Day: July 28, 2017

No Male, No Female: Canadian Baby First with a 'U' on Birth Certificate


Editor’s note: The poor child featured in this story is referred to below by masculine pronouns – not because we have information as to his gender, but as a grammatical convention called the gender-neutral “he,” sometimes used outside insane liberal enclaves for gender-ambiguous singular nouns like “someone” and “everyone.”

The tired, inaccurate, and overused dismissal hurled at theists by the liberal elite is “there is no God because science.”  The hilarious irony is the inconsistency they utilize in weighing their own beliefs and decisions against “science.”  So long as they can use “science” to absolve themselves from accountability to absolutes (read: God), it is their friend, but shame on anyone who challenges any of their more radical beliefs on scientific grounds.

Those medical experts who claim that gender is binary?  Well, they are nothing more than bigots trying to hinder human flourishing.  Science is useful only when it serves the purpose of silencing those outdated enough to oppose “progress.”

Marching at the head of the Progress Parade is a Canadian creature who goes by the name of Kori Doty.  And the creature has just given birth to the future – a child who, after a brief dispute, is the first to have a “U” on his birth certificate where others have been confined to the outdated norm of “F” and “M.”  The “U,” of course, is for “unassigned” or “undetermined.”

At War with Gravity

In other words, when people asked Kori (who is a tertium quid, identifying as neither male nor female), “Do you know if you’re having a girl or a boy?” the response was, “I’m waiting until it is old enough to decide for itself.”

The real head-scratcher is why Kori would allow “themself” (the pronoun of choice for those at war with, among other things, the outdated norms of binary genders, hereafter avoided) to be so closed-minded and limited.  Has she not thought through the ramifications of labeling her offspring a person?  Why is she limiting the generation that will inherit the future to the category of human?

Why not label her child a creature?  Or better yet, a “being”?  What if he grows up and decides he wants to identify as a yeti or a demogorgon, or some other fictitious creature?  Who is Kori to tell her child that he must be human?  Why stop there?  So long as we’re freeing ourselves from the limitations of reality, what if the child decides he wants to be an inanimate object, like a slab of stone or the lost Ark of the Covenant?

I know, I know: this is too radical.  The world is not ready for this type of progress quite yet.  By proposing these outlandish ideas, I’m likely to get stoned.  Let’s start off small and try to wrap our heads around Doty’s small step toward “progress.”  Her aim: to remove gender from birth certificates, or at the very least give a third option.

As for me, it might be a while before I can legally identify as rubber.  But as soon as I can, watch out, world, ’cause every stone you throw at me will bounce right back at you!

The Fight for Freedom to Be “Other”

Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think this sort of silliness is better left to the world of science fiction.  The true victim here is Kori’s poor child, who gets the pleasure of being the subject of a ridiculous social experiment.

Doty is seeking to make history by fighting for the right to free our children from the outdated norms of being labeled male or female at birth.  It is a difficult and unnecessary process, Doty argues, to attempt to change one’s gender at a later time in life.  Then again, the denial of reality is always a difficult process.  The man who identifies as a butterfly finds that out every time he jumps from the roof of his garage only to land on the cold, hard, familiar blacktop once again.  Reality is so unforgiving to those who wish to live a fairy tale.

Kori is trying to remove any reference to gender from her own birth certificate as well.  Should Kori fail, she’ll sleep better at night knowing that if not for her, at least her child and the next generation will be freed from the constraints of having to identify as a male or female (so long as he can avoid the pesky reminder between his legs).

Doty reminds us that it is discriminatory to assume that because someone has a penis or a vagina, that person is either a male or a female.  Gender is a figment of the imagination to those who live in reality, and they must not assault those who live in alternate realities with their bigotries.

If Doty has her way, the government will not be able to determine what gender is “true” by labeling it as such on a birth certificate.  What business does the government (or God, for that matter) have in determining truth?  If the government tells me I ran a red light and caused a fifty-car pile-up and shows me surveillance footage to back it up, that’s just the government’s opinion, right?  I don’t live on this planet and won’t be subject to its restrictions.

Here’s to the future, where we will no longer be confined by the scientific norms entrusted to us by our Creator that remind us we are dependent upon him (or is it they/them/their?) for our gender or species.  But what do I know?  I’m just an anti-scientific Christian who still believes in reality.  Maybe in the future, my children will choose to identify as kettles.  If Kori’s successful in her endeavors, you’d better believe there won’t be anyone there to call them black.

Sean Nolan is a husband, father, pastor, and former schoolteacher.  You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanNolan or check out his blog (www.familylifepastor.org). 

Editor’s note: The poor child featured in this story is referred to below by masculine pronouns – not because we have information as to his gender, but as a grammatical convention called the gender-neutral “he,” sometimes used outside insane liberal enclaves for gender-ambiguous singular nouns like “someone” and “everyone.”

The tired, inaccurate, and overused dismissal hurled at theists by the liberal elite is “there is no God because science.”  The hilarious irony is the inconsistency they utilize in weighing their own beliefs and decisions against “science.”  So long as they can use “science” to absolve themselves from accountability to absolutes (read: God), it is their friend, but shame on anyone who challenges any of their more radical beliefs on scientific grounds.

Those medical experts who claim that gender is binary?  Well, they are nothing more than bigots trying to hinder human flourishing.  Science is useful only when it serves the purpose of silencing those outdated enough to oppose “progress.”

Marching at the head of the Progress Parade is a Canadian creature who goes by the name of Kori Doty.  And the creature has just given birth to the future – a child who, after a brief dispute, is the first to have a “U” on his birth certificate where others have been confined to the outdated norm of “F” and “M.”  The “U,” of course, is for “unassigned” or “undetermined.”

At War with Gravity

In other words, when people asked Kori (who is a tertium quid, identifying as neither male nor female), “Do you know if you’re having a girl or a boy?” the response was, “I’m waiting until it is old enough to decide for itself.”

The real head-scratcher is why Kori would allow “themself” (the pronoun of choice for those at war with, among other things, the outdated norms of binary genders, hereafter avoided) to be so closed-minded and limited.  Has she not thought through the ramifications of labeling her offspring a person?  Why is she limiting the generation that will inherit the future to the category of human?

Why not label her child a creature?  Or better yet, a “being”?  What if he grows up and decides he wants to identify as a yeti or a demogorgon, or some other fictitious creature?  Who is Kori to tell her child that he must be human?  Why stop there?  So long as we’re freeing ourselves from the limitations of reality, what if the child decides he wants to be an inanimate object, like a slab of stone or the lost Ark of the Covenant?

I know, I know: this is too radical.  The world is not ready for this type of progress quite yet.  By proposing these outlandish ideas, I’m likely to get stoned.  Let’s start off small and try to wrap our heads around Doty’s small step toward “progress.”  Her aim: to remove gender from birth certificates, or at the very least give a third option.

As for me, it might be a while before I can legally identify as rubber.  But as soon as I can, watch out, world, ’cause every stone you throw at me will bounce right back at you!

The Fight for Freedom to Be “Other”

Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think this sort of silliness is better left to the world of science fiction.  The true victim here is Kori’s poor child, who gets the pleasure of being the subject of a ridiculous social experiment.

Doty is seeking to make history by fighting for the right to free our children from the outdated norms of being labeled male or female at birth.  It is a difficult and unnecessary process, Doty argues, to attempt to change one’s gender at a later time in life.  Then again, the denial of reality is always a difficult process.  The man who identifies as a butterfly finds that out every time he jumps from the roof of his garage only to land on the cold, hard, familiar blacktop once again.  Reality is so unforgiving to those who wish to live a fairy tale.

Kori is trying to remove any reference to gender from her own birth certificate as well.  Should Kori fail, she’ll sleep better at night knowing that if not for her, at least her child and the next generation will be freed from the constraints of having to identify as a male or female (so long as he can avoid the pesky reminder between his legs).

Doty reminds us that it is discriminatory to assume that because someone has a penis or a vagina, that person is either a male or a female.  Gender is a figment of the imagination to those who live in reality, and they must not assault those who live in alternate realities with their bigotries.

If Doty has her way, the government will not be able to determine what gender is “true” by labeling it as such on a birth certificate.  What business does the government (or God, for that matter) have in determining truth?  If the government tells me I ran a red light and caused a fifty-car pile-up and shows me surveillance footage to back it up, that’s just the government’s opinion, right?  I don’t live on this planet and won’t be subject to its restrictions.

Here’s to the future, where we will no longer be confined by the scientific norms entrusted to us by our Creator that remind us we are dependent upon him (or is it they/them/their?) for our gender or species.  But what do I know?  I’m just an anti-scientific Christian who still believes in reality.  Maybe in the future, my children will choose to identify as kettles.  If Kori’s successful in her endeavors, you’d better believe there won’t be anyone there to call them black.

Sean Nolan is a husband, father, pastor, and former schoolteacher.  You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanNolan or check out his blog (www.familylifepastor.org). 



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The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America


Slavery in America, typically associated with blacks from Africa, was an enterprise that began with the shipping of more than 300,000 white Britons to the colonies.  This little known history is fascinatingly recounted in White Cargo (New York University Press, 2007).  Drawing on letters, diaries, ship manifests, court documents, and government archives, authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh detail how thousands of whites endured the hardships of tobacco farming and lived and died in bondage in the New World. 

Following the cultivation in 1613 of an acceptable tobacco crop in Virginia, the need for labor accelerated.  Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of providing the necessary work force.  Due to harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates for slaves rarely exceeded two years.  Thus, the high level of demand was sustained by a continuous flow of white slaves from England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, who were imported to serve America’s colonial masters. 

These white slaves in the New World consisted of street children plucked from London’s back alleys, prostitutes, and impoverished migrants searching for a brighter future and willing to sign up for indentured servitude.  Convicts were also persuaded to avoid lengthy sentences and executions on their home soil by enslavement in the British colonies.  The much maligned Irish, viewed as savages worthy of ethnic cleansing and despised for their rejection of Protestantism, also made up a portion of America’s first slave population, as did Quakers, Cavaliers, Puritans, Jesuits, and others.

Around 1618 at the start of their colonial slave trade, the English began by seizing and shipping to Virginia impoverished children, even toddlers, from London slums.  Some impoverished parents sought a better life for their offspring and agreed to send them, but most often, the children were sent despite their own protests and those of their families.  At the time, the London authorities represented their actions as an act of charity, a chance for a poor youth to apprentice in America, learn a trade, and avoid starvation at home.  Tragically, once these unfortunate youngsters arrived, 50% of them were dead within a year after being sold to farmers to work the fields.

A few months after the first shipment of children, the first African slaves were shipped to Virginia.  Interestingly, no American market existed for African slaves until late in the 17th century.  Until then, black slave traders typically took their cargo to Bermuda.  England’s poor were the colonies’ preferred source of slave labor, even though Europeans were more likely than Africans to die an early death in the fields.  Slave owners had a greater interest in keeping African slaves alive because they represented a more significant investment.  Black slaves received better treatment than Europeans on plantations, as they were viewed as valuable, lifelong property rather than indentured servants with a specific term of service.

These indentured servants represented the next wave of laborers.  They were promised land after a period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever owning any land.  Mortality rates were high.  Of the 1,200 who arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings.  In Maryland, out of 5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680, 1,250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241 ever became landowners. 

Early in the 17th century, the headright system, a land allocation program to attract new colonists, began in Jamestown, Virginia as an attempt to solve labor shortages.  The program provided acreage to heads of households that funded travel to the colony for destitute individuals to work the land.  It led to the sharp growth of indentured servitude and slavery because the more slaves imported by a colonist, the larger the tracts of land received.  Promises of prosperity and land were used to lure the poor, who were typically enslaved for three to 15 years.  All the while, agents profited handsomely by augmenting their land holdings.  Corruption was rampant in the headright system and included double-counting of individual slaves, land allocations for servants who were dead upon arrival, and per head fees given for those kidnapped off English streets.

Purveyors of slaves often worked in teams of spirits, captains, and office-keepers to kidnap people from English ports for sale in the American labor market.  Spirits lured or kidnapped potential servants and arranged for their transport with ship captains.  Office-keepers maintained a base to run the operation.  They would entertain their prey and get them to sign papers until an awaiting ship became available.  Spirits and their accomplices were occasionally put on trial, but court records show that they got off easily and that the practice was tolerated because it was so profitable.

The indentured servant system of people who voluntarily mortgaged their freedom evolved into slavery.  England essentially dumped its unwanted in the American colonies, where they were treated no better than livestock.  Servants were regularly battered, whipped, and humiliated.  Disease was rampant, food was in short supply, and working and living conditions were grim.  War with local native Indian tribes was common.  Severe punishment made escape unrealistic.  Initially, running away was considered a capital crime, with clemency granted in exchange for an agreement to increase the period of servitude.

In the 1640s, the transportation of the Irish began.  Britain’s goal was to obliterate Ireland’s Catholics to make room for English planters.  Catholics who refused to attend a Protestant church could be fined.  If they were unable to pay, they could be sold as slaves.  Following the end of the English Civil Wars in 1651, English military and political leader Oliver Cromwell focused his attention on Ireland, where the people had allied with the defeated royalists during the conflict.  Famine was created by the intentional destruction of food stocks.  Those implicated in the rebellion had their land confiscated and were sold into slavery.  Anyone refusing to relocate was threatened with death, including children.

Scots were also subjected to transportation to the British colonies for religious differences, as England imposed Anglican disciplines on the Church of Scotland as well.  The English army was deployed to break up illegal church assemblies and imprison or deport religious protesters. 

Cruelty to servants was rampant.  Beatings were common, and the perpetrators, buttressed by juries made up of fellow landowners, were rarely punished for abuse or even murder.  In time, efforts were made to improve the lot of servants.  Legislation in 1662 provided for a “competent diet, clothing and lodging” and disciplinary measures not to “exceed the bounds of moderation.”  Servants were granted the right to complain, but the cruelty continued. 

Infanticide by unmarried women was common, as they could be severely punished for “fornication.”  The mother faced a whipping, fines, and extra years added to her servitude.  Her offspring faced time in bondage as well.  If the mother was the victim of a rape by the master, he faced a fine and the loss of a servant but wasn’t subjected to whipping.

Several uprisings in the American colonies awakened slave owners to problems, exposing their vulnerability within the caste-like master-servant social system they had created.  In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, an aristocrat from England who became a Virginia colonist, instigated an insurrection, referred to as Bacon’s Rebellion, that changed the course of white slavery. 

Prior to Bacon’s Rebellion, much discontentment existed among servants over seemingly empty promises of land following their periods of indenture.  When they were finally freed of their obligations, many found that they couldn’t afford the required land surveying fees and the exorbitant poll taxes. 

In 1675, when war broke out with some of the native tribes, Bacon joined the side of the warring settlers and offered freedom to every slave and servant who deserted his master and joined Bacon in battle.  Hundreds enthusiastically joined him in the insurgency.  When Bacon died suddenly, his supporters fled or surrendered; some were recaptured, put in chains, and beaten or hanged.  However, because of the revolt, whites gained rights.  Whippings were forbidden without a formal judicial order. 

By the early 1770s, the convict trade was big business, more profitable than the black slave trade because criminals were cheap.  They could be sold for one third the price of indentured servants.  England’s jails were being emptied into America on a significant scale.  Additionally, merchants who traded in convicts from England and Ireland received a subsidy for every miscreant transported to America.  Up to a third of incoming convicts died from dysentery, smallpox, typhoid, and freezing temperatures.  Upon arrival, they were advertised for sale, inspected, and taken away in chains by new masters.

Following the Revolutionary War, the British continued to ship convict labor as “indentured servants” to America.  During that time, seven ships filled with prisoners made the journey, and two successfully landed.  In 1789, convict importation was legally banned across the U.S.  America would no longer be the dumping ground for British criminals.  It took another 30 years before the indentured servant trade ended completely.  

A well written and well researched historical narrative, White Cargo does an excellent job of elucidating a forgotten part of our colonial past by telling the story of thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage before African slaves were transported to the New World.

Slavery in America, typically associated with blacks from Africa, was an enterprise that began with the shipping of more than 300,000 white Britons to the colonies.  This little known history is fascinatingly recounted in White Cargo (New York University Press, 2007).  Drawing on letters, diaries, ship manifests, court documents, and government archives, authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh detail how thousands of whites endured the hardships of tobacco farming and lived and died in bondage in the New World. 

Following the cultivation in 1613 of an acceptable tobacco crop in Virginia, the need for labor accelerated.  Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of providing the necessary work force.  Due to harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates for slaves rarely exceeded two years.  Thus, the high level of demand was sustained by a continuous flow of white slaves from England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, who were imported to serve America’s colonial masters. 

These white slaves in the New World consisted of street children plucked from London’s back alleys, prostitutes, and impoverished migrants searching for a brighter future and willing to sign up for indentured servitude.  Convicts were also persuaded to avoid lengthy sentences and executions on their home soil by enslavement in the British colonies.  The much maligned Irish, viewed as savages worthy of ethnic cleansing and despised for their rejection of Protestantism, also made up a portion of America’s first slave population, as did Quakers, Cavaliers, Puritans, Jesuits, and others.

Around 1618 at the start of their colonial slave trade, the English began by seizing and shipping to Virginia impoverished children, even toddlers, from London slums.  Some impoverished parents sought a better life for their offspring and agreed to send them, but most often, the children were sent despite their own protests and those of their families.  At the time, the London authorities represented their actions as an act of charity, a chance for a poor youth to apprentice in America, learn a trade, and avoid starvation at home.  Tragically, once these unfortunate youngsters arrived, 50% of them were dead within a year after being sold to farmers to work the fields.

A few months after the first shipment of children, the first African slaves were shipped to Virginia.  Interestingly, no American market existed for African slaves until late in the 17th century.  Until then, black slave traders typically took their cargo to Bermuda.  England’s poor were the colonies’ preferred source of slave labor, even though Europeans were more likely than Africans to die an early death in the fields.  Slave owners had a greater interest in keeping African slaves alive because they represented a more significant investment.  Black slaves received better treatment than Europeans on plantations, as they were viewed as valuable, lifelong property rather than indentured servants with a specific term of service.

These indentured servants represented the next wave of laborers.  They were promised land after a period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever owning any land.  Mortality rates were high.  Of the 1,200 who arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings.  In Maryland, out of 5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680, 1,250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241 ever became landowners. 

Early in the 17th century, the headright system, a land allocation program to attract new colonists, began in Jamestown, Virginia as an attempt to solve labor shortages.  The program provided acreage to heads of households that funded travel to the colony for destitute individuals to work the land.  It led to the sharp growth of indentured servitude and slavery because the more slaves imported by a colonist, the larger the tracts of land received.  Promises of prosperity and land were used to lure the poor, who were typically enslaved for three to 15 years.  All the while, agents profited handsomely by augmenting their land holdings.  Corruption was rampant in the headright system and included double-counting of individual slaves, land allocations for servants who were dead upon arrival, and per head fees given for those kidnapped off English streets.

Purveyors of slaves often worked in teams of spirits, captains, and office-keepers to kidnap people from English ports for sale in the American labor market.  Spirits lured or kidnapped potential servants and arranged for their transport with ship captains.  Office-keepers maintained a base to run the operation.  They would entertain their prey and get them to sign papers until an awaiting ship became available.  Spirits and their accomplices were occasionally put on trial, but court records show that they got off easily and that the practice was tolerated because it was so profitable.

The indentured servant system of people who voluntarily mortgaged their freedom evolved into slavery.  England essentially dumped its unwanted in the American colonies, where they were treated no better than livestock.  Servants were regularly battered, whipped, and humiliated.  Disease was rampant, food was in short supply, and working and living conditions were grim.  War with local native Indian tribes was common.  Severe punishment made escape unrealistic.  Initially, running away was considered a capital crime, with clemency granted in exchange for an agreement to increase the period of servitude.

In the 1640s, the transportation of the Irish began.  Britain’s goal was to obliterate Ireland’s Catholics to make room for English planters.  Catholics who refused to attend a Protestant church could be fined.  If they were unable to pay, they could be sold as slaves.  Following the end of the English Civil Wars in 1651, English military and political leader Oliver Cromwell focused his attention on Ireland, where the people had allied with the defeated royalists during the conflict.  Famine was created by the intentional destruction of food stocks.  Those implicated in the rebellion had their land confiscated and were sold into slavery.  Anyone refusing to relocate was threatened with death, including children.

Scots were also subjected to transportation to the British colonies for religious differences, as England imposed Anglican disciplines on the Church of Scotland as well.  The English army was deployed to break up illegal church assemblies and imprison or deport religious protesters. 

Cruelty to servants was rampant.  Beatings were common, and the perpetrators, buttressed by juries made up of fellow landowners, were rarely punished for abuse or even murder.  In time, efforts were made to improve the lot of servants.  Legislation in 1662 provided for a “competent diet, clothing and lodging” and disciplinary measures not to “exceed the bounds of moderation.”  Servants were granted the right to complain, but the cruelty continued. 

Infanticide by unmarried women was common, as they could be severely punished for “fornication.”  The mother faced a whipping, fines, and extra years added to her servitude.  Her offspring faced time in bondage as well.  If the mother was the victim of a rape by the master, he faced a fine and the loss of a servant but wasn’t subjected to whipping.

Several uprisings in the American colonies awakened slave owners to problems, exposing their vulnerability within the caste-like master-servant social system they had created.  In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, an aristocrat from England who became a Virginia colonist, instigated an insurrection, referred to as Bacon’s Rebellion, that changed the course of white slavery. 

Prior to Bacon’s Rebellion, much discontentment existed among servants over seemingly empty promises of land following their periods of indenture.  When they were finally freed of their obligations, many found that they couldn’t afford the required land surveying fees and the exorbitant poll taxes. 

In 1675, when war broke out with some of the native tribes, Bacon joined the side of the warring settlers and offered freedom to every slave and servant who deserted his master and joined Bacon in battle.  Hundreds enthusiastically joined him in the insurgency.  When Bacon died suddenly, his supporters fled or surrendered; some were recaptured, put in chains, and beaten or hanged.  However, because of the revolt, whites gained rights.  Whippings were forbidden without a formal judicial order. 

By the early 1770s, the convict trade was big business, more profitable than the black slave trade because criminals were cheap.  They could be sold for one third the price of indentured servants.  England’s jails were being emptied into America on a significant scale.  Additionally, merchants who traded in convicts from England and Ireland received a subsidy for every miscreant transported to America.  Up to a third of incoming convicts died from dysentery, smallpox, typhoid, and freezing temperatures.  Upon arrival, they were advertised for sale, inspected, and taken away in chains by new masters.

Following the Revolutionary War, the British continued to ship convict labor as “indentured servants” to America.  During that time, seven ships filled with prisoners made the journey, and two successfully landed.  In 1789, convict importation was legally banned across the U.S.  America would no longer be the dumping ground for British criminals.  It took another 30 years before the indentured servant trade ended completely.  

A well written and well researched historical narrative, White Cargo does an excellent job of elucidating a forgotten part of our colonial past by telling the story of thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage before African slaves were transported to the New World.



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Watchdog: Pentagon almost gave fake cops $1M in guns, bombs – DoD to Trump on transgender ban: Not so fast


The Pentagon nearly gave over $1 million worth of rifles, pipe bombs and other military hardware to a fake police department — set up as part of a government watchdog’s sting operation, a new report reveals. 

Using cloak-and-dagger tactics, auditors from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) created a nonexistent police department. They submitted requests to purchase from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) “controlled properties” like simulated pipe bombs, night-vision goggles, and explosive ordnance detonation robots.

“In less than a week after submitting the requests, our fictitious agency was approved for the transfer of over 100 controlled property items with a total estimated value of about $1.2 million,” the GAO said in a July 18 report.

The sting operation involved government auditors creating a website describing the fake agency and using publicly available resources to produce false police credentials.

“Personnel at two of the three sites did not request or check for valid identification of our investigator picking up the property,” the GAO said.

In its reponse to the findings, DOD concurred with four recommendations made by GAO and highlighted steps it was taking to improve internal controls and implement recommendations from past audits.

At no point during the application process did Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) staff speak with officials at the fake agency to verify the legitimacy of the application, according to the report. All authorizations were done via email.

As a result of laws passed in 1989 as part of an effort to strengthen local law enforcement agencies, the Pentagon was granted authority to transfer excess DOD property to local police agencies under the LESO program.

Also known as the 1033 program, it came under political scrutiny when tanks were used by the Ferguson, Mo., police to control crowds during the 2014 protests.

Since 1991, more than $6 billion worth of excess personal property has been transferred to more than 8,600 federal, state, and
local law enforcement agencies, according to the GAO. Nearly two-thirds of the DOD-controlled property items transferred from 2013-2015 went to state and local agencies, GAO said. During that period, a total of 388,570 items worth about $1.07 billion were doled out to federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Responding to the fallout from the Ferguson riots, then-President Barack Obama in May 2015 signed an executive order prohibiting the distribution of certain “controlled” items, like grenade launchers and high-caliber weapons. 

The program remains a matter of controversy and debate on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga. introduced a bill to severely restrict the kinds of weapons distributed, while Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, has a measure to undo Obama’s executive order.



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Baby Charlie Gard's Parents and Doctors Haggle over Details of His Final Days


On Monday, July 24, the parents of terminally ill 11-month old British baby Charlie Gard agreed with his doctors to end life support and allow him to die. It was assumed that the court proceeding in London where this decision was announced would be the final occasion requiring the parents’ presence in court, allowing them to focus now on being with their son until the end. As it turned out, Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, felt the need to return to the same court on Tuesday and Wednesday and appeal to the same judge for help.

In court on Monday, all of the interested parties – the parents, the hospital, the attorneys, and the judge – seemed to be trying hard to sound a note of unity. Before the next day, this feel-good front had dissolved when the hospital and the doctors refused to honor the parents’ wishes to allow Charlie to die at home. This request does not seem unreasonable considering the fact that Charlie has spent all but the first two months of his short life in hospital. High Court Judge Nicholas Francis sided with the hospital on that issue, but it was back to court again on Wednesday for another appeal by Connie Yates, this time to allow the parents the choice of the hospice staff to oversee Charlie’s final days and the length of time that he might be kept alive in hospice with the help of life support. The parents want Charlie to be on a respirator for at least several days after he leaves the hospital to allow them a decent length of time in a supportive environment to say goodbye.

After the latest court hearing, the AP reported Wednesday afternoon from London:

Yates requested a medical team of her choosing that would work to keep her son alive for a week under hospice care rather than the few hours he was expected to survive once his ventilator was removed.


The request indicated that the parents have backed away from their earlier expressed wish to take Charlie home for “a few days of tranquility” before his ventilator was disconnected and he was allowed to “slip away.”

Wherever Charlie winds up spending his last days, nurses from the hospital have volunteered to care for him in his final hours.

Mr. Justice Francis said the situation calls out “for mediation” rather than a court ruling, but he said he would rule on the details of Charlie’s future on Thursday at noon PST (British Summer Time) if the parties could not agree.

Less than five hours before the scheduled Thursday noon deadline, the Daily Mail published an article summarizing the latest information.

Great Ormond Street doctors said it was not practical to provide life-support treatment to Charlie at the couple’s home for days. They said a hospice would be a better plan, and they said life-support treatment should end shortly after Charlie arrived at a hospice.

 

Charlie Gard on life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Mirror published a running and riveting account of developments during Wednesday’s court hearing, as did attorney and journalist Joshua Rozenberg who tweeted live updates from the courtroom.

Dr. Hirano Speaks

On July 15, it was revealed that Michio Hirano, M.D., a specialist in neurological disorders including the very rare condition that Charlie Gard has, was the expert who had been confidentially weighing in on Charlie’s case since earlier this year. Dr. Hirano, 56, is involved in innovative research and clinical practice at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and has a list of positions, accomplishments, publications, and research grants that have resulted in significant international recognition.

After the court hearing on Monday, July 24, during which it was agreed that life support for Charlie would come to an end and treatment of Charlie in New York by Dr. Hirano would not be attempted, Dr. Hirano suddenly became an apparent scapegoat and a target of the hospital, the judge, and much of the media. Overnight, this previous miracle worker (who had saved the life of another young patient afflicted with the condition that Charlie Gard has) became a “quack,” “wicked,” and a pariah who was only in it for the financial rewards, with allegations that he stood to profit from the therapies he was experimenting with and was prepared to use on Charlie.

Michio Hirano, M.D.

On Tuesday, Dr. Hirano finally spoke out in the form of a statement – the first time he has said anything on the record (other than in court) about this case and its aftermath.

In a July 26 article, “US doctor Michio Hirano who flew to London to examine Charlie Gard after offering experimental treatment hits back at ‘financial interest’ claims,” The Sun does a credible job of summarizing the case in light of Dr. Hirano’s new input.

In his first public statement since their decision, Dr Hirano hit back at reports he would have benefited financially from the therapies.


He said: “I became involved in Charlie’s case when I was contacted by his parents, and I subsequently agreed to speak with his doctors to discuss whether an experimental therapy being developed in my lab could provide meaningful clinical improvement in Charlie’s condition.


“As I disclosed in court on July 13, I have relinquished and have no financial interest in the treatment being developed for Charlie’s condition.”

In this first out of court public statement on the case itself, Dr. Hirano, according to The Sun, went on to say:

“Unfortunately, a [sic] MRI scan of Charlie’s muscle tissue conducted in the past week has revealed that it is very unlikely that he would benefit from this treatment.”

The statement “on GOSH patient Charlie Gard” released by the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) on July 24 took on Dr. Hirano:

GOSH was concerned to hear the Professor state, for the first time [on July 13], whilst in the witness box, that he retains a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie.

For what it’s worth, Dr. Hirano, according to The Sun, stated that he disclosed to the court on July 13 that he “relinquished and have no financial interest in the treatment.” It is probably water under the bridge at this point, but it would be helpful in setting the record straight if the court record could be consulted by someone with access to it to determine who is telling the truth here.

Before Dr. Hirano’s name was revealed, I thought that whoever it was – at that point an unnamed foreign expert who was getting involved in the Charlie Gard case –would wind up being a victim of unwarranted attacks for his efforts and would have his reputation besmirched. And so it was.

The sudden negative publicity directed at Dr. Hirano starting on July 24 suggests that other hospitals in London that declined to provide care for Charlie Gard at the request of his parents feared the same thing. For example, on July 11 it was reported in The Telegraph that “Hospitals refuse to take Charlie Gard as relations between his parents and Great Ormond Street plummet:”

Relations between Charlie Gard’s parents and Great Ormond Street deteriorated to such an extent that attempts were made to move the baby – but no other hospital would have him.


A lawyer said discussions had taken place with other units to care for Charlie but “unsurprisingly” none wanted him.

The latest word from Charlie’s parents – for now

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with Charlie in his hospital room

Finally, in the wake of the blizzard of legal briefs and statements issued by different players during and after the July 24 court hearing, the most complete, informative, and compelling one is the statement by Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, read to the court from the witness stand on July 24 by Connie:

Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease, who had a real, genuine chance at life and a family who love him so very dearly and that’s why we fought so hard for him.


We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie’s muscles, as requested in the recent MDT meeting by Dr Hirano; as Charlie’s devoted and loving parents we have decided that it’s no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.


The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing both his recent brain MRI and EEG performed last week. He’s not brain dead (and never has been). He still responds to us, even now, but after reviewing the recent muscle MRI it was considered that Charlie’s muscles have deteriorated to the extent that it is largely irreversible and, were treatment to work, his quality of life would now not be one which we would want for our precious little boy. They both agreed that treatment should have been started sooner.


There is one simple reason for Charlie’s muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now – TIME. A whole lot of wasted time. Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.

The parents’ statement goes on for over 2,000 words and is highly recommended reading. It closes with:

Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you.


Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.


Charlie Matthew William Gard


Our hero.

Update:

Shortly after 11 AM EST (3 PM in London) Thursday, July 27, 2017, it started to be reported by the British press and the media in other countries that Mr. Justice Francis of the UK High Court had given an order for baby Charlie Gard to be moved without further delay from the Great Ormond Street Hospital to a hospice where he will “inevitably” die shortly after. The time of the transfer and the name of the hospice are not being announced in order to maintain the family’s privacy. Charlie’s parents, as this article notes, had accepted that Charlie would be moved to a hospice but they wanted him kept on life support there – and had lined up volunteer medical personnel and were willing to pay the costs – for a period of approximately one week so they could have some quiet and private time with their son before they let him go. The judge’s order came after the parents and the hospital had failed to agree on the details of a final plan for Charlie after a deadline of noon British time on July 27, given to them the day before by the judge, had passed.

This latest sad chapter in the lengthy story of Charlie Gard that has consumed Great Britain and been reported widely around the world provides more evidence – as if any is needed – that in the British system of single-payer socialized medicine, the state has the final say over the details of life and death of its citizens, rather than, as in this instance, the parents of a baby.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. His new Web site is AltMedNews.net. Peter’s July 13, 2017 one-hour interview on The Hagmann Report can be viewed here

On Monday, July 24, the parents of terminally ill 11-month old British baby Charlie Gard agreed with his doctors to end life support and allow him to die. It was assumed that the court proceeding in London where this decision was announced would be the final occasion requiring the parents’ presence in court, allowing them to focus now on being with their son until the end. As it turned out, Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, felt the need to return to the same court on Tuesday and Wednesday and appeal to the same judge for help.

