SNOPES TAKEN HOSTAGE: Left-Wing “Fact-Checker” Reveals It Has Lost Control of Its Website

At one point in the distant past of the Interwebs, Snopes.com was taken seriously as a leading de-bunker of urban myths.

As the years went by, its founders — a once-married couple named David and Barbara Mikkelson — decided to drift into political commentary. As their site grew, they hired an openly partisan, left-wing blogger named Kim Lacapria.

Lacapria had earlier declared herself “openly left-leaning” and very liberal. She has tarred conservatives as “teahadists” who “fear female agency”.

After joining Snopes, Lacapria quickly found herself and the site embroiled in controversy as her various posts read like Democrat op-eds and not any sort of fact-checking.

The Mikkelsons themselves are an interesting pair. They divorced in 2014, but appear to be engaged in a vicious battle over their assets. One court document accuses David of “raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use… [which] he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired.

Well, as you might expect from an organization this well-run…

…Snopes “is now in danger of closing its doors” and has been forced to hold a fundraising campaign (link intentionally omitted).

In the letter David Mikkelson wrote describing the reason for the campaign, he admits that the company has lost control of its own website and says it’s being held “hostage” by a vendor it outsourced various services to.

That’s a big deal. In fact, Mikkelson implies that the vendor could create, alter and delete any site contents it wants to. Thus far, he claims that hasn’t happened.

Snopes.com, which began as a small one-person effort in 1994 and has since become one of the Internet’s oldest and most popular fact-checking sites, is in danger of closing its doors. So, for the first time in our history, we are turning to you, our readership, for help.

Since our inception, we have always been a self-sustaining site that provides a free service to the online world: we’ve had no sponsors, no outside investors or funding, and no source of revenue other than that provided by online advertising. Unfortunately, we have been cut off from our historic source of advertising income.

We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage. Although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site’s hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or — most crucially — place advertising on it. The vendor continues to insert their own ads and has been withholding the advertising revenue from us.

Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile.

As misinformation has increasingly threatened democracies around the world (including our own), Snopes.com has stood in the forefront of fighting for truth and dispelling misinformation online…

The fact that Snopes says it has lost control of its site renders its already tenuous hold on the fact-checking business meaningless.

Snopes should be removed from any fact arbitration services from Facebook and Google until it can reclaim control of its site.

Meanwhile, those interested in all of the legal back-and-forth between the parties can grab some popcorn and enjoy.

(For more from the author of “SNOPES TAKEN HOSTAGE: Left-Wing “Fact-Checker” Reveals It Has Lost Control of Its Website” please click HERE)

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Here’s What Voters Think About a Trump Impeachment – It’s Pretty Surprising

Voters are evenly divided on whether or not President Donald Trump should be removed from office, according to a poll released Monday morning.

Forty-two percent of respondents said that the president should be removed from his office in some way, but another 42 percent believe that the president should stay exactly where he is, according to a poll released by USA Today. The remaining respondents were undecided.

A question in the poll asked voters if they would be “upset” if Trump is impeached in some way. Thirty-four percent answered in the affirmative, but 34 percent of voters said they wouldn’t feel upset if Democrats were somehow able to follow through with their threats . . .

Forty-six percent of respondents don’t believe Trump will finish out his first term, with only 27 percent of all voters believing that the president will serve through the 2020 presidential election. (Read more from “Here’s What Voters Think About a Trump Impeachment – It’s Pretty Surprising” HERE)

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Will Government’s Looting of Alaska’s PFD Be Stopped by the Rule of Law?

Governor Jay Hammond, Permanent Fund founder, knew this time would come – the time when politicians would move to spend the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) without public consent. Hammond believed in the PFD as Alaskans’ right to share equally in the resource wealth saved in the Alaska Permanent Fund and as a way to protect the Fund. Ever since the start of the PFD in 1983 the dividend has been the politicians’ target for spending. Today, politicians are working to grab a large percentage of the people’s PFD. That is exactly what Hammond and other Alaskans warned against and opposed during past failed attempts.

Voters approved the Alaska Permanent Fund by Constitutional amendment in 1976 based on the foresighted proposal of leaders to save a portion of the oil revenues instead of blowing every dollar on government programs and needless projects. Together we saved a portion of the vast wealth generated by a non-renewable oil bonanza owned in common by the people for our future and for future generations.

