The Hit Job on Brett Kavanaugh: You Can’t Make This Stuff up

I had intended to write, this week, about an egregiously stupid and poorly written Nevada law which was signed twice by a governor who used to be a wannabe federal judge.

But allegations about a real federal judge — as opposed to a former wannabe — became public as a Democrat hit job over the weekend, and what I originally intended will have to wait until next week.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh went through four days of intense hearings where the Democratic Party threw everything at him — from pop-up astroturf demonstrators in the hearing room to questions no Supreme Court nominee should have to listen to much less answer — and a vote was scheduled for Thursday.

That was derailed when a clearly unhinged Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter she had been sitting on for at least three months from a woman who wanted to remain anonymous saying that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her 36 years ago at a high school party.

She didn’t report it at the time.

Seriously?

I was in Tulsa when Anita Hill — who used to teach at Oral Roberts University — made ridicules charges against Justice Clarence Thomas at his confirmation hearings.

She was a lightweight then and is a self-professed victim today. (Remember her allegation that now Justice Thomas asked her, “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?”)

At least her allegations were only 10 years old.

Christine Blasey Ford waited 36 years to write an anonymous letter to a member of the House who forwarded the letter three months ago to Sen. Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. She’s a psychology professor at Palo Alto University who “discovered” the “repressed memories” in couples therapy, allegedly 30 years after the high school incident she “recalled.”

It’s not even a good episode of “Law & Order.” Where are Sam Waterston and Fred Dalton Thompson when you need them?

And the reaction of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is also nuts.

They postponed the vote so Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, could testify next week — if she wanted. Turns out, her showboat lawyer is demanding an FBI investigation before she’ll testify. If Republicans have any spine at all, that won’t happen.

Judge Kavanaugh wants to testify to clear his name.

The president wants him to as well — and let’s stop kidding each other — that is the real reason the Democratic Party is so unhinged. Kavanaugh isn’t the target. Trump is the target.

Keep in mind that Kavanaugh has been through six — yes six — FBI background checks in his career. Not a whiff of any impropriety came up. The Democrats were so desperate that they pointed out that Kavanaugh spent a lot of money on Washington Nationals baseball tickets. That’s only a lapse of judgment if you are a Mets fan.

It’s not like he’s Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves with a judicial casting couch.

He’s a family man with two young daughters and he’s being accused by a woman of something which allegedly happened 36 years ago. Her details are vague and inconsistent. And she is a Democrat activist. Further, her parents lost a foreclosure suit in which Judge Kavanaugh’s mother was the presiding judge.

This is an obscene abuse of the process from a party which specializes in the abuse of any process the opposition party is in favor of.

This is the exact reason the American people made Donald Trump President. And the longer it goes on, the deeper the Democratic Party is digging its grave. (For more from the author of “The Hit Job on Brett Kavanaugh: You Can’t Make This Stuff up” please click HERE)

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What Conservatives Want to Know About the Left: What the Heck Do These People Want?

When I was a young man I worked as a waiter for a time. Certain customers would occasionally come into the restaurant who were a waiter’s worst nightmare.

These were people who had problems with everything from the moment they walked into the restaurant. Nothing pleased them — the table placement, the flatware, the waiter, the food, the wait for the food, the music being too loud or not loud enough or the wrong music. You name it — whatever it was, it was not what they wanted.

After I would take their meals back to the chef several times, he would finally erupt and throw whatever he happened to be holding in his hand at the time.

His booming voice would echo throughout the cavernous restaurant kitchen.

“What the hell do these people want?!!”

Many of us find ourselves asking the same question about the political left.

What the hell do these people want?

Do they even know what they want?

OK, we get it — they hate Trump and want him gone. Yes, we know. We have heard this so often we don’t even hear it anymore. It’s become like background music in an elevator.

But besides getting rid of Trump, what else do they want? Or is that it? Just get rid of Trump and all will be well.

That is apparently the case, but can a political party win an election on a platform of simply getting rid of an administration without explaining how that would improve the lives of the American people?

As things stand right now the lives of the American people are pretty good — much better than they were before Trump was elected.

What is the left offering in place of the what we have right now?

This is what we have right now:

A booming and growing economy, low taxes, low inflation, a strong dollar, a strong military, fewer governmental impediments to business success, a sense of nationalism and hope for the future, record low unemployment, highest employment levels ever for blacks and Hispanics, a greatly improved trade agreement with Mexico and the European Union, a substantial reduction of illegal immigration, a great improvement in relations with North Korea, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court with another appointment coming, American money returning to America, a boom in new industries, factories being built, 4 percent GDP, abolishment of gender-neutral restrooms, a restart of the American space program, great pride in America, a clean-up of the Deep State, withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, withdrawal from NAFTA, record-high value in the stock market, rapidly improving 401K’s, greatly improved border protection, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a president who works incessantly, a president who does as he says.

The results from the left taking over would be:

Socialism, government-controlled health system, elimination of immigration enforcement, open borders, citizenship for illegal aliens, reversal of the tax cuts, impeachment of President Trump, destruction of the coal industry, reinstitution of business-killing regulations, high taxes, high, unemployment, depleted 401K’s, low wages, dropping stock market, a struggling economy, increasing numbers on welfare, depleted military, increased social spending, losing respect in the world, end of North Korean peace talks, growing power of China, return to the old NAFTA agreement, return to Kyoto Treaty, return to carbon taxes, cessation of factory building, decimated auto industry, reestablishment of the Washington swamp culture, return to “Speak loud but carry a feather duster” diplomacy, rebirth of ISIS, reentering Iran nuclear deal, attacking Israel, greatly increased business and personal bankruptcies, a flat GDP.

Looking at what we have and what we would get from the left, no sane, logical person would ever choose the left. Yet millions of American voters will do just that.

Are these people insane and illogical?

Some think they are.

Michael Savage wrote a book titled, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.” This best-seller argued just that. He points out that liberals are intentionally trying to undermine the pillars of society that keep it stable and sane.

This includes marriage, established gender identification, the Ten Commandments, free speech, religion, parental authority, manners, respect, patriotism, and much more.

In 2012, The American Journal of Political Science did a study of the beliefs and actions of conservatives and liberals. They used Eysenck’s Psychoticism scale to measure each group’s tendencies toward psychoticism.

Under this scale, those suffering from psychoticism demonstrate the following traits: tough-mindedness, risk-taking, sensation-seeking authoritarianism, and impulsivity.

If you think about what the left does, says, and believes, it is easy to see why liberals ranked so high on the psychoticism scale and conservatives ranked so low.

If someone disagrees with leftists, rather than debating their differences of opinion, leftists’ first reaction is often violence — just look at antifa.

Liberals don’t hesitate to undertake policies that put society at risk — gender neural restrooms and encouraging teenagers to experiment with risky sexual practices.

Liberals engage in outrageous behavior to get attention — vagina hats and gay pride parades.

They seek to control all aspects of a person’s life — limits on the size of soda bottles to bans on plastic straws.

They do and say things that are highly inappropriate for the setting — turning John McCain’s and Aretha Franklin’s funerals into anti-Trump rallies.

Perhaps instead of asking, “What the hell do these people want?” we should be asking, “Who the hell are these people?” It would give us a much better answer.

The political left is a collection of people who will do things on impulse without considering the risks or the damage their behavior will cause to others.

Conservatives sometimes try to talk to those on the left, hoping to use logic, facts, and reasoning to persuade them to adopt a better way of thinking about something.

Those who have tried soon give up and declare it a lost cause.

Conservatives must realize they are, themselves, engaging in insane behavior by continuing to do the same thing to the same people and expecting a different result.

It is much better to leave the insanity to the left. (For more from the author of “What Conservatives Want to Know About the Left: What the Heck Do These People Want?” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Here’s Why Lowering the Refugee Cap Won’t Make a Difference to Our Immigration Crisis

What if I told you that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is completing the criminal conspiracy of Central American families to traffic their own teenage kids into this country and unite them with other illegal alien family members? What if I told you many of them have gone on to become gang members and fuel the drug crisis in the country? Now, what if I told you that the Senate voted this week on a bill to fully fund this agency without addressing the policy problem?

