Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Pro-abortion lobby spread false statistics

original article: Study: Activists Misleading About Number of Illegal Abortion Deaths
December 13, 2012 by DR. PETER SAUNDERS

 

One of the principal techniques used by the pro-abortion lobby to advance their agenda of legalising abortion in developing world countries is to argue that ‘safe, legal abortion’ will decrease overall maternal mortality whilst not appreciably increasing the overall number of abortions.

In order to make this case they obviously have to establish first that there are already lots of illegal abortions happening and that many women are dying from them.

To achieve this end lobbyists need statistics about levels of illegal abortions and this where the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) comes in.

For many years AGI’s astronomical figures of illegal abortions from developing countries have gone virtually unchallenged by both prolife and prochoice campaigners alike.

But this is about to change now that more rigorous research is being published.

Jacqueline Harvey
 this week writes about a new study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health showing that AGI’s figures for illegal abortions in Mexico in 2006 and 2009 were grossly overestimated.

The study titled, ‘Fundamental Discrepancies In Abortion Estimates And Abortion-Related Mortality: A Reevaluation Of Recent Studies In Mexico With Special Reference To The International Classification Of Diseases’ was conducted by a panel of six epidemiologists at four universities in the U.S., Mexico and Chile and examines the actual figures produced by the Federal District of Mexico and confirmed by an independent, non-governmental agency that supports legal abortion.

AGI’s estimate for illegal abortions in Mexico in 2006 was 725,070-1,024,424. But the actual number of abortions in 2007 after abortion was legalised (which typically increases rather than decreases the numbers), was only 10,137! So AGI’s estimate was 70-100 times the actual figure.

After legalisation the AGI estimate for legal abortions in Mexico in 2009 was 122,455. But the actual number was 12,221. This is a 10 fold overestimation.

These gross disparities discredit not only AGI figures for illegal abortions and abortion-related mortality in Mexico, but in all countries where they apply their flawed methodologies to create these bogus estimates.

The researchers also discovered that AGI purposefully includes women who died from ectopic pregnancies, miscarriage and assault in their calculations of illegal abortion-related mortality, a case of intentional deception. This leads them to over-estimate abortion-related mortality rate by almost 35%. I have previously blogged about gross overestimates of maternal deaths in the US and UK abortions before legalisation here.

Harvey concludes:

‘Nonetheless, AGI uses these false calculations and deceptive figures about illegal abortion deaths to push for decriminalization of abortion around the world. This new study authoritatively discredits the Alan Guttmacher Institute and its findings.’

This new study adds hard evidence to suspicions I have had for some time. Last July I was speaking at an ICMDA (International Christian Medical and Dental Association uniting over 70 national bodies of which CMF is one) conference in Nigeria where there were 1,700 Christian doctors and medical students from all over Africa.

A leading obstetrician in Kenya told me then that she thought the AGI stats for death from abortion for Kenya were grossly inflated and based on small urban samples along which included miscarriages and other gynaecological diagnoses.

And another doctor who was working in the main teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria had done a research project on abortion deaths and said that the actual number of illegal abortions was very small relative to AGI estimates.

This strategy used in Kenya and other developing countries is similar to that used by US abortion supporters in their efforts to legalize abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Dr Bernard Nathanson, a leading supporter of abortion rights and an abortionist himself, later admitted to deception:

‘We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000.’

The most impressive catalogue of known abortion statistics on line is that of William Johnston whose latest totals of abortions worldwide (last updated in August 2012) are listed here.

What struck me about these numbers was how much lower they were than AGI figures for all developing countries.

When I raised this discrepancy with Johnston he answered as follows (reprinted with permission):

‘(My) figures for worldwide abortions differ because AGI includes estimates of unreported illegal abortions, estimates which are inflated by bad methodology (in my opinion).

My figures cover only reported abortions (with limited use of estimates, eg. interpolation for missing years) thus, while they are incomplete they are well documented. They are also limited to countries with legal abortion and where statistics are compiled. Some of the higher AGI/WHO figures involve estimated underreporting from countries with legal abortions, but most of the difference is from their estimates for developing countries where abortion is illegal or legal under very limited circumstances.

These latter estimates are generally based on hospitalisation samples, household surveys, and a variety of assumptions. This process yields illegal abortion rates that are as high as legal abortion rates in the developed world, coincidentally supporting the AGI thesis that abortion should be unrestricted everywhere because laws have no effect on occurrence rates.

The key here is of course the set of assumptions that turn small sample sizes into multi-national estimates of abortion rates. Some obvious issues I see include: surveys of urban populations on abortion, and treating results as applicable to the general population; bias by basing results on surveys of people willing to talk to these survey takers; the validity of the assumptions used for underreporting, for deciding what fraction of hospital miscarriage cases are illegal abortions, or for turning such “detected” abortions into figures including “undetected” abortions.

