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Freedom Liberty

Hispanic Immigrant’s Gripping Warning Of Democracies Falling

In response to my Sarasota Herald-Tribune article published Wednesday, I received this powerful, gripping letter and obtained the writer’s permission to publish it without a name attached — Rod Thomson

Dear Mr. Thomson,

I hope you are doing well and staying healthy. As a New York-born daughter of Hispanic immigrants, I felt compelled to commend you for such a thoughtful opinion in yesterday’s online edition of the Herald-Tribune.

I do not understand the political back and forth, but what I can tell you is that I was terrified and horrified when I heard Mayor DeBlasio urge people to snitch on each other and made it so easy to report offenders. He was just so matter of fact about it.

You do not have to go to Orwellian fiction to find examples of neighbors becoming anonymous snitches and people disappearing. My parents are Argentinian, and everyone knows a cousin who was snatched up by the government in the name of public safety never to be heard of again in the ’70s. The Mothers of Plaza De Mayo, wearing white headscarves, still march each Thursday in central Buenos Aires with pictures of their sons and daughters who are known as “los desaparecidos” (the disappeared).

Many fled the country to the U.S., where this type of DeBlasio clarion call was once unthinkable. It sent chills down our country’s collective first-generation immigrant spine. My fellow American citizen friends have no idea what it means to live in countries, once strong democracies with constitutions modeled on the one our founders dreamed up, whose people have slowly ceded more liberties and control to the giant bureaucracies that now reign over them. The powerful have become so entrenched that free and fair elections are impossible, and the people have to resort to banging on pots as the only recourse when another outrageous mandate comes from executive action.

In Cuba, this citizen snitching is part of everyday life. Each “calle” has a street captain and residents are rewarded for snitching on anyone who has a banned book, good black market coffee (the one marked for export), or is secretly teaching their children English. As you mentioned, in just one generation this became the “new” normal. More recently, Venezuela, once a rich and powerful nation, devolved into a dystopia where friends turned on each other to survive. The stories of recently arrived, educated, middle-class Venezuelan parents are hard to sit through. 

I once had my flight delayed and met a Honduran woman who told me of the years the local police captain spent raping her in her own home. The first few times he parked his patrol car and had his deputies wait outside while he raped her. Over the years she stopped fighting and would just be ready when he called, better than have to explain the bruises and broken bones to her family. She never told her children, but her parents knew. When her pre-teen daughter was threatened she paid coyotes to have her three kids smuggled to a brother who lives in Minnesota. She had finally obtained a visa to see them after 12 years, and we were both stuck at the airport learning about each other. Her daughter is now married and she was looking forward to meeting her new grandchild.

Just this past week, I was translating for a Spanish-speaking mother who had left her home country a few years ago, with her children, her sister and her nieces, with the pretext of a Disney trip to escape the threats made by a political opponent who won the city council election for which she had run. She was the CFO of her local hospital, a political appointment, and is gratefully cleaning American houses with her sister so that their children have a chance to live in freedom and never be owned by government officials. Up to this pandemic, she has never missed a rent, car, utility or phone payment and relied on no other income than their earnings – $900 per week. You think you have heard it all, but she revealed that in Colombia, anyone with a four-year college degree will eventually be asked to choose between compromising ethics to become part of the corrupt machine or joblessness and a life of crumbs rationed out by said machine. Many smart kids opt to just get a job and stay under the radar than go to college. Her very bright sister chose to become a hairdresser.

In Puerto Rico, the new governor moved early and quickly with the most widespread restrictions seen in the United States, by executive order, including a curfew for all residents to stay home after 9 pm, and ridiculous measures such as mandating which days of the week people can drive their cars depending on whether their license plates are odd or even numbers. It has caused such confusion and anger, especially among the elderly, as people who have lost all income now face being harassed by  police with steep fines up to $5,000 and incarceration if they mess up and take the wrong car on the wrong day to get milk! 

Of course, you can always slip the cop a $20, as that is “normal” in our countries. I remember a few years back I saw on news report about three Hispanic men who tried to give a police officer money when they got stopped on a traffic violation, the reporter stating how incredible it was that they tried to bribe an officer. I turned to my husband and said they were just doing what we all do in our countries. Saves the hassle of the court and you are helping the low-paid public servant and his family! It’s expected, by all sides. I’m not trying to justify it, just adding a little perspective to what has become “normal” in many of the countries we leave behind.

So yes, for all of us who have collective real-life memories and experiences, this call to snitch on our fellow Americans is petrifying. There is nowhere left on earth to flee and be free if the U.S. becomes the “democracies” from which we all escaped. Unfortunately, so many Americans are blind to what this means.

Thank you again, and I am sorry for the unwarranted vitriol that such an intellectual argument will surely elicit.

Anonymous


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Coronavirus First Amendment Liberty

MSM Publishes: The Debate Over Liberties Matters

A Facebook post of mine was referenced in my local newspaper that misrepresented conservative views on the shutdown. In response to that, I wrote a column that the paper published. I’m re-publishing it here.

Rod Thomson

Herald-Tribune political editor Zac Anderson referred to my Facebook post from last week supporting the anti-lockdown movement in a Page 1 Sunday story on the partisan divide over re-opening the economy. Anderson’s story accurately reflects how Democrats and the media writ large define the divide. But alas, that does not make it accurate.

This distorted view is reflected a few pages later on Sunday’s Op/Ed page, where Timothy Egan, a writer for the New York Times, naturally, vilely wrote “a significant slice”  of the Republican Party think “People are disposable.”

None of us who believe in essential liberties passed down through the generations think people are disposable. But it is this defamation of conservatives and Republicans that is part of the narrative: Democrats want to follow the scientists to save lives, but Republicans only care about money. It’s only lives versus money.

It’s a reprehensible calumny slandering millions of freedom-loving Americans. But apparently that is what we do today, rather than engage the merits. Here are the merits.

At core, the protests are about people who want their rights back. It’s driven by people who understand the threat of tyrannical government, and that threat is real and not overstated. Probably the best face of George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called on residents to report their neighbors to law enforcement for violations of social distancing protocols. And he made it super easy! To narc out your neighbors who don’t obey government edicts, de Blasio said: “It’s simple: just snap a photo and text it to 311-692….We will make sure that enforcement comes right away.”

That’s the mayor of the nation’s largest, most preeminent city. In 1984, which I imagine is not read much anymore in public schools, this is exactly what Big Brother teaches neighbors and children to do. Everyone is a snitch. People live in terror. In 1984, people  who didn’t follow the government line disappeared. No, we’re certainly not there yet. But this is an astonishing step that few seem to bat an eye at. Shivering.

Here’s some of the overreaches, shall we say, happening around the country. Cops patrolling streets with bullhorns to warn people to stay away from each other. Los Angeles’ mayor threatening to turn off the power to your business if you do not close like you’re told. Michigan’s governor, a close-run second to de Blasio for the Big Brother Award, restricting residents from driving from their own house, in their own car, to another property they own — even if they never leave their car. Drive-in church services being broken up in some jurisdictions — even if, again, people never leave their car.

The last one is a clear violation of two elements of the First Amendment, freedom of religion and the right of assembly. But it’s all OK, just save us from the virus. Have we seen larger constitutional affronts since FDR rounded up Japanese-Americans and interned them in camps during WWII? That was just for our own good, also.

This is to say nothing of the reality that a bad economy equals more deaths. According to one meta-analysis of 42 studies involving 20 million people by the National Institutes of Health, when people lose their job, the risk of death increases 63 percent due to heart attacks, drugs and alcohol, suicides and other stress-related factors. Economists use a rough rule of thumb that for every one percentage point increase in unemployment, 10,000 people die. Dozens of studies bracket that range.

Too many Americans have become complacent about ceding individual rights to government. Save us! they cry out. Take whatever rights you need! Apparently that means drowning out dissent at the direction of the government, which is Facebook’s official stance regarding posts that organize protests — also enshrined in the First Amendment as the right to assemble and right to redress government. 

If we will not fight for our freedoms, for our rights, we won’t have them and we won’t deserve them.

Most Americans don’t need to be told what to do. Voluntary social distancing and private shutdowns from the NBA to Disney parks to chamber meetings were well underway before government action. I’m in the high-risk category as a 60-year-old asthmatic. I stayed home before the orders and probably will long after the re-opening. But I can see a bigger picture, a bigger threat not yet fully realized but looming, when this pandemic is in the history books.  

The debate over individual liberties and freedoms versus a government rights-grab matters. Our forefathers and preceding generations understood that. I’m sorry so many Americans seem to have forgotten that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. 

It only takes one generation to lose it.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Categories
Coronavirus Freedom Liberty Truth

Governor Despots? Panic Is Stripping Americans Of Essential Liberties

Rod Thomson

Ignored or buried in this global pandemic panic is the giant risk we have already taken not to the economy, as horrible as that is, but to our essential liberties. This is not theoretical anymore.

Forget the President. Since when does every governor, mayor, county executive and dog catcher in the country have unlimited powers over peoples’ lives in a time of crisis? Since never, at least if the Constitution has any relevance anymore.

But in this crisis, in which fear has driven public policy, they are all acting as though they do. And the question is whether the American people, once hearty, self-reliant and freedom-loving are now willing to bend the knee to every dictate from the local overlord or not.

Do I overstate? I hope so. But read the headlines.

One from today is that L.A.’s mayor is threatening to shut off water and electricity to businesses who are staying open after HE ordered them to close. Where does his authority come from to do that? I doubt it’s in the L.A. city charter. The City Council has not voted to make him a little despot. He’s  just doing it, with the power of the police force behind him.

At a press conference, Garcetti was frustrated some businesses did not obey his order. “You know who you are. You need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut you down.”

How far away from an overlord is that? Will he cede it all back when the crisis is past? Just think of the apocalyptic language used around climate change. It gets real sobering in a hurry.

Governors are shutting down whatever they want, whenever they want, without even pretending to show their homework — almost one-upping each other even as the evidence is now coming in that the virus apparently is not nearly as deadly as we thought two weeks ago. Yet several state’s are on lock-down, based on one person’s orders. (Side note: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been very cautious about doing so, and he’s been pilloried in the media and by Democrats. But he’s been right to not jump to such autocratic control.)

Governors do not have unrestrained powers even in quarantine situations. They have the power to quarantine those who are sick, because they do need some authority. But do they have the authority to tell every person in their state to stay home — except the ones they say can go to work? When they limit gatherings to 10, or even less, do they have the authority to abrogate the First Amendment’s right of freedom of assembly?

Beyond governors, it gets much more threatening. Mayors and county executives are acting in much the same way. We see it in New York and LA. Before that in San Francisco.