Last week, in a document submitted to a court babysitting our border “security,” government lawyers reported that as many as 350 illegal alien minors had parents who either affirmatively declined to be reunited with them or left the country without giving the government notice, as reported by Breitbart. This means that rather than two separate categories crossing the border – family units and unaccompanied alien children (UACs), they are usually the same demographic. All things equal, illegals would like to exploit our border to bring everyone in, but they don’t hesitate to either send their kids here alone or come with them and then leave them here to be resettled with other illegal relatives.

Shockingly, in the budget bill before Congress this week, legislators inserted a provision demanding that the government come up with a strategy to reunite illegal alien families rather than come up with a strategy to end their fleecing of America and endangerment of their own families. As I’ve noted before, almost none of these families are eligible for asylum, and almost none of the unaccompanied alien children are eligible for refugee resettlement status because most of them are self-trafficked by their own families, are not in the country alone, and are actually reunited with other illegal relatives – all of whom should be deported. Yet Congress is fully funding the Office of Refugee Resettlement in this “minibus” bill, even though Trump has cut the number of refugees from abroad.

There is no need for a separate refugee program in this era

Earlier this week, there was a lot of anxiety in the open-borders lobby after the Trump administration announced, pursuant to the annual determination of refugee caps, that it would accept no more than 30,000 refugees this year, down from a 45,000 cap last year. While the number is lower than it has been in recent years, let’s not forget that the entire program is nothing but a handout to private contractors and makes no sense either from an American standpoint or from a humanitarian standpoint.

Most of the refugees are from countries that are very different than America, and the people would do better resettling closer to their homes. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that we could resettle 12 times as many people closer to home with the amount of money we spend to bring them here, line the pockets of the contractors, and create Democrat voters. Moreover, as Mark Krikorian observed, the U.N. only considered 5,634 refugee applicants to be “emergency” or “urgent” for all of 2017. Our cap should be no higher than that.

But there is a broader point to be made. Open-borders advocates want to double-dip with refugee policies because they fail to acknowledge that we have so many other categories of immigration that are similar to refugees. In fact, most of our immigration system is built on chain migration, not skills, whereby existing immigrants, many of whom initially came here through refugee or similar programs, then bring in family members.

There are also thousands of “Special Immigrant Visas” who are brought in from Iraq and Afghanistan every year, many of whom present security risks. They are refugees in all but name only, but aren’t counted against the annual cap set by the president. We also bring in victims of crime under U visas and give de facto refugee treatment to paroled Cubans and Haitians and adjustment of status for Nicaraguans. Then there are the 50,000 brought in under the diversity lottery every year.

The Central American “asylum” invasion is worse than refugee policy

Which brings us back to the bogus asylum invasion at our border. Why should we take in any refugees from what has become Europe’s problem when we have our own “refugee” program for Central Americans flooding our border? And in the case of bogus asylum, it’s worse than refugees, because we don’t bring them in via a controlled process; they come here chaotically and unilaterally. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, individual asylum applications in the US rose by 27 percent in 2017, topping out at 331,700 new requests, which eclipses Germany’s 198,300. Those numbers are higher this year. More than 400,000 received work permits last year, which means they disappear into our population, even though almost none of them would qualify for asylum if placed before a judge immediately.

Hence, we already take in more refugees than anyone else.

As much as I disagree with the refugee program, I’d take a standard cap of 70,000 vetted refugees any day over the several hundred thousand young males from Central America and other family units coming here against our will and demanding asylum.

So why is Congress funding the ORR at record levels? Legislators are appropriating $1.9 billion (58 percent above the president’s request) with a 30,000-refugee cap, when in 2016 they appropriated $1.6 billion for 85,000. The answer is that instead of bringing in refugees through the traditional route, they are treating all the Central American teenagers like refugees. And those are not counted towards the annual cap. In addition, the minibus bill has a rider demanding that any member of Congress must be let into the detention facilities to interfere with the work of our border agents and intimidate them.

Appallingly, the Senate just voted this week for an $8.4 billion “opioid package” interfering in health care and prescriptions, when the entire problem is illicit drugs being brought in through the very asylum/UAC surge Congress now encourages rather than deters in this budget bill.

Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas, in a December 2013 order, charged that the Obama administration essentially “successfully complet[ed] the mission of the criminal conspiracy” of drug smugglers to smuggle people over the border on behalf of parents “at significant expense” to taxpayers. He observed that the DHS was taking actions that were “dangerous and unconscionable,” “subject to the whims of evil individuals,” resulting in the “absurd and illogical” outcome of helping “fund the illegal drug cartels which are a very real danger for both citizens of this country and Mexico.”

Hanen pointed out that “time and again, this court has been told by representatives of the government and the defense that cartels control the entire smuggling process.” He also observed that the cartels knew that teenagers would be treated leniently if caught with drugs. He therefore concluded that by dismantling immigration enforcement and promising amnesty, “the government is not only allowing them to fund the illegal and evil activities of these cartels, but is also inspiring them to do so.” In a footnote, Hanen ominously warned about the heroin smuggling that would likely follow, based on past history.

Yet a GOP Congress and administration are allowing all of this to continue unabated while claiming magnanimously to fight “the opioid crisis” and care about “uniting families.” Good night, Orwell. (For more from the author of “Here’s Why Lowering the Refugee Cap Won’t Make a Difference to Our Immigration Crisis” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Walsh: People Are Mad That I Called Chelsea Clinton a Satanist. I’d Like to Issue No Apology.

Last week, rabid pro-abortion advocate Chelsea Clinton claimed that it would be “unchristian” to protect babies from being killed. Here’s her exact quote, referring to the possibility of overturning Roe: “That’s unconscionable to me, and also, I’m sure that this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also unchristian to me.”

On Twitter the next day, I said that it makes sense for her to support child murder as a “religious person” because her religion is satanism. She responded, twice, insisting that she’s a “Methodist” who feels that banning abortion would be “awful” and “anathema to her as a person and a Christian.”

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect upon my harsh and insulting words about this woman, I would like to officially not apologize for them. I sincerely believe she is a satanist and my only regret is that I didn’t also call her a heretic. “Satanic heretic” would have been a more apt description. And she is far from the only satanic heretic in our culture.

Pro-abortion “Christians” are heretics because they claim a God who endorses violence against children. Well, I suppose that’s blasphemy as well as heresy. Perhaps “blasphemous satanic heretic” is the technically correct term, but after a while it just gets redundant. The point is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life. He gives life to our children and commands us to care for the precious gift He has bestowed. It is the most twisted kind of heresy to suggest that God may breathe life into your child and then raise no objection if you crush the child’s skull and throw his body in a medical waste dumpster. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” says the Book of Jeremiah. “Children are a gift from the Lord,” says Psalm 127.

Pro-abortion “Christians” like to say that the Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit abortion. Yes, it does: “Thou shalt not murder” is clear enough. Must Scripture go into specifics about every possible form of murder? There’s nothing in the Ten Commandments specifically saying that I can’t beat my neighbor to death with a shovel. But I think that scenario fits under the “don’t murder” umbrella, as does the direct killing of humans in the womb. (Read more from “Walsh: People Are Mad That I Called Chelsea Clinton a Satanist. I’d Like to Issue No Apology.” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

We Need to Know If Intelligence Agencies Covered up the 1996 Crash of TWA 800

While recently watching a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel about a 1987 plane crash in California purportedly caused by a deranged passenger, I realized a profound shift had occurred in my accepted wisdom, my “worldview.” During its investigation of the crash, the FBI allegedly found a vital piece of evidence at the scene, which led to them identifying a suspect behind the crash.