The leaders who created the Fund wisely knew that protecting the Permanent Fund and stopping the political caste from looting the Fund was going to be difficult. That’s why they advanced the idea of creating the PFD. Establishment of the PFD was designed so that every Alaskan shares equally in the proceeds of the Permanent Fund. Hammond believed the PFD would insulate the Permanent Fund from plunder by future politicians.

Deceptive statements by some government and business leaders are confusing many Alaskans. They claim we need to hand over a large portion of our PFD to fill the gap from declining oil revenue or else Alaska will face financial catastrophe. I’m not buying this PFD grab and neither are many other savvy Alaskans. My Democrat friends tell me we have a revenue problem. My Republican friends insist our state has a spending problem. But these beliefs miss the main point. Alaska has a serious leadership problem after years of unsustainable budgets. This is a cash flow management problem not a full-blown fiscal crisis. What we have is a self-inflicted political crisis that select members of the political establishment are using to reduce your share of the PFD.

This “Owner State” we call home has ample sources of other income as well as areas where we can make additional targeted cuts. We have the means to pass a balanced and sustainable budget without slashing every Alaskan’s PFD. What’s missing now from our elected officials is the will to adopt reasonable measures that achieve this. Fights about taxes, cuts, and oil credits produced political gridlock that has led to a raid on PFD money as a convenient way to balance the budget.

Gov. Jay Hammond wouldn’t have put up with this grab of your funds and neither would have my father, Gov. Wally Hickel. And neither should we.

So how, exactly, did your PFD get chopped over $1,000 last year with another big reduction scheduled for this year?

Current law directs the trustees of the Permanent Fund Corporation to transfer Fund revenue into the Earnings Reserve Account for PFD distribution. These funds are never placed in the General Fund for government spending according to this law. The entire PFD process is automatically governed by statute; no further appropriation or action is required by the legislature or the Governor to make the full payment to every Alaskan.

The basic problem is that the Alaska Legislature, the Governor and the Permanent Fund Corporation all failed to follow the law for the PFD distribution process. The Legislature needlessly added language related to transfer of PFD funds into an appropriation bill. The Permanent Fund Corporation didn’t promptly transfer the necessary funds for disbursement of the PFD as required by law. Then the current Governor incorrectly vetoed the existing PFD transfer that has worked legally for the past 37 years.

Not surprisingly, the Governor’s actions were challenged in court. At the core of the PFD dispute is the law that requires payment of an equal dividend to every eligible Alaskan.

I believe in holding our public officials accountable. I believe every Alaskan eligible for a PFD should receive the full measure of their dividend according to the law. Any change in the PFD law should take place in an open and transparent way through the legislature not some sleight-of-hand process by an illegal veto.

At stake is more than the amount of the PFD. Are we a state that adheres to the rule of law? Or are we going to succumb to convenient measures enacted by short-sighted politicians without regard to our actual financial circumstances or the needs and rights of every Alaskan? The Supreme Court should require nothing less than adherence to the law requiring full dividend distribution to every Alaskan. Disconnect the PFD from the Fund by appropriation, veto, and short term political self-interest and Fund itself will be lost. The future of the Permanent Fund is in the Supreme Court’s hands.

For my part, I’m contacting my political representatives to tell them to follow the PFD distribution law. And I am encouraging all Alaskans to do the same. I expect a full PFD as the proper share of the wealth generated by our Permanent Fund for every Alaskan including my grandchildren. So should you.

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Minnesota Is Pushing Gender Identity Debate on Kindergartners

It would seem to be common sense that schoolchildren fresh off of learning the alphabet should not have to learn the alphabet soup of growing gender pronouns sprung from the laboratories of college campuses.

But that is exactly what is happening in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Education advisory council voted to implement an LGBT “toolkit” for public and charter schools in the state.

Nor are these guidelines just intended for older students. Instead, they were created for children as young as those entering kindergarten.

The toolkit says the language surrounding gender identity issues is “evolving” and that “any student, including transgender and gender nonconforming students, may be heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual.”

“Gender identity does not correlate with sexual orientation,” the report says.

Therefore, the toolkit offers a litany of suggestions for how teachers should address LGBT issues and be more “inclusive.”

One recommendation is to allow children to use the bathroom of their preferred gender identity.

And it doesn’t stop there. According to The Washington Free Beacon, the guidelines state that, in addition to using the child’s pronoun of choice, “teachers must call students by whatever name they choose to ensure that bullying does not occur.”

The students don’t even have to provide legal documentation or verification that their names have changed.

But what happens to a teacher who doesn’t use the correct name and pronoun to identify a student?

