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Good Guy With a Gun Heralded a Hero by Arlington Police, Patrons

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By Jenn Jacques
Bearing Arms
May 4, 2017

Police in Arlington, TX are praising the swift action of a concealed carry permit holder who stepped up to eliminate a threat in a local restaurant Wednesday night.

Authorities say the gunman walked into Zona Caliente, in the 6500 block of South Cooper Street, about 6:15 p.m. and fatally shot 37-year-old Cesar Perez of Duncanville, the bar’s manager, Arlington police spokesman Christopher Cook said.

Authorities later found two loaded guns and two knives on Jones, Cook said.

“We do believe he had the capacity to do much greater harm,” Cook said.

Witnesses told police the gunman entered the establishment and immediately began yelling incoherently at patrons.

“People didn’t know who he was yelling at,” Cook said.

Those same witnesses saw Perez trying to have a conversation with the man to calm him down before he was shot and killed.

That’s when a patron with a concealed carry permit told his wife to get down as he drew his weapon and eliminated the gunman, preventing further loss of life.

“After he was struck once, the suspect started shooting at the front door,” Cook told the Arlington Voice. “We know people were trying to escape, but we’re not sure if he was just trying to harm others.”

Cook said the customer, who was dining with his wife, “prevented further loss of life.”

The customer, who has not been identified, was carrying a handgun under the Texas concealed handgun license program, Cook later confirmed.

“We’re treating the good guy as sort of a hero,” Cook said.

In a statement, Arlington PD said: “This customer was armed with a handgun and engaged the shooter by firing his weapon towards the suspect, striking him. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. It is too early to determine a motive or whether the suspect knew the employee.”

FBI Report NICS Checks on April Gun Sales Contradict MSM’s Claims

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By Jenn Jacques
Bearing Arms
May 5, 2017

Much to the mainstream media’s chagrin, the FBI’s report on the number of NICS checks conducted on gun sales in April contradicts their claim that the firearms industry is experiencing a “Trump slump” in 2017.

An impressive 2,045,564 background checks were conducted last month, extending 2017’s increase in gun sales nationally. In fact, the report shows April 2017 held the second biggest number of FBI background checks for the month ever.

Following the release of the FBI’s report, the NSSF released the following:

The April 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is an increase of 0.04 percent compared to the April 2016 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,111,205. For comparison, the unadjusted April 2017 FBI NICS figure of 2,037,180 reflects a 4.6 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,135,909 in April 2016.


According to the FBI report, April numbers were higher by only 100,000 in 2016 leading up to the presidential election in November, squashing the media’s assertion that gun sales have slowed since voters rejected anti-gun candidate Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.

“As we noted previously, sales are come off the peak of 2016 which was a record year for sales but the valley floor is higher,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “There are more gun owners today – many of them first time buyers – than ever before. While the number guns in the hands of law abiding Americans has never been higher we continue to see crime and accidents are at record lows.”

Gun sales may be staying strong in part due to an increase in constitutional carry laws passing, in increase in concealed carry permit applications, and the steady influx in women and African-Americans embracing their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

FBI translator marries Islamic State terrorist

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By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
May 1, 2017

“‘It’s a stunning embarrassment for the FBI, no doubt about it,’ said John Kirby, a former State Department official. He said he suspects Greene’s entry into Syria required the approval of top ISIS leaders. Most outsiders trying to get into an ISIS region in Syria risk ‘getting their heads cut off,’ said Kirby, now a CNN commentator on national security matters. ‘So for her to be able to get in as an American, as a woman, as an FBI employee, and to be able to take up residence with a known ISIS leader, that all had to be coordinated.’”

And then the FBI protected her: “It also raises questions about whether Greene received favorable treatment from Justice Department prosecutors who charged her with a relatively minor offense, then asked a judge to give her a reduced sentence in exchange for her cooperation.”

Imagine what she could have told the Islamic State leaders that they might have found useful. If ever a swamp was in need of draining, it’s the FBI.

“The FBI translator who went rogue and married an ISIS terrorist,” by Scott Glover, CNN, May 1, 2017:

An FBI translator with a top-secret security clearance traveled to Syria in 2014 and married a key ISIS operative she had been assigned to investigate, CNN has learned.

The rogue employee, Daniela Greene, lied to the FBI about where she was going and warned her new husband he was under investigation, according to federal court records.

Greene’s saga, which has never been publicized, exposes an embarrassing breach of national security at the FBI—an agency that has made its mission rooting out ISIS sympathizers across the country.

It also raises questions about whether Greene received favorable treatment from Justice Department prosecutors who charged her with a relatively minor offense, then asked a judge to give her a reduced sentence in exchange for her cooperation, the details of which remain shrouded in court-ordered secrecy.

