All public forums should be open and uncensored

A US District Court judge has ruled that President Trump may not block even rude or obnoxious criticism from his Twitter account, because it is a public forum that is protected by the First Amendment. The Justice Department says it might appeal, but I argue that the DOJ, White House and Trump Administration should instead embrace the decision, expand on it, and apply these legal principles and free speech guidelines to other arenas.

After all, with the multitude of race, sexual orientation and other civil rights now protected by force of law, shouldn’t arguably the most vital and fundamental civil right also be protected? The right of free speech and free assembly, especially regarding one’s beliefs, interests and political viewpoints, and one’s ability to participate in discourse over important political and public policy matters?!?

Thank you for posting my provocative article, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.

Best regards,

Paul

All public forums should be open and uncensored

Trump should embrace (and expand) court ruling that his Twitter account is free speech forum

President Trump may not block even rude or obnoxious criticism from his Twitter account, because it is a public forum that is protected by the First Amendment, US District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has ruled. The President’s use of his Twitter account to comment on important policy, personnel and personal announcements made it a public forum, akin to a park or town square, she concluded.

Blocking unwanted tweets is thus viewpoint discrimination, which public officials are not permitted to engage in. Indeed, his Twitter account is not just a public forum. It is also “government space,” and thus may not be closed off, Judge Buchwald continued – rejecting a Justice Department argument that, since Twitter is a public company, it is beyond the reach of First Amendment public forum rules.

Free speech proponents hailed the ruling as a groundbreaking decision, saying it expands constitutional protections deep within the realms of social media. The executive director of Georgetown Law School’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection called it “a critical victory in preserving free speech in the digital age.” Blocking people from responding critically to presidential tweets is unconstitutional, because it prevents them from participating personally and directly in that forum, others said.

The Justice Department said it disagreed with the decision and was considering its next steps. Here’s another option: Embrace and expand on the decision. Assess how these District Court principles and free speech guidelines can be applied in other vital free speech arenas. Take it as far as you can.

Some will then predictably want to construe the decision narrowly, saying it applies only to government officials, perhaps especially conservatives who support this president. Conservatives, the White House and the Trump Administration should not feel bound by such partisan, self-serving assertions.

As Supreme Court and numerous lower court decisions have interpreted the Civil Rights Act and other laws, no person may employ race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status or other categories, to discriminate in admissions, hiring or anything else under any program or activity receiving any form of federal financial assistance, including loans or scholarships. Those that do discriminate will lose their Internal Revenue Service non-profit status and their government funding.

Should that list of categories not include one of the most vital and fundamental civil rights of all – the one addressed and protected by the very first amendment to the United States Constitution? The right of free speech and free assembly, especially regarding one’s beliefs, interests and political viewpoints, and one’s ability to participate in discourse and debate over important political and public policy matters?

Our colleges and universities were once society’s crucible for developing and thrashing out ideas. Sadly, as anyone with a milligram of brain matter realizes, they have become bastions of one-sided ideological propaganda and intolerance. Every conceivable element of “diversity” is permitted and encouraged – nay, demanded – except for our most fundamental civil right of personal views, free speech and robust debate.

That right now applies only to liberal-progressive-leftist views and ideologies. Anything that challenges or questions those teachings is vilified, denounced and silenced, often violently – as being hurtful, hateful, objectionable or intolerable to liberals. Faculty members are hired, protected, promoted or fired based on their social, scientific or political beliefs. Viewpoint discrimination, bullying and mobbing are rampant.

It’s time for pushback. Judicial and Executive Branch decisions and guidelines hold that even private universities that receive federal money for faculty research, student loans and scholarships, or campus facilities, are subject to Civil Rights Act rules. Presidents, administrators and faculty members of public universities are arguably public officials. Campuses and classrooms are clearly public forums.

If they tolerate or encourage viewpoint bullying, mobbing or violence, they are violating the civil rights of students, professors and speakers whose views have been deemed inappropriate, discomforting, hurtful or intolerable to the fragile sensitivities of climate alarmist, pro-abortion, atheist and other liberal factions.

Judge Buchwald’s ruling and the reactions of free speech advocates provide useful guidelines to buttress this approach. The Trump Administration, state attorneys general and free-speech/individual rights advocates should apply them to help restore intellectual rigor and open discourse to our campuses.

The ruling and reactions could also help expand constitutional protections even more deeply in the realms of digital age social media. As they suggest, today’s most popular social media sites have become our most vibrant and essential public forums: today’s parks, town squares and town halls. People, especially millennials, rely on them for news, information and opinions, often as substitutes for print, radio and television (and classrooms). But they now seem far better at censorship than at education or discussion.

Google algorithms increasingly and systematically send climate realism articles to intellectual Siberia. Unless you enter very specific search terms (author’s name, article title and unique wording), those sly algorithms make it difficult or impossible to find articles expressing non-alarmist viewpoints.

Google thus allies with the manmade climate cataclysm establishment – which has received billions of taxpayer dollars from multiple government agencies, but has blocked Climate Armageddon skeptics from getting articles published in scientific journals that often publish papers that involve hidden data, computer codes and other work. Even worse, it facilitates repeated threats that skeptics should be jailed (Bill Nye the Science Guy and RFK Jr.), prosecuted under RICO racketeering laws (Senators Warren and Whitehouse), or even executed (University of Graz, Austria Professor Richard Parncutt).

Google is a private entity, there are other search engines, and those seeking complete, honest research results should see if those alternatives are any better. But there is something repugnant about mankind’s vast storehouses of information being controlled by hyper-partisan techies, in league with equally partisan university, deep state, deep media, hard green and other über-liberal, intolerant elements of our society.

Meanwhile, Google YouTube continues to use its power and position to block posting of and access to equally important information, including over 40 well-crafted, informative, carefully researched Prager University videos – because they contain what YouTube reviewers (censors) decreed is “objectionable content” on current events, history, constitutional principles, environmental topics and public policies.

Scholar-educator Dennis Prager sued YouTube for closing down yet another vital public forum to views that question, contest or simply fail to pay homage to liberal ideologies and agendas.

District Court Judge Lucy Koh concluded that YouTube did indeed apply vague standards and the arbitrary judgments of a few employees, and did indeed discriminate against Prager U by denying it access to this popular social media platform and digital public forum. However, she ruled that Google YouTube is a private company, and thus is under no obligation to be fair, to apply its services equally, or to refrain from imposing penalties on viewpoints with which its partisan officers and employees disagree.

In other words, YouTube may operate as a public forum but it is a private business and thus may discriminate as it wishes – since it does not bake cakes or provide food or overnight accommodations … or deal with any civil rights that Judge Koh would include among protected constitutional rights.

These actions are the hallmarks of communist, fascist and other totalitarian regimes that seek to control all thought, speech, economic activity and other aspects of our lives. They drive policies that further limit our freedoms, kill countless jobs, and cost us billions or trillions of dollars in lost productivity.

The Left is clearly afraid of conservative ideas and principles. It refuses to participate in discussions or debates that it might lose, and instead resorts to mobbing, bullying and violence to silence our voices.

Up to now, lower courts have not always been supportive of the analysis and prescriptions presented in this article. But appellate courts and the Supreme Court have yet to weigh in on the Trump Twitter, Prager YouTube, Google search bias and similar cases. So we are still in uncharted territory.

Conservatives, climate chaos skeptics and true free speech advocates should build their own social media forums – while helping to create the legal precedents that will protect our hard-won rights and freedoms, and exposing, ridiculing, embarrassing and challenging the dominance of the Intolerant Left.

Paul Driessen, JD is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental science and policy.

Are Term Limits the Answer? That Depends.

Well, here we go again. Yep, the silly season is once again upon us. I’m talking about the upcoming election cycle. And the hot-button issue the politicians are talking about is term limits. It is a political buzz term that, according to polls, not only gets the electorate’s attention but finds the electorate in full accord with the idea that too many politicians stay in office far too long.
While I find merit in “term limits” I feel those who promote this idea fail to see the whole picture and the long-term consequences.
 Consider, when you seek help with a medical problem you undoubtedly look for a physician with the best credentials. If you were to require open-heart surgery I am confident you would choose a cardiologist with experience as opposed to one fresh out of medical school. Experience in any field counts for much, including politics.
Walt Mueller was a good friend who served for many years in the Missouri State Legislature, both House and Senate. He was a rarity in politics as he avoided the political limelight choosing instead to do his best in the interest of his constituents. He viewed term limits with skepticism and with good reason.
Senator Mueller pointed out that when you first attain elective office you, as a novice, are at the mercy of the bureaucracy – the executive branch. Through years of experience bureaucrats know how the political game is played. They are experts at bureaucratic slight-of-hand and can run rings around the political novice. Lack of experience, he pointed out, empowers the executive branch made up of unelected bureaucrats.
As I noted earlier, I believe there is merit to limiting the time politicians hold office, but in the interest of good government term limits needs to be more narrowly defined.  
Those who understand how the legislative process works know that in the legislature power lies with those who chair committees. It is they who can kill a Bill by assigning it to an unfriendly sub-committee or not allowing a Bill out of their committee. It is for this reason I believe consideration of limiting time in office should be more broadly considered.
  1. If the electorate wishes to limit the terms of office it should be for not more than twelve years.
  2. As real power lies in those who chair committees, the time in which a legislator can consecutively serve as Chair or Vice Chair of a committee on which he/she currently sits should be limited to no more that 4 years.
It is my contention that this approach will rein in the power of politicians who because of their seniority wield nearly unfettered power for years out of sight of the electorate.
Politicians who declare their support for term limits point to the Founders who believed the office to which they were elected was to be a “part time” job and not the lifetime career it has become for too many. Today, many running for office are critical of those who have served for years if not decades.
But after being elected too many of these same politicians ignore their campaign slogans and promises as they have become a member of the legislative club and to get along are reluctant to rock the boat by pushing term limits. Sure, there are those who will sponsor term limit legislation knowing it will make them look good to their constituents, but they are also confident that it will be as dead as road kill and they will blame others for its defeat.

My Declaration of Concern by John Stoeffler

Our Declaration of Independence cites numerous offenses as justification for the colonies’ intent to seek independence from England. Were Thomas Jefferson alive today I am convinced he would be questioning the legitimacy of many Federal government actions, actions which many have come to believe have more in common with the oppressive hand of King George III and his Parliament than the vision of a free and democratic Republic?

With that in mind, I have taken the liberty of listing what might well be grievances he would include in what I call “My Declaration of Concern.”  What follows is but a partial list of grievances that belong to our generation. There are four parts – beginning with the Supreme Court.

Part I – The Supreme Court

“If in fact the (U.S. Supreme) Court is acting without the consent of the governed, the people, then the rights it purports to secure in their name are counterfeit, their benevolence a fraud.” Missouri Chief Justice Robert T. Donnelly addressing the Missouri General Assembly 1982

The Court amended the Constitution by decree when it declared that part of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment which guarantees that property may be taken only for “public use” null and void. In its decision in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) the Court stated that under Eminent Domain privately held that property may now be taken and turned over to another private party for what the Court deemed a “public purpose.” In its ruling, the Court fraudulently excised by judicial fiat this part of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment without the consent of the people.

In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the Court rightly held that Linda Brown, a Negro, was the victim of de jure segregation in that she was not permitted, by law, to attend the school closest to her home. However, the Court’s decision ultimately resulted in lower federal courts uprooting hundreds of thousands of our Nation’s children and transporting them beyond their neighborhood schools under the guise of racial discrimination when in fact it was a racial balancing of the classroom the inferior courts of the United States sought to achieve. Our Nation’s children thus became pawns in achieving a social objective for which there is no constitutional basis, nor grant for the exercise of such authority.

In the 1990 case of Missouri v. Jenkins, the Court declared the federal judiciary has a constitutionally based authority to order taxes levied or increased without the consent of the People. This assertion clearly contravenes Article I, Sec. 8   of the Constitution which grants this authority to the Legislative Branch of government alone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution as it pertains to religion states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (Emphasis mine) On numerous occasions, the Court has shown its hostility toward religion. In Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) The Supreme Court found that a New York school district was violating the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment that prohibits Congress from establishing a religion. But it was not Congress that authorized a prayer in school but the school district. So how is the so-called “Establishment Clause” based on the words “Separation of Church and State”, words found nowhere in the Constitution, constitutional? It is not.  

Consider, a government paid chaplain can offer a prayer before each session of Congress which is published in the Daily Journal of the Congressional Record at taxpayer expense, yet the Court has ruled it is unconstitutional for students to read those same words in school. Displays of the Ten Commandments have likewise been subjected to the same hostile treatment. In ruling against displays of the Ten Commandments the Court ignores the fact that the Supreme Court Building itself contains depictions of the Commandments. Furthermore, similar depictions of the Commandments appear on numerous government buildings and monuments throughout our Nation’s Capital.

The Court declared in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964) the republican form of government the states enjoyed for nearly 200 years “unconstitutional.” The Framers provided for two branches of government, one, the House of Representatives, reflecting one-man-one-vote and the other, the Senate, guaranteeing an equality among all the states.”

The rationale for this was to prevent large states from unduly amassing power at the expense of smaller states. But when the states incorporated this principle in their constitution to protect the more sparsely populated rural areas from heavily populated urban areas the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 declared this to be unconstitutional and ordered states to draw senate districts based on population. The result, that which is constitutional for the federal government is “unconstitutional” for state governments.

The Justices of the Supreme Court have declared their decisions to be the “Law of the Land.” However, in 1982 Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert T. Donnelly asked: “Where, then, do we find a delegation of power by the people to the United States Supreme Court to declare ‘the supreme Law of the Land’ under Article VI of the United States Constitution?” The answer is nowhere.

The foregoing is but a small sample of numerous rulings by the Court, rulings so sweeping as to clearly resemble an ongoing constitutional convention.

In view of the foregoing one might ask, “What then is the limited role our Founders envisioned the Court was to play in the new republic?” The answer may be found in the Federalist Papers Number 78 written by Alexander Hamilton where he stated in part, “It may be truly said to have neither FORCE nor WILL but merely judgment.” As used here the word FORCE is a noun for the Executive Branch. As the Court has neither a police force not an army it must depend on the Executive Branch to “enforce” its decisions. The Court could not exercise its WILL, again used as a noun for the Legislative, law making Branch of government. Parsing these words, “It may be truly said (without question) that it (the Court) may exercise “merely judgment”. In other words, the limited role the Court was to play was to lay a law next to the Constitution and pronounce it constitutional “yes”, or constitutional “no” – that is all.

As I see it, too many Supreme Court opinions are not tethered to the Constitution’s text. Today the Justices have gone far beyond the role envisioned by the Founders and thus present a direct challenge to our republican form of government.

Part II, Congress

Our Declaration of Independence cites numerous offenses as justification for the colonies’ intent to seek independence from England. Were Thomas Jefferson alive today, I am convinced he would be questioning the legitimacy of many acts by Congress acts which many have come to believe have more in common with the oppressive hand of King George III and his Parliament than the vision the Founders had for a free and democratic republic?

Consider, Social Security taxes not immediately paid out are alleged to be placed into a “trust fund” the purpose of which is to hold surplus Social Security contributions. But the record shows any surplus is “borrowed” by Congress to pay for other programs our senators and representatives deem worthy. And who is paying the interest on this borrowed money? The American taxpayer.

You will recall that Congress asked the American people to put their trust in them as they sought to completely overhaul this Nation’s health care system. But what they proposed for us they will not accept for themselves and their family. And when responding to a crescendo of voices that arise in protest, the politically powerful in Washington sought to intimidate and silence these loyal Americans by charging they are “trying to sabotage the democratic process,” and comparing them to “Nazis,” “Evil-mongers,” and “mobs.”

The Constitution’s Twenty-Seventh Amendment clearly states: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” In spite of this, Congress receives an automatic increase in its compensation virtually every year – unless it votes NOT to accept it. Congress’ failure to follow the clear letter and intent of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment shows an unbelievably callous disregard for the will of the People by circumventing the amendment’s unambiguous language. And when challenged their response is that the increase they receive is not a pay raise but rather a “Cost of Living Allowance,” a COLA. (A distinction without a difference as I see it) In this, Congress is making a fraudulent claim that is patently self-serving.Our Founders created an honorable institution to protect and defend the people. However, by their own words and deeds too many of our senators and representatives have shown that congress has become a den of thieves.

