Tag Archives: First Amendment

Shooting the Messenger

What should have been one of the biggest news stories of 2015 took an unexpected—and seemingly political–twist this past week. The undercover investigator responsible for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal harvesting and sale of body parts from unborn children has been indicted by a Texas grand jury for purchasing them.

According to LifeNews, David Daleiden and another pro-life activist, Sandra Merritt, were charged with a felony for allegedly using a fake ID during their undercover investigations of various Planned Parenthood affiliates, including PP Gulf Coast in Houston. The biggest slap-in-the-face: they were also charged with a misdemeanor for buying human tissue. Their videos were released throughout last year by the Center for Medical Progress, renewing calls for Washington lawmakers to de-fund the abortion giant.

However, to no one’s surprise, it appears that politics and revenge could be behind the grand jury’s move. After the indictment was announced, it came out that Lauren Reeder, a prosecutor for the Harris county District Attorney’s office, was also on the board of the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast—the same office the journalists were investigating. Harris county DA Devon Anderson told Houston media that Reeder would “not be involved in any manner with this investigation”. By the way, Anderson also said the investigation into Planned Parenthood itself was closed.

So she indicts the whistle-blowers, but ends the investigation against Planned Parenthood. Daleiden is being charged with buying human tissue, but doesn’t there also have to be a seller? Since he wasn’t there to actually buy anything and was only posing as a party that wanted to buy something, how can charges be filed against them, but not Planned Parenthood? Sounds a little fishy.

In his own defense, Daleiden said he was only using an investigative tool that journalists have been using for decades while exercising their First Amendment rights. He stated, “Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”

Daleiden is understandably receiving much support from the pro-life community. Cheryl Sullenger, Senior VP of Operation Rescue expressed her disappointment about what such an indictment could mean for future investigations that expose crimes: “This has the effect of chilling the First Amendment freedom of the press”, said Sullenger, “and could scare crime witnesses away from coming forward for fear that they might suffer similar retaliatory prosecution.”

If you’ve watched any of the videos, it’s hard to not be horrified by what is going on inside Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. They claim to be advancing healthcare for women, but their big money is made on the backs of frightened women—mostly young, poor and Black…and their unborn children. Even though the district attorney in Houston has misapplied the rule of law and chosen to go after the messenger, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is still under investigation by other agencies in the state of Texas. Pro-life groups have been asking state officials for an independent special prosecutor to be appointed for these investigations citing the obvious conflict of interest in the district attorney’s office.

The Center for Medical Progress will be holding an Emergency Briefing Webcast on Tuesday night at 9 pm Eastern (#IStandWithDavid).


Whiners and Warriors

It’s no wonder why some parents are reluctant to send their children away to college these days. College campuses are full of absolute chaos, as evidenced by the Yale Halloween costume controversy and the Missouri racial issues that resulted in the president of that school stepping down. College students seem mad all the time…angry at every perceived injustice. Students– aided by their left-wing professors and a 24/7 news cycle that feeds on the hash-tag-fight-of-the-day– are in a battle for everything.

Just a day after we remembered the service of our nation’s veterans, students across the nation walked out of classes to have their #MillionStudentMarch. They demanded to have a free education (because it’s a human right, don’t you know?), as well as a $15 minimum wage and student loan forgiveness. It was a collective large-scale temper tantrum with capitalism and traditional American ways being targeted for their “unfairness” and “injustice”.

One of the organizers, Keely Mullen, a student at Northeastern University, was interviewed on Fox by Neil Cavuto and it’s both painful and satisfying to watch. Mullen suggested that all these demands could be met if the “one percent” would just pay more taxes. When Cavuto calmly questioned her as to whether she or any of her peers would want 90 or 100 percent of their income confiscated through taxes once they become established, she hemmed and hawed and seemed pretty flabbergasted.

Mullen is a Marxist and is no stranger to far-left causes, so you would think she’d be better able to explain why she feels like things are so unfair for her and her fellow students. Lost in the coverage of the Million Student March is that she herself is part of the one percent whom she claims is “hoarding all the wealth” which causes so much distress for college students.   Her LinkedIn profile picture shows her up on a stage with a bullhorn and she describes herself as a “student pursuing opportunities in community organizing and anti-racism advocacy work”. She’s majoring in political science and Sociology, so she’s probably had more than enough opportunities to have the idea of “white guilt” drummed into her, along with all the usual anti-capitalist, anti-American garbage.

