Amazon Calls Them Like They SPLC Them

Amazon Calls Them Like They SPLC Them

July 31, 2020

For the first two hours of the Big Tech hearing in the House, the most newsworthy thing Amazon's Jeff Bezos did was eat a handful of snacks. Reporters actually tweeted about it, joking that even sitting there doing nothing, he'd probably "just made $300 million dollars or so." Lauren Goode of WIRED guessed that Bezos could probably receive a Prime package "in the time it takes for representatives to ask him a single question." When they finally did, most people would agree: it was a doozy.

Bezos, who wrote the single largest check for same-sex marriage in 2012, hasn't exactly kept his social views a secret. As most conservatives found out the hard way, Amazon has been a mighty ally for the LGBT lobby for years, banning books and ads that dare to question their extremist agenda. Then the company picked a public fight, bullying states that tried to keep girls' restrooms safe. But the biggest insult may have come a few years back when the company quietly gave Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group linked to domestic terrorism in court, absolute power over its charity program. As most people found out in 2019 after a messy staff revolt, this is an organization so deeply sinister, corrupt, and racist that its own employees have sued. It's a "highly profitable scam," Bob Moser warned, full of sexual predators and con artists.

So why, a full year after these revelations became public, is Amazon Smile still giving SPLC full veto power over its charity program? "I am not here accusing you as someone who would ever traffic in hate," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) pressed, "but it seems you have empowered people who do... The Southern Poverty Law Center, which you allow to dictate who can receive donations on your Amazon Smile platform, ha[s] said the American Family Association, the Family Research Council... and even Dr. Ben Carson are extremists and should be treated differently... I'm just wondering why you would place your confidence in a group that seems to be so out of step and seems to take mainstream Christian doctrine and label it as hate."

"Sir, it's a good question," Bezos admitted. He launched into a quick description of the program and then explained that they use "Southern Poverty Law Center data to say which charities are extremist organizations" and should be excluded. "But why?" Gaetz interrupted. "Since they're calling Catholics and Jewish groups hateful groups. Why would you trust them?" Bezos fumbled for a minute, then said, "Sir, I'm going to acknowledge this is an imperfect system, and I would love suggestions on better or additional sources..."

"My suggestion," Gaetz said firmly, "would be a divorce from the SPLC." If Bezos wants to police haters, that's his business. But SPLC can't even police its own hate -- let alone see past it to recognize others'. "Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on..." former executive Mark Potok said. "I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them."

Is that Amazon's aim too? Because the longer they let SPLC silence conservatives, the bigger hole they're digging for themselves. After all, one of the reasons for Wednesday's hearing was to determine which of these Silicon Valley billionaires can be trusted to treat Americans fairly. If they're going to align themselves with people who don't believe in speech, then Congress has all the motivation in the world to reconsider the special treatment they're getting from the U.S. government.

Craig Parshall, special counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice, warned that these "four horsemen of the Techpocalypse" -- Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook -- are in for a rude awakening if they think Republicans are the only ones who have a problem with their business models. "This is an extraordinary thing," he said, "because even in this very heated political climate, during an election season... one [thing] they are agreeing on is that... these Big Tech platforms have become monopolies and used their monopoly power unfairly." Maybe that means different things to Republicans and Democrats, but they're united where it counts: holding these titans' feet to the fire.

"The reason they've gotten big," Craig told Sarah Perry on "Washington Watch," is not just because they're brilliant, but also because "Congress gave them immunity back in 1996 under the Communications Decency Act to be free from almost every lawsuit -- which is an extraordinary gift that they've never given to any other company or set of companies or any part of our enterprise system under the free market." And look at what's happened. "They have been free not only to get large, but to be mean-spirited in the way they suppress conservative opinions."

So what do we do about it? We can't continue to have four of the biggest companies in the world picking and choosing winners in a marketplace where they have unlimited power. What we're coming to, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has warned "is a time of reckoning." At the end of the day, these platforms have a choice. They can start acting in good faith -- or they can watch as both sides of Congress unite with one target: them.

** The Washington Update is taking its own August recess -- but we'll make sure you stay informed and up-to-date with our Action Alerts! You can also keep up with what's happening by tuning into "Washington Watch" Monday through Friday at 5:05 p.m. (ET). Also, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 15 for our Stand Courageous livestream event for men! Check out the details here. **

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Polling on Girls' Sports Starts a Racket

July 31, 2020

Not every ruling at the Supreme Court is personal. But five of the justices have daughters -- and three of them went home one night in June knowing they'd destroyed their chance, and every girl's chance, at sports. Maybe, they'll rationalize, it was just a ruling on workplace discrimination. But we all know that in Bostock, the case that redefined human history's understanding of sex, it was a whole lot more than that.

"The ground is shaking." That's how CWA's Doreen Denny described it after the decision came down. After spending the last few years desperately trying to stop this transgender onslaught from destroying women's athletics, she -- like the rest of America -- was at a loss for words. "Congress has never legislated this way," she said. "And we need to be very vigilant to ensure that the decision that was reached by the court in Bostock is not extended in a way that it was never intended." Because Title IX, and every bit of progress made for women in the last 50 years, would be the first to go.

