Golsteyn case: Arraignment scheduled for Bragg soldier accused of killing unarmed Afghan national

Golsteyn case: Arraignment scheduled for Bragg soldier accused of killing unarmed Afghan national

A Fort Bragg soldier accused of killing an unarmed Afghan national in 2010 is expected to be formally advised of the charges against him Thursday.

Maj. Mathew Golsteyn will be arraigned in a courtroom on post, according to Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command. A 4th Judicial Circuit judge has named an arraignment judge and will serve as the trial judge to preside over the case, Bymer said in a written statement released Monday.

A trial date has not been set, he said.

Golsteyn, who was a captain in the 3rd Special Forces Group, was referred to trial by general court-martial last month by Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, commanding general of the command. Golsteyn is accused of premeditated murder.

In February, Golsteyn waived his rights to an Article 32 preliminary hearing to assess evidence against him. The hearing is required before a defendant can be referred to a general court-martial.

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Golsteyn was among the American forces in Marjah, Afghanistan, when he is accused of killing the Afghan national.

Evidence presented at an administrative hearing in 2015 revealed the Afghan national was suspected of making a bomb that killed two Marines. The Army held the hearing to review Golsteyn’s actions and decide whether he could remain in the military.

Evidence presented at the hearing indicated the Afghan was captured and released. Golsteyn is then accused of killing him, burying his body, returning to the grave the next morning and burning the body.

Army officials began investigating in September 2011, after Golsteyn described the killing during a job interview polygraph exam with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Golsteyn was stripped of his Special Forces Green Beret tab and a Silver Star medal in 2015 and was kicked out of the Army because of the incident.

The Army pulled him back into the service to face the murder charge.

Golsteyn told The Washington Post in February that he took up an ambush position after the Afghan was released and watched to see whether the Afghan would leave the area. He told the newspaper that if the Afghan walked toward him instead of some other direction, “it meant he was going back to insurgent activities and could be legally targeted.”

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President Donald Trump is considering granting pardons to Golsteyn and several other members of the military accused of war crimes, the Associated Press reported last month.

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© 2019 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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SCOTUS decision might lead to release of thousands of violent felons

SCOTUS decision might lead to release of thousands of violent felons

SCOTUS ruling

Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Justice Neil Gorsuch seems really determined to give violent gun felons a degree of due process our founders never envisioned. In yet another opinion, expanding upon previous decisions declaring the “crime of violence” statute unconstitutional, Gorsuch joined with the four liberal justices to vacate the criminal conviction of two violent robbers while declaring the statute upon which the conviction rested as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, there is no urgency from Congress to promote “criminal justice reform” that would actually stem the tide of judicially-mandated jailbreak of violent criminals.

One of the centerpieces of the Reagan-era tough-on-crime regime was the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). ACCA established mandatory minimum sentencing for those who used firearms while committing crimes and enhanced penalties for repeat offender. The bill helped spawn the most precipitous drop in crime in our nation’s history by taking the most violent criminals (not just “nonviolent” drug offenders) off the streets. Numerous statutory clauses reference a “violent felony” as eligible for these penalties. Violent felony is described as including crimes such as assault, burglary, arson or a crime that “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

Thousands of these cases were tried in the courts for three decades without any problems until in 2015, the Supreme Court in Johnson v. U.S. “struck down” that final clause of the statute, known as the residual clause, as unconstitutionally ambiguous. A year later, in another creeping pattern of applying their breaches in the Constitution retroactively, the Court in Welch v. United States applied this ruling retroactively to the thousands of people who were sentenced under this law since 1984. Justice Clarence Thomas vigorously dissented.

Thus, the worst of the worst within the prison system are now eligible to reopen their cases in front of numerous liberal district judges, even if they committed violent offenses, as long as they weren’t the handful of crimes enumerated explicitly in the statute.

Last April, Justice Gorsuch joined with the four liberals expanding Johnson to the context of immigration cases in Sessions v. Dimaya. In that case, Gorsuch said that a criminal legal immigrant cannot be deported under crime of violence laws. As we noted at the time, this was a massive expansion of his own doctrine of constitutional vagueness because even if crime of violence language is too vague for a criminal convictions, the courts have long said that deportations are not criminal punishments but the  extension and consequence of sovereignty.  As Thomas noted at the time, it was the first time the court held a criminal alien statute unconstitutional.

