Is This Texas Republican Enabling Police Brutality?

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At a time when the entirety of Western civilization is focused on eliminating police corruption and ending the suffering that unlawful police departments inflict upon citizens, a Texas State Representative, Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), is ramping up his crusade against civil liberties, seeking to diminish public oversight of police action.

This month, Representative Villalba introduced a bill that would prohibit:

  • filming, recording, photographing, or documenting the officer within 25 feet of the officer; or
  • filming, recording, photographing, or documenting the officer within 100 feet of the officer while carrying a handgun

(thereby criminalizing basic rights enumerated in the first and second amendments to the US Constitution.)

Villalba has included language in the bill that provides an exception for government-defined “members of the press,” mimicking the failed attempt by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein to curtail free speech with her amendment to the 2013 Free Flow of Information Act.

Activists within the Texas Liberty Movement indicate that Viallba’s bill will be opposed in the House, although no legislators have gone on record to confirm this yet.

Critics of the bill say that it is a continuance of a frightening trend in government to criminalize lawful behavior, limit human rights, and eliminate citizen oversight.

On Friday, Murdoch Pitzgatti, the President and co-founder of Come and Take It Texas, said:

When filming anything in public becomes illegal, the First Amendment has died. Where the First Amendment is restricted, the Second Amendment will be used to remedy the situation.

Pitzgatti added: “Under this bill, concealed handgun license holders must stay even further away while filming. We will not follow an unconstitutional law, especially one that singles out law-abiding citizens that have been vetted and have undergone extensive background checks and treats them like criminals.”

The bill stands in marked contrast to the efforts made by Texas citizens, including police and lawmakers, to increase oversight of police actions through the use of body cameras and other measures. Similar initiatives, put forth on the national level, have received nearly universal support in the wake of Ferguson and other highly publicized incidents involving police shootings.

Like Feinstein, Villalba would have the legislature ignore the ways in which technology has enabled journalism to evolve, narrowly defining “journalist” in such a way that would criminalize the work done by many of today’s most powerful and influential members of press.

Sadly, these attempted end-runs around the First Amendment are far from isolated occurrences. Over the past decade, a multitude of evidence has surfaced that reveals an increasing animosity towards the press on the part of government–though this animosity has not gone unchecked.

In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of Simon Glik, who was arrested and charged with illegal wiretapping for making a video recording of police actions in Boston. Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney for ACLU Massachusetts, called the case “…a resounding victory for the First Amendment right to openly record police officers carrying out their duties in a public place.”

The right to a free press is an American principle that predates the founding of the republic. In an Appeal to the Inhabitants of Quebec (1774), the First Continental Congress wrote:

The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs.

Fifteen years later, the people’s right to criticize government specifically compelled the Founders to include within the Bill of Rights the statement that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Americans have long cherished the right to a free press–and rightfully so. Efforts by those in government to flout this basic premise of our constitutional republic clearly recalls the Nazis’ Reichstag Fire Decree, which in 1933 made criticism of the government a criminal offense in Germany and paved the way for the terror of national socialism.

But what terrorizes minions of big government, like Jason Villalba, is a free people exercising their natural rights unimpeded by regulation.

Another highly publicized bill filed by Villalba this session, under the guise of protecting religious liberty, would amend the Texas constitution to allow state and local governments to “burden” a person’s free exercise of religion if “the burden is necessary to further a compelling governmental interest…” Villlalba has since folded under the pressure coming from both sides of the issue and withdrawn support for his own bill, leaving Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) to pick up the slack.

Last year in US News & World Report, Jason Stverak wrote:

The term “public servant” has become the vogue euphemism that career politicians and government employees use for themselves, but it more aptly applies to people working for the common good and the betterment of their community. Journalists fit under this umbrella because they are a check on those in power, and our government should be applauding anyone who puts in the legwork to uncover the truth instead of drawing arbitrary lines to hinder them.

Take note, Villalba; that’s the way real Texans think.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

264 Years Ago Today, Our Fourth President Was Born

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Called the “Chief Architect of the Constitution,” he wrote many of the Federalist Papers which helped convince states to ratify the Constitution.

He introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress.

This was James Madison, born MARCH 16, 1751.

