Little Sisters granted right to defend selves against state attack

Little Sisters at the Supreme Court (Image courtesy Becket Fund)

Little Sisters at the Supreme Court (Image courtesy Becket Fund)

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic charity that cares for poor and elderly around the world, fought the Obama administration’s requirement that employers pay for abortion pills for employees.

But protection for their right not to compromise their faith for a political agenda was only five days old when Pennsylvania sued to overturn it.

Once again, the Little Sisters and other religious groups were faced with massive fines for standing by their biblical beliefs.

They jumped into action to defend themselves yet again but, stunningly, a lower court judge, Wendy Beetlestone, ruled they had no right to be heard.

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals now has put that judge in her place, reversing her order and requiring that the district court allow the Little Sisters to be heard.

Under President Obama, pro-abortion activists in government established a requirement that employers fund abortion and abortion pills for their employees.

The administration refused to provide any accommodation for those with faith objections to abortion, until the Little Sisters case reached the Supreme Court. The justices argued that if the government wanted to provide abortion pills to Americans, it didn’t need the nuns to do that.

Ultimately, two rules were enacted to provide opt-outs for employers with religious or moral objections to abortion.

So Pennsylvania sued on its own.

And even thought the nuns’ rights were directly threatened, Judge Beetlestone argued the state was suing the federal government over its rules, so the nuns wouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves.

“Women like the Little Sisters of the Poor do not need bureaucrats trying to push them around,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, which has been defending the nuns.

“The appeals court got it right – the Little Sisters should be allowed their day in court to argue for their rights. It is shameful that [Pennsylvania attorney general] Josh Shapiro tried to deprive the sisters of their right to defend themselves.”

Shapiro’s claim against the federal government targeted the sisters’ rights, yet he argued against allowing them to speak in the case.

Becket explained that Shapiro’s lawsuit, “which would take away the nuns’ religious exemption from a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule, would mean they once again face the dilemma of providing services like the week-after pill in their health plan against their faith or pay millions in government fines.”

The nuns’ four-year battle with the federal government apparently ended last October when the Health and Human Services Department, now under President Trump, issued the rule recognizing their rights not to facilitate abortion.

Within five days, however, Pennsylvania sued.

“We pray that soon this trying time will be over; that the court will rule as the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the government doesn’t need us to provide these services to women. As Little Sisters of the Poor, all we want is to follow our calling of serving the elderly poor,” said Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The authors of Obamacare and its regulations had no difficulty exempting big businesses – including Exxon, Chevron and Pepsi – and even government-run health care plans.

But they threatened the Little Sisters with millions of dollars in fines if they refused to facilitate abortion pills.

“Contrary to the district court’s decision, we agree with the Little Sisters that their interest in preserving the religious exemption is concrete and capable of definition,” the appeals ruling said.

The judges said a new fight raising the same arguments that were discussed earlier certainly implicates the nuns’ rights.

“If this court were to reach the [Religious Freedom and Restoration Act] issue, we would be answering the very question” before the Supreme Court, they found. “Answering that question in the negative surely would impair the protection” for the nuns.

Pennsylvania isn’t the only state going after faith groups directly.

WND reported in 2017 that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked a judge to find that the Little Sisters should be forced to comply with the federal mandate, not a state mandate, to provide contraception coverage or pay tens of millions of dollars in government fines.

In a hugely embarrassing ruling against Obama, the Supreme Court said otherwise.

“These men may think their campaign donors want them to sue nuns, but our guess is most taxpayers disagree,” said Mark Rienzi, Becket’s senior counsel. “No one needs nuns in order to get contraceptives, and no one needs these guys reigniting the last administration’s divisive and unnecessary culture war.”

Becket said California admits that many of its own programs provide contraceptives to women who want them.

“California never filed suit over the much larger secular exemptions created by the Obama administration for big corporations – exemptions that applied to tens of millions more people than the religious exemption,” Becket argued. “California’s own mandate does not even apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor. And California has not identified a single actual person who had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of this new rule.”

