Secret tapes: Subway’s Jared brags about kiddie sex

(New York Post) Disgraced Subway pitchman Jared Fogle was caught on secretly recorded audio tapes boasting of his sick attraction to children — and said he wanted to travel “across the world” to fulfill his desires.

“I would fly us clear across the world if we need to. To Thailand or wherever we want to go. If we’re gonna try to get some young kids with us it would be a lot easier,” the married father of two told Rochelle Herman-Walrond, a former Florida journalist who had befriended Fogle so she could expose his sexual abuse of children.

The recordings and an interview with Herman-Walrond are scheduled to be aired Thursday and Friday on the “Dr. Phil” show.

How to Steal $75,000 from the Poor in One Day’s Work

The new liberality concerning marijuana possession in the United States is long overdue, but let’s not exaggerate how much progress we’ve made. Users might not be ending up in jail as frequently as they did 10 years ago. But cops, judges, and courts still exercise arbitrary power to ruin people’s lives, and they continue to do so at astonishing rates, all over the country.

I recently saw this firsthand. I sat in a municipal traffic court from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., awaiting my own time with the judge for a petty moving violation. I was there with 150 other people, gathering cobwebs as the judge took his sweet time and shamed people as they stood at the bench and humbly submitted to his rule.

No phones or computers are allowed in court. My iPad was not allowed, either. Once you enter through the metal detector, you are trapped for the duration. There is no contacting anyone. For most people today, this would be the only time in their lives when such contact is forbidden. This rule contributes to the feeling of being controlled by and subjected to power.

You just have to wait your turn, even if it takes eight hours. So there we sat.

Not one person in this courtroom had harmed anyone. Not one. They had not stolen anything, had not mugged anyone, had not caused any car wrecks. And yet there they were, facing torment at the hands of a judge drunk on power and a criminal-justice system that is out of control.

Most of my fellow criminals were poor, young, black men who had been stopped for some traffic violation and then booked for a different, unrelated offense. Why the lopsided demographics? Were these people targeted? It would be hard to prove, but it seems highly likely.

The supposed crimes called out by the judge were all over the map: there was too much tinting on the windows, the license plate light was burned out, the vehicle was following too closely, the driver was speeding (of course), the car had expired tags, th…

States pull plug on Big Brother oversight

 

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Hemp, around the world, is used for ropes and cords, clothing, in paints, for cooking and in plastics.

But the federal government says it cannot legally be produced in the United States.

So what are states doing?

Simply adopting laws, like North Dakota’s, that not only legalizes the farm practice, but “expressly rejects any need for federal approval before growing hemp in the state.”

It’s part of the surging movement to nullify the federal government’s demands regarding everything from surveillance and drones to marijuana and more.

A new report from the Tenth Amendment Center, which focuses on state-federal issues, explains more and more, states are resisting federal demands and requirements.

The issues recently have included the right to try experimental drugs or treatments, surveillance, hemp, the 2nd Amendment, the federal militarization of police, marijuana, money, Obamacare, asset forfeiture and Common Core.

Get “Taking America Back,” Joseph Farah’s manifesto for sovereignty, self-reliance and moral renewal

“Today’s nullification movement is revolutionary because it offers the hope of smashing the established political order; an alternative to ‘voting the bums out’ – a way to support the Constitution and liberty whether the federal government wants us to or not,” said center chief Michael Boldin.

There’s a legal meaning to nullification, he said – to overturn the law. Or the second definition is simply to make the targeted law “of no value or consequence.”

“One might be tempted to think that there is no way to nullify without ending the force of something in law,” he wrote. “In other words, without a legislative body repealing the law, or a judge striking it down, it will still remain in full effect. But this certainly isn’t always the case.”

After all, alcohol prohibition was repealed by lawmakers to end America’s failed attempt at being a dry nation.

But that was after it was “reduced to a virtually unenforceable decree in much of the country for many reasons, including mass individual disregard of the law, along with a refusal by states to assist in its enforcement.”

Boldin notes that James Madison addressed the idea – that a central government would do something that states found unacceptable:

“Should an unwarranted measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular states, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to cooperate with officers of the union, the frowns of the executive magistracy of the state; the embarrassment created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would pose, in any state, very serious impediments; and were the sentiments of several adjoining states happen to be in union, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be winning to encounter.”

