Thursday, March 01, 2018

Incompetence Wasn't the Problem in Broward County

I feared from the beginning that the school cop may have seen himself as just following his politically correct orders.  Looks like I was right.  There have been cases in England where police have been told not to go in to where there is gunfire.  When all is quiet and they do go in they find dead bodies.  Surprise! They are basically not a real policeman's asshole to accept such a direction but some have been disciplined for risking themselves

No one who follows the blogging collective known as the "Conservative Treehouse" will dispute my claim that its most prominent blogger, "Sundance" by name, is America's best reporter.  I got to know Sundance doing research for my book on the Trayvon Martin shooting, If I Had a Son.  So instrumental was the research of Sundance and his colleagues that I made the "Treepers" the protagonists of the book.

Sundance's research into the political dynamics of Martin's Miami-Dade school system led him to expand his research into neighboring Broward County years before the Parkland shooting.  We communicated the day after that shooting.  We had a shared sense of what had gone wrong.  I detailed some of this last week in an article on what one public interest magazine called the "Broward County solution."  In Broward County, they call it more modestly the "PROMISE Program."

In November 2013, Sundance first reported that Broward County was "willing to jump on the diversionary bandwagon."  As an attached Associated Press article noted, "One of the nation's largest school districts has reached an agreement with law enforcement agencies and the NAACP to reduce the number of students being charged with crimes for minor offenses."  The goal, as the article explained, was to create an alternative to the zero-tolerance policies then in place by giving principals, not law enforcement, the authority to determine the nature of the offense.

In a collaborative agreement among school officials and law enforcement, the presence of the NAACP might seem anomalous, but not in the Obama era, where considerations of race routinely shaped educational policy.  "One of the first things I saw was a huge differential in minority students, black male students in particular, in terms of suspensions and arrests," Broward's recently hired school superintendent, Robert Runcie, told the American Prospect.  A black American, Runcie assumed that the differential was due largely to some unspoken institutional bias against minorities.  As he saw it, these suspensions played a major role in the so-called "achievement gap" between white and minority students.

The first two "whereas" clauses in the collaborative agreement deal with opportunities for students in general, but the third speaks to the motivating issue behind the agreement: "Whereas, across the country, students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students are disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers."

The spurious "same behavior" insinuation would put the onus on law enforcement to treat black students more gingerly than they would non-blacks.  To make the issue seem less stark, authorities cloaked the black American crime disparity with EEOC boilerplate about "students of color" and other presumably marginalized individuals.  Although nonsensical on the face of it – one is hard pressed to recall a crime spree by the disabled – this language opened the door for Nikolas de Jesus Cruz.  An adopted son of the late Roger and Linda Cruz, the future school shooter had a name that fit the "metrics" of the collaborative agreement, regardless of his DNA.

It is not hard to understand why Broward County officials would be eager to adopt this program.  Miami-Dade had been receiving all kinds of honors for its efforts to shut down the dread "school-to-prison" pipeline.  On February 15, 2012, Miami-Dade County Public Schools put out a press release citing a commendation the Miami-Dade Schools Police (M-DSPD) had recently received.  The Department of Juvenile Justice had singled out Miami-Dade for "dramatically decreasing" school-related "delinquency."  Said M-DSPD Chief Charles Hurley, "Our mantra is education not incarceration."

Seventeen-year-old Miami-Dade student Trayvon Martin got neither incarceration nor education.  Eleven days after this self-congratulatory press release, Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, 250 miles from his Miami home.  For all the attention paid to the case, the media have refused to report why Martin was left to wander the streets of Sanford, high and alone on a Sunday night during a school week.

Sundance, who lives in South Florida, broke this story through old-fashioned gumshoe reporting.  He writes, "Over time the policy [in Miami-Dade] began to create outcomes where illegal behavior by students was essentially unchecked by law enforcement."  Sundance was alerted to the problem during the investigation into Martin's death when six M-DSPD officers blew the whistle on their superiors, the most notable of them being Chief Hurley.  The whistleblowers told of cases of burglary and robbery where officers had to hide the recovered evidence in order to avoid writing up the students for criminal behavior.  "At first I didn't believe them," writes Sundance of the whistleblowers.  "However, after getting information from detectives, cross referencing police reports, and looking at the 'found merchandise' I realized they were telling the truth."