Northeastern charges around $45,000 a year for tuition, so Mullen can look forward to a pretty hefty debt load once she’s finally finished with her four years of studying community organizing and interning with the ACLU. She complained to Cavuto about how high tuition was and that it’s just not fair that students here in the US have to actually pay for a college education when other countries give it to their citizens for free. Well, Keely- other nations also tax their citizens into lifestyles that you and your friends would find very hard to live in. You may also want to stop and think for a minute:  Why do so many of them forego their free educations in their home countries to come to American universities?

I’d just like to know who twisted her arm and forced her to go to an expensive school, and major in two areas that almost guarantee unemployment after graduating? It’s not like she didn’t know going in what the cost would be—and why should her debt be forgiven? Many of us have had to struggle to pay off student loans years after our diplomas expired. She may want to think about the reasons why college is so expensive—high salaries paid to professors who can never be fired due to tenure; or the fact that the government is now in charge of student loans, so the higher the tuition, the more money that needs to be borrowed, and therefore more money rolling into the hands of the government. I’m sure she never gives a thought to those things when she’s out with her bullhorn making demands of her fellow Americans.

But in this country…at least for now…she has the right to speak. She has that right because of the First Amendment to the Constitution that so many people gave their lives to defend over the course of our history. One young active duty Marine had a different opinion on what the students were doing on college campuses this week, and took to social media to set them straight. Tweeting a selfie, dressed in fatigues and carrying a full load on his back, James Erickson said this: “I wanted money for school, so I marched too…#millionstudentmarch This one was about 25 miles…”

He didn’t even need a bullhorn.

The young and the restless- entitled students demand free education and debt forgiveness.

The young and the restless- entitled students demand free education and debt forgiveness during the Million Student March.



An Oregon couple recently found out what the going price is for dissent when “love wins”.  Apparently it’s about six figures:  $135,000 to be exact, as well as barring them from talking about their case publicly.  Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa declined to participate in a same sex “marriage” by supplying a wedding cake to 2 lesbians who had been regular customers, due to their belief in traditional or Biblical marriage.

The couple has until Monday, July 13th to come up with the entire amount or arrange a payment. The Klein’s bakery has since closed (they operate out of their home now), and Aaron took a job as a garbage collector in order to support his family. He stated, “Basically, the state of Oregon is saying we can kick you out of your house and make you homeless. They have no qualms about the fact that they’re doing this to my five kids as well.”

The incident goes back to early 2013 when the lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, asked if the Kleins would provide a cake for their upcoming “wedding”. The Kleins refused and supposedly “quoted Leviticus” to them. Instead of just looking for another bakery—surely there were others—the offended ones complained to Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). They waited several months to make their complaint to the agency which not only investigates human rights and discrimination cases, they also prosecute and judge them.

So here you have, as National Review writer David French says, an organization run by un-elected bureaucrats with little or no in-depth knowledge of the Constitution, deciding Constitutional matters. “In the administrative agencies of the deep state,” says French, “a single, highly ideological entity can function as rule maker, investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and enforcer”. French has followed this story at length and the implications it has for future religious liberty and other First Amendment issues across the nation since virtually every state has an agency like BOLI. French has described the close ties BOLI (via its commissioner Brad Avakian) has with pro-LGBT organizations in Oregon. Avakian, who ordered the Kleins to pay the money and not speak publicly, was making public comments about the couple before they ever appeared before him.

Some impartial judge. The Kleins never stood a chance. Avakian seems to be just another political hack with too much power that he plans to use to punish those he sees as enemies. As for the lesbian couple, they claimed that because the Kleins refused to bake their “wedding” cake, they suffered emotional damages that included (but were not limited to): “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “loss of sleep,” “impaired digestion”, “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

This reminds me of the atheists who complained that the now-famous Cross at Ground Zero gave them indigestion. Not that I’m comparing lesbians to atheists, it’s just that it seems too easy in our lawsuit-crazed society to bring charges against people with whom you disagree—claiming maladies that are common to most people for any number of reasons. Why did the lesbian couple wait several months after not getting their cake to file their complaint against the Kleins? Could they have been preparing for the media attention that they had to know would come from a case like this? Are they looking to make a huge sum of money? Why do the Kleins have to pay them while they are still appealing BOLI’s decision? What’s going on in Oregon?

This case raises more questions than answers and it won’t be going away anytime soon. Last Wednesday, Aaron Klein, ignoring the gag order, said in an interview with The Blaze Radio, “I think every Christian better get ready for this because with the Supreme Court ruling, we’re going to have issues.” He said they never intended to discriminate against anyone (they had served this couple on previous occasions)—they just wanted to live out their faith.