The guidelines say that the offending teacher could be found in violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

This is just a small part of the long list of recommendations.

They also suggest not using the term “boys and girls” in reference to the children, and instead using the gender-neutral “students” or “scholars.”

Homecoming and prom can also become problematic under the toolkit’s rubric, as gendered terms like “homecoming king” could be deemed offensive. The guidelines suggest using more neutral terms and phrases like “prom ambassadors” instead.

The report also urges students to adhere to these standards and for teachers to correct those who don’t use the advised language.

The toolkit is backed by a number of LGBT rights organizations, according to the Free Beacon, including “the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, the National Education Association, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.”

But not everyone is happy about the ruling.

State Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, said that no one from his district supports the toolkit, according to the Star Tribune, a Minneapolis newspaper.

“I do not see sensitivities to a 13-year-old Christian girl or a kindergarten boy who cannot possibly have a sexual orientation,” Miller said.

Though battlegrounds over gender identity have been all the rage on college campuses for quite some time, and have now hit the political mainstream, it is still shocking to apply them to children who are just beginning to understand the world around them.

Yet parents who don’t wish their children to be exposed to the standards have little choice in the matter. This is perhaps a perfect example of why school choice is such a pressing issue so that families have greater freedom to opt in or opt out of policies and belief systems that are right for them. (For more from the author of “Minnesota Is Pushing Gender Identity Debate on Kindergartners” please click HERE)

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Christie Signs Bill Requiring NJ Schools Use Preferred Pronouns for Transgender Kids

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill requiring New Jersey schools use the preferred pronouns of transgender students, according to a Saturday report.

The legislation (S3067/A4652) compels New Jersey to mandate that state schools call transgender students by their preferred pronouns and prohibits them from making transgender students use bathrooms opposing their gender identity, according to NJ.com.

“This is a huge victory for equality in New Jersey, and we want to send a big thank you to Gov. Christie for standing on the right side of history on this one,” Garden State Equality, a civil rights organization, said Friday in a statement.

Transgender students will be “addressed at school by the name and pronoun preferred by the student that corresponds to the student’s gender identity, regardless of whether a legal name change or change in official school records has occurred,” says the law.

Furthermore, New Jersey schools cannot force “a transgender student to use a restroom or locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity, and [must provide] reasonable alternative arrangements if needed to ensure a student’s safety and comfort.” (Read more from “Christie Signs Bill Requiring NJ Schools Use Preferred Pronouns for Transgender Kids” HERE)

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Trump Calls House Intel’s Top Democrat ‘Sleazy’

President Trump on Monday morning criticized the Democratic leader of the House investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election, calling Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff “sleazy” and “biased.”

Schiff is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee, which is examining whether the Trump campaign assisted in Russia’s efforts. The committee is meeting behind closed doors Tuesday to hear from Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The investigation has catapulted Schiff into the national spotlight. Schiff has become a frequent guest on cable and Sunday morning news shows, and has turned to Twitter, the president’s preferred medium, to respond directly to Trump.

(Read more from “Trump Calls House Intel’s Top Democrat ‘Sleazy'” HERE)

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Parents Admit ‘Time Has Run out’ for Charlie Gard

The parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard have admitted defeat.

After the parents battled Britain’s medical and legal establishment for months to bring their infant son to the U.S. for potentially life-saving treatment, a lawyer for Chris Gard and Connie Yates told London’s High Court Monday that they would no longer seek to have the terminally ill infant brought to the U.S. because the treatment can no longer help him.

“It is no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue this course of treatment,” attorney Grant Armstrong told Judge Nicholas Francis.

“Poor Charlie. It is too late. The damage has been done. Sadly time has run out,” the lawyer said. “Sadly the window of opportunity no longer exists. The parents have taken an extremely hard decision.”

Charlie has a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. He is being kept alive on life support.

Armstrong said that an American neurologist, Dr. Michio Hiranoh, who had come to Britain to examine the infant last week and held out the hope of an experimental therapy, withdrew that offer after seeing a new MRI.

“Charlie has suffered extensive muscular atrophy,” Armstrong said in court. “This is irreversible even with (nucleoside therapy). Chance of improvement can’t now be delivered.”

“The parents’ worst nightmare have been confirmed,” he added.

He said Charlie’s parents agreed that more efforts to save their son would cause him pain. The case was “worthy of a Greek tragedy,” Armstrong said.