At the onset of the War of 1812, President Madison proclaimed a Day of Prayer, July 9, 1812, stating:

I do therefore recommend…rendering the Sovereign of the Universe…public homage…acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke His divine displeasure…seeking His merciful forgiveness…and with a reverence for the unerring precept of our holy religion, to do to others as they would require that others should do to them.

The next year, on July 23, 1813, Madison issued another Day of Prayer, referring to “religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man.”

Beginning with the French Revolution in 1789, Napoleon gained prominence with his military prowess till he controlled most of Europe.

In 1805, Napoleon’s navy was defeated at the Battle of Trafalgar, giving Britain mastery of the seas.

In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with nearly 500,000 men, and six month later left Russia with less than 50,000.

Napoleon abdicated, April 6, 1814, and was exiled to the Island of Elba.

His losses freed up British forces, which were sent to control Lake Erie and invade New York, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.

On August 24, 1814, a force of 4,500 British soldiers marched toward Washington, D.C.

In a panic, citizens hastily evacuated. Dolly Madison is credited with saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington by having it cut out of its frame.

Her carriage was riding out of the city as British Admiral George Cockburn was riding in.

Admiral Cockburn entered the White House, ate dinner, then set it on fire.

He had British soldiers sit in the congressmen’s chairs and hold a mock Congress.

When he asked who was in favor of burning the Capitol, they yelled, “aye,” and proceeded to torch the Capitol, the Treasury, the Patent Office, the Library of Congress, and the Navy Yard.

Suddenly, dark clouds rolled in, wind and thunder grew into a “frightening roar,” and lightning began striking.

A tornado touched down, sending debris flying, blowing off roofs, and knocking down chimneys and walls on British troops.

Two cannons were lifted off the ground and dropped yards away. Violent winds slammed both horse and rider to the ground.

The book Washington Weather recorded Admiral Cockburn exclaiming to a lady:

Great God, Madam! Is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?

To which the lady replied:

No, Sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city.

A British historian wrote:

More British soldiers were killed by this stroke of nature than from all the firearms the American troops had mustered in the feeble defense of their city.

As British forces fled, torrential rains fell for two hours, extinguishing the fires.

They marched back to their ships with difficulty on roads covered with downed trees only to find two ships blown ashore and others with damaged riggings.

On September 1, 1814, Madison wrote:

The enemy by a sudden incursion has succeeded in invading the capitol of the nation…During their possession… though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices…

An occasion which appeals so forcibly to the…patriotic devotion of the American people, none will forget…

Independence…is now to be maintained…with the strength and resources which…Heaven has blessed.

Less than three months later, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting & Prayer to Almighty God on November 16, 1814, stating:

The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war, a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace…of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance…that He would be graciously pleased to pardon all their offenses…I have deemed it proper…to recommend…a day of…humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe.

Two weeks after the war ended, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving & Devout Acknowledgment to Almighty God, March 4, 1815.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Superintendent Stands Up In A Big Way For Principal Facing Atheist Backlash

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As Western Journalism has extensively reported, activists representing anti-God groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation routinely inject themselves into local issues by threatening legal action unless their target agrees to forego whatever religious expression they deem offensive. FFRF was back in the news recently after it issued a written complaint to a Texas school regarding the principal’s occasional use of biblical passages during his “Thought of the Day” segment as part of the morning announcements.

Apparently, students at the school have heard White Oak High School principal Dan Noll’s daily musings for years; however, complaints by at least two locals prompted the involvement of FFRF.

Noll received overwhelming support from members of his community, the most vehement of which might be his boss, White Oak Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gilbert. He responded to the atheist organization’s threat by standing firmly in defense of the embattled principal.

In a letter to the group, Gilbert affirmed that he is “fully aware of the practice at the high school and will not pursue any action against our High School Principal or any other member of our faculty/staff concerning this issue.”

He went on to explain that FFRF has targeted the district before, specifically regarding “concerns about the practices at our football games.”

The heart of Gilbert’s letter includes what he believes is the group’s true purpose. He wrote:

Let me be clear, this is an attempt to draw us into a contest of words for the sole purpose of giving the FFRF a large amount of free press/recognition that they and their very few members (1,200 in Texas) do not deserve. This group and others like it, are wanting us to provide them with negative quotes to use in the promotion of their agenda.