In his Commentaries on the Constitution Joseph Story wrote: “War, in its best estate, never fails to impose upon the people the most burdensome taxes and personal sufferings.” Knowing this, the Founders left the sole power to commit the armed forces to the people’s branch – Congress. (U.S. Constitution – Article I, section 8, clause 11)

Since the end of World War II Congress has authorized the United States armed forces to become engaged in no-win armed struggles with both irregular forces and the armed forces of other nations. These include Korea, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Clearly, Congress appears bound and determined to defend virtually everyone, but in doing so ignores the sound admonition of Frederick the Great who declared: “He who wants to defend everything defends nothing, and he who wants to be everyone’s friend has no friends in the end.”

And while Congress is busy spending billions to defend foreign nations whose friendship is most often temporary at best our country is under assault from illegal aliens whose presence here has placed an ever-growing financial burden on taxpaying citizens and state governments. To add insult to injury, in 2010 Congress counted every illegal alien in the census and included those numbers to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives. This could only result in states with an abundance of illegal aliens being awarded with additional seats in numerous government bodies, local, state and national, and by fiat an increased political clout at the expense of every American.

While often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, it was David Thoreau in his essay Civil Disobedience who wrote: “That government is best that governs least.”  Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were crafted by the Framers to protect the States and the personal liberties of citizens from a strong central government. That said, there is irrefutable evidence that legislation being passed and unfunded mandates forced on the states by Congress are considerably at odds with and present a direct challenge to the republican form of limited government envisioned by the Framers.

Part III, the Presidency

As our nation’s Chief Executive, the President is charged with executing the laws passed by the peoples’ representatives and senators in Congress. He is also charged with enforcing the laws of the Nation which are predicated upon a clear and unambiguous understanding of the Constitution’s words and the intent of those who wrote those words. However, when the President enforces constitutionally baseless Court opinions/decisions he aids and promotes rulings by what is euphemistically referred to as an “activist Court.

It should be disconcerting to every citizen to see a president place his hand upon a Bible and swear to Almighty God that he will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and then turn around and enforce a decision by the Court that forbids the mention of God or the Bible in public schools, such decisions being based on an assertion that the U.S. Constitution demands a “separation of church and state.” But these words are found nowhere in the Constitution. That history of chief executives of both political parties have enforced these and other constitutionally baseless rulings is beyond the pale.

It is appalling to watch as Presidents have ordered the Nation’s armed forces into harm’s way when no threat to the Nation or its citizens exists. In some cases, the armed forces of the United States were employed, not in the name of the United States but on behalf of the United Nations or treaties that are of a questionable nature given the blood and sacrifice made by thousands who are no longer among us and the loved ones they leave behind.

Since 1945, there have been numerous deployments of our nation’s armed forces by presidents acting in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief. Many of these deployments have ended up as either a stalemate (Korea), defeat (Vietnam), humiliation (Somalia), an unrealized stated objective, to wit: stemming the flow of drugs into the U.S.(Panama); unfinished business; and leaving a tyrant characterized as “Worse than Hitler” in place for years. (Iraq – 1991). In the case of the latter, the result for not seeking total victory finds the United States military currently tied down in Middle East conflicts that have lasted longer than World War II.

It is irresponsible and constitutionally questionable to continue to give or loan hard-earned monies of our citizens to foreign governments under the guise of aid, especially so when those corrupt leaders continually squander these proceeds while their people live in squalor and the constant fear of being murdered, raped, having what meager possessions they may possess stolen, or being sold into slavery.

It is unacceptable that presidents whose constitutional responsibility to spend the monies Congress appropriates permits the ongoing raid on the Social Security “Trust Fund.” It is equally unacceptable to watch as the president fails to use the power of his office to rein in spending of taxpayer dollars, millions of which are squandered annually by congress on politically motivated and highly questionable “pork barrel” projects.

It is a travesty of yet-to-be-seen proportions when a president seeks to expand the scope of government programs and in doing so incurs monumental debt which will mortgage the future of our children and our children’s children for decades to come.

It is unconscionable that our borders remain un-secured. And it is an outrage when ordinary citizens who take it upon themselves to do what the Federal Government cannot or refuses to do to adequately protect and secure this Nation’s borders are denigrated as “vigilantes.”

In these and numerous other ways presidents of both political parties, past and present have failed to execute the authority of and uphold the duties of president which the Constitution clearly commands.

The conduct evidenced by those who have ascended to the nation’s highest office clearly shows a record replete with abuses and neglect of the Constitution’s grant of authority and restrictions therein to which they have sworn a sacred oath to “protect and defend.” This is especially telling seeing as how that oath ends with the words: “so help me God.”

Part IV, to preserve our Republic

I have listed what I see are serious breaches and blatant challenges to restrictions the Constitution places on those who hold positions of power in the Federal Government.

Recognizing the threat to liberty these actions pose, tens of thousands of voices have been raised in protest, but to no avail. In entreaties, written and oral, the President, Congress and the Supreme Court have been reminded on numerous occasions of the dangerous precedents they are setting, precedents which can only lead to further abuses of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and a continued erosion of economic and personal liberties. As repeated calls to end unconstitutional activities and actions have been answered by repeated injuries it remains clear that change must be made.

There are those who understand that the Constitution and the Amendments made thereto are a contractbetween the People of the United States and their government. It is an agreement that has been entered into voluntarily, and which requires both parties to fully comply if liberty and the freedoms we have enjoyed for over 200 years are to survive for the benefit of future generations. It is axiomatic that when any contractual agreement is continually violated by one of the parties, and the other party continues to suffer injuries and injustices, that the injured party has, as Jefferson wrote in our Declaration of Independence, a “Right” and a “Duty” to alter or abolish that relationship in order “to provide new Guards for their future security.”

There are those who, seeing the abuses being heaped upon the citizens and states of this Union, are beginning to question how much longer this relationship shall continue. That said, the relationship the People of the United States have enjoyed with their government has existed for two-hundred twenty-two years and should never be ended or changed without every effort being made to repair that relationship. Therefore, let it be known that this Declaration of Concern is a clarion call to the President, members of Congress and the Supreme Court to review the vision and aspirations the Founders had for our Republic and reexamine the restricted role the Federal Government was to play then and must return to now. Let them again embrace those principles the Founders instituted which when adhered to will most assuredly guarantee the safety and freedoms to which so many have pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

The Constitution is the cornerstone of our Republic. It has changed little throughout this nation’s history since its adoption on September 17, 1787. What has changed, however, is a misguided view that it is a “living Constitution” that must be kept in tune with the times. Yes, it is a living document but must only change with the consent of the governed – We the People, and ONLY the people.

If we are to truly be a government of, by, and for the people it must be the people who make changes and not the few and the politically powerful. It is for this very reason the Founders provided for an amendment process to safeguard the people from the hand of tyranny.

Since its adoption as this nation’s governing document the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times. But, as has been previously noted, it has been members of the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Executive Branch who have chosen on numerous occasions to ignore the Constitution’s clear proscriptions and overstepped the authority the Constitution grants to each. In doing so it was they, and not the people, who have determined the future of America, and not always for and in the interest of the people. Unchallenged, these self-proclaimed platonic guardians of our liberties have become emboldened in their pursuit of a vision that is not in the interest of the people.

Unquestionably, the freedoms our Constitution was written to protect are ever so slowly being eroded. Nevertheless, the mischief done by our Federal Government is not beyond repair; but only – only – if the President, the justices of the Supreme Court, and our senators and representatives in Washington set aside personal feelings and ambitions and submit themselves to the authority which our Constitution embodies and for which so many have given their all to protect and sustain. Only then will the flame of liberty and freedom the Founders lit to continue to cast its light over a government of the People, by the People, and for the People.

Judicial Watch Files 4th FOIA Lawsuit Relating to Government Funding of the Soros Political Machine

Legal Ethics and ReformJudicial Watch now has four FOIA lawsuits relating to the Obama administration’s funding for Soros’ Open Society Foundations operations 

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records relating to their funding of the political activities of the Soros Open Society Foundations of Romania (Judicial Watch v. U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:18-cv-00667)) and the Soros Open Society Foundations of Colombia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-00668)).

