Supreme Court Rejects Abortionists’ Demands for Church Emails

The Supreme Court rejected an abortion provider's bid to obtain private communications of Catholic officials who helped to lay the remains of aborted babies to rest.

On Monday, the high court announced that it would not take up Whole Woman's Health v. Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops in its next term. The Texas-based abortion chain was appealing a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that rejected its request to dig into the private communications of church officials who helped to bury the remains of aborted babies. The 2-1 majority not only affirmed that burying fetal remains was constitutional, but that the request to review Church records was rooted in intimidation.

"The First Amendment expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion—including the right of the Bishops to express their profound objection to the moral tragedy of abortion, by offering free burial services for fetal remains. By contrast, nothing in the text or original understanding of the Constitution prevents a state from requiring the proper burial of fetal remains," the Fifth Circuit said in its decision. "They leave this Court to wonder if this discovery is sought, inter alia, to retaliate against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life—but also for wanting to do something about it."

The abortion provider appealed the three-judge panel to the entire Fifth Circuit, asking that every judge in the weigh in on the case. That appeal was denied in August. The Catholic Church and its attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit law firm, welcomed the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Becket Senior Counsel Eric Rassbach said that allowing the case to move forward would punish religious believers and chase them from the public square.

"Thank goodness the Supreme Court saw this appeal for what it was: a nasty attempt to intimidate the bishops and force them to withdraw their offer to bury every child aborted in Texas," he said in a statement. "Abortion groups may think the bishops ‘troublesome,' but it is wrong to weaponize the law to stop the bishops from standing up for their beliefs."

The records request lawsuit began shortly after Whole Woman's Health successfully challenged abortion reforms passed by Texas. In 2016, justices ruled 5-4 that the law infringed on abortion access. In addition to safety regulations and hospital admitting privileges, the law also required that aborted baby remains be given proper burials, rather than treated as medical waste. Catholic cemeteries arranged free burials for aborted babies, which dragged it into Whole Woman's Health's lawsuit against the state government.

Whole Woman's Health did not return request for comment about the ruling.

Barney Frank: Green New Deal Is ‘Loser’ for Democrats

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) called the Green New Deal a "loser" for Democrats on Tuesday, saying that kind of radical change all at once could "destabilize a society."

"I think the Green New Deal would be a loser. I do not think that people are going to be advocating that whole package," Frank said on "Squawk Box." "There's not a lot in there I disagree with … But there's an argument that you don't destabilize a society by doing too much change at once.

"We have people who are skeptical of government, people like me who do want to expand the government role in some areas, need to