February 26, 2021
Judicial Watch Featured
Judicial Watch to Facebook: End Censorship of Trump
Black, Latino Seniors in Virginia Get Vaccine as White 85-Year-Olds Wait
Surge in Illegal Immigrant Minors Prompts Health Crisis in U.S.
Time Celebrates Left’s Election Victory, Exposes Links to Violence
Judicial Watch Featured
Judicial Watch is a Supporting Sponsor of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which being held this weekend, February 25-28, at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, FL. I am scheduled to speak on the main stage Sunday, February 28, 2021, from 12:10 p.m. – 12:25 p.m., although the schedule can change without notice (especially as former President Trump is also scheduled to appear around that time!)
Each year CPAC brings together thousands of attendees and the leading conservative organizations and speakers of conservative thought in the nation. Regularly seen on C-SPAN and other national news networks, CPAC has been the premier event for any major elected official or public personality seeking to discuss issues of the day with conservatives. From presidents of the United States to college student leaders, CPAC has become the place to find our nation’s current and future leaders.
We are delighted to be able to reiterate in this forum the high standards of ethics and morality we advocate in our nation’s public life and to describe our efforts to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. The Left is attacking CPAC as part of its efforts to suppress and criminalize opposition but Judicial Watch isn’t intimidated. See you Sunday!
Judicial Watch to Facebook: End Censorship of Trump
We asked Facebook’s Oversight Board to end the censorship of former President Trump and allow him back onto the platform. We told its “Oversight Board” that the decision to suspend Trump is an affront to free speech and transparency. The Oversight Board is empowered by Facebook to review and overturn Facebook’s censorship decisions.
Facebook and Big Tech censorship of former President Trump is an attack on the free speech of every American. Simply put: Big Tech must stop censoring conservatives in their effort to help Joe Biden.
(The censorship isn’t just about Trump. I’ve been locked out of Twitter for six weeks over a tweet previously found not to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.)
Here is the Judicial Watch comment:
Dear Board Members:
Judicial Watch is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation, promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of the law. It is fair to say that Judicial Watch is the largest government transparency organization in the United States.
The Oversight Board should quickly reverse Facebook’s panicked decision to suspend then-President Trump from its platform. The decision is an affront to the First Amendment protections of free speech, peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government.
There is no credible evidence that President Trump either morally or legally incited violence. He was resoundingly acquitted by the United States Senate after the impeachment “prosecutors” failed to produce credible evidence he incited violence. For Facebook to suggest President Trump incited violence and that complaints about the administration of an election could incite violence is a political position aligned with the Left and political opponents of President Trump and his supporters. The “Trump standard” Facebook would set for speech on its platform would, if fairly applied, limits core political speech of every user on every public policy topic. Specifically, Left partisans now seek to effectively criminalize those who advocate for free, fair, and secure elections. Facebook’s ban of President Trump provides moral cover to this attack on the rights of tens of millions of Americans.
There is no apolitical process for censoring or even “fact checking” political speech, and Facebook’s policies should reflect this reality – on topics ranging from election reform to, as the Oversight Board previously found, COVID debates. (The Internet and platforms such as Facebook are increasingly seen as a public accommodation. In Washington, DC, restricting access to public accommodations based on political affiliation is prohibited under the DC Human Rights Act.)
The brazen deplatforming of President Trump is chilling the speech of other Facebook users, and Internet users generally, who fairly worry about Facebook censoring and deplatforming them.
Facebook’s censorship also undermines government and related transparency. Politicians who communicate their views on Facebook are providing transparency and information that otherwise may not be available to voters and citizens. Deplatforming President Trump certainly chills the speech of other politicians and deprives citizens of useful insights about these politicians and government policies.
Black, Latino Seniors in Virginia Get Vaccine as White 85-Year-Olds Wait
Few things have been more disturbing than the politicization of our health care by leftists imposing their racialist agenda on innocent and vulnerable Americans. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports the latest travesty in Virginia:
In a move that is outraging senior citizens throughout Virginia, the state is shifting its COVID-19 vaccination distribution to prioritize black and Latino residents even as desperate 85-year-olds interviewed by Judicial Watch struggle to get the shot. Like several other states, Virginia is vaccinating its population in phases, with healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities receiving utmost priority. With that population completed, according to the Virginia Department of Health, the second group includes a peculiar combination of frontline workers, people 65 and over, those with medical conditions, incarcerated criminals and those living in homeless shelters or “migrant labor camps.”
As if it were not bad enough that law-abiding seniors are considered as important to Virginia officials as convicts and illegal immigrants, now comes another slap in the face. In the next few weeks, the state will give preference to black and Latino residents 65 and over while much older white seniors, many in their 80s, cannot secure an appointment to get inoculated. The plan was announced a few days ago by Dr. Danny Avula, who was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam this year to be the state’s vaccine coordinator. A Richmond news report calls it the latest step taken by Virginia to bake equity into its vaccination policies. In recent weeks, the article says, roughly 10,000 vaccines were channeled specifically toward trusted clinics in neighborhoods with older black residents.