The Soros Open Society Foundations of Romania lawsuit was filed after State and USAID failed to substantively respond to an October 16, 2017, FOIA request seeking among other records:

• All records relating to any contracts, grants or other allocations/disbursements of funds by the State Department to the Open Society Foundation – Romania and/or its personnel and/or any OSFR subsidiary or affiliate.

• All assessments, evaluations, reports or similar records relating to the work of Open Society Foundation – Romania and/or its subsidiaries or affiliated organizations.

The Soros Open Society Foundations of Colombia lawsuit was filed after State failed to respond to an October 23, 2017, FOIA request seeking among other records:

• All records regarding any contracts, grants or other allocations/disbursements of funds by the State Department to the Open Society Foundation – Colombia and/or any OSF subsidiaries/affiliates, and/or OSF personnel operating in Colombia, as well as the following entities: Fundacion Ideas para la Paz; La Silla Vacia; DeJusticia; Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris; Paz y Reconciliacion; Global Drug Policy Program; and news portal Las Dos Orillas.

• All records of communication, whether by e-mails, text messages, or instant chats, between any officials, employees or representatives of the State Department in Colombia, including Ambassador Kevin Whitaker and any officials, employees or representatives of the Open Society Foundation, its subsidiaries/affiliates, and/or those entities identified in the first bullet.

See also: Shilling for Soros: Washington Posts’ Omission of Facts in Defense of a Narrative

As in other parts of the world, a number of Soros-funded entities and projects in Romania are also funded by the United States Government. The Romanian Center for Independent Journalism, which is supported by the Open Society Institute in New York, recently received $17,000 from the State Department.

In February 2017, Laura Silber of Open Society Foundations reportedly condemned “illiberal governments” in the Balkans, such as Macedonia, Albania and Romania, for working against the Soros NGOs. In Romania, in March 2017, the leader of the governing party reportedly charged that the Soros foundations “that he has funded since 1990 have financed evil.”

Soros’ NGOs in Colombia are reportedly receiving millions from USAID:

Verdad Abierta, a web-based portal created by Teresa Ronderos, director of the Open Society Program on Independent Journalism, boasts on its website that it receives support from USAID. Abierta has helped rewrite Colombia’s history, elevating terrorists to the same level as the legitimate police and military forces, and rebranding decades of massacres, kidnappings, child soldiering, and drug trafficking by a criminal syndicate as simply “50 years of armed conflict.”

Fundacion Ideas para la Paz, once led by peace negotiator Sergio Jaramillo, now a member of the oversight “junta,” is funded by the Open Society Foundations and has received more than $200,000 in U.S. tax dollars.

The left-wing news portal La Silla Vacia, another Open Society initiative, also boasts of being a USAID grantee. Its columnist, Rodrigo Uprimny, whose NGO DeJusticia also partners with USAID and Open Society, is considered one of the architects of the peace deal.

Former National Liberation Army terrorist Leon Valencia—Open Society collaborator and grantee—has received at least $1,000,000 in USAID funding through his NGOs Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris and Paz y Reconciliacion, and left-wing news portal Las Dos Orillas, which he co-founded.

In 2016, Soros’ Open Society Foundations gave more than $3.3 million to organizations operating in Colombia. Several of those organizations have also been financially supported by the United States government, having received more than $5 million from the Department of State, USAID, and the Inter-American Foundation (a federal agency) in recent years. One of the Soros-funded entities, an LGBT advocacy organization, was also selected by the Inter-American Foundation as a partner organization in its Colombia peace project initiative.

“It is time for Americans to be allowed to see State Department documentation regarding the public funding of Soros’ Open Society Foundations,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The billionaire George Soros needs zero assistance from taxpayers to promote his far-left agenda abroad.”

Judicial Watch now has four FOIA lawsuits relating to the Obama administration’s funding for Soros’ operations. Judicial Watch is pursuing information about Soros’ activities in Macedonia and Albania, as well. The former Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski reportedly called for a “de-Sorosization” of society. In February 2017, Judicial Watch reported that the U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia in collusion with George Soros.

In a March 2017, letter to Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, six U.S. Senators (Sens. Lee (R-UT), Inhofe (R-OK), Tillis (R-NC), Cruz (R-TX), Perdue (R-GA) and Cassidy (R-LA)) called on the secretary to investigate the relations between USAID and the Soros Foundations and how U.S. tax dollars are being used by the State Department and the USAID to support left-of-center political groups who seek to impose left-leaning policies in countries such as Macedonia and Albania.

Are The Social Media Giants Trying To Steal The 2018 Elections By Censoring Conservative Websites?

Nobody is disputing the fact that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants are censoring conservative material. In fact, this is probably the largest purge of conservative voices in the history of the Internet. Obviously this is going to cause large numbers of people to stop using their platforms, so why would they do this? Well, to some conservatives the answer is obvious. These social media giants watched Donald Trump use their platforms extremely effectively in 2016, and many believe that they are absolutely determined to never let that happen again. In fact, Mike Adams of Natural News is completely convinced that there is a concerted effort by these social media giants to steal the 2018 elections…

The realization is suddenly obvious: The Google / YouTube selective “censorship rampage” that has targeted conservative websites and content creators is a brazen, illegal scheme to interfere with U.S. elections and steal the 2018 mid-terms.

The systematic silencing of conservative views is necessary, of course, for Democrats to win enough seats to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives after the mid-term elections. Once control is established, Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump. Although the Senate would not likely prosecute that impeachment, the mere achievement of the U.S. House declaring “impeachment” would be enough to convince most brainwashed news consumers that Trump is somehow a guilty criminal (nobody will remember that Bill Clinton was also impeached by the House). From there, the 2020 presidential election is also stolen, and Democrats land their selected tyrant in the White House just in time for Ginsberg’s retirement from SCOTUS.

If voices on the left were being censored to the same degree as conservative voices, it would be really hard to make such an argument.

But the truth is that the numbers show that conservative voices are being hit extremely hard by the censorship while liberal publishers have been mostly “unaffected”

Facebook’s January 12 announcement that it would begin to de-prioritize news publishers and their posts in users’ News Feeds has had a surprisingly profound and partisan impact. According to The Outline’s analysis of Facebook engagement data obtained from research tool BuzzSumo, conservative and right-wing publishers (such as Breitbart, Fox News, and Gateway Pundit) were hit the hardest in the weeks following the announcement, with Facebook engagement totals for February dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected.

And this even applies to politicians as well. For example, President Trump’s engagement on Facebook has fallen 45 percent since the algorithm change…

The algorithm change caused President Donald Trump’s engagement on Facebook posts to plummet a whopping 45%.

In contrast, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) do not appear to have suffered a comparable decline in Facebook engagement.

Top conservative Facebook pages with daily traffic in the millions have seen 75% to 95% drop in traffic.
Young Cons, Western Journalism, SarahPalin.com,Independent Journal ReviewRight Wing News, and several others have seen dramatic loss in traffic.

Needless to say, my website (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/) has been affected as well.

So what can we do?

We can fight back. One of the primary ways that we can do that is by electing pro-Trump candidates all over the nation in 2018. Right now I am engaged in an extremely close race with three guys that did not want Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination in 2016, and I need your help to win on May 15th.

It is fundamentally wrong for the social media giants to pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas. I will fight online censorship as hard as I can in Washington, and if you believe in what we are trying to do I hope that you will stand with us.

Whenever radical leftists have taken power anywhere in the world, they have always tried to shut down free speech.

They want to follow the same formula in the United States, but we are not going to allow them to do that.

There are millions upon millions of red-blooded Americans that still greatly love this nation, and this silent majority is rising up to take our country back.

Source: MostImportantNews

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District. If you would like to help him win on May 15th, you can donate online, by Paypal or by sending a check made out to “Michael Snyder for Congress” to P.O. Box 1136 – Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. To learn more, please visit MichaelSnyderForCongress.com.

Who Wrote the Roy Moore Dossier?

Wrote the Roy Moore Dossier
FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally, in Fairhope, Ala. According to a Washington Post story Nov. 9, an Alabama woman said Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

By Cliff Kincaid

The so-called Trump Dossier, financed by the Hillary campaign and provided by the KGB through a former British intelligence agent, has fizzled out. It has been supplanted by the Moore Dossier, concocted by Washington Post reporters working for their billionaire owner, P.T Barnum-like Jeff Bezos. This variation of the ploy, with a new target, seems to have legs. Many Republicans and conservatives are falling for it.

