Those of us who believe minority voters are every bit as intelligent and resourceful as their Caucasian counterparts are the real racists, and don't you forget it.
I'm not a religious man, but what has happened to the makeup of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit over the past few years could drive me to prayerful gratitude. Indeed, many have believed for years that nothing short of divine intervention — or disbanding the 9th Circuit altogether — could save us from this anti-constitutional monstrosity with such a dismal track record on appeal at the Supreme Court.
Long dominated by liberal justices appointed by presidents from the Democratic Party, the 9th Circuit has not exactly enjoyed a lot of success when their decisions get appealed to the Supreme Court. As of 2018, the Supreme Court had overturned an eye-popping 115 cases in the previous decade referred from the 9th Circuit, for a dismal 76 percent overturn rate. Covering nine western states along with the territorial courts of Guam and North Mariana Islands, the 9th Circuit handles a massive caseload and refers three times the number of cases to SCOTUS as the next most active court.
During the Trump administration, however, the 9th Circuit has undergone a massive overhaul. The 9th Circuit includes 13 district courts, presided over by a total of 112 judges. The Circuit Court of Appeals, in turn, has 29 justices, meaning that 15 constitute a majority. As of November, President Trump had appointed eight new justices to vacancies on the Circuit Court.
The latest change came on Wednesday, when the U.S. Senate confirmed Deputy Assistant Attorney General Lawrence VanDyke of Montana. He previously served as assistant solicitor general for Texas, and solicitor general for both Montana and Nevada.
“We congratulate Lawrence VanDyke on his confirmation. He will be an outstanding addition to the 9th Circuit,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “His distinguished record makes him highly qualified to serve on the federal bench. He is a committed and strong constitutionalist who will uphold the values and deeply held beliefs of our nation. VanDyke joins the ranks of over 150 judges confirmed to the court by President Trump – judges of the highest caliber with respect for the Constitution and the rights of all people. We are very pleased to see him confirmed.”
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told LifeNews.com that President Trump has been sucessful in remaking the federal appeals court. With the Senate’s confirmation this week of Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke for the Ninth Circuit, the president has now seated more than 170 federal judges, including his two Supreme Court nominees.
“With the confirmation this week of two judges for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump continues to make good on his promise to end liberal judicial activism on the federal bench. With 13 of 29 judges on the court appointed by Republican presidents, the liberal rubber stamp of the Ninth Circuit has been stilled.”
[Barbara] Lagoa’s confirmation [to the 11th Circuit] is a reminder of the Trump Administration’s tremendous impact on the federal judiciary, reverberations of which will likely continue for decades after his presidency, particularly given the younger age of most Trump appointees and the lifetime tenure that accompanies a judicial appointment. Trump has appointed and confirmed double the number of circuit court judges that Obama appointed and confirmed at the same point in his presidency.
In a speech ... at the Federalist Society’s annual Scalia Dinner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed his new motto, “Leave no vacancy behind.” A quick examination of the federal judiciary system reveals he has largely adhered to it. Indeed, as protesters crafted their signs for an anti-Kavanaugh protest outside the Scalia Dinner venue, the Second Circuit monumentally “flipped” in favor of Republican appointees—a reversal marked by the confirmation of Judge Steve Menashi on November 14 and Judge William Nardini on November 7.
The article later notes that 17 percent of district court justices are Trump nominees, and the average age of those nominees is a full decade younger than Obama nominees — an important note when considering the lifetime terms of these appointments.
At present, the 9th Circuit has 13 of 29 total justices nominated by Republican presidents. Just a whisker away from a majority.
This overhaul will also have the effect of dampening, to some extent, the dominance of California over the rest of the states covered by the 9th Circuit. California accounts for approximately 60 percent of the total population of the 9th Circuit, and can easily dominate the nominations.
Ironically, one justice from Oregon, just confirmed in November, garnered a vote from only one of Oregon's two senators. Washington County Presiding Judge Danielle J. Hunsaker was confirmed after having been included on a list of four nominees by Oregon's two Democratic senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Merkley failed to vote for his own nominee, however, presumably over a lack of progressive bona fides. After all, Hunsaker clerked for one of the few conservative justices on the 9th Circuit, Diarmuid O'Scannlain, who assumed senior status in 2016. Hunsaker fills the seat previously held by O'Scannlain. It seems progressives realize that they may be losing the 9th Circuit as a bastion of their legal worldview.
In the age of 24-hour news cycles where virtually everything has been politicized, a strange phenomenon has developed. Propaganda—described more accurately as “lies”—believed by many and challenged by few, is carrying the day. Only after a preponderance of evidence to the contrary accumulates over time does the public begin to question whether, let alone realize they have been sold a bill of goods.
Examples of this are ubiquitous, and nowhere seen more clearly than on the immigration issue.