Becket attorney Daniel Blomberg told WND and Radio America when the Supreme Court ruling was released that the Supreme Court doesn’t want groups such as the Little Sisters to be in the government’s cross-hairs, as they were under the Obama administration.

“Several lower court decisions had gone the wrong way, and they were forcing the Little Sisters to choose between their faith and fines, and they were massive, crushing fines,” he said at the time.

“The Supreme Court today said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to send this back down to get reconsidered because the government has admitted it has other ways of accomplishing its mission without forcing the sisters to violate their beliefs.”

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Daniel Blomberg:



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Snopes ‘sneaky liar’ about California’s anti-Christian plan

A long exposure of the Golden Gate Bridge right after sunset. The cold waters of the San Francisco Bay remain calm as the late night traffic goes on.

WND reported recently when Liberty Counsel, a highly respected legal team that has addressed some of the most contentious religious issues in the country, warned that a legislative proposal in California effectively would ban the sale of Bibles.

It’s because the proposed law forbids counseling that a man is a man, not a woman. The law calls such counseling consumer fraud and bans it.

The bill, which advocates for transgenderism, specifically declares “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” is fraudulent business practice.

“If approved, victims of sexual abuse can no longer get counseling if they develop (as often happens) unwanted urges to engage in same-sex behavior or become gender confused,” Liberty Counsel said.

“This bill would also make it unlawful for any person to sell books, including the Bible, counseling services, or anything else that directs people to trust in Jesus Christ to help them overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion,” Liberty Counsel said.

It took only hours for Snopes, the online “fact-check” site, to blast such comments as “False,” in huge red lettering.

It admitted the bill relates to “gay conversion therapy” but states the bill “does not mention the Bible, Christianity, or religion at all.”

It admitted analysts were “not clear whether the text of A.B. 2943 would amount to a blanket prohibition on any and all [Sexual Orientation Change Efforts],” and quoted the homosexual sponsor of the bill saying the Bible itself is not a “gay conversation therapy” manual.

Do you think California will actually ban Bible? Sound off in today’s WND poll

However, a longtime professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Robert A.J. Gagnon, the author of “The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” got a little blunt in a description of Snopes’ efforts to legitimize the counseling restrictions.

In a column at The Federalist, he said, “Snopes is a Sneaky Liar about California’s Bill to Ban Christian LGBT Talk.”

“If you haven’t already lost significant respect for Snopes as an impartial fact-checker, its analysis of a bill that bans all transactions involved in stating Christian beliefs about homosexual behavior should,” he said.

“That bill passed 50-18 on April 19 and is being considered in the state senate. Snopes’ insistence that California Assembly Bill 2943 would not result in the Bible being banned in California is akin to Snopes calling ‘demonstrably and clearly false’ the claim that Joseph Stalin killed everyone around him.”

He wrote Stalin actually did not kill “all” around him.

“Indeed, so far as we know he never personally killed anyone. But he did have a great many people killed (estimates indicate that he was responsible for the deaths of 20 to 25 million people), sent many others to the Gulag, and generally terrorized both his own country and Eastern Europe for decades.”

Likewise in California, he wrote.

“It is virtually impossible that California will immediately attempt to ban the sale of the Bible itself. Not even the hard Left in California has that kind of chutzpah. But citations of Bible verses in the context of declaring homosexual practice and transgenderism to be morally debased could indeed get one into serious trouble with the law if it comes in the context of selling or advertising a product or service.”

He said Snopes’ claim that Bible banning fears are “clearly false” is problematic, since the “the wording of the bill is broad enough to encompass them.”

Further, he noted Snopes’ description leaves open that, “you could be a pastor, Bible study or house church leader, member of a parachurch organization working to help people afflicted by same-sex attractions, or indeed anybody who attempts change if goods or services involve an exchange of funds.”

Snopes also, he said, “shades the truth.”

“What is clear is that Low’s bill does not seek to outlaw all religious or moral instruction regarding sexuality and sexual orientation,” the site states.

“How much stress is being placed on the ‘all’? Even Snopes cannot say that it will not outlaw ‘some or most religious or moral instruction regarding sexuality and sexual orientation.‘”

He continued, “The emphasis is on the narrative: Keep walking, nothing disturbing here for religious folk. The salient point is that nothing in the bill would prevent the state from outlawing all religious or moral instruction that seeks to change homosexual behavior and transgender identity. The only limitation on the state is its own self-policed chutzpah regarding ‘LGBTQ’ coercion.

“Read the bill. There is no religious exemption. There is no restriction to mental health professionals. There is not even a restriction to claims about changing a person’s sexual orientation or transgender feelings in whole or part. The bill is quite clear that any ‘efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions’ are included in the ban on attempts to change a person’s ‘sexual orientation,‘” he said.

To the direct point, he continued, “So you would be violating the law if you advertise that Christ can empower people not to engage in homosexual practice or not to identify as ‘gay’ or ‘transgender’ because such behaviors and self-identities are morally wrong, or if you offer to engage or actually engage in efforts to persuade people of Christ’s power to transform in this area, you will be in violation of California AB 2943, at least so long as your advertising or efforts involved in any way an exchange of money for goods or services.”

So violations of A.B. 2943 could, he confirmed, include “selling religious or secular books (pamphlets, videos, audios, etc.), holding conferences, teaching courses in a college or seminary where tuition is paid, giving a speech at a paid venue, counseling people for a fee, or perhaps even posting online articles in a site that requires a paid subscription, in which it is asserted (in whole or part) that it is morally wrong for people to engage in homosexual practice or identify as ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’”

He quoted religious liberties lawyer David French, who agreed, stating it is “a bill that would actually – among other things – ban the sale of books expressing orthodox Christian beliefs about sexual morality.”

Joining him was Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp: “It would be a violation if a pastor encourages a congregant to visit the church book store to purchase books that help people address sexual issues, perhaps including the Bible itself, which teaches about the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Staver’s opinion was already clear, “The breadth of this bill is staggering and represents the worst kinds of censoring because books and educational resources along with scientific research will be banned. The First Amendment provides not space for this kind of censorship.”

In WND’s earlier report, Randy Thomasson, president of, a leading pro-family group, also criticized the bill.

“How can any legislator voting for this call themselves pro-choice when they’ve voted to wipe out a person’s own choice of a counselor?” Thomasson asked.

“How can any legislator voting for AB 2943 say they support religious freedom when they’ve just threatened church bookstores that sell self-help books about overcoming unwanted same-sex desires? AB 2943 is anti-free-speech, anti-religious-freedom, anti-free-choice, and has no place in a free society. This intolerant bill contains no exemption and no protection at all for religious entities.”

WND reported last month the bill’s sponsors contend “contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.”

That assumption, in defiance of virtually all medical and mental health conclusions for much of the 20th century, is their starting point.

They then cite the statements of organizations, such as the Pan American Health Organization, that support homosexuality.

They argue: “Courts, including in California, have recognized the practice of sexual orientation change efforts as a commercial service. Therefore, claims that sexual orientation change efforts are effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation, may constitute unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under state consumer protection laws. This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”

The Pacific Justice Institute, which defended minors seeking help for same-sex attractions when the state outlawed such counseling, warned of the bill’s infringement of religious rights.

“Unlike prior legislation target [sexual orientation change efforts], sometimes known as reparative or conversion therapy, this bill is not limited to minors or licensed counselors,” Pacific Justice said. “It also does not include any religious exemptions for churches or non-profit ministries. On its face, the targeted ‘goods and services’ could include the sale of books on the power of the Gospel to heal sexual brokenness, or conferences addressing the same topics.”

The state previously banned therapies for children, defining “conversion therapy” as employing “prayer, religious conversion, individual and group counseling.”

Consequently, the law is “an unconstitutional regulation of the church by the state,” PJI asserted.


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Protecting your medical privacy is possible, expert says


You can protect your medical privacy, despite a new wave of threats, according to an expert.

Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., outlined in a new WND commentary Tuesday how ownership of private medical information was usurped by President Obama’s Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Then came the admission by Facebook that the private data of some 87 million people were improperly compiled and used to target voters.