Which brings us to Monday’s ruling in U.S. v. Davis. Gorsuch once again joined with the four liberals in expanding the assault on the Armed Career Criminal Act, this time by saying that 924(c)(3), the statute that prohibits using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a federal “crime of violence,” is unconstitutional, and therefore vetoed out of existence. This was a huge expansion because, as Justice Brett Kavanagh noted in his dissent, unlike in Johnson and Dimaya, which “involved statutes that imposed additional penalties based on prior convictions,” Davis dealt with “a statute that focuses on the defendant’s current conduct during the charged crime.”

Yet, Gorsuch joined with the four liberals to say the entire statute is unconstitutionally vague, thereby vacating the criminal conviction of two armed robbers who pointed short-barreled shotguns at store clerks during their robberies.

The problem with his assertion is that there is no vagueness here. The letter and intent of Congress is clear. They wanted to put away people who have violent tendencies. After all, we see this debate playing out today in the political branches over deciphering between violent and nonviolent criminals.  924(c)(3)(B) simply targets those who use a firearm in a crime that “by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” This standard is all over the criminal code, and while we don’t like Congress delegating too much authority to the executive, this falls well within the reasoned delegation that had already been in the system long before the rise of the administrative state.

Moreover, there is no doubt that this specific case of two convicted armed robbers who robbed a convenience store with short-barreled shot guns jabbed in the side of a store clerk would be viewed by any reasonable person as part of the statute. The fact that there might be some cases where Gorsuch believes the statute might be applied in a vague way does not veto the statute.  Courts don’t get to veto laws and rip statutes out of the law books. They render judgments in individual cases. If there is an individual defendant where 924(c) is applied to a case that is not clear-cut, it would be OK for Gorsuch to vacate the conviction. But he has no such power to abstractly rip statutes out of the books, thereby making it that even the most violent actors would not be covered.

The Due Process Clause of the Constitution doesn’t give criminal defendants the power to have statutes they believe as vague to be categorically “struck down.” The entire modern vagueness doctrine is new to the 20th century and rose exactly at the same time that the courts began using the due process clause in general to “veto” democratically-passed laws rather than rule on individual cases. Any true originalist would scuttle this doctrine as a violation of judicial power.

However, putting aside the legal analysis, even if one agrees with Gorsuch’s very strict standard on the vagueness doctrine in criminal statutes, everyone should agree from a political perspective the results of these cases, culminating with Monday’s ruling, will be devastating to our communities. Thousands of the most hardened violent criminals who graduated to the federal system, and often work for transnational cartels and gangs, will be released early and many will never be convicted. As Kavanaugh warned in his dissent, which was joined by John Roberts, Thomas, and Samuel Alito, “defendants who successfully challenge their §924(c) convictions will not merely be resentenced. Rather, their §924(c) convictions will be thrown out altogether.”

Shouldn’t everyone agree that Congress must rewrite the statute? Indeed, even former Attorney General Eric Holder agreed that retroactivity should not be applied to those who received a mandatory minimum sentence for a firearms offense pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

Yet, rather than pushing the first step of getting tough on the most violent criminals, Jared Kushner is pushing President Trump into supporting a “second step” act on behalf of criminal justice “reform.” But if their entire premise was to help nonviolent criminals, how can they remain silent and not push to convict the most violent gun felons under clear statutes?

I guess Kim Kardashian’s zeal for gun control only applies to law-abiding gun owners, but not armed robbers. And yes, Kushner’s zeal for helping so-called nonviolent criminals is not reciprocated with a commensurate zeal for keeping the violent criminals off the streets and preserving the last modicum of Reagan’s successful reduction in violent crime.



Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.

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Four surprising truths about U.S. schooling – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

Four surprising truths about U.S. schooling – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

The OECD recently issued its new book-length report, “Measuring Innovation in Education 2019.” As I’ve previously noted (here and here), the authors offer some fascinating peeks at how the OECD nations compare when it comes to policy and practice around STEM and language arts. Today, I’ll dig into this one last time to flag a few surprising findings that seem to challenge received wisdom.

Emphasis on testing is pretty typical by international standards: There’s been much talk in recent years about the rise of “test and punish” schooling, and I certainly share the sentiment that testing mania went too far. Notably, though, for better and worse, it appears that U.S. practice during the 2007-2015 period has broadly reflected OECD norms. In the OECD, in 2015, 77 percent of math teachers in 2015 reported that they “put major emphasis on classroom tests to monitor students’ progress”; the U.S. figure was 83. Both figures rose about the same half-dozen points from 2007 (Figure 9.3). In science, the OECD average increased from 60 percent to 73 percent; the U.S. figure from 52 percent to 66 percent (Figure 9.4). In other words, the U.S. was a bit above the international norm in math and a bit lower in science. While there may be too much testing across the globe, it’s hard to look at this and argue that the U.S. is an outlier.

Elementary students are using computers less frequently: The rise of digital devices in schools has provoked a range of responses—from cheering the ability of ed tech to transform learning to lamenting its baleful effects. Well, in an interesting twist, it looks like elementary students were using less classroom technology in 2016 than a decade before. In 2006, 74 percent of U.S. 4th graders said they used “computers at school at least once a week” (Figure 11.6). By 2016, that share had declined 13 points to 61 percent. Meanwhile, the OECD average also fell, though by less than half as much—from 46 percent to 41 percent. It’s not clear whether this means that students are using phones instead, that schools are moving to restrict use of ed tech, or even if the meaning of “use a computer” has changed over time.

Hardly anyone does ability grouping (or at least, admits to doing it): Heated debates over de-tracking have often given the impression that the U.S. has tended to engage in ability grouping to an unusual degree. Whatever may have once been true, that’s no longer the case. In 2006, across the OECD, just 9 percent of school principals said their schools had a “policy of grouping students by ability into classes”; in 2016, that figure was eight percent (Figure 12.1). In the U.S.? The comparable figure was 4 percent in both years. Indeed, the nations that saw the biggest jump between 2006 and 2016 were the Netherlands, South Korea, and . . . wait for it . . . Finland, which went from zero percent to 5 percent tracking over that period. Now, trusting these results requires trusting that principals were willing to tell the truth about tracking when filling out the materials. Are they? Your guess is as good as mine.

Teachers report an increasing amount of collaboration: One complaint about the Bush-Obama years is that overemphasis on testing and evaluation left teachers feeling alienated from one another and more isolated than ever. The data suggest a different story. In 2007, 37 percent of U.S. math teachers said that they “often or very often” collaborated with peers to plan and prepare materials, a bit under the OECD average of 40 percent (Figure 13.31). By 2015, the U.S. figure was up to 61 percent, surpassing the rising OECD average. In 2007, just 5 percent of U.S. fourth-grade teachers said they visited another classroom “often or very often.” That matched the OECD norm (Figure 13.33). By 2015, the U.S. figure of 21 percent outdistanced a rising OECD average. In short, through nearly a decade of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and teacher evaluation, teachers reported an increase in collaboration.

What to make of all this? I’m left with two thoughts, really. One is that a lot of our fevered education debates are fueled by assumptions which can be off-base, or flat wrong. A second is that our efforts to determine the truth regarding so many of these questions—from tracking to collaboration to computer use—are hostage to the data we can collect, and to the veracity of the information we receive. It seems to me that it’s a good thing if this makes us a little more humble about what we think we know and about which policies and practices are “evidence-based.”

This post originally appeared on Rick Hess Straight Up.

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The moral and religious roots of social and emotional learning – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

The moral and religious roots of social and emotional learning – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

Key Points

  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) might be a new term, but at its core it represents the educational priorities of character education.
  • For many Americans, SEL’s roots are deeply enmeshed in moral and religious precepts, and those promoting these as secular skills would do well to recognize and respect that fact.
  • Specifically, proponents should resist the temptation to centrally manage SEL. Instead, they should embrace the opportunity for local and voluntary communities to align SEL instruction with their moral preferences.

Read the PDF.

Introduction 

A growing number of advocacy groups, educators, and families are concerned that something important is missing from modern public education. They recognize the necessity of students making progress in their math and reading abilities, but they fear that a narrow focus on those subjects has caused schools to neglect other essential aspects of education. In particular, they believe schools can and should play a central role in helping students develop their attitudes and relationships with others and shape their behavior accordingly. This set of skills, beliefs, and behaviors is known as social and emotional learning (SEL). It includes things such as impulse control, self-efficacy, empathy, teamwork, and problem-solving.

The backers of SEL are entirely right that schools need to attend to these broader educational goals, just as they do to specific academic content. As the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development puts it:

Children require a broad array of skills, attitudes, and values to succeed in school, careers, and in life. They require skills such as paying attention, setting goals, collaboration, and planning for the future. They require attitudes such as internal motivation, perseverance, and a sense of purpose. They require values such as responsibility, honesty, and integrity. They require the abilities to think critically, consider different views, and problem solve.1

I’m generally sympathetic to those advocating for SEL and hope they succeed in their efforts. My concern is that they are likely to fall far short if they fail to acknowledge the moral and religious roots of SEL, do not consider its history and how past efforts have managed to succeed, and attempt to reinvent those past efforts from scratch on a technocratic foundation that is at odds with what allows SEL to be effective.

Let us consider each challenge in turn. “Social and emotional learning” may be a new term, but it represents a set of educational priorities that are as old as education itself. In the past, this has been called character education. Advocates suggest SEL is more than just character education. But it seems to me that the basis of SEL is what we’ve long considered character education.

Indeed, it would appear that advocates, perhaps disliking the moral judgment that the word “character” connotes, wish to downplay SEL’s moral and religious roots and prefer instead to rebrand the concept on a modern and scientific basis. This is a mistake. SEL’s long history has much to teach us about how these efforts succeed. And embracing the moral and religious roots helps the movement avoid reinventing old concepts by stripping them of what many people find appealing and motivational.

Not only is there nothing new about the idea that education ought to emphasize matters of character, but even the way in which these educational goals are classified can be traced back to antiquity. The cardinal virtues, first described by Socrates in The Republic and later incorporated into Christian theology, consist of prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.2 There is nearly a one-to-one correspondence between the cardinal virtues and the core SEL competencies as identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).3 Prudence corresponds to what CASEL calls “responsible decision-making,” which includes identifying and solving problems, reflecting, and ethical responsibility. Courage corresponds to what CASEL calls “self-awareness,” which includes self-confidence and self-efficacy. Temperance corresponds to the SEL core competency “self-management,” which includes impulse control and self-discipline. And justice corresponds to “social awareness” and “relationship skills,” which include empathy, respect for others, and teamwork.

The strong similarity between CASEL’s classification of SEL and the cardinal virtues of Greek and Christian thought is no accident. CASEL has classified SEL in this way because it reflects how we tend to think about these issues, even if the organization is not consciously aware of the similarity. But by effectively renaming the cardinal virtues and detaching them from their origins in moral and religious philosophy, CASEL may be hoping to shed whatever controversies and other baggage come with this historical approach so that it can start fresh with a clean slate.

Read the full report.

Notes

  1. Aspen Institute, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, January 15, 2019, http://nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/.
  2. Francis MacDonald Conford, trans., The Republic of Plato (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941).
  3. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, “Core SEL Competencies,” https://casel.org/core-competencies/.

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ABC, CBS Omit Trump Accuser Describing Rape as ‘Sexy’ to Anderson Cooper

ABC, CBS Omit Trump Accuser Describing Rape as ‘Sexy’ to Anderson Cooper

All three networks Tuesday morning covered the sexual assault allegations by Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll against President Trump, with NBC being the only network of the three to just do a brief on the story. However, the networks  omitted the accuser’s very odd behavior and comments during an interview on CNN last night with Anderson Cooper, despite ABC and CBS showing other clips from that interview.

ABC gave a full-fledged report on the accusation. On Good Morning America, anchor Cecilia Vega described Trump’s response to Carroll’s allegation, with a disgusted look on her face: “Overnight the president denied the allegations saying, quote, she’s not my type.” Correspondent Tom Llamas picked up the story, saying that this alleged incident has “haunted” her for over two decades. He touted the columnist “firing back” at Trump for saying she wasn’t his type, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday night.

LLAMAS: The president telling The Hill, quote, ‘I’ll say it with great respect, number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, okay?’ Carroll firing back on CNN.

CARROLL: I love that. I am so glad I am not his type.

Llamas framed Carroll’s accusation as legitimate because other women had also accused him of assault:

LLAMAS: Trump has faced more than a dozen accusations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault all of which he has denied. Carroll says the president’s response to her allegation is similar to that of other accusers.

CAROLL: He denies, he turns it around, he threatens and he attacks.

Llamas continued with the one-sided reporting, pointing out past comments Trump had made about an accuser’s appearance. Despite including these two short statements from Carroll’s interview last night, the ABC report purposefully excluded the awkward and eye-brow raising comments Carroll made that call into question the legitimacy of her claim, including telling Cooper that most people think rape is “sexy.”

On CBS This Morning, correspondent Jericka Duncan also touted Trump’s “not my type” response in a short report. CBS played one clip of Carroll describing what happened, but also failed to include her more shocking comments. Afterwards, anchor Gayle King slammed Trump for “insulting” Carroll in his response. NBC’s Today did a brief on the story with no clips from the CNN interview.

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Child Drag Queen’s ‘Creative Gender’ Celebrated On Estrella TV

Child Drag Queen’s ‘Creative Gender’ Celebrated On Estrella TV

Add Spanish-language Estrella TV to the disturbing list of media outlets that have decided to celebrate, rather than critically report on, one of the latest societal aberrations being promoted by the Left: child drag queens. Calling it a “beautiful story”, Estrella TV anchor Adriana Yañez hailed the nine-year-old Texas boy who last year was a featured performer in the Austin International Drag Festival. 

The boy, whose full name along with his parents’ names were not revealed in reports by Reuters, ABC or Estrella TV, was celebrated as the poster boy for ‘creative gender.’ In a report that failed to include even a single critical or cautionary voice about the phenomenon, correspondent María Teresa Sarabia instead parroted the mother’s preposterous claim that she is encouraging the boy’s drag queen aspirations in order “to keep him from developing mental health problems.”

MARIA TERESA SARABIA, CORRESPONDENT, ESTRELLA TV: Keegan’s mother claims her goal is to allow him the space to be who he is, and keep him from developing the mental health problems that are common in children of the LGBTQ community. And although both recognize that society is not as accepting of a kid like theirs as they are, they are happy  with the school environment created by teachers in the classroom, where the child’s teacher says that most of the students consider him a leader.

The kernel of truth in Sarabia’s story is that child LGBTQ life is highly correlated with mental illness. Even Reuters noted last week that a new national survey of 34,000 LGBTQ youth aged 13 to 24 found 39 percent seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, as did more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

Unfortunately, as Sarabia reports, public schools across the country are now effectively promoting gender dysphoria and deviance, instead of helping students overcome the disorder. As former transgender Walt Heyer points out, by the time they reach adolescence or adulthood three out of four children who suffer from gender dysphoria will abandon the idea of being the opposite gender.  Moreover, many who ultimately decide to attempt to change their gender continue to suffer from mental illness and regrets.

As Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians also points out, “over 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosed mental disorder, and there is no evidence that gender-dysphoric children who commit suicide are any different. Many gender dysphoric children simply need therapy to get to the root of their depression, which very well may be the same problem triggering the gender dysphoria.” Both Heyer and Cretella vigorously oppose the recent onslaught of ‘progressive’ laws that legislate affirmation as the only therapy allowed for gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges.

Click Expand to read the entire transcript of the above-referenced report, as aired during the June 21, 2019 edition of Noticiero Estrella.

ADRIANA YAÑEZ, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO ESTRELLA: And a nine year old boy in Texas has become a voice for what he and his parents call creative gender. Maria Teresa Sarabia explains what it’s about.

MARIA TERESA SARABIA, CORRESPONDENT, ESTRELLA TV: Some children like to play soccer, others video games and many more with toy cars. Nine year old Keegan likes to wear dresses, put on makeup and do choreography as his alter ego Kween Keekee in front of his family and classmates. His parents, both suicide survivors, made the decision to be more aware of the typical gender roles, and not impose them in their home.

CHRIS, FATHER OF KEEGAN: I’m here supporting my kid for who they are, and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. 

MARIA TERESA SARABIA: Keegan’s mother claims her goal is to allow him the space to be who he is, and keep him from developing the mental health problems that are common in children of the LGBTQ community. And although both recognize that society is not as accepting of a kid like theirs as they are, they are happy  with the school environment created by teachers in the classroom, where the child’s teacher says that most of the students consider him a leader.

KEEGAN, DRAG QUEEN CHILD: I want the world to know that you can be special, and you can be who you want to be. You can be a vegetarian, you can even be a veterinarian. You can be LGBTQ. You can be a drag queen, drag king!  

MARIA TERESA SARABIA: The Suicide Prevention Resource Center, estimates that between five and 10 percent of LGBTQ youth tried to commit suicide because of the lack of social acceptance. But they add that a plan of gender inclusive studies and a hospitable home can prevent sexual harassment, and avoid homophobia. Maria Teresa Sarabia, Noticiero Estrella TV.

ADRIANA YAÑEZ: It’s a beautiful story.         

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SHE LIED! Ilhan Omar’s Estranged Husband and Brother Is Located in Kenya Working for Her Sister (VIDEO)

SHE LIED! Ilhan Omar’s Estranged Husband and Brother Is Located in Kenya Working for Her Sister (VIDEO)

SHE LIED! Ilhan Omar’s Estranged Husband and Brother Is Located in Kenya Working for Her Sister (VIDEO)

SHE LIED.

Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar refuses to satisfactorily answer questions about her marriage to a man who appears to be her own brother.

In early June Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was ordered to pay a $500 civil fine for violating campaign finance law.