Where’s the love now?  If love had really won on June 26th, the gay community would have gotten to work to mend fences and heal the open wounds with those who disagree with them.  Instead, there was more in-your-face, we-won-you-lost-so-get-over-it attitudes expressed throughout social media and elsewhere.

If love had won, the gay community (a very tiny minority of the American population) would have been working to change hearts towards their cause, not forcing acceptance onto the majority by conjuring up phony lawsuits and complaints to get courts and regulatory agencies to do their bidding.

Since when, in America, do we all have to believe everything exactly the same, or risk our livelihoods, financial futures and good names if our beliefs differ from that of the hashtag of the moment?


Madness and Mistletoe

Why does the most wonderful time of the year seem to bring out the least wonderful characteristics in people?  It’s as if every day after Thanksgiving has a full moon:  crazy, off-the-wall shenanigans, general weirdness and just plain lack of common sense seem to be all over the news.

It all starts on Black Friday—or as is becoming more common—Thanksgiving night.  Stabbings, shootings, and fist-fights dominate the headlines in the days following Thanksgiving, and videos of the chaos go viral in the social media, like this one of women fighting over a television.  When people are willing to do anything to have an electronic device that they don’t even need, I shudder to think of how they’d behave if food, water or toilet paper ever became scarce.

Holiday travelers can rest easy knowing that the TSA always has their backs.  Phyllis May is a Washington state resident who sells custom-made sock monkeys on the internet.  While travelling with some of her merchandise and sewing supplies, an alert TSA agent noticed something odd in one of her bags.  The agent asked who the bag belonged to and Mrs. May fessed up, for inside the bag was “Rooster Monkburn” (an ode to John Wayne’s character Rooster Cogburn in True Grit).  As reported to King5.com, their conversation went like this:

                         TSA Lady:  “This is a gun.”

                        Mrs. May:  “No, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”

                        TSA Lady:  “If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not.”

                        Mrs. May:  “Really?”

The gun that the TSA agent claimed couldn’t be discerned from a real gun was about two inches long…about as big as 3 quarters placed side by side.  She told May that she would have to confiscate the weapon and was also supposed to notify the police.  To that, a stunned May responded, “Really, you’re kidding me right?”  The agent assured her she was not kidding because “it looks like a gun.”  In the end, the prop was confiscated and May’s other things were all returned to her—but the agent did not call police.

Rooster Monkburn:  unarmed and no longer dangerous

Rooster Monkburn: unarmed and no longer dangerous

It’s good to know that diligent TSA agents are keeping the flying public safe by putting mischievous sock monkeys and other armed toys on notice to leave their weapons at home. Nothing gets by them—except wanna-be terrorists with explosive devices strapped to their underwear or stuffed inside their shoes.

To her credit, Phyllis May managed to maintain a good nature throughout the ridiculous situation saying, “Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe.  I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”

No, Phyllis!  Not even if you’re an 11-year-old girl who wants to sell mistletoe to raise money to pay for her braces.  Pint-sized entrepreneur Madison Root of Lake Oswego, Oregon decided that she would sell some mistletoe that she picked from her uncle’s farm.  She put it into bags and tied them with  pretty Christmas ribbons and stood outside the Saturday Market in Portland.  However, she did not have a permit—oops!  As she stood outside the market selling her mistletoe, a park security guard told her that she couldn’t sell, but she could ask for money.

Talk about killing the work ethic of future generations.  According to Portland’s city code, begging is protected under the First Amendment, but she couldn’t sell without a permit.  The outspoken young lady said she wasn’t interested in begging and she wanted to work for what she needed.  The story became very popular on conservative blogs and Madison was interviewed on Glenn Beck’s radio show last week.  As a result, she now has more orders for mistletoe than she can handle, has been fitted for part of her braces and has caused the city of Portland’s mayor to take another look at the city’s code.  Not bad for someone who’s not even old enough to drive.

Finally, Christmas brings out “the offended” more than any other time of the year.  Hardly a day goes by without hearing of some Scrooge-like person or organization who wants to sue because the sight of mangers and menorahs send them into a fits of rage.  But it’s not just seeing a plastic Baby Jesus in public that sets them off…the festive colors of red and green may do it too!  One school in Texas (of all places!) has issued a ban on red and green and Christmas trees for their upcoming “Winter Party”.  Parents of children attending Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas received emails from the PTA outlining the guidelines for the party.

