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March 31, 2015

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District Dies Not With A Bang, But A Whimper

That appears to be the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the decision of the US Supreme Court to deny a the certiorari petition in Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District.

The US Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not take up a major First Amendment case testing whether school officials in California violated the free speech rights of three high school students who were told they could not wear American flag T-shirts at school because it might upset students of Mexican heritage.

The court took the action in a one-line order. The justices offered no further comment on the case.

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I’ve written about this case before. A group of students chose to wear apparel depicting the American flag to school on May 5 – the minor Mexican regional holiday Cinco de Mayo, which has been adopted as a Mexican cultural celebration in the United States – to demonstrate their love of the United States and pride in their American heritage. A group of Hispanic students declared this to be racist and threatened violence if the students were allowed to continue to wear the pro-American shirts. School officials then ordered the students to change clothes of go home for the day, despite the fact that the students themselves were engaged in no violent or disruptive conduct themselves.

Let me repeat that for you – a group of American students wearing American flags were silenced by an American high school because other students threatened violence because they felt that nobody should be allowed to celebrate anything other than a foreign country on that day.

The silenced students sued, arguing that the Supreme Court precedent in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District mandated that the school allow their peaceful expression of pro-American sentiments. One would have thought that to be the case, given that the main holding in Tinker is that students do not lose their First Amendment rights at school and that this included the peaceful, non-disruptive wearing of symbols. These students were peaceful, and they in no way caused disruption. Rather, other students threatened to engage in criminal conduct against them for daring to express a view which was not deemed orthodox by a majority of students on campus – in other words, these other students were engaged in a criminal conspiracy to violate the civil rights of the American flag wearing students. The school then facilitated this criminal conspiracy by enforcing the demands of the violent conspirators, rather than protecting the civil rights of the peaceful students. It did so using the argument that the actions of the students engaged in patriotic speech, rather than the criminal conspiracy by the violent students, was causing a substantial disruption of the school. Sadly, two courts have upheld the school’s decision, and the Supreme Court has declined to review those decisions.

It is therefore clear that the expansive protection of student speech found in Tinker has been implicitly repudiated by our nation’s courts. While the denial of certiorari is not a ruling on the merits, the refusal to take up a case in which courts have so clearly ruled contrary to would seem to indicate that there no longer exists even a plurality of justices who are supportive of the holding in Tinker. The irony of the matter is that the same argument used by the school district in Dariano – that threats of violent disruption of school operations by a violent mob justifies the suppression of the civil rights of students – was rejected by the Supreme Court in Cooper v. Aaron, the Little Rock High School desegregation case.

Mary Beth and John Tinker, the two students whose choice to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War gave rise to the earlier case on student free speech rights, have remained active in the area of student rights and filed an amicus brief in the Dariano case. I believe that the words of that brief need to be given serious weight by the educators (and the American people as a whole), even if the Supreme Court did not heed their call.

Mary Beth Tinker and her brother, John, were 13- and 15-years-old in December 1965 when they donned armbands to make a point about the Vietnam War.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, they argued that some lower courts have been reluctant to uphold constitutional protections for student political speech at school. Instead, they said, judges often give school administrators broad discretion to censor student speech they find offensive or that they believe might potentially be disruptive.

It is time for the high court to revisit the issue and clarify the core holding in the Tinker case, Washington lawyer Robert Corn-Revere wrote in the Tinker’s brief.

He added that the California case also offered the justices a teaching moment. “This case is about the future of free speech as much as about the present and the past,” Mr. Corn-Revere wrote. “If students learn that threatening speakers is an effective way to suppress speech, this will produce more threats, and more suppression of a wide range of other speech,” he said.

“And beyond this, even peaceful students will learn that free speech must yield whenever its opponents are willing to threaten violence – a message antithetical to all that this Court has tried to convey about the First Amendment,” he wrote.

And yet it appears that the seminal holding of Tinker, that students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate, is no longer even given lip service by our courts. Today all it takes is threats of a violent mob, intent upon violating those rights, for school officials to be allowed to suppress the liberties of peaceful students with an unpopular message. The lesson being taught to American students today is that a good American should no longer “stand up and speak out” even if their views are rejected by the majority – instead they must “sit down and shut up” because an angry majority is allowed to turn government officials into agents for the suppression of rights rather than guardians of liberty.


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Ross Douhat’s Seven Questions For Liberals On The Place Of Individuals And Institutions Supporting Traditional Marriage In Contemporary Society

The NY Times commentator asks seven quite pertinent questions about how much space supporters of gay marriage are willing to offer supporters of traditional marriage in the name of pluralism.

1) Should religious colleges whose rules or honor codes or covenants explicitly ask students and/or teachers to refrain from sex outside of heterosexual wedlock eventually lose their accreditation unless they change the policy to accommodate gay relationships? At the very least, should they lose their tax-exempt status, as Bob Jones University did over its ban on interracial dating?

2) What about the status of religious colleges and schools or non-profits that don’t have such official rules about student or teacher conduct, but nonetheless somehow instantiate or at least nod to a traditional view of marriage at some level — in the content of their curricula, the design of their benefit package, the rules for their wedding venues, their denominational affiliation? Should their tax-exempt status be reconsidered? Absent a change in their respective faith’s stance on homosexuality, for instance, should Catholic high schools or Classical Christian academies or Orthodox Jewish schools be eligible for 501(c)3 status at all?

3) Have the various colleges and universities that have done so been correct to withdraw recognition from religious student groups that require their leaders to be chaste until (heterosexual) marriage? Should all of secular higher education take the same approach to religious conservatives? And then further, irrespective of leadership policies, do religious bodies that publicly endorse a traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic view of sexual ethics deserve a place on secular campuses at all? Should the Harvard chaplaincy, for instance, admit ministers to its ranks whose churches or faiths do not allow them to perform same-sex marriages? Should the chaplaincy of a public university?