In Florida, there is an interesting mix because of DeSantis’ correct reticence to issue blanket orders. Miami-Dade and Broward and many other counties have issued stay at home “orders” through their county commissions. (Florida counties are run by elected commissions with a hired chief executive.)

But interestingly, the County Attorney’s Office here in Sarasota County, Florida has ruled that County Commissioners do not have the legal authority to issue a stay at home order with any further restrictions than those already ordered by Gov. DeSantis. Perhaps being a charter county makes a difference. Or being a very red county.

This is not a case against restrictions per se, but who orders them and with what authority. Because the risk is that many of these potentates-in-training may be reluctant to give up all of that power after the crisis — or simply label the next issue a “crisis.” And an even greater risk is that we the people may not force them to.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

That’s a truism through the ages.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Categories
Constitution Free Speech Liberty Truth

2019-2020: The Coming Battle To Save Free Speech

Rod Thomson

For conservatives, the idea that free speech — that most integral of constitutional protections ensconced in the First Amendment — is now under full-scale assault culturally, corporately and governmentally is not exactly news.

We’ve been feeling the hammer for some time now.

But 2018 saw the ugly head of creeping authoritarian impulses poke above the surface and smile the wicked smile of the tyrant seeing his moment.

In the end, this is not a conservative, liberal, libertarian, Republican, Democrat issue — it is a Leftist versus everyone else impulse. Yes, continually redefining the Overton window — the boundaries of societally acceptable speech — inward is being done on the left and largely excluding liberals at the moment. So liberals don’t see the leftists coming for them. Many don’t even realize the difference. But they will. (See the attacks by the transgender activists against feminists as an early volley.)

Authoritarian throttling of free speech is an animal that will eat us all in the end. But alas, it is up to conservatives and our voices — and hopefully elected representatives — to be the frontline defense against this assault. If we wait for others to come onboard, it will be too late. Our voices will be gone.

Andrew Doyle wrote in Spiked magazine:

“Who would have thought that in 2018 it would be deemed controversial to uphold the principle of free speech? Whatever else the events of this year have taught us, it is now clear that the fundamental human right to express oneself as one sees fit is under threat. With both major political parties supporting further hate-speech legislation and varying degrees of press regulation, and with Silicon Valley tech giants routinely censoring their users, the time is ripe seriously to consider how we might retaliate against the creeping authoritarianism of our age.”

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This is the very reason that The Revolutionary Act was launched two years ago. Our name comes from George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 novel in which he writes that in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is the revolutionary act. In 1984, telling the truth through the exercise of any form of speech was punishable by the offender disappearing (death) and ultimately their very existence being erased from history through the memory hole.

We don’t live in Orwell’s 1984. But we are undeniably moving in that direction, and 2018 made it clear.

Of course, there remains the blackballing of wrong-think Hollywood actors and producers, right-think speech codes on college campuses and Antifa thugs in the streets of the most liberal cities and college campuses intimidating and attacking conservatives. But that is old school, inefficient free speech quashing.

The real fight now over free speech is in the digital realms that have come to dominate our lives, and where censorship is oh so real.

In the strictest sense, censorship can only be a legal violation when committed by the state. In the age of social media giants as the primary conduits of information, however, it is as tangible as any kingly edict of old.

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Google dominate the flow of information in a way inconceivable a decade ago. We now know that all of them purposely tip the scales in favor of the left, against conservatives — including shadow banning, suspending accounts, outright banning, fudging search results and more. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have even taken down and erased web sites with which they disagree. So far, those have been pretty extreme sites, thought to be on the extreme right but actually not on the right at all.

We have just learned that the leadership of the tech giants meet periodically to discuss what Twitter calls “healthy conversation” and that Facebook has created 1,400 pages of rules for their moderators to use to curate more right-think.

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Most conservatives, myself included, recoil at the idea of the government meddling in the decisions of private companies — particularly those involved in disseminating public information. But the ubiquitousness of just a half dozen companies in commanding most of the world’s information flow — companies that are run uniformly by leftists who meet periodically to coordinate how they will stop wrongthink (for which they use more soothing terms) should cause every freedom-loving American to be just short of terrified.

There are a couple of options, in addition to doing exactly what I am doing.

One, the Silicon Valley rulers could be determined to be quasi-monopolies, giving the federal government the authority to regulate them as it does utility companies. That strikes me as a pretty bad option as the government sometimes micromanages utility companies while also guaranteeing their profits. Really bad for information platforms.

Second is the idea of an Internet Bill of Rights. This sounds great on the surface, but once you read some of those proposed — largely by Democrats — you realize it has nothing to do with free speech. It folds together a lock-in for net neutrality, increased privacy rights for individuals, consumer choice for ISPs and more. So this just becomes a D.C. grab bag without actually addressing the elephant stinking up the living room.

Democrats think the elephant will only stink up Republicans’ living rooms, so they ignore it. So the Internet Bill of Rights is not a great idea unless it is grounded Constitutionally in the First Amendment. Does that seem likely coming out of Congress right now?

Third, the Silicon Valley giants’ legal standing as platforms could and should be challenged in court. In censoring based on content, they are acting more and more as publishers, meaning they should held to a much higher standard at many levels, not least of which is copyright laws. If they lost such a court challenge, they would instantly have to relinquish their censorial ways and revert to their earlier forms of being open platforms only to survive. This seems like the best option.

Of course, there are the alternatives social media sites, but they are so tiny as to be irrelevant. Even if that changed, it would just result in a further bifurcation information, placing Americans at even more distant extremes from each other.