One of the high-profile disputes now is marijuana. It remains illegal under federal law, but 19 states have legalized it for medical use and Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have legalized it from recreational use too.

There’s no effectual effort on the part of the federal government to address those facts.

“We saw the market for marijuana significantly expand in three states this year. This is perhaps the most important development in the nullification of federal prohibition. By removing barriers at the state level, more people will feel comfortable participating in the market. As it expands, the feds become increasingly powerless to stop it with their limited resources,” the report said.

In the first week of limited retail sales in Oregon, dispensaries sold a staggering $11 million of marijuana – more than double the numbers from Colorado’s first week – “proving state laws legalizing cannabis truly do nullify federal prohibition in practice.’

In Texas, lawmakers tired of the variations of the money markets, voted to set up their own state gold depository.

In the controversial Common Core educational mandate, states “can nullify” it “simply by withdrawing from the program,” the report said.

“In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill that allows parents to opt their children out of Common Core testing for any reasons for at least the next six years,” the report said.

The center reports that nullification has moved from being a “fringe political theory” into the mainstream, and just this year, “state legislators across the country introduced close to 400 bills drafted to reject, or simply ignore, federal authority covering nearly a dozen issues.”

As a result, dozens of bills became law.

“When we call the nullification movement revolutionary, we don’t mean it in the stereotypical sense. We’re not talking about people running around with guns and pitchforks,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “This is a deeper, more philosophical revolution – a revolution in thought.”

Get “Taking America Back,” Joseph Farah’s manifesto for sovereignty, self-reliance and moral renewal

It’s not exactly new.

One of the classic examples is slavery. Southern states adopted slave repatriation laws requiring people to ship escaping slaves back to their masters. Northern states banned it.

“Those laws didn’t legally end the futigive slave acts, but they did make them nearly impossible to enforce,” the group said in a prepared statement.

Other issues that states have moved forward – in defiance of federal demands, are the access by patients to experimental drugs, protection against surveillance and electronic monitors,

Another significant area is the weaponization of local police forces. The feds simply transfer ownership of military grade weapons from the military to local police forces.

Communities are responding with new laws against police departments accepting any weapons, or requiring local governmental bodies to approve them before those transfers can happen.

It’s not the first time the trend as been notidced.

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative season for states, the Tenth Amendment Center cited the hundreds of bills that would put limits on Washington.

“Sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, these bills range from narrowly focused legislation that would allow terminally ill people access to experimental drugs and medical treatments despite FDA regulations, to bills that would deny resources and assistance from states to the NSA. Other legislation addresses the Second Amendment, the federal prohibition of hemp and marijuana, Common Core, the use of drones for surveillance, the Affordable Care Act, and even federal grant programs that arm local police with battlefield-ready military equipment,” the center said.

Boldin has explained that a key component of the movement is the recognized principle that the federal government cannot force states to expend resources or manpower to do its work.

Already,  39 states have passed various laws attempting to exempt themselves from implementing Obamacare.

 

Embrace the Zombie Apocalypse

Look past the tatters and putrefaction. Scan the bent and broken bodies shuffling toward you. Do you recognize a coworker, a neighbor, maybe even a loved one?

It’s the zombie apocalypse — and it’s an idea that ever more academics are taking seriously.

They don’t expect the undead to swarm our cities, but they do notice that zombie invasion scenarios have spread through 21st-century popular culture like a pandemic, from tongue-in-cheek literary send-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, to big-screen summer blockbusters like World War Z, to the record-breaking TV show Fear the Walking Dead (with the highest-rated first season of any series in cable history).

Medium or Message?

Some scholars, like the University of Virginia’s Paul Cantor, seek to decrypt our newfound fascination with the undead, to discern the hopes and fears of popular culture. For others, the zombie craze offers a way to communicate their own prior concerns to an audience already drawn to visions of the shambling hoards.

Scholars Amy and Antonio Thompson have recently finished work on a serious academic text called …But If a Zombie Apocalypse Did Occur: Essays on Medical, Military, Governmental, Ethical, Economic and Other Implications. The book is part of publisher McFarland’s larger series called Contrib…

Hillary hiding another dramatic embassy evacuation?

Attorney Victoria Toensing, left, and Gregory Hicks, the former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya, during congressional testimony

Attorney Victoria Toensing, left, and Gregory Hicks during congressional testimony

TEL AVIV – Mystery continues to swirl around the dramatic events that transpired at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, 400 miles away, the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.

In largely ignored previous testimony, Gregory Hicks, the former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya, recounted an astonishing scene in Tripoli in the minutes and hours after the initial attack in Benghazi.

Fearing the embassy might also come under attack, Hicks said staffers in Tripoli smashed hard drives with an ax and dismantled classified communications equipment. One female office manager was seen carrying ammunition and loading gun magazines as staff prepared to depart for a safe house.

Yet none of that was mentioned by either Hillary Clinton or her legislative questioners during last Thursday’s Benghazi hearing, even though the response by the Tripoli embassy was discussed.

The evacuate-and-destroy incident in Tripoli was also not mentioned in the State Department’s probe of the Benghazi attack. Nor was it previously reported in news accounts of the attack, which the Obama administration first claimed was a result of popular protests against an anti-Muhammad video.

Find out what really happened: Aaron Klein’s “The REAL Benghazi Story” exposes the ongoing cover-up

The U.S. facility in Tripoli was upgraded to embassy status in 2006, and the U.S. maintained an embassy there until Clinton temporarily shut it down during the 2011 revolution that toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. In September 2011, after Gadhafi fell, Clinton re-opened the Tripoli embassy.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., asked Clinton about security concerns at the embassy in Tripoli the night of the Benghazi attack.

Sanchez inquired: “Your chief of staff also explained to this committee that you were concerned the night of the attacks, not only for the safety of your team in Benghazi, but also about your teams in Tripoli and elsewhere.

“She said this about you. Quote: ‘She was very concerned. She was also very determined that whatever needed to be done was done and she was worried. She was worried not only about our team on the ground in Benghazi, but worried about our teams that were on the ground in Libya and our teams on the ground in a number of places given what we had seen unfold in Egypt.’

“Can you explain some of the context of the evening and why you were concerned, not just about what was happening in Benghazi, but the risks that Americans were in elsewhere?”

Clinton’s response did not mention the Tripoli evacuation.

“Well, that’s exactly right,” she replied. “I was quite concerned about Tripoli because we didn’t know if there would be coordinated attacks. We were still trying to gather information about who was behind what happened in Benghazi. We – in the course of the conversations with our team on the ground in Tripoli began to explore whether they should move from where they were in the place that was operating as our embassy at that time to a more secure location. There were lots of considerations about what to do to keep our team in Tripoli safe.

“And then, as I’ve testified earlier, we were very concerned about the impact of the video sparking unrest, attacks, violence in a wide swathe of countries. It turned out that that was well-founded concern, as we saw the attacks and protests across the region, all the way to India and Indonesia.

“So there was a lot of effort being put into not only doing the immediate tasks before us in Benghazi, and doing whatever we needed to do to keep our people in Tripoli safe, but beginning to talk through and prepare for what might happen elsewhere.”

In testimony before Congress in May 2013, Hicks, who was the No. 2 at the Tripoli embassy the night of the attacks, described the frantic scene in the embassy.

In his testimony, Hicks said that about three hours after the attack began on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, the embassy staff in Tripoli noticed Twitter feeds asserting that the terror group Ansar al-Sharia was responsible. Hicks said there was also a call on the social media platform for an attack on the embassy in Tripoli.

“We had always thought that we were … under threat, that we now have to take care of ourselves, and we began planning to evacuate our facility,” he said.

“When I say our facility, I mean the State Department residential compound in Tripoli, and to consolidate all of our personnel … at the annex in Tripoli.”

Hicks said he “immediately telephoned Washington that news afterward and began accelerating our effort to withdraw from the Villas compound and move to the annex.”

He recalled how his team “responded with amazing discipline and courage in Tripoli in organizing withdrawal.”

Continued Hicks: “I have vivid memories of that. I think the most telling, though, was of our communications staff dismantling our communications equipment to take with us to the annex and destroying the classified communications capability.

“Our office manager, Amber Pickens, was everywhere that night just throwing herself into some task that had to be done. First she was taking a log of what we were doing,” he said.

“Then she was loading magazines, carrying ammunition to the – carrying our ammunition supply to … our vehicles, and then she was smashing hard drives with an ax.”

The vivid scene, however, was not reported in the State Department’s description of the Tripoli embassy’s response the night of the Benghazi attack.

The section of the State Department probe titled “Embassy Tripoli Response” simply says that upon notification of the attack in Benghazi, the U.S. Embassy set up a command center and notified Washington.

A later section in the State Department probe describes how a seven-person response team from Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support but could not get to the Benghazi facility due to a lack of transportation.

The section also says the Tripoli embassy worked with the Libyan government to have a Libyan Air Force C-130 take the remaining U.S. government personnel from Benghazi to Tripoli.

With additional research by Joshua Klein.

Stephen Hawking Doesn’t Understand Economics

Stephen Hawking, the University of Cambridge physicist and bestselling science writer, says that technology is driving an “ever-increasing inequality.” He is a brilliant polymath, but he doesn’t understand economics.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything forum, Hawking wrote:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

His error here is in too quickly accepting the assumption of technological unemployment, which asks us to imagine a world where a large percentage of the populace is unemployable because they have zero marginal productivity thanks to machines. In other words, in no conceivable circumstance will an employer pay them anything for their labor. They cannot get jobs and pay their bills. Those without savings will starve and die.

New technology changes productivity, but it does not upend the logic of exchange and production. 

Given this apocalyptic assumption of crippling and permanent unemployment, it is unsurprising that Hawking comes to a bleak conclusion — one that seems to demand government as a solution. But the idea of technological unemployment suspends the laws of economics: specifically, scarcity and comparative advantage.

Scarcity occurs when our desires exceed our means of achieving them. We cannot perfectly multitask: to do one thing implies not doing something else. This is an inescapable quality of the world. No matter our level of technological development, scarcity will still e…

Wedded ‘throuples’ coming to America

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By Paul Bremmer

Has the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry paved the way for all kinds of non-traditional relationships to be legally recognized?

“If marriage is not the union of a man and a woman, why limit it to two people?” asked Michael Brown, a national talk radio host and author of “Outlasting the Gay Revolution.” “What makes the number two unique or necessary? Why not marry yourself, as some women have recently done? Why not throuples? There are several examples of this in the last few years. Why not three women and two men? We see this already in polygamous relationships. Why not?”

Three “gay” men in Canada are asking that very question.

The three 20-something medical professionals live together in Nova Scotia as a threesome, and they now hope to start a family.

According to the London Daily Mail, Adam Grant and Shayne Curran got married in 2011. A year later they met Sebastian Tran in a nightclub and both fell for him. Grant and Curran then got divorced so they could let Tran into the fold as part of an equal, three-way relationship.

Polyamory is not legal in Canada, but the men claim they have lawyers who can draft paperwork to ensure all three are “equally bound and obligated to each other in the eyes of the law.”

Tran said getting married legally is important to his partners and him.

Paul Kengor, a university professor and author of “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” said these types of unions are inevitable once a nation redefines marriage to mean anything other than one man and one woman.

“Once the standard becomes that marriage can be defined in whichever way a people or culture desire, then marriage is redefinable, period,” Kengor told WND. “This is plainly inevitable. If liberals could get past emotion, and look at the sheer logic of what they’re asserting, then they’ll see that they’ve created the conditions for these types of new marriage configurations by smashing the standard of one-man-one-woman marriage.”

Carl Gallups, a pastor, talk radio host and author of the forthcoming book “Be Thou Prepared,” believes the U.S. soon may see odd configurations for marriage such as threesomes.

“This is exactly where we can expect the U.S. to go in the near future,” Gallups told WND. “Why would it not go in this direction? What is to stop it from doing so? There is no longer a ‘normality standard’ for marriage or domestic relationships – including the definition of family. In fact, I predict that U.S. conjugal relationship scenarios will eventually become even more bizarre than this example.”

For the “gay” Canadians, it does get more bizarre than a simple longing for marriage. Last week, the men told the Daily Mail they want to conceive three children using their own genetics. The plan is for Curran’s two sisters to carry the children and Tran’s sister to donate her eggs as well.

Brown, who writes a WND column, worries about any child that may be born into that kind of scenario.

“The worst thing of all is that a child could be brought into this relationship, robbed of his or her mother, subjected to a poor example of family structure, and living in a situation that has all the potential for real instability and guaranteed confusion,” he said.

Kengor said leftists now have their work cut out for them to stop a slide down a slippery slope, if they want to limit “gay” marriage to monogamous relationships.

“Liberals will now need to explain to threesomes like these how and by what standard they can be denied their ‘marriage rights’ and their ‘marriage equality,’” Kengor challenged. “Liberals need to explain to these three men and their would-be children why their love is not legitimate. Does ‘love win’ here or not? If not, then why?”

Gallups pointed out there may be a larger social agenda behind what the Canadian lovers are doing. As the Daily Mail reported, “The trio hope to show that polyamory is a perfectly acceptable choice of life and love.”

“Why should we be surprised by this?” Gallups asked rhetorically. “The radical gay agenda in the United States has admitted, long before the SCOTUS ruling, that nationwide gay marriage legalization was just the beginning of their greater plan. Their declared agenda has always been stated as a radical broadening of the definition of legalized domestic relationships as well as a direct targeting of the institutions they felt might be standing in their way, namely the Christian church, our nation’s Christian heritage, and the standard biblical message.”

Gallups noted the “standard biblical message” about marriage can be found in Matthew 19:4, straight from the lips of Jesus: “Have you not read, that in the beginning God made them male and female? For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and the two will become one flesh.”

“Jesus’ declaration is irrefutable: The definition of a legitimate marriage (from the One who invented marriage) is one woman and one man – period,” Gallups said.

But the pastor believes too many people ignore the Word of God and choose to do what is right in their own eyes.

“Knowing what I know about the nature of people who deny the Word of God as the authority of their life, and what I know about the declarations of the Word of God itself, they will do whatever they can dream up – and whatever they can get away with,” Gallups warned. “Simply put, we have ‘been given over to a depraved mind,’ just as the Bible predicted (Romans 1:18-32).”

Gallups believes it is essential for the Christian church to speak up for traditional marriage and traditional families.

“While today’s church must always be ready to reach out with the gospel message and the love of Jesus Christ to all people who are struggling in any matter of sin, it must never relent from proclaiming the clear biblical truth of the eternally important matters of the very foundations of life and society: home, marriage and family,” Gallups said.

“Without these truths as the bedrock foundations of our culture, we will plunge into absolute madness.”

Car going 50 mph plows into homecoming parade

(Daily Mail UK) Three people were killed and 22 were injured after a car plowed into a crowd watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on Saturday.

Police said that Adacia Chambers, 25, who was not part of the official parade, was arrested for driving under the influence after she drove into a crowd in Stillwater, Oklahoma, around 10:30 a.m.

According to witnesses her Hyundai Elantra was driving at speeds of up to 50 mph, ran into a parked police motorcycle and left the spectators running for cover as some were thrown “30 feet into the air like rag dolls.”

Paramedics and helicopters rushed to the scene and officials have said that three people have died as a result of the injuries they suffered.

Captain Kyle Gibbs told reporters that eight were critically injured and flown from the scene by air ambulance. They were taken to Tulsa as well as to Oklahoma University Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Seven others were seriously injured and seven had less serious injuries.

“Oklahoma State University is saddened by the tragic parade incident earlier this morning. Our thoughts & prayers are with those affected.” the school tweeted according to NewsOn6.

States sue feds over another Obamacare tax

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Obamacare has been challenged in court since Democrats in Congress passed it with no Republican support more than five years ago.

Looks like it’s going to be there for a long time to come.

A new lawsuit brought by Kansas, Texas and Louisiana challenges the law’s health-insurance provider fee on several grounds, not the least of which is the Tenth Amendment.

Other states are considering joining the case, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas,

Legal expert Hans von Spakovksy explained the lawsuit in a commentary.

“They argue that the fee is ‘an unconstitutional tax on the plaintiff states in violation of the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the doctrine of intergovernmental tax immunity,’” he wrote.