The news article cites statistics from a COVID-19 tracking project operated by a liberal monthly magazine. Black Virginians are dying from COVID-19 at 1.2 times the rate of white residents when adjusted for population, according to the project’s figures. Latinos are being infected at more than double the rate of whites. In October, the rate was five times higher than whites. Yet national data has revealed vast disparities between where the virus has devastated communities and where shots are given, the story claims, adding that in Virginia white residents are getting vaccinations at 2.2 times the rate of black residents. “Factors include a history of discriminatory lending practices that pushed these populations into areas with less access to health care, limited internet and a lack of transportation,” the article states. “All of that is on top of navigating a fractured health care system that’s in many ways shut them out.”
The piece makes quite a case for giving minorities preference to get the shot by selectively including stats supporting the argument. For example, the reporter cites “some experts” that have raised concern over age-based vaccine prioritization because it fails to account for lower expectancies among black and Latino communities, though it does concede that 75% of Virginia’s deaths are among those over 70. The story also refers to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study that says blacks lost about three years in life expectancy in 2020 while Latinos lost two and whites only eight months. In the state capital of Richmond, most COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are among black and Latino people with life expectancies ranging from 63 to 69 years old. More affluent and white neighborhoods have an average life expectancy between 77 and 83 years old, according to an academic study presented in the story.
A computer-savvy, 85-year-old Virginia man who has tried in vain for weeks to get vaccinated told Judicial Watch the new state order giving minorities preference is “particularly disturbing.” The man and his wife, also in her 80s, do not want to be identified because they are still trying to get the vaccine and fear criticizing the system might hurt their chances. In January the couple, residents of a suburb about 65 miles south of Richmond, signed up on the state website but lost their place after being told that the site was compromised. They have since tried signing up repeatedly with no luck.
Many of their elderly friends are in the same discouraging situation, the couple said. “The governor has decided who gets the vaccine based on race/ethnicity,” said another elderly Virginian who cannot get the shot after learning about the new distribution plan in a local media report. “The governor is a disgrace,” said a Virginia native in her mid-80s.
President Joe Biden’s lawless open borders agenda is creating a new border crisis. Our Corruption Chronicles blog describes the “impending catastrophe.”
A huge surge in illegal immigrant minors is prompting a health emergency on the southern border and surrounding communities, igniting “grave concern” among federal lawmakers who are calling on the Biden administration to “prevent the impending catastrophe.” In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas more than a dozen members of congress who sit on various House committees—including civil rights, national security, and the environment—say they are particularly concerned that the influx could soon lead to a health crisis that may cause widespread COVID-19 infections and fatalities. Additionally, a Latino congressman from south Texas is urging the administration to “prevent further devastation of border communities” by addressing the “influx of Central American migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The government classifies the young migrants as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and in January there was a 64% increase over the same one-month period last year, according to Border Patrol figures. The data shows that two busy Texas sectors—Big Bend and Del Rio—saw the biggest increase in UAC traffic over the same one-month period in 2020, 141% and 122% respectively. Under federal law the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) takes custody of UAC, identified as illegal immigrants under the age of 18, and must provide care for them. HHS funds and oversees around 170 state-licensed care facilities to house the minors when they arrive from foreign countries south of the border.
There are approximately 4,020 illegal alien minors in HHS care, according to recent agency figures. American taxpayers provide them with an array of services including classroom education, mental and medical health care, legal counsel, and a variety of recreational activities. The overwhelming majority of the migrants—72%—are not children but rather young adults or adolescents 15 to 17 years old, government records show. Most of the youths are from Guatemala and Honduras and 68% are male, which has tremendously boosted gang recruitment in this country. Federal authorities have for years confirmed that the nation’s most violent street gangs—including the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)—recruit new members at U.S. shelters housing UAC.
Health issues have also been a serious concern long before COVID-19, when the Obama administration allowed tens of thousands of UAC to enter the U.S. Back in 2014, Judicial Watch reported that the hordes of illegal immigrant minors brought in serious diseases, including swine flu, dengue fever and possibly Ebola. At the time, a congressman who is also a medical doctor alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the UAC were importing infectious diseases considered to be largely eradicated in this country. Four years later, the infamous Central American caravan posed an equally serious public health threat, bringing dangerous diseases such as extremely drug resistant strands of tuberculosis, dengue, and chikungunya. By 2019, the Border Patrol admitted it was getting slammed with illegal immigrants plagued by “serious illnesses,” including tuberculosis, influenza, and pneumonia. Federal agents disclosed at the time that they were referring 50 illegal aliens a day for urgent medical care.
COVID-19 only adds to the already dire situation. In their letter to Mayorkas the congressional delegation points out that the increasing number of UAC illegally crossing the border will soon overwhelm facilities in the middle of a global pandemic, forcing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release unlawfully present individuals into the U.S. “This surge also has the capability to cause a COVID-19 outbreak at ports of entry and other CBP facilities, which threatens the health of CBP personnel and could result in the temporary closures of ports of entry,” the legislators write. “Such closures would greatly impact commerce and hamper the United States’ economic recovery. The increase in illegal immigration at the southern border presents a risk not only to Border Patrol agents apprehending migrants who illegally cross the border, but also to those communities into which those individuals will relocate—likely leading to widespread COVID-19 infection and fatalities.”