It dawned on me that I doubted the veracity of both the evidence the FBI supposedly found and of the documentary itself. Then I realized that my doubt was purely a result of everything we’ve learned about the FBI’s involvement in the greatest political crime in America’s history through its pivotal role to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and in the blatant cover-up of Hillary Clinton’s crimes as secretary of state. It also brought home why President Trump needs to reopen the 1996 TWA Flight 800 plane crash investigation. . .

The FBI’s willingness to participate in such outrageous cover-ups and falsely predicated investigations, and ignore a mountain of evidence contradicting the official government line, should prompt President Trump to revisit what I believe is one of the other great cover-ups in American history, also involving the Clintons: the destruction of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996.

It was destroyed off the coast of Long Island shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Paris, taking 230 souls with it. That scandal presaged what we saw 20 years later with the whitewash of the Hillary email server case and the counterintelligence operation against Trump’s campaign.

The seminal work about TWA 800 was written by a meticulous, indefatigable investigative reporter and documentarian, Jack Cashill. (Full disclosure: I have gotten to know and work with Jack, a fellow graduate of Regis High School in Manhattan, over the years, and consider him a friend.) (Read more from “We Need to Know If Intelligence Agencies Covered up the 1996 Crash of TWA 800” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Resettling Refugees: Who’s Coming to America?

Summary: A vast network of foundations, non-profits, government entities and political organizations have a vested interest in the continued growth of the resettlement of refugees in America. Because they receive billions of dollars in federal grant money, publicly-financed, tax-exempt organizations have significant incentives to support political candidates and parties that will keep these programs alive. These organizations need to be thoroughly audited and the current network of public/private immigrant advocacy and resettlement organizations needs to be completely overhauled. Resettling refugees should be a voluntary, genuinely charitable activity, removing all the perverse incentives government funding creates.

Who is eligible for resettlement?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), refugees are:

[P]eople who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

This mirrors the U.N. definition established at the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. It is important to note here, however, that under these definitions, “individuals who have crossed an international border fleeing generalized violence are not considered refugees.” This includes large numbers of people who are regularly resettled anyway, for example some of the Syrians fleeing that country’s conflict, and most—if not all Somalis.

Those who meet the definition include:

refugees (those seeking protection in the United States who are not already in the country),

asylum seekers or asylees (those who apply for asylum after coming to the U.S.),

Cuban/Haitian Entrants,

Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and

trafficking Victims.

The Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program is also administered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, although UACs do not meet the definition of “refugee.” Table I below provides up-to-date estimates for each category.

A few particulars are worth mentioning. First, refugee numbers have declined dramatically. In 2018, they reached the lowest numbers since the program began.

Asylum cases have, if anything, increased, and while Unaccompanied Alien Children numbers are down somewhat this year, they still remain historically high. Overall, the whole program is just now reaching pre-Obama levels.

The Cuban/Haitian Entrant program (CHEP), was created by the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 in response to the Mariel Boat Lift, when 125,000 Cubans and over 40,000 Haitians attempted to immigrate en masse by boat to the U.S. It is a form of humanitarian parole, which allows entry of otherwise inadmissible aliens for humanitarian reasons. CHEP offers benefits to Cubans and Haitians on par with other refugee groups. As part of this, the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy provided expedited permanent residence status to Cubans who successfully reached American shores (dry-foot). If intercepted by U.S. authorities at sea, (wet-foot), they would be returned to Cuba. CHEP is managed by Church World Service and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with funding provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and USCIS.

Just a few days prior to leaving office in 2017, President Obama cancelled wet-foot-dry foot. This change was made as part of President Obama’s normalization of relations with Communist Cuba, and the numbers of people fleeing Cuba soared in 2015-2016 in anticipation. There are still Program-eligible Cubans and Haitians, but the numbers down substantially since the end of wet foot-dry foot. As there are no current published numbers for 2017-18, estimates provided are a rough guess. Ending this policy put Cuban and Haitian immigrants on a level playing field with all other refugee groups and ended the incentive for Cubans to risk their lives on a dangerous sea-crossing to America. With the exception of the Vietnamese Boat People (also fleeing a communist regime), few groups other than the Cubans have gone to such extraordinary lengths over so many years to escape an oppressive government.

Asylum is broken down into two categories: affirmative and defensive. Affirmative asylees are those who formally apply for asylum status at our nation’s borders. Defensive asylees are people in deportation proceedings who request asylum status to avoid deportation. Affirmative asylum cases are decided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review decides defensive asylum cases.

Asylum applications have exploded in recent years, as shown in the above chart of affirmative case backlogs. As of March 31, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ affirmative asylum backlog was 318,624. The EOIR backlog, which includes defensive asylum and other types of deportation cases, was 732,730 as of June 30.

The Special Immigrant Visa program (SIV) awards refugee status to Iraqis and Afghanis who have helped the U.S. military as interpreters and translators during military operations in those countries. Many of these individuals legitimately face the threat of death if they remain in their own countries. In recent years, their numbers have also soared.

Voluntary Agencies

The Voluntary Agencies or VOLAGs are private, tax-exempt organizations that resettle refugees for the U.S. government. There are nine VOLAGs, six of which are nominally religious, and these organizations often promote their resettlement activity as a biblical mission. However, VOLAGs are strictly prohibited by regulation from any form of proselytization to refugees. In reality, they are simply government contractors paid handsomely for their services. The VOLAGs are:

Church World Service (CWS);

Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church (DFMS), also called Episcopal
Migration Ministries;

Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC);

HIAS, Inc, (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society);

International Rescue Committee (IRC);

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS);

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB);

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI);

World Relief Corporation of the National Association of Evangelicals (WRC).

VOLAGs utilize a network of about 300 subsidiaries called “affiliates” who perform most of the actual resettlement work. This includes providing the following services to refugees for the first 30-90 days of their resettlement in the U.S.:

Decent, safe, sanitary, affordable housing in good repair

Essential furnishings

Food, food allowance

Seasonal clothing

Pocket money

Assistance in applying for public benefits, social security cards, ESL, employment services, non-employment services, Medicaid, Selective Service

Assistance with health screenings and medical care

Assistance with registering children in school

Transportation to job interviews and job training

Home visits

The VOLAGs work the administrative end, distributing federal resettlement dollars and deciding where to relocate the refugees. It is also important to note that refugees get priority for housing. As a result, many Americans go homeless or are otherwise denied public housing for extended periods. In New Hampshire, for example, where refugee resettlement has stressed many communities to the breaking point, the wait time for public housing is eight years.

The two main UAC resettlement contractors are Baptist Child and Family Service (BCFS), and Southwest Key Programs (SW Key), but many others are involved in this lucrative business. More about that later.

VOLAG and UAC contractor leaders do very well by doing good. Table II lists the CEO compensation of the VOLAGS and main UAC contractors, as available. This information is provided on the IRS Form 990 non-profit annual tax return most of them must file. It is important to note that, while substantial, these salaries would not normally be out of line for a corporate CEO. But these are tax-exempt entities that merely administer federal grants. They are little more than glorified clerks. (This post originally appeared HERE)

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Resettling Refugees: An International Agenda

Summary: A vast network of foundations, non-profits, government entities and political organizations have a vested interest in the continued growth of the resettlement of refugees in America. Because they receive billions of dollars in federal grant money, publicly-financed, tax-exempt organizations have significant incentives to support political candidates and parties that will keep these programs alive. These organizations need to be thoroughly audited and the current network of public/private immigrant advocacy and resettlement organizations needs to be completely overhauled. Resettling refugees should be a voluntary, genuinely charitable activity, removing all the perverse incentives government funding creates.

The refugee resettlement program is popular with many policymakers. It enjoys bipartisan support in Congress and state houses because it supplies low-wage, low skill labor that many big businesses crave, while enabling supporters to embrace “diversity” and thus avoid the Left’s favorite attacks and mischaracterizations: “bigot,” “racist,” “xenophobe,” “Islamophobe,” etc. This faux-moralizing on the Left stifles a necessary conversation our nation sorely needs. Meanwhile, the Left’s true motive is to import ever more people from third-world nations that are likely to become reliable Democrat voters once they achieve citizenship.