I do not dispute that many illegal abortions take place in developing countries but I suspect that the actual numbers are significantly below the AGI/WHO estimates, because the methodology of their estimates involves assumptions biased by their policy position. I have little evidence to produce an estimate of total worldwide abortions, but I’m inclined to suspect that the AGI/WHO figures (of 42 million per year) are high by about a factor of two.

A few years ago Laura Antkowiak and Randall O’Bannon analyzed the AGI methodology in an article series in the National Right to Life newsletter. They indicate, for example, that some of the sample sizes involved are only a few dozen. Here are links to their articles.

1. WHO Claims of Unsafe Abortions and Deaths
2. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 1)
3. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 2)
4. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 3)
5. World Abortion Estimates: An Audit (Part 4)

Here are figures for comparison: AGI/WHO estimate worldwide abortions at 45.6 million in 1995, 41.6 million in 2003, and 43.8 million in 2008. (This is from the jointly AGI-WHO-authored article Sedgh et al., 2012, The Lancet, 379(9816):625+) For those three years what I can document are 18.1, 15.1, and 16.0 million. The drop to my current figure of ~12 million/year is mostly due to fluctuations in reported figures from China.

Some perspective on using AGI as a source: for current abortions in the US, their data is better than official data because the abortion providers provide statistics to AGI that they withhold from state health departments. In contrast, AGI survey-based statistics (based on estimates) tend to be biased.

Another point: the above Lancet article claims: ‘The abortion rate was lower in sub-regions where more women live under liberal abortion laws’ – a counter-intuitive claim to anyone but an abortion proponent, one that rests entirely on methodological assumptions, and one that is refuted by regional-level data in the US and Europe.’

Harvey and Johnston’s work needs much wider circulation to counter the ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ that pro-abortion campaigners and population control advocates are using to advance their case. More research is also needed.

The fact that abortions in developing countries have been overestimated does not in any way of course alter the fact that abortion remains the number one cause of human death worldwide.

Even when one takes Johnston’s ‘revised-down’ figures the total number of abortions is utterly staggering. Johnston has documented almost 1 billion abortions worldwide from figures gleaned for the 90 years between 1922 and 2012, a figure equivalent to one seventh of the world’s current population.

Given the timespan the vast majority of these babies, had they not been aborted, would still be alive today.

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Antifa are more than ‘anti-fascists.’

original article: Antifa Is Not Fighting For Freedom, But For Communist Revolution
November 1, 2017 by Joseph D’Hippolito

In the immediate aftermath of the Charlottesville violence, several prominent figures—including CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic—equated left-wing “Antifa” activists with the thousands of Allied soldiers who stormed Normandy’s beaches to invade Adolph Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” on D-Day.

A more appropriate equation would be with the thousands of soldiers in the Red Army, who brutally marched toward Berlin, where they would establish Soviet hegemony in the so-called German Democratic Republic after defeating Hitler.

Antifa returns to the news this week. On Tuesday night, former Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at California State University, Fullerton in a program sponsored by that university’s College Republicans. Seven were arrested amid reports of head-punching and pepper-spraying. Protesters of the event chanted “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!” and held signs reading “Only socialist revolution can defeat capitalist reaction.” In February, Antifa militants committed such mayhem while protesting Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the University of California at Berkeley that university officials cancelled his speech at the last minute.

On Saturday, Antifa will join other leftist groups in massive nationwide protests designed to force President Donald Trump’s administration out of office. Organizing those protests is “Refuse Fascism,” which declares that “in the name of humanity, we REFUSE to accept a Fascist America!”

Despite antiseptic portrayals throughout American media, Antifa are more than “anti-fascists.” Antifa represent the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic and provide the violent complement to academic neo-Marxism. Like their philosophical comrades, Antifa seek to destroy the American emphasis on liberty under law and to impose a revival of one of history’s most repressive ideologies.

Antifa Is Anti-West and Anti-Capitalist

Bernd Langer, whose “80 Years of Anti-Fascist Action” was published by Germany’s Association for the Promotion of Anti-Fascist Literature, succinctly defined the rhetorical subterfuge. “Anti-fascism is a strategy rather than an ideology,” wrote Langer, a former Antifa member, for “an anti-capitalist form of struggle.”

Short for the German phrase, “Antifaschistische Aktion,” Antifa served as the paramilitary arm of the German Communist Party (KPD), which the Soviet Union funded. In other words, Antifa became the German Communists’ version of the Nazis’ brown-shirted SA.

The KPD made no secret of Antifa’s affiliation. A 1932 photo of KPD headquarters in Berlin prominently displayed the double-flagged Antifa emblem among other Communist symbols and slogans. In a photo from the 1932 Unity Congress of Antifa in Berlin, the double-flagged banner shared space with the hammer and sickle and with two large cartoons. One supported the KPD, the other mocked the SPD, Germany’s Social Democratic Party.