But is there really any reason to believe the Moore Dossier has any more validity than the Trump Dossier?

A big red flag appeared when feminist attorney Gloria Allred raised her head in the Roy Moore case. Suddenly another accuser surfaces, under suspicious circumstances, and even “conservative” Republicans are running for the hills. It stinks.

Why do the liberals need the Southern Poverty Law Center when Republicans will pin “guilty as charged” labels on conservatives?

Look at Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner and the rest. Senate Republicans are so scared of being charged with a “war on women” that they have decided to wage war, with no moral or legal basis, on the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama. They deny him due process and have accepted unverified claims of sexual harassment against him. Some are threatening to expel him from the Senate if he wins.

No wonder these Senators can’t get anything done. They are too busy posing for the cameras and looking politically correct. Why don’t they just put on dresses and pretend to be feminists? Perhaps this will win them the transgender vote.

The Washington Post, the source of the charges, is a partisan Democratic paper which thinks billionaire hedge fund operator and Democratic Party money bags George Soros is a blessing for America. It said so in an editorial. Yet this paper is dictating what Republicans should be saying and doing in the Moore case.

The Post hates morality and traditional values. Its religion columnist, Washington insider and party giver Sally Quinn, believed in the occult and admits casting hexes on her enemies.

The Washington Post once published a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a child heroin addict that turned out to be a total lie. Google the name “Janet Cooke.” Her editor was Watergate reporter Bob Woodward. Perhaps she used a Ouija board to write her stories.

Referring to the Post’s initial story, legal expert and commentator Gualberto Garcia Jones says, “The obvious question is who informed The Washington Post of the allegations? And who located the women and put them in touch with Washington Post reporters?” He adds, “It is simply impossible to believe that their simultaneous allegations happened organically after nearly 40 years of silence.”

The follow-up accusations, fed to the media by Gloria Allred, make the whole thing even more questionable.

Garcia Jones writes, “The Washington Post’s political motivations to destroy the reputation of Judge Roy Moore are evident and the tactics used against him uncannily resemble those used against President Donald Trump. A month before the presidential election of 2016, The Washington Post published accusations of sexual misconduct against candidate Donald Trump while endorsing his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

Yes, indeed, why not probe the motives of the paper that helped usher Barack Hussein Obama into the presidency and has been working to destroy the Trump presidency? The Post had endorsed Moore’s opponent while working on the hit piece against Moore. The same modus operandi was evident in the Trump case.

It didn’t work with Trump but it looks like it could work with Moore. Which means that if they destroy Moore, they will return to undermining Trump, probably with new sex charges. Or perhaps they will try something else. The new Janet Cookes at the paper are probably working on that right now.  

We’re heard the mantra about frightened women scared to take on a powerful man with sex charges. But Moore has been powerful for decades in Alabama. Only now they decide to come forward, when Moore is leading in the polls and about to become a Senator on the national stage?  

What’s surprising is the reaction of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, whose father was charged with being involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. Cruz says, in the case of Roy Moore, that “as long as these allegations remain unrefuted,” Cruz is “not able to urge the people of Alabama to support his candidacy.” How does one refute charges from decades ago, for which there is no evidence in the first place? You would think Cruz would have more sympathy for Moore, considering that Cruz’s father was unfairly targeted with the JFK allegations. How is Moore supposed to “refute” the charges against him? Go back in time in a time machine to take pictures?

Cruz, a lawyer, says Moore “needs to come forward with strong, persuasive rebuttal demonstrating” that the charges are untrue. I am not a lawyer, but since when does the accused have to prove his innocence about charges from decades ago concerning his dating habits? I thought the burden of proof was on the accusers.  

Do Moore’s accusers have anything other than a signature on a high school yearbook? So far, they rely on claims, accusations, and charges. These are easy to make. Tears can be faked. All of this is supposed to carry more weight than his decades of service to the cause of traditional values and God-given rights?

Garcia Jones says, “It should come as no surprise that people like the editors of National Review and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would publicly convict Judge Roy Moore in less than 12 hours solely on one article published by a politically partisan publication.”

True. It’s no surprise. These are cowardly “conservatives” and Republicans. In McConnell’s case, he’s actually an enemy of Moore, having supported one of his Republican opponents in the primary race.

Why does McConnell fear Moore? As Garcia Jones told me in a phone interview, Moore is a doer, not just a talker. Moore actually gets things done. Because of that, he has made real enemies, such as those in the Southern Poverty Law Center. Moore can be expected to actually force conservatives in the Senate to do something about the issues we face as a nation. He will embarrass McConnell & Company.

Moore would be more than justified, if he wins the Senate seat in the face of this bipartisan assault, to go to Washington and fight to get his reputation back. Let Moore challenge his accusers, in and out of the liberal media and the Republican Party, to produce the evidence against him. Let’s get to the bottom of this.  

11/15/17 – Latest Update…

Did Wikileaks directly receive information from Guccifer 2.0?

Regarding the DNC’s secrets being spilled in the last election, the question is, as the American Thinker’s Mike Razar has put it, whether Wikileaks “received the information from the Russian government or from some non-Russian hacker source or even an inside leak rather than a hacker.” The question has become, did Guccifer 2.0 directly leak information to Wikileaks?

In order to assess this, we need to look at all of the facts. A recent front cover article of the New Yorker magazine, entitled Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country, reveals some previously unknown, unreported or unpublished interactions of Guccifer 2.0 with others, and other new information that does not even appear on the timeline of Guccifer 2.0 interactions on the “Guccifer 2.0: Game Over” website. One set of information, as extracted from the aforementioned New Yorker article, relates to how Guccifer 2.0 apparently knew that Wikileaks is delayed in releasing the files that Guccifer 2.0 allegedly sent them, and that this knowledge shows that Guccifer 2.0 is supplying Wikileaks with information, or simply colluding with Wikileaks.

There are three examples of such interactions as described in the New Yorker article, in the author Raffi Khatchadourian‘s own words (and arranged chronologically, with boldface added):

1) On June 17th, the editor of the Smoking Gun asked Guccifer 2.0 if Assange would publish the same material it was then doling out. “I gave WikiLeaks the greater part of the files, but saved some for myself,” it replied. “Don’t worry everything you receive is exclusive.” The claim at that time was true.

2) In early July, for example, Guccifer 2.0 told a Washington journalist that WikiLeaks was “playing for time.” (Indeed, the article by Joe Uchill from July 13 contains these sentences from electronic chats: “The press [is] gradually forget[ing] about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and [I] have some more docs.”)

3) According to Uchill’s July 22 article, The [Wikileaks] site does not specifically address who leaked the documents, but hacker Guccifer 2.0 who recently breached the DNC servers confirmed via electronic message that the emails came from that hack. “At last!” he wrote. 

Also, Khatchadourian notes other interactions that have not been documented by others so far, including his apparent attempt at interaction in mid-August 2016 with Emma Best, a journalist and a specialist in archival research who, according to her Twitter handle, is suing the FBI for 2.1 million documents. Khatchadourian seems to think that Guccifer 2.0 was considering sending his documents to Khatchadourian instead of Wikileaks in this time period. However, why would Guccifer 2.0 have written “at last!” on July 22nd to Uchill, and seemed to be happy with Wikileaks’ progress in releasing documents, but then attempted to find a different entity or individual to release the documents only a few weeks later in mid-August? It would make more sense if, between June 17 and July 22nd, the dates of the first and third aforementioned interactions, Guccifer 2.0 would have expressed a desire to send the DNC documents elsewhere. Regardless, Emma Best later commented on Twitter regarding the article, stating that “This is accurate.”

The question for American Thinker readers, researchers and the G-2.space community ought to be, do you agree with the New Yorker article when it claims that Guccifer 2.0 knew that Wikileaks is delayed in releasing the files in July 2016, as per the New Yorker article, the editor of the Smoking Gun and the Uchill articles from July 13 and July 22nd? It would be helpful if full transcripts of interactions with Guccifer 2.0 would be released by these entities for publication and analysis.

Extremism and Politics

Dan Wolf | Virginia Christian Alliance

In About that 1% on Extremists, we started to look what extremism means and some general attitudes within the Islamic world. This article will turn that discussion to focus on extremism and politics. Law and culture will be covered in the next article. We will use the same source information as before. First we are going to look at another general question asked of Muslims.