Furthermore, he shared his belief that the district has not violated anyone’s First Amendment rights by permitting Noll’s addresses.

“Bible studies and scriptures are allowed in schools,” he wrote. “The requirement is that the material be presented in a neutral manner. It is my position that we met that standard with the morning announcements.”

The real message he wants to leave with those who seek to remove any vestige of faith from public schools is simple.

“My recommended response to the FFRF is, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily.”

h/t: The Blaze

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Open-Borders Advocates Attack Local Newspaper That Won’t Give In To Politically Correct Pressure

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I stand with the Santa Barbara News-Press. How about you?

The newspaper is under fire for refusing to kowtow to left-wing word police and militant propagandists who demand unfettered illegal immigration. Last week, in the wake of angry protests against the publication, vandals threw paint bombs and spray-painted graffiti on its offices.

So, what exactly is the News-Press’ unforgivable crime? Calling illegal aliens “illegals” in a headline for a story about illegal aliens descending on California DMVs. A new law went into effect two weeks ago allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses without proof of lawful residence. The article featured interviews with ecstatic illegal aliens, including one who has been in the country illegally for “22 years.”

Latina magazine called the News-Press headline — “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses” — the “most offensive headline against undocumented immigrants ever.” Hyperbole much? Ethnic agitators from a group called “People Organized for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth (PODER)” condemned the paper as “blatantly racist,” demanding that the paper adhere to the slanted guidelines of the Associated Press or face a boycott.

The blatantly biased AP rules advise journalists to abandon the concise terms “illegal,” “illegal alien,” or “illegal immigrant” in favor of the wordy, whitewashed “‘living in’ or ‘entering a country illegally’ or ‘without legal permission.’” Illegal aliens with Obama amnesty cards are now people with “temporary resident status” — blatantly blurring the distinction between legal foreign visitors who legally applied for and received legal temporary status and illegal border-crossers, illegal deportation evaders, and illegal visa overstayers who successfully won the political illegal alien amnesty lottery by playing the waiting game.

Because references to the rule of law are considered oppressively racist/colonialist/imperialist, social justice mobsters are pushing the term “undocumented” on media coddlers. But it is patently absurd to force a newspaper in the name of “accuracy” and “objectivity” to call illegal aliens queuing up for government-issued documents “undocumented.”

These “undocumented” aliens, now eligible for state driver’s licenses, federal work authorization permits, in-state college discounts, bank accounts, taxpayer identification numbers, and birth certificates issued by Mexican consular offices on government soil, are the most documented aliens in American history.

News-Press publisher Wendy McCaw told me this week that the free speech-stifling thugs “have threatened to return on January 19 to deliver a petition and stage another protest against us if we do not offer a retraction by 3 p.m. that day.” McCaw vows she will not bend to the ultimatum or any other — and she has a track record to prove her toughness.

McCaw has defied the progressive forces of political correctness for years in previous First Amendment battles over whom she should hire and how she should run her newspaper. Radical elements in her community and industry have long held a grudge against her and her paper for resisting union pressure and refusing to conform to left-wing orthodoxy.

And boy, do these people know how to hold grudges.

In addition to the paint bombs, unhinged mau-mau-ers spray-painted a radical Reconquista slogan on the News-Press building: “The border is illegal, not the people who cross it.”

Yes, they’re still trying to re-fight the Mexican-American War of 1848 and re-litigate the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. No surprise. Santa Barbara has been a longstanding hotbed of tribal grievance politics. In the late 1960s, liberal Latinos at the University of California at Santa Barbara unveiled El Plan de Aztlan, which states:

“We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent. Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner ‘gabacho’ who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture.”

The Aztlan plan birthed Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) — an identity politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high school campuses nationwide whose members have rioted in Los Angeles and editorialized that federal immigration “pigs should be killed, every single one” in San Diego.

As I’ve reported previously, the MEChA Constitution calls on members to “promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza (race) with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan.” “Aztlan” is the group’s term for the vast southwestern U.S. expanse, from parts of Washington and Oregon down to California and Arizona and over to Texas, which MEChA claims to be a mythical homeland and seeks to reconquer for Mexico.