One of those incidents involved Martin.  Caught with a dozen pieces of stolen female jewelry and a burglary tool, Martin had his offense written off as entering an unauthorized area and writing graffiti on a locker.  There could be no effort made to track the jewelry to its rightful owner, lest Martin's apprehension be elevated to the level of a crime.  Instead, Martin was suspended, one of three suspensions that school year.

When George Zimmerman saw him that night in the rain, Martin, now on his third suspension, was looking in windows of the complex's apartments.  Zimmerman thought he was casing them.  Given his history, Martin probably was.  Zimmerman dialed the police.  The rest is history – or, more accurately, would have been history if the media had reported Martin's brutal assault on Zimmerman honestly, but they almost universally refused to do so.

Broward County launched its "education not incarceration" experiment four months after Zimmerman was rightfully found not guilty in the Martin case.  By this time, Sundance and his fellow Treepers had exposed the corruption that Miami-Dade's seemingly enlightened policy had wrought within its school police department.  Given the mainstream media's failure to follow up on Sundance's work, even in Florida, it is likely that Broward officials did not know how deeply the policy had compromised police work in Miami-Dade.

What Broward County authorities did know is that the best "school resource officers," the euphemism for in-school sheriff's deputies, were those most sensitive to the objectives of the PROMISE program.  It is hardly shocking that in 2014, the now notorious Scot Peterson was named School Resource Officer of the Year by the Broward County Crime Commission for handling issues "with tact and judgment."  The motto of that crime commission?  "Evil triumphs when good people stand idly by."  Yikes!

Peterson, the commission noted, was also "active in mentoring and counseling students."  It appears that Nikolas Cruz got counseled a lot.  Better to educate him, after all, than incarcerate him.  Although there are many details still to be known, the Miami Herald reported on Friday that, in November 2017, a tipster called the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) to say Cruz "'could be a school shooter in the making,' but deputies did not write up a report on that warning."

The Herald added that this tip came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons.  Two years prior, "A deputy investigated a report that Cruz 'planned to shoot up the school' – intelligence that was forwarded to the school's resource officer, with no apparent result."

That school resource officer just happened to be Scot Peterson.  He did not err by letting this misunderstood Hispanic lad go unpunished in any meaningful way.  Peterson showed his award-winning "tact and judgment."  He had to understand that to keep the PROMISE momentum going, the school would have to see fewer and fewer arrests each year.  This meant excusing worse and worse offenses, especially for students who counted as minorities.  As for the qualities real cops are expected to show – courage under fire comes to mind – those were obviously not Peterson's strong suit.

"The school resource officer was behind a stairwell wall just standing there, and he had his gun drawn.  And he was just pointing it at the building," said student Brandon Huff of Peterson.  "And you could – shots started going off inside.  You could hear them going off over and over."

In a surprisingly tough interview with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, CNN's Jake Tapper cited the 23 incidents before the shooting that involved Cruz and questioned whether the PROMISE program might have been responsible for the inaction by the sheriff's office.

"It's helping many, many people," said Israel in defense of the program.  "What this program does is not put a person at 14, 15, 16 years old into the criminal justice system."

Said Tapper, "What if he should be in the criminal justice system?  What if he does something violent to a student?  What if he takes bullets to school?  What if he takes knives to schools?  What if he threatens the lives of fellow students?"  As solid as these questions are, if CNN had raised comparable questions after the death of Trayvon Martin, 17 Parkland students might still be alive.

Says Sundance in conclusion, "I will give testimony, provide names, outline dates, and give all prior records to any lawyer for use in a wrongful death lawsuit – so long as their intent would be to financially ruin the entire system and personally bankrupt the participants."


Stopping the Assault on Conscience

Conservatives don't need to prove the existence of the war on faith anymore – HHS did it for them! After years of pooh-poohing the crackdown on Christians, the other side will have a much harder time now, thanks to the agency's new division in the Office for Civil Rights.