Anti-borders politicians loudly proclaimed that there was no crisis at our southern border, until the undeniable facts caused them to reverse course and admit the obvious. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) once suggested that even members of the notoriously violent Central American gang MS-13 have “the spark of divinity” in them and hence deserve a chance here. We haven’t heard that talking point in a while, as details of the gang’s penchant for rape, drug trafficking, and murder have become known.
The latest talking point to wither and die in the light of truth is that sanctuary policies make communities safer, and that they protect immigrant communities. This can no longer be stated with any credibility. Sanctuary laws are poison for communities, and immigrants disproportionately are suffering as a result of them.
The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) recently compiled a list of America’s Worst Sanctuary Communities, and the details that emerged should act as a disturbing wakeup call to all Americans. Illegal aliens given “sanctuary” and protected from deportation have been charged with heinous acts.
In one case in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, two MS-13 members were arrested and charged with the murder of a 14-year-old girl. They allegedly led their victim to a wooded area, beat her with a baseball bat, and stabbed her to death with a machete. Why were these monsters allowed in the country at all, let alone shielded from deportation?
A common denominator can be found in IRLI’s sanctuary list of shame. Most of the communities on the list are represented in Washington by passionate critics of immigration enforcement who demand amnesty, no border walls and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They include Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New York, and Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis.
Instead of finding real solutions to stop the carnage in their home districts, these politicians virtue signal and seek to increase the flow of unvetted illegal aliens into the country. This will only serve to victimize nonviolent aliens already here and make our communities even more dangerous.
Adding insult to injury is the smug and evasive reaction to these tragedies by the leaders who advocate for sanctuary laws. Maryland’s Montgomery County made national news recently for the arrests of illegal aliens in a spree of ten sexual assaults, most of them against underage girls, since the county began sanctuary policies over the summer. The response of the county leaders was to release a statement that associated critics of the policy—including police officers, members of the media, and federal immigration officials—with neo-Nazi sympathizers.
One popular defense of sanctuary policies is that they offer protection to illegal aliens who may be afraid to contact police for fear of deportation. But this is an intentional deception about how our immigration laws actually work. Those here illegally who report a crime against them not only are not deported, they can also get special protective status.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers a U visa as a set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered abuse and then are helpful to law enforcement in an investigation. Sanctuary laws are unnecessary to protect victims of crime, and instead serve the purpose of protecting those who commit crimes.
Another shameful explanation for sanctuary laws is that they protect Latino illegal aliens from allegedly racist immigration enforcement policies. Again, the opposite is true. Criminal aliens tend to live in communities with other immigrants, both legal and illegal. When these criminal aliens are arrested and protected by sanctuary laws, the victims of their violent crimes most often are fellow illegal aliens or legal residents from Latin American countries. The only people sanctuary laws actually protect are violent criminals.
That these policies are advanced in the name of “tolerance” would be laughable if innocent people weren’t being raped and murdered as a result of them. Politicians who push for sanctuary laws should not be tolerated when they obfuscate and smear those who disagree. Instead they should be held to account for the violence and misery that come from their faux compassion.
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Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Photo “Minneapolis Protests” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.
One of the key law firms involved in the defense of undercover journalists who released videos in 2015 exposing Planned Parenthood's financial interests in the sale of the body parts of unborn babies says work now has started to appeal the verdict, which was directed by a judge who had links to Planned Parenthood.
Officials with the American Center for Law and Justice were on the defense team for the Center for Medical Progress, David Dalieden, Sandra Merritt and others involved in the investigation that came up with the same results as an ABC News 20/20 report from a few years earlier.
That was that abortionists adjust abortion procedures and work to salvage body parts in order to sell them, sometimes for high dollars, to middle companies who resell them to researchers.
In fact, on one of the CMP videos, an abortionist was talking about getting more pay, and why she wanted it. Her comment: "I want a Lamborghini."
Officials with the ACLJ said the case was brought by Planned Parenthood after CMP's project, known as the Human Capital Project, "shocked the country and led to congressional investigations and congressional referrals for criminal prosecutions over the sale of aborted baby body parts."
"Evidence at trial included an abortion doctor admitting that they use specific techniques during abortion procedures to keep certain baby organs intact, and another stating that she 'wanted a Lamborghini' as compensation for the sale of those organs. Unfortunately, however, the jury was repeatedly instructed by the court to ignore any and all evidence of Planned Parenthood's illegal and unethical acts, and was instead instructed to focus solely on the investigative techniques and methods used by the defendants," the ACLJ reported.
The result, directed by Judge William Orrick, who once participating in the launch of a Planned Parenthood abortion business, was against the defendants.
"The fight against Planned Parenthood, however, is not over. We plan to appeal this unjust verdict," the ACLJ said.