  • Do you consider yourself a national citizen first or a Muslim first.

Responses from six countries representing most of the regions in the survey are shown below.

Article12_Fig01Figure 1: Percentage of Muslims who consider themselves[1]

Not a single country in this survey put national citizenship ahead of being a Muslim. This should not be surprising. Muhammad’s teachings put the ties of religion above those of blood in tribal Arabia. Muslims are called to be followers of Islam first, and that is why Islam’s tenets matter. Within an Islamic country, there is little if any difference between being a Muslim or a national citizen as governance is based on Islamic principles. These matter, however, if you extrapolate this position to non-Muslim countries as Islamic governance is not only contrary to, but incompatible with, all other governance forms. For those who want to know more about this topic, please see Islam and Form of Governance and US Law and Shari’a.

Islam and Politics

Relevant survey results related to politics include:

  • Median % of Muslims who believe religious leaders should have a political influence.
  • % of Muslims who say religious leaders should have a large or some influence.
  • Median % of Muslims who prefer democracy over a strong leader.

The results are shown in the table below.

Article12_Fig02Even though not all regions were surveyed, the results still represent roughly 50 – 70% of the population. This should not be surprising. Within Islam the church and state are one. All is Islam, therefore religious leaders should have an influence over all society’s aspects; including not only politics, but law, governance, civics, culture, the military, etc. as well. More about this later with culture.

The democracy result is interesting. Generally, when I have had a political discussion with a Muslim, the line of reasoning goes something like this: they do not have freedom in (insert a country here) because the leader at the top is corrupt, we need to replace the leader with someone who is not corrupt, then that country will have freedom. We use the same word, freedom, but it does not have the same meaning. It does not represent the same idea.

Islam and Freedom

Within Judeo-Christian beliefs, freedom is a gift from God and necessary in fulfilling our purpose. We cannot be put into motion like inanimate objects and still fulfill our purpose of becoming good – like our God. Within Islam, the concept of Allah is built upon the works of Plotinus, particularly his Enneads. Allah has no being, no essence, no nature, but is instead nothing but pure will. Within this framework, there is no relationship possible between man and his Creator as He is inscrutable – unknowable.

According to Plotinus, freedom is the negation of a negative. It is what you have when you are not being coerced, because your normal state is not to be free but instead to be coerced.  Coerced by your Creator, His representatives on earth (the state and/or church), or whoever’s power you lie under – a slave. Verses from the Qur’an support this position, and two of those are shown below. This same notion of freedom is similar to all other forms of collectivism, the only difference is that with these other forms (communism, fascism, progressivism, or socialism) freedom comes solely from the state.

‘I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.’ (S 52.56)

‘There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Beneficent as a slave.’ (S19.93)

Both of the above are Meccan surahs, indicating that this view was a part of Islam from early on.

In western culture, in places like America which rely on a Judeo-Christian governance philosophy, our freedom comes from within – it does not come from the state. Within Islamic culture, freedom comes from without. This is one reason why creating a republic within an Islamic country will never work, its ideology is incompatible with freedom as we know it. It is also one reason why western culture is viewed as a threat to Islam. The morals expressed by much of today’s music, television programming, etc. in the west are also a threat to Islamic culture, as these same sources are a threat to us who live in the west; these cultural artistic expressions have become perversions of what should reflect our core values.

Religious Freedom

Another example on this last point comes from the survey. The median % of Muslims who say religious freedom is a good thing is shown in the table below.

Article12_Fig03The survey goes further to say ‘Medians {percentages) show Muslims who say non-Muslims in their country are very free to practice their religion and consider this a good thing.’[2] The numbers are very high across all regions. But is this true? Consider, non-Muslims are not free to build new churches/synagogues, repair existing ones, ring bells, or perform other overt acts of worship within these countries. In some instances it is even illegal to possess a Bible. Non-Muslim populations have dwindled to non-existence in many of these countries, and continue to grow smaller. In addition, non-Muslims do not share the same legal status as Muslims.

Instead, they are subjected to laws and cultural norms intended to humiliate them in an effort to force them to convert. Think this is not true? You might want to see the following video from an Islamic cleric on Islamic conversions. But the idea he expresses is not new, it comes from the dhimmitude practices that have been developed over the last thousand years (See The Abbasid Dynasty Part III, Dhimmitude). The non-Muslims who live in these countries must possess a level of devotion that we can only imagine.

Islam and Other Faiths

What is more correct to say is that within western culture, religious freedom means one is free to choose what religion they will follow – even if their choice is no religion at all. Within Islam, religious freedom is synonymous with any non-Muslim being free to choose Islam at any time they wish. To support that point, we can look at one final result from these surveys. The table below contains the % of Muslims who say they would be very/somewhat comfortable with a son or daughter marrying a Christian.

Article12_Fig04While over 90% of Muslims say religious freedom is a good thing, only a little over 10% would be comfortable with a son marrying someone from outside of Islam – specifically a Christian – and less than half of that figure would be comfortable if it were a daughter. In this case, freedom is not the freedom to choose from all things, but instead the freedom to choose one thing alone.

We will pick up the next article with law.

SOURCE: Extremism, Islam, and Politics

[1] Pew Research Center, How Muslims See Themselves and Islam’s Role, July 14, 2005. Other Pew Research Center surveys used in this article include Most Embrace a Role for Islam in Politics: Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah (December 2, 2010) and The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society (April 30, 2013).

[2] Pew Research Center, The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society, p.32, April 30, 2013..

Republican Megadonors Line Up behind Speaker Ryan

    Major Republican donors — some of whom who saw their chosen presidential candidates crash and burn in the last six months — dropped serious money into House Speaker Paul D. Ryan‘s joint fundraising committee (JFC) in November and December, campaign finance records show. Marquee 2016 donors like Diane Hendricks and Marlene Ricketts, who both gave millions to the super PAC backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker before his campaign sputtered and died last fall, and 2014 megadonor Cliff Asness each gave $244,200 to Ryan’s JFC, Team Ryan. Twenty donors gave the committee more than $100,000 apiece, for a sum of about $2.9 million. The JFC received about $2.7 million more from other large donors and corporate political action committees. Team Ryan split the funds between its three partners. Records show $2.9 million went to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $830,372 was transferred to Ryan for Congress and $508,048 made its way to Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action That’s how a JFC works since the Supreme Court removed certain contribution limits in 2014: Major donors use them as a simple way to cut a check to multiple lawmakers or political committees at once. Ricketts, Hendricks and Asness — a wife and a widow of successful businessmen and a hedge fund manager, respectively — each gave $244,200 to Team Ryan. Had they instead sent the funds directly to candidates, they would have written a lot of checks: Each could have maxed out to 24 Republican lawmakers in both their primaries and their general election contests in 2016. (Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, that would have been impermissible.) As speaker, Ryan is expected to be a fundraising leader for the party, and that means offering this kind of dough to members of his conference who need it, which he can do by directing money through the NRCC. In the end, he also gets to do whatever he chooses with the cash balance in his leadership PAC which, thanks in large part to the transfer from his JFC, went from having $193,145 on hand as of June 30, 2015 to having $590,030 at the beginning of this year. Several of the JFC’s donors are already in the business of influencing the 2016 elections, especially the Republican presidential race. Eight donors who gave more than $100,000 to Team Ryan had already made the list of 2016 megadonors by last July. Together, those eight contributed $16.6 million, mostly to the super PACs supporting the presidential bids of Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. It may be that Ryan, still in his honeymoon period as the somewhat unexpected new speaker of the House and a former vice presidential candidate, offers a release valve for the frustrations of Republican donors who favored more conventional Republicans early in a campaign full of unconventional politicians. Ricketts and Hendricks, for example, were the seventh- and eighth-largest political donors early this cycle — together, they gave more than $10 million to Unintimidated PAC, which planned to spend that money supporting Walker. It’s unclear (until next week, anyway) whether their money was refunded or directed elsewhere after Walker’s candidacy took an early trip south. Most of the other top donors to Ryan’s JFC threw their money into Jeb Bush’s cash-vacuuming super PAC; that was before it was clear that generating excitement among the Republican primary electorate would prove to be so difficult for the former Florida governor. Goldman Sachs executive Muneer Satter, for one, gave $550,000 to the super PAC, Right to Rise USA, before last July. He dropped $100,000 into Ryan’s JFC; so did his fellow Right to Rise donors Craig Duchossois, Hushang Ansary, Thomas McInerney and Trevor Rees-Jones. Source: OPEN SECRETS]]>

A Big Stash of Campaign Cash in Marijuana for Paul

Right Side News Rand Paul Smoke A Dope Cash

 | Open Secrets

With weak polling and lackluster fundraising, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is struggling to stay in the 2016 presidential race. So far, some of his strongest financial supporters have come from a new, growing industry: legal marijuana.

