Tags Posts tagged with "Free Speech"

Free Speech

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Charitable Giving
Is this a Republican or a Democrat donation?

Of the 500 million pieces of mail processed and delivered by the United States Postal Service each day, many are solicitations from non-profit organizations. In fact, if you’re above a certain age and have been an active donor to non-profits in the past, there is a good chance much of your daily mail constitutes such appeals. To help donors intelligently navigate among so many requests, online tools are available that rate charities based on financial health, transparency, and accountability. One of these services, however, has decided to include in the information it presents on its website evaluating specific non-profits, highly questionable material that is far more ideological message than a legitimate fact about the organization’s not-for-profit work.

GuideStar is one of the more popular charity ranking tools. However, this well-known site is now placing its credibility at risk by partnering with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in slapping a “warning” label to charity profiles on its site that SPLC has “flagged as a hate group.” The red label, featured top and center on 46 charity profiles, is the first thing a visitor sees when landing on its page; even GuideStar’s own “Silver Award” noting a charity’s commitment to transparency is not given the visibility of this new warning. Absent from the site is any explanation as to is why GuideStar believes the charity warrants such a bold and negative warning.

In fact, the warning links the visitor only to SPLC’s overdramatic “extremist files” page, warning about “anti-gay zealots,” “white nationalists,” the alternative right, and anti-government movements. It is hardly an objective analysis for an organization like GuideStar supposedly both objective and neutral in its ratings.

To be sure, some organizations the SPLC identifies with its nebulous “hate group” label deserve it; there is no question that white supremacist organizations like the Aryan Brotherhood are groups driven by nothing except hate. On the other hand, organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), appear on the list for no reason other than their support for political agendas opposed by the SPLC.

The SPLC is, of course, free to offer whatever political opinion or label it wishes against groups with whom it disagrees; and, the Center certainly has developed a knack for doing so. Karl Zinsmeister, writing at Philanthropy Roundtable, described SPLC as a “cash-collecting machine” that uses its extremist list as a “political tool,” while directing only a fraction of its revenue to its original mission as a legal aid organization. The Center’s use of fearmongering rhetoric is obvious to anyone familiar with its history. What is less obvious is why GuideStar blindly follows SPLC’s guidance on these matters, rather than conducting its own independent analysis on why such a label may be warranted.

To wriggle out of this irresponsibility, GuideStar adds a vacuous caveat to its hate group banner, stating they “leave it to you to come to your own conclusions.”

As GuideStar should, and likely does know, appearances in fundraising can make all the difference to potential donors. Fundraisers regularly test millions upon millions of fundraising letters to where even the slightest details of an envelope are designed to improve the chance that the recipient will open it. But it does not take a direct mail expert to predict how a red banner with “hate group” scrawled across it will impact potential donors.

This is likely the intent of the SPLC — to deprive groups like FRC and FAIR of funding; but GuideStar should not be a participant in such an ideologically-motivated game. At least, not so long as it claims to be neutral in its assessments of non-profit organizations based on metrics potential supporters actually care about, like how much of their money will be spent on the charitable programs to which they are donating.

Perhaps GuideStar is drinking social justice Kool-Aid like the hip “woke” kids on the Left, or maybe it earnestly believes these labels make a difference. Regardless of motive, GuideStar is abusing the trust charity supporters place in it by launching an uninspired and lazily conceived response to the ongoing debate about “hate speech” in the public space. And, whether they intended or not, this hackneyed feature is blatantly partisan, and biased against conservative organizations for reasons completely outside the scope of GuideStar’s mission. As the adage goes, “keep it simple, stupid.” GuideStar should stick to the basics of what it does, and leave politics to the SPLC and others who have made it an art form.

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Milo Yiannopoulos is a gay, Jewish immigrant that liberals hate, but why? Here is what they say about him.

The truth is, Milo is none of those things, but he is a favorite target of the left.

Wednesday night, Milo was planning to speak at U.C. Berkeley when a massive protest turned violent and destructive. Windows shattered, fires started, and Milo had to be rushed to a car with a bulletproof vest on.

All of the protestors that were calling Milo a fascist were literally shutting down free speech. Ironic isn’t it, but it is best understood if you hear it from Milo himself.

See his first interview since the incident with Tucker Carlson from Fox News.

The riots really show how out of touch the left is right now, and what they are up against. One way the right shows support is buy buying stuff. In this case, Milo’s soon to be released book called “Dangerous” saw a huge spike in sales. In fact, 12,740% spike to be exact.

The left is making the people they hate more popular and their strategy isn’t working, but that doesn’t bother Milo. He is loving that the left is showing their true colors.

What are your thoughts on Milo? Let us know in the comments below.

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In recent interviews with former Facebook employees, the shocking news has come out that Facebook has allegedly kept conservative topics from trending on its news feed.

Facebook claims to have a goal to bring people together, but limiting the speech of millions of conservatives will do nothing but divide this great country even more than it already is.