"The First Amendment clearly protected the conduct of the defendants, and courts have affirmed undercover journalists' efforts to expose criminal practices. For example, a leading case held that the First Amendment prevents investigators from being held liable for 'publication damages' from alleged torts committed without malice, which is required on defamation claims," the legal team explained.
"Defendants were exercising these same fundamental freedoms when they were exposing the crimes of Planned Parenthood. The only supposed harm that Planned Parenthood suffered was public backlash to the exposed horrific truths about their abortion practices."
The team pointed out the CMP results were the same as those from ABC, which years earlier had revealed similar behavior and circumstances.
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"Even though the CMP Defendants used the same recording tactics as in the 20/20 exposé, and numerous government investigations confirmed the existence of illegal and unethical practices within the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries, the San Francisco jury ruled against them. The jury was told to ignore or give little weight to the relatively minimal evidence of such illegal acts that the defendants were permitted to present," the ACLJ said.
The appeal process is expected to address the behavior of Orrick, who repeatedly took the side of Planned Parenthood in the dispute. He was asked to recuse himself because of conflicts of interest but refused.
Orrick served on the board of an organization, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, that works directly with Planned Parenthood and houses an abortionists' office.
And several times during the case, his wife publicly condemned the undercover investigation revealing the abortionists' money-making.
The judge has claimed several videos he suppressed don't show wrongdoing by abortionists, but two congressional committees have made referrals to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.
Also, two bioscience companies cited in the videos reached a $7.7 million settlement with the Orange County District Attorney's Office for allegedly selling fetal tissue for profit.
Earlier in the case, Charles LiMandri, the chief counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, said Orrick "is an ardent supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood, and he and his spouse have shown open hostility" to defendant David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress.
"Allowing a biased judge to preside over this case is a grave injustice," LiMandri said.
Orrick repeatedly has lashed out against Daleiden and others from the Center for Medical Progress whose videos captured abortionists discussing how to "crush" an unborn child's skull to preserve the organs for sale.
Orrick also had ruled that the videos were deceptively edited, but his opinion was flatly rejected by a federal appeals court.
See the ABC video
One of the videos that has been suppressed by Orrick includes more information about the body-parts industry.
It was available only briefly online.
However, transcripts of comments by abortion executives have been preserved.
Lisa Harris, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Michigan: "Our stories don't really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right? The heads that get stuck that we can't get out. The hemorrhages that we manage."
Susan Robinson of Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte in San Jose, California: "The fetus is a tough little object and taking it apart, I mean taking it apart, on day one is very difficult.'
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Health Freedom Project: "I'm like oh my god! I get it! When the skull is broken, that's really sharp. I get it, I understand why people are talking about getting that skull out, that calvarium."
Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "You know, sometimes she'll tell me she wants brain, and we'll, you know, leave the calvarium in 'til last, and then try to basically take it, or actually, you know, catch everything, and even keep it separate from the rest of the tissue so it doesn't get lost."
Uta Landy, founder of the Consortium of Abortion providers for Planned Parenthood: "An eyeball just fell down into my lap, and that is gross."
Her comment was followed by raucous laughter from the abortionists at the meeting of the National Abortion Federation.
In December 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred the Planned Parenthood Federation of American and six regional affiliates to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.
Operation Rescue noted little attention was given to the issue under President Obama, but after Donald Trump moved into office, the investigations "appeared to show signs of life."
See a CMP video about Planned Parenthood skirting federal law:
Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an achievement test given to 15-year-olds in 79 countries around the world. The world rankings released today should be worrisome for parents, teachers, and school districts around the country.
Despite hundreds of billions in federal, state, and local monies spent educating our children, the performance of American students was no better today than it was a decade ago. Further, the gap between high- and low-achievers is growing and no one seems to be able to figure out why.
The test, which was administered to U.S. 15-year-olds, also revealed a widening achievement gap between the highest- and lowest-performing students, with as many as a fifth of 15-year-olds in the U.S. not reading at a 10-year-old's level.
Twenty percent of ninth-graders are reading at a fourth-grade level? Sad.
The U.S. ranked 8th overall in reading and 11th in science. But we're 30th in math and despite a strong emphasis placed on STEM education, it doesn't seem to be working.
Worse, the gap between high-achieving students and low-achievers is growing alarmingly. What makes this significant is that closing that gap has been an effort underway since the 1970s. Salon:
“Low-performing students have been the focus of decades of bipartisan education reform efforts, costing many billions of dollars, that have resulted in a string of national programs—No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Common Core State Standards, the Every Student Succeeds Act—but uneven results,” the New York Times reports. “About a fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered reading skills expected of a 10-year-old, according to Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the exam.” A recent test conducted nationally found that two-thirds of American children were not proficient in reading.
