Category Archives: First Amendment

There are satanists in the U.S. Naval Academy

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and a published author of four books. (Read more about him here.)

In an October 9 post on The American Conservative, Dreher alerts us to the alarming news that there are organized satanists in the U.S. Naval Academy.

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) is the second oldest of the United States’ five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

Dreher reports that an American Conservative “reader affiliated with the US Naval Academy said that people there received this e-mail” on October 8, 2019. Below is a screenshot of the email.

In the interest of legibility, here’s a text of the email that I transcribed from the above image:

Good Afternoon Brigade,

Starting this Thursday, Satanic services will be offered on the yard.

Who: Caters to people who prescribe to the Satanic Temple’s philosophy, however all people of any faith background are welcome to attend!
What: Satanic religious services, discussions of Satanic Philosophy, discussions of literary history of Satan.
When: Every Thursday at 1900.
Where: The Media Room at the back of Stein Hall in the Levy Center
Why: To promote critical thinking and discussion on Satanic values as they pertain to our lives.
How: Just show up!

Please contact Chief [name redacted] with any questions.

Very respectfully,

Dreher continues:

The reader said that e-mail set off a firestorm. A few minutes later, the Chief who authored that e-mail sent this follow-up:

Dreher apologizes for the blurry screenshot of the email: “If you are having trouble reading it, the gist is that the Chief is a confessed Satanist, and is inviting others at the USNA to participate in a Satanic ritual.”

The reader who sent Dreher the information wrote that “the Chief” admits he’s a member of the Satanic Temple and gave links to a website that “talks about Black Masses and ‘unbaptisms’.” The reader said that the command chaplain, a Catholic priest, had no idea any of this was going on, and is furious.

On October 11, 2019, Task & Purpose, a military and veteran-focused digital media company, reports that USNA spokeswoman Cmdr. Alana Garas said the Satanic service would not take place because “that email was sent prematurely…without the review and approval of the Naval Academy’s Command Chaplain, as required by command policy.”

Garas said that a group of midshipmen “with beliefs aligned with those practiced by The Satanic Temple” had requested a space for a “study group” to discuss their satanic beliefs — and not, as the email in question indicated, for holding satanic religious services.

As of 2017, the U.S. military recognized 221 distinct “faith groups” from major religions like the Roman Catholic Church and Islam to more arcane and esoteric affiliations like Druid, Troth, Heathen, and Pagan. In January 2019, a group of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis conducted religious services based in Norse Heathenry with the approval of their commanding officer. In May 2019, the U.S. government officially recognized the Satanic Temple as a tax-exempt religion.

Rod Dreher raises these fundamental and very troubling questions about our polity and society:

The matter of Satanists meeting at the USNA raises the broader question of the limits of tolerance in a liberal society. Is Satanism a religion like every other? Theologically, I would say no. But as a matter of public accommodation in a pluralist polity, a liberal one in which there is a formal separation of Church and State, it is hard to see how lines can be drawn to defend society against this evil. The phenomenon reveals the instability at the heart of classical liberalism…. At what point does liberalism cross the line from being a tool that can be used to defend the Good when it has become unpopular, and becomes instead a clear and present danger to the Good?

H/t John Molloy

~Eowyn

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Because of Trump, American Federation of Teachers union lost 76,000 members and $18M in dues revenue

Founded in Chicago in 1916, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the second largest teacher’s labor union in America, the largest being the National Education Association (NEA). 

Members’ dues underwrite much of AFT’s political activities.

Since 1980, AFT and the NEA have contributed nearly $57.4 million to federal campaigns, an amount that is about 30% higher than any single corporation or other union. About 95% of political donations from teachers unions have gone to Democrats:

  • In 2008, AFT donated $1,997,375.00 to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, and $1,784,808.59 to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
  • The AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race — Hillary and AFT president Randi Weingarten are longtime friends. Some AFT members felt the endorsement did not reflect the wishes of rank-and-file AFT members because they supported socialist Bernie Sanders.

According to Department of Labor filings, Weingarten, 61, earned nearly $560,000 in total compensation during the 2013-2014 school year.

On June 27, 2018, in a landmark but narrow 5:4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector union dues violate the First Amendment by compelling nonmembers to “subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern”. Unions will, subsequently, need to gain the affirmative consent of individual teachers before enrolling them in the AFT and NEA.

The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling led directly to the cancellation of membership by a substantial portion of teachers in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Sean Higgins reports for Washington Examiner, Oct. 9, 2019, on the effects of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling in the year since:

  • AFT lost 76,000 members and $18 million in dues revenue.
  • AFT membership declined 4% to 1.7 million members, and would have declined even more if AFT had not made a grassroots outreach to build up its membership by adding 8,000 full-time teachers and 8,000 retiree members.
  • In a recent Labor Department filing, AFT reported having lost some  82,000 “agency fee” payers — from more than 85,000 the previous year to just 3,000. Agency fee payers are people who are not members of a union but are covered by a collective bargaining contract which requires them to pay a union a regular fee. The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, however, means agency fee payers no longer are required to pay a fee to the AFT. The remaining agency fee payers are all at private-sector schools, because the Janus ruling doesn’t cover private-sector employment.

Conservatives must remember this when you find yourself unhappy with President Trump:

The narrow majority of five justices are Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch.

The landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling and the American Federation of Teachers’ loss of members and $18 million in revenue were made possible entirely because of President Trump’s nomination and the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who replaced the late Justice Antonin Scalia, joined the four justices (Alito, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) in the majority ruling.

~Eowyn

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Are We Being “Auto-Enrolled” into the Mark of the Beast?

Revelation 13:14 – 13:18

14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

16  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

This piece does not aim to provide certainty of conclusion(s), but food for thought.  Over time, as one observes seemingly unrelated or spontaneous developments, a pattern can become discernable.  This writer is “discerning” that we may slowly be being corralled into a “Mark of the Beast” regime – not necessarily by force, as many assume – but through a form of “auto-enrollment” by means of that corralling. Many have opined that the “Mark” will manifest itself in the form of microchips implanted underneath the skin – whether voluntarily using deception, or by force – there’s even a movie about this titled Rumors of Wars. And that may well occur.  But …

Continue reading

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President Trump is drafting executive order on social media’s censorship of conservatives

About three months ago, in May 2019, President Trump finally heeded the cries of conservative bloggers (including Fellowship of the Minds) and users of social media of being censored, blacklisted and abused by the tech giants. The White House created a webpage for us to relate our travails — as individuals, websites, and blogs.

The evidence that conservatives are being censored is overwhelming. See:

It is, of course, in President Trump’s self-interest to do something about this censorship. See “Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent ‘Trump situation’ in 2020“.

In July, at a White House social media summit, President Trump decried the censorship and directed his administration to explore all “regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.” Last Tuesday, citing the case of a Google engineer who says he had been fired for his conservative views, Trump warned that he is “watching Google very closely.”

Now, it is reported that the Trump White House is preparing an executive order to address the anti-conservative bias of the tech giants.

Tech giants’ love-fest with Barack Obama

Politico reports, August 7, 2019, that according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter, the Trump White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order to address social media companies’ anti-conservative bias.

The unnamed White House official said: “If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system. But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.”

The executive order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently. None of the three individuals would describe the contents of the executive order or what penalties, if any, would be visited on companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the Trump administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

The Trump White House faces many obstacles in crafting a policy against the censorship:

  1. The federal government’s options on combating online bias are limited by the First Amendment. Before he left his job in May, John Morris, who handled internet policy issues at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), said: “There’s very little in terms of direct regulation the federal government can do without congressional action, and frankly I think that’s a positive thing. Although the government may be able to support and assist online platforms’ efforts to reduce hate and violence online, the government should not try to impose speech regulations on private platforms. As politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have historically urged, the government should not be in the business of regulating speech.”
  2. Another obstacle is Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which both protects online platforms from liability for content their users post and empowers the companies to remove content without fear of liability. Section 230 has increasingly come under fire from lawmakers of both parties frustrated with tech companies’ content moderation practices.
  3. A crackdown on social media companies would involve at least four federal agencies: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),  Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice, and Department of Commerce. However:
    1. Although the Justice Department has announced a sweeping antitrust review of whether tech giants are harming competition or stifling innovation, antitrust cases have not traditionally been used as tools to address complaints about online speech.
    2. Republicans at the FCC and FTC already have said publicly that they don’t see a role for their agencies in policing companies’ online content:
      1. Republican FCC Commissioner and Trump appointee Brendan Carr tweeted: “Outsourcing censorship to the government is not just a bad idea, it would violate the First Amendment. I’m a no.”
      2. Republicans at the FTC, which punishes companies for unfair or deceptive acts, also have said they don’t see a role for the agency in policing allegations of social media bias. During an FTC oversight hearing in the Senate last year, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued that a tech company could be considered “actively deceptive” if it appears to be a neutral public platform and then engages in censorship. But Republican FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips said the FTC’s antitrust and consumer protection authorities are “not authorities to police the First Amendment itself.”
  4. Conservatives, such as the Heritage Foundation, have also spent decades opposing any attempt to revive the FCC’s old Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to be balanced in their programming on controversial issues.

What the Trump White House can do:

  1. One potential approach could involve using the government’s leverage over federal contractors, a tactic the Obama administration used to advance LGBT rights via a 2014 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Trump did just that last March when he signed an executive order to promote free speech on college campuses by requiring schools to agree to promote free inquiry (which they are already supposed to do, but many don’t) in order to receive federal research funding.
  2. The administration could have the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which handles communications policy, to convene interested parties to explore the issues.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Finally

Somehow I FINALLY managed to trick my way back in.

Every time I have tried before, it threw me completely off the net, regardless of which computer I was using.

Sorry I have been away so long, but it wasn’t my fault.

– Dave

 

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Alleged anti-Semitism: Cartoonist Ben Garrison disinvited from White House Social Media Summit; high school principal fired for refusing to state Holocaust really happened

Holocaust denial, the denial of the genocidal killing of approximately six million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, is illegal in Israel and 16 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain).

Here in the United States, notwithstanding the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, “anti-Semitism” is not just politically incorrect and verboten, the trend is towards banning and criminalizing “anti-Semitism” and Holocaust denial altogether:

  • A bill (HR 1697) in Congress seeks to make it a felony to support any anti-Israel boycott.
  • On May 29, 2019, in Jerusalem, Israel, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill, HB 741, into law banning “anti-Semitism” in Florida’s public schools — the first bill in Florida history signed on foreign soil.

Below are two recent cases of alleged “anti-Semitism”.

(1) Political cartoonist Ben Garrison

Tomorrow, July 11, the Trump administration will host a Social Media Summit  on the “opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment,” in the words of White House spokesperson Judd Deere.

Deere made the announcement on June 26, the same day President Trump said the federal government should file lawsuits against some of the tech giants. Trump has accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of being biased against him and other conservatives. (Politico)

Brilliant political cartoonist Ben Garrison was first invited to the Social Media Summit, then the invitation was rescinded because of complaints from the Anti-Defamation League that Garrison is “anti-Semitic”.

This is his statement:

(2) Florida high school principal William Latson

Meanwhile, a high school principal in Florida was fired for refusing to state that the Holocaust of six million Jews in WWII was a factual, historical event.

Sarah Mervosh reports for the New York Times that in April 2018, William Latson, the principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., wrote in an email exchange with an unidentified parent that “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” amd that he had to stay “politically neutral”. He said that the school offered an assembly and courses on the Holocaust, but that they were optional and could not be “forced upon” all students.

Making a distinction between his personal beliefs about the Holocaust and his role as the principal of a public school, Latson wrote: “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee. I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly. I do the same with information about slavery.”

The emails were recently obtained and published by The Palm Beach Post, which led to an intense backlash in South Florida — an area with a third of the population being Jewish.

Thousands signed an online petition calling for Latson’s resignation. On July 1, the Palm Beach County school district announced that he would be stripped of his position as principal and reassigned to another job in the district.

In its statement, the school district said Latson had made “a grave error in judgment” in refusing to state the Holocaust as fact. Latson was counseled by district officials in a series of meetings, and spent several days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to increase his awareness. Latson apologized in a statement to The Palm Beach Post: “I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”

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Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020

Shocker, not.

The latest from Project Veritas. If the video is removed from YouTube, watch it here.

UPDATE:

As one would expect, the video on YouTube is GONE. From James O’Keefe:

“BREAKING: YOUTUBE/GOOGLE HAS REMOVED OUR GOOGLE INVESTIGATION as it was approaching 50K likes and a million views. IMPORTANT: Please download it on @bitchute and repost it.”

COWARDS.

DCG

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Atheist loses lawsuit to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from U.S. currency

A piece of good news, at last, in the contemporary American wasteland.

Do you remember a man named Michael Newdow?

Newdow, 65, is the Californian atheist who’s been jamming the courts with lawsuits.

Newdow’s most recent lawsuit was to have “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency on the grounds that the motto is a government endorsement of religion and so violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Last year, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Newdow — the judges found that the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” and did not coerce people into practicing a religion.

See DCG’s “Lawsuit demands US remove ‘In God We Trust’ from money“.

“In God We Trust” was first put on an American coin in 1864, and added to both coins and paper bills in 1955. A year after, in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law making the phrase the national motto.

Leah Klett reports for Christian Post, citing Fox News, that on June 10, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, Newdow’s appeal.

In 2013, Newdow had partnered with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation to sue the U.S. Treasury over the motto on currency. In his petition to the Supreme Court, Nedow, a lawyer whose clients are other atheists, had argued that:

  • The government violated his clients’ “sincere religious belief” that there is no God and turned them into “political outsiders” by placing the phrase “In God We Trust” on their money.
  • The placement of “In God We Trust” on money “has real effects on real children” and subjects atheist children to the same sufferings  historically endured by black children as “second class citizens”.

In the words of Newdow’s petition, which refers to “God” as “G-d” — a Jewish practice:

Petitioners are atheists. As such, they fervidly disagree with the religious idea that people should trust in G-d. On the contrary, their sincere religious belief is that trusting in any G-d is misguided. Defendants have conditioned receipt of the important benefit of using the nation’s sole ‘legal tender’ upon conduct proscribed by Petitioners’ atheism (i.e., upon Petitioners’ personally bearing – and proselytizing – a religious message that is directly contrary to the central idea that underlies their religious belief system).

Unless this Court ends the flagrant governmental preference for belief in G-d (and the implicit concomitant denigration of Atheism), the organizations, adults and children bringing this case will spend the rest of their lives – as they have spent their lives so far – as secondclass citizens.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel, praised the court’s rejection of Newdow’s petition: “Our national motto ‘In God We Trust’ has been on all U.S. currency for more than 60 years and it will remain there, despite ridiculous attempts by atheists to remove it.”

Newdow’s past litigation includes:

  • Several failed litigation challenges against the “under God” phrase in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. In 2004, after suing for the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, his case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the court did not decide on the merits of the case but instead said Newdow had no standing to sue. See my post, “‘Under God’ stays in Pledge of Allegiance“.
  • Attempts to stop prayers being read at the inauguration of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
  • Attempts to prevent government leaders from saying the phrase “So help me God” in the 2009, 2013, and 2017 presidential inaugurations.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Can you pass this 100-question U.S. Civics Quiz?

CivicsQuiz.com has a U.S. Civics Quiz of 100 questions.

Most questions are taken right from the U.S. Naturalization Exam.

To take the quiz, click here, then report to us on your score!

I got a score of 95. How did you do?

Of the 5 questions I got wrong, I strenuously object to Question #2. Also, the supposedly correct answers for Questions #65 and #66 contradict each other.

~Eowyn

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Problematic: 41% of college students believe hate speech should not be protected by the Constitution

Who gets to define what is “hate” speech?

From Daily Mail: Some 41 percent of college students say hate speech shouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment, according to a new survey.

Just 58 percent said that hate speech should be protected under the amendment, which guarantees American’s a right to freedom of speech, according to the survey of 4,407 students by the Miami-based Knight Foundation.

‘There is a new class of students on college campuses, increasingly varied in background and ideology, who are grappling with the reach and limits of free speech and what it means in the 21st century,’ said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for learning and communities.

‘Studying their views is key to understanding the impact that they may have on rights that are fundamental to our democracy,’ he added.

Opinions split dramatically along gender lines, with just 41 percent of college women saying that protecting free speech was more important that inclusivity, compared to 71 percent of college men.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they felt that students can’t openly express their views due to a climate on campus that has people fearful of offending their peers. Just 31 percent disagreed that such a climate exists.

These opinions of young Americans on the matter of freedom of speech are problematic – if well intended, said Ken Paulson, the director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. ‘Protecting hate speech is actually the reason we have a First Amendment,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We don’t need protection for freedom of speech if everyone agrees with one another. The protection we need is for speech that others may find offensive.’

The survey comes as more colleges are opting to cancel or not invite controversial speakers to their campuses due to student outrage.

For example, Middlebury College in Vermont apologized to students earlier this year after getting a negative reaction to inviting a conservative speaker to campus. College officials also promised to do more to prevent invitations to such speakers going forward.

‘The big difference between today and a decade ago is that the conservatives are the big driving force behind freedom of speech on campuses,’ Paulson said.

The report also found that more than half (53 percent) are in favor of protecting freedom of speech, while 46 percent say it’s important to ‘promote an inclusive and welcoming society.’

‘The Constitution was not designed to keep your feelings from being hurt,’ said Paulson, also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. ‘It was designed so every American could say or do whatever they wanted and do so without being punished. To understand freedom of speech you have to understand that it’s the minority being protected against the majority and the government.’

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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