4.) In the longer term, is there a place for anyone associated with the traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic view of sexuality in our society’s elite level institutions? Was Mozilla correct in its handling of the Brendan Eich case? Is California correct to forbid its judges from participating in the Boy Scouts? What are the implications for other institutions? To return to the academic example: Should Princeton find a way to strip Robert George of his tenure over his public stances and activities? Would a public university be justified in denying tenure to a Orthodox Jewish religious studies professor who had stated support for Orthodox Judaism’s views on marriage?

5) Should the state continue to recognize marriages performed by ministers, priests, rabbis, etc. who do not marry same-sex couples? Or should couples who marry before such a minister also be required to repeat the ceremony in front of a civil official who does not discriminate?

6) Should churches that decline to bless same-sex unions have their tax-exempt status withdrawn? Note that I’m not asking if it would be politically or constitutionally possible: If it were possible, should it be done?

7) In the light of contemporary debates about religious parenting and gay or transgender teenagers, should Wisconsin v. Yoder be revisited? What about Pierce v.Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary?

These are all reasonable questions – several of them (numbers 1-4) based upon situations that have already arisen in our country and others based upon situations that have arisen abroad or upon the demands of some elements of the gay rights/gay marriage movement.

Over at National Review’s Corner, Ed Whelan suggests the answers that lurk in the darkest corners of the hearts of “enlightened” progressive advocates of “tolerance” and “inclusion”.

1 & 2. Religious colleges that fail to accommodate gay relationships should lose their accreditation. Religious colleges, high schools, grade schools, and nonprofits that fail to embrace SSM should lose their tax-exempt status.

3. Public and private universities should withdraw recognition from any student groups that subscribe to traditional religious views on sexuality.

4. No one who embraces traditional religious views on sexuality should be allowed to take part in what Douthat refers to as “our society’s elite level institutions” (including any respected position in government, business, or academia).

5. Ministers who perform marriages recognized by the State are functioning as agents of the State. Therefore, any ministers who refuse to marry same-sex couples shall be denied permission to perform marriages recognized by the State.

6. Churches that decline to bless same-sex unions should have their tax-exempt status withdrawn.

7. Parents do not have any fundamental right to raise their children according to their religious beliefs. Inculcation of traditional religious views on sexuality is a form a child abuse that ought to lead to forfeiture of parental rights.

Frankly, I believe that Whelan’s answers are precisely what society is moving towards – and not in the long run, but in the relatively short term.

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After all, forty years ago I recall the nascent gay rights movement telling Americans that all homosexuals wanted was to be left alone. I recall two decades ago, when we were assured by activists that gay rights were not a threat to religious rights. Even a decade ago, the notion that the law would force businesses to provide services for gay weddings was laughed at by gay activists – and concerns that religious groups and religious institutions would be under siege and facing legal threats and disadvantages because of laws and policies requiring the equal rights for LGBT individuals were defined as scare stories. Today, however, each and every one of the things that Americans were told not to worry about are a reality in our society – and any effort to push back and recover a bit of freedom for those who dissent from the gay orthodoxy is defined as bigotry and hate. Indeed, today the demand of a movement that once claimed that nobody should have to live in a closet is that religious believers go back to the catacombs if they wish to live out their faith, on pain of being (metaphorically, for now) fed to the lions.

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Will Someone Tell Me Why?

Because I see no good reason for this law.

AUSTIN — A state House committee has voted unanimously to make it illegal to sell or possess powdered alcohol, moving to preemptively ban a controversial new product that is still months away from hitting store shelves.

In an 8-0 vote, the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee on Monday sent a measure to the full House by state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, to designate powdered alcohol as an "illicit beverage." The committee also recommended the bill get placed on the House's local and consent calendar, which is designated to fast-track noncontroversial measures.

* * *

Texas lawmakers have raised concerns that powdered alcohol will lead to a new wave of underage abuse, comparing it to the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko. Lawmakers also worry that the powder sold in a small pouch could easily be snuck into bars, restaurants and sporting events, cutting into tax revenue relied upon by those venues.

The argument about underage alcohol use? Purely speculative. Besides, if you want to do away with underage alcohol use, just re institute Prohibition -- that will stop kids from getting alcohol, just like it stops them from getting pot.

But wait -- I think I see the real reason right there at the end of that paragraph. They are protecting favored businesses. Let’s check the campaign contributions that have gone to the sponsors and supporters of this bill. I bet that they are all getting money from bars, restaurants, and those who make money off of concessions at sporting events.

In other words, this isn't really about public safety at all – it is about protecting their donors from consumer choice.


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March 30, 2015

Noting The Hypocrisy Of My Own Church Denomination’s Leaders

The denomination of which my congregation is a part has decided to immerse itself in the midst of the Indiana RFRA debate.

Though the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has made Indianapolis its headquarters for nearly a century, the denomination is considering pulling its next biennial convention out of Indiana over a new state law that allows businesses to turn away gay customers.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Thursday (March 26), the day after receiving a letter from church leaders pleading with him to veto it and threatening to move their 2017 General Assembly outside the state.

* * *

“Purportedly a matter of religious freedom, we find RFRA contrary to the values of our faith — as well as to our national and Hoosier values,” stated the letter, which was signed by Sharon E. Watkins, the church’s general minister and president, as well as the leaders of its overseas and domestic missions.

“As a Christian church, we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow — one who sat at table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all.”

The General Assembly will bring more than 6,000 church members to whatever U.S. city the church decides upon and is expected to generate about $5 million in tourism dollars. After Pence signed the law, ministry leaders said they are weighing the costs of moving not only the General Assembly, but smaller meetings — such as the more frequent gatherings of the 125-member board of directors — which most often meets in Indianapolis.

Associate General Minister and Vice President Todd Adams said the church’s board will decide whether to yank the General Assembly from Indianapolis at its next meeting, which begins on April 10.

Dare I suggest that this move is rank hypocrisy on the part of the leaders of the Disciples?

After all, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) does not formally recognize gay marriage. It does not require that member congregations allow gay weddings to take place in their sanctuaries. It does not require, as a matter of maintaining ministerial standing, that its clergy officiate at gay weddings. Why does it not do so? Because it recognizes that there is diversity of opinion and conscience on the matter, and that it would be improper to either require or forbid participation in such ceremonies.