One Harvard education professor says that the reason there hasn't been improvement is that teachers and school districts are not implementing Common Core curriculum. Resistance to Common Core has been lessening in recent years, but to blame student stagnation on not adhering to Common Core standards is ludicrous.
Still, the achievement gap is about where'd you expect it to be. Suburban kids do better than inner-city kids, whites better than blacks, and so forth. But the reasons may be more obscure than we think:
While the results are, once again, alarming, educational experts warn there are some inherent pitfalls in the administration of the exam—and its results. “Students are not penalized for performing poorly and never see their results, and students in the United States tend to be less motivated to perform well on it compared with teens in other countries, according to recent studies,” the Washington Post notes. “The exam is designed to accurately gauge the abilities of students from country to country because it is low-stakes, meaning more affluent students do not have an incentive to pay for special test preparation. But those administering the exams to teenagers have encountered serious motivation issues. Economists have found mounting evidence that the gap in scores between countries reflects a gap in effort as much as it does a gap in achievement. By both measures, the United States lags behind.”
It's certainly not for lack of funds. Perhaps instead of paying all teachers the same, why not pay those who demonstrate skill and commitment more? And how many more layers of education bureaucracy will school districts create before we stop cutting teachers and programs and start cutting bureaucrats? According to the Illinois Policy Institute, "Too many education dollars get trapped in bureaucracy before reaching the classroom. In the past four years, Illinois public schools employed fewer teachers and had fewer students, but the number of administrators grew."
What vital contribution these bureaucrats make to education is a mystery.
One thing appears certain: for all the programs, all the left's ideas about how best to educate children, and all the billions spent, the results leave a lot to be desired.
The justices declined without comment to hear an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of a lower court ruling that upheld the law after a federal judge previously had struck it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.
The Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority and is closely divided on abortion rights.
On March 4, the court is scheduled to hear its first major abortion case in three years in a dispute over the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on doctors who do abortions.
The Supreme Court in 1973 recognized a woman’s right to obtain an abortion under the U.S. Constitution. In a 1992 ruling reaffirming that right, the court endorsed so-called “informed consent” laws that require women to be given certain information before they can obtain abortions.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court will allow this blatant violation of the First Amendment and fundamental medical ethics to stand,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas of the ACLU in reaction to the Kentucky case.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican who led the defense of the law, applauded the decision, saying it “gives final affirmation to the commonsense notion that patients should be well equipped with relevant information before making important medical decisions.”
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only licensed abortion clinic, as well as doctors who work there shortly after the law was passed in 2017.
Kentucky requires a physician or qualified technician to perform the ultrasound and position the screen so the woman can view the images of the fetus. The medical staff are required to describe what the images show, including the size of the fetus and any organs or appendages visible. They are also required to make audible the sound of the fetal heartbeat.
The law requires the physicians to continue with the process even if the patient objects and shows signs of distress. Doctors can be fined and referred to the state’s medical licensing board if they fail to comply with the law.
On the Louisiana law case next year, the high court’s ruling could lead to new curbs on access to abortion. Numerous Republican-backed measures restricting abortion have been passed at the state level in recent years.
The Louisiana case will test the willingness of the court, which includes two conservative justices appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, to uphold laws that lower courts have ruled unconstitutional. The court has shifted to the right after Justice Anthony Kennedy, a decisive vote in favor of abortion rights, retired in 2018 and was replaced by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, who has a thin judicial record on the issue.
The Louisiana law requires that doctors who perform abortions have a difficult-to-obtain arrangement called “admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the abortion clinic. Challengers say the regulation would lead to two of the state’s three clinics closing down.
In 2018, the Supreme Court blocked a California law requiring clinics that counsel women against abortion to notify clients of the availability of abortions paid for by the state, finding that it violated the free speech rights of the facilities. In that 5-4 ruling along ideological grounds, the court’s conservative justices were in the majority.
A federal judge in 2017 struck down the law but in an April 2019 ruling the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared it lawful.
In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by North Carolina to revive a similar law that had been struck down. A similar law in Texas was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2012.
‘Every Day Heroes’: ICE Completed a Record-Breaking Year of Criminal Arrests
by Jason Hopkins
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a record-breaking year in criminal arrests, highlighting the agency’s work to dismantle immigration-related crime, the drug trade, and other transnational criminal activity.
Homeland Security Investigations — ICE’s investigative arm — netted a record-high of 37,547 criminal arrests during the 2019 fiscal year, according to a Friday press release by the agency. The figure, which marked a nearly 10% increase from the previous fiscal year, reflected HSI’s increased effort to fight crime that extends well beyond the country’s borders. These arrests also resulted in the seizure of over $775 million in currency and assets.