Facebook has reportedly increased the views and support for liberal groups like Black Lives Matter, while limiting conservative speech and news.

Stand with Citizen-Action and sign the petition to tell Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook to stop restricting conservative news and opinions.

Sign the petition below.



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stolen valor

A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of an Idaho man for wearing military commendations that were unearned.

Elven Joe Swisher was convicted under the “Stolen Valor” law that prohibits individuals from falsely claiming military accomplishments.

The law was signed by George W. Bush in 2006 but struck down in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court as a violation of the 1st Amendment.

Swisher was convicted in 2007, before the Supreme Court ruled on the matter.

A Marine Corps veteran, Swisher wore a Purple Heart medal to the stand during a murder case in 2005. The Marine vet had never been wounded in the line of duty.

Since the Stolen Valor Act was struck down by the highest court in the land, Congress went back to the drawing table and passed new laws that prohibited from anyone profiting financially from a false military background. President Obama signed the law in 2013.

Before and after their victory with military service, individuals in the gay community have commonly and falsely wore military uniforms in gay pride events around the nation.

The distinction between legitimate veterans and those simply dressing up was muddled in 2012 when the Department of Defense changed its policy to allow active duty personnel to wear their uniforms in “Pride” events.

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american flag

A 12-year-old California honor student was ordered to change his t-shirt—because the American flag was too deemed too offensive and a threat to safety.

Dustin Cole, who attends Yuba Gardens Intermediate School, was forced to turn his shirt inside out.

The shirt in question had an image of the American flag, with one star colored red with the number 31 inside it. Underneath, the word “California”—California was admitted as the 31st state in the Union.

The school claimed that the t-shirt represented a threat to school safety, because a red star is also associated with the local Norteno gang.

“Our local gang task force, they identify colors, they identify designs, they identify all of the things that we should be aware of,” said Ramiro Carreon, Assistant Superintendent at Marysville Joint Unified School District, which oversees Yuba Gardens.

“That design has been associated with gangs in the past, and we cannot just turn a blind eye to that,” Carreon saids.

Cole’s mother, Lori Carpenter, was perplexed by the controversy. She said she bought the shirt from Kohl’s, and bought it simply because she liked the color and liked the patriotic design.

She said, “I mean, they are trying to keep everybody safe. I understand, but it feels like it is a little too far. Especially when it is a patriotic shirt.”

Cole obeyed the request to turn his shirt inside out immediately, and Carpenter says she’ll be more careful to avoid accidentally “offensive” clothing in the future.

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A Chicago area woman has accused Office Depot of discriminating against her religious faith after the company’s employees refused to let her print copies of an anti-abortion prayer critical of Planned Parenthood because it violated company policy.

The woman, Maria Goldstein, 42 of Rowling Meadows said she ordered 500 copies of “A Prayer for the Conversion of Planned Parenthood” at an Office Depot in Schaumburg to distribute at her church the following Sunday.

The flyer detailed abortion statistics in the U.S. that was critical of Planned Parenthood’s role in the abortion industry – an organization rocked recently by a series of hidden camera video stings of senior Planned Parenthood executives allegedly negotiating with undercover journalists posing as baby body part industry buyers in violation of federal law.

Quoting the Chicago Tribune:

“The prayer, composed by the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, an anti-abortion group, calls on God to “Bring an end to the killing of children in the womb, and bring an end to the sale of their body parts. Bring conversion to all who do this, and enlightenment to all who advocate it.””

The prayer also decries “the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry.”

Karen Denning, speaking for Office Depot, said the company prohibits:

“…the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination or the persecution of certain groups of people. It also prohibits copying any type of copyrighted material.” “The flier contained material that advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights.”

Goldstein countered that the point of the weeklong prayer and fasting campaign planned by the church was to change hearts not persecute pro-abortion advocates. Goldstein added that the pro-life vigil was sparked by the series of videos produced by The Center for Medical Progress exposing alleged widespread efforts by Planned Parenthood to traffic in the harvested body parts of babies killed by abortion.

“The intention of the prayer is to ask for conversion,” Goldstein said. “The conversion of the staff, employees, everybody who is part of this at Planned Parenthood. It means they will recognize life has dignity and that it is valuable and not a commodity to be bought and sold.”

Office Depot employees said Goldstein could use self-serve copy machines but the cost and time it would take to make 500 copies was prohibitive. The flyers were printing by another shop in Des Plaines.

Goldstein said she felt discriminated against and secured the help of the Thomas More Society to press her case. Thomas Olp, a lawyer for the Chicago-based public interest law group that agreed to represent Goldstein said the situation fits into the public accommodation laws that date back to when businesses refused to serve African-Americans and Jews. Olp said:

“We’re a country of diversity. We don’t want to allow people to pick and choose based on their bigotry or hostility.” “You need to offer services to the public on a fair and equal basis. This is an example of religious expression. Therefore the law prohibits you from discriminating.”