Today’s Antifa embrace those roots. During February’s protest in Berkeley, masked Antifa agitators caused nearly $100,000 in damage by starting fires, breaking windows, assaulting bystanders with pepper spray and flagpoles, painting graffiti on nearby businesses, and destroying automatic teller machines. “Refuse Fascism,” the group organizing Saturday’s protests, is controlled by the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, which seeks to create a Marxist United States through violent revolution.

Law and Order Are Among Antifa’s Enemies

Antifa’s goal to suppress “fascism” reflects the views of neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse. “A policy of unequal treatment would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right,” Marcuse wrote in “Repressive Tolerance,” his 1965 essay. “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” extending “to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.”

Marcuse dismissed the idea of individual liberty protected by law in favor of a Marxist society favoring ostensibly oppressed groups at the expense of everybody else. Such a society, Marcuse wrote, would demand “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements” that not only “promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion” but also “oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.” and “may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions.”

Marcuse even justified violence: “there is a ‘natural right’ of resistance for oppressed and overpowered minorities to use extralegal means if the legal ones have proved to be inadequate,” Marcuse wrote. “Law and order are always and everywhere the law and order which protect the established hierarchy; it is nonsensical to invoke the absolute authority of this law and this order against those who suffer from it and struggle against it … for their share of humanity. If they use violence, they do not start a new chain of violence but try to break an established one.”

In expressing his contempt for “the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side,’” Marcuse maintained in 1968 ”that there are issues where either there is no ‘other side’ in any more than a formalistic sense, or where ‘the other side’ is demonstrably ‘regressive’ and impedes possible improvement of the human condition.”

Elements of Today’s Left Embrace Marcuse’s Ideas

K-Su Park, a University of California at Los Angeles law fellow, reflected Marcuse’s thought when in an op-ed in The New York Times she challenged the American Civil Liberties Union to reconsider its approach to the First Amendment. The ACLU represented Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite The Right” rally and sued the City of Charlottesville for revoking his permit for the protest.

The ACLU’s approach “implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination to achieve a real democracy, the cornerstone of which is freedom of expression,” Park wrote. “Other forms of structural discrimination and violence also restrict the exercise of speech, such as police intimidation of African-Americans and Latinos. The danger that communities face because of their speech isn’t equal.”

Park’s fellowship is with UCLA’s critical race studies program. Critical race studies comes from critical theory, a sociological approach developed by Germany’s neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, where Marcuse was a leading thinker. Johns Hopkins professor N.D.B. Connolly blended Marcuse’s philosophy with Antifa’s militancy in a Washington Post op-ed, where he compared the United States’ racial history to a game of rock-paper-scissors.

“For a long while, we’ve been throwing a lot of ‘paper,’” Connolly wrote. “Liberalism — our paper — preserves our country’s long commitment to contracts. Under liberalism, citizens stand in contract with their government. The government’s job, in turn, has been to enforce contracts between individuals and groups. Truly, when people ask for rights, be they women’s rights, gay and transgender rights, or rights as people of color, they are asking for contract rights.”

‘Rock Breaks Scissors’

But racism, Connolly argued, serves as scissors: “Right at the country’s founding, racists cut black and indigenous people out of liberalism’s contract. Black bodies and Native American land did not deserve the protection of contract. They deserved bondage and expropriation.”

The solution? “No matter its form, rock breaks scissors,” Connolly wrote. “A half-century ago, nothing less than radical anti-racism could reduce white supremacy to an outlaw religion. … In April 1968, amid a flurry of other ‘rocks,’ riots shook American cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It took that rolling unrest … to spur President Lyndon Johnson and Congress to action. Within a week they had passed the Fair Housing Act.”

Connolly concluded by advocating similar measures. “Segregationists have again assumed their pedestals in the Justice Department, the White House and many other American temples,” he wrote. ”Paper alone won’t drive them out. Start throwing rocks.” In slandering those who hold opposing views, and in essentially calling Martin Luther King Jr. a failure, Connolly reflected the true “Antifa” spirit: Neo-Marxism über alles.

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The importance of society being rooted in marriage between one man and one woman

original article: Defense of Marriage Is a Social Justice Issue, Scholar Says
October 10, 2013

 

Maintaining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is a matter of social justice, said Ryan Anderson, a political scholar and editor of the online journal Public Discourse, in a recent talk.

Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Anderson acknowledged that efforts to redefine marriage are often characterized as being rooted in a sense of justice.

However, he said, the case against redefining marriage is actually an argument based upon justice, “precisely because marriage exists as the prime institution of social justice that guarantees and protects the rights and well-being of children.”