After eight years of weaponizing the government against men and women of faith, President Trump is demanding a unilateral disarmament – starting with one of the leading offenders, Health and Human Services. In January, it wasn't just the start of a new year, but a new era in protecting religious liberty. The administration announced a bold new initiative, aimed at turning the government from an enemy of freedom to an ally. Starting in 2018, it would open an office dedicated to stopping the assault on conscience.

Two months into the idea, the job is turning out to be bigger than anyone envisioned. Now that Americans have a president they can trust and a place to confide, more victims are stepping out of the shadows to tell their stories. Complaints are pouring in to the agency about violations across a full spectrum of services: health care, medical care, adoption, child care, and more. Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is surprised but encouraged. At least the system is working.

"We have made a commitment to vigorously and fairly enforce laws protecting conscience and religion that had been given second-class treatment for too long," he told CQ. "The surge in complaints shows that the American people are responding to our new openness." It also shows something else: the problems are deeper than people thought. "Less than two months into 2018, OCR is already nearing the total combined conscience and religion complaints in all of 2017." Last year, before a special division was established, OCR was on the receiving end of 464 conscience and religious-related complaints. Right now, that number has already hit 345! (And, one official points out, that doesn't include any filed by mail.)

Obviously, the hostility toward religion is so deeply engrained that it will take years to weed out the abusers and clean up the toxic environment that has stunted our First Freedom. And here's the ironic part: until President Obama, the freedom to believe was never a controversial idea. It was such a consensus issue, in fact, that after the Supreme Court invented legalized abortion in 1973, Congress responded by passing a law to protect health care workers from the very discrimination they're facing today. Even Senator Ted Kennedy defended the bill's "full protection to the religious freedom of physicians and others." Only two members objected.

Suddenly, under the Obama administration, that all changed. Instead of demanding compromise and coexistence, the other side exchanged its sham of tolerance for full-blown government forced coercion. Now, almost a decade later, the mess is titanic. Longtime grievances can finally be aired. Before Trump, most people who were affected by Obamacare, taxpayer-funded abortion, or gender identity knew that if they complained it would only make them bigger targets. What a refreshing change for them to know that the government that was once their oppressor can now be their defender.

Let's hope the White House recognizes the good work of OCR and moves to replicate it in other places across the administration. Until then, this is another important reminder that elections have consequences. In this case, positive ones.


Georgia Senate Passes Bill To Protect Religious Beliefs of Adoption Agencies

The Georgia Senate passed legislation on Friday that would protect the religious beliefs of adoption agencies and foster care groups that receive taxpayer money and decline to place children in homes headed by homosexual or lesbian couples.

Senator William Ligon (R- District 3), who sponsored the legislation, stressed that the bill does not interfere with adoption agencies that want to place children in gay homes but that it protects adoption groups who oppose such arrangements on religious grounds.  The agencies that want to place children with any type of "couple" can do so and those who want children palced with a mom and dad are free to do so -- they won't be forced to place children in same-sex homes.

"Just because you are a faith-based organization doesn't mean you have to check your faith at the door and cannot participate in government programs," Sen. Ligon told

The legislation passed in the Senate 35-19. The bill now goes to the Georgia House.

The "Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act" says that "maintaining a diverse network of adoption and foster care service providers which accommodate children from various cultural backgrounds is a high priority of this state such that reasonable accommodations should be made to allow people of different geographical regions, backgrounds, and beliefs to remain within and become a part of such network."

"The General Assembly finds that it is important that decisions regarding the placement of children be made using the best interests of the child standard, including using child-placing organizations best able to provide for a child's physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional needs and development," reads the legislation.  "The General Assembly finds that child-placing agencies have the right to provide services in accordance with the agencies' sincerely held religious beliefs."

The bill specifically allows "a child-placing agency to decline to accept a referral from the department and decline to perform services not referred under a contract with the department based on the child-placing agency's sincerely held religious beliefs; to prevent the department from discriminating against or causing any adverse action against a child-placing agency based on its sincerely held religious beliefs...."

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-homosexual advocacy group, criticized the legislation. “Plain and simple -- SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign.

“It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home," said Rouse.  "It’s unfortunate that leaders are focusing on this bill, instead of concrete ways to improve the child welfare system in Georgia. We ask the Georgia House of Representatives to reject this bill.”