What’s more, the leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recognize that any vote by the General Assembly to recognize gay marriage or to seek to require that its congregations and clergy follow a policy of non-discrimination in regard to gay marriage would most likely kill the denomination, which has lost somewhere around 1/3 of its congregations and 60% of its membership over the last four decades. Consider the losses in other denominations over the gay marriage issue if you question that assertion.

In other words, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers to its clergy and member congregations that which it demands that the government deny to everyone else. Denominational leaders seek to establish an orthodoxy for society as a whole that they refuse to establish for their own denomination.

So to the leadership of my denomination, I offer the guidance of Scripture.

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

And that is without getting into the fact that for over 20 years the denomination has stood silent as 19 other states have had virtually identical laws – and that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) strongly supported the passage of the essentially identical federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. Or the fact that rarely, if ever, would any RFRA overcome an anti-discrimination law.


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Chicago Mayor Tries To Attract Businesses From Indiana Because Of RFRA Law Just Like The One In Illinois

Dumb and hypocritical – in other words, typical of the Democrat political class..

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has engaged in some interstate payback by attempting to lure Indiana companies over the state’s newly signed religious-freedom bill, but what he doesn’t mention is that Illinois already has a similar law.

In a Friday letter, Mr. Emanuel cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a reason to “look next door to an economy that is moving forward into the 21st century,” referring to Illinois.

But Illinois has had a RFRA law since 1998 – and one of the legislators who voted for it was Barack Obama. When will Obama and Emanuel demand its repeal?


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Given Obama’s Policies, Biden May Be Exactly Right

On Israel.

An incredible admission by US Vice President Joe Biden has been revealed, in which he told Jewish leaders that should the American Jewish community be in danger, it has only Israel to rely on - and not America.

* * *

"Folks, there is no place else to go, and you understand that in your bones," Biden said. "You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States...there’s only one guarantee."

"There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel," he stated.

Obama’s policies are objectively harmful to Jews in both Israel and the United States. I’m sure Biden didn’t mean to communicate that message in his comments – but the reality is that he is absolutely right.

Especially given the history of the likely Democrat nominee for president with regard to Jews.


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Hillary Clinton Slimes Again

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The latest scandal? She has wiped her private server clean, destroying evidence sought by congressional investigators.

This dwarfs anything done by Richard Nixon, whose 18 ½ minutes of erased tape recording was a major factor in costing him his presidency.

Hillary should know that – after all, she was a part of staff of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate investigation.

Oh, but I forgot – she was fired from that job and denied a letter of recommendation by her supervisor, a life-long Democrat who said the following about her.

“Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

Liar.

Unethical.

Dishonest.

Conspired to violate the Constitution.

Wow – some things haven’t changed in 40 years.


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The Line Between Abortion And Infanticide Has Now Been Erased…

By the supporters of abortion.

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

See how far the slippery slope has gone?

I wonder – can we make a case that medical ethicists supporting infanticide are not “actual persons” and therefore lack a “moral right to life”?

Not that I would ever kill such a medical ethicist. I would be personally opposed to doing so. But I don’t know that I should impose my personal morality on those who think it would be OK to do so. Just call that position being “pro-choice”.


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March 26, 2015

When Fictional Quotes Describe The Beliefs Of All Too Real Politicians

Anyone who is a fan of the classic British science fiction show Doctor Who knows that it injects more than a little bit of the absurd into its story lines and dialogues. Fans also know that the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith, was a rather eccentric, oft-times clownish character prone to grandiose statements and plans that go awry (though since he is a fictional hero, everything generally turns out right by the end of the episode).

This morning I encountered this quote over at Hogewash.

No, I have a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more greatness. —The 11th Doctor

As I read it, a thought struck me – this sounds ever so much like our current president.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama doesn’t have the superior intellect, advanced technology, or dumb luck that make a fictional character like the Doctor so successful and beloved. And that is what makes him so incredibly dangerous to America and the world. After all, after six years as president, Obama still doesn't have a plan -- he has a thing, and he believes that thing is so much better for everyone. Unfortunately, his ongoing campaign of failure and destruction proves that is not so.


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Indiana Governor To Sign Law Permitting Businesses To Discriminate Against Westboro Baptist Church, Churches That Refuse To Perform Gay Marriages

That isn’t, of course, the way that the law is being presented by liberals.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is set to sign into law a measure that allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of "religious freedom."

The move comes as Pence considers a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination -- and just a year after Pence and socially conservative lawmakers lost their first policy battle against gay Hoosiers. In 2014 they had sought to amend Indiana's constitution to ban same-sex marriages -- but were beaten back by a highly-organized coalition of Democrats, traditionally right-leaning business organizations and fiscally focused supporters of Pence's predecessor, former GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels.

This year, though, the Republican-dominated state House and Senate both approved the "religious freedom" bill, and Pence plans to sign it into law in a private ceremony Thursday, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

Now the big concern is that some small number of business owners might choose to not bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding or might refuse to print shirts for a gay pride festival because doing so would be sinful according to their religious beliefs. What no one talks about is that this law is also a tool for allowing folks whose religious beliefs are different to do follow their beliefs. For example, why should a person who believes that God loves everyone regardless of sexual orientation be required to produce “God Hates Fags” signs for Westboro Baptist Church if they roll into town for a protest? Why should someone whose religion accepts gay marriage be required to do business with a church that does not bless such unions if they believe that doing so promotes sinful beliefs? And why should a floral wholesaler be required to provide flowers for a florist who refuses to do arrangements for gay weddings?

That’s the thing about religious freedom, you see – either everyone has it or no one does.

H/T Gay Patriot


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March 25, 2015

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) Strikes Blow Against Racism In Parking

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As reported by Roll Call.

Per our tipster, Norton performed the sub-par squeeze-in around the same time the rest of her colleagues were crowding into the House chamber to hear the joint address by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

At around the 40-second mark, an oblivious U.S. Capitol Police officer appears to zoom by on a motorcycle, right past the textbook parking offense.