Perhaps most troubling, Vliet said, was the federal government’s 10-year project called All of Us, which aims to compile personal medical and lifestyle information.

“This project seeks ALL of your personal health and lifestyle information: medical records, psychiatric records, drug abuse/addiction treatment, lifestyle, personal habits, your physical measurements such as blood pressure, weight, lab results, all health care visits, medications you are taking and even your DNA,” she warned.

Vliet, who has medical practices in Tucson and Dallas, is the chief medical officer for MedExpertChile and has won numerous awards for her work,.

“Patients must be proactive in protecting medical privacy, realizing that much privacy has already been lost when seeking ‘insurance’ payment for medical care, whether private or government insurance like Medicare and Medicaid,” she said.

There’s work for both patient and doctor.

“Preserving medical confidentiality requires constant vigilance today. Physicians must speak out against being used as agents of the state against the best interests of individual patients,” Vliet wrote in her column.

But just what is it that needs to be done?

For one thing, the electronic insurance claims doctors submit regarding treatment of patients automatically subjects the doctors to mandatory reporting.

The answer, she said, is to have the patients pay the doctors directly then submit their own forms, putting patients in control of their information.

“Doctors that don’t file electronic insurance claims have the right to establish their own privacy policies for their practice,” Vliet told WND. “We did that.”

In her own practice, a patient’s medical records are sent only to the patient, she said.

Doctors, she said, can help on that front.

Patients can tell an insurance company there are details they don’t need in order to process a claim. What they do need is the diagnosis, physician’s name, diagnosis code and a few other details, she said.

Patients can limit the information provided under the HIPPA release, a form in which a patient approves the data-sharing processes that are required for electronic claims submissions.

Simply specify on the form which information a doctor can share before signing, she suggested.

Consumers, she explained, don’t realize that signing a blanket authorization gives the doctors carte blanche to provide every detail an insurance company demands.

This is where the suspicious questions come into play: Do you have a gun in your home? Are you depressed today?

Those questions usually have nothing to do with the patient’s ailment.

“They start compiling databases to be used later,” she said.

Bureaucrats could review responses to such questions and determine if someone is mentally unstable, needs to be referred to a psychiatrist or have a guardian appointed for Social Security benefits.

It also may provide bureaucrats with talking points to deny aggressive care.

The system uses doctors as agents of the state to compile personal information. Vliet warned it’s a “slippery slope” to the government determining who gets medical treatment and who doesn’t.

She warned in her commentary that three developments portend serious danger to medical privacy.

The first was the government’s takeover of privacy rights. The TARP program required physicians to use electronic medical records and send them to the government without a patient’s permission.

And, she said, TARP set up the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, to create a national database of electronic medical records for each person in the United States.

“The medical information compiled in the database would then be used by the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to decide which treatments would be allowed based on such factors as age, weight, health condition, life expectancy and “quality adjusted life years” (QALYs). In effect, this set up the medical care rationing mechanism similar to those operating in the British and Canadian single-payer, socialized medical systems. Your own medical data are then used against you to deny treatment you may need but the government decides is ‘unnecessary’ or too costly,” she wrote.

Then came the data breach of Facebook information, followed by the All of Us program announcement.

“Patients must be proactive in protecting medical privacy, realizing that much privacy has already been lost when seeking ‘insurance’ payment for medical care, whether private or government insurance like Medicare and Medicaid,” she wrote.

“Ronald Reagan prophetically warned in 1961: ‘One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism upon a people has been by way of medicine. It is very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.’ As the world saw with Nazi Germany’s horrific medical ‘experiments’ on Jews and others deemed ‘undesirables,’ it may sound ‘beneficial’ to undertake ‘research’ for the ‘common good,’ but such laudable goals can easily be perverted to objectionable or even diabolical uses,” she said.

Vliet has been raising such issues for years.

When TARP was passed, she called it a “staggering invasion of your personal healthcare privacy happened with little notice and hardly any press comment.”