In his plea to the administration, the Latino congressman from south Texas, Democrat Vicente Gonzalez, writes that migrant caravans approaching the southern border will “overwhelm our many unvaccinated” federal agents and “put our frontline workers at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The lawmaker, in his second term, reminds the Biden administration that border communities in south Texas districts like the one he represents, continue to be devastated by the COVID-10 pandemic. “A disorderly rushing of our border is not acceptable,” Gonzalez writes
By now you have heard of that notorious Time article that bragged about the leftist conspiracy on the election. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, highlights some incredible details in his Investigative Bulletin.
“Victory has one hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan,” John F. Kennedy famously reminded the world in the wake of the Bay of Pigs disaster. It’s a lesson Time Magazine forgot in assembling its recent 6,800-word fantasy epic, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign that Saved the 2020 Election.”
Lead writer Molly Ball and three additional Time reporters inventory a loosely connected ecosystem of notorious self-promotors now rushing to claim paternity for the Joe Biden victory. It was, Time tells us, a “conspiracy” of the selfless and the good, working to “keep the peace.”
On Election Day, Ball writes, “the nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle.”
But “a well-funded cabal of powerful people” was ready. They ranged “across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”
What did this conspiracy do? “They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction.”
Who were the conspirators? They were “left-wing activists and business leaders,” the strange bedfellows of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, Democrats, Republicans, advocacy groups, “the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists.” And more: “Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses,” were involved. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights CEO Vanita Gupta (now a Biden nominee for associate attorney general), former House leader Dick Gephardt, the National Council on Election Integrity, the Voting Rights Lab, and dozens of other groups and individuals were involved.
You can read the entire epic here. As serious political journalism, it’s nonsense. But here at Judicial Watch, we took note of three important issues that Time rushed past: the Left’s work with Big Tech to suppress information; the campaign against mail-in voting; and the command and control of violent protestors.
Time notes that elements of the Left “successfully pressured social media companies.” We don’t hear much more about it, except that “veteran progressive operative” Laura Quinn, a co-founder of data group Catalist, piloted a “secret project” to track the online flow of disputed information. And that armed with the Catalist findings, Left activists leaned on Mark Zuckerberg and others to step up pressure on social media opinion and reporting that they viewed as “disinformation.”
Judicial Watch has repeatedly warned about Big Tech’s concentration of power and the perils of censoring conservative speech. Many conservative voices have been banned from social media, including then-President of the United States Donald Trump. Judicial Watch’s own Tom Fitton was suspended from Twitter for an innocuous tweet about hydroxychloroquine—the exact same tweet that Tom had repeatedly posted and that Twitter had found in September to be not in violation of its rules.
Time does not pause to consider the dangers in gigantic corporations moving to censor speech. Nor does it question the merits of mail-in voting, despite serious problems with the practice. The Constitution gives state legislatures, not the courts, the authority to decide how elections will be conducted.
On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to consider Pennsylvania’s judicial rewrite of state laws governing mail-in ballots in the 2020 election. In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas noted that “changing the rules in the middle of the game is bad enough. Such rule changes by officials who may lack authority to do so is even worse.” Read the full Thomas dissent here.
We share Justice Thomas’s concerns. Judicial Watch is a national leader in the campaign for fair and lawful elections. Our litigation teams have been working for years to clean up dirty voter rolls.
In Pennsylvania, for example, we sued the state for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from its rolls, as required by the National Voter Registration Act. As we reported in October, Pennsylvania set out a ludicrously low level of inactive names eligible for removal under the NVRA. The state initially claimed that in one county of 457,000 registrants, it had found only eight inactive names eligible for removal. In another county of 357,000 registrants, only five names had been removed. In a third county of 403,000 registrants, only four names were removed. Read more here about the Pennsylvania case and other Judicial Watch efforts to clean up voter rolls.
Time also glides past what appears to be the biggest secret in its secret history: the ability of the Left to turn on and off street protests that could become violent. The revelations are buried deep in the story.
On Election Night, Time reports, “activists charged with the protest strategy” had a “difficult” conversation. When was the right time to trigger massive street protests? “We wanted to be mindful of when was the right time to call for moving masses of people into the streets,” one progressive activist told Time.
“As much as [Left activists] were eager to mount a show of strength,” Time reported, “mobilizing immediately could backfire and put people at risk. Protests that devolved into violent clashes would give Trump a pretext to send in federal agents or troops.”
So on Election Night, “the word went out: stand down.”
One leading protest organization sent out a notice saying it “would not be activating the entire national mobilization network today, but remains ready to activate if necessary.”
Another progressive activist told Time that protestors “had spent so much time getting ready to hit the streets” on Wednesday, the day after the election. But they followed orders. “Wednesday through Friday, there was not a single Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident like everyone was expecting.”
A national mobilization effort aimed at turning out street protests that could turn violent—sparked perhaps by an “Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident”— reveals an extraordinary degree of organization, command and control. That’s worth a closer look. But you probably won’t read about it in Time.
Until next week …