Australia censoring the press in order to butter up Muslims?

Independent adjudicator -- The Press Council -- says the article is ok.  Government says it is not -- and won't give reasons

FOR what appears to be the first time, the Classification Board has taken the extraordinary censorship decision to ban an Australian news site from reporting a terror threat.

TODAY, has published a Press Council decision that ruled in its favour — accepting there was public interest in its article publicising the disturbing ways Islamic State was trying to target potential victims through sites like Gumtree.

The problem is, the article titled “Islamic State terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay” no longer exists.

A week after it was published on May 31, 2017, the Attorney-General’s office contacted to demand it be taken down, saying the Classification Board had ruled it should be refused classification as it “directly or indirectly” advocated terrorist acts.

It appears to be the first time section 9A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 has been used to censor a news report, since it was first added in 2007.

The action has alarmed the publisher of as Australian media in general were not informed the Classification Board had the power to ban news stories or that the eSafety Commissioner had the power to instigate investigations into news articles.

“The first knew of this matter was when contacted by the Attorney-General’s Department and advised of the Classification Board decision,” argued as part of a separate Press Council investigation into the article.

“The department, board and the eSafety Commissioner did not contact beforehand to advise of the investigation. Consequently, was not given the right to make submissions or a defence in regard to the article.” removed the article as it was facing legal penalties from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) if it refused, including fines or even civil or criminal legal action.

In justifying its decision, the Classification Board noted the article contained “detailed references and lengthy quotations from Rumiyah (Islamic State’s propaganda magazine)” with limited author text to provide context. asked the board why there was no opportunity for news organisations to defend the article based on public interest grounds but a response provided by a spokesman for the eSafety Commissioner did not directly address this.

The spokesman said the board did consider whether the material could “reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate, or as entertainment or satire” before making its decision.

He also acknowledged this may have been the first time a news article had been censored using this section.

Passages in the article were taken from of Islamic State propaganda magazine Rumiyah.
Passages in the article were taken from of Islamic State propaganda magazine Rumiyah.Source:Supplied

“We are not aware of any similar decisions by the Classification Board, however we are aware of ongoing efforts by government departments, universities and indeed industry bodies such as the Australian Press Council to encourage and promote responsible, balanced reporting of news and issues relating to terrorism,” the spokesman said.

There is now concern about what the situation means for the operation of a free and independent media in Australia.

Representatives of have tried numerous times to get further explanation from the Attorney-General’s Department about the operation of the powers but these have been unsuccessful.

Recent inquiries to the department about how it became involved, whether the application of section 9A is reasonable or could be considered censorship, have also not been addressed.

“The Attorney-General was appointed in December 2017 and is therefore not aware of what discussions may or may not have taken place between the office of his predecessor and media outlets,” a spokesman for the Attorney-General told

“Classification Board decisions are a matter for that agency which sits in the Communications portfolio.”

The eCommissioner has also declined to reveal the source of “several complaints” that sparked its review, and whether they were from a member of the public or from a government official or representative.

“It is inappropriate to comment on the identity of individuals submitting complaints about offensive and illegal content, or to disclose any other information which could compromise the operational integrity of the investigation process,” a spokesman said. editor-in-chief Kate de Brito said any censorship of the media by a government department raised serious concerns about press freedom.

“This is a deeply concerning development of media censorship. The Classification Board has silenced the reporting of a legitimate threat to the Australian public,” she said. “Australians have a right to know if their safety or lives are being placed at risk — there can be few more important matters of public interest.

“The secretive way the Classifications Board acted in this way is a direct attack on freedom of the press and journalists should condemn it.”

While the Press Council also received at least one complaint about the article, its ruling published today found there was a public interest in publishing the article.

It agreed the article featured limited author input, analysis or context but accepted the need to warn the public.

“The Council accepts the public interest in alerting readers to potential risks to their safety,” the ruling says.

“The Council considers that on balance, the public interest in alerting readers to the dangerous content of the terrorist propaganda and its instructional detail was greater than the risk to their safety posed by the publication’s effective republication of terrorist propaganda content.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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