A rare case

July 12, 2017

A judge in Milwaukee has halted the deportation of 1400 Iraqi nationals, and this might be a case where some conservatives would side with the judge over the Trump Administration. The Justice Department says they have criminal records and should legally be deported. But their relatives argue that their offenses are years old and nonviolent, and they’ve paid their debts to society. But mostly, because they’re Christians, they fear that deporting them back to Iraq amounts to a death sentence.

It’s a rare case that brings together the ACLU and spiritual leaders such the Rev. Franklin Graham, but they are in unison in calling on the Trump Administration to halt these deportations. I understand that Donald Trump ran on a platform of enforcing immigration laws, but to enforce them blindly without regard to any extenuating life-or-death circumstances not only endangers these Christian Iraqis, it hands his critics a club to beat him with on a silver platter.

READ MORE

Word to the wise: Technology can now create a completely realistic video that shows the subject appearing to speak the words of a totally separate audio track.

The story at the link talks about practical applications without addressing the nefarious purposes to which this new ability can (and will) be applied, but one can well imagine a few. It’s easy to see how a person on video could be made to “speak” a highly edited version of what he or she originally said. The result would be seamless, as if the edits hadn’t been made. See for yourself --- it is stunning.

To extend the possibilities even more, there’s a new AI called “Lyrebird” that can duplicate a person’s voice, creating entirely new sentences as if they’d actually been spoken. That’s right, with this application, we’ll literally be able to put words in someone’s mouth. We’re headed into uncharted waters, folks. If you thought politics was a dirty game before, just wait till this is in common use!

READ MORE

The Pro-Life Action League has launched a new campaign designed to make people see aborted babies as human beings. It’s an exhibit of photos of aborted children, titled “They Were Our Brothers and Sisters.” Unlike pro-life photos that emphasize the horrible violence done to babies’ bodies by abortionists, these photos were chosen to emphasize their humanity. Referred to as their “only baby photo,” these pictures show that aborted babies look like any other babies, with faces and ten toes and ten fingers – the only difference is that the babies in other baby pictures were allowed to live.

It’s a heartbreaking and unsettling exhibit, but it definitely makes people think. I can’t understand how people can be vegetarian because they “won’t eat something with a face,” but also be pro-abortion. Maybe this exhibit will help them to realize how they’ve been denying reality by forcing them to look the innocent victims of abortion directly in their faces.

READ MORE

There’s been a dramatic new development in the case of Charlie Gard, the British infant with a rare genetic disorder whose parents are fighting to take him to America for an experimental treatment, while his hospital and European courts have ruled that his life support should be turned off to let him die.

The obvious trampling of the rights of the desperate parents has struck a chord of sympathy worldwide, resulting in support from the Pope, President Trump and major pro-life groups, as well as a petition signed by over 350,000 people. With a worldwide spotlight turned on them, the British hospital administrators suddenly saw the potential in the experimental treatment, but they claim their hands are tied by the court order to turn off his life support. So on Monday, the parents were back in court for a hearing, trying to convince the original judge that the treatment is worth pursuing so he’ll lift the de facto death sentence on Charlie.

Judge Nicolas Francis said he is with the petitioners who want to save Charlie’s life, but he’ll only be swayed by medical evidence, not tweets, and it will take “drastic” new evidence to convince him to overturn his original decision. The experimental treatment reportedly has only about a 10 percent chance of working. But in a heartbreaking mother’s plea, Charlie’s mom Connie Yates told the judge, “Ten percent. You would if it was your son, wouldn’t you?”


Commentary continues below advertisement


Therein lies the real point of this battle: of course, if the judge’s son were facing death and there were only a 10 percent chance of saving him, he would take those odds in a heartbeat. But under the very system he represents – one in which life-and-death health care decisions are made by the government, based on statistics and budgets and cold bureaucracy – fathers and mothers don’t have that option. This innocent child’s life is not in the hands of the parents who love him, but those of a judge who admits he'd like to let the parents try to save the boy, but his first loyalty is to the rules. If that results in their baby’s death, then so be it.

And people really want to import this health care system to America?

The pro-life group Operation Rescue became suspicious when they noticed a huge drop in the number of visitors to their page on abortion statistics, once the most popular page on their website. So they did some investigating and discovered that Google had started dropping their site to the second page of search returns, well behind pages for several pro-abortion groups.

This alleged censorship comes right on the heels of Twitter being accused of censoring pro-life tweets, using such feeble excuses as claiming that an ultrasound picture of a baby in the womb or criticism of Planned Parenthood were hate speech, or that a message to choose birth over abortion violates their ban on “the promotion of health and pharmaceutical products and services.”

The great promise of the Internet was that it would free up the flow of information to every corner of the world. Not surprisingly, as information about what's actually happening in the womb has become more widespread, support for abortion has dropped. Unfortunately, some of those who’ve grown very rich by relaying that information seem to think they now have the power to decide what does (and doesn’t) get seen. That type of arrogant gatekeeper attitude is what caused so many old-line media outlets to fall before the Internet. It would be ironic if the Internet giants that felled them started displaying the same arrogance and bias, and ended up being replaced themselves. I would note, though, that thanks to the Internet, finding alternatives would be easier than ever.

READ MORE

An unbelievable case of the IRS goose-stepping over the constitutional rights of small business owners is unfolding in Garland, Texas.

As first reported in the Dallas Morning News, Mii’s Bridal and Tuxedo, co-owned by husband and wife Tony and Somnuek Thangsongcharoen, who immigrated here from Thailand long ago and opened their store in 1983, was raided by 20 armed IRS agents in March of 2015. With no due process, they were told that if they couldn’t produce a check for $10,000 within two hours, their property would be seized to pay a tax bill of $32,422. They didn’t have the cash, so the IRS immediately took possession and auctioned off essentially everything that wasn’t nailed down --- even, they say, property that didn’t belong to the shop.

Read the full story to see how the IRS used their own bureaucratic standards to justify auctioning beautiful bridal gowns for as little as $4 apiece –- inventory worth $615,000 was unloaded for a grand total of $6,000 –- and how their lawyers argue now that the couple have no standing to sue the IRS for damages. The couple dispute their tax bill, but the big issue here is that the forfeiture of their property took place outside the court system –- no due process of law. It happens all the time, right here in America, and it has to stop.


Commentary continues below advertisement

The couple seem to have an on-the-ball attorney; he filed a FOIA request that turned up an internal IRS document that he claims orders agents to “shut down this failing business.”

It’s too bad that politics didn’t go another way and we weren’t able to get rid of the IRS in favor of the Fair Tax. (That would have been one of my first orders of business, but I digress.) We all know the kinds of things their agents have been up to, even as they plead the Fifth before investigators. We should destroy the IRS just as thoroughly as it has killed the dreams of these and many other people. Put a stake through its cold, cold heart. In the meantime, forcing it to toe the line of constitutionality would be a good start.

READ MORE