“HSI uses aggressive investigative strategies to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that engage in cross-border crime,” acting HSI executive associate director Alysa Erichs said in a statement released Friday. “HSI special agents worked tirelessly to address threats posed by criminal networks to protect national security and public safety in the United States and around the globe.”
The breakdown of arrests emphasizes the broad range of criminal activity ICE investigative agents cover.
HSI agents arrested 5,750 individuals tied to human smuggling investigations in fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30. ICE attributed that figure, a 41% increase from the previous fiscal year, to implementation of the agency’s Rapid DNA testing technology, which is designed to detect migrant family fraud at the U.S.-Mexico border. Smugglers have been caught selling and renting children in attempts to skirt U.S. immigration laws, and DNA testing programs help rescue minors caught in the human-smuggling industry.
Additionally, HSI apprehended 2,197 individuals tried to human trafficking, marking a 38% increase from the previous year. The arrests led to the identification or assistance of 428 victims of human trafficking. To be clear, human trafficking involves the exploitation of individuals, often for labor or sexual purposes. Human smuggling, on the other hand, typically involves the illegal transportation of people.
The agency also oversaw a record-breaking year in narcotics enforcement, with HSI agents seizing more than 12,450 lbs of opioids, surpassing 2018’s haul by nearly fivefold. HSI also seized more than 3,600 lbs of fentanyl, and over 145,000 lbs of methamphetamine.
ICE also cracked down on child sexual exploitation in fiscal year 2019, with agents arresting 3,957 child predators and rescued or identified a total of 1,069 victims, according to the agency. ICE recently opened up the Angel Watch Center in Fairfax, Virginia, a facility dedicated to the prevention of child sex tourism.
A total of 3,886 criminal gang arrests were made in fiscal year 2019. These arrests included apprehensions of 337 MS-13 gang members.
“Great work by [ICE’s] Homeland Security Investigations team. They lead US efforts to protect children from online predators,” Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said about the agency’s recent achievements. “Every day heroes protecting our most vulnerable.”
The massive enforcement effort reflects the U.S. government’s deep investment in the Homeland Security Investigations, which boasts 9,800 employees spread across 210 U.S. cities and 52 different countries.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Presidential Misconduct: Some Historical Perspective
By DAVID HARSANYI, December 5, 2019 6:30 AM
If you think Trump’s behavior is the worst in American history, you might be insane.
This week, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee trotted out a trio of dispassionate legal experts to explain why the impeachment of Donald Trump was justified. They were there to bring a veneer of gravitas and erudition to what’s been, until now, a highly partisan affair.
But however smart people such as Michael Gerhardt, distinguished professor of constitutional law at University of North Carolina, might be, they aren’t immune from peddling partisan absurdities. Once Gerhardt argued that Trump’s conduct was “worse than the misconduct of any prior president,” we no longer had any intellectual obligation to take him seriously on the topic.
Let’s ignore for a moment that American presidents have owned their fellow human beings, and focus instead on the fact that in 1942, the president of the United States signed an executive order that allowed him to unilaterally intern around 120,000 Americans citizens of Japanese descent. Not only was the policy deliberately racist, it amounted to a full-bore attack on about half the Constitution that he had sworn to uphold. Such an attack was a specialty of FDR’s, despite the all the hagiographies written about his imperial presidency.
Woodrow Wilson — who regularly said things like, “a Negro’s place is in the corn field” — didn’t merely re-segregate the civil service, personally firing more than a dozen supervisors for the sin of being black; he first pushed for, and then oversaw the enactment of, the Sedition Act. Wilson threw dissenters and political adversaries into prison, instructed the postmaster to refuse delivery of literature he deemed unpatriotic, and a created an unconstitutional civilian police force that targeted Americans for political dissent.
Sorry to say, but despite their great achievements, both John Adams and Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, the latter without any congressional approval. Surely, deep down, even those who act as if Russian social-media ads can topple the republic believe that denying citizens their fundamental rights of due process is a more serious offense than President Trump’s rhetoric and actions?
At world’s first gender ‘detransition’ conference, women express regret over drugs, mutilation
Mon Dec 2, 2019 - 8:35 pm EST
MANCHESTER, England, December 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A crowd of 200 people turned out for the world’s first gender detransition conference on Saturday afternoon.
“Detransition: The Elephant in the Room. Medical Ethics in the Age of Gender Identity” was held in Manchester, England on November 30. Organized by an independent feminist collective called “Make More Noise”, the sold-out event included a panel of medical and psychological health experts as well as young women who are “detransitioning” from attempts to make them men.
The event also marked the official launch of the Detransition Advocacy Network headed by Charlie Evans, 28, a woman who identified as a man for a decade. Evans decided to found the group to help the hundreds of young people she says have reached out to her after regretting their own experiments with hormonal treatments and surgeries.