Oddly enough, Nichols Elementary becomes the first school to violate Texas’ “Merry Christmas Law” that was signed into law by the state legislature in June and permits students and staff in public schools to celebrate winter holidays in any way they choose.  According to Rep. Pat Fallon, the author of the bill who represents the district where Nichols Elementary is located, he was contacted by an angry parent about the school’s rules.  School district officials claimed to know nothing about the PTA emails and said there were no such bans on the children’s celebrations.  They also said they leave such decisions to individual school principals.

After a meeting between Nichols’ school principal and the PTA it was decided to leave the Grinch-like rules in place so as not to “offend” anyone.

Fallon said he can’t believe how many calls his office has been getting from principals and teachers who want to celebrate Christmas but don’t want to get into trouble.  He realizes that even with the Merry Christmas Law” in place, the fight isn’t over:  “I feel like my calling in life is to protect the students, parents and teachers,” Fallon said. “They have a constitutional right to express themselves. They have freedom of religion.”

Thin-Skinned Clowns

If you just landed from another planet in the last day or two, you might think that the biggest issues rocking America are the “inappropriate” antics of an unknown rodeo entertainer who performed at the Missouri State Fair over the weekend.

Rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling appeared at the state fair Saturday night, doing what comedians have done for decades—wearing a mask that looked like the current president and mocking him.  Under previous administrations, an entertainer poking fun at the president would be good for a few laughs and then everyone moves on.

But under this president, as always, things just don’t work that way.  Offended members of his party and some Republicans have made sure that they’ve gone on record to let anyone who’ll listen know how offensive and disrespectful they think this is.  Some are also pretty sure this was some sort of racist commentary on the part of the clown because as we all know, any jab of any kind made towards Obama is made only because he’s half Black.

Gessling over-estimated the ability of many people to take a joke when he appeared in the Obama mask Saturday night during the rodeo at the state fair (that receives state taxpayer funding).  As rodeo clowns do, he was taunting the bull, as he was being taunted by the stadium announcer.  Because the announcer and the clown were both wearing microphones, it’s a little hard to tell who was saying what when watching the video.  However, neither said anything that presidents of the past didn’t have said about them without any fanfare.

The outrage has been swift and predictable.  Missouri state fair officials have condemned Gessling’s actions, as have the Rodeo Cowboy Association who employed him but for some reason didn’t know who he was.  He has been banned for life from ever performing at Missouri’s state fair.  U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, (D-MO) called it a “shameful” stunt.  Another Missouri Democrat, Congressman Lacy Clay said the rodeo clown incident “showed an ugly face of intolerance and ignorance to the world.”  Republican State Representative Caleb Rowden took to Twitter to voice his disapproval: “I don’t agree (with) this (president) on many things. But he is deserving of respect and shouldn’t be the object of political stunts.  Out of line!”

Obama, the object of political stunts?  Of course not!  He should only be allowed to be the creator of political stunts.  Like the one where information was withheld until after the election about what was going on and where he was the night our embassy in Benghazi was attacked and four people died.  Then there was the one where the IRS was directed to give extra scrutiny to conservative groups prior to the 2012 election that kept them from being able to raise funds and voter awareness during the election season.  Those were hilarious. * (NOTE:  sarcasm intended- don’t want to offend anyone.)

Where was the outrage when George W. Bush was president and an off-Broadway play and an independent film were produced depicting his assassination?  I don’t remember Claire McCaskill or anyone else being offended by that.

Politicians from all levels of government disrespect the American people day in and day out.  They sign bills they don’t read that will change our lives (not their own) dramatically (Obamacare), and they spend our money on ridiculous things (take your pick).  They do whatever they want, regardless of what we tell them we want, and they do it without consequence.  If you’re going to be offended, be offended by politicians who think they know how to run your life better than you do.

..and if you’re a politician who doesn’t like being mocked, lampooned or called a clown— please choose another career path.

As for rodeo clown Gessling, he’s made no public statements as of now.  He’s probably looking for a place to exile himself with the likes of Paula Deen, George Zimmerman and others whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the cruel hand of political correctness.

***8/14/13 UPDATE:  Missouri state fair officials now want to require all future rodeo clowns to undergo sensitivity training!  READ MORE HERE.  Also, a Texas Republican Representative has invited the banished clown Tuffy Gessling to perform in Texas.  Representative Steve Stockman said, “Disagreeing with speech is one thing. Banning it and ordering citizens into reeducation classes for mocking a liberal leader is another…liberals have targeted this man for personal destruction to create a climate of fear.”