She spotlighted the provision to require doctors to send patient records directly to the “health czar” without the patient’s permission.

“The result? Government controls access to your medical records,” she wrote then. “The obvious risk is that bureaucrats can leak your medical information for political purposes.”


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See what kind of economic future your state has


Businesses and families vote with their feet, and a new study of the states with the brightest economic futures suggests lower taxes and less regulation are a prescription for sustained growth while heavy burdens from government lead to decline.

In the 2018 edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, economists Jonathan Williams, Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer say it’s clear which states are thriving and which ones are floundering.

For the 11th consecutive year, Utah tops the list of states with the brightest outlooks. Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Wyoming, South Dakota and Virginia round out the top 10.

New York finished dead last in the study. Vermont, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Maine and Oregon make up the remainder of the lowest 10 states.

Williams told WND and Radio America that the ranking is simply a compilation of the most important economic measuring sticks.

“We look at things that matter for economic growth,” he explained. “We look at the 15 economic policy variables that Dr. Laffer, my co-author and Reagan economic adviser, came up with years ago that really do matter for economic growth.

“Also, they’re things directly controlled by state lawmakers: tax rates, regulation, labor policy. Those are really the three broad categories. In essence, what we have is an economic competitiveness ranking that predicts future growth,” said Williams, vice president at the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Jonathan Williams:


But Williams said the factors that determine future growth are already producing results, especially for those states at the top of the list.

“It’s where people are voting with their feet and going toward,” Williams said. “It’s where businesses are moving from high tax states to low tax states. They’re going to states like Utah. They’re going to states like Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Texas – that whole list of states that are competitive.

“And, of course, they’re flocking to those states from states like New York, Illinois, California, New Jersey – the states that are perennially in the bottom of the index,” Williams noted.

He said the No. 1 reason people move is for economic opportunity, and the same is true for businesses.

“When the Hertz Corporation leaves New Jersey and relocates and opens in Florida, or when Toyota USA leaves California and goes to Texas, or you see these massive movements of job creators going from high tax states with limited economic opportunity and high cost of doing business to states that value competition and free-market environments, you absolutely see the natural connection when people then vote with their feet and go toward those job opportunities,” he said.

Williams suspects all states will see their economies improve in the near term, thanks to the federal tax cuts.

“The untold story of the success of federal tax reform is what it’s meant for state budgets,” he said. “When states come back and are analyzing what tax reform means for their state budget, they’re seeing, in many cases, hundreds of millions of dollars – if not billions of dollars – in unexpected revenue coming in at the state level. That’s because state tax codes link to the federal tax code.”

He said two states rocketed up the list this year for taking steps to make the benefits of the federal tax cuts even sweeter.

“Idaho and Georgia were two of the states that utilized that the best this year by cutting their own state tax rates with that unexpected revenue,” Williams explained. “Instead of allowing it to be a tax increase at the state level, they’re using it to reduce their tax rates and become more competitive.”

Idaho shot up from No. 10 to No. 2 as a result of those moves. Georgia jumped from 17th to 11th. And Williams said many other states are moving up the list because they are embracing freedom.

“Rewind the clock a few years ago, and states like North Carolina and Indiana were in the middle of the pack,” he said. “Both of those states are in the top 10 this year for economic outlook because of great fiscal policy and reforms, tax cuts, pension reform. Indiana, of course, going right to work.

“States like Wisconsin have made huge movements over the years. My home state of Michigan (has as well). New Hampshire, the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, moved up to it’s all-time best of number 17 this year.

“While the states in the bottom of the index have basically been stuck for most of the 10 or 11 years (of doing the survey), we’ve seen some great upward mobility of states getting it right and being able to crack through to that upper echelon of rankings,” Williams said.

While some might quibble with the methodology, Williams said you can’t argue with what is actually happening in the states.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “The data is very clear that there’s a big growth premium associated with being a competitive state economy.”