“If you care about social justice and you care about limited government; if you care about the poor and you care about freedom – it’s better served by a healthy marriage culture than by government picking up the pieces of a broken marriage culture.”

Anderson, a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is also co-author of the book, “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

Determining marriage’s definition and limits is the primary concern of the marriage debate, Anderson said in his Oct. 9 talk.

“Everyone wants marriage equality: we all want the government to treat all marriages as equal, but that begs the question – what is marriage?

He explained that many of those who promote the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples understand marriage to be an intense kind of romantic relationship between sexual partners. In this view of marriage, adult desires and sexual needs are of primary concern, and the needs of children produced by such a union are secondary.

However, this understanding of marriage is lacking, Anderson said, as it does not take into account the needs of children, “nor can it describe or define or defend” the norms surrounding marriage, such as why government is involved in it; its restriction to two people; why it is sexual; and why it should be permanent.

This understanding of marriage “makes it more about the desires of adults and less about children” and their needs, said Anderson, adding that “the consequence of redefining marriage is that more people will think of their relationship in those terms and that it will produce bad social outcomes, especially for children.”

But across diverse societies and throughout history, he contended, marriage has been understood as a “comprehensive union” in which man and woman become “one flesh,” particularly in their ability to create children. As a whole, in this understanding, “marriage is ordered to the comprehensive good in the creation and raising of children.”

This understanding is also “based on the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father” and that “there’s something about gender that matters” in the raising of children.

“There is no parenting in the abstract: there is mothering and there is fathering,” he said, and both mothers and fathers “bring different gifts” to children.

He pointed to studies examining socio-economic factors, which show that children raised by their biological mothers and fathers fare better than those raised by other family structures, particularly same-sex parents.

In addition, Anderson observed that “the breakdown of the family” in the latter half of the 20th century was accompanied by a rise in social dysfunction, marked by a widespread number of indicators ranging from school performance to crime rates to decreased adult happiness. These indicators show a marked correlation with fatherlessness rates in the home.

Mothers are always present at a child’s birth, the scholar continued. “The question for culture is whether a father will be present, and if so, for how long?”

“If you redefine marriage in law, there will be no institution left that even holds as an idea the right of a child to have a relationship with both a mother and a father.”

Such a redefinition “holds up in law that men and women are functionally interchangeable” thus preventing the law from teaching “that fathers are essential.” Rather, it “will make fathers optional,” likely compounding the already-existing consequences of fatherlessness in society.

“If you care about the poor, what can we do to make it more likely that these men commit to the women that they are in relationships with, and then take responsibility for the children that they create?” Anderson asked.

“The reason why the state is in the marriage business is to maximize the opportunity that every child will be raised by a mother and a father, and preferably by the mother and the father that created the child,” he said.

“The state wants to ensure that a man and a woman commit to each other as husband and wife, permanently and exclusively,” he stressed, “and when this doesn’t happen, the social costs run high.”

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Protesting athletes have forgotten what “pastime” means

The recent athletic protests of the U.S. national anthem highlight some important points we all know but are worth reiterating. First, no matter how important some may think they are, professional sports are a pastime. Second, how other people view your actions is not in your control.

Let’s expound on the nature of professional sports. The United States is a country of such opportunity and prosperity that millions of us have enough time and money to watch athletes play a game, and pay them for the pleasure of doing so. This is no chump change. Do you realize how much money we the people pour into professional sports each year? It’s a lot. The professional athletes protesting our national anthem are paid very well to play a game. And why do so many of us have the ability to make those athletes filthy rich to play a game? Because we live in a country based on freedom, and we have people who put on the uniform to protect that freedom. Respect for those who risk their lives to defend the American experiment was built into our sports tradition long ago. Those who make a living (becoming filthy rich) playing a game should respect that.

There are multi-millionaires taking a knee out of protest of the country, not out of respect for it. Professional sports are a pastime. We the people engage in pastimes to get away from things like politics.

And what are these professional athletes protesting? Well that brings us to the second point: we don’t control how other people view our actions.

The infamous Colin Kaepernick, the catalyst for the controversial displays of protest, lays out his reasons at NFL.com:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…

Keep in mind there are multi-millionaire athletes who get to play a game for a living who are basically calling America a racist country. That brings us to a problem of intellectual dishonesty.

Kaepernick, and many others, would have us believe the United States is a racist country. And, of course, when I ask where are the Jim Crow laws, where did the poor white unemployed whose kids are stuck in bad schools put their privilege, and how did a racist country let a black guy get elected for the most powerful office in the world not once, but twice, the inevitable lame response is to accuse me of falsely claiming there is no racism here anymore. Which is hogwash.