The man Greene married was no ordinary terrorist.

He was Denis Cuspert, a German rapper turned ISIS pitchman, whose growing influence as an online recruiter for violent jihadists had put him on the radar of counter-terrorism authorities on two continents.

In Germany, Cuspert went by the rap name Deso Dogg. In Syria, he was known as Abu Talha al-Almani. He praised Osama bin Laden in a song, threatened former President Barack Obama with a throat-cutting gesture and appeared in propaganda videos, including one in which he was holding a freshly severed human head.
Within weeks of marrying Cuspert, Greene, 38, seemed to realize she had made a terrible mistake. She fled back to the US, where she was immediately arrested and agreed to cooperate with authorities. She pleaded guilty to making false statements involving international terrorism and was sentenced to two years in federal prison. She was released last summer.

The FBI, in a statement to CNN, said as a result of Greene’s case it “took several steps in a variety of areas to identify and reduce security vulnerabilities. The FBI continues to strengthen protective measures in carrying out its vital work.”

The FBI did not identify what steps were taken and declined further comment.

“It’s a stunning embarrassment for the FBI, no doubt about it,” said John Kirby, a former State Department official. He said he suspects Greene’s entry into Syria required the approval of top ISIS leaders.

Most outsiders trying to get into an ISIS region in Syria risk “getting their heads cut off,” said Kirby, now a CNN commentator on national security matters. “So for her to be able to get in as an American, as a woman, as an FBI employee, and to be able to take up residence with a known ISIS leader, that all had to be coordinated.”

In court papers filed in US District Court in Washington D.C., prosecutors characterized Greene’s conduct as “egregious,” deserving of “severe punishment.”

Assistant US Attorney Thomas Gillice said Greene had “violated the public trust, the trust of the officials who granted her security clearance, and the trust of those with whom she worked and, in doing so, endangered our nation’s security.”

Even though Greene’s “conduct skirted a line dangerously close to other more serious charges,” the prosecutor argued she should receive a lighter sentence because of her cooperation.

Greene’s two-year sentence was less than punishments given other defendants charged with terrorism-related crimes.

Even failed attempts to travel to Syria and join ISIS have earned defendants much stiffer prison sentences. Americans convicted in dozens of recent ISIS prosecutions received an average sentence of 13 1/2 years in prison, according to an analysis in April by the Center on National Security at Fordham University.

A Justice Department official, however, said Greene’s sentence was “in line” with similar cases, but declined to cite examples….

Fluent in German, Greene went to work for the FBI as a contract linguist in 2011. It was a job that, following a grueling application and vetting process, came with a top-secret national security clearance.
Greene was assigned to the bureau’s Detroit office in January 2014 when she was put to work “in an investigative capacity” on the case of a German terrorist referred to in court records only as “Individual A.”

CNN identified “Individual A” as Cuspert using court documents, newspaper articles about his music career and transformation to jihadist, government bulletins, videos and other sources. His identity was ultimately confirmed by a source familiar with the investigation.

From Gangsta Rapper to Jihadist

Before Cuspert became a front man for jihadists, he was known as Deso Dogg in Germany. Tattoos on each hand spell out the image he cultivated in the mold of American gangsta rappers.

“STR8” was inked on one hand, “THUG” on the other.

One CD cover featured Cuspert with a menacing glare, holding a gun to his own head. His image was backed up by a real life rap sheet with a string of arrests. He had a lean, muscular physique and trained in various martial arts.

Cuspert never achieved star status in the music world, but he did enjoy some success: In 2006, he opened for popular US rapper DMX.

A near-death experience in a car accident prompted Cuspert to turn to religion, according to numerous press accounts. In 2010, he quit the rap world and converted to Islam. He traded his hard driving gangsta-style lyrics for Islamic devotional songs called Nasheeds, including one that praised bin Laden.
Cuspert gained some notoriety as an extremist in 2011 after he posted on Facebook a fake video purportedly showing US soldiers raping a Muslim woman. The video motivated a man to carry out a terrorist attack on the Frankfurt airport, killing two US airmen and wounding two others, according to The New York Times.

In 2012, Cuspert fled Germany, reportedly spending time in Egypt and Libya. The following year, he arrived in Syria, where he would emerge as “ISIS’s Celebrity Cheerleader,” according to a report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a group that monitors various topics in the region, including violent extremism.

As part of the FBI’s investigation into “Individual A,” Greene identified several online accounts and phone numbers used by the terrorist, according to the court file.

Among them were two Skype accounts. She maintained “sole access” to a third Skype account, the records state.

It was in April 2014, during Greene’s work on the investigation, that Cuspert appeared in a video declaring his allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

He called ISIS “the state that no one can stop,” adding, “we will continue to build it until it reaches Washington… Obama!” He then made a throat-cutting gesture with his finger, according to the MEMRI report.