The two-hour meeting was live-tweeted by the “Safe Schools Alliance UK,” a lobby group that seeks to ensure the safeguarding of children in schools, which includes protecting girls’ bodily privacy from males and all children from pressure to consider themselves transgender.
According to the Safe Schools Alliance UK, the meeting began with remarks by Evans, who stated, “We are not motivated by hate. We are motivated by solidarity, sisterhood, and a strong sense of justice.” Evans was followed by a female “detransitioner” named Max, who said her attempts to become male were about “escaping lesbophobia and male harassment.”
Another detransitioner, Kira, said she had been a “gender nonconformist child” (tomboy) until she began to feel social pressure to conform to femininity. Kira began hormone therapy and had a double mastectomy at 20. She came to realize, however, that these treatments were not evidence of self-acceptance.
“How can I possibly be loving myself if I am sacrificing my general health in order to change my whole being?” she asked.
The experts who spoke included Dr. David Bell, a consultant psychiatrist in the Adult Department of London’s Tavistock Centre, where the Gender Identity Development Service for children can be found. Bell said he doesn’t believe that gender “reassignment” clinics do follow-up checks on their patients. He also remarked that the term “puberty blockers” for the powerful drugs given to children to delay the onset of puberty is “misleading”. Bell believes that the drugs probably have physiological consequences beyond delaying puberty.
“The lack of long term evidence is the biggest issue in this field,” he said.
Dr. Anna Hutchinson, a clinical psychologist, revealed that almost 100% of children who take drugs to delay puberty go on to take cross-sex hormones. Dr. Hannah Ryan, an infectious diseases researcher, noted that the effects of so-called puberty-blockers and hormone replacement therapy are long-term, so long-term data collection following treatments is essential.
Ryan also stated that medical professionals are under “immense pressure” to give “distressed” children with gender dysphoria procedures to make them look like members of the opposite sex. Bell noted that many medical professionals are worried about being called “transphobic” or accused of a “hate crime.” Hutchison said medical professionals are accused of “transphobia” just for asking for more research to be done.
“How can it be transphobic to call for better standards of care?” she asked. “I want better standards of care for dysphoric children.”
Fear of being labelled “transphobic” seemed to resonate with the audience. According to the Safe Schools Alliance UK member live-tweeting the meeting, a medical professional on the floor described being silenced.
“We are advised against using the terms ‘detransition’ and ‘desisters’,” he said and noted that this worries him.
A psychologist in the audience expressed concern about the ‘affirmation-only model’ which, the Safe Schools Alliance UK member noted, “advocates immediate social transition for gender-questioning children.”
Still another audience member voiced concern that gender ideology sounds like “old school sexism”, and Dr. Bell replied by saying he had observed a “caricaturing of gender stereotypes” through transition.
The issue of girls feeling that girls are supposed to follow a narrow concept of femininity or “transition” into men appeared again when a panel of young women who are now “detransitioning” from their attempts to be men discussed their experiences. One young woman, called Ellie, said she had lacked role models of “masculine” females.
Another issue that arose was the young women’s discomfort with their adolescent same-sex attractions.
The “detransitioning” women differed in their levels of regret over the invasive procedures they received. One woman feels that her mastectomy relieved her gender dysphoria, but one was scathing over the treatment she had received.
“What the hell are surgeons doing, calling this gender reassignment and gender-reaffirming health care? Because my body doesn’t feel healthy anymore,” she said.
This 23-year-old woman, who apparently spoke anonymously, had had a double mastectomy, hysterectomy, and an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) before she realized that she would never become male.
“I’m sorry: I just can’t believe it anymore,” she told the audience.
According to Safe Schools Alliance UK, a male audience member was clearly upset when he told the young panellists that their testimony should be widely heard.
“I was 30 before I was happy with myself,” he said. “People have done this to you and allowed this to go on.”
“You say where do we need a platform next?” he continued. “You need it everywhere.”
In America, we celebrate democracy and are justifiably proud that this nation was founded on the idea that the people should rule.
That’s why it is so important that Americans be informed about their government. They are partakers in it. In fact, they control it.
Under tyrannical systems, it matters little if the people are informed about political life. Autocrats make decisions for the people whether they like it or not. But in our republic, we rely on the informed decision-making of citizens to judge policies and the leaders who will implement them.
Unfortunately, we are not very well-informed.
According to a recently released survey, Americans are woefully uneducated about the most basic facts of our history, to the point where most couldn’t even pass a basic citizenship test.
A study by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found that only 1 in 3 Americans can actually pass the U.S. citizenship test, which asks the most basic questions about our history and how our system of government works.
Passing the test requires answering 60 percent of questions correctly, but a majority of those participating in the survey couldn’t even do that.
“With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed and engaged citizenry is essential,” Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, said.
“Unfortunately, this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. citizenship test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today.”
The survey listed some of the embarrassing answers given on the test.