No one is claiming racism has been eliminated, no one. Accusing people of thinking that doesn’t make it so. But where are the Jim Crow laws? Today Jim Crow HAS BEEN eliminated (except in institutions of higher education, where leftwing extremists are once again demanding racial segregation, renewing a long standing Democrat tradition).

On the contrary, affirmative action is the rule of the day. Historically disadvantaged people groups now have privileges while folks (who invented and implemented Jim Crow) used to enjoy. (Did you notice that? Right here I’ve acknowledged slavery and racism actually happened. No one denies these things happened, so it’s really quite ridiculous to suggest anyone is. And it’s intellectually dishonest to accuse anyone of denying these things.)

But the tables have been turned. The Duke Lacrosse team showed us a glaring example (one of many) of how while folk can now be falsely accused of a crime and deprived of their civil rights, not least of which is the the right to due process. Thankfully the anti-white racism was noticed and refuted, despite getting a jump start by a complicit media and over 80 Duke faculty who had already convicted the accused before the facts were made known and then incredulously tried to deny they jumped the gun, and called for the dismissal of the accused boys by claiming they were “merely” trying to bring greater attention to the abuse of women.

So, yes, racism still exists. But institutional racism does not. Racism still happens but it does not lurk around every corner. Given the scare stories the media has published about white supremacy, it is absurd to think an inherently white supremacist nation would elect a black guy to the most powerful position in the world. It is asinine to suggest white supremacists let Obama win the presidential election as a “token” black guy, yet the same white supremacists were so upset he won that they let it happen a second time.

Besides, do you realize how insulting it is to suggest Obama didn’t actually win the 2008 or 2012 elections, but he was merely allowed to win so white supremacists could have their token black guy? In a slightly “you didn’t build that” way, it is profound partisan blindness to think those elections were merely handed to him. If you think Obama’s critics opposed him because they’re racist, the last thing you should do is act like Obama didn’t win two terms of the presidency because of his own abilities. It sounds racist when you do that.

While those who get paid to find racism even when it isn’t there continually stir up strife and manufacture fear that racism lurks around every corner, filthy rich athletes protest the flag and the national anthem. It doesn’t look like they are protesting oppression, since it is we the supposedly racist middle-America types who spend our hard earned dollars that make them rich. People don’t pay to watch professional sports despite the skin color of the athletes, they watch professional sports because they DON’T CARE about the skin color of those athletes. The only begrudging thing about this is the fact we are paying these athletes and then watching them accuse us of racism.

That’s precisely how millions of Americans feel when professional athletes protest the anthem or the flag. We feel we are being called racist, by the multi-millionaires taking a knee during the anthem. When a white supremacist waves the Confederate flag and says “it’s not about race, it’s about heritage” do you buy that? I don’t. So when the protesters say “I’m not anti-America, I’m protesting oppression of people of color” I don’t buy that either. Protesting against bad cops is one thing, something all reasonable people agree with, but acting like ALL cops are bad is ridiculous. If it’s not okay to think all Muslims are evil, it’s not okay to think all cops are evil (or all Republicans, or all conservatives, or all Christians either).

If rich athletes really want to protest oppression, there are plenty of other venues for doing that, and they will have a much easier time than I would in building an audience simply because they’re famous.

Actual racists don’t care about being called racist. People who are NOT racist are offended by such accusations. Athletes have the right to protest as they wish. And I have the right to respond as I wish. I’m not going to pay for that. And many other people feel the same.

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She assured me this sort of thing would not happen, nonetheless it is happening

original article: A sixth-grade teacher tried to pull a fast one on parents by assigning a sexual orientation quiz
October 13, 2017 by Pat Gray

Parents in an Atlanta suburb were not happy when they found out their children were subjected to a sexual orientation and gender identity quiz by their sixth-grade teacher at Lithonia Middle School.

The quiz included wildly inappropriate fill in the blank questions regarding sexual preferences and suggestive references to homosexuality and transgenderism, but parents were having none of it.

“Why are they teaching that in school? What does that have to do with life?” an infuriated Octavia Parks told Fox 5 Atlanta.

“We’re talking about a sixth grader who still watches Nickelodeon. I’m not ready to explain what these words are nor what they mean,” said Parks.

The district is currently investigating. Pat pulled no punches when he got wind of the story and praised the parents for standing up to this kind of stuff but highlighted the double standard. Check out what he had to say in the clip.

To see more from Pat, visit his channel on TheBlazeand listen live to “Pat Gray Unleashed” with Pat Gray weekdays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio 

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School choice: let’s be honest enough to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day

original article: Guest column: School choice data doesn’t reflect classroom reality
October 11, 2017 by Robert C. Enlow

Louisiana has become a closely watched laboratory for school choice, and for good reason. The state has several ways families can choose: voucher programs, tax-credit scholarships, a tax credit and deduction program, alongside a system of traditional and charter schools.