MEChA’s symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and a machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.” Translation: For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing.”

Tell me who the racists are again.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

To Die For Charlie Hebdo?

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“I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”

That maxim of Voltaire was among those most invoked by the marching millions in Sunday’s mammoth “Je Suis Charlie” rally in Paris.

This week, in the spirit of Voltaire, French authorities arrested and charged Cameroonian comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, and 54 others, with “hate speech.”

Yes, Monsieur Voltaire, there are limits to free speech in France.

Dieudonne’s crime? He tweeted, “I am Charlie Coulibaly,” the last name of the killer of four innocent Jews in that kosher market.

A wounding wicked remark.

And what are now the limits of free speech in France?

Prime Minister Manuel Vals lists four. “There is a fundamental difference between the freedom to be impertinent and anti-Semitism, racism, glorification of terrorist acts, and Holocaust denial, all of which are crimes, that justice should punish with the most severity.”

Vals’ list brings to mind another quote of Voltaire’s: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

Why did Vals not include slanders against Catholicism and Islam, the world’s largest religions, both of which have been repeatedly insulted by Charlie Hebdo? In the banlieues north of Paris, they wish to know.

Pope Francis himself said yesterday: “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. … If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch.”

Is our new Pope offering preemptive dispensations to Catholics who sock those who mock their faith? That’s pre-Vatican II thinking.

Back to Vals’ list. Who decides what is “anti-Semitism” and what is “racism”? In America, these terms are tossed around with abandon.

As for the “glorification of terrorist acts,” Israel’s Menachem Begin, the ANC’s Nelson Mandela, and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat were all credibly charged with acts of terrorism in their liberation struggles.

And all three won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Millions of Algerians reside in France. Is it impermissible for them to celebrate the FLN in Algeria and the often-terrible deeds that won their independence? Algerians did not fight the French in stand-up battles, but rather with bombs in cafes and movie theaters.

Did not the maquisards and French Resistance, during and after the Nazi occupation, exact savage reprisals, of which some in France are today ashamed?

Who decides which historical events are off-limits for debate?

Even before the Paris march, Vals had declared “war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.”

But does not the renewed publication of cartoons that insult the Prophet undermine the fraternity and solidarity of French Muslims, Christians, and secularists in Val’s war on terrorism?

Has Charlie Hebdo really helped to unite the West and the Islamic world in the “war … against jihadism, against radical Islam”? Or has it divided us?

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, our ally who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, killed hundreds, and imprisoned thousands, just issued a decree allowing him to ban foreign publications offensive to Islam.

Why might President Sissi regard Charlie Hebdo as toxic?

According to a 2013 Pew Poll, 80 percent of Egyptians favor the stoning of adulterers–and 88 percent the death penalty for apostates.

The figures are comparable for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. Across the Middle East, majorities favor the adoption of sharia law. Many support beheadings, stonings, the lash, and amputations of limbs for lesser offenses.

What do these polls tell us?

First, if we insist that freedom of the press means standing behind the blasphemies of Charlie Hebdo, we should anticipate the hatred and hostility of majorities in the Islamic world to whom faith and family are everything — and our First Amendment is nothing.

Second, the idea that, by sending armies of Americans into that part of the world for a decade or two, we could convert these peoples, steeped in a 1,500-year-old faith, to share our embrace of religious, cultural, and moral pluralism and secularism was utopian madness.

Third, as Islamic peoples grow in number and militancy, while the peoples of Europe age and pass on, and the migrants continue to come from the Maghreb and Middle East, Europe will have to adapt to Muslim demands or face endless civil and cultural conflict on the Old Continent.

The moral befuddlement in France mirrors that of the West.

In welcoming the return to the newsstands of Charlie Hebdo, with a cartoon mocking the Prophet on its cover, President Hollande said, “You can murder men and women, but you can never kill their ideas.”

True. And anti-Islamism is an idea. As is the “radical Islam” against which France has declared war.

And which of the two ideas appears today to have more adherents willing not only to march for it on Sundays, but to die for it?

 
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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom