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The Democratic mauling of the 'Born Alive' bill is a wake-up call Artist Unknown Tammy Bruce
During President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this month, Americans saw Democratic politicians for what they have truly become. People were shocked when the majority of the Democratic caucus, including most of the party’s women all dressed in white, couldn’t find it in their hearts to applaud when the president called for “a culture that cherishes innocent life.”
We now know that wasn’t just a bad night for the Democrats, it was a genuine reflection of the craven ghoulishness underlying their attitudes and policy.
What normal, decent person could oppose providing care to a living baby struggling on a table? And yet that is exactly what 44 Democratic senators just did, effectively killing the Ben Sasse-sponsored “Born Alive” bill by keeping it from a floor vote.
Fox News reported, “The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would have required that ‘any health care practitioner present’ at the time of a birth ‘exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.’ “
While most of us would think this would be and remain the normal, sane thing to do, recent Democratic actions have disabused us of that notion.
New York passing a bill effectively allowing abortion on demand up to birth, and Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s shockingly banal support of the same even to the point of infanticide after birth, was a wake-up call and compelled Mr. Sasse to put forward the “Born Alive” bill.
Its failure to pass, while horrible, confirms an important revelation: The Democratic Party, the same people who keep telling us that politicians like them should be trusted to completely control our health care, refused to support a measure that would save the life of the most innocent among us.
What does that tell you about their opinion of all of us?
As Americans contemplate what has gone wrong, some of the conversation on television and elsewhere about what is driving the Democrats to support infanticide is the argument that they are “playing to their base,” after all, Democratic and liberal voters must want this, right? But no, we know that’s not true — no one in this country wants or supports infanticide — not Democrats, Republicans or independents.
In June of 2018, Gallup found that there is virtually no support for late-term abortion, let alone infanticide. The polling firm found that nearly six in 10 Americans support abortion rights in the first trimester, but after that point, across the board, support craters. Just 13 percent of Americans support late-term abortion, with just 18 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of independents, and 6 percent of Republicans.
Not even two out of 10 Democrats support third-trimester abortion. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats support abortion in the first trimester. With the plummeting of support for abortion as the pregnancy goes on, it’s fair to say that the average Democrat, just like the average American in general, is not in favor of murdering a baby as she’s being born or leaving her to die through neglect as she suffers on a nearby table after birth.
So why are Democratic politicians pushing this obscenity on society? Are the Planned Parenthood PAC checks so large they eclipse the natural instinct to save the suffering?
Make no mistake: The revelation over the past several weeks that Democrats have indeed moved to normalize infanticide was a kick in the gut and has reinforced and expanded the common ground Americans share on the issue.
A new Marist poll reveals a remarkable turn of events with the American people. The Axios headline from Feb. 24 declared, “New poll finds ‘dramatic shift’ on abortion attitudes,” and they’re not kidding.
“The poll found Americans are now as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as they are pro-choice (47 percent). Last month, a similar Marist survey found that Americans were more likely to identify as pro-choice than pro-life 55 percent to 38 percent, a 17-point gap. … The survey also found that 80% of Americans support abortion being limited to the first three months of pregnancy, an increase of 5 percentage points since last month’s Marist poll,” Axios reported.
In the span of one month, as the New York and Virginia shocking moves toward late-term abortion and infanticide became national news, American attitudes changed almost immediately.
Also reported by Axios was this remarkable news: “Among Americans under 45, 47 percent identify as pro-life vs. 48 percent pro-choice. In January, those numbers were 28 percent and 65 percent, respectively.”
A change not over a decade, but over one month.
As a registered Democrat and someone whose political activism began 32 years ago on the pro-choice issue, like so many other Americans I have been shocked by this turn of events. I not only understand this dynamic change in attitude but am also experiencing a profound change of heart as I consider the nature of the debate that has led us to this point, what this has become, and where I stand.
Now is the time for us to recognize our common ground, and to work together on exposing and stopping the obscenity of infanticide as politicians openly and brazenly attempt to desensitize the rest of us into their nihilistic view of humanity.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.
(Update: In the video, we said Steven Crowder’s “livestream was dethrottled,” when in fact his entire page was “dethrottled.”)
(UPDATE 2: FACEBOOK RESPONDS “We fired this person a year ago for breaking multiple employment policies and using her contractor role at Facebook to perform a stunt for Project Veritas,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Unsurprisingly, the claims she is making validate her agenda and ignore the processes we have in place to ensure Facebook remains a platform to give people a voice, regardless of their political ideology.”)
(Update 3: Project Veritas has included captions on original images in this article to avoid reader confusion.)
(San Francisco) Project Veritas has obtained and published documents and presentation materials from a former Facebook insider. This information describes how Facebook engineers plan and go about policing political speech. Screenshots from a Facebook workstation show the specific technical actions taken against political figures, as well as “[e]xisting strategies” taken to combat political speech.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe said that to expose dishonesty and censorship in big tech companies, he will be relying upon more insiders, informants and leakers in the future:
“Our future depends on those who are willing to give up everything for what they believe.”
To gain a better understanding of the documents, Project Veritas spoke with the Facebook insider in an interview. The insider separated from Facebook in 2018 and was later hired by Project Veritas. “I saw things that were going on that I personally found to be troubling.”
Image explanation created by Project Veritas
According to the insider, the documents revealed a routine suppression of the distribution of conservative Facebook pages. The technical action she repeatedly saw, and for which Project Veritas was provided documentation, was labeled ActionDeboostLiveDistribution. Said the insider, “I would see [this term] appear on several different conservative pages. I first noticed it with an account that I can’t remember, but I remember once I started looking at it, I also saw it on Mike Cernovich’s page, saw it on Steven Crowder’s page, as well as the Daily Caller’s page.”
Conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s page had been suppressed before in April 2016, and Crowder told Project Veritas they settled a dispute related to the issue with Facebook out of court. Asked for comment on this story, Steven Crowder’s attorney Bill Richmond said:
“Louder With Crowder is investigating the allegations of concealed stream throttling by Facebook. The accusations are deeply troubling given the previously settled dispute with Facebook uncovered by Gizmodo.com, which found the show was targeted by Facebook workers with secret audience restrictions on political grounds alongside other prominent conservative voices.”
A screenshot of an action log on Mike Cernovich’s Facebook page provided by the insider, shows the tag. The insider believes that the “deboost” code suppresses the distribution of livestream videos on Facebook. Project Veritas spoke to a current Facebook employee off the record who said that the code could limit a video’s visibility in news feeds, remove sharing features, and disable interactive notifications.
When approached for comment, author and filmmaker Mike Cernovich said the troubling issue is that Facebook could just “make stuff up” about people through these systems. “Facebook, or an individual at Facebook, has the unilateral power to create false allegations against someone he or she doesn’t like. The person accused not only can’t do anything about the allegation, they don’t even have an idea the allegation was made,” said Cernovich.
The insider says that unlike many actions that Facebook content moderators can take against pages, the “deboost” action, which appears to occur algorithmically, does not notify the page’s owner. “[W]ith these ‘deboost live stream’ things, there was no warning sent to the user… These were actions that were being taken without the users knowing.”
Upon further review, the insider says she did not notice the tag on any left-wing pages. “I looked at the Young Turks’ page, I looked at Colin Kaepernick’s page, none of them had received the same deboost comment.”
The “deboost” tag appears after the word “Sigma,” which Project Veritas has learned is an artificial intelligence system used to block potential suicide and self-harm posts. Both Mike Cernovich and Steven Crowder cannot recall having ever produced any videos on Facebook that promote suicide or self-harm. Mike Cernovich told Project Veritas that in fact he has long spoken out against suicide and self-harm, and provided tweets of his and a blog post as evidence.
“They’re shifting the goal post”
Also in the in the documents was a presentation, authored by Facebook engineers Seiji Yamamoto and Eduardo Arino de la Rubia, titled “Coordinating Trolling on FB.” Yamamoto is a Data Science Manager, and de la Rubia is a Chief Data Scientist at Facebook. The presentation appears to describe the current actions, as well as potential future actions, Facebook can take to combat alleged abusive behavior on the platform.
Yamamoto, who is responsible for “News Feed Reduction Strategy,” also authored a post where he said Facebook should address “…quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech.” Said the Facebook insider, the “perimeter of hate speech” means “things that aren’t actually hate speech but that might offend somebody. Anything that is perceived as hateful but no court would define it as hate speech.”
The insider believes Yamamoto’s plans appears to be political in nature, rather than in response to abusive behaviors, “[i]t was clearly kind of designed… aimed to be the right wing meme culture that’s become extremely prevalent in the past few years. And some of the words that appeared on there were, using words like SJW… MSM… the New York Times doesn’t talk about the MSM. The independent conservative outlets are using that language.”