Once the aide seen assisting Norton from outside the slow-moving vehicle finishes waving her into clearly disastrous position, Norton emerges from the car, clicks her remote locking device (better safe than sorry) and starts to walk away.

Then, all of the sudden, she doubles back.

Has her conscience gotten the best of her? Is she going to slide a quickly composed apology onto the now-stuck truck’s windshield? Or perhaps a business card?

Nope.

Norton simply retrieves some forgotten item from inside the car and then heads on her merry way.

Our spy estimates the entire head-scratching episode lasted about half an hour, including the painful insertion process and her 20-minute jaunt into Cannon.

Once done with her business, the tipster said Norton backed out of the space and rolled out onto the unsuspecting District streets.

“She hit the car next to her and did not leave a note, though I couldn’t see any damage,” was our spy’s takeaway from the mid-day drama.

Frankly, I find the article above a microaggression due to its utte obliviousness to the blow for racial equality that non-voting representative from the District of Columbia struck during this episode.

You see, Eleanor Holmes Norton was striking a blow against the white privilege asserted by the lines which sought to define the proper manner of parking on the black pavement upon which those lines had been painted. Her actions were an effort to check the privilege of those white lines by parking in a manner more authentic to the experience of the pavement of color. Those who mock rather than applaud her actions have clearly bought into the racist paradigm of American society exemplified by the unconscious acceptance of the heretofore unchallenged practice of subjugating black streets and parking lots to the dominance of white paint.

Then again, maybe the old bat simply can't park worth a damn.

H/T Gateway Pundit, Sister Toldjah, and Hot Air


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I Proudly Condemn These Self-Proclaimed Patriots Who Adopted Shameful Leftist Tactics

My response to the misdeeds of these protesters? A strong desire to vomit.

While some folks may want to praise crashing a meeting and preventing others from exercising their First Amendment rights because they disagree with the message, I don't. Instead I'll condemn the folks whose views on immigration I agree with and side with the left-winger whose beliefs I despise. After all, for most of my life we have complained about progressives who engage in disruptive activity to silence conservative speakers. Principle requires that we not adopt those repugnant tactics in order to silence those with whom we disagree. After all, we have truth and right on our side, and can only discredit our side by doing so.

And if I end up calling out friends for having given approval to such despicable tactics when they our used by our side, so be it.


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It'sOfficial -- Obama Traded Terrorists For Treasonous Turd

Should we be surprised?

The U.S. military has charged Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with one count each of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, officials announced Wednesday afternoon.

Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan before being captured and held captive for five years. For that, he faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of life in a military prison, and he could also have to forfeit pay and be stripped for his rank, Army Col. Daniel King said as he announced the charges.

Bergdahl now faces a military procedure similar to a grand jury deciding whether charges are appropriate, King said. Then, he could face court martial proceedings.

The decision comes nearly a year after Bergdahl returned to the United States as part of a prisoner exchange and since the Army began a formal investigation into his disappearance from his unit in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.

Obama made trading terrorists for this traitorous deserter a priority, and repeatedly made it clear that he cared more about Bergdahl than the troops who died as a result of his desertion or those who would be endangered or killed when the released terrorists make their way back to the field of battle. But then what does one expect when you have a president who is more supportive of the terrorists (of which Bergdahl is definitely one) than the troops? And let's not forget that Obama is typical of his party in that regard.


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March 24, 2015

Starting A Conversation On The Platform Of The Republican Party Of Texas

Last summer, I wrote a draft proposal of a reformed platform for the Republican Party of Texas. There has been a lot of vocal discontent surrounding both the current platform and the process by which it has been created, and I thought I would take a shot at writing something that was shorter, clearer, and still reflective of the core values of Texas Republicans without being cluttered with some of the many planks that have been included over the years without being fully considered by the delegates to the State Convention.

Given that our new chairman has appointed a committee to review the process by which the platform has been written in recent years, I thought it might also be a good time to circulate my proposal from last summer, somewhat revised, to some 400 members of the State Republican Executive Committee, County Chairmen, Auxiliary leaders, and other party leaders around the state and in Harris County. My goal was not to hijack the process and get any body other than the 2016 RPT Convention to adopt a new platform in place of the one adopted in 2016. Rather, it is an effort to start a conversation about what a leaner platform that spoke to core principles might look like.

Here is the text of the email I sent.

* * *

My Fellow Republicans:


My name is Greg Aydt.  I am a life-long Republican, having cut my political teeth as a teenage volunteer for the 1980 Reagan campaign, before I was even old enough to vote.I have served as a precinct chair in two states -- first in Illinois, where I became the first precinct chair ever elected from one of the campus precincts at Illinois State University, and more recently as the precinct chair from Precinct 333 in Harris County.  After some three-and-a-half decades as a grassroots activist, much of it here in Texas, I believe the time has come for me to take a stand on a matter that I believe needs to be addressed by Texas Republicans -- the sad state of the platform of the Republican Party of Texas.

Let's consider some of the problems with that document.  

First, at around 40 pages, the platform is too long to be given the sort of scrutiny and debate it deserves at the state convention.  Brought to the floor at the last minute, parliamentary gamesmanship and the desire to adjourn results in little actual consideration of the document.  This past year there was only one significant area of debate on the floor, and the form it took brought little credit to our party.  The remaining couple hundred planks were not examined at all by the assembled delegates -- nor was there time for any sort of rigorous analysis of those planks to determine if they were well thought out or supported by a majority of the delegates in attendance.  

This leads to the second problem with the platform as it currently stands -- because it is a hodgepodge of old and new planks, the document contradicts itself at times.  Consider these two planks, right next to each other, as an example.

Constitutional Convention - We strongly oppose any constitutional convention to rewrite the United States Constitution. We encourage the Texas Legislature to rescind its 1977 call for such a convention. We call upon other states to rescind their votes for such a convention.

Article V Convention - Under no circumstances shall the Bill of Rights, the first 10 constitutional amendments, be changed in any manner. We urge the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States, for the specific purpose of reigning in the power of the federal government. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ¾ of the states to take effect.

Unfortunately for the drafters of our platform, an Article V convention is a Constitutional Convention with the power to rewrite the entire Constitution through the amendment process. The scope of its amendments likely cannot be limited (see the original Constitutional Convention for an example of how effective limits would be), and the requirement for ratification of amendments by ¾ of the states is already in the text of the Constitution itself -- for the purpose of making sure that any amendment has broad support nationally.  We therefore find ourselves in the position of being a party that is both in support of and opposed to a convention called under Article V of the United States Constitution.

Third, some platform planks are so obscure as to defy understanding by most delegates.  Consider this one.

Selection of Primary Candidates - The SREC should study the Utah model for selecting primary candidates.

Now this may be an excellent idea or it may be a horrible one.  The reality, though, is that there is not enough information here for delegates to make an informed decision on the advisability of making such an alteration in how candidates are selected.  What's more, since the platform is supposed to be our party's plan of action for the legislative and executive branch, does such a proposed rule change even belong in the document in the first place?

Needless to say, I could go on listing problems with our current platform -- but it is not my goal to engage in a plank-by-plank critique.  Rather, I'd like to propose to you that you lend your support to the notion of thoroughly revising the platform with the goal of making it significantly shorter.  This would be accomplished by making the platform a statement of broad Republican principles that we as a party can agree on without finding it necessary to wade through the minutiae that currently clogs our party platform.  Having spent significant time studying the platforms of other state Republican parties, I would like to offer for your consideration this document based upon the Utah Republican Party platform -- a version of which was adopted at last summer's Texas Young Republican convention.

PREAMBLE
We, the Republican Party of Texas, affirm our belief in nature's God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the “Rule of Law” and believe in upholding the law of the land.

THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government exists by the consent of the governed and that it must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

REAFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM
The 13 original Sovereign States in Constitutional Convention created the Constitution of the United States of America and subsequently ratified that document creating a Federal Government and granting to that Government limited and enumerated powers.  The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States defines Federal powers as those enumerated in the Constitution and reserves all other powers to the States and to the People.  We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates.

PRIVATE PROPERTY
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its acquisition or use.

ETHICS AND STANDARDS
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and selling of endorsements in all elections.

NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under any foreign command, including the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of the victim. We support capital punishment when appropriate.

SELF DEFENSE
We support the individual constitutionally protected natural right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes. We encourage personal responsibility for the care and use of these firearms. We support the Castle Doctrine and the right of individuals to stand their ground when confronted with criminal violence, and reject the notion that law-abiding citizens have a duty to retreat rather than defend themselves from criminals.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We claim freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public.  We support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

FAMILY VALUES
We recognize the traditional family as the fundamental unit of society. We affirm that parents have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and training in moral values.

RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred regardless of age or infirmity, and therefore we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices.  We reject government efforts to force employers to pay for these practices directly or indirectly under the guise of "health care benefits".

HUMAN SERVICES
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs that must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so, as well as federal regulation of insurance products offered for sale.

HERITAGE
We recognize the contributions made to our quality of life through ethnic diversity. We reject efforts to sanitize history because it offends some based upon race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

EQUAL RIGHTS
We believe that no individual is entitled to rights that exceed or supersede the natural rights of others guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas. There shall be no discrimination by government in favor of or against any individual due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

EDUCATION
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and we support their right to choose public, private, or home education. We support incentives to promote competitive excellence. We encourage cooperative initiatives to help all Texans become literate in English. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public private, or home school. We reject federal imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards.  We reject zero tolerance policies that mindlessly impose punishments that lack a rational relationship to the supposed offense.

TAXATION
We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services that meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people. We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful cap on increasing property taxes so that homeowners need not fear being taxed out of their homes.

REGULATION
We recognize that government regulation can be a major impediment to productivity and to competition. We must rely more on market forces and less on government. Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be eliminated or returned to state and local governments to the degree that it is practical to do so.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well-trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help Texas compete in a world market place. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Texas. We support the Texas Right to Work Law.

THE ENVIRONMENT
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Texas citizens.  We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the State of Texas to use the resources at its disposal to challenge any such declaration in the courts of the United States.

JURY
The jury is a fundamental institution of liberty, because it is the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. The jury has the right and the authority to acquit if jurors feel justice will be served.

IMMIGRATION
America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is critical to both national security and national sovereignty.

We oppose illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment. We support the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens.  We support the mandatory use of E-Verify so that employers can determine whether job applicants are legally entitled to employment in the United States.

OUR MISSION
The Republican Party is a party by the people and for the people. We appreciate the productivity of our citizens, affirm the infinite worth of all individuals, and seek the best possible quality of life for all. We invite all citizens to join us in working together for a better Texas.

As you can see, this proposed platform is much shorter than what we currently have.  It states principles which Republicans of all varieties can support.  It provides direction for our elected officials without tying their hands with too-specific planks.  And yes, it also removes some of the planks that have brought negative scrutiny to the RPT because they are poorly drafted or not given adequate consideration by delegates.

What am I asking of you?  A couple of things.  First, I would appreciate any feedback on what i have presented to you here.  Such feedback can only serve to strengthen this proposal.  Second, I would appreciate your sharing it with other Republicans -- county chairs and precinct chairs in particular -- for their consideration.  Lastly, I would appreciate your endorsement of this effort to fix our broken platform.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this matter.

* * *

Let's just say that I was amazed by the response to this email. Some individuals have been quite supportive of my draft, while others have viewed it negatively. Others have been taken a position somewhere in between, offering their support for the concept of creating a document that is more helpful to the grassroots, party officials, and elected officials while not necessarily endorsing the version I proposed. Some have agreed to share my proposal with others Republicans for purposes of discussion, while others have respectfully declined. The key thing is that it appears to have jump-started some discussion on the future of the RPT platform -- which was my goal when I began to circulate it this past weekend. I offer my sincere thanks and utmost respect to all who responded, whether positively or negatively -- the passion and insights expressed demonstrates that even when we disagree we are all animated by sincere belief and support for for the principles that make the GOP great.

I post this text here now in the hope of expanding the conversation beyond those I contacted over the weekend. Please feel free to offer your critique of the ideas here, and to make suggestions regarding other ways we might improve the platform and the process by which it is created. Most importantly, please feel free to share this with others, and encourage them to do the same. If you like what I have here, please feel free to submit it at your precinct conventions next March after primary voting concludes, or offer it at your County or Senatorial District convention. But most importantly, please keep the conversation going, because the RPT (and the GOP as a whole) can only be strengthened by the full, free, and open exchange of ideas at all levels of the party.


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Corporation With History Of Using Courts To Assert First Amendment Rights Decries Corporations Exercising First Amendment Rights

Because, you know, the New York Times Company (a New York corporation trading on the New York Stock Exchange as NYT) is troubled that the new corporate beneficiaries tend to be conservative in their outlook and the decisions by courts have a libertarian philosophy that keeps government from silencing speech that the big media corporation opposes.

Liberals used to love the First Amendment. But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters.

These days, a provocative new study says, there has been a “corporate takeover of the First Amendment.” The assertion is backed by data, and it comes from an unlikely source: John C. Coates IV, who teaches business law at Harvard and used to be a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the prominent corporate law firm.

“Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”

Oh, the horror of it all -- corporations asserting rights that ought only belong to the poor and downtrodden, and being treated impartially by a blindfolded Lady Justice who is not peeking in order to know when to put her thumb on the scales of justice!

The problem, this article seems to indicate, dates back to decisions that were made in the mid-1970s. Before that, the courts used to only protect the First Amendment rights of downtrodden individuals -- and corporations like the New York Times Company (a New York corporation trading on the New York Stock Exchange as NYT)

How recent a phenomenon is this shocking corporate takeover of the First Amendment? The Times does not provide a precise start date, but surely it must be at least as old as the year 1964. Why? Because that was the year when a wealthy and powerful corporation prevailed in the landmark First Amendment case known as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the for-profit corporate entity (otherwise known as The New York Times) by rejecting a libel suit filed by a Jim Crow official from Alabama who objected when the paper published a letter critical of his local government's mistreatment of black Americans. If the corporation lost, the Court observed, "would-be critics of official conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism," thus diminishing the scope of the First Amendment.

Seven years later, that same wealthy and powerful corporate entity prevailed in yet another landmark First Amendment case, a decision known as New York Times Co. v. United States. Here the Supreme Court invalidated the federal government's attempt to suppress publication of the so-called Pentagon Papers. According to Justice Hugo Black, the corporation had to win this dispute, otherwise the outcome "would make a shambles of the First Amendment."

So you see, the New York Times Company (a New York corporation trading on the New York Stock Exchange as NYT) used to be a supporter of expanding corporate First Amendment rights -- back when it was the rights of the New York Times Company (a New York corporation trading on the New York Stock Exchange as NYT) that were being protected and expanded.


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Hillary Clinton's Brother, Clinton Operatives, Used Connections To Influence Visa Decisions While She Was Secretary Of State

Conceding that the pressure was exerted upon the Department of Homeland Security, but when long-time members of the Secretary of State's inner circle begin pressuring officials to give favorable decisions to certain applicants, it certainly has an effect.

The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department meddled in three high-profile immigration cases, giving special treatment to applications from wealthy and well-connected immigrants after calls from major Democrats despite the objections of career employees, the department’s inspector general concluded in a report Tuesday.

Alejandro Mayorkas, who was elevated from head of the department’s legal immigration agency to be deputy secretary while the investigation was ongoing, also angered many of his colleagues by getting involved in the cases, and “created an appearance of favoritism and special access” for the wealthy immigrants, the inspector general concluded.

Inspector General John Roth said the cases involved major Democrats: former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Harry Reid, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In each case, pressure from those individuals helped earn favorable treatment, Mr. Roth said.

Looks to me like we need to have another investigation into Hillary Clinton and the corrupt Obama Administration.


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Government Urges Banks To Report Legal Financial Transactions To Law Enforcement!

Call it one more example of Justice Department lawlessness.

The Justice Department is ordering bank employees to consider calling the cops on customers who withdraw $5,000 dollars or more, a chilling example of how the war on cash is intensifying.

Banks are already required to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ on their customers, with threats of fines and even jail time for directors if financial institutions don’t meet quotas.

But as investor and financial blogger Simon Black points out, last week, “A senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police.”

Assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell gave a speech in which he urged banks to “alert law enforcement authorities about the problem” so that police can “seize the funds” or at least “initiate an investigation”.

As Black highlights, according to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, such suspicious activity includes, “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…”

The thing is, there is no legal requirement for the reporting of cash transactions of less than $10,000, though in many cases banks will make reports if there is a cash transaction of as little as $8,000. Now the Justice Department is demanding information on transactions of only half the legally required amount so that they can investigate why one wants that much cash – and perhaps even seize it.

Stuff like this leads me to wonder at what point are We the People going to rise up and overthrow the fascist regime operated by Barack Obama.


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When Political Correctness Keeps Officials From Stating The Obvious

I know that rape happens – I’ve had too many women close to me who have been victims. And I know that too often the victims of rape have not been believed – one of those women I mentioned earlier told me the awful tale of having been violently assaulted by an acquaintance only to have the police tell her that they believed she just regretted having consented to rough sex with someone other than her boyfriend. I’m therefore quite sympathetic to calls to “believe the victim” even though I am also a firm believer in due process for those accused of sexual assault. But at a certain point, the weight of evidence requires that one concede that a claim of sexual assault is not simply unsubstantiated, but is actually a lie.

Unfortunately, the politically correct orthodoxy of the current day leads even those charged with investigating claims of sexual assault to bend themselves into pretzel-like shapes to avoid declaring a claim to be unambiguously false.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. — Police here say they have found no evidence to support claims in a Rolling Stone article that a University of Virginia student was gang raped at a campus fraternity in September 2012, noting that months of investigation led detectives to discredit several claims about the alleged assault.

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo on Monday afternoon said the police department had multiple meetings with “Jackie” — the woman who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party — and that she declined to speak about the alleged incident or provide any information about it. Numerous lines of inquiry yielded evidence that the fraternity did not have a party the night of the alleged attack, and police were unable to find anyone matching the description of the alleged attacker.