-Seventy-two percent of respondents either incorrectly identified or were unsure which states comprised the original 13 colonies;
-Only 24 percent could correctly identify one thing Benjamin Franklin was famous for, with 37 percent believing he invented the lightbulb;
-Only 24 percent knew the correct answer as to why the colonists fought the British;
-Twelve percent incorrectly thought WWII General Dwight Eisenhower led troops in the Civil War, while 6 percent thought he was a Vietnam War general;
-While most knew the cause of the Cold War, 2 percent said it was climate change.
Young people performed worst on the test. Out of all test-takers under the age of 45, only 19 percent passed.
On the one hand, there is a case for forgetting history. Many cultures cling to historical grievances to the point where history becomes a major impediment to future success. Treated wrongly, historical memory can be toxic rather than helpful.
We don’t want to become trapped by the past, but we do want to learn from it in order to avoid repeating past mistakes and build a better future. As citizens, knowledge of the past and of civics is crucial. Lacking such knowledge is unhealthy for a free country, and even dangerous, given how bad political life can become.
One of our biggest problems today is that we often focus on tearing down our history rather than learning from it. That needs to change.
If these sobering test results tell us anything, it’s that we need to consider a fundamental change in how we approach education in the United States. And despite what some voices say, education funding is not the problem.
The U.S. ranks, globally, near the top in spending on elementary and secondary education, yet we don’t appear to be getting much bang for the buck. Perhaps it’s time we take a harder look at the public school monopoly that’s failing students and leaving generations of Americans without a basic understanding of our past.
More generally, we’ve failed to uphold Ronald Reagan’s call for an informed patriotism and more civic ritual—necessary qualities for the maintenance of a free country—in favor of negative and ideologically narrow accounts of America’s past now en vogue in our schools.
This is a recipe for a dark future and needs to change.
Two new polls show black support for U.S. Republican President Donald Trump at or slightly above 34 percent, and that means the president could get 20 percent of the black vote next year, an expert said.
Both Emerson and Rasmussen, two well recognized polling firms, show black support for the president at 34.5 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
Former Nashville mayoral candidate Carol Swain, who is also a former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, said Monday this news will likely impact the 2020 presidential election.
“I believe that if we continue to do what we are doing now, and expand it some, that it would be realistic for the president to expect to receive about 20 percent of the black vote. And if he gets 20 percent of the actual black vote then it would be destructive to the Democratic Party,” Swain said.
“As a consequence we can expect that they (Democrats) will fight back with more lies and accusations. There is a problem with crying racism all the time and calling the president a white nationalist — it has become like the boy who cried wolf. And they’re constantly throwing it out at people to the point that it’s totally devalued.”
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, Swain is one of 35 and counting African-Americans involved with a new initiative to share stories about Trump and his accomplishments as president.
The initiative, called Black Voices for Trump, launched this month in Atlanta. Black Voices for Trumpis comprised of black business owners, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, veterans, educators, activists and patriots, according to a press release.
According to a Black Voices for Trump press release, Trump’s 34 percent approval rating among African-Americans directly correlates with promises he made — and kept — to the black community.
“You can’t dispute the fact that African-Americans have been benefiting from President Trump’s policies,” Donald J. Trump for President Senior Advisor Katrina Pierson said in a statement, adding:
Four years ago, the president asked the black community, ‘What do you have to lose;’ now we are thinking, ‘Imagine what we stand to gain!’ African Americans are key beneficiaries of the America First agenda, and the presidents growing support within the black community is a testament to the historic accomplishments made during this administration.
Leading the Black Voices for Trump board of advisors as co-chairs are: Herman Cain of Georgia, Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway of North Carolina, Rochelle “Silk” Richardson of North Carolina and Pastor Darrell Scott of Ohio.
Other key members include Elbert Guillory of Louisiana, Niger Innis of Nevada, and Stacey Dash of Florida.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we point out that neither socialism nor communism has ever worked, their supporters simply smile indulgently and say, “Well, that’s just because the right people haven’t tried it yet.”
On that count, they are just plain wrong. Communism (or socialism, whichever term you prefer) had its purest test in the earliest days of American history and was an abysmal, abject, utter failure. And it was tried by a small group of people who were committed to each other, devoted to God, and were hard-working and industrious. As William Bradford said, this was an experiment tried by “good and honest men.” If this crew couldn’t make it work, nobody’s ever going to make it work.
Our Pilgrim forefathers landed near Plymouth Rock in the fall of 1620. They left England aiming for the Virginia colony, but were blown off course and landed in Massachusetts instead. Left on their own, they established their own form of government and their own economy.
The form of government they established is enshrined in the Mayflower Compact, which was the first constitution in America established by the consent of the governed. It thus became the model for our federal Constitution and for the constitutions of the individual 50 states.