As of Sept. 30, Paul’s second-biggest contributor is the National Cannabis Industry Association, a D.C.-based trade group that lobbies Congress on behalf of state-legal marijuana businesses. Since it was founded in the later part of 2010, the association has spent $200,000 on lobbying.

In all, NCIA is the source of $12,000 to Paul’s campaign, including $10,000 from the organization’s PAC. Its executive director, Aaron Smith, donated $1,500 to the candidate, who leans libertarian. Michael Correia, the group’s lobbyist, gave $500 to Paul as well.

Paul held a fundraiser during an NCIA summit on June 30, becoming the first major presidential candidate to ever court donations from the marijuana industry. The cost of admission was a check for $2,700 – the maximum an individual can donate to a campaign per election – made out to Paul’s victory committee. The closed-door event attracted about 40 people, CBS Denver reported.

Bigger money has gone to outside groups that can take unlimited sums. America’s Liberty PAC, a super PAC devoted to Paul’s election, accepted $15,000 from ICC Holdings, LLC, an NCIA member and Illinois company looking to run a commercial cannabis farm. Scott Banister, an angel investor and so-called marijuana rights activist, has donated $1.25 million to Concerned American Voters, another super PAC backing only Paul.

The industry has several reasons to be on Paul’s side. The senator is co-sponsoring a bill to prevent federal regulators from punishing banks that serve pot-related businesses. Many such enterprises, denied bank services because they trade in a drug that’s still illegal on the federal level, are forced to deal with large amounts of cash, which makes them targets for robbery.

And while he has not come out in support of legalization, Paul has said that, as president, he would let the states shape their own laws for marijuana use.

“I don’t think that the federal government should override the states,” he said at the second Republican debate. “I believe in the 10th Amendment, and I really will say that the states are left to themselves.”

Paul – along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) – introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act this year. It would protect state medical marijuana programs and includes several other provisions that pro-legalization groups have praised.

The weed industry alone can’t keep Paul’s poll numbers high, though. He’s struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire and was on shaky financial ground when his campaign closed its books last month: He burned through cash at a 181 percent rate, according to his quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission. While Paul spent $4.5 million between June 30 and Sept. 30, he raised only $2.5 million. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pressing the candidate to shift his focus to his Senate race, according to Politico.

The Marijuana Policy Project’s PAC has both of Paul’s races covered: It has contributed $5,000 to the Republican’s presidential campaign and $9,500 to his Senate bid. Headquartered in D.C., MPP supports federal and state legislation and ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana, reduce penalties for possession and allow recreational use.

MPP has graded each of the presidential candidates’ marijuana policies based on their public statements about the issue. The group gave an A- to Paul, highlighting his support of decriminalization. Paul, who has also introduced legislation that would relax penalties for nonviolent offenders, has argued that marijuana-related arrests hurt poor, minority communities.

“Not only do the drugs damage them, we damage them again by incarcerating them and then preventing them from getting employment over time,” he said during the debate.

The only candidate who got a higher score from MPP was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who said during the Democratic debate this month that he would support a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in Nevada if he were a voter in the state.

Twenty-three states and D.C. allow marijuana for medical use. Four states and D.C. have made recreational use legal. A majority of Americans – 58 percent, as of Gallup’s most recent poll on the issue – support legalization.

Source: OPEN SECRETS

Huckabee Super Donor’s Jesus Fund Keeps Recipients of $26 Million Secret

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee may have a savior in Ron Cameron, but Cameron's Jesus Fund may not be playing according to rules. (Flickr/John Pemble)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee may have a savior in Ron Cameron, but Cameron’s Jesus Fund may not be playing according to rules. (Flickr/John Pemble)

The Arkansas man who dropped $3 million into the super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee‘s bid for the Republican presidential nomination for years handed out millions of dollars to a secret list of public charities through a pass-through private foundation called The Jesus Fund, tax forms filed by the foundation show.

The Fund’s activity may violate federal tax law and Arkansas state law, according to experts who reviewed the forms for OpenSecrets Blog.

From 2006 until 2013, Ronald Cameron, CEO of the poultry company Mountaire Corp., used The Jesus Fund to funnel at least $26.2 million to “various public charities” without disclosing exactly which organizations received the funds, contrary to legal requirements. OpenSecrets Blog examined six years of tax forms submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.

Both Cameron and Mountaire gave to the entity, which had $43.5 million in assets by the end of 2013. In the six years, the Jesus Fund received $15.25 million from Mountaire and more than $10 million from Cameron himselfaccording to the documents. The Fund paid some fees and tax expenses, but the contributions to mystery organizations made up more than 92 percent of the Fund’s total disbursements.

Tax forms for 2008 and 2010 were not readily available online, but the forms reviewed do not adequately disclose the recipients of Cameron’s altruism, according to nonprofit organizations expert Marcus Owens, a former head of the IRS charity division. By not disclosing the names and addresses of the recipients, he said, the Fund is “courting trouble” by filing an “inaccurate return” to the IRS.

“The federal tax rules are quite clear, private foundations must report the names and addresses of each of their grantees, together with the amounts of each particular grant,” Owens said, adding that the way The Jesus Fund reported a lump sum, without any names or addresses, puts it at risk for civil penalties for an incomplete filing. It also runs the risk of criminal penalties if the IRS finds the tactic was a means to “obstruct or impede” the agency, Owens said.

The Fund has in the past been averse to public scrutiny — perhaps so much so as to run afoul of Arkansas state law. A spokesman for the Arkansas attorney general’s office, which is charged with overseeing the state’s charities, said the office could find no records on file for The Jesus Fund.

“This group is not registered with our office, which is likely a violation of Arkansas Code,” the spokesman said when contacted by OpenSecrets Blog. “We will be sending them a notice telling them that they need to register.”

Cameron and Mountaire emerged as major political donors in the 2014 cycle, when Mountaire joined the Koch brothers’ coalition of political financiers as the largest corporate donor to Freedom Partners Action Fund, giving $3 million to the super PAC. Freedom Partners and other Koch-backed groups like the Emergency Committee for Israel blanketed Arkansas with ads supporting Republican Sen. Tom Cotton and opposing his Democratic opponent, then-Sen. Mark Pryor. Cameron himself gave $600,000 to Arkansas Horizon, a super PAC that spent against Pryor. As Cotton and Pryor fought it out, the Emergency Committee for Israel and other conservative “dark money” groups wound up spending more than $4.2 million in the race to back Cotton.

Now, Cameron may become former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s savior. His $3 million donation to Pursuing America’s Greatness, which supports Huckabee in the race and also personally, is by far the largest contribution made to back Huckabee’s candidacy and earns him the title of 11th-biggest donor so far this cycle.

A Mountaire employee answered the phone at the number listed on The Jesus Fund’s 2013 tax filing. She said it would not be “viable” to speak with Cameron or Genevieve R. Couch, who was employed by Mountaire in 2001 and listed as a trustee for the Jesus Fund in some of the tax filings reviewed by OpenSecrets Blog. The company employee did not respond to detailed questions about the Jesus Fund and a request to review the Fund’s other tax filings on Friday.

Source: OPEN SECRETS

Feds seek Schock’s Docs on Players in Foreign Money Scandal

Federal agents are seeking documents from former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) that relate to a major GOP political vendor under indictment for allegedly conspiring to funnel foreign funds into a U.S. mayoral election, according to recently unsealed court documents and an OpenSecrets Blog analysis of campaign finance data.

The vendor, ElectionMall Inc., and its CEO, Ravneet Singh, allegedly played a significant role in a San Diego campaign finance scandal that unfolded in the 2012 election. Prosecutors alleged in an August 2014 indictment that ElectionMall took payments from a wealthy Mexican businessman to do social media outreach, valued at nearly $200,000, for a candidate in the 2012 San Diego mayoral race. Other players in the same scandal allegedly conspired to give $30,000 in foreign funds to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to the indictment and campaign finance records.