The spotlight shone a little brighter recently when a study from the University of Arkansas and Tulane University showed a negative effect on first-year students using private school choice programs to access new schooling options. But by the third year, things had turned around for those students. Unfortunately, much of the attention focused only on the first-year decline. That is simply not fair, nor is it the way we have ever judged traditional public schools.

Adults have trouble adapting to a new routine at the gym, let alone a new job or a relocation. Imagine how a second-grader feels to walk into a new school, meet new teachers and make all new friends — potentially while learning a new set of rules and adapting to a new school culture. Indeed, kids need time to adjust to new school settings, and their future success can depend on the extent of their mobility.

The recent study shows students in private school choice programs actually make gains after that first- and second-year decline — and in some areas wind up ahead of their public school peers within three to four years. Students in Louisiana saw steep declines in both reading and math scores in the first year of the voucher program, a result that may be attributable to the short window students initially had to enroll and the limited number of private schools participating. After the first year, outcomes improved in both areas, with reading scores higher after the third year than when students began the program. The Louisiana Scholarship Program had significant positive effects on reading scores for the lowest-performing students.

Simply put, kids need time to adjust to new circumstances the same way grown-ups do. And interviews with school leaders and staff in other states have found private schools participating in choice programs also needed to make some adjustments to better serve the students who were coming from public schools. School choice programs enable students to leave a school that is not working for them and switch to a school they believe will be a better fit. We know from our original research that families choose for a variety of reasons, but chief among them are better academics, smaller classes, a safer environment and a focus on morals and values.

While private school parents report overwhelming satisfaction with their choices, that doesn’t lessen the literal and figurative learning curve for students who may be coming from district schools with large classes, lower academic standards or less emphasis on character development. They’re not only in a new school; it’s a completely new experience for them. Which brings up a final point as we look at this new Louisiana study and anticipate additional research on the effectiveness of choice programs: Supporters and opponents alike have become far too reliant on standardized test scores — often from only one, state-mandated test — to determine whether a type of school or choice program is successful. As choice programs go, Louisiana’s is one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to testing.

Yet when you ask families whether and why they are satisfied with their child’s K-12 experience, test scores are rarely among their top indicators of a quality school. Rather, they tend to focus on safety, class size and college acceptance rates. And there are studies that show choice programs have positive effects on high school graduation rates, college enrollment and persistence in college. As school choice continues to gain support, we must broaden the conversation about effectiveness to include more than scores, and we must seek access to more data that can help us determine not just how students are performing in math and reading, but what effect expanding educational options has on them beyond graduation.

We also must resist the temptation to jump on every short-term data finding as a symbol of the success or failure of a school choice program — or for that matter schools, teachers or students. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and humans don’t adjust to new situations overnight.

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The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

Filed under: abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

The political left can’t tell the difference between fantasy and real life, and doesn’t care to

original article: The media doesn’t understand guns — and doesn’t want to
October 4, 2017 by Stephen L. Miller

The American political left and mainstream media pundits at large do not understand guns. They are not educated about them and they refuse to learn about them. They could not tell you the difference between an automatic or semi-automatic firearm. They don’t understand what a suppressor does or does not do. It’s safe to say most of them have not heard the term “bump stock” until this week.

What they are, however, is convinced that we need more laws to prevent mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas from happening ever again – and they will host guest after guest on their shows who are not experts in firearms, or firearm training, to lecture the American public at large about why this needs to happen.

If anyone out there on that side of the aisle is wondering why your pleas to “do something” are falling on mostly deaf ears,that would be why.

Democrats would be better off offering up legislation banning high-rise hotels in attempting to make a connection to the Las Vegas shooting than they would suppressors or background checks

It’s a largely one-sided debate happening on cable networks, and it is why those on the right – including everyday Americans and lawful gun owners not responsible for mass shootings or breaking gun laws – largely ignore what is blaring out at them from their televisions and social media.

Column after column is fired off about how much the National Rifle Association donates to congressional candidates (spoiler: it’s not much, about 200K a year). For every breathless declaration that the NRA has blood on their hands, it’s worth noting more journalists have committed mass shootings in this country than NRA members.

Firearm experts in media such as Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski (also an NRA-certified instructor), National Review Online Editor Charles Cooke and Federalist co-founder Sean Davis are sidelined from national cable news and Sunday show appearances in favor of guests who suggest suppressors are used by hunters to prevent deer from hearing a fired shot. Gutowski, Cooke and Davis will never be invited on Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert’s shows to clear up the falsehoods being spread to mass audiences or to defend the second amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Las Vegas narrative jumped to ludicrous speed shortly after the massacre ended when losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton demanded that we “put politics aside” right before immediately politicizing the shooting in the same tweet. She then went on to state, “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.” Mrs. Clinton’s claim that firearm suppressors render guns “silent” was given three Pinnocchios by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post. This of course didn’t matter. Kessler’s fact check went mostly ignored on social media. Clinton’s false tweet about firearm suppressors garnered more than 58,000 retweets on Twitter. Glenn Kessler’s fact check? Thirty.