Under the Trump presidency, the United States’ refugee resettlement has been temporarily reduced, but by no means curtailed. A change in administration could resuscitate it overnight. There are many objectionable aspects of this program, not the least of which is finding resources to fund this enormous undertaking. The difficulty associated with assessing the true costs of the programs key to resettling refugees presents another obstacle to policymakers at every level of government.

Program History

The current domestic refugee resettlement program, formally called the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), was created with passage of now-deceased Senator Ted Kennedy’s Refugee Act of 1980.

The bill’s impetus was aided by the massive diaspora of the seagoing Vietnamese “Boat People” happening at the time, however, outlines of a global refugee resettlement agenda were initially framed at the 1976 U.N. Conference on Human Settlements held in Vancouver, Canada—and thus called the Vancouver Plan of Action. While refugee resettlement is perceived as a program to rescue people oppressed in one way or another by their governments (and the refugee definition expresses that sentiment), the U.N. had a larger agenda in mind.

Being entirely socialist in intention and design, the U.N. envisioned redistributing not only wealth, but also populations, across the globe. As stated in the document, “Human settlement policies can be powerful tools for the more equitable distribution of income and opportunities.”

The Plan of Action’s recommendations included:

A.1 National Settlement Policy:

All countries should establish as a matter of urgency a national policy on human settlements, embodying the distribution of population, and related economic and social activities, over the national territory.

A.2 Human Settlements and Development:

A national policy for human settlements and the environment should be an integral part of any national economic and social development policy.

A.4 More Equitable Distribution:

Human settlements policies should aim to improve the condition of human settlements particularly by promoting a more equitable distribution of the benefits of development among regions; and by making such benefits and public services equally accessible to all groups.

The settlement provisions paid lip service to the notion of national sovereignty and property rights, for example, saying in Settlement policies and Strategies Preamble point 3, “The ideologies of States are reflected in their human settlement policies. These being powerful instruments for change, they must not be used to dispossess people from their homes and their land, or to entrench privilege and exploitation.”

However, point 1 in the preamble to the land section makes clear the U.N. body’s utter contempt for property rights. Points 1 and 2 emphasize that land must be controlled by government, (emphases added):

1. Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings, and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.

2. Instead, the pattern of land use should be determined by the long-term interests of the community, especially since decisions on location of activities and therefore of specific land uses have a long-lasting effect on the pattern and structure of human settlements. Land is also a primary element of the natural and man-made environment and a crucial link in an often-delicate balance. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the long-term objectives of human settlement policies and strategies.

The U.N. justified these measures based on expectations about population growth, various environmental policies, and of course, as stated in point 1 above, “social justice.” These three concerns later morphed into the three “pillars” of the U.N. Agenda 21’s Sustainability concept: environment, economy and social equity. It is merely socialism repackaged, but it explains why the U.N. has now invented yet another oppressed class in need of resettlement: climate refugees. Ironically, while population control remains at the forefront of U.N. policies, the U.N. simultaneously chastises the West for reducing population growth rates to near zero. Because our populations are aging and not being replaced with enough new births, the U.N. now advocates an increase in Western populations with what it calls “Replacement Migration.”

Senator Kennedy’s bill was almost certainly inspired at least in part by this agenda. A decade earlier Kennedy—also the architect of the 1965 Immigration and Nationalities Act, which was urged on Congress by leaders of the California Communist Party—echoed what would become the U.N.’s rationale, saying, “All nations are under obligation to eliminate ignorance, poverty, inequality and injustice.” The bill passed the U.S. Senate with a unanimous vote.

What is the Refugee Resettlement Program?

The refugee resettlement program is administered primarily by three agencies, although more government agencies are involved in supporting refugees once they arrive in the U.S.: the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The State Department’s Reception and Placement Program is managed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), which oversees nine public and private Resettlement Support Centers (RSC) across the globe. These centers select refugees—usually from a list of those within refugee camps supplied by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). PRM then assigns selected refugees to nine other private contractors called Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGS), who meet weekly to decide where the refugees will be resettled in the United States. The International Office of Migration (IOM), a U.N. agency, coordinates with the RSCs and the VOLAGs to bring refugees to the U.S. VOLAGs are provided State Department seed grants of $2,125 per-head to resettle refugees. VOLAGs are allowed to pocket about 45 percent of this, and use the rest to pay initial resettlement costs.

Both the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vet refugees. Under President Obama, the vetting process was excessively lax, despite the existential threat of terrorism. But under President Trump’s “extreme vetting,” the refugee flow has been reduced substantially, as more individuals are removed from the pool of possible immigrants.

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides most funding for state refugee resettlement programs over and above the seed money provided by the State Department’s bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees. The Office of Refugee Resettlement also offers numerous grants for refugee social services, business startups, and other funding ostensibly to help qualified refugee populations get established in the U.S. (This post originally appeared HERE)

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Resettling Refugees: Social and Economic Costs

Summary: A vast network of foundations, non-profits, government entities and political organizations have a vested interest in the continued growth of the resettlement of refugees in America. Because they receive billions of dollars in federal grant money, publicly-financed, tax-exempt organizations have significant incentives to support political candidates and parties that will keep these programs alive. These organizations need to be thoroughly audited and the current network of public/private immigrant advocacy and resettlement organizations needs to be completely overhauled. Resettling refugees should be a voluntary, genuinely charitable activity, removing all the perverse incentives government funding creates.

Federal Refugee Resettlement Grants

The nine VOLAGs, their many affiliates, and unaccompanied alien children contractors all receive funding from the federal government to resettle the various refugee categories. As mentioned earlier, unaccompanied alien children do not meet the definition of “refugee,” however their resettlement is managed through the Office of Refugee Resettlement and they are included when calculating the total cost of the overall program.

Most funding comes in the form of grants. Prime awards are grants directly from the federal government to the state or the contractor. Sub-awards are those given to contractors by other contractors or state governments that received the prime grant. They are left out to avoid double counting. Table III below enumerates prime grants to VOLAGs and unaccompanied alien children contractors for refugee resettlement and related programs. Some of the VOLAGs, for example the Ethiopian Community Development Council, focus almost entirely on refugee resettlement. Others, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, International Rescue Committee, and World Relief Corporation of the National Association of Evangelicals, have a broader mission.

Of the latter, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is the largest. As Table III shows, in FY 2018 USCCB received $47.7 million for resettlement purposes. However, USCCB participates in other federal grant programs and that year received a total of $363.9 million from the federal government. And 2018 was a slow year. In FY 2017, USCCB received $531.5 million. It administers programs as diverse as Global AIDS, Food For Peace Development Assistance, USAID Foreign Assistance, and even the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program, which provides volunteer technical assistance to farmers in developing countries.

While it has received $742.6 million since FY 2008 for refugee programs, USCCB received a total of $4.1 billion from the federal government for all the various programs it administered during this period.

The International Rescue Committee, which has received $846.6 million for refugee resettlement since 2008, received a total of $1.5 billion from the feds over the same period. World Relief Corporation of the National Association of Evangelicals received $215.3 million for refugee resettlement and $276.2 million for all purposes. For all VOLAGs and unaccompanied alien children (UAC) contractors, the federal government has awarded $8.5 billion in prime grants for the refugee/UAC programs since 2008.

Note that starting in 2014, UAC program grants exceeded those for refugee resettlement. This remains true to the present time. While the Trump administration has successfully reduced the flow of refugees, asylees, and other groups, UAC continue to flood the border. Border crossings did fall to historic lows for the first few months after president Trump took office. But, expectations that Congress would formally adopt the DREAM Act or some other amnesty policy, together with unconstitutional interference from federal courts, has prevented the administration from enforcing border laws. Illegal crossings quickly shot back up to near historic highs by the end of FY 2017 and remain high to the present time.