On June 11, 2014, Greene filled out a Report of Foreign Travel form — a document FBI employees and contractors with national security clearances are required to complete when traveling abroad.
Greene, who was still married to her American husband at the time, characterized her travel on the form as “Vacation/Personal,” court records show.

“Want to see my family,” she wrote. Specifically, Greene said, she was going to see her parents in Munich, Germany.

She boarded an international flight on June 23, 2014. But her destination wasn’t Germany. She flew instead on a one-way ticket to Istanbul, Turkey, where she had reservations at the Erguvan Hotel. From there she traveled to the city of Gaziantep, about 20 miles from the Syrian border.

She contacted “Individual A,” the documents state, and with the assistance of a third party arranged by him, crossed the border into Syria. Once there, according to the court records, she married him.

Shortly after, Greene sent emails from inside Syria to an unidentified person in the US showing she was having second thoughts and suggesting she knew she was breaking the law.

“I was weak and didn’t know how to handle anything anymore,” she wrote on July 8. “I really made a mess of things this time.”

In another email the following day she wrote: “I am gone and I can’t come back. I wouldn’t even know how to make it through, if I tried to come back. I am in a very harsh environment and I don’t know how long I will last here, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all a little too late…”

On July 22, 2014, she again wrote to the unidentified recipient: “Not sure if they told you that I will probably go to prison for a long time if I come back, but that is life. I wish I could turn back time some days.”

While Greene was expressing regrets, Cuspert was actively fighting ISIS’s battles.

A video from July 2014 “showed glimpses of him in the bloody aftermath of the ISIS takeover of the Al-Sha’er gas fields in Homs,” according to the MEMRI report on Cuspert. In a field covered with dead bodies, Cuspert “is seen for several seconds beating a corpse with a sandal,” the report said.

Back in the US

It is unclear from the court file precisely when or how authorities learned of Greene’s actions, but on Aug. 1, 2014, five weeks after she left for Syria, federal authorities secretly issued a warrant for her arrest.

“At that time,” prosecutors would later write, “the defendant was at large in Syria or Turkey in the company of the leader of a terrorist group.”

After about a month in Syria, Greene somehow was able to leave the war-torn country and returned to the United States. She was arrested on Aug. 8, 2014….

Former Abortion Clinic Converted to Pregnancy Center Saving Babies From Abortion

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By Jay Hobbs
May 1, 2017

The very room once used to end lives through abortion in Elkton, Md., is now the setting where countless women will meet their children for the first time via ultrasound through the building’s new occupant, a life-affirming pregnancy center.

Once dubbed the, “Little Shop of Horrors,” the former abortion clinic was operating secretively until a 2010 raid found the remains of 35 frozen late-term aborted babies, including one that was 33 weeks gestation.

It’s sat vacant since that time, while its former tenant Steven Brigham and his associate withstood a combined six charges of first-degree murder, plus six more second-degree murder charges and a count each of conspiracy to commit murder.

Brigham—who was not licensed to carry out abortions in Maryland—and his associate, Nicola Riley, were discovered to be running a grisly, illegal business across state lines when a patient of theirs, “D.B.” was hospitalized following a botched abortion in August of 2010.

Brigham, who has a long track record of deceit and malpractice, recently made headlines for being forced out of his facility in Delaware, where he had failed to pay rent for the past nine months.

Now, almost eight years after the fact, the Cecil County Pregnancy Center is serving women with life-saving care in one of several Maryland locations Brigham had been forced to vacate in late 2010.

“It feels like a fresh breath of healing and encouragement is blowing through Cecil County with us being able to take over that space,” Dan Mohler, who serves as the center’s executive director, said. “In the very room where he was doing his abortions, we’re putting our ultrasound, and we’re going to be saving lives. I like the transforming beauty of that.”

After Brigham and Riley were forced out of business in Elkton, the Rev. Joe Piekarski of Immaculate Conception Church worked with an attorney to recover 34 of the babies from the state medical examiner’s office to hold a burial service and memorial Mass for the dead.

It was 40 years ago this year, in 1977, that Immaculate Conception Church formed the center that now occupies four spaces, including Brigham’s former facility. Last year, the community-funded organization served clients with 2,525 free services and classes, while teaching abstinence classes in local schools.

Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter.

“They’re very excited about seeing us get in that building,” Mohler said. “Over the past year or so, we’ve tried to just ask the Lord to bless us and then get out of the way and let him do it. We’ve just been enjoying the blessing of the Lord.”

Mohler, whose background is in hospital administration, established partnerships with a pair of Methodist churches in the outlying areas to act as satellite locations for the Elkton center, starting in the summer of 2016.