Also in Yamamoto’s report was a line appearing to say that online Facebook trolls are involved in “destructive behaviors” such as “[r]ed-pilling normies to convert them to their worldview.”
In online circles the term “red-pilling” refers to bluntly showing the truth, and “normies” refers generally to apolitical or uninformed people. Directly below the line in the document is hyperlink labeled “example video.”
The video linked in the presentation was made by Lauren Chen, a conservative commentator who now hosts a program on BlazeTV. “If you actually watch the video you can see that it clearly isn’t abusive or promoting harassment, the video was a criticism of social justice,” said Chen when asked for comment on this story. She added that “the video actually promotes equality and individualism.”
On a page from the presentation titled “Strategies we use today,” Yamamoto and de la Rubia list “demote bad content.” They add, “… we should still of course delete and demote, but we can do even more…”
Other actions that could be interpreted as “bad content” could be posting words such as “zucced,” “REEE,” and “normie.” Said the insider, Facebook is “shifting the goal post. It’s one thing, if you’re dropping the n-word, or things like that, using some kind of homophobic or racial slur, by all means that’s something that a platform should not want on it. But now you’re moving it to things like, jokes that conservatives tend to make.” “Special features” triggered “leading up to important elections”
Image created by Project Veritas to further explain the document.
Two of the “tactics” outlined in the presentation that the Facebook engineers propose for dealing with “troll operations” involve the introduction of a “Troll Twilight Zone.”
Yamamoto and de la Rubia’s presentation says that “troll accounts,” can have their internet bandwidth limited and experience forced glitches like frequent “auto-logout[s]” and the failed upload of comments. These “special features” would be triggered “leading up to important elections.”
Facebook could identify trolls by their vocabulary, friend network, and behavior, according to the presentation. “Facebook has what’s called a Fake Account Index,” explained the insider, “where they assign a score which helps them determine whether the account is a real person or just a dummy spam account. And rightfully so, they want to delete those accounts, that’s okay. They created the troll score so they could help identify, using words they would post, pictures, if they were friends with other trolls and then using that to determine whether this person should be on the platform or not.”
The insider thinks that Facebook’s system to score trolls is problematic because, “there’s no accountability and especially when they are using machine learning to do this, whenever an individual actions an account, there is a process where at least you can send a message to Facebook… However, this is all being done without the user’s knowledge, there is no recourse for them.”
Another proposed tactic in the presentation would apparently alert a “troll’s” friends list when they have been banned. The presentation reads: “When a user does something egregious, warranting an account suspension or deletion, we should notify the friend network “John Smith’s account has been suspended for 7 days because he shared hate speech in the group Kekistani Special Forces”
The presentation says that notifying a “troll’s” friend list would “strike fear in the hearts of trolls…” and “[n]otified users who accidentally befriended the offender might be more mindful of suspicious accounts, increasing overall herd immunity.” The insider now works for Project Veritas.
President Trump abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea in Vietnam and headed back to Washington on Thursday afternoon, saying the U.S. is unwilling to meet Kim Jong Un's demand of lifting all sanctions on the rogue regime without first securing its meaningful commitment to denuclearization.
Trump, speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, told reporters he had asked Kim to do more regarding his intentions to denuclearize, and “he was unprepared to do that.”
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a solo press conference following the summit.
Trump specifically said negotiations fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North's Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn't willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon, as well as its missile and warheads program.
“It was about the sanctions,” Trump said. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”
"I'd much rather do it right than do it fast," Trump added, echoing his remarks from earlier in the day, when he insisted that "speed" was not important. "We're in position to do something very special."
Both leaders motorcades roared away from the downtown Hanoi summit site within minutes of each other after both a lunch and the signing ceremony were scuttled. Trump's closing news conference was moved up, and he departed for Washington on Air Force One several hours ahead of schedule.
"Sometimes you have to walk."
— President Trump on his dealings with North Korea
The president said he trusted Kim's promise that he would not resume nuclear and missile testing, but that the current U.S. sanctions would stay in place.
“No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement prior to Trump's press conference.
President Trump and Kim Jong Un failed to reach an agreement on denuclearization. (AP)
Regardless, Sanders described the meetings between Trump and Kim as “very good and constructive.”
As for a potential third summit, Trump remained noncommittal.
Kim had signaled during an earlier, unprecedented question-and-answer session with reporters that he is "ready to denuclearize," reaffirming a commitment long sought by the Trump administration and the international community.
“If I’m not willing to do that, I won’t be here right now,” Kim said through an interpreter.
"That's a good answer," Trump replied.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take a walk after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel. (AP)
A working lunch was supposed to get underway between the two leaders in Vietnam on Thursday afternoon, after a whirlwind day on Capitol Hill that threatened to steal the spotlight from the second major summit between the two leaders. But neither Trump nor Kim showed up.
Earlier, history appeared to have been made when Kim answered questions from a foreign journalist -- almost certainly for the first time ever.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Hanoi. At front right is Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief. At left is national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from left. (AP)
Asked by a member of the White House press pool about his outlook for Thursday's summit, Kim said: "It's too early to say. I won't make predictions. But I instinctively feel that a good outcome will be produced."
South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals in affairs with North Korea, couldn't confirm whether it was the first time Kim answered a question from a foreign journalist.
Asked if he was willing to allow the U.S. to open an office in Pyongyang, Kim said through a translator, "I think that is something which is welcomable."
Reporters didn't get opportunities to ask questions of Kim during his three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Kim ignored questions shouted at him during his first summit with Trump last June in Singapore.
Trump, speaking next to Kim at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel, said that "a lot of great ideas" are "being thrown about." He asserted that "when you have a good relationship, a lot of good things happen."
"I just want to say: I have great respect for Chairman Kim, and I have great respect for his country," Trump told reporters as he sat at a table across from Kim in Hanoi. "And I believe it will be something -- hard to compete with for other countries. It has such potential."
Kim, meanwhile, said the "whole world" was watching the talks and suggested that, for some, the image of the two "sitting side by side" must resemble "a fantasy movie."
People watch a TV screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump's press conference, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP)
Trump added that while reaching a lasting agreement was critical, "speed is not important." The two leaders then retired to begin their negotiations privately, but were photographed shortly afterward walking on the Metropole hotel's pool patio, where they were joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.
The group then went into a glass-enclosed area and sat down around a table for more talks.
Last year, at the Singapore summit, Trump caught U.S. ally South Korea off guard by announcing the suspension of major U.S. military exercises with the South. Trump critics said he squandered critical U.S. leverage before the North had taken any concrete steps toward denuclearization.
As Thursday's talks were ongoing, Moon, the South Korean leader, said he plans to offer new proposals for inter-Korean engagement following the high-stakes nuclear summit. Moon's announcement is planned for a Friday ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of a 1919 uprising by Koreans against Japan's colonial rule and will likely include plans for economic cooperation between the rival Koreas.
President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
But after the summit, South Korea's presidential office said it was "unfortunate" that Trump and Kim had failed to produce an agreement. But South Korea said it expects "active dialogue" to continue between Washington and Pyongyang.
The Blue House said Thursday it believes Washington and Pyongyang deepened their understandings of each other during their "long and deep discussions" in Hanoi.
It said Trump raising the possibility of sanctions relief in exchange for nuclear disarmament steps from the North shows that the nuclear negotiations between the countries have entered an "elevated level."
The collapse of the Trump-Kim summit could prove to be a setback for Moon, whose ambitions for inter-Korean engagement hinge on a nuclear breakthrough between Washington and Pyongyang.
Air Force One is scheduled to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska, before returning to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington late Thursday.
One asked if there’s a love child. Another asked if the president abuses drugs. Another still suggested the entire Trump family could be compromised by the Russians.
For some Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, Wednesday’s hearing with ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen turned into a fishing expedition of sorts as they floated sensational rumors and unproven conspiracy theories about the president -- live on national television.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, floated the possibility that Trump’s entire family could be compromised by the Russians.
"Is it possible the whole family is conflicted or compromised with a foreign adversary in the months before the election?” Wasserman Schultz asked.
“Yes,” Cohen replied, though he said he lacks direct evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia.
Others asked about details from the infamous, unverified dossier about Trump’s relationship with Russia. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin asked, “Are you aware of any videotapes that may be the subject of extortion or blackmail?"
"I have no reason to believe that that tape exists,” Cohen replied.
Some Republicans used the hearing to try to clarify persistent rumors. The dossier, which was used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain surveillance warrants in the Russia case, included a claim that Cohen went to Prague in 2016 to meet with Russians during the campaign.
“I’ve never been to Prague,” Cohen said, in response to a question from Republican South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman.
Some asked Cohen to describe any possible crimes the president may have committed.