Kimmel chastised Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress for not enforcing laws about guns that literally do not exist.

Within hours of the Las Vegas shooting, Senator Chuck Schumer was pushing the narrative that the GOP was ramming through legislation to de-regulate silencers. This was also a fabrication. Reporters began shouting questions at Paul Ryan about “Silencer” legislation. The 64-year-old shooter in Las Vegas did not use a suppressor but Democrats have found their shiny object to fixate on – much like the no-fly list post-Orlando – which had nothing to do with the actual tragedy at hand.

Democrats would be better off offering up legislation banning high-rise hotels in attempting to make a connection to the Las Vegas shooting than they would suppressors or background checks.

America’s foremost health care expert, Jimmy Kimmel, once again repeated long-debunked Democrat talking points in another tearful monologue (Las Vegas is his hometown so it’s hard to berate him for showing emotion). Kimmel chastised Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress (again) for not enforcing laws about guns that literally do not exist. These include the so called “gunshow loophole,” an online background check loophole and allowing mentally ill individuals (a move supported by the ACLU) from purchasing firearms. All of these claims have been debunked and yet are ignored by fact-checkers at mainstream outlets and cable news pundits. Stephen Paddock did not have a criminal background, prior record and no evaluations of suspect mental health. So what then?

New York Times Magazine’s Ana Marie Cox tweeted “Man, imagine if the right believed in unfettered access to the ballot box as much as they believed in the right to own guns.” Her sudden support of background checks and voter ID laws (two things needed to purchase a firearm in America) are a welcome surprise.

Politico reporter Dan Diamond tweeted out an email announcement from The American College of Physicians calling for a ban on all automatic and semiautomatic weapons. What Diamond did not reveal is a ban on semiautomatic weapons would include most handguns. I’m not sure members of media know this fact, and more importantly, have demonstrated zero willingness to learn. But sure, let’s put them in charge of the health care debate.

And this is where the credibility chasm exists in media as they continue to parrot Democrat narratives on guns. As the sun rose on Vegas the morning after, and before Americans could grasp the facts of what had happened, Democrat leaders including Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and their celebrity Hollywood base were already pointing fingers and placing blame without facts and without knowledge.

Law-abiding, gun-owning Americans will not be lectured to about a national tragedy they had nothing to do with, and they certainly won’t be lectured by elitists in media who refuse to understand even a basic grasp or terminology about a sacred constitutional right.

And until they do, we will refuse to have that “conversation” the left and the media keep telling themselves needs to happen.

bias, corruption, crisis, culture, Democrats, ethics, government, gun rights, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, legislation, liberalism, nanny state, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, regulation, second amendment, tragedy

Filed under: bias, corruption, crisis, culture, Democrats, ethics, government, gun rights, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, legislation, liberalism, nanny state, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, regulation, second amendment, tragedy

Gun control advocate: blanket gun control not the answer

original article: Statistician Who Championed Stringent Gun Control Now Argues Against It After Studying Data
October 3, 2017 by HANK BERRIEN

Writing in The Washington Post, Leah Libresco, a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, the site run by famed statistician Nate Silver, admits that she reversed herself on gun control, evolving from blaming the NRA for gun deaths to realizing more stringent, blanket gun control was not an answer to gun deaths.

Libresco starts by confessing that before she started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate her, and she blamed the National Rifle Association for blocking the banning of assault weapons, restricting silencers, and shrinking magazine sizes.

Then she started analyzing data from the roughly 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and a light bulb went on. She writes that when she examined the evidence, “The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”

Notably, Libresco dismisses the oft-stated myth that the tight gun laws in Britain and Australia had any relevance for America, as she writes, “Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans.”

Libresco continues, “When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an ‘assault weapon.’ It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.”

Libresco notes, “Silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer.”

Some more reality: “Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them.”

Segueing to the next-largest set of gun deaths, young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides, and the tertiary set, women killed (mostly as the result of domestic violence), Libresco decides, “Few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.”

Libresco writes, “I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. … I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions.”

Suggestions?

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Libresco concludes: “We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.”

crisis, culture, government, gun rights, public policy, reform, science, tragedy
 

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Conservatives should have the same free speech rights at Colin Kaepernick

original article: Christian Artists Should Have The Same Free Speech Game As Colin Kaepernick
August 30, 2017 by James Gottry

In case you haven’t been following the news, the NFL, or the little blue bird I like to call Tweety, Colin Kaepernick is trending. Again. But this time it is not for kneeling on the field during the national anthem. It is because he is not even on the field during the national anthem.