Sex has always meant biological sex. It's how Congress defined it in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and it's how every law in this country understood it until June 15, when six justices decided they knew better than God, science, and history. But just because these wannabe legislators decided to change thousands of years of humanity doesn't mean this administration -- or Americans -- will let them get away with it. The Trump administration has always taken the issue of protecting biological women very seriously. And when it comes to abolishing girls' sports and the proud history of competition, this president is doing everything he can to stop it.

From Idaho to Connecticut, the Justice and Education Departments are starting to take the fight to the other side in states where female athletes have lost national titles, opportunities, and scholarships to men posing as women. Now, Doreen points out, even the NCAA "has gone along the same track as the International Olympic Committee in declaring that if a biological male athlete takes a year of hormone treatment, then that athlete could go into the women's category and cheat against women." Even though the science shows that those inherent differences and physiological advantages don't go away.

When Idaho stood up and said, "not in our state," passing the first law in the country to protect girls' sports, the NCAA pitched a fit and threatened to boycott the state. After that slap in the face, 300 female athletes -- some of them former Olympians -- decided to write a letter to the organization's board of governors that essentially says, "Excuse me, we don't need activism against Idaho for doing something as basic as standing up for female athletes." Some of them are on the front lines suffering from this extreme political correctness and others are the pioneers who paved the way for women to have a place on the field. Together, they're pleading with the country to take a step back and consider what they're doing. A half-century of progress and protections are at stake.

And the country is listening. In new polling from 10 battleground states, the support for girls' sports is skyrocketing beyond what it was even a year ago. Seventy-five percent of voters said they object to mixed-gender sports. Even Doreen was surprised. "I think we've made some progress in [warning the country about] what's happening. And I think it's so common sense and basic for people that they're kind of wondering, 'Why are we even having this discussion right now?' But the reality is, this is real. This is not a hypothetical question of 'Will the Bostock decision now apply to Title IX and displace women?'" It's already happening. And it's wrong.

Look, she says, "If there are people listening who feel strongly about this, please send letters to the NCAA... Tell them it's not right, and that they should back off and that they should support female athletes. We need to make sure that our daughters today don't see the future for them as being something that's discouraging... And that's what's happened. And unfortunately, it's happened for athletes at the high school level. They weren't able to thrive and flourish to the extent that they would have liked to. They were disadvantaged at that place. And it's happening at the college level as well. And it will be in the Olympics next summer if there isn't a change."

Do your part. Call or email the NCAA and tell them to stop their war on our girls.

** The Washington Update is taking its own August recess -- but we'll make sure you stay informed and up-to-date with our Action Alerts! You can also keep up with what's happening by tuning into "Washington Watch" Monday through Friday at 5:05 p.m. (ET). Also, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 15 for our Stand Courageous livestream event for men! Check out the details here. **

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Return to Spender: House Passes Futile Approps Package

July 31, 2020

How much damage can House Democrats do in 1,165 pages? A lot. And Thursday's massive appropriations package was the latest -- and most expensive -- example. If you want a transgender-identifying military, legalized marijuana, taxpayer-funded abortion, medical coercion, genderless shelters, and zero privacy protections, you've got H.R. 7617. And no chance, the president says, of passing it.

Just the name of the bill is enough to give everyone a headache: the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act. But inside those six massive department spending proposals is a dangerous agenda to undermine this president's pro-life, pro-family, and pro-freedom accomplishments. And despite knowing that it will be dead-on-arrival in its present form, the House voted it through anyway.

Obviously, Republicans know, this is all about election-year messaging. They did their best to stop the liberal laden legislation, including a series of amendments from stalwarts like Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), which would have gotten rid of the special status for LGBT-identifying individuals in HUD housing shelters. Congressman Ron Wright (R-Texas) also took at stab at the Labor portion of the bill, hoping to keep the equal footing for faith-based groups in the agency's contracts. Unfortunately, with the numbers stacked against them, they failed.

But President Trump will have the last word, if the legislation makes it that far. Earlier this week, his team released a statement of administrative policy, outlining its strong opposition to the bill. In a 29-page missive, he takes specific aim at key parts of the package, including its attacks on his pro-life rules.

FRC, in its warning to members, laid out similar concerns, explaining that the proposal "would block the Trump administration's Protect Life Rule, which ensures Title X clinics are not collocated with abortion facilities and prohibits Title X grantees from referring patients for abortions. Second, it would block the implementation of the administration's Conscience Protection Rule that would enforce 25 existing civil rights statutes that protect health-care professionals' conscience rights. Enforcement of these statutes is vital, as the number of conscience complaints received has dramatically increased under the Trump administration. Finally, it would block the administration's rules protecting religious and moral objections to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage mandate."

On top of that, it eliminates $35 million for Sexual Risk Avoidance Education -- the only sex ed programs that work -- and blocks the government from working with faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that operate by their biblical beliefs.

The administration -- and Republicans in general -- are ready to work with Democrats to get a real budget agreement on the table. But this, they all agree, isn't it.

** The Washington Update is taking its own August recess -- but we'll make sure you stay informed and up-to-date with our Action Alerts! You can also keep up with what's happening by tuning into "Washington Watch" Monday through Friday at 5:05 p.m. (ET). Also, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 15 for our Stand Courageous livestream event for men! Check out the details here. **

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.