The funds received by the main UAC contractors dwarf the refugee resettlement income of any of the nine VOLAGs. Three of the VOLAGs, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, also resettle some UACs, but most UAC business is handled by Baptist Child and Family Service, Southwest Key, and those in the “other” column. This last column includes numerous organizations that receive anywhere from a few hundred thousand to millions of dollars per year in prime grants for UAC business.

Finally, note the rows at the bottom of Table III starting with “Gov Grants Latest.” The “% Govt. Funded” line shows each organization’s level of dependence on the government for its operation. It ranges from a low of 22 percent for DFMS to a high of 99 percent for Southwest Key, with an average of 71.4 percent. It must be said that DFMS is the corporate entity for the entire Episcopal Church in the U.S., whereas the other “religious” VOLAGs are organizations distinct and separate from their various churches, focusing wholly on government work, so the numbers aren’t strictly comparable.

All of these contractors are tax-exempt and classified as “nonprofits.” However, they are not unprofitable. The “Net Assets” and “% Annual Revenues” lines tell you how much they have accumulated over the years from their resettlement operations. On average, the organizations listed have accumulated net assets worth 45.1 percent of annual revenues.

DFMS has amassed $322 million in assets, which is over 355 percent of its annual revenues. Again, this is not strictly comparable to the others. If DFMS is removed from the equation, average net assets of the other contractors comprise 30.2 percent of annual revenues across the other VOLAGs. Excluding DFMS, HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) has the largest reserves, over 100 percent of annual revenues. Why does a “nonprofit” need to compile such huge assets? The Baptist Child and Family Service on the other hand, has 0.1 percent of its annual revenues saved as net assets.

A Billion-Dollar Taxpayer Funded Advocacy Industry

The Office of Refugee Resettlement offers a multitude of grants for refugees and Unaccompanied Alien Children to thousands of other NGOs in addition to the VOLAGs and their affiliates. It has created a billion-dollar taxpayer-funded advocacy industry that has experienced explosive growth. The chart below shows total ORR grants for refugees and UACs since 2008.

The thousands of organizations are almost all open-borders-oriented for conspicuously self-serving reasons. Naturally, they lean Left. In Massachusetts alone, which brags that one of every six residents and one in five workers is foreign born, there are 130 organizations that comprise the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).[6] Other states have similar networks based on the size of their refugee/UAC programs and the level of non-profit engagement in the state. Measuring refugee-related expenditures of these various other NGOs is beyond the scope of this article, but Table IV (below) offers a small sample of the many organizations that have taken advantage of ORR grants.

Many organizations not normally associated with immigration issues have also jumped on board. Who could imagine, for example, that YMCA of Greater Houston could take in almost $30 million for refugee resettlement over the last two years? Dearborn, Michigan-based ACCESS (the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) describes itself as “the largest Arab-American community nonprofit in the United States.” According to its latest tax-exempt IRS filing, ACCESS took in $26.7 million in Fiscal Year 2016, $15.2 million of which was from government grants. According to the chart, funding for refugee resettlement was only a small part of its government-funded activity.

Two refugee VOLAG affiliates, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) and Catholic Charities, receive millions in both prime and sub-grants for refugee resettlement. In many ways, they could be considered VOLAGs in their own right. They also act as prime contractors for the UAC program. UACs have added substantially to their bottom line, with UAC grants alone totaling $245.7 million for the two organizations since 2008.

Additionally, much like its senior partner, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the many Catholic Charities affiliates across the U.S. receive grants from many different federal programs, such as Head Start, Section 8 Housing, homeless veterans’ programs, and others, in addition to refugee and UAC resettlement. In FY 2018 alone, Catholic Charities programs in the U.S. collected a total of $118 million in prime grants and another $1.3 million in Veterans Administration contracts. And even that isn’t the end of it. There is Catholic Community Services, Catholic Social Services, Inc., the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and others, all of which receive resettlement and/or UAC grants. The Catholic Church does big business with the federal government and throws its weight around to protect its refugee resettlement franchise.

The Immigration and Refugee Service of America (IRSA) has received refugee resettlement grants totaling $102.5 million since 2008, including $17.5 million in 2018. But IRSA is a ghost. IRSA is not listed among 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and does not publish an annual report. Two online reviews of IRSA found in a Google search provide a Washington, D.C., address and phone number, but repeated calls—at all hours—get a busy signal. Two separate IRSA websites are referenced in these reviews, www.refugeesusa.org, and www.irsa-uscr.org. Both are defunct placeholder blogs with no reference to IRSA and no current information of any sort. The State Department’s archives list IRSA as a VOLAG, ironically, as of April Fools Day, 2001. However, it is not one of the nine current VOLAGs.

Bloomberg’s review describes IRSA as “a charitable organization that focuses on defense of human rights, builds communities, fosters education, promotes self-sufficiency, and forges partnerships through an array of programs.” Another review was written in 2008 by Melanie Nezer, currently Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS. Nezer was paid $30,000 in 2013 for a 30-page HIAS pamphlet, the notorious Resettlement at Risk, which advocated partnering with media and the widely discredited Southern Poverty Law Center to investigate and vilify refugee resettlement opponents. Your tax dollars at work.

Nezer was apparently employed by IRSA in 2008 and described it as “the oldest and largest non-sectarian network of organizations serving immigrants, refugees, and other foreign-born people worldwide.” Nezer listed a network of IRSA partner affiliates, most of which still exist. Lavinia Limon, the former director of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI, one of the nine VOLAGs), is listed by Bloomberg as IRSA’s current director, along with COO Eskinder Negash, who is now director of USCRI. All in the family.

Officer compensation is not listed, but having received over $100 million since 2008, IRSA is paying someone good money. For what? When she directed USCRI, Lavinia Limon collected a hefty six figure salary, $300,114, in 2016. There have been frequent requests to audit the refugee resettlement program, especially the contractors, something that has never been done. What is going on there? Is IRSA some kind of slush fund flying under the radar because no one pays attention to this politically coddled, convoluted, Byzantine network of programs?

Welcoming America, an organization created specifically to advance the “Welcoming” mantra for refugees and immigrants, has received $1.2 million from the federal government since 2012. “Welcoming” is not an innocuous message. It employs a propaganda tactic to shame people into supporting Welcoming America’s open borders agenda. As founder and CEO David Lubell says, the goal is to “…recognize the role everyone must play in furthering the integration of recent immigrants…” (Emphasis added). Many politicians support the refugee program specifically so they can be considered “welcoming,” because “unwelcoming” is code for “racist, bigot, xenophobe, etc.” As a result, politicians often jettison their responsibilities to their electorate to avoid negative publicity. Public officials have been lambasted as “bigots” simply for questioning the program’s cost. An effort to recall a city commissioner in Fargo, North Dakota, for merely posing this question, is just one example. The recall effort failed, but how do responsible government leaders function in such an environment?

The Trump administration zeroed out federal support for Welcoming America, leaving it to rely on its substantial support from private donations. Between 2011 and 2016, Welcoming America received almost $10 million from open borders foundations like Open Society ($450,000), Unbound Philanthropy ($984,450), Kellogg ($200,000), Kaplan, ($595,000), the Einhorn Family Trust ($1.5 million), Carnegie, ($325,000) and others. The Welcoming network includes over 90 cities and 114 organizations, including US Together, the Southern Poverty Law Center, numerous VOLAG affiliates, 10 YMCA branches and even some governmental entities, like the Atlanta Regional Commission and Redwood City 2020.[20]

Jannus, Opening Doors, Refugee Service of Texas (RST), and US Together are simply four more examples of small tax-exempt nonprofits that receive refugee program grants. US Together is an affiliate of HIAS. Opening Doors is a CWS affiliate. The Refugee Service of Texas works as an affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Church World Service, and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Jannus works independently.