In court on Monday, all of the interested parties – the parents, the hospital, the attorneys, and the judge – seemed to be trying hard to sound a note of unity. Before the next day, this feel-good front had dissolved when the hospital and the doctors refused to honor the parents’ wishes to allow Charlie to die at home. This request does not seem unreasonable considering the fact that Charlie has spent all but the first two months of his short life in hospital. High Court Judge Nicholas Francis sided with the hospital on that issue, but it was back to court again on Wednesday for another appeal by Connie Yates, this time to allow the parents the choice of the hospice staff to oversee Charlie’s final days and the length of time that he might be kept alive in hospice with the help of life support. The parents want Charlie to be on a respirator for at least several days after he leaves the hospital to allow them a decent length of time in a supportive environment to say goodbye.

Crying uncontrollably and shielding her face from photographers, Connie Yates leaves the British High Court, July 26, 2017

After the latest court hearing, the AP reported Wednesday afternoon from London:

Yates requested a medical team of her choosing that would work to keep her son alive for a week under hospice care rather than the few hours he was expected to survive once his ventilator was removed.


The request indicated that the parents have backed away from their earlier expressed wish to take Charlie home for “a few days of tranquility” before his ventilator was disconnected and he was allowed to “slip away.”

Wherever Charlie winds up spending his last days, nurses from the hospital have volunteered to care for him in his final hours.

Mr. Justice Francis said the situation calls out “for mediation” rather than a court ruling, but he said he would rule on the details of Charlie’s future on Thursday at noon PST (British Summer Time) if the parties could not agree.

Less than five hours before the scheduled Thursday noon deadline, the Daily Mail published an article summarizing the latest information.

Great Ormond Street doctors said it was not practical to provide life-support treatment to Charlie at the couple’s home for days. They said a hospice would be a better plan, and they said life-support treatment should end shortly after Charlie arrived at a hospice.

 

Charlie Gard on life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Mirror published a running and riveting account of developments during Wednesday’s court hearing, as did attorney and journalist Joshua Rozenberg who tweeted live updates from the courtroom.

Dr. Hirano Speaks

On July 15, it was revealed that Michio Hirano, M.D., a specialist in neurological disorders including the very rare condition that Charlie Gard has, was the expert who had been confidentially weighing in on Charlie’s case since earlier this year. Dr. Hirano, 56, is involved in innovative research and clinical practice at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and has a list of positions, accomplishments, publications, and research grants that have resulted in significant international recognition.

After the court hearing on Monday, July 24, during which it was agreed that life support for Charlie would come to an end and treatment of Charlie in New York by Dr. Hirano would not be attempted, Dr. Hirano suddenly became an apparent scapegoat and a target of the hospital, the judge, and much of the media. Overnight, this previous miracle worker (who had saved the life of another young patient afflicted with the condition that Charlie Gard has) became a “quack,” “wicked,” and a pariah who was only in it for the financial rewards, with allegations that he stood to profit from the therapies he was experimenting with and was prepared to use on Charlie.

Michio Hirano, M.D.

On Tuesday, Dr. Hirano finally spoke out in the form of a statement – the first time he has said anything on the record (other than in court) about this case and its aftermath.

In a July 26 article, “US doctor Michio Hirano who flew to London to examine Charlie Gard after offering experimental treatment hits back at ‘financial interest’ claims,” The Sun does a credible job of summarizing the case in light of Dr. Hirano’s new input.

In his first public statement since their decision, Dr Hirano hit back at reports he would have benefited financially from the therapies.


He said: “I became involved in Charlie’s case when I was contacted by his parents, and I subsequently agreed to speak with his doctors to discuss whether an experimental therapy being developed in my lab could provide meaningful clinical improvement in Charlie’s condition.


“As I disclosed in court on July 13, I have relinquished and have no financial interest in the treatment being developed for Charlie’s condition.”

In this first out of court public statement on the case itself, Dr. Hirano, according to The Sun, went on to say:

“Unfortunately, a [sic] MRI scan of Charlie’s muscle tissue conducted in the past week has revealed that it is very unlikely that he would benefit from this treatment.”

The statement “on GOSH patient Charlie Gard” released by the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) on July 24 took on Dr. Hirano:

GOSH was concerned to hear the Professor state, for the first time [on July 13], whilst in the witness box, that he retains a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie.

For what it’s worth, Dr. Hirano, according to The Sun, stated that he disclosed to the court on July 13 that he “relinquished and have no financial interest in the treatment.” It is probably water under the bridge at this point, but it would be helpful in setting the record straight if the court record could be consulted by someone with access to it to determine who is telling the truth here.

Before Dr. Hirano’s name was revealed, I thought that whoever it was – at that point an unnamed foreign expert who was getting involved in the Charlie Gard case –would wind up being a victim of unwarranted attacks for his efforts and would have his reputation besmirched. And so it was.

The sudden negative publicity directed at Dr. Hirano starting on July 24 suggests that other hospitals in London that declined to provide care for Charlie Gard at the request of his parents feared the same thing. For example, on July 11 it was reported in The Telegraph that “Hospitals refuse to take Charlie Gard as relations between his parents and Great Ormond Street plummet:”

Relations between Charlie Gard’s parents and Great Ormond Street deteriorated to such an extent that attempts were made to move the baby – but no other hospital would have him.


A lawyer said discussions had taken place with other units to care for Charlie but “unsurprisingly” none wanted him.

The latest word from Charlie’s parents – for now

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with Charlie in his hospital room

Finally, in the wake of the blizzard of legal briefs and statements issued by different players during and after the July 24 court hearing, the most complete, informative, and compelling one is the statement by Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, read to the court from the witness stand on July 24 by Connie:

Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease, who had a real, genuine chance at life and a family who love him so very dearly and that’s why we fought so hard for him.


We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie’s muscles, as requested in the recent MDT meeting by Dr Hirano; as Charlie’s devoted and loving parents we have decided that it’s no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.


The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing both his recent brain MRI and EEG performed last week. He’s not brain dead (and never has been). He still responds to us, even now, but after reviewing the recent muscle MRI it was considered that Charlie’s muscles have deteriorated to the extent that it is largely irreversible and, were treatment to work, his quality of life would now not be one which we would want for our precious little boy. They both agreed that treatment should have been started sooner.


There is one simple reason for Charlie’s muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now – TIME. A whole lot of wasted time. Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.

The parents’ statement goes on for over 2,000 words and is highly recommended reading. It closes with:

Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you.


Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.


Charlie Matthew William Gard


Our hero.

Update:

Shortly after 11 AM EST (3 PM in London) Thursday, July 27, 2017, it started to be reported by the British press and the media in other countries that Mr. Justice Francis of the UK High Court had given an order for baby Charlie Gard to be moved without further delay from the Great Ormond Street Hospital to a hospice where he will “inevitably” die shortly after. The time of the transfer and the name of the hospice are not being announced in order to maintain the family’s privacy. Charlie’s parents, as this article notes, had accepted that Charlie would be moved to a hospice but they wanted him kept on life support there – and had lined up volunteer medical personnel and were willing to pay the costs – for a period of approximately one week so they could have some quiet and private time with their son before they let him go. The judge’s order came after the parents and the hospital had failed to agree on the details of a final plan for Charlie after a deadline of noon British time on July 27, given to them the day before by the judge, had passed.

This latest sad chapter in the lengthy story of Charlie Gard that has consumed Great Britain and been reported widely around the world provides more evidence – as if any is needed – that in the British system of single-payer socialized medicine, the state has the final say over the details of life and death of its citizens, rather than, as in this instance, the parents of a baby.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. His new Web site is AltMedNews.net. Peter’s July 13, 2017 one-hour interview on The Hagmann Report can be viewed here



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HEALTH CARE PUSH ObamaCare 'skinny repeal' bill makes way to Senate


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced a pared-down version of legislation to repeal ObamaCare late Thursday as lawmakers prepared to launch into a marathon “vote-a-rama” amid intense disagreements inside the congressional GOP.

McConnell’s revised plan, nicknamed the “skinny repeal,” would scrap key provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including the individual and employer mandate to purchase health insurance or risk fines. It also suspends a tax on medical devices, denies funding to Planned Parenthood, and allows states to seek waivers from consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.

“The American people have suffered under Obamacare for too long,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It’s time to end the failed status quo. It’s time to send legislation to the president that will finally move our country beyond the failures of Obamacare.”

Complicating matters is the fact that several GOP senators have said they are only willing to vote for “skinny repeal” on the condition that the House would not approve it and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature. Instead, they are demanding House-Senate talks aimed at producing a wider-ranging measure.

“This is nuclear-grade bonkers, what’s going on here tonight,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., of the GOP’s plans.

“We’re in the twilight zone of legislating,” added Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.,

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sent senators a statement saying that if “moving forward” requires talks with the Senate, the House would be “willing” to do so. But shortly afterward, his words received varied responses from three GOP senators who’d insisted on a clear commitment from Ryan.