Omar had to pay an additional $3,469 fine for improperly used campaign funds.

But the investigation into Ilhan Omar and the findings released by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board revealed something even more serious.

It appears Ilhan Omar may have filed fraudulent federal and state tax returns.

In a 2017, Rep. Omar swore under penalty of perjury while divorcing her husband (brother?) that she  hadn’t seen Ahmed N. Elmi since 2011 and didn’t know anyone who could help her contact him.

But as Cristina Laila reported on Monday — It appears Ilhan Omar perjured herself.

Hidden code on a website however shows that Ahmed E. Elmi actually designed and set up a website for Ilhan Omar’s sister THIS YEAR and is living in Nairobi, Kenya, the same city Omar’s sister, Sahra Noor lives and works in.

The hidden source code was first reported by investigative journalist David Steinberg. (screenshot below of hidden code via the Daily Caller)

“There is no reasonable explanation for this code to exist besides Elmi working for Noor [Ilhan Omar’s sister],” David Steinberg said. “And that’s a bombshell: In 2017, Ilhan Omar swore, under penalty of perjury while divorcing Elmi, that she had zero contact with him since 2011 — and no clue how to find him.”

It appears Ilhan Omar is in serious trouble.
Not only did she commit immigration fraud by marrying her brother. She lied to the court about his whereabouts.

Jack Posobiec at One America News Network reported on the story:

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Unraveled: Website for Knitters and Crocheters Bans All Content Supporting Trump

Unraveled: Website for Knitters and Crocheters Bans All Content Supporting Trump

Everything is political these days, and it’s exhausting. Millions of Americans enjoy knitting and crocheting as hobbies, to provide some relaxation, a way to make cherished gifts for loved ones, or even a little extra income. But if you are a supporter of President Donald Trump, one of the biggest yarn crafting websites wants you to know you’re no longer welcome.

Well, technically, you’re still welcome, but you better keep your mouth shut about Trump.

The website in question, Ravelry, has often had a left-leaning tone — they heavily promoted various patterns for the infamous pink “cat” hats seen at many of the Women’s March protests — but the users had a range of political beliefs all across the partisan spectrum (you know, just like America).

The site includes searchable posts for knitting and crochet patterns, some available for free and some for sale, as well as a forum section where users can post about a variety of topics, some yarn-related and some not. Most of the content is utterly benign and unoffensive to any sane person, focused heavily on discussing patterns, sharing techniques and problem solving difficult patterns, or frivolous topics like this photo thread of users’ pet cats playing with yarn.

I’d like to say I hope we can all agree that kittens playing with yarn are still cute, but I’m not so sure anymore. The current divisive toxicity of our politics is spreading rapidly, and Ravelry’s millions of members are now in the middle of the battlefield.

Over the weekend, Ravelry’s Twitter account (with a bio touting that they are an “inclusive, friendly website for [yarn emoji] people around the [globe emoji]”) posted a link to an announcement on their website stating that supporting Trump was no longer allowed on Ravelry.

The linked announcement clarified that this ban included voicing any support for Trump not just in forum posts, but also in user profiles and in patterns. Posting patterns for those pink hats is fine. A knitted MAGA hat or blanket is not.

The head-scratching explanation provided by the site’s administration was to accuse all Trump supporters as being equivalent to white supremacists: 

“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

Trump supporters are still allowed to use the site and participate, they just “can’t talk about [supporting Trump] here.” No one’s pattern designs or data would be deleted, but any of the Trump content that offends the site operators so much would be recategorized as private, invisible to all users except the one who posted it.

This means any Trump supporters who had pro-Trump designs for sale on Ravelry will no longer be able to use the site to sell them, and pro-Trump political activists cannot share designs supporting Trump on the site, even for free, for other supporters to access.

The announcement also mentioned that they had adapted their “No Trump” policy from RPG.net, a website forum dedicated to role-playing games.

Political patterns are by no means anywhere close to a majority of the content on Ravelry, but there have been some on both sides. Here are a few patterns from “Deplorable Knitter,” still available from Instagram posts:

As the new policy was enacted, Deplorable Knitter posted screen caps of complaints about her patterns, and strongly objecting to the accusation she or her patterns were racist:

Deplorable Knitter’s G-rated patterns are no longer welcome on Ravelry. Because simply mentioning Trump or his campaign slogans is an act of hate, according to Ravelry.

Still acceptable, however, is this scarf that displays the message “F*** TRUMP” when read at an angle, a seemingly endless array of genitalia crafted out of yarn (NSFW photos at link), and this whimsical design of two deer getting intimate in the woods, ready to adapt for knitted hats or mittens (images sort of NSFW but probably only if your boss is really strict).