Hurray for Rep. Stockman and Texas!

Future of Free Speech Debated in Bible Belt


Manchester, Tennessee isn’t a place most people know about or think about, unless it’s June and they’re making their way there to party with the very young music lovers that gather there every year for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

Last night, hundreds (one report said 2,000 people) descended upon the town for other, less entertaining reasons.  It was the location of a seminar sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) called “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society”.  Sounds fairly harmless and even a little boring, but it’s had the attention of patriot groups from all over the country for the past several weeks.  There may be good reason.  They see this as a meeting that will let concerned Muslims know—and non-Muslims understand– that some speech that could be seen as offensive by Muslims could potentially be prosecuted as civil rights violations under federal law.

Bill Killian, the Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Kenneth Moore**, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville office were the presenters at the event.  Some in attendance shouted as they spoke.  The room was filled to capacity and hundreds of others stayed outside displaying signs supporting free speech.  Killian said the meeting was meant to be an “educational effort with civil rights laws”.  For a different opinion, read free speech activist Pam Geller’s commentary and see her pictures here on the sometimes raucous atmosphere at the meeting.

This all started when a local politician in the Manchester area posted a controversial picture on Facebook of a man aiming a shotgun to the camera.  It had the caption “How to Wink at a Muslim”.  Stupid and insensitive perhaps, but rising to the level of a hate crime?  I wouldn’t think so.  Prior to the event, Killian asked what would happen if someone had posted the same image directed at Christians?

That’s easy—nothing would have happened.  We know this, because it never does.  Over the years, “artists” have submitted work featuring crosses sitting in urine, and paintings of Jesus’ mother Mary tainted with animal feces and these get prominently displayed in museums that exist because of taxpayer dollars.  Aside from some editorials and interviews with Catholics who found them offensive, there were no reports of Christians burning buildings or rioting.  That wasn’t the case in 2005 however, when a Danish paper printed editorial cartoons featuring the prophet Muhammad.  Protests and violence in Europe and the Middle East resulted from those who claimed to be offended by the cartoons.

According to First Amendment Center president and executive director Gene Policinski, the Facebook post of the Tennessee politician lacked specificity in who was being targeted and presented no imminent threat to any one person so it was therefore protected under the First Amendment.  He said the First Amendment “requires government to really demonstrate that it’s a true threat before they can restrict our speech.”

Brenda Jinnett, who attended the AMAC meeting, said she’s offended this event was held at all.  She told WSMV:  “I see Jews talked about every day. I see lots of different religions – even the Mormons – crucified on a daily basis, but I don’t see the DA coming into the communities and educating on the taxpayers’ dime on what you can and cannot say in our society”.

The meeting seemed to leave people with more questions than answers, particularly when it comes to exactly what would be considered hate speech and therefore subject to criminal charges.  Is an honest discussion about jihad, a tenet of radical Islam, considered hate speech?

State Senator Mike Bell said he attended the event because of the concerns he had when he read Killian’s statement announcing the meeting.  After the event, Bell said he still wasn’t sure where Killian stands on freedom of speech.  That’s a frightening prospect considering Killian is only doing what his boss, the president, would want him to do.  I think if you’ve been paying any attention lately, the IRS scandal and the seizing of journalists’ phone records show us how lightly this administration takes the First Amendment and the Constitution as a whole for that matter.

It’s noteworthy that AMAC, the organization responsible for last night’s event, was formed two years ago when Tennessee’s state legislature was considering a bill that would not allow the practice of sharia law in the state (sharia law is the strict, authoritarian set of laws practiced by those most devoted to Islam).  Blasphemy laws restricting speech (anything deemed offensive to Islam and Muhammad) are a large part of sharia.  The organization says it just wants people to understand their Muslim neighbors and their culture better.

Those standing for free speech want everyone who comes to America—Muslim or not— to understand that you come here for freedom and it comes with a price:  the knowledge that at some point, you will hear or see something you don’t like.  That’s life.  The Constitution doesn’t guarantee anyone the right to never be offended.

**Moore was instrumental in the whitewashing of FBI training manuals that removed any references to “jihad” and terrorism- anything that would be deemed offensive to Muslims**

Forget bumper stickers: Do these guys look like they want to COEXIST? (from a Dearborn, MI protest)

Forget bumper stickers: Do these guys look like they want to COEXIST?
(from a Dearborn, MI protest)