Together these nonprofits siphon millions of dollars from the federal government, spreading the gospel of immigration as they line their own pockets and perpetuate an agenda that advantages the Left as it dismisses justifiable concerns from communities strained by the needs of these newcomers. Look for more updates on this sprawling government program next month. (This post originally appeared HERE)

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How to Fundamentally Transform a Country

All things in life, even good things, have a limit to their utility and a point at which they become liabilities. Think of tasty spices in a dish or other ingredients in a melting pot. Quantities count, particularly over a specific period of time. Immigration is no different.

Recent Census data released from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) shows that immigration has grown to shocking, wholly unprecedented levels. Is it too much to ask that we engage in a mature policy discussion after five decades of record immigration with no end in sight?

The topline number from the survey shows that we have record 44.5 million immigrants in this country, composing 13.7 percent of the population – a greater share than at any time since 1910 and almost three times greater than the share of immigrants in 1970. 1910 was at the peak of the Great Wave, when we were a relatively young country, most of the immigration was from relatively similar backgrounds, there was no welfare state, there was a strong culture of assimilation, and most importantly, there was a subsequent shutoff.

Here are some other key nuggets from the survey:

Together with the 17.1 million U.S.-born minor children of immigrants, immigrant families make up 20 percent of the population.

A number of the countries with the sharpest increase in immigration since 2010 are Islamic countries and almost exclusively from the third world. Here is the breakdown from the Center for Immigration Studies: “Nepal (up 120%), Burma (up 95%), Venezuela (up 91%), Afghanistan (up 84%), Saudi Arabia (up 83%), Syria (up 75%), Bangladesh (up 62%), Nigeria (up 57%), Kenya (up 56%), India (up 47%), Iraq (up 45%), Ethiopia (up 44%), Egypt (up 34%), Brazil (up 33%), Dominican Republic and Ghana (up 32%), China (up 31%), Pakistan (up 31%), and Somalia (up 29%).”

The two states with the largest increase in immigration since 2010 are Florida and Texas. They topped even the blue states of California, New York, and New Jersey. If you want to paint the electoral map blue, this is the surest way to do it.

Why this wave of immigration dwarfs the Great Wave

Aside from percentages, raw numbers do matter in our ability to assimilate. Over the 29-year period from 1989 to 2017, the U.S. has admitted 29.7 million immigrants. During a comparable 29-year period at the height of the Great Wave, from 1896 to 1924, only 17.9 million green cards were issued.

Also, because of shorter life expectancy and other factors, the Great Wave of immigration didn’t result in nearly as many naturalizations and a new voting population like this one has. This chart from the DHS is worth 1,000 words:

From 1996 through 2017, 15,453,174 new immigrants became citizens. During the Great Wave, the number of naturalizations was very low because it took time for immigrants to go through the system and become citizens. But even if you take an equivalent 22-year period with the highest level of naturalizations, which was from 1924 to1945, just 4,334,798 immigrants were naturalized. In other words, while the immigration wave of the modern era was almost twice as large as the Great Wave, the “naturalization wave” was three and a half times greater.

Moreover, we have not even reached the full extent of the wave of immigration, which is still growing. That means the naturalization boon to the Democrat Party will only continue to grow as we finish the lag time for existing immigrants to become citizens.

Numerous factors distinguish the Great Wave favorably from this wave; they are the subject of chapter 7 in my book. But the most important of all is that there was a shutoff for several decades thereafter. This point was so obvious to anyone living at the time that when Congress decided to shut off immigration on February 22, 1921 (temporarily, until the long-term bill was developed in 1924), the bill passed the Senate 78-1 and passed the House without a recorded vote! Expressing the universal view at the time, the accompanying report from the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization stated, “There is a limit to our power of assimilation.”

It was obvious at the time that a cool-off was in order, and history, along with the success of assimilating the Great Wave immigrants, proved it right. And while people at the time expressed concerns about the lack of assimilation, nobody back then had reason to fear a lack of assimilation turning into the disaster it is in Europe today as a result of the large migration from the Middle East, a policy we have now mimicked.

Rather than a shutoff, we are accelerating mass migration with no questions asked

One could argue that by the early 1990s, we had already surpassed the size, scope, and cultural transformation of the equivalent period of the first Great Wave. At the time, even liberals like Harry Reid warned that we had never seen anything like this before and introduced a bill to “restore immigration to its traditional and more manageable level of about 300,000 annually.”

Fast-forward 25 years, and we’ve admitted roughly 25 million more legal immigrants – 9.5 million just in the past 8 years – admitted countless millions of illegal immigrants, and established a trajectory through chain migration that will bring in even more immigrants, dwarfing the current unprecedented wave. Under the current trajectory, by 2065, 88 percent of our population growth will be from immigrants.

During the Great Wave, although immigration spiked between 1880 and 1920, the shutoff

created a dynamic in which the foreign-born population in the country went down so that by 1970 — ninety years after the beginning of the Great Wave — the immigration population had only increased 44 percent in raw numbers. Over that same time period, the native-born population increased by 306 percent.

This is why the Great Wave worked. As noted immigration historian Maldwyn Allen Jones observed of the post-WWI shutoff, “With reinforcements no longer arriving from across the ocean, ties with Europe were gradually weakened and memories of the old life grew dimmer with each passing year.” This dynamic “accelerated the Americanization of those groups which had come earlier.”

Contrast this to the current wave of naturalization, which is already three times larger than the peak wave in the 1940s, and it is coinciding with an even larger wave of new immigrants coming to reinforce the new citizens, anchoring them back to their old culture and values. By 2060, ninety years after that benchmark in 1970, the immigrant population is projected to be 715 percent larger in raw numbers. Over the same period, the native-born population is projected to increase by just 77 percent.

Yet instead of unanimous resolve to immediately slow down immigration, those of us who even question increases in current immigration are called nativists. There are almost no elected Republicans who would vouch for the position of liberal Harry Reid from 1993, even though the rationale for his policy is even more compelling two decades later.

This is not what our Founders had in mind

With an ideal antithetical to the multiculturalism and balkanization of today’s progressive America, Washington laid out a vision of American citizenship and pride of patriotism as follows in his farewell address:

“Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

Immigration, especially at this time, when followed prudently and gradually, can enrich this culture of common cause in pursuit of liberty. But when immigration policy is pursued in such an impetuous, irresponsible, precipitous – and ultimately random – fashion that there is no longer a common cause, the America George Washington sought to establish will no longer exist. (For more from the author of “How to Fundamentally Transform a Country” please click HERE)

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Suspending the Constitution: In America Today, the Government Does Whatever It Wants

We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document.

The reality we must come to terms with, however, is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces may change over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, etc.), but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.

Thus, in the so-called named of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded to such an extent that what we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago.

Most of the damage, however, has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—which historically served as the bulwark from government abuse.

A recitation of the Bill of Rights—set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches (all sanctioned by Congress, the White House, the courts and the like)—would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution today.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind, assemble and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. To the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited for the battlefield. As such, this amendment has been rendered null and void.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces—complete with heavily armed SWAT teams, military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you’re up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. Yet when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that “we the people” retain the power to ultimately determine what laws are just.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite—the president, Congress and the courts. Indeed, the federal governmental bureaucracy has grown so large that it has made local and state legislatures relatively irrelevant. Through its many agencies and regulations, the federal government has stripped states of the right to regulate countless issues that were originally governed at the local level.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded.

Yet those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them.

It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words: “We the people.” As the Preamble proclaims:

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

In other words, we have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. We the American people—the citizenry—are the arbiters and ultimate guardians of America’s welfare, defense, liberty, laws and prosperity.

Still, it’s hard to be a good citizen if you don’t know anything about your rights or how the government is supposed to operate.

As the National Review rightly asks, “How can Americans possibly make intelligent and informed political choices if they don’t understand the fundamental structure of their government? American citizens have the right to self-government, but it seems that we increasingly lack the capacity for it.”

Americans are constitutionally illiterate.

Most citizens have little, if any, knowledge about their basic rights. And our educational system does a poor job of teaching the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For instance, when Newsweek asked 1,000 adult U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 44% were unable to define the Bill of Rights.

A survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that a little more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government, while another one-third (35 percent) could not name a single one. Only a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto. One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration. And more than half of Americans do not know which party controls the House and Senate.

A 2006 survey by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that only one out of a thousand adults could identify the five rights protected by the First Amendment. On the other hand, more than half (52%) of the respondents could name at least two of the characters in the animated Simpsonstelevision family, and 20% could name all five. And although half could name none of the freedoms in the First Amendment, a majority (54%) could name at least one of the three judges on the TV program American Idol, 41% could name two and one-fourth could name all three.

It gets worse.

Many who responded to the survey had a strange conception of what was in the First Amendment. For example, 21% said the “right to own a pet” was listed someplace between “Congress shall make no law” and “redress of grievances.” Some 17% said that the First Amendment contained the “right to drive a car,” and 38% believed that “taking the Fifth” was part of the First Amendment.

Teachers and school administrators do not fare much better. A study conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis found that one educator in five was unable to name any of the freedoms in the First Amendment.

In fact, while some educators want students to learn about freedom, they do not necessarily want them to exercise their freedoms in school. As the researchers conclude, “Most educators think that students already have enough freedom, and that restrictions on freedom in the school are necessary. Many support filtering the Internet, censoring T-shirts, disallowing student distribution of political or religious material, and conducting prior review of school newspapers.”

Government leaders and politicians are also ill-informed. Although they take an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution against “enemies foreign and domestic,” their lack of education about our fundamental rights often causes them to be enemies of the Bill of Rights.

So what’s the solution?

Thomas Jefferson recognized that a citizenry educated on “their rights, interests, and duties” is the only real assurance that freedom will survive.

As Jefferson wrote in 1820: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of our society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

From the President on down, anyone taking public office should have a working knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and should be held accountable for upholding their precepts. One way to ensure this would be to require government leaders to take a course on the Constitution and pass a thorough examination thereof before being allowed to take office.

Some critics are advocating that students pass the United States citizenship exam in order to graduate from high school. Others recommend that it must be a prerequisite for attending college. I’d go so far as to argue that students should have to pass the citizenship exam before graduating from grade school.

Here’s an idea to get educated and take a stand for freedom: anyone who signs up to become a member of The Rutherford Institute gets a wallet-sized Bill of Rights card and a Know Your Rights card. Use this card to teach your children the freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.

If this constitutional illiteracy is not remedied and soon, freedom in America will be doomed.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have managed to keep the wolf at bay so far. Barely.

Our national priorities need to be re-prioritized. For instance, some argue that we need to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again.

As actor-turned-activist Richard Dreyfuss warned:

“Unless we teach the ideas that make America a miracle of government, it will go away in your kids’ lifetimes, and we will be a fable.You have to find the time and creativity to teach it in schools, and if you don’t, you will lose it. You will lose it to the darkness, and what this country represents is a tiny twinkle of light in a history of oppression and darkness and cruelty. If it lasts for more than our lifetime, for more than our kids’ lifetime, it is only because we put some effort into teaching what it is, the ideas of America: the idea of opportunity, mobility, freedom of thought, freedom of assembly.”

(This post originally appeared HERE)

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What I Don’t Like About Life in Post-9/11 America

Life in a post-9/11 America increasingly feels like an endless free fall down a rabbit hole into a terrifying, dystopian alternative reality in which the citizenry has no rights, the government is no friend to freedom, and everything we ever knew and loved about the values and principles that once made this country great has been turned on its head.

We’ve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.

We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state.

Osama Bin Laden right warned that “freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”

These past 17 years have proven Bin Laden right in his prediction.

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

This is not freedom.

This is a jail cell.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, underwear bombers and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the true enemy to freedom was lurking among us all the while.

The U.S. government now poses a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.

While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations, and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed.

No, the U.S. government is not the citizenry’s friend, nor is it our protector, and life in the United States of America post-9/11 is no picnic.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are some of the things I don’t like about life in a post-9/11 America:

I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds.

I don’t like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data.

I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

I don’t like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I don’t like having representatives incapable of andunwilling to represent me. I don’t like taxation without representation.

I don’t like being bullied by government bureaucrats, vigilantes masquerading as cops, or faceless technicians.

I don’t like being railroaded into financing government programs whose only purpose is to increase the power and wealth of the corporate elite.

I don’t like being forced to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

I don’t like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA.

I don’t like VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes.

I don’t like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.

I don’t like being treated like an underling by government agents who are supposed to be working for me. I don’t like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights. I don’t like being silenced, censored and marginalized. I don’t like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.

I don’t like free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws that restrict Americans’ First Amendment rights.

I don’t like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country.

I don’t like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens.

I don’t like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely don’t like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.

I don’t like the fact that police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”

I don’t like America’s infatuation with locking people up for life for non-violent crimes. There are thousands of people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, including theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check.

I don’t like paying roughly $29,000 a year per inmate just to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

I don’t like having my hard-earned taxpayer dollars used against me.

I don’t like the partisan nature of politics today, which has so polarized Americans that they are incapable of standing in unity against the government’s abuses.

I don’t like the entertainment drivel that passes for news coverage today.

I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

I don’t like public schools that treat students as if they were prison inmates. I don’t like zero tolerance laws that criminalize childish behavior. I don’t like a public educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I don’t like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.

I don’t like Department of Defense and DHS programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. I don’t like local police dressing and acting as if they were the military while viewing me as an enemy combatant.

I don’t like government programs that reward cops for raiding homes and terrorizing homeowners.

I don’t like being treated as if I have no rights.

I don’t like cash-strapped states cutting deals with private corporations to run the prisons in exchange for maintaining 90% occupancy rates for at least 20 years. I don’t like the fact that American prisons have become the source of cheap labor for Corporate America.

I don’t like answering to an imperial president who operates above the law.

I don’t like the injustice that passes for justice in the courts.

I don’t like prosecutors so hell bent on winning that they allow innocent people to suffer for crimes they didn’t commit.

I don’t like the double standards that allow government officials to break laws with immunity, while average Americans get the book thrown at them.

I don’t like cops who shoot first and ask questions later.

I don’t like police dogs being treated with more respect and afforded more rights than American citizens.

I don’t like living in a suspect society.

I don’t like Americans being assumed guilty until they prove their innocence.

I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us.

Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.

Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. Certainly, there are those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores.

However, I’m not giving up on this country without a fight.

I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

Our country may be in deep trouble, but all is not yet lost.

The first step begins with you.

1. Get educated. Know your rights. Take time to read the Constitution. Study and understand history because the tales of those who seek power and those who resist them is an age-old one. The Declaration of Independence is a testament to this struggle and the revolutionary spirit that overcame tyranny. Understand the vital issues of the day so that you can be cognizant of the threats to freedom. Stay informed about current events and legislation.

2. Get involved. Become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, “Think nationally, act locally.” America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments, which is a far cry from the colossal federal bureaucracy we have today. Yet if our freedoms are to be restored, understanding what is transpiring practically in your own backyard—in one’s home, neighborhood, school district, town council—and taking action at that local level must be the starting point. Responding to unmet local needs and reacting to injustices is what grassroots activism is all about. Getting involved in local politics is one way to bring about change.

3. Get organized. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and tap into your resources. Play to your strengths and assets. Conduct strategy sessions to develop both the methods and ways to attack the problem. Prioritize your issues and battles. Don’t limit yourself to protests and paper petitions. Think outside the box. Time is short, and resources are limited, so use your resources in the way they count the most.

4. Be creative. Be bold and imaginative, for this is guerilla warfare—not to be fought with tanks and guns but through creative methods of dissent and resistance. Creatively responding to circumstances will often be one of your few resources if you are to be an effective agent of change. Every creative effort, no matter how small, is significant.