I personally have been knitting and crocheting for years (see cat and blanket below), and have often used Ravelry to find new patterns and research techniques. I’m involved in political issues all day long and am far more likely to be searching or posting about blanket patterns than political topics — I’m knitting as a break from politics, not to do more politics! — but must say I find this policy to be completely ridiculous.

Banning posts that are actually racist is fairly noncontroversial as far as internet forum moderation practices go. But it’s a wild and gross exaggeration to say all Trump supporters are white supremacists. I didn’t vote for him and will not vote for him (much to the constant delight of our RedState commenters) but I know many, many people who voted for Trump as a vote against Hillary Clinton, certainly not to endorse any sort of racism or other prejudicial hatred.

Ravelry overstepped with this broad ban on Trump supporters, and it will be a troubling trend if more sites adopt this kind of policy. Dividing America into segregated political groups across all aspects of life will solve no problems and only make matters worse.

Finding common ground is one of the greatest legacies of this grand American experiment, and we have historically been better than any other nation on earth at taking all sorts of people with all sorts of ideas and all sorts of political beliefs and finding a way to peacefully progress as a nation.

How many other countries — even ones we characterize as first world democracies — still experience violence and unrest when elections remove one political party and put another in power? We’ve had bitterly divided and often painful close presidential elections with about half of the country professing to hate the winner for most of my life — Bush, Clinton, another Bush, Obama, Trump — but each time the winner has shown up in Washington, D.C. to take the oath of office, and his predecessor has left the White House peacefully and without bloodshed. We should all be proud of that.

Banning Trump supporters from Ravelry doesn’t end white supremacy and it doesn’t defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box next November. It just deprives people of the chance to bond over cute knitting projects because their political beliefs barred half of them at the door.

Image result for trump gif sad

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Stephanopoulos, Bruce Justify ‘Concerned’ Dems Refusing to Fund ‘Dire’ Border Facilities

Stephanopoulos, Bruce Justify ‘Concerned’ Dems Refusing to Fund ‘Dire’ Border Facilities

On Good Morning America Tuesday, the ABC news team behaved as if they were Democrats’ collective lawyer, trying to defend and justify the reasons why Democrats won’t funder border detention facilities. After fretting over the poor conditions at these detention centers, congressional correspondent Mary Bruce and anchor George Stephanopoulos went out of their way to defend Democrats and blame President Trump for the lack of funding.

Stephanopoulos began by hyping the “shocking conditions” at one Texas border facility, where resources like toiletries were limited and illness spread because of the sheer number of people overcrowding the facility.

While ABC didn’t seem concerned about these same conditions under President Obama, they characterized this as problem for the Trump administration, not Congress. Stephanopoulos excused Democrats in Congress for holding up funding for these facilities, explaining they were just following their moral compass against the President’s immigration policies:

“[T]his border funding is being held up by some Democrats concerned if they approve the funding they’re going to be approving the president’s border policies they oppose,” he noted empathetically.

That prompted Bruce to go out of her way to defend Democrats against their critics. She ended by laying blame on Trump:

Yeah George everyone here on the Hill agrees that this emergency funding is needed but Democrats are divided because many of them are concerned that the president may use that funding to go ahead and fund tactics that they simply don’t agree with to further fund his crackdown on immigration and so Democrats are trying to put conditions on this money and that now has the President threatening a possible veto.

Transcript below:

ABC’s Good Morning America

6/25/2019

7:08:51AM-7:10:31AM EST

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We move to the crisis at the border where hundreds of migrant children have been moved out of a border patrol station after reports of shocking conditions. Overcrowding, lack of adequate food, soap, toothbrushes or supervision and our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce is on capitol hill where legislators expect to consider new border funding as early as today. Good morning, Mary.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, yeah, Congress is trying to rush $4.5 billion in emergency aid to the border to try to deal with these conditions that are being described as absolutely dire. Hundreds of children have now been moved out of that holding facility in Texas after we are told young children were being left to care for each other and an attorney who met with many of these children told us they were sleeping on concrete floors. They were soiled and dirty lacking food and water. Many of them growing sick. Now it’s not clear where these children are now being moved to. As of the end of May, there were 2400 children at these patrol stations along the border. These are meant to be just temporary holding facilities but many of them are ending up there for days, even weeks and that’s because the actual shelters where conditions are much better are out of space and out of money. In all there are now 13,000 roughly children unaccompanied children staying at those shelters across the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, this border funding is being held up by some Democrats concerned if they approve the funding they’re going to be approving the president’s border policies they oppose.