The following is the complete list of economic outlook ranks. See more details at

  1. Utah
  2. Idaho
  3. Indiana
  4. North Dakota
  5. Arizona
  6. Florida
  7. North Carolina
  8. Wyoming
  9. South Dakota
  10. Virginia
  11. Georgia
  12. Tennessee
  13. Nevada
  14. Texas
  15. Colorado
  16. Oklahoma
  17. New Hampshire
  18. Michigan
  19. Wisconsin
  20. Alabama
  21. Ohio
  22. Arkansas
  23. Missouri
  24. Mississippi
  25. Massachusetts
  26. Kansas
  27. Louisiana
  28. Nebraska
  29. Iowa
  30. West Virginia
  31. Kentucky
  32. Maryland
  33. South Carolina
  34. Alaska
  35. New Mexico
  36. Delaware
  37. Washington
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. Rhode Island
  40. Connecticut
  41. Oregon
  42. Maine
  43. Montana
  44. Minnesota
  45. Hawaii
  46. New Jersey
  47. California
  48. Illinois
  49. Vermont
  50. New York


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Carter Center sued for using taxpayer funds to aid terrorism

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

The nonprofit charity of former president Jimmy Carter has been sued for allegedly using taxpayer funds to provide material support to international terrorist groups in the Holy Land, in violation of federal law.

While the Trump administration has curbed funding to the Palestinian Authority for its support of terrorism, the Justice Department has filed to dismiss the lawsuit against the Carter Center, claiming it’s too expensive to prosecute, reported the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo.

The lawsuit by the Zionist Advocacy Center, which recently was unsealed, alleges that in 2015, the Carter Center received more than $30 million in taxpayer grants while hosting designated terrorists at is facilities and providing various forms of assistance to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and other known terror entities.

The Free Beacon notes that the Justice Department had requested that its demand to dismiss the case on the grounds that it is too expensive remain secret.

The motion to dismiss will be heard Wednesday in court.

The complaint presents evidence that the Carter Center falsely certified it was not violating prohibitions on providing material support to terror groups.

It argues that the former president’s well-documented interactions with Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine figures are tantamount to material support for terror groups.

Carter has hosted many of these officials at his organization’s offices.

The government’s motion to dismiss acknowledges representatives of the Carter Center “have engaged in discussions and meetings with members of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

But it argues “the primary purposes of these activities were to facilitate dialog between the Palestinian factions and to urge Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist, forgo violence, and accept previous peace agreements.”

Because the interactions were public, the Justice Department contends, they should not be classified as material support for terrorists.

The DOJ and the Carter Center did not respond to requests for comment.

The Justice Department contends the case amounts to “a difference of opinion with the Carter Center about how to resolve conflict in the Middle East.”

“If the United States were to decline to intervene in the case … the United States, as the real party of interest, likely would be required to devote considerable resources to the litigation,” the DOJ argued.

Yifa Segal, director of one of the groups involved in the case, the International Legal Forum, rebutted the DOJ’s legal arguments in an interview with the Free Beacon.

He argued that providing expert advice or assistance can facilitate terrorism, even if the intent is to promote peace.

“The logic is simple. Any service provided to a terror group can help free up other resources within the organization,” Segal told the Free Beacon. “Taking into account that a terror organization, ultimately, aims at executing acts of terror, by freeing resources from other needs, you are very likely to contribute to the organization’s illegal acts of violence, whether you intended to do so or not.”

WND reported last month the American Center for Law and Justice asked the State Department for records to determine whether the Carter Center channeled taxpayer funds to terrorist organizations.

Carter was president when the U.S. sustained one of its worst foreign policy failures, the Islamic revolution in Iran and the hostage-taking of American government workers at the U.S. Embassy.

ACLJ noted the Carter Center’s website suggests that Jerusalem, recently recognized by the U.S. as the capital of Israel, belongs to “Palestine.”

The Carter Center received $306 million in cash, pledges and in-kind gifts in 2015-16, including significant income from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

While the center publicly advocates reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinian people, it consistently favors the Palestinians, ACLJ said, and “perceived anti-Israel statements on the part of President Carter have even led many of his long-time advisers to stop their work with him and publicly denounce his actions.”

“We at the ACLJ maintain that anyone is allowed to think and say what they want, and that free speech is part of what makes a democracy work. But when that speech turns into actual harmful conduct – and especially when U.S. tax dollars are concerned – then the government needs to step in,” the organization said.

ACLJ said it’s “concerned that the Obama State Department was ensuring the Carter Center was getting U.S. tax dollars, and that it has continued to this day through the deep state bureaucracy, while turning a blind eye to the Carter Center’s open ties with terrorist organizations and sympathizers in potential violation of U.S. law.”

WND reported 10 years ago a Michigan congressman proposed cutting federal funding for the Carter Center because of the former president’s trip to meet with leaders of terrorist organizations.

Carter has complained of “horrible persecution” of Palestinians by Israel, urging the Jewish state to give up land and calling its “domination” of Palestinians “atrocious.”

He’s called Israel’s “occupation” the “prime cause” of ongoing violence in the Middle East.


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Are vehicles now ‘assault weapons’?

Ryder van used in attack on Toronto pedestrians on April 23 (Photo: Twitter)

Ryder van used in attack on Toronto pedestrians on April 23 (Photo: Twitter)

A pro-Second Amendment organization Tuesday suggested a ban on “assault vehicles,” given the mass killings perpetrated with those in the last few months.

Tongue-in-cheek, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb bluntly challenged: “How should we define an ‘assault vehicle.’ Is it a van or truck? Does it have a high-powered engine? Does it have an automatic transmission? Can it be fitted with a high capacity fuel tank? Do they all come in solid black, or are other colors available? Can they be equipped with large mufflers to suppress engine noise? Once we define them, should we ban them, require special training to operate them, or just raise the age limit to buy or rent one?”

He cited Monday’s mass murder in Toronto, where a man driving a rented van struck and killed 10 people, and injured many more.

The CCRKBA statement encouraged “the liberal media” to start calling what’s used in such situations an “assault vehicle” or simply “assault weapons.”

“What happened in Toronto Monday was a horrible tragedy,” Gottlieb said. “Fatal vehicle attacks have been increasing. The 2016 Nice terror attack killed more than 80 people. Last year a man driving a rental truck killed eight people on a bicycle path in New York City. Also last year, 13 people were killed in Barcelona, eight more died in a car attack in London and four were killed in Stockholm. If a gun had been the weapon instead of a vehicle, all of those would have been mass shootings.”

The military actually already has vehicles classified as assault vehicles, those like Hummers and such, armed with weaponry, armor and designed to withstand attacks and protect their occupants.

He wondered whether the problem actually is the driver.

“Once you realize how absurd it is to call a car an ‘assault vehicle,’ you see the lunacy of defining, and then banning, so-called ‘assault rifles,‘” he said.

“Instead, we need to focus the blame where it belongs, on the deranged, violent person who commits the violent act. We don’t reflexively demonize every other motorist for the acts of a madman, so why do some people insist on penalizing every gun owner for the acts of criminals?”

Gottlieb, whose organization has more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, said, “The time has come to stop this blame-shifting nonsense. It is deceptive and dishonest, and doesn’t prevent or solve anything.”

WND reported that the suspect in the Toronto attack, Alek Minassian, 25, was a fan of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger and, like Rodger, he was angered that women wouldn’t sleep with him.

Minassian described himself as “involuntarily celibate” and praised Rodger, the shooter who railed against women in 2014 before stabbing, shooting and striking victims with his vehicle in Isla Vista, California.

Tuesday, Minassian was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 more counts of attempted murder.

Before his killing spree, Minassian had made Facebook posts referencing a rebellion of “incels,” or men who are “involuntarily celibate” because women refuse to sleep with them. After his killing spree, Facebook deleted Minassian’s page.

In one post, Minassian, who has been described as a “socially awkward” tech expert, wrote in a post: “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4 chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”


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N.Y. Times eats crow after calling true story ‘right-wing conspiracy’


The New York Times apparently couldn’t fathom that the Palestinian Authority — which has been Israel’s so-called “peace partner” in the Middle East conflict — would be so audacious as to provide salaries to terrorists and their families.