The center had rented its previous space in Elkton in a medical complex across the street from a hospital, but that lease unexpectedly came to an end in April, prompting Mohler and his board of directors to find a new location in town.

They’d long hoped to move into the former abortion clinic, but it was out of their price range—until April, that is, when the rent dropped by more than $500 per month.

“I’d looked at the price in the past just for the beauty of being able to transform that space,” Mohler said. “As the Lord shows his sense of humor from time to time, just when we needed it, they lowered the price and put it immediately within our feasibility within just a couple of days of when we needed the space.”

Following a prayer dedication Sunday, April 30, Cecil County Pregnancy Center is ready to start serving clients in its new digs Monday, May 1.

The center becomes the latest pro-life center or ministry to convert a space once used by the abortion industry. In January, Philadelphia’s AlphaCare added a location adjacent to the abortion clinic formerly operated by convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell as part of a long-term vision to move into the shuttered clinic itself.

Last August, a Christian social services agency that works closely with a local pregnancy center bought and converted an abortion clinic formerly owned by notorious abortionist James Pendergraft in Ocala, Fla.

Former abortion clinics turned into life-affirming pregnancy centers in recent years include two in Iowa—including one former Planned Parenthood clinic—two in Miami, one in Toledo, Ohio, and a former flagship Planned Parenthood building in Bryan, Texas, that now houses both 40 Days for Life and a pregnancy help medical clinic.

“We’re in the process of painting and sanitizing and praying over that space,” Mohler said in late April. “We’ve been praying about this for years. The Lord had his perfect timing, and he wanted to put us in there.”

LifeNews Note: Jay Hobbs writes for PregnancyHelpNews, where this originally appeared.

CLOSED: Abortion Clinic That Killed Babies in Abortions for 42 Years Closes Down

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By Robert Ertelt
May 1, 2017

An abortion clinic in Sacramento, California closed its doors on Friday, ending its four decades-long abortion practice.

California Catholic Daily reports the Sacramento facility is the second Women’s Health Specialists abortion clinic to close in the past year. Executive director of the abortion chain Shauna Heckert previously pointed to financial issues and a reduced demand for abortions as the reasons.

“We are a dying breed,” Heckert told told the news site FiveThirtyEight last year.

California pro-life leaders celebrated the news as a victory for babies and moms in the community.

“We have been praying in front of Women’s Health Specialists abortion business in Sacramento for decades, helping women and saving lives, including over a dozen 40 Days for Life campaigns,” said local pro-life leader Wynette Sills in the Californians for Life newsletter.

It is especially encouraging given that California is one of the worst states for legal protections unborn babies and moms.

Pro-abortion groups have managed to thwart laws to protect unborn babies and moms in California, but they have not been able to stop the pro-life movement from offering support and teaching facts about unborn babies and abortion. As a result, it appears that more women are rejecting abortion in favor of life for their unborn babies.

The California abortion chain has been struggling financially for years. According to Californians for Life, it took out several loans recently. It also was “involved in lawsuits over forcing workers to disrobe for group ‘self-exams,’” the group said in a newsletter.

The founder of the abortion chain, Carol Downer, also has a disturbing history.

Here’s more from the report:

The abortion chain was started in Los Angeles by Carol Downer, now 84 years old. In 1982, when the bodies of more than 14,000 aborted babies were found in a shipping container, it was Downer and the Feminist Women’s Health Center that filed a lawsuit seeking to block the burial of the babies.

In 1983, the Los Angeles Health Department cited Downer with 24 violations of the Health Code, including: “No evidence that policies were reviewed by a professional, no registered nurse, no transfer agreement with a hospital, no quality assurance program and improper disposal of fetal remains.”

In 1998, Downer orchestrated a defense for abortionist Dr. Bruce Steir, who was charged and convicted of killing Sharon Hamptlon, a young mother who bled to death after Steir punctured her uterus during an abortion. Steir, who was on probation from the state medical board at the time, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, went to jail and lost his medical license.

According to the March 29, 2016 edition of the Californians for Life newsletter, Steir “performed thousands of abortions at Women’s Health Specialists.”

Downer also observed Harvey Karman, an illegal, untrained abortionist who worked closely with Kermit Gosnell, the report states. In 2013, Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist, was convicted of murdering three late-term newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient.

Abortion clinics in the United States are closing at a record pace as demand for their deadly business declines and abortionists retire, a 2016 Bloomberg analysis found.

Between 2011 and 2015, at least 162 abortion clinics closed or stopped doing abortions; 21 new abortion clinics opened in that same time period, according to the analysis. A report from Operation Rescue also showed 53 abortion clinics closed in 2015 alone.

The lack of business has been a major factor in the closing of abortion clinics, the Bloomberg report suggested. Abortion rates are dropping to historic lows across America as more women choose life for their unborn babies. In 2014, abortions dropped below 1 million for the first time since 1975, the Guttmacher Institute reported in January.

These are clear signs that pro-life advocates are making a difference. Through sidewalk counseling, pregnancy resources, educational efforts and pro-life laws, our grassroots movement is helping to save countless lives from the devastation of abortion.


ISIS jihadis from U.S. find life in the Islamic State “very strict” and life “really very bad,” run home

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By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
April 30, 2017

They may indeed have had a hard time in the Islamic State. What a pity. They should not be allowed back into the United States. If a group of Americans had become Nazis and fled to Nazi Germany in 1942, would they be allowed back into the U.S. in 1944? These men are enemy combatants. Once back here, they are likely to try to wage jihad here.

“Western ISIS Fighters Discover War Is Terrible, Run Home,” by Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller, April 28, 2017:

Western Islamic State fighters are attempting to flee home via Turkey as the terrorist group’s territory in Iraq and Syria shrinks, The Guardian reports.

Turkish security forces are reportedly capturing fleeing ISIS fighters at the Syrian border in growing numbers, although some may have slipped through. Some of the western ISIS fighters describe feeling duped by the terrorist propaganda.

U.S. citizen Kary Paul Kleman, a Muslim convert, went to Syria with his Syrian wife in 2015 to participate in what he says is humanitarian relief. Kleman told his family the information that led him to Syria “was all a scam,” but denies he was fighting for the terrorist group.

Kleman’s experience mirrors that of Mohamad Jamal Khweis, a U.S. citizen who hated life inside ISIS so much he surrendered to Kurdish security forces in Iraq. “It is very strict and no smoking there,” Khweis lamented to the press after his surrender in 2016. He continued, “my message to the American people is that life in Mosul is really very bad.”

While some fighters simply regret joining, western security officials fear they could return home to pursue domestic terror plots….

New York Times comes out for Leftist thuggery against dissenters on campus

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By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
April 25, 2017

The thrust of the argument here is that to shut down voices that the Leftist establishment considers odious — which includes mine, although I am not mentioned in this article (no, I am not Richard Spencer) — is aiding the oppressed to have a voice that they are usually denied.

This is an argument for Brownshirt thuggery and/or totalitarian control of the public discourse. Who will be entrusted with the power to determine whether a group is sufficiently oppressed to be allowed to be heard? Whoever will have that power will be able to impose his or her views tyrannically, with all dissent suppressed.

Moreover, the idea that these oppressed groups have no voice as it is, and conservative speakers coming in would further silence and marginalize them, is sheer Leftist fantasy. In reality, the overwhelmingly dominant point of view on university and college campuses today is that of the hard-Left. Jihad is a response to U.S. imperialism, Muslims are always and in every case oppressed victims of racism and “Islamophobia” — try uttering a word of disagreement to those propositions on a university or college campus today, and see what happens. These ideas have near-total dominance on campus today. Letting me speak (and I did speak at Truman State University a couple of weeks ago, and have two more university appearances coming up) or others with dissenting points of view is simply allowing a small opposing word to be uttered amid the relentless and never-ending bleat for the other side.

The New York Times, perhaps realizing that it cannot win with its ideas on a level playing field, has now published here a sly apologetic for totalitarian censorship. To its everlasting shame, although I doubt that Ulrich Baer or the Times editors will notice my indictment amid all the applause they’re receiving for this piece from their peers.

“What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech,” by Ulrich Baer, New York Times, April 24, 2017:

At one of the premieres of his landmark Holocaust documentary, “Shoah” (1985), the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann was challenged by a member of the audience, a woman who identified herself as a Holocaust survivor. Lanzmann listened politely as the woman recounted her harrowing personal account of the Holocaust to make the point that the film failed to fully represent the recollections of survivors. When she finished, Lanzmann waited a bit, and then said, “Madame, you are an experience, but not an argument.”

This exchange, conveyed to me by the Russian literature scholar Victor Erlich some years ago, has stayed with me, and it has taken on renewed significance as the struggles on American campuses to negotiate issues of free speech have intensified — most recently in protests at Auburn University against a visit by the white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Lanzmann’s blunt reply favored reasoned analysis over personal memory. In light of his painstaking research into the Holocaust, his comment must have seemed insensitive but necessary at the time. Ironically, “Shoah” eventually helped usher in an era of testimony that elevated stories of trauma to a new level of importance, especially in cultural production and universities.

During the 1980s and ’90s, a shift occurred in American culture; personal experience and testimony, especially of suffering and oppression, began to challenge the primacy of argument. Freedom of expression became a flash point in this shift. Then as now, both liberals and conservatives were wary of the privileging of personal experience, with its powerful emotional impact, over reason and argument, which some fear will bring an end to civilization, or at least to freedom of speech.

We should resist the temptation to rehash these debates. Doing so would overlook the fact that a thorough generational shift has occurred. Widespread caricatures of students as overly sensitive, vulnerable and entitled “snowflakes” fail to acknowledge the philosophical work that was carried out, especially in the 1980s and ’90s, to legitimate experience — especially traumatic experience — which had been dismissed for decades as unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccessible to understanding.

The philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, best known for his prescient analysis in “The Postmodern Condition” of how public discourse discards the categories of true/false and just/unjust in favor of valuing the mere fact that something is being communicated, examined the tension between experience and argument in a different way.

Instead of defining freedom of expression as guaranteeing the robust debate from which the truth emerges, Lyotard focused on the asymmetry of different positions when personal experience is challenged by abstract arguments. His extreme example was Holocaust denial, where invidious but often well-publicized cranks confronted survivors with the absurd challenge to produce incontrovertible eyewitness evidence of their experience of the killing machines set up by the Nazis to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Not only was such evidence unavailable, but it also challenged the Jewish survivors to produce evidence of their own legitimacy in a discourse that had systematically denied their humanity.

Lyotard shifted attention away from the content of free speech to the way certain topics restrict speech as a public good. Some things are unmentionable and undebatable, but not because they offend the sensibilities of the sheltered young. Some topics, such as claims that some human beings are by definition inferior to others, or illegal or unworthy of legal standing, are not open to debate because such people cannot debate them on the same terms.

The recent student demonstrations at Auburn against Spencer’s visit — as well as protests on other campuses against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship. Liberal free-speech advocates rush to point out that the views of these individuals must be heard first to be rejected. But this is not the case. Universities invite speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries, but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good.

In such cases there is no inherent value to be gained from debating them in public. In today’s age, we also have a simple solution that should appease all those concerned that students are insufficiently exposed to controversial views. It is called the internet, where all kinds of offensive expression flourish unfettered on a vast platform available to nearly all.

The great value and importance of freedom of expression, for higher education and for democracy, is hard to underestimate. But it has been regrettably easy for commentators to create a simple dichotomy between a younger generation’s oversensitivity and free speech as an absolute good that leads to the truth. We would do better to focus on a more sophisticated understanding, such as the one provided by Lyotard, of the necessary conditions for speech to be a common, public good. This requires the realization that in politics, the parameters of public speech must be continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing.

The rights of transgender people for legal equality and protection against discrimination are a current example in a long history of such redefinitions. It is only when trans people are recognized as fully human, rather than as men and women in disguise, as Ben Carson, the current secretary of housing and urban development claims, that their rights can be fully recognized in policy decisions.

The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community. Free-speech protections — not only but especially in universities, which aim to educate students in how to belong to various communities — should not mean that someone’s humanity, or their right to participate in political speech as political agents, can be freely attacked, demeaned or questioned.

THE STUDENT ACTIVISM that has roiled campuses — at Auburn, Missouri, Yale, Berkeley, Middlebury and elsewhere — is an opportunity to take stock of free speech issues in a changed world. It is also an opportunity to take into account the past few decades of scholarship that has honed our understanding of the rights to expression in higher education, which maintains particularly high standards of what is worthy of debate….

The Atlantic claims that conservatives want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom

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By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
April 27, 2017

Why do Americans increasingly distrust the establishment media? Aside from its rampant and ever-growing record of dishonesty, deceit, and unfairness, there are articles such as this one, featuring such spectacularly poor reasoning that it is astonishing that even The Atlantic let it get through their system. Are The Atlantic’s editors, and its audience as well, such limited thinkers that no one caught how ridiculous this piece is with its leaps of logic, ad hominems, and logical fallacies by the bushel?

Beinart should beware, as he commits himself to the proposition that all opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression constitute a desire to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom. Would he, then, agree with attorney Mary Chartier that to prosecute those who mutilate girls’ genitals is restricting Muslims’ religious freedom? That would open the door to a host of other exercises of Muslim religious freedom that Beinart might not find so appealing.

Much more below.

“When Conservatives Oppose ‘Religious Freedom,’” by Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, April 11, 2017:

On March 28, Pamela Geller, co-founder of the group Stop Islamization of America, wrote a column on Breitbart that offered Donald Trump some advice: “Clean house.” Paul “Ryan has got to go. James Comey, too,” she urged. Then she added a more obscure name: “What’s Eric Treene still doing there?”

Treene, the Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is at first glance an odd Breitbart target. For starters, he’s a conservative evangelical Christian. His denomination, The Presbyterian Church in America, opposes abortion and gay marriage, and ordains only men….

Despite all this, Treene has become a reviled figure on the Trump-era right. His sin: defending the religious freedoms of American Muslims. Treene, declares Geller, serves as an “errand boy” for “Muslim Brotherhood operatives,” by which she means the leaders of America’s major Muslim organizations.

Beinart’s quotations don’t match his claims. Treene isn’t “reviled,” and he isn’t criticized for “defending the religious freedoms of American Muslims.” Note how Beinart repeats Geller’s charges without examining whether they’re true or false; this is a tried-and-true Leftist tactic: present opposing views as if they were self-evidently false, without bothering to refute them. Beinart doesn’t tell his hapless readers that Treene at the Justice Department was repeatedly kowtowing to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which have demonstrable ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Apparently Beinart thinks that if you don’t cozy up to terror-linked Muslim groups, you must want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom.

And it’s not just Geller. Treene’s work has also come under attack from his fellow Christian conservatives. When the Justice Department filed an amicus brief defending a Muslim prisoner’s right to grow a beard in 2014, Robert Spencer, who the National Catholic Register has called the “foremost Catholic expert on Islam in our country,”accused Treene and his colleagues of believing that “wherever Islamic law and American law conflict, American law must give way.

Beinart doesn’t bother to mention that the defense argued that “inmate beards could pose a security risk to guards and the public.” Such details would interfere with his “conservatives want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom” narrative.

An article in the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis slammed Becket’s support for the mosque in Murfreesboro. So did a Tennessee-based Christian group calledProclaiming Justice to the Nations, whose president sits on the President’s Council of the powerful National Religious Broadcasters association. And this March, the NRB came out strongly against Becket’s position, declaring that “Islam” and “sharia” are “absolutely antithetic [sic] to freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom of the press.”

This shift in public opinion has left pro-Muslim Christian conservatives vulnerable to populist challenge.

Here again: is what Beinart’s targets saying ipso facto false, as he would have you believe, or are there good reasons for taking these positions?

Legitimate concerns about mosques? No, for Beinart it’s all bigotry. Yet four separate studies since 1999 all found that 80% of U.S. mosques were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians. There are no countervailing studies that challenge these results. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.” Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.In the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don’t teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism. Specifically: “A random survey of 100 representative mosques in the U.S. was conducted to measure the correlation between Sharia adherence and dogma calling for violence against non-believers. Of the 100 mosques surveyed, 51% had texts on site rated as severely advocating violence; 30% had texts rated as moderately advocating violence; and 19% had no violent texts at all. Mosques that presented as Sharia adherent were more likely to feature violence-positive texts on site than were their non-Sharia-adherent counterparts. In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts. The leadership at Sharia-adherent mosques was more likely to recommend that a worshiper study violence-positive texts than leadership at non-Sharia-adherent mosques. Fifty-eight percent of the mosques invited guest imams known to promote violent jihad. The leadership of mosques that featured violence-positive literature was more likely to invite guest imams who were known to promote violent jihad than was the leadership of mosques that did not feature violence-positive literature on mosque premises.” That means that around 1,700 mosques in the U.S. are preaching hatred of infidels and justifying violence against them.

Sharia meanwhile, mandates death for one who “mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam,” (‘Umdat al-Salik 011.10(5).) Freedom of speech and of the press? Not quite. And as for freedom of religion, yes, Sharia guarantees it, as long as the subjugated non-Muslims “pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).

Conservative Christians who remain committed to religious freedom for Muslims, and even a Christian-Muslim alliance based on shared conservative views, face a fundamental problem. They have fewer and fewer supporters in the pews. The University of North Carolina’s Charles Kurzman notes that between 2001 and 2010, according to an average of nine polls taken during that period, 29 percent of Republicans expressed negative views of Muslims. If you average the nine polls taken since then, the figure jumps to 58 percent. White evangelicals harbor more negative views of Muslims than do any other religious group. Seventy-six percent of them, according to a February Pew survey, backed Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Note the sleight of hand. Do people’s negative views of Muslims mean that they want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom? Of course not.

This shift in public opinion has left pro-Muslim Christian conservatives vulnerable to populist challenge. In 2014, Robert P. George, a Becket board member, wrote a manifesto in the journal First Things entitled “Muslims, Our Natural Allies.”

He was immediately attacked by Spencer, who along with Geller co-founded Stop Islamization of America. Intellectually, it’s not much of a contest. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton. Spencer lacks any academic affiliation, and does not even have a PhD….

This, Mr. Beinart, is known as the “argument from authority.” It is classified as the weakest of all arguments, and it’s easy to see why: any fool knows that being a professor with a PhD doesn’t automatically mean that in any dispute with a non-professor without a PhD, the professor will be correct. There are idiots with PhDs, especially nowadays, and geniuses without them. Beinart doesn’t bother to address the substance of my criticism of George; in fact, he links in his piece only to the last of my six-page article, which contained my summation but no evidence — as if to suggest that I hadn’t presented any. In any case, Beinart doesn’t seem to have a PhD either; that means that if a PhD disagrees with him on anything, he will have to apologize and retract his statement. Again, any fool could see the fallacy in this. But there are fools, and then there is Peter Beinart.