BRUCE: Yeah George everyone here on the Hill agrees that this emergency funding is needed but Democrats are divided because many of them are concerned that the president may use that funding to go ahead and fund tactics that they simply don’t agree with to further fund his crackdown on immigration and so Democrats are trying to put conditions on this money and that now has the President threatening a possible veto.

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The moral and religious roots of social and emotional learning – Four surprising truths about U.S. schooling

The moral and religious roots of social and emotional learning – Four surprising truths about U.S. schooling

Key Points

  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) might be a new term, but at its core it represents the educational priorities of character education.
  • For many Americans, SEL’s roots are deeply enmeshed in moral and religious precepts, and those promoting these as secular skills would do well to recognize and respect that fact.
  • Specifically, proponents should resist the temptation to centrally manage SEL. Instead, they should embrace the opportunity for local and voluntary communities to align SEL instruction with their moral preferences.

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Introduction 

A growing number of advocacy groups, educators, and families are concerned that something important is missing from modern public education. They recognize the necessity of students making progress in their math and reading abilities, but they fear that a narrow focus on those subjects has caused schools to neglect other essential aspects of education. In particular, they believe schools can and should play a central role in helping students develop their attitudes and relationships with others and shape their behavior accordingly. This set of skills, beliefs, and behaviors is known as social and emotional learning (SEL). It includes things such as impulse control, self-efficacy, empathy, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Social and emotional learning, @rebeccabw via Twenty20

Social and emotional learning, @rebeccabw via Twenty20

The backers of SEL are entirely right that schools need to attend to these broader educational goals, just as they do to specific academic content. As the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development puts it:

Children require a broad array of skills, attitudes, and values to succeed in school, careers, and in life. They require skills such as paying attention, setting goals, collaboration, and planning for the future. They require attitudes such as internal motivation, perseverance, and a sense of purpose. They require values such as responsibility, honesty, and integrity. They require the abilities to think critically, consider different views, and problem solve.1

I’m generally sympathetic to those advocating for SEL and hope they succeed in their efforts. My concern is that they are likely to fall far short if they fail to acknowledge the moral and religious roots of SEL, do not consider its history and how past efforts have managed to succeed, and attempt to reinvent those past efforts from scratch on a technocratic foundation that is at odds with what allows SEL to be effective.

Let us consider each challenge in turn. “Social and emotional learning” may be a new term, but it represents a set of educational priorities that are as old as education itself. In the past, this has been called character education. Advocates suggest SEL is more than just character education. But it seems to me that the basis of SEL is what we’ve long considered character education.

Indeed, it would appear that advocates, perhaps disliking the moral judgment that the word “character” connotes, wish to downplay SEL’s moral and religious roots and prefer instead to rebrand the concept on a modern and scientific basis. This is a mistake. SEL’s long history has much to teach us about how these efforts succeed. And embracing the moral and religious roots helps the movement avoid reinventing old concepts by stripping them of what many people find appealing and motivational.

Not only is there nothing new about the idea that education ought to emphasize matters of character, but even the way in which these educational goals are classified can be traced back to antiquity. The cardinal virtues, first described by Socrates in The Republic and later incorporated into Christian theology, consist of prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.2 There is nearly a one-to-one correspondence between the cardinal virtues and the core SEL competencies as identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).3 Prudence corresponds to what CASEL calls “responsible decision-making,” which includes identifying and solving problems, reflecting, and ethical responsibility. Courage corresponds to what CASEL calls “self-awareness,” which includes self-confidence and self-efficacy. Temperance corresponds to the SEL core competency “self-management,” which includes impulse control and self-discipline. And justice corresponds to “social awareness” and “relationship skills,” which include empathy, respect for others, and teamwork.

The strong similarity between CASEL’s classification of SEL and the cardinal virtues of Greek and Christian thought is no accident. CASEL has classified SEL in this way because it reflects how we tend to think about these issues, even if the organization is not consciously aware of the similarity. But by effectively renaming the cardinal virtues and detaching them from their origins in moral and religious philosophy, CASEL may be hoping to shed whatever controversies and other baggage come with this historical approach so that it can start fresh with a clean slate.

Read the full report.

Notes

  1. Aspen Institute, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, January 15, 2019, http://nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/.
  2. Francis MacDonald Conford, trans., The Republic of Plato (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941).
  3. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, “Core SEL Competencies,” https://casel.org/core-competencies/.

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