5. Use the media. Effective use of the media is essential. Attracting media coverage not only enhances and magnifies your efforts, it is also a valuable education tool. It publicizes your message to a much wider audience.

6. Start brushfires for freedom. Take heart that you are not alone. You come from a long, historic line of individuals who have put their beliefs and lives on the line to keep freedom alive. Engage those around you in discussions about issues of importance. Challenge them to be part of a national dialogue. As I have often said, one person at a city planning meeting with a protest sign is an irritant. Three individuals at the same meeting with the same sign are a movement. You will find that those in power fear and respect numbers. This is not to say that lone crusaders are not important. There are times when you will find yourself totally alone in the stand you take. However, there is power in numbers. Politicians understand this. So get out there and start drumming up support for your cause.

7. Take action. Be prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re located or what resources are at your disposal. What matters is that you recognize the problems and care enough to do something about them. Whether you’re 8, 28 or 88 years old, you have something unique to contribute. You don’t have to be a hero. You just have to show up and be ready to take action.

8. Be forward-looking. Beware of being so “in the moment” that you neglect to think of the bigger picture. Develop a vision for the future. Is what you’re hoping to achieve enduring? Have you developed a plan to continue to educate others about the problems you’re hoping to tackle and ensure that others will continue in your stead? Take the time to impart the value of freedom to younger generations, for they will be at the vanguard of these battles someday.

9. Develop fortitude. What is it that led to the successful protest movements of the past headed by people such as Martin Luther King Jr.? Resolve. King refused to be put off. And when the time came, he was willing to take to the streets for what he believed and even go to jail if necessary. King risked having an arrest record by committing acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. A caveat is appropriate here. Before resorting to nonviolent civil disobedience, all reasonable alternatives should be exhausted. If there is an opportunity to alter the course of events through normal channels (for example, negotiation, legal action or legislation), they should be attempted.

10. Be selfless and sacrificial. Freedom is not free—there is always a price to be paid and a sacrifice to be made. If any movement is to be truly successful, it must be manned by individuals who seek a greater good and do not waver from their purposes. It will take boldness, courage and great sacrifice. Rarely will fame, power and riches be found at the end of this particular road. Those who travel it inevitably find the way marked by hardship, persecution and strife. Yet there is no easy way.

11. Remain optimistic and keep hope alive. Although our rights are increasingly coming under attack, we still have certain freedoms. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can still fight back. We have the right to dissent, to protest and even to vigorously criticize or oppose the government and its laws. The Constitution guarantees us these rights. In a country such as the United States, a citizen armed with a knowledge of the Bill of Rights and the fortitude to stand and fight can still be a force to be reckoned with, but it will mean speaking out when others are silent.

Practice persistence, along with perseverance, and the possibilities are endless. You can be the voice of reason. Use your voice to encourage others. Much can be accomplished by merely speaking out. Oftentimes, all it takes is one lone voice to get things started. So if you really care and you’re serious and want to help change things for the better, dust off your First Amendment tools and take a stand—even if it means being ostracized by those who would otherwise support you.

It won’t be easy, but take heart. And don’t give up. (This post originally appeared HERE)

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Believe in Something, but Only If It’s True

I was startled to learn that Nike is making former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its next marketing campaign. Kaepernick, you may recall, was riding the San Francisco 49ers bench two years ago, not only during the national anthem but during the games, due to inferior play.

Nike and Kaepernick’s supporters are attempting to revise history at this point, claiming that he sacrificed his career on a matter of principle. “Believe in something,” the Nike Kaepernick ad urges, “even if it means sacrificing everything.”

But Kaepernick’s career as a starting quarterback was already over before he started disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. By the time he was benched, he was rated 28th out of 28 starting NFL quarterbacks. NFL defenses had cracked the code, and his brief honeymoon in the league came to a bone-jarring halt.

If I were looking for somebody to represent the Nike slogan to “believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything,” I’d probably lean toward Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. Mrs. Stutzman, 73, has served and employed gay people all her life, but that wasn’t good enough for Washington state’s grandstanding attorney general, who joined with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the Christian lady because she refused to design floral art for a longtime customer’s homosexual wedding.

Or Jack Phillips, co-owner (with his wife) of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado. The state ordered him to design cakes celebrating homosexual marriage, or get out of the business. He took them to court instead. After several years, he won a 7-2 Supreme Court decision this summer. The state has already trumped up another case against him. Phillips says that when he gets vulgar, threatening phone calls from gay allies, he takes it as an opportunity to reach out, and to pray for them.

Or Kim Davis, county clerk at Rowan County, Kentucky, who went to jail rather than comply with a federal judge’s order that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But Nike has a business to run, and their ads need to appeal to the demographic that is obsessed with shoe brands, in some extreme cases to the point of homicide. And so Colin Kaepernick it is – a narcissist who used to be known for kissing his tattoos after touchdowns. His photograph in the ad looks like a mug shot: cold, malignant eyes and a prim, disapproving mouth.

You can bet that Nike did its due diligence calculations before this decision. They knew some of us would vow never to buy from them again. But they also know who their future buyers are. They’re marketing to a demographic with an average IQ of 85 or less, and a chip on its collective shoulder. Criminal subculture “street cred” is golden marketing. Cop-killing is not a deal-killer in this market. Nike stock has spiked since the decision.

At first, Kaepernick just remained seated on the bench during the anthem. I thought maybe he just wanted to make sure he got a good spot, because he was going to spend the rest of the game there. But when a reporter questioned him about it, he mumbled something about police shootings of Black men.

Kaepernick has displayed socks depicting police as pigs, and has donated $25 thousand to a Chicago-based organization – Assata’s Daughters – that honored cop-killer Joanne Chesimard. Joanne took a revolutionary name, Assata Shakur. She was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Forester, but later escaped from prison and is living in Cuba under the protection of Raoul Castro.

Kaepernick has worn Che Guevara shirts. It’s no hyperbole to say that he hates police, and he hates America. But former teammate Eric Reid was more publicity-savvy than the sullen, inarticulate Kaepernick. He convinced Kaepernick to join him in kneeling during the anthem instead of sitting on the bench. Reid said kneeling is the equivalent of flying the flag at half staff to acknowledge a tragedy.

And kneeling did catch the imagination of NFL players, mostly but not exclusively Black, and their media chroniclers. They wanted to have it both ways: they wanted to protest during the national anthem, but they insisted they were as patriotic as people who honor the flag and the anthem. It’s an absurd claim.

It’s certainly possible to protest and still be a patriot. In fact, love of country sometimes demands that you protest. And it’s an explicit Constitutional right. But when you protest during the national anthem, you’re showing contempt for what holds us together, what makes us care about people who are otherwise unconnected to us. It’s disrespectful, not persuasive, to make a spectacle of your complaints during the national anthem. We care less – not more – about your grievances if you think you owe our mutual national identity no loyalty.

Sherry Graham-Potter, the widow of an Arizona deputy sheriff killed in the line of duty, wrote an open letter to Nike after they announced their decision to line America’s highways with billboards of the cop-hating Kaepernick’s dead glare. She raised the objections that you would expect from a fallen police officer’s widow, but she also returned to a point that is rarely mentioned anymore: the cop-haters’ central accusation “has been proven false time and time again, in study after study.”

Does the truth matter to Kaepernick or Reid or Nike shareholders? It’s simply not true that unarmed Black men are disproportionately shot down by police.

Liberal college professors and the liberal Washington Post have dug into the data on this subject, and have admitted in the end that there is no statistical support for the claim that police shoot unarmed Black men more than they shoot unarmed white or Hispanic men. In one recent year, police officers were 18 times more likely to be killed by Black men than unarmed Black men were to be killed by police officers. It’s shameful to accuse somebody of homicidal racism if it’s not true. Just stop.

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