“To accommodate religion you have to go out of your way to do something you wouldn’t normally do,” Olp said. “If it was simply negative comments about Planned Parenthood, it wouldn’t be as strong of an argument.”

Earlier this week, Olp sent a letter to Office Depot CEO Roland Smith asking the company to reconsider its policy and fill Goldstein’s copy order.

Because the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination for a variety of reasons, including religion, Olp will file complaints with the Cook County Human Rights Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights if the company doesn’t respond in five days.

“The best resolution would be that they would say ‘This was unjust. You were discriminated against because of your religion’ and then admit this was wrong,” Goldstein said. “I’d appreciate them printing the flier. The statistics are still valid and the prayer is still valid.”

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Just in time to celebrate our freedoms, Oregon has gone out of its way to restrict them.

In a ruling handed down on July 2, the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries has declared that Aaron and Melissa Klein, former proprietors of Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery, are not permitted to speak in support of their religious opposition to gay marriage.

The ruling contradicts a previous judiciary order and was handed down directly from the Commissioner of the BLI rather than a court. In his decision, the Commissioner, Brad Avakian, wrote “The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

In plain English, that says that the Kleins are forbidden to speak out against gay marriage or express that they have the right to refuse service.

This heinous violation of the Kleins’ right to free speech lays bare the true end game of the gay agenda – fall in line or else.

Anna Harmon, the attorney for the Kleins, expressed perfectly the horror of Avakian’s Orwellian order in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas. Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.”

Various forces of the radical (in)tolerance movement have been arrayed against the Kleins from the beginning. In May, the crowdfunding website GoFundMe changed their rules to kick the Kleins legal fund off the website. Since Sweet Cakes by Melissa has closed, and the Kleins are ordered to pay a $135,000 fine as part of the ruling, that decision was a harsh blow.

In June, it was revealed that the Oregon government was collaborating with a LGBT activist group against the Kleins. Employees of the BLI exchanged phone calls, e-mails, and texts with members of Basic Rights Oregon, a group that agitated for gay marriage. The Commissioner of the BLI is also implicated as contributing financially to the group, indicating a clear conflict of interest.

For their part, the Kleins are vowing to continue the fight for their rights to free expression and religion. In a Facebook post in the aftermath of the ruling, they wrote “We will not give up this fight and we will not be silenced.”

Big Brother Avakian surely didn’t “like” that one.

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Late last week, protesters at Valdosta State University in Georgia thought it fitting and proper to punctuate their demonstration by walking on an outstretched American flag – an act that sparked Michelle Manhart, an Air Force veteran, to show up at the protest site and seize the flag so it could be retired properly according United States Flag Code.

The protestors sought out campus police to force the return of the flag so it could be desecrated further leading to confrontation with police and demonstrators caught on camera. Manhart, who heard about the group’s recent campus demonstrations, wanted to take action. According to Manhart:

“I did not want anything like this, but I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it…” “I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.”

Following the altercation, VSU police officers took Manhart into custody and returned the flag to the demonstrators. Manhart told The Valdosta Daily Times that she resisted arrest after seeing police return the flag to protesters.

Both the protest group and the officers that detained Manhart declined to press charges for resisting the return of the already soiled flag

Valdosta State University Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing and Communications Andy Clark said that Manhart was instead given a “criminal trespass warning” banning her from attending all university activities including graduation, football games and other events.

While protesters expressed pride in desecrating the American flag and cited their First Amendment right to do so – a right purchased with the blood and treasure of the American people – refused to identify their group to The Valdosta Daily Times or speak with a reporter about their cause.

One member of the group who declined to speak with The Valdosta Daily Times or identify himself told a VSU student that putting the American flag on the ground and walking on it was:

“…a symbol of our protest. When a slave understands his situation and understands he doesn’t want to be in slavery, he does not respect or revere anything his slave master has put in front of him.”

Manhart said she was not on campus long enough to learn what the group’s message was but did say that if their cause was to oppose racism, that was a cause that she supports. Manhart said:

“If your cause is racism then find some white people and walk on them. But to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom. You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. I’m not fighting against them. I’m fighting against the way they are going about it.”

Manhart expressed her hope the group would apologize and give her the flag so she could dispose of it properly. Clark said university officials were unable to determine if the demonstrators were VSU students but said the group had the right to protest on campus.

“They were exercising their right to symbolic speech. As long as they don’t disrupt the operations of the university, we let people engage in protest and debate,” said Clark.

After VSU officers removed Manhart from the campus, they asked to see the demonstrators’ student identification cards. The individuals refused to produce any identification and were asked to disperse, Clark said.

The VSU Board of Regents released the following statement about the incident:

“We respect the rights of people to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions. Our primary concern is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and our ability to carry out our responsibilities to all our students on campus. We are monitoring the situation.”

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