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

In other words, there is not a single scrap of evidence that shows that any of the claims made by the putative victim of this alleged assault contains even a grain of truth – but nobody in authority is prepared to say that the myriad false claims made lead inexorably to the conclusion that the alleged victim is a confirmed liar. Would that somebody, anybody, in a position of authority would mockingly denounce the liar and her supporters with the infamous old line “I deny the allegations and I defy the alligators.”

UPDATE(Via Hot Air): It gets worse -- now the supporters of Jackie the Liar are demanding that people not blame her for lying and instead affirm her for having had the courage to lie so boldly.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is pushing for stronger laws against rapes on college campuses, today warned against people criticizing the woman at the center of a University of Virginia sexual assault case.

...

But Gillibrand said the ire over the case shouldn't shift blame onto victims, who already have a hard time coming forward to authorities.


"Victim blaming or shining the spotlight on her for coming forward is not the right approach," Gillibrand said on "The Capitol Pressroom," a public radio show in Albany. "In fact, what we have to focus on is how do we keep these campuses safe? How do we have better trained personnel on campuses so they can tell a survivor what her options are and so they can have all the facts?"

Not only that, Senator Gillibrand rejects the notion that the false accuser should face criminal charges for violating laws against making false police reports.

Gillibrand said it would be wrong for some to call on the female student in the UVA scandal to face criminal charges.

"I think it's inappropriate," she said. "One of the challenges with survivors of sexual trauma and rape is that they often don’t want to actually participate with law enforcement because they don’t think justice is possible. They don't think they will be believed; they think they’ll be blamed."

So never mind that there is not a scrap of evidence supporting the report that she made or the stories that she has told. Never mind the damage she has done to those who she falsely branded as rapists and accessories to rape. Never mind the damage that she has done to ACTUAL VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT by perpetrating this fraud upon the public by making up a patently false story out of whole cloth. It is a bad thing to hold her accountable like we would those who filed false reports about other crimes because she lied about being raped and if we punish women who lie about rape it might discourage those who have actually been sexually assaulted from reporting those crimes.

Ace of Spades has it right. These are not advocates for victims -- they are Cultists who demand that no one examine or criticize their false religion.


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On The Ted Cruz Presidential Announcement

I like my state’s junior senator – I really do. But I’m not backing him for the nomination. I don’t think he is ready for the presidency – and don’t think that is the best place for him to use his gifts. Instead, I would like to see President Scott Walker appoint Ted Cruz to the first available opening on the US Supreme Court – preferably replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That would make for a good four decades of a constitutional conservative on the High Court.

But on to the announcement itself.

First, the speech was masterful. But then again, when doesn’t Ted Cruz show himself to be a master of the art of political rhetoric? In that he is very much in the mold of Ronald Reagan. The vision he laid out is a conservative one that I think many, if not most, Americans believe in. Unfortunately, he is not the man to bring it to fruition, just as Barry Goldwater was fated to be the prophet of conservative governance rather than the one who brought it into effect. I embrace the vision Ted Cruz presented yesterday – a vision that a generation ago was firmly and undeniably in the American mainstream even if the left-wing opinion elite declare it to be dangerously extreme today – and I believe that most Americans embrace it today.

But I have to admit that I was put off by the choice of Liberty University as the site for the Cruz announcement. It wasn’t just that Cruz chose not to make the announcement here in Houston, the city he calls home in the state he represents in the Senate. It wasn’t just that Liberty University is inextricably tied to its late founder, Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the social conservative movement. It was that the audience itself was composed of students made into involuntary props because the speech was a part of a mandatory student assembly (indeed, students would have been fined by the university for nonattendance). Ted Cruz could have drawn an adoring and enthusiastic audience of supporters any number of places – but he didn’t try to do so. I believe that was a mistake in terms of optics, and an insult to those who would have gladly turned out to voluntarily support Cruz.

But at the same time, I want to point to something very interesting that happened at the speech – something that I believe shows a greater openness to diversity of opinion at Liberty University than one would have found at most public colleges of liberal-dominated private universities.

ABC_cruz_announcement_rand_paul_shirts_jtm_150323_16x9_992[1].jpg

Yeah, that’s right – a band of Liberty University students wearing shirts supporting Rand Paul placed themselves in the right spot to be in many shots of the Cruz speech. University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. commented on it this way when asked about it by the media.

"The fact that some students attended the service wearing t-shirts supporting another potential candidate shows that our students are not indoctrinated; they are free—and encouraged—to form their own opinions about what they hear in Convocation and to express it," Falwell said.

Considering that any number of institutions of higher education and political campaigns (notably the Obama campaign in both 2008 and 2012) have banned the expression of dissenting political speech during appearances by presidential candidates and their surrogates at campus speeches and rallies, the fact that Liberty University and the Cruz campaign made no such effort to suppress the speech of students who support other candidates shows a level of support for freedom of thought and freedom of expression not generally found on campuses today. I commend both the school and the campaign for modeling truly American values that are too often neglected by the self-proclaimed voices of tolerance on campuses today – and note that the fact that Falwell had to explain to the media why freedom of speech was permitted on campus tells us a great deal about the degree to which suppression of student liberties is expected and accepted at most institutions of higher education today.


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I Heard You Missed Me – I’m Back

It has been an interesting couple of weeks – and a silent couple of weeks as well.

Two weeks ago tonight, I came home from school feeling tired and headachey – but looking forward to a night at the rodeo, followed by a concert by Tim McGraw. I told my wife that I was going to lay down for 30 minutes or so – only to instead sleep for about the next 300 when she decided that I was clearly too sick for a night out. By morning I could barely talk or breathe, and spent the next couple of days fighting a sinus infection. Thanks to my students for cooperating with me as I gutted out the rest of the week leading up to Spring Break – they are the best.

But as the weekend began, my illness got passed on to my darling wife – and settled into her lungs. It wasn’t the worst case of bronchitis she has ever had, and we caught it before it tipped over into pneumonia – but that put our rodeo plans on hold for most of break as we coughed, sneezed and sniffled our way through what was planned to be an active vacation. We did make it to the rodeo a during the latter part of the week – only to get caught out in a major thunderstorm that sent Paula into a relapse .

Needless to say, I just haven’t felt like writing for the last couple of weeks – both because I needed to recover and I needed to help her recover. But it is just as well – the rest I’ve gotten has been a big help and I started back to school yesterday feeling better and on an emotionally higher not than I would have if I had forced myself to keep up with the news as closely as I usually do so that I can blog the way I usually do.

But I’m back. And I hope that the rest turns out to be as good for my writing as it has been for other areas of my life.


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March 20, 2015

Watcher's Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.


“”You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” – Adolf Hitler


“I studied the Qu’ran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself” – Alexis de Tocqueville


“All this talk of people who burn the Koran and nothing about the people who reacted in such a stupid way. We are always blaming the victim and not holding them — not most Muslims, but at least a large part of Muslim culture that doesn’t condemn their people… There is one religion in the world that kills you when you disagree with them and they say ‘look, we are a religion of peace and if you disagree we’ll f**king cut your head off, and nobody calls them on it — there are very few people that will call them on it. It’s like if Dad is a violent drunk and beats his kids, you don’t blame the kid because he set Dad off. You blame Dad because he’s a violent drunk” - Bill Maher


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This week’s winning essay, Joshuapundit’s The Chicken Or The Egg? looks at some elements of Islamic culture and asks: is it Islam that promotes the extreme violence and misogyny associated with Muslim societies? Or is that just [art of a tribal society that persists in spite of Islam? Here’s a slice:


Unless you’re in a coma, you’ve probably noticed that a great many of the violent and barbaric acts in our modern world can be attributed to followers of Islam.


In the Islamic world today, aside from homicide bombings, jihad and terrorism directed against dar harb ( the part of the world not ruled by Islam), honor killings, female genital circumcision and other forms of violence against women are commonplace, and homosexuals are routinely brutalized and murdered. Non-Muslims are treated as barely human in much of the Islamic world, if they’re allowed to exist at all. Warfare carried out by Muslims is done with modern tools of the trade provided by the despised infidels, but is a relic of the good ol’ primitive and tribal days. Hostages, beheadings and the deliberate killing of civilians are all fair game, and the language of jihad is essentially the same heady stuff used back in the 7th century against the infidel. And through it all, there remains the miasma of seething violent rage at things like the Danish cartoons that simply doesn’t exist in other religious groups.


The question nobody wants to ask keeps floating to the surface: Is Islam to blame? Or, to put it another way, are the perpetrators simply bad Muslims or are they actually good ones who are simply more in tune with Mohammed’s message than the majority? Does Islam itself promote violence? Or are the acts simply a product of primitive tribal society that persists in spite of Islam?


Actually, this is a trick question. I personally believe that Islam and the primitive tribal culture combined back in the day to sustain each other and can’t be separated by their very nature…even though some valiant attempts have been made in the past, and are being made today.


Let’s look at honor killings, for example. Probably the oldest recorded one is in Genesis 34, when Jacob’s daughter Dinah was seduced (or raped, depending on how you interpret the text) by a man from the town of Shechem( modern day Nablus). Afterwards, Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi instigated the killing of the town’s men in revenge. But the Torah also tells us how Jacob denounced the killings and actually took the time to bad mouth his sons for the deed from his deathbed. Not only that, but you’ll notice a profound difference from the Islamic way of handling this – the onus of punishment fell on the male, not the female.


his isn’t the only honor killing mentioned in the Bible, but they were never condoned or part of Jewish law, just merely reported.


Islam, on the other hand, not only sanctions honor killings but is quite clear about its position in the matter. Killing or flogging an adulteress or a female that has relations with a non-Muslim male are part of sharia ( Qu’ran: 4:15, for example) – provided an Islamic court orders the punishment rather than an individual male family member going off on his own.


Even at that, Islamic courts today in the Muslim world frequently view male family members taking the law into their own hands fairly leniently. In Jordan, for example, many brutal honor killings have been punished by as little as a three month sentence under Jordanian Public Law 340. Moreover, in the context of Islamic society such murderers are often celebrated and held up as role models. Just as homicide bombers and terrorists who kill infidel civilians often are.


But what if a Muslim feels himself disrespected and lives in say, Britain or New Jersey? If no Islamic courts are available, is it permissible to take the law into one’s own hands? Probably. There’s not much in the way of Islamic rulings or commentary on that particular subject, but the near silence of most Muslim clergy in the West when it comes to denouncing honor killings speaks volumes…one of those little inconvenient truths Western apologists for multiculturalism and Islam constantly run up against when a number of Muslim clerics themselves insist that honor killing, female genital mutilation, and stoning of adulterers are mandated by Islam. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now , that’s one of the unspoken reasons behind the push among many Muslims in the West for sharia courts to handle those messy domestic problems that come up with uppity females from time to time.


Violent death penalties for women caught in adultery is fairly typical of a primitive society, but only Islam continues the practice into the present day. No Christian court has ever condemned a woman to death for adultery. And although the death penalty for adultery is found in the Book of Leviticus, there is no record of such a sentence ever carried out by any Jewish court. The same is true of homosexuality; while both Christianity and Judaism consider it ‘a sin and an abomination’ only Islam clearly mandates the death penalty for such activities and carries it out in our present day.


So why does Islamic society persist in these practices ?


Much more at the link.


In our non-Council category, the winner was Daniel Greenfield’sObama’s Treason Is The New Patriotism submitted by The Noisy Room. Daniel has some very hard hitting things to say about President Obama and a number of his questionable actions..and the tendency by the usual suspects to name anyone whom disagrees with the Regime a ‘traitor.’


Here are this week’s full results. GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD and Rhymes With Right were unable to vote this week, but were not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:



Council Winners




Non-Council Winners



See you next week!


Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!


And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.



It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.


And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?


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Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

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About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

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Recent Entries

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District Dies Not With A Bang, But A Whimper
Ross Douhat’s Seven Questions For Liberals On The Place Of Individuals And Institutions Supporting Traditional Marriage In Contemporary Society
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