He noted that in America’s federalist system, the federal government “has no right to tax state governments.”

The private insurers with whom most states contract to provide services must pay the Health Insurance Providers Fee to Washington. But since the Obamacare law requires states to pay the fees, the complaint argues it amounts to a tax on states.

Your roadmap for surviving the nationalization of health-care decision-making is here, in “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare.”

The complaint also argues it’s illegal for federal lawmakers to delegate regulatory authority to a private entity, noting the fees are set by the private Actuarial Standards Board.

Further, the suit claims states were not given “clear notice” of the massive costs in the Obamacare law.

And, the complaint contends, the Supreme Court already ruled the federal government cannot force the states to accept expanded Medicaid coverage as a condition of receiving any Medicaid funding.

The fees for 2014 totaled about $8 billion, but like many other variables in Obamacare, they are expected to reach $14.3 billion in just three years.

“It is important to note that this lawsuit is not over the Medicaid expansion that was part of the Obamacare law and that states like Texas refused to accept. This is about a fee that the Obama administration, through the IRS, is now imposing on states as a condition of continuing to receive federal funds for the basic Medicaid and CHIP programs,” von Spakovsky explained.

“There is no question that this is a serious lawsuit raising substantive issues against the Obamacare law and the way it has been implemented in relation to Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs.

“A win by the states could knock a substantial hole in the financing of the Obamacare program. The question now is how quickly the case will move through the courts, and how many other states will join the suit,” he said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sounded off: “This threat to cut Medicaid funding to Texans unless the state continues to pay hundreds of millions in taxes to Washington amounts to the very ‘gun to the head’ the Supreme Court warned about in earlier rulings on Obamacare.

“Not only is the federal government threatening the health care needs of millions of Texans, but it is doing so using Texans’ own money, collected from them through taxes. This represents yet another huge overstep of authority for this administration, which once again has demonstrated their willingness to circumvent the Constitution in order to achieve their policy goals.”

It’s also been argued that Obamacare, as a tax-revenue measure, was required to originate in the U.S. House. The Obamacare law came from the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid simply took the number of a House bill and slapped it on the front of his Senate Obamacare package.

The U.S. Supreme Court already has reviewed Obamacare three times, first changing its “fees” to “taxes” to comply with the Constitution and later ruling that “exchanges established by the state” as written in the law actually means exchanges established by states or the federal government.

The Supreme Court also ruled that the government could not force business owners to pay for abortion-causing drugs in violation of their religious faith, although the government continues to fight for that mandate in several other cases.

Your roadmap for surviving the nationalization of health-care decision-making is here, in “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare.”

Another current challenge to Obamacare alleges it violates the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth amendment provisions on privacy.

Yet another case is suing the Obama administration for making arbitrary changes in the law outside of Congress.

 

He Volunteered to Go to Auschwitz

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.


In this great mortuary of the half-living — where nearby someone was wheezing his final breath; someone else was dying; another was struggling out of bed only to fall over onto the floor; another was throwing off his blankets, or talking in a fever to his dear mother and shouting or cursing someone out; [while still others were] refusing to eat, or demanding water, in a fever and trying to jump out of the window, arguing with the doctor or asking for something — I lay thinking that I still had the strength to understand everything that was going on and take it calmly in my stride.

That was on a relatively good day at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942, in the words of the only known person to have ever volunteered to be a prisoner there. His name was Witold Pilecki. His story is one of history’s most amazing accounts of boundless courage amid bottomless inhumanity.

Powerful emotions gripped me when I first learned of Pilecki and gazed at his picture. I felt rage toward the despicable regimes that put this honorable man through an unspeakable hell. I welled up with admiration for how he dealt with it all. Here you have a story that depicts both the worst and the best in men.

To label Pilecki a “hero” seems hopelessly inadequate.

Olonets is a small town northeast of St. Petersburg, Russia, 700 miles from present-day Poland. It’s where Witold Pilecki was born in 1901, but his family was not there by choice. Four decades earlier, when many Poles lived under Russian occupation, the czarist government in Moscow forcibly resettled the Pileckis in Olonets for their part in an uprising.

For the first time since 1795, Poland was reconstituted as an in…