If you’ve missed the off-the-field action, here are the highlights.

  • March: Kaepernick opts out of the final year of his contract with the 49ers.
  • April – present day: No NFL team signs Kaepernick.
  • August 23: More than 1,000 people rally outside NFL headquarters in New York, demanding that Kaepernick be signed by the start of the regular season next month.
  • August 24: Two bars in Chicago announce their TVs are on the fritz they will not show any NFL games until Kaepernick is signed.

Throw in Michael Vick saying Kaepernick should cut his hair to “be presentable,” then Vick apologizing and saying “his Afro has nothing to do with him being signed,” and Jim Brown arguing that Kaepernick should be an activist or a football player but not both, and we’ve got ourselves a good ‘ol-fashioned controversy. (Not that conflict has been missing from the news cycle.)

I love it. NFL teams are free to sign Kaepernick, not sign him, or offer him a discount on season tickets. Those who don’t agree with Kaepernick’s views are free to cheer his current unemployment, wave a flag, or whistle the national anthem all the way home. Fans of Kaepernick are free to fly to New York and protest outside the NFL, burn a flag, and decry the injustice of it all. And yes, two bars in Chicago are absolutely free to pursue a new demographic by playing Lifetime movies on Sunday afternoons.

It’s the beauty of America. The beauty of freedom of speech and conscience. And yes, the beauty of learning to co-exist with people who think differently than you.

Now, Let’s Join Another Game in Progress

In Colorado, Jack Phillips is facing a very different set of rules. Like Kaepernick, Jack took a principled stand in relation to his career. Jack is a cake artist and decided years ago that while he would serve any individual who came into his shop, he would not accept invitations to create certain custom cakes. Cakes with alcohol in them, and cakes that promote atheism, racism, or indecency were on that list. So were cakes that were anti-American. So if you want a flag-burning cake for your Kaepernick protest, Jack is probably not your guy.

It turns out, no one cared too much if Jack declined an invitation to make a cake with alcohol in it, or a flag-burning cake, or a Halloween cake. If they did care, they voted with their wallets and took their business elsewhere. That’s fine with Jack, because he doesn’t want to force anyone to believe what he believes; he does, however, want that courtesy to go both ways. He wants true tolerance, the kind where we can co-exist with people who think differently than we do. Sound familiar?

No problems there. But there’s another type of cake Jack doesn’t design: cakes for same-sex weddings. That’s the one that has Jack scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. Because when two men entered Jack’s Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked that Jack design a wedding cake for their same-sex ceremony, Jack politely told the couple that he would gladly sell them anything in his store, but designing a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage was not something he could do.

So why is Kaepernick’s situation playing out in the court of public opinion while Jack’s is playing out in the Supreme Court of the United States?

When the couple left Jack’s shop, they had a range of options. Among other things, they could have applauded his free exercise of conscience based on his sincerely held religious beliefs (unlikely in this situation, though not unprecedented). They could have held a rally imploring Jack to change his views, or they could have voted with their wallets and taken their business elsewhere (which they did).

But they took an additional action, one we haven’t seen in the Kaepernick situation. The men asked the government to punish Jack for attempting to live peacefully according to his views, and—when offered the power to interfere—the government obliged.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that Phillips’s decision to live by his conscience was unlawful and ordered him to re-educate his staff, file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years, and create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings if he creates wedding cakes at all. That’s why Jack finds himself preparing to go to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to protect free speech and religious freedom for all people.

Too Many Men on the Field

The day after the news broke that Chicago bars were announcing their plans to nix NFL games, attorneys for Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib, were in a courtroom in Phoenix, Arizona. As I’ve written before, they also face something Kaepernick does not: government interference and punishment.

Meanwhile, Barronelle Stutzman is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will hear her case, and this 72-year-old grandmother stands to lose everything. She is also the victim of government interference and punishment.

If you disagree with Jack, Brush & Nib, and Barronelle, then write a letter to the editor, attend a rally, and otherwise express your beliefs. Raise a flag, burn a flag, but don’t give the government the power to throw a flag.

If the government can force a Christian cake artist to design and create a cake for a same-sex wedding, it can force a Muslim singer to offer her services for an Easter service, or a liberal speechwriter to draft speeches for a conservative candidate, or a pro-gun control T-shirt designer to create shirts for the National Rifle Association that say “more guns are the solution.” That kind of government blitz on conscience should alarm all of us, no matter where we stand on the individual issues.

After the New York rally, Kaepernick tweeted, “My faith always has been and always will be in the power of the people!” He’s right. And when it comes to free speech, the government belongs on the sideline. We the people can handle it.

censorship, christian, civil rights, conservative, culture, discrimination, diversity, free speech, freedom, government, ideology, judiciary, justice, political correctness, public policy, relativism

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