It is unclear why prosecutors are seeking Schock’s records on ElectionMall, but the firm counted Schock’s congressional campaign and joint fundraising committee among its 49 clients during the time when the alleged conspiracy took place. Between 2010 and 2014, the two Schock committees paid ElectionMall $69,641, mostly for website development.

Singh was arrested in January 2014 and pleaded not guilty. He considered himself a “social media guru,” according to the 2014 indictment, and seemed a natural fit with the web-savvy Schock, who had deftly used fundraising and his image as the young, hip future of the GOP to rise in the House.
A Washington Post story on Schock’s office, which the congressman had redesigned in the style of the PBS show “Downton Abbey,” brought the initial scrutiny to his lavish habits. The former Illinois congressman abruptly resigned in March after multiple media organizations, including OpenSecrets Blog, reported on his questionable use of taxpayer funds and campaign finances. Since then, he’s paid big money for crisis lawyers in Washington. An attorney for Schock did not respond to requests for comment.
For its web, social and fundraising services, ElectionMall pulled in $1.6 million from federal campaigns between 2010 and 2014, an OpenSecrets Blog review of campaign finance data shows. The company served the Republican Party of California and several powerful members of the national Republican party, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the 2010 Senate campaign of now-presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
But unlike those Republicans, Schock was one of only a handful of ElectionMall clients who continued to pay the company after Singh’s arrest, campaign finance records show. That’s against the nature of  normally skittish political campaigns, according to Brett Kappel, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer and expert on election law.
“Many campaigns would sever a relationship with a vendor who was indicted for campaign finance law violations, if for no other reason than to avoid even the appearance of any possible impropriety,” Kappel said.
Agents seeking Schock’s records for months found themselves in an age-old fight over which documents members of Congress have to hand over to the executive branch when served with subpoenas. On July 28, a U.S. attorney wrote that Schock “repeatedly and deceptively defied an order to produce all items sought in three grand jury subpoenas.” Schock’s lawyers did agree to hand over some financial documents after seeking an immunity deal, but the scope of the requests remains an issue in this case for prosecutors and Schock’s lawyers.
Singh did not reply to a request for comment, and ElectionMall representatives could not be reached for comment.

Source: OPEN SECRETS

All ‘Immigrants’ Are Not Equal

Illegal immigrants in detention[/caption]   Michael Cutler | Progressives for Immigration Reform   I have written about the issue of the politicization of immigration and use of deceptive language where immigration is concerned many times.   However, these issues are important to contemplate – especially as the campaigns for the 2016 presidential election ramp up. It is important to know where we have been to understand how we have come to be where we are.  

Immigration Orwellian Newspeak

  Jimmy Carter was the first politician to engage in “Immigration Orwellian Newspeak” by referring to illegal aliens as “Undocumented Immigrants.” Carter intentionally created the misleading perception that all foreign nationals should be given equal standing through misuse of the term “immigrant.” This is as false as referring to burglars as “residents” of a home they have broken into and devalues the lawful system by which aliens are lawfully admitted into the United States. Simply stated, this is anarchistic. Use of such language also devalues lawful immigrant status as well as United States citizenship. Carter also mandated that during the census that Immigration and Naturalization Service agents not arrest illegal aliens until and unless they got clearance from the chain of command that stretched all the way to Washington. Essentially, enforcement operations were all but suspended during the census. No other law enforcement agencies were similarly encumbered and the motivation behind this is significant. The obvious goal was to make certain that illegal aliens were counted during the census which is conducted every decade to determine the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and consequently, in the Electoral College. This not only impacts control of the House of Representatives but the Presidency as well. At the time most illegal aliens were concentrated in major population centers which tended to vote for Democratic candidates. If more Congressional seats and more electoral votes could be shifted to those population centers, the Democratic Party would pick up seats in the House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College. Simply stated, immigration was being used as a gerrymandering tactic. While non-citizens are not supposed to vote, aliens – including aliens illegally present in the United States gained political representation through those orders given by Carter to have INS agents “stand down.” States that attracted more illegal aliens would have a louder voice in congress.  

Placing politics before the law and national safety

  Certainly no one should be surprised that a politician would “play politics” with any issue. However, it must be remembered that America’s immigration laws are among our most significant and fundamental laws. They were enacted to prevent the entry of foreign nationals who have no inherent right to enter the United States or remain in the United States and whose presence would be harmful or even dangerous to the country. Carter placed politics above his oath of office and the safety and security of the United States and the well-being of Americans and others present in the United States. Carter’s wrong-headed tactic set a precedent that has impacted immigration policies established by every subsequent administration. Of course the current administration has amped up Carter’s principles, or more accurately, unprincipled tactics to unparalleled levels. Ronald Reagan, following on the heels of the Carter administration, enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) which, for the first time created a spectrum of penalties for employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens but never hire enough INS agents to deter employers from hiring illegal aliens that the employer sanctions provisions of the law were supposed to achieve.  

Immigration anarchists make rational discussion impossible

  Now honest discussions about immigration have become all but impossible because of the deceptive tactics employed by the “Immigration Anarchists” and the politicians who do their bidding to get their legalized bribes known as “campaign contributions.” Anyone who expresses the desire to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws is quickly branded “anti-immigrant” or worse, when in fact they are simply taking a “pro-enforcement” position. Our immigration laws enable more than one million aliens each year to legally immigrate the United States and provide more than one half-million lawful immigrants with citizenship. It is a contradiction in terms to declare advocacy for those very same laws, by which aliens legally immigrate to be “anti-immigrant.” Politicians also voice concern about “ethnic votes.” On July 2, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my commentary, “Immigration and Political Racial ‘Profiling’ – The stereotyping of ‘Latino voters’ and what it distracts us from.” The focus of my article was how this form of profiling ignores the fact that there are millions of illegal aliens present in the United States who did not run our borders and who are not of Latino ethnicity. This lunacy about mythical “Latino Voters” is insulting to many millions of American citizens who are of Latino ethnicity and may well oppose the anarchy of the administration immigration policies. In point of fact, our immigration laws make no distinction about race, religion or ethnicity. It may also cause folks to potentially look askance at their fellow Americans leading to wrong-headed misconceptions and prejudice. On June 18, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Theft By Deception: The Immigration Con Game » How politicians are robbing citizens of access to the American Dream.” My February 5, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article, “The ‘Secure Our Border First Act’ Deception » Why it’s no solution to the immigration crisis” provided perspectives on how the political “game” concerning immigration is being played. Fortunately that deceptive legislation was stopped dead in its tracks, primarily by outraged Americans who called their members of Congress to express their opposition, proving that a concerted effort by citizens can be effective, if only our fellow Americans are willing to divert their attention from various distractions we find in great abundance these days.  

Time for commonsense and integrity to prevail

  The Daily Caller published my article, “Sanctuary Cities: No Peace And No Justice” on July 10, 2015 and on July 16, 2015 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my commentary, “Sanctuary Cities and Collateral Damage.” My articles were predicated on the senseless death of Kathryn Steinle who was killed by a five times deported illegal alien, Francisco Sanchez who had seven prior felony convictions. In both of those articles I highlighted sanctuary policies create magnets for criminal aliens and fugitives who seek to hide in plain sight. In point of fact, the ability to hide in plain sight was referred to as embedding by the 9/11 Commission. These policies are illegal and violate Title 8 USC § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens, a section of law that is comprehended within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), that deems it is a felony to aid, abet, encourage or induce aliens to enter our country illegally or remain in our country illegally. Our immigration laws are supposed to protect national security, public safety and the lives and livelihoods of American workers. These issues are not about “left” or “right” but about right or wrong. It is time for commonsense and integrity to prevail, especially in these challenging and perilous times. American lives matter! Progressives for Immigration Reform —————— Michael W. Cutler is a former Special Agent with the INS, where his career spanned nearly 30 years. Mr. Cutler has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen Congressional hearings. He has testified before the 9/11 Commission and regularly provides expert testimony at state legislative hearings and in trials where immigration is at issue. Michael Cutler can be reached through his website, www.michaelcutler.net that contains his commentaries, Congressional testimony and links to his appearances on national television news programs and other public venues.]]>