Woman Forced 12-Year-Old Into Prostitution, Made Her Have an Abortion After She Became Pregnant

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By Micaiah Bigler
April 28, 2017

In a disturbing North Carolina case this week, a 12-year-old girl allegedly was forced into prostitution, raped repeatedly and given an abortion over a two-year period.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports Flora Riano Gonzalez, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was convicted on charges of forcing the young girl into prostitution while she was between the ages of 12 and 14. On Friday, a judge sentenced Gonzalez to up to 16 years and 6 months in prison, the report states.

Gonzalez allegedly reported the girl’s sexual abuse herself after the girl became pregnant; authorities said Gonzalez hoped to get the girl a free, taxpayer-funded abortion because she was a sexual assault victim, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

According to testimony and closing arguments, Gonzalez forced the girl into prostitution when she was 12 in 2011. Gonzalez took the girl to Armando Graciano, who operated a laundromat. Graciano raped the girl and then took the girl to other adult men, who also raped her in exchange for money, Assistant District Attorney Kia Chavious said in closing arguments. Graciano is facing pending charges of felonious restraint, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, statutory rape, human trafficking and sexual servitude.

Chavious said Gonzalez transported the girl to various locations so that the girl could have sex with adult men for money. When the girl was 14, she became pregnant, and Gonzalez reported the sexual assault to Winston-Salem Police Department in an effort to get the girl a free abortion. The girl also had contracted chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted disease, Chavious said. …

Lisa Costner, Gonzalez’s attorney, said in closing arguments that there was no evidence that Gonzalez was prostituting the child or that she knew the girl was being sexually assaulted until the girl became pregnant. She also questioned the girl’s credibility.

Abortion and sexual abuse often are connected. Sometimes the abuser pressures or forces the victim to have an abortion to cover up the crime.

Earlier this month, LifeNews reported another case where a Wisconsin man was charged with raping multiple children and performing a “crude” abortion on one of them after she became pregnant.

Research indicates human trafficking victims often are forced or coerced into aborting their unborn babies. A survey by the U.S. Department of State found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with 30 percent having multiple abortions. More than half said they did not choose to abort their unborn child; their traffickers ordered them to, according to the survey.

Many sexual abuse victims who become pregnant say the abortion only added to their trauma, according to research by the Elliot Institute.

In 2015, a sexual abuse victim told a British court that her abuser forced her to abort her unborn child. While the woman admitted that she had no desire to be a mother, she said she would not have aborted her baby – “because I didn’t want to go through all that.”

Wendy Davis: Notion That Human Life Begins at Conception is “Absurd”

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By Micaiah Bilger
April 28, 2017

Texas abortion activist Wendy Davis was back on the road this week advocating for abortion and the nation’s largest provider of it, Planned Parenthood.

Davis stopped in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday to speak at a fundraiser/celebration for the abortion chain’s 100th anniversary, the Post and Courier reports.

Davis is a former Texas state Senator who rose to the national spotlight several years ago when she filibustered a Texas pro-life law that banned late-term abortions and required abortion facilities to meet basic health and safety standards. After a failed attempt to run for Texas governor, Davis has been active in the pro-abortion movement.

On Thursday in Charleston, Davis blasted a new bill in the state that would recognize unborn babies as human beings from the moment of conception.

Here’s more from the report:

Most recently, an anti-abortion measure advanced in the South Carolina legislature Wednesday that defines life as beginning at the moment of conception. Davis characterized such legislation as “absurd” and attributed the bill to “politicians who believe that thumping their chest … is something that they’re rewarded for when they run for re-election.”

She also criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for its pro-life policies and urged people to do everything they can to support Planned Parenthood.

“It’s the storming of capitols all over the country, it’s the phone calls, it’s the marches, the protests, the speaking up, the standing up, the fighting back,” Davis said. “All of that is necessary to the continued vibrancy of the work that Planned Parenthood does.”

What Planned Parenthood does is destroy unique, individual human lives while they are in their mother’s wombs.

Numerous scientific textbooks, experts and researchers point to the moment of conception as the beginning of a new human being’s life, complete with his or her own DNA.

For example, the textbook “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology” states, “Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote.”

And every year, Planned Parenthood aborts more than 300,000 of these unborn babies’ lives, while receiving hundreds of millions of our tax dollars.

Wanting to protect human lives from the moment they begin is not absurd. It is based on scientific fact and a values system that views every human life as valuable.

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