The Gray Lady called reports of such a policy the stuff of “far-right conspiracy” in a feature on Facebook’s new head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, the former CNN host and NBC News reporter.

But the paper was forced to admit in a correction Monday that it was veering into fake news when it dismissed the Palestinian terrorist-funding story as fake news.

The Times weekend feature on Brown said she “wants to use Facebook’s existing Watch product — a service introduced in 2017 as a premium product with more curation that has nonetheless been flooded with far-right conspiracy programming like ‘Palestinians Pay $400 million Pensions For Terrorist Families.‘”

In its correction, the Times said: “An earlier version of this article erroneously included a reference to Palestinian actions as an example of the sort of far-right conspiracy stories that have plagued Facebook. In fact, Palestinian officials have acknowledged providing payments to the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis or convicted of terrorist acts and imprisoned in Israel; that is not a conspiracy theory.”

WND reported Monday the Palestinian Authority has flouted international efforts to stop its financial support of terrorists and their families, including ignoring a deadline.

Last month, the PA defiantly dismissed a bill passed by Congress, the Taylor Force Act, which cuts most U.S. financial aid to the governing body unless it ceases paying terrorists’ salaries.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, for example, told the PLO Central Council that “we will continue to pay” the salaries. Official PA TV said the Palestinians “categorically reject” the U.S. demand.

“We will not under any circumstances allow anyone to harm the families of the prisoners, the wounded and the martyrs. They are our children and they are our families.”

In a letter to U.S. government officials, Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch provided documentation showing that just days after passage of the Taylor Force Act, the PA publicized its budget for 2018, approved by Abbas.

The budget allocated at least $158 million for the payment of salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists and $197 million to families of “martyrs” and “wounded” terrorists.

PMW said the PA has “stopped attempting to hide that it is the PA that pays salaries to all the terrorist prisoners.”


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Judge waffles on Waffle House shooter bail

(REUTERS) — A Tennessee judge on Tuesday revoked a $2 million bond set for the man accused of opening fire at a Nashville-area Waffle House restaurant, killing four people, while new details emerged of the suspect’s struggles with paranoia and delusions.

Davidson County Judge Michael Mondelli did not give a reason for overturning the bond order issued by a night magistrate following the arrest of Travis Reinking, but his decision followed a public outcry over the possibility that the suspect could potentially be freed from jail.

The Nashville District Attorney’s office was “inundated with calls” from angry members of the public saying the shooting rampage suspect should not be released under any circumstances, spokesman Steve Hayslip said.

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Southern Poverty Law Center sits on $477 million

(WEEKLY STANDARD) — If its balance sheet is any indication, Donald Trump’s presidency has been very good for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s already impressive endowment grew a staggering 35 percent in fiscal year 2017 to more than $432 million. Including operating funds, total assets topped $477 million as of October 31, 2017. Total revenues and gains in fiscal 2017 exceeded $180 million, more than triple the organization’s expenses for the year, of just under $60 million.

The SPLC has long been considered a fundraising powerhouse, but 2017’s take was mind boggling by any standard. Donations were up 164 percent over 2016: The group took in $132 million between November 2016 and October 2017, compared with $50 million in the preceding 12 months.

While direct contributions produced the lion’s share of the 2017 increase, a booming stock market led to astounding growth in the SPLC’s investment portfolio. In fiscal 2016, unrealized gains came to less than $1 million; a year later they totaled nearly $45 million.

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College offers guide on white fragility, privilege guilt

(CAMPUS REFORM) — DePauw University has published a Resource Guide designed to teach students how to handle “white fragility” and how to move past “privilege guilt.”

The guide, touted by the university’s Compton Center for Peace and Justice, encourages students to take an hour of their time to study a list of provided materials that can “help you navigate issues surrounding racism, homophobia, xenophobia, classism, and other systems of oppression.”

The first two items on the list are lectures by Kimberle Crenshaw, a scholar known for her substantial contribution to intersectionality theory, and Bryan Stevenson, who lectured on slavery and the prison system.

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