“Dark days lie ahead for these parents,” he added. “The parents wish to treasure their remaining time with Charlie, however short that may be.”

Gard and Yates plan to establish a foundation so that Charlie’s voice “continues to be heard,” Armstrong said. (For more from the author of “Parents Admit ‘Time Has Run out’ for Charlie Gard” please click HERE)

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After Seven Deaths Reported, New Zealand Officials Warn Public of Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

In an effort to deter people from using synthetic marijuana, officials in New Zealand have released a video depicting the deadly effects of the drug.

The 33-second video, put out Friday by the Counties Manukau Police, illustrates “how human beings turn into zombies,” according to the New York Post.

The video shows footage from an incident in the New Zealand city of Auckland several months ago in which the police said “a male was violently ill and could barely stand after smoking synthetic cannabis.”

The potentially deadly drug has killed seven people in Auckland this month, prompting officials to issue a public warning about the effects of synthetic cannabis, which is illegal.

According to Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall, it is believed that each of the seven used synthetic marijuana recently before dying. Synthetic marijuana was found in several of the bodies.

“I’ve also been advised by St. John that there have been a significant number of non-fatal cases where people have been hospitalized after using the drug, which is known to cause potentially fatal seizures,” Marshall said.

Tony Smith, medical director at St. John, a New Zealand medical organization, said that on consecutive days last week, ambulance officers responded to at least 20 cannabis-related incidents.

“If we don’t do something about this, further people are going to die,” Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said at a press conference Friday.

“It is a dangerous, illegal substance and we will arrest those who are selling this harmful drug and place them before the courts,” he added.

Lendrum said that his officers are coming across “people unable to walk, vomiting, they’re lying in their own vomit in the street, they’re taking off their clothes, it’s having a major effect on the chemicals in their brain.”

“We have grave concerns as users don’t know what poisonous chemicals they are potentially putting into their bodies when they’re smoking this drug.”

Devonte Pierce, 17, died after doing a “spot” of synthetic cannabis earlier in July, according to his best friend, 18-year-old Trey Patterson of West Auckland. Patterson said the drug is easier to buy than normal marijuana and can be purchased on the streets relatively easily.

“It makes me heartbroken and angry, I used to smoke that stuff,” Patterson said. “Knowing he died of it, I want to stop everybody selling it and stop it getting on the street.”

Dr. Paul Quigley, an emergency medicine specialist at Wellington Hospital, said that one drag of synthetic cannabis could have the equivalent effect of smoking 15 marijuana cigarettes.

“These drugs are insidious. Let the message be that the consequences of these drugs can be incredibly tragic,” Police Minister Paula Bennett said in a statement. (For more from the author of “After Seven Deaths Reported, New Zealand Officials Warn Public of Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana” please click HERE)

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FACT CHECK: Has Mueller Crossed Trump’s ‘Red Line’ in the Russia Investigation?

. . .Towards the end of an interview with The New York Times last Wednesday, reporters asked Trump about the Russia investigation.

“If Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia – is that a red line?” asked a Times reporter.

“Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?” a different Times reporter interjected.

“I would say yeah,” replied Trump. “I would say yes.”

Although it’s unclear from the transcript which question Trump answered, some news outlets have characterized the remark as the president drawing a “red line” for Mueller on the Russia investigation. The president did not draw it himself, but the White House has not disputed the “red line” either. (Read more from “FACT CHECK: Has Mueller Crossed Trump’s ‘Red Line’ in the Russia Investigation?” HERE)

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Paul Ryan Just Said Something That Will Get Trump’s Attention

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Monday that it isn’t congressional Republicans’ role to defend President Trump from the investigations into Russian election interference and pushed back against the notion that special counsel Robert Mueller is biased against the president.

The comments from Ryan came a day after Trump tweeted that “it’s very sad that Republicans…do very little to protect their president.” Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway also attacked Mueller Sunday and described his legal team as a “band of Democratic donors.” Mueller has brought seven attorneys onto his legal team that have donated a combined $60,787 to federal Democratic donors, a practice Trump has dubbed “ridiculous.”

Ryan was asked on local Wisconsin radio Monday morning about why Republicans aren’t doing more to protect President Trump from Mueller’s investigation and those being conducted by Congressional committees. The radio host Jay Weber mentioned the Democratic donors hired, and in his response Ryan said, “Bob Mueller is a Republican who was appointed by a Republican.” (Read more from “Paul Ryan Just Said Something That Will Get Trump’s Attention” HERE)

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