Whatever happens going forward, and my fear is nothing but more egregious censoring by tech giants, 2019 and most certainly the election year of 2020 will be dangerous times for fundamental rights.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Categories
Constitution Free Speech Freedom Liberty Truth

Fighting For Liberty In The Fog Of Cognitive Dissonance

by KrisAnne Hall, JD

The Southern Poverty Law Center has put me on their “anti-government extremist hate group” list for four years in a row now. I have yet to comprehend how teaching the Constitution, the very document that created government, makes me “anti-government.” Nor do I understand how teaching historical facts and the words and principles of the founders of America makes me an “extreme hater.”

I am told that I should expect this kind of personal attack from Marxist groups like SPLC. However, the other day, someone called me an “anarchist” because I write articles that expose the unconstitutionally expanded nature of our government and how that is destroying our Liberty. This particular instance of name calling came from a conservative. I am not upset with this person and hold no fault with them.

Here is why, and the thought I would like you to consider.

Most of my writing deals with current laws and their Constitutionality based upon fact, law, and history. I work very hard to keep opinions out of it. When the true concept of limited government is presented it causes internal conflict, not just with liberals, but even within “conservative” groups.  

Americans have been, for generations, convinced to accept increasingly more government intrusion in our lives. Over the course of these years, our government has grown to exercise nearly unlimited power to regulate every aspect of our lives…from the milk and the cereal we eat in the morning to the sheets and bed that we sleep in at night. We have been conditioned not only to accept this but to believe that we need it.  

The consequence is that we are being consumed by these regulations and now have a government with unlimited power of surveillance. We have a government that actually believes that “shall not be infringed” can be interpreted to mean, “yes we can make reasonable regulations.” We have a growing society that believes the Freedom of Speech doesn’t actually mean “freedom” and doesn’t really apply to “everyone.” New generations could grow just as comfortable with even greater intrusions as we are now with cameras on street corners, computer and internet intrusions and cell phone surveillance.

Many Americans have become lazy in luxury, pacified in prosperity, or even simply complacent and compliant in their comfort. So when we attempt to present the truth about these intrusions upon our Rights and the destruction of our Liberty — because for generations we have been made to feel comfortable and safe within them — it scares people. 

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But fear does not overrule our rights and we have an obligation to shine the light of truth so future generations will not pay the price for our apathy, ignorance, or complacence. Samuel Adams warned: 

“Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” The Boston Gazette, 14 October 1771

However, shining a light in a room where no light has been seen for days is painful…but we are talking not about days, this darkness has been consuming America for generations. Real Liberty seems radical in today’s environment of ubiquitous government presence. True Liberty seems extreme when Americans have become comfortable with the daily control of government. Real Liberty will challenge what we have believed to be true our entire lives. And it may even make people call you names and want to deny this truth.

Please do not get angry with them. It is what psychologists call “Cognitive Dissonance.”

You should expect it. Everyone must come about their awakening to Liberty in their own way. My personal awakening took years. If you read my story you will see that I was not born a “Constitutionalist” and had a complicated transformation. There is hope for those who have been taught lies their entire life. My story is proof. Unfortunately, some will never come to accept truth at all. But that does not change our responsibility; we have a responsibility to speak truth and seek wisdom. Be patient with those who resist knowledge. But more importantly, no matter how much they deny the truth, no matter how many names they call you, don’t stop speaking the truth!

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I promise I won’t. I am no more an anarchist than Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, or James Otis, Jr. I am not “anti-government,” I just know that our federal government was created to be very limited and specifically defined in its authority, and it must be that way for Americans to have the Liberty promised in our Constitution. I would love to live in a place where no government is necessary, I just understand the depravity of man will never allow that to be reality. So I stand with Thomas Paine and believe that “government in its best form is a necessary evil, in its worst form, an intolerable one.”

We can work together to break the Cognitive Dissonance. We can endeavor to speak truth with love, in patience. We can refuse to tolerate lies and manipulations in order to have comfort and peace. We can refuse the dictated narrative and make our voices be heard. 

We can say, “if there be trouble, let it be in my day so my child may have peace.”

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KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Categories
Christianity Constitution First Amendment Freedom Freedom of Religion Liberty

Supreme Court’s Christian Baker Opinion Is No Win For Freedom Of Religion

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its opinion on a highly anticipated case regarding the right of a baker to refuse to design and create a wedding cake for a gay marriage ceremony based upon his religious convictions. However, for the SCOTUS, this appears not to be a case of religious freedom, but one of unjust government discrimination.  

Jack Phillips, a practicing Christian, often refused to design and create baked goods based upon his religious beliefs. His store was closed on Sundays and other Christian holidays, he refused to create or design desserts for Halloween, and he refused to make desserts that contained alcohol. Phillips did not refuse to serve the same-sex couple who later filed a complaint. He only refused to design and create a cake for their wedding. He remarked that he would be happy to design and create cookies, birthday cakes, shower cakes, or brownies — just not a wedding cake due to religious objections.

The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the commission, after several hearings, decided that Phillips violated Colorado’s public accommodation laws by refusing to create and design this wedding cake for the same-sex couple. The Colorado commission did not accept Phillip’s defense of religious conviction.

Members of the commission, on record and as justification for their decision, mocked Phillip’s beliefs and compared his religious convictions to slavery and to the Holocaust. The Supreme Court found in favor of Phillips in a 7-2 opinion, based particularly on the statements of the Colorado commissioners.

There are some very significant points that must be made to clarify this carefully written opinion.  Because of the great public anticipation over this case, there will be a tendency to make more of what was said than was actually said, and mischaracterize the magnitude of this decision.

 

  1.  Not a Matter of Freedom of Religion

The court did not render its opinion on the basis of religious freedom. They did not declare that private business owners are free to discriminate based upon religious beliefs. As a matter of fact, they said the opposite.

“It is the general rule that [religious and philosophical] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and public services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.” (Page 9)

“Colorado law can protect gay persons, just as it can protect other classes of individuals, in acquiring whatever products and services they choose on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public.” (Page 10)

Phillips made multiple statements asserting his refusal to make the cake was based upon religious conviction. However, it seems the Court only references these objections for the purpose of condemning the Colorado commissioners’ apparent discriminatory statements voiced against Phillips. This Court never asserted that Phillips was justified in his refusal based upon his right to religious freedom.

It is not clear that this is an overall victory for private business owners or Christians to publicly maintain their convictions.

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  1.  Clergy Cannot be Compelled

The court took time to clarify that it should be “assumed” that “when it comes to weddings”, “a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform that ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion.”  (Page 10)

It’s interesting that the Court feels that it should be obvious and therefore not questioned that a professional clergy maintains full right to expression of their freedom of religion, but a baker does not. It would seem that the court sees the possession and expression of fundamental rights like freedom of religion as inherent in a profession rather inherent to all persons.

 

  1.  It’s Not Freedom of Religion, It’s Freedom from Discrimination

This Court did not declare that Phillips’ personal objections justified his refusal to bake this cake. Instead they took a safer and more politically correct approach by finding that the Colorado commissioners’ statements applied the Colorado public accommodation law in a discriminating and biased manner.

The Court says “the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws.” (Page 3) However, the government cannot use Phillips’ religious beliefs as the basis for the application of their laws.

Justice Kennedy points out that when commissioners on the Colorado commission made statements describing Phillips’ faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use,” and equating his refusal to design and create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage to the acts of slavery and the holocaust, they began down the path of discriminating against him. In addition to these condemning statements, the Colorado commission had, at the same time, determined that three other bakers could refuse to bake cakes critical of gay marriage, contrary to their secular convictions, making clear their bias and discriminatory application of this otherwise “neutral” law.

The majority opinion determined that it was this discriminatory act by the Colorado commission that required the court to overturn this case. Again, for the majority opinion, this appears not to be a case of religious freedom of expression, but one of unjust government discrimination.

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  1.  Gay Marriage Was Not Legal Yet

The Court, almost in passing, also mentioned that Phillips’ may have been justified in his refusal to design and create this wedding cake, because Colorado had not legalized gay marriage yet. His refusal, at that time, was not only in compliance with State law, but also a refusal to participate in an illegal activity.  Perhaps Kennedy added this point of fact as a way of publicly saying to business owners in States who have legalized gay marriage, you have no argument to withhold your services if State law compels service.

 

  1.  What About Freedom of Speech?

There is one aspect of personal rights the majority opinion mentions but strangely never fleshes out: the matter of freedom of speech.

The majority court introduces the question: Is the government’s law forcing Phillips to design and create a cake contrary to his personal message, a violation of freedom of speech? But then, in what seems to be a lapse of concentration, the majority opinion never answers this question definitively. It isn’t until we get to Justice Thomas’ concurrence that we find a truly worthy discussion of this important element.

Thomas’ opinion on the matter of freedom of speech is so thorough and so supported by precedent it makes one wonder why the majority court refused to give this topic its due consideration. Justice Thomas points out that it is well within the history of the Supreme Court to support the expression of offensive beliefs in the name of freedom of speech. After all, he reminds us, if the burning of a flag or a 25-foot cross (Virginia v. Black), or designing and creating “a film featuring Klan members brandishing weapons and threatening to ‘Bury the niggers,’ (Brandenburg v. Ohio) are all protected speech, then surely designing and creating a cake ought to fit these categories as well.

By the terms laid out by Justice Thomas, this case should have absolutely been decided in favor of Phillips on the merits of freedom of speech. Why the majority court would introduce this element, and then not complete its thought on the matter is puzzling. Why the majority court would choose a single justification for their opinion when they could have had two compelling arguments is equally puzzling.

 

  1. The Dissent

One final matter worth discussing is the dissent written by Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sotomayor. Not surprisingly, Ginsburg feels that this case should have been decided in favor of the same-sex couple.  However, her argument against the majority opinion is so weak it makes clear her bias.

She does not address the fact that gay marriage was illegal at the time Phillips refused to design and create the cake. She does not even broach the freedom of speech aspect. Instead she asserts that the biased statements of a few commissioners against Phillips, during a government hearing in judgment of Phillips, do not rise to the level of “hostility” toward Phillips and therefore cannot be the justification for overturning this case.

Apparently, Ginsburg believes in a lower standard of discrimination for government than private citizens by claiming that these clear and impermissible words of hostility placed on the record by members of the commission and used as justification for their decision were not an exercise of content discrimination, yet the baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage, that was currently against the law, and violated his religious beliefs, was discrimination.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Categories
Constitution Freedom Liberty Second Amendment Truth

Constitutional Scholar KrisAnne Hall’s Open Letter to #Walkout Kids

Dear #NationalSchoolWalkout Students,

I weep with you. I am also proud to see you standing for what you believe in. However, what you ask for will not bring the results you desire.

These problems in society have never been a result of too much Liberty, and eliminating the natural rights of all people will never bring the proper solutions. If we want to make you feel safe at school and everywhere in public we must be honest as a society and deal with the real problems.

  1. Schools and government are failing you. They have little to no security and practically no real policy to keep your schools secure. 
  2. We have to endure more security at a public museum than we do at our public schools. I ask our governors and administrators which of these treasures is more valuable?
  3. We need to not just make promises to keep you safe, we need policies and actions. We need secure entrances and exits into the schools. We need real policies limiting “visitors” on campus. Nearly every school shooter would have never even been on campus with proper security and policies.
  4. Adults have failed to see your cries for help and have failed to act upon them, putting everyone at risk. We need more adults who are concerned with your mental, physical, and emotional health rather than political correctness, job security or hurt feelings.
  5. We need to train your teachers better. They know CPR; they know how to help a choking child; they need to know how to stop someone from hurting you.

The real solutions that will bring the safety and security we all desire do not require a new federal law or regulation; they do not require a constitutional amendment; they do not require depriving anyone of any rights. The real solutions are much simpler than that.

The real solutions to keeping you safe require only a people who love their children enough to create and enforce local policies and proper training dedicated to the preservation of life, liberty, and property.

The history of the entire world dictates that taking the rights of people to defend themselves will not keep them safe, but will only serve to enslave our future to those more powerful. We must learn that without liberty, security is nothing more than a vapor. Unfortunately, those who do not recognize their history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

By not addressing the real problems and and not employing the real solutions, we end up destroying what we set out to preserve. We will make you and your future less safe and we will pass on to all our children a future of greater oppression.

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I am telling you this not because I am judging you. I am telling you this because, as a mom, I love you.

We can keep you safe and keep your rights and liberties secure at the same time. It is time to take back the narrative. It is time to get to work and secure Liberty for all. That is not just our duty to you and to all our children, it is who we are as Americans.

Sincerely,

KrisAnne Hall

www.LibertyFirstUniversity.com

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


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Constitution Guns Liberty Media

3 Data Points That Crush The Gun Control March

Rod Thomson

As we head into another energy-draining, media-drenched, wrong-headed protest by angry liberals in this weekend’s highly publicized anti-gun march in Washington, responding to the salvos of misinformation becomes a real challenge.

Those who understand and appreciate the Second Amendment and the Constitution — which does not include large numbers of protesters — should be armed with a few basic facts that really do make the entire anti-gun histrionics case go ker-splat!

These are important because whether it is the school kids or the activists or the media, the people driving this narrative are rarely if ever confronted with contextual facts. They shake their heads and wag their fingers in circular agreement chambers at the rubes who like guns, turn the NRA into Satan and claim what a fine job they are doing. But they are provably wrong.

So here’s a quick aide of three well-documented facts to share with friends and family if the discussion turns to the march and the latest wave of anti-gun rights theater.

ACTIVIST CHARGE: More guns means more gun violence and gun death. We must reduce guns to reduce gun violence. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote: “Fewer Guns = Fewer Deaths.” Dylan Scott at Vox wrote: “More guns tend to breed more violence — whether accidental or intentional.” These come from the more level heads in the anti-gun debate, much more tame and unemotional than the thousands of protesters that will be stomping about Washington.

ACTUAL DATA: The opposite may actually be true, or at least there is no national data correlation supporting their assertions. As the American Enterprise Institute chart below shows, the number of guns per American increased dramatically from 1993 to 2013. At the exact same time, the gun homicide rate dropped dramatically. So gun ownership increased 65 percent over 20 years nationally, while gun murders in the same 20 years fell by almost 50 percent. The march and the media are wrong.

CONCLUSION: Fewer guns does not mean lower crime. 

3 Data Points That Crush The March For Our Lives Narrative

 

ACTIVIST CHARGE: We have the most mass shootings because of our antiquated gun culture. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, speaking on the Senate floor after the Parkland shootings: “This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America.” Previously, President Obama had said: “…this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

ACTUAL DATA: A study by the Crime Prevention Research Center completed in 2015 of mass-shootings around the world for the previous six-year period shows the U.S. not only doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings, it’s not even in the top 10 among advanced nations.

Norway is No. 1, but that is an outlier because the country with a tiny population had the terrible mass shooting of 77 people in 2011. No. 2 is Serbia, then France, Macedonia, Albania, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Then comes the U.S., at a rate of less than one-third that of France when it comes to mass shootings per capita.

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As all of these European countries (often cited as the exemplars for the United States) either have strict laws on guns or ban them outright. They also have far fewer guns per capita. There would seem to be no correlation again between the availability of guns and mass shootings. This doesn’t even consider Third World nations. The march and the media are wrong.

CONCLUSION: Mass shootings in the United States are not high compared to many European nations.

3 Data Points That Crush The March For Our Lives Narrative

 

ACTIVIST CHARGE: More gun control laws reduce violence. A Los Angeles Times editorial argued: “The best data are clear: More guns mean more carnage, and stronger gun laws save lives.”

ACTUAL DATA: The actual research shows that more than 50 percent of all U.S. murders occur in 2 percent of American counties. Murder is shockingly concentrated in major cities that have very tight gun laws and, importantly, very low legal gun ownership. Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. are among them. Conversely, in suburban and rural areas across the country where gun laws are more lax and legal gun ownership is high, there are low murder rates.

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This is not necessarily a causal relationship. More guns may not cause fewer crimes based on these numbers. Other research has shown a similar corollary affect. However, it shows the opposite is certainly untrue. This is furthered by a famous chart comparing Chicago and Houston demographics, gun laws and crime rates. It is included below and further also shows no correlation between gun control and lower murder rates. The opposite could be argued. The march and the media are wrong.

CONCLUSION: Tighter gun laws and fewer legal gun owners does not reduce the murder rate.

3 Data Points That Crush The March For Our Lives Narrative

 

These three data points make the factually irrefutable case that the problem is not the availability guns. It’s who is using them, and where.

(Note: A bonus fourth data point: Since 1950, more than 98 percent of public mass shootings in America have taken place in “gun-free zones.” So, also not a solution.)

These three points are worth remembering and sharing with friends and family as the march dominates news and a lot of social media this weekend.

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Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
Government Guns Liberty Truth

Beware The Siren Call of Government Control On Gun Sales

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

With major retailers such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods among others deciding to not selling semi-automatic rifles to people under 21 years old, many people are citing federal anti-discrimination laws as a way to stop these businesses from doing so.

Small government Americans ought to be very cautious about jumping on this bandwagon of government control.  

It’s not an issue of the Second Amendment. It’s not a matter of whether we think that is a good idea or not. True freedom requires the allowance for good and bad ideas.

Liberty minded people should be opposed to any and all levels of government telling private business owners how to conduct their business; to whom they can or cannot sell their wares. This is exactly how we get ridiculous government intrusions like forcing cake bakers and photographers to do things contrary to their personal principles and religious freedoms — rather than allowing the free-market to reward or punish. 

All private businesses should have the right to conduct business as they desire; they are private entities, not government agents. If some private business wants to refuse to serve me because of my race, gender, sexual orientation, or even the color of my hair; then individually and collectively you and I can take our patronage elsewhere.

Better yet, we can create an alternative — adversity promotes progress and innovation. To use the force of government to require a private business to conform to my personal desires or principles is definitely a form of fascism and tyranny. 

In a free society it must be up to the free market to reward or punish a private business for good or bad decisions, not government. Any time government takes the role of the free market, the people cannot be free.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
Conservatism Liberty Truth

Global Progressives Pushing “Assault-on-Marriage” Bill In Florida

Rod Thomson

Sherry Johnson has an unnervingly awful story that somehow fell within the bounds of the law. Raped and impregnated at age 10 in 1971, she was forced to marry her rapist by a Florida judge at age 11 and had five more children with him before escaping into a series of abusive relationships later in life.

She understandably would like to see her abuse not be repeated. So she has been the public face pushing for a Florida bill that goes well beyond fixing the law that created her tragedy by banning marriage for Floridians under the age of 18. No exceptions.

Johnson is far from alone in this effort — not surprisingly given she does not have the political or financial wherewithal to get the Florida Legislature to move on a bill. But the progressive, global groups from several western nations and the United States, in the background pushing this bill and more like it in other states, do have that power.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear Florida Republicans know who was behind the legislation. But legislatures around the nation need to be.

Florida law currently allows minors who are 16 and 17 to marry only with their parents’ consent. But the law also allows county judges to approve marriages with younger minors if there is a pregnancy involved, and it was this last provision the judge incomprehensibly used 46 years ago to approve the marriage of Sherry Johnson when she was 11.

Fixing this law is eminently sensible and simple. Banning what happened to Johnson, even if it was very, very rare, is the right thing to do. And the obvious fix is to eliminate the marriage exemption for those under 16, while allowing flexibility for 16 and 17 years olds. This is an easy, quick pinpoint fix.

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So then why did the Florida Legislature take a sledgehammer to the law and, in the unanimously passed Senate version, create a total ban on marriage for anyone under 18 and remove any personal freedoms in the matter? 

Perhaps because two politically progressive groups supported by and connected to progressive groups globally pushed in the background for the far more restrictive law. They have pushed legislatures in Massachusetts and elsewhere to pass this legislation. Apparently, few lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature were aware of these influences in the legislation.

In one of the more poignant moments of the 2018 Florida session, two lone conservative representatives — George Moraitis and Julio Gonzalez — took on this over-reactive change on the merits of violating conservative tenants by creating too much government intrusion into private lives at the cost of personal liberty.

Don Quixote had as much success. The House bill passed 108-2 and the Senate bill passed 37-0. At that point, perhaps no one really wanted to be painted as supporting “child brides,” even though that is not what is happening. Politics is politics.

This is not a matter of whether marriage at 16 or 17 is a good idea, but whether it should be an individual and familial choice or it should be government dictate.

The two bills that passed differ slightly. A consensus between the two chambers has not yet been reached. The Senate has a strict prohibition for marriages under the age of 18, while the House bill allows a pregnant sixteen or seventeen year old to still be married, but only if the father is within two years of the mother’s age. That’s a lot of government micromanaging.

In floor debate, ironically on Valentine’s Day, Gonzalez pointed out that current Florida law already bans children under the age of 16 from being married except in the case of pregnancy. So the problem of ultra young children marrying in Florida would be solved simply by eliminating the marriage exception.

The bill’s sponsor said there were other goals of the bill, such as preventing minors from being coerced into marriage and improving high divorce rates. Both of those would be laudable goals, but the bill does not address either, which the sponsors admitted during floor debate.

The real problem with the bill, and the almost unanimous support of Republicans, is that at its core, it is not conservative by expanding the reach of government into private lives. Here’s the problem with the well-intentioned but overreaching bill.

First, it represents an attack on personal liberties. As Gonzalez said in debate, the decision over whether a 16- or 17-year-old should marry belongs in a family’s living room, not distant state government. Johnson’s story is horrific. Is this an ongoing problem that could not have been fixed simply by eliminating the pregnancy exemption for those under 16?

Second, Moraitis rightly raised the issue of the bill’s excessive meddling into the private circumstances by which marriage would be appropriate. He said it gives government far too much role in individual and family decision-making.

Third, the bill is not crafted to solve the problems it raises. Remember, if the problem is the pregnancy exception allowing for children to be married, then this response is irresponsibly broad and intrudes on a myriad of privacy and personal liberty issues. And if the motivation is a higher divorce rate or the prevention of coercive practices, then the bill fails as it does none of these.

Fourth, Gonzalez spoke from personal experience when he said the bill creates needless hardships. For instance, there are legitimate times, particularly with military members being assigned to distant regions, when one member of a couple who is 18 has to leave the area or the country and cannot take his as-yet unmarried partner who is 17 with him or her.

“In such situations, the forced separation can be brutal for the military member,” Gonzalez said during the debate. He has personal experience with militarily forced separations from his then fiancé and now wife when he was a military doctor. “The fact is that there are numerous circumstances where it would be reasonable for 17-year-olds to marry, and this bill would unnecessarily block them.”

Which begs the question, is there another purpose of the bill?

In the Right Talk America weekly radio program that Gonzalez co-hosts with Rod Thomson, Founder of The Revolutionary Act, Gonzalez suggests it is the result of a progressive liberal assault on marriage, of which most Florida Republicans are unaware:

“This is typical of the progressives’ game plan. You identify an emotion-laden issue. You sell an emotional argument to the public, and then you push a solution that goes much broader than the fix to the problem. We saw this with the passage of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Amendments to the Constitution. You saw this with Obamacare. You’re seeing this with gun legislation. And now you’re seeing it on marriage.”

There is born out by some digging into who is pushing the legislation beyond Sherry Johnson. The Revolutionary Act as learned from sources inside the Legislature that two groups have been the prime motivators for this bill: Girls Not Brides and Unchained At Last.

 

Progressives behind the bills

Girls Not Brides, an organization chartered in England, gets considerable money from government organizations in several western, progressive nations, along with several large, private foundations. Here’s the list:

  • Bridgeway Foundation,
  • The Brooks Foundation
  • Ford Foundation,
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
  • Global Affairs Canada (Government of Canada)
  • Human Dignity Foundation,
  • Ikea Foundation,
  • The Kendeda Fund,
  • Money.co.uk
  • Nationale Postcode Loterij (Netherlands),
  • The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
  • Nike Foundation,
  • NoVo Foundation (connected to the Tides Foundation),
  • Open Society Foundations,
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation,
  • Sabanci Foundation,
  • Skoll Foundation,
  • Swedish Postcode Foundation.

The majority of these organizations are known to support and fund progressive causes, some of them being radical.

Further, Girls Not Brides partners with Global Citizen, a progressive group based in New York that funds and supports progressive causes around the world from global warming to Planned Parenthood.

Unchained At Last also partners with Global Citizen, plus Human Rights Watch to push for ending child marriage — but can be quite deceptive about the scope of the problem — at least in the United States. It’s founder, Fraid Reiss, who has her own challenging story of an arranged marriage at age 19, wrote at Global Citizen:

“If I told you about a country where hundreds of thousands of children as young as 10 were getting married — mostly girls being wed to adult men — would you assume I were(sic) talking about a developing country on the other side of the world?

“Actually, I’m talking about the United States.”

That sounds unlikely. But she writes further and the obfuscation becomes clear:

“For a long time, no one knew the full extent of America’s child-marriage problem. I changed that last year, when I wrote an op-ed article published in the Washington Post that revealed the results of a groundbreaking study conducted by Unchained At Last, the nonprofit I founded to help women escape forced marriage in the US. I showed that in just the 38 states that track marriage ages (based on marriage license applications), more than 167,000 children as young as 10 were married between 2000 and 2010 alone.”

The problem is obvious. She does not break down how many are 10 — if any recently — and how many are 17. In the case of Sherry Johnson, she was married at 11 nearly 50 years ago. Has there been another one in Florida? It’s not reported. How many are around the nation at 10 or 11 or 13? Well, Reiss does not specify. That’s problematic and raises a red flag.

The reasonable assumption why no specifics are given beyond the careful crafting that includes the 10-year-old age is because the huge majority are 17 and some 16 and very small numbers to virtually none as they get younger.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey — the most extensive and high quality survey — only has numbers down to 15 years old, probably because incidents of younger marriages are too rare to create any statistical significance. Even Pew Research calls child marriage — which it puts at 15 to 17 years old — “rare.”

So why do backers of these laws — and it is more than Reiss, there seems to be consistent messaging on this, even on Wikipedia— insist on using the age of 10, lumping it in with “hundreds of thousands of children” being married? Why do neither she or her progressive partners break down the numbers by age? Perhaps because the issue becomes so minor as to be considerably less compelling?

Florida Republicans wanted to do the right thing to protect girls such as Sherry Johnson from being forced into that terrible situation. But the law they passed went far beyond that and seems to be inspired and pushed by groups standing for the opposite of what Republicans stand for.

And that fits perfectly with progressive tactics. And it raises the question: What will be their next step?


Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.