Here’s how the Mayflower Compact began (language modernized, emphasis mine throughout):
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James...having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia...
In the presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves together into a civil body politic...to enact...just & equal laws...as shall be thought most meet & convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience...
In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, 1620 A.D.
It’s worth observing, as data points in the conversation about whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation, the frequent references to God and the explicit reference to the ultimate purpose of the colony being to promote and to advance the Christian faith in parts unknown. God’s calling on America (a column for another day) is to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Plymouth Colony was committed to doing its part and set this noble goal for all settlers who were to follow them to our shores.
Not only did they establish their own form of government - essentially a constitutional republic - but their own economy as well. As a “company” colony, Plymouth Plantation operated under bylaws established by the Virginia Company of London.
These bylaws set up a communal system for the Pilgrims, in which all capital and all profits for the first seven years were to remain in “the common stock.” There was no such thing as private property; all property and all business activities belonged to the collective with none of it belonging to individuals or individual families.
During these seven years, “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons remain still in the common stock.” Everyone was “to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provision of the common stock and goods.”
Then, in this utopian scheme, at the end of seven years “the capital & profits, viz. the houses, lands, goods and chattels, be equally divided betwixt the adventurers and the planters.”
It, just as communism does today, sounded ideal and noble and well, Christian. It would be share and share alike, everyone putting aside his own aspirations for the accumulation of wealth and property in order to selflessly devote all his energies and talents to the common good.
But it wasn’t ideal or noble, or even Christian. It was Marxism before Marx, and like all socialistic and communistic systems, due for an agonizing and spirit-crushing collapse.
Governor William Bradford, in Of Plymouth Plantation, did not hesitate to describe the experiment as a “failure.” And he made it clear that the failure was not in the people but in the system. "The failure of that experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men, proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times,- that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God...”
Communism, in other words, was a display of arrogance and human conceit, for it was predicated on the silly belief that man knows better than God. God condemns theft in the 8th Commandment. Appropriating property from the productive and distributing it to the non-productive by government coercion is theft under the color of law. And theft is still theft no matter who is doing the thieving.
The result was predictable. Said Bradford:
“...[C]ommunity of property was found to breed much confusion and discontent; and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit...
“For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men's wives and children, without any recompense...
"The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustice.
“The aged and graver men, who were ranked and equalized in labor, food, clothes, etc., with the humbler and younger ones, thought it some indignity and disrespect to them.
“As for men's wives who were obliged to do service for other men, such as cooking, washing their clothes, etc., they considered it a kind of slavery, and many husbands would not brook it...”
Hmmm. Except for the “confusion, discontent, injustice, indignity, disrespect, (and slavery)” this experiment produced, it was paradise on earth.
Bradford hastened to explain that if you were looking for the “right people” to implement communism, these were the right people:
“If all were to share alike, and all were to do alike, then all were on an equality throughout, and one was as good as another; and so, if it did not actually abolish those very relations which God himself has set among men, it did at least greatly diminish the mutual respect that is so important should be preserved amongst them.
“Let none argue that this is due to human failing, rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself..."
So, if the “communistic plan of life” was an abysmal failure, what would replace it? Bradford explained that the Pilgrims discovered that capitalism was the answer.
“God in His wisdom saw that another plan of life was fitter for them...
“So they began to consider how to raise more corn, and obtain a better crop than they had done, so that they might not continue to endure the misery of want...
“At length after much debate, the Governor, with the advice of the chief among them, allowed each man to plant corn for his own household...
“So every family was assigned a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number...
“...This was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction.
“The women now went willing into the field, and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability, and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."
The “communistic plan of life” inevitably requires a more and more powerful state to enforce it, since it runs counter to the very grain of our God-given humanity. Soon, an all-powerful state replaces an all-powerful God as the object of a society’s worship and veneration, and the horrors of a totalitarian state unleavened by the purity of the gospel soon manifest themselves.
In 2017, we passed the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution that brought Communists to power in Russia. Similar forms of oppressive, godless states sprang up in China, Vietnam, and North Korea (where a little tinpot dictator threatens the peace and stability of the entire world). Even in Germany, Hitler replaced pictures of Jesus with pictures of himself and drew his power from the occult rather than from Christ.
The human cost has been enormous. The one thing that all godless, totalitarian states share in common is dead bodies. Historians estimate that over 100 million lives have been sacrificed over the last century to the idolatrous god of communism.
So on this Thanksgiving, let’s include a word of gratitude for our Pilgrim forefathers, who saw “beyond the years...alabaster cites gleam(ing), undimmed by human tears.”
And let’s join in prayer on this Thanksgiving Day that God will once again shed his grace on us, and crown our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
(Note: This column is a revision of a column first published in November, 2017.)