“Not sufficient,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who returned to the Capitol Tuesday to provide a pivotal vote that allowed the Senate to begin debating the health care bill, a paramount priority for Trump and the GOP. The 80-year-old McCain had been home in Arizona trying to decide on treatment options for brain cancer.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., initially said “not yet” when asked if he was ready to vote for the scaled-back Senate bill. But later, he told reporters that Ryan had assured him and others in a phone conversation that the House would hold talks with the Senate.

“I feel comfortable personally. I know Paul; he’s a man of his word,” said Graham.

“Let’s see how everything turns out here, guys,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told reporters.

The final spree of amendment votes could drift into the wee hours of the night — and make clear whether the GOP-controlled Congress has any path for passing even a pared-down repeal measure.

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to be on Capitol Hill after midnight, in case he’s needed to break a tie — as he was earlier this week.

Republicans have 52 seats in the Senate. McConnell can lose only two Republican votes if all Democrats vote against the effort and Pence breaks a tie.

President Trump, who has been pushing Senate Republicans to pass some sort of health care legislation, tweeted encouragement to senators Thursday morning.

“Come on Republican Senators, you can do it on Healthcare,” Trump said. “After 7 years, this is your chance to shine! Don’t let the American people down!”

GOP HEALTH CARE BILL DODGES DEATH, BUT THE PROGNOSIS REMAINS GRIM

Earlier Thursday, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines offered a “single payer” health care amendment in order to get some Democrats on the record in support of the government-run health care system liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders support.

“I do not support a single-payer system, but I believe Americans deserve to see us debate different ideas, which is why I am bringing forward this amendment,” Daines said. “It’s time for every senator to go on the record on whether or not they support a single-payer healthcare system.”

The amendment failed 57-0. No Democrats voted for it — 43 of them voted “present.”

Senate Republicans drafted their first repeal measure of this session several months ago. But the Senate has struggled to pass any measure that repeals or replaces ObamaCare, even as Republicans have repeatedly watered down legislation to try to win over its divided caucus.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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No Safe Space for Jews on Campus


A dominant narrative about the Trump Administration is that Donald Trump’s election ushered in a new wave of anti-Semitism. It’s an absurd claim, given that among Trump’s top advisors, eleven are Jews, including his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

That’s not to say anti-Semitism isn’t a problem. In fact, it is on the rise. But if you want to find where anti-Semitism is running rampant, don’t look to the Oval Office. Look instead to the place where you’re least likely to find a Trump supporter, the college quad.

I know this because at the recent Christians United For Israel Washington Summit, I spent time with student activists from CUFI On Campus.  I listened to their harrowing stories of harassment and intimidation that Jewish (and Christian) students face from left-wing professors and Palestinian student groups whenever they speak up in support of Israel or resist misguided boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) schemes that single out the Jewish state for punishment.

While many in the media portray anti-Semitism as a phenomenon of the right, it is among young liberals that it is growing the most. Several recent studies demonstrate just how pervasive anti-Semitism has become on college campuses. An April report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found that there has been a 45 percent rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses between 2015 and 2016.

 A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that such incidents rose by a third in 2016 from 2015 and increased 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Several other studies put the share of Jewish college students who experience anti-Semitism on campus at anywhere from half to three quarters.

The problem isn’t confined to students making threats against or hurling anti-Semitic slurs at Jewish students. A recent lawsuit suggests school administrators are partly responsible for creating an environment that’s unsafe for Jewish students.

In June, a group of current and former students sued San Francisco State University alleging that the university fostered a climate of anti-Semitism “marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.” The students complain that they were intimidated and prevented from holding events. The environment became so hostile that the students say they became afraid to do anything to indicate that they are Jewish, such as wearing Star of David necklaces.

In one incident in 2016, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was prevented from speaking at a student event because pro-Palestinian protestors shouted over him, yelling “Get the f-ck off our campus” and “Intifada! Intifada!” — a reference to the violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli citizens. Worst of all, the school’s administrators are accused of “systematically support[ing]” these groups.

Ken Marcus, who formerly led the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, recently said that while just a few years ago, there were some notable “hot spots” for anti-Semitism, today “it’s really all over.” Anti-Semitism “is so pervasive that in any given semester it could be virtually anywhere,” he added.

A big part of the problem is that groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Students for a Free Palestine have become more strident in their opposition to Israel and more hostile to Jewish students, especially those who support the Jewish state.

Recently, when a 23-year old female Israeli border guard was stabbed to death in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists, who were subsequently killed by Israeli police, the Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine referred to the shootings of the Palestinian attackers as “executions” of “Palestinian teens” carried out by “Zionist occupation force.” They evinced little sympathy for the victim of the Palestinians’ heinous crime.

The BDS movement is strong on many college campuses. BDS targets Israeli institutions and companies and those that do business with them. But more and more, its goal is to silence pro-Israel voices on campus, which is the anti-thesis to what college is supposed to be about.

A new report called “Campus Free Speech, Academic Freedom and the Problem of the BDS Movement,” released by the nonpartisan American Council for Trustees and Alumni, describes the (BDS) boycott as “one of the greatest threats to academic freedom in the U.S. today.” The report states that anti-Israel rhetoric often edges into anti-Semitism and criticizes the BDS movement for focusing all its energy on Israel, while legitimate human rights abusers, such as China and Saudi Arabia, are ignored.

Anti-Israel sentiment has become such a fixture on the left that when Chicago recently held its annual Gay Pride Parade, a pro-Israel lesbian group was prohibited from taking part, a strange development given that Israel is about the only country in the Middle East that treats gays with humanity.

For some liberals, opposition to Israel, which often edges into anti-Semitism, can be a way to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims. For others, it is rooted in the ancient hatred of Jews. Whatever its origins, anti-Semitism has no place on our college campuses.

Gary Bauer is the Washington Director of the Christians United for Israel Action Fund

A dominant narrative about the Trump Administration is that Donald Trump’s election ushered in a new wave of anti-Semitism. It’s an absurd claim, given that among Trump’s top advisors, eleven are Jews, including his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

That’s not to say anti-Semitism isn’t a problem. In fact, it is on the rise. But if you want to find where anti-Semitism is running rampant, don’t look to the Oval Office. Look instead to the place where you’re least likely to find a Trump supporter, the college quad.

I know this because at the recent Christians United For Israel Washington Summit, I spent time with student activists from CUFI On Campus.  I listened to their harrowing stories of harassment and intimidation that Jewish (and Christian) students face from left-wing professors and Palestinian student groups whenever they speak up in support of Israel or resist misguided boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) schemes that single out the Jewish state for punishment.

While many in the media portray anti-Semitism as a phenomenon of the right, it is among young liberals that it is growing the most. Several recent studies demonstrate just how pervasive anti-Semitism has become on college campuses. An April report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found that there has been a 45 percent rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses between 2015 and 2016.

 A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that such incidents rose by a third in 2016 from 2015 and increased 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Several other studies put the share of Jewish college students who experience anti-Semitism on campus at anywhere from half to three quarters.

The problem isn’t confined to students making threats against or hurling anti-Semitic slurs at Jewish students. A recent lawsuit suggests school administrators are partly responsible for creating an environment that’s unsafe for Jewish students.

In June, a group of current and former students sued San Francisco State University alleging that the university fostered a climate of anti-Semitism “marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.” The students complain that they were intimidated and prevented from holding events. The environment became so hostile that the students say they became afraid to do anything to indicate that they are Jewish, such as wearing Star of David necklaces.

In one incident in 2016, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was prevented from speaking at a student event because pro-Palestinian protestors shouted over him, yelling “Get the f-ck off our campus” and “Intifada! Intifada!” — a reference to the violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli citizens. Worst of all, the school’s administrators are accused of “systematically support[ing]” these groups.

Ken Marcus, who formerly led the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, recently said that while just a few years ago, there were some notable “hot spots” for anti-Semitism, today “it’s really all over.” Anti-Semitism “is so pervasive that in any given semester it could be virtually anywhere,” he added.

A big part of the problem is that groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Students for a Free Palestine have become more strident in their opposition to Israel and more hostile to Jewish students, especially those who support the Jewish state.

Recently, when a 23-year old female Israeli border guard was stabbed to death in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists, who were subsequently killed by Israeli police, the Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine referred to the shootings of the Palestinian attackers as “executions” of “Palestinian teens” carried out by “Zionist occupation force.” They evinced little sympathy for the victim of the Palestinians’ heinous crime.

The BDS movement is strong on many college campuses. BDS targets Israeli institutions and companies and those that do business with them. But more and more, its goal is to silence pro-Israel voices on campus, which is the anti-thesis to what college is supposed to be about.

A new report called “Campus Free Speech, Academic Freedom and the Problem of the BDS Movement,” released by the nonpartisan American Council for Trustees and Alumni, describes the (BDS) boycott as “one of the greatest threats to academic freedom in the U.S. today.” The report states that anti-Israel rhetoric often edges into anti-Semitism and criticizes the BDS movement for focusing all its energy on Israel, while legitimate human rights abusers, such as China and Saudi Arabia, are ignored.

Anti-Israel sentiment has become such a fixture on the left that when Chicago recently held its annual Gay Pride Parade, a pro-Israel lesbian group was prohibited from taking part, a strange development given that Israel is about the only country in the Middle East that treats gays with humanity.

For some liberals, opposition to Israel, which often edges into anti-Semitism, can be a way to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims. For others, it is rooted in the ancient hatred of Jews. Whatever its origins, anti-Semitism has no place on our college campuses.

Gary Bauer is the Washington Director of the Christians United for Israel Action Fund



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UNMASKING REVELATION Obama official made '100s' of requests, Nunes says


An Obama official made “hundreds of unmasking requests” during the final year of the previous administration, according to a letter from a top Republican who raised new concerns that officials sought the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports for “improper purposes.”

“Unmasking” refers to the formal request to identify Americans in an intelligence document.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has questioned whether Obama officials improperly sought the names of Trump transition members in this way – and, in the letter obtained by Fox News, Nunes provided new details about what his investigators have found.

“[T]his Committee has learned that one official, whose position has no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration,” he wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Only one request, Nunes wrote, “offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why” the identity was needed for official duties.

Three of the nation’s intelligence agencies received subpoenas in May explicitly naming three top Obama administration officials: Former CIA director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power.

Nunes’ letter appears to make reference to Power as the official who made “hundreds” of requests.

However, David Pressman, counsel to Power and partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, stressed Power’s responsibilities in her capacity as a member of the National Security Council and denied she leaked anything classified.

“Long before receiving an invitation to engage the Congressional committees, Ambassador Power was unambiguous about her support of bipartisan efforts to determine the full extent of this threat to our national security,” he said in a statement. “While serving as our Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Power was also a member of the National Security Council responsible for advising the President on the full-range of threats confronting the United States. Any insinuation that Ambassador Power was involved in leaking classified information is absolutely false.”

The Nunes letter also said he plans to introduce a bill requiring “individual, fact-based justifications” for such unmasking requests. “Cabinet members and other senior political leaders cannot be permitted to continue to seek access to U.S. person information within disseminated intelligence reports without documenting a specific, fact-based requirement for the information,” he wrote.

Explaining his concerns, Nunes said in the letter that “Obama-era officials sought the identities of Trump transition officials within intelligence reports” without offering any “meaningful explanation” as to why they needed or how they would use the information.

The committee, Nunes wrote, “is left with the impression that these officials may have used this information for improper purposes, including the possibility of leaking.” He noted that some of the requests were “followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media.” 

Intelligence agencies typically are required to conceal the identities of Americans picked up or mentioned in surveillance of foreigners in the U.S. Formal requests need to be made to release those names.

Several Obama administration officials met privately last week with staffers on Capitol Hill. Among them, Rice met Friday with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. Power also has agreed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. 

Rice told MSNBC in April that allegations Obama administration officials used such intelligence for political purposes is “false.”

Media reports earlier this year revealed, among other conversations, those between then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Reports of those conversations led to Flynn’s resignation in February.

Nunes is continuing to pursue the unmasking issue, though he has stepped aside from leading the Russia investigation – and is facing an ethics inquiry over whether he improperly revealed classified information. Nunes disputes the charge. Fox News asked a spokesman for Brennan for comment but there was no immediate response.  

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report. 



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How the Free Market Heals the Environment


The other day a friend who works for a regional environmental group asked me if I had been doing any environmental restoration projects recently.

I replied that I hadn’t been doing much lately because it had become obvious to me that damaged, desertified, land is so much more valuable than healthy land that there’s not much demand for changing the former into the latter.

He looked extremely puzzled at that. As an environmentalist, he’s absolutely convinced that his job and his life work is to make unhealthy land healthy.

What’s a green piece of land here in the southwest (restored or otherwise) worth? If it’s the kind of remote land which we typically call “rangeland” and, if it’s green enough to be called “healthy”, most likely it will produce a few burgers of the sort that sell for a buck or two at a fast food joint and that’s about it. How valuable is that?

But what about a piece of land we would call “wasteland?” In really bad shape, mostly bare dirt with a few trees (a number of which are dying) and lots of erosion. The remnants of grassland obviously deteriorating and dying. Many of the plants are non-natives called “invasives” which we are encouraged to uproot whenever we encounter them, and the roots of all of the above are protruding out of the walls of deep, rapidly growing gullies.

What’s the value of a piece of land like that? First of all, a number of environmental groups are clamoring for it to be protected and soliciting contributions to do so.

Quite likely this land is being pushed for national monument status or maybe even “wilderness” designation, which will maximize its protection. Hence, more contributions.

Almost certainly this land is the home of at least one or more species designated as threatened or endangered. 

To top it all off, without a doubt, this deteriorated land is described as a casualty of climate change and global warming, meaning its barren expanses and deepening gullies provide material for Al Gore’s claim that it will take something like $15 trillion dollars to reverse this trend and avert the end of life on Earth.

Add politicians using this land to make the case for their candidacy for public office up to and including the presidency. Then, extend that with all the government agencies those politicians will create, which will in turn ask for budget increases to enable them to hire more people to enforce all the regulations, and I think you’re beginning to get an idea of the value of ecologically damaged land.

There’s an area not too far from my house that has been “protected” since the mid-1980s, and I have photo evidence from the U. S. Forest Service that its gullies and barrenness have happened since protection was imposed. What’s the remedy being proposed to bring this land and a lot of surrounding land in similar condition back to ecological function and health? More protection, of course, along with national monument designation, the issue that helped get our congressional representative elected, to make sure that protection is irreversible.

Appropriately enough this place is called the “Canyon of Fools.”

A little further from my house, but close enough to be in the same river drainage, is a 40-acre study area set aside in the 1940s by the USFS as a means to illustrate how effective protection is as a means of healing land damaged by human impact. Within this area the Forest Service installed a number of monitoring transects to enable it to measure, record, and, thus, prove how fast and how effectively protection enabled this land to recover from its overgrazed and overused condition.

These transects have done their job admirably but the conclusion they provide is the exact opposite of what was intended. All the transects have been abandoned. The reason seems obvious? The way most of these study plots were designed to be read is by stretching a 100-foot tape between metal stakes marking the site and counting, listing the species, and noting the condition of the plants that grew within that 100 feet. How many of those 70+ years would it take for you to “get the message” when reading those transects meant driving to a remote location in the Arizona Desert, walking into the desert, stretching the tape, and writing down “0.”

So what use is “protection?”

Well, although those protected areas aren’t producing much that’s alive, growing, biodiverse, carbon sequestering, and sustainable, they are still producing the billion$ that I listed above. That’s an obviously sufficient reason to keep protecting huge areas of the West despite the counterindication of those abandoned study plots. If you subscribe to the conventional wisdom that the way to solve all environmental problems is to protect whatever is afflicted from the afflicters, i. e., humans, the only tool you have is protection. So, if protection doesn’t heal a piece of land, the only solution available to you is to protect it more.

As they are doing in the Canyon of Fools.

Not too far from this collection of abandoned counterindicative study plots is another series of study plots on land that is managed according to the function of the free market.

These study plots haven’t been abandoned. In fact, they are read every year by the staffers for a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to make sure that the rancher, whose cattle are grazing this land under a lease agreement with the federal government, isn’t overusing, overgrazing, or overexploiting it.

Between the stakes that mark the limits of the transects, the grass and other plants are so dense and numerous they are impossible to count. Devices that enable the readers to interpret and condense the data must be used.

Why so different? This is land being managed to produce a practical rather than a political commodity. Here, results rather than rhetoric is what produces reward. According to biology the greener and more functional the land, the more beef it will produce. The free market adds the incentive to increase, enhance, improve the health of the land in order to increase the reward. Those transects with more grass than you can count provide evidence of the effectiveness of this formula.

In the case of land managed to produce the political commodity — “protection” — the opposite is true. The more devastated and barren the land, the more effective it is as a means of soliciting donations and political support. Instead of indicating failure, seventy years of zero on those abandoned transects can be used to prove the need for more protection. In other words, under protection, land that remains in bad shape or deteriorates even further provides a means to greater reward and longer tenure.

The problem here is that the people who logically would be most interested in blowing the whistle on those failures (and most likely to do something about them) are those of us who consider ourselves to be most concerned about the environment — environmentalists. In the vast majority of cases, they are the very same people who have contributed to these disasters. Fat chance of them blowing the whistle or holding themselves accountable.

The good news is there are some environmentalists interested in increasing and improving the health of the. In fact, there are enough of these contrarians to cause the Sierra Club to publish an article, recently, to discredit Allan Savory, a former Provincial Game Officer from Africa who is promoting the idea that humans adapting and mimicking natural synergies can restore and sustain the health of those ecosystems.

Environmentalism thus reveals itself to be guilty of the very sin it was created to solve — pursuing not-for-profit profits and political power at the expense of the environment. 

The other day a friend who works for a regional environmental group asked me if I had been doing any environmental restoration projects recently.

I replied that I hadn’t been doing much lately because it had become obvious to me that damaged, desertified, land is so much more valuable than healthy land that there’s not much demand for changing the former into the latter.

He looked extremely puzzled at that. As an environmentalist, he’s absolutely convinced that his job and his life work is to make unhealthy land healthy.

What’s a green piece of land here in the southwest (restored or otherwise) worth? If it’s the kind of remote land which we typically call “rangeland” and, if it’s green enough to be called “healthy”, most likely it will produce a few burgers of the sort that sell for a buck or two at a fast food joint and that’s about it. How valuable is that?

But what about a piece of land we would call “wasteland?” In really bad shape, mostly bare dirt with a few trees (a number of which are dying) and lots of erosion. The remnants of grassland obviously deteriorating and dying. Many of the plants are non-natives called “invasives” which we are encouraged to uproot whenever we encounter them, and the roots of all of the above are protruding out of the walls of deep, rapidly growing gullies.

What’s the value of a piece of land like that? First of all, a number of environmental groups are clamoring for it to be protected and soliciting contributions to do so.

Quite likely this land is being pushed for national monument status or maybe even “wilderness” designation, which will maximize its protection. Hence, more contributions.

Almost certainly this land is the home of at least one or more species designated as threatened or endangered. 

To top it all off, without a doubt, this deteriorated land is described as a casualty of climate change and global warming, meaning its barren expanses and deepening gullies provide material for Al Gore’s claim that it will take something like $15 trillion dollars to reverse this trend and avert the end of life on Earth.

Add politicians using this land to make the case for their candidacy for public office up to and including the presidency. Then, extend that with all the government agencies those politicians will create, which will in turn ask for budget increases to enable them to hire more people to enforce all the regulations, and I think you’re beginning to get an idea of the value of ecologically damaged land.

There’s an area not too far from my house that has been “protected” since the mid-1980s, and I have photo evidence from the U. S. Forest Service that its gullies and barrenness have happened since protection was imposed. What’s the remedy being proposed to bring this land and a lot of surrounding land in similar condition back to ecological function and health? More protection, of course, along with national monument designation, the issue that helped get our congressional representative elected, to make sure that protection is irreversible.

Appropriately enough this place is called the “Canyon of Fools.”

A little further from my house, but close enough to be in the same river drainage, is a 40-acre study area set aside in the 1940s by the USFS as a means to illustrate how effective protection is as a means of healing land damaged by human impact. Within this area the Forest Service installed a number of monitoring transects to enable it to measure, record, and, thus, prove how fast and how effectively protection enabled this land to recover from its overgrazed and overused condition.

These transects have done their job admirably but the conclusion they provide is the exact opposite of what was intended. All the transects have been abandoned. The reason seems obvious? The way most of these study plots were designed to be read is by stretching a 100-foot tape between metal stakes marking the site and counting, listing the species, and noting the condition of the plants that grew within that 100 feet. How many of those 70+ years would it take for you to “get the message” when reading those transects meant driving to a remote location in the Arizona Desert, walking into the desert, stretching the tape, and writing down “0.”

So what use is “protection?”

Well, although those protected areas aren’t producing much that’s alive, growing, biodiverse, carbon sequestering, and sustainable, they are still producing the billion$ that I listed above. That’s an obviously sufficient reason to keep protecting huge areas of the West despite the counterindication of those abandoned study plots. If you subscribe to the conventional wisdom that the way to solve all environmental problems is to protect whatever is afflicted from the afflicters, i. e., humans, the only tool you have is protection. So, if protection doesn’t heal a piece of land, the only solution available to you is to protect it more.

As they are doing in the Canyon of Fools.

Not too far from this collection of abandoned counterindicative study plots is another series of study plots on land that is managed according to the function of the free market.

These study plots haven’t been abandoned. In fact, they are read every year by the staffers for a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to make sure that the rancher, whose cattle are grazing this land under a lease agreement with the federal government, isn’t overusing, overgrazing, or overexploiting it.

Between the stakes that mark the limits of the transects, the grass and other plants are so dense and numerous they are impossible to count. Devices that enable the readers to interpret and condense the data must be used.

Why so different? This is land being managed to produce a practical rather than a political commodity. Here, results rather than rhetoric is what produces reward. According to biology the greener and more functional the land, the more beef it will produce. The free market adds the incentive to increase, enhance, improve the health of the land in order to increase the reward. Those transects with more grass than you can count provide evidence of the effectiveness of this formula.

In the case of land managed to produce the political commodity — “protection” — the opposite is true. The more devastated and barren the land, the more effective it is as a means of soliciting donations and political support. Instead of indicating failure, seventy years of zero on those abandoned transects can be used to prove the need for more protection. In other words, under protection, land that remains in bad shape or deteriorates even further provides a means to greater reward and longer tenure.

The problem here is that the people who logically would be most interested in blowing the whistle on those failures (and most likely to do something about them) are those of us who consider ourselves to be most concerned about the environment — environmentalists. In the vast majority of cases, they are the very same people who have contributed to these disasters. Fat chance of them blowing the whistle or holding themselves accountable.

The good news is there are some environmentalists interested in increasing and improving the health of the. In fact, there are enough of these contrarians to cause the Sierra Club to publish an article, recently, to discredit Allan Savory, a former Provincial Game Officer from Africa who is promoting the idea that humans adapting and mimicking natural synergies can restore and sustain the health of those ecosystems.

Environmentalism thus reveals itself to be guilty of the very sin it was created to solve — pursuing not-for-profit profits and political power at the expense of the environment. 



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Tennis star's father pleads not guilty to molesting girls


The father of retired tennis star Mark Philippoussis pleaded not guilty Thursday to molesting two 9-year-old girls while he was a private tennis instructor in California.

Nikolaos Philippoussis, 68, entered pleas to 14 counts of committing lewd acts and sex acts with children. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Philippoussis is accused of molesting two of his tennis students for more than a year, beginning in June 2016.

Prosecutors say the encounters took place at his home, in his car and at a San Diego County country club.

Philippoussis was arrested Tuesday at his San Diego home. At the hearing Thursday, his bail was raised from $2.5 million to $9.2 million.

“It is quite a colossal amount,” defense attorney Ryan Tegnelia said.

Philippoussis, an Australian citizen, was ordered to surrender his passport if he does make bail, but his attorney told the San Diego Union-Tribune that was impossible.

Philippoussis’s son Mark Philippoussis was in court for the hearing but declined to comment, the newspaper reported.

He is a two-time Grand Slam finalist who ranked as high as eighth in the world and helped Australia win the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003.

Philippoussis was his son’s coach for much of that career.



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US orders diplomats' relatives to leave Venezuela ahead of controversial vote


The State Department Thursday ordered relatives of American diplomats to leave Venezuela ahead of an election that could end in the rewriting of that country’s constitution.

The department said it was also allowing U.S. government workers to depart the embassy in Caracas and limiting the movement of those who stay. An updated travel warning also urges American citizens not to travel to Venezuela due to social unrest and violence.

The ordered departure comes three days before President Nicolas Maduro’s government plans to hold a vote for an assembly tasked with overhauling the country’s charter. Maduro’s opposition says the election rules are rigged to strengthen his hold on power.

The U.S. has been urging Maduro to cancel the vote and threatened more sanctions if occurs.

More than 100 people have died over four months of anti-government protests that began when Venezuela’s Supreme Court stripped the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its remaining powers.

The official death count by the county’s chief prosecutor has been highly politicized, with the opposition and other government agencies reporting varying tolls and causes of death that focus blame on the other side.

The oil-rich South American country, which Thursday was in the second day of a two-day general strike that shuttered businesses nationwide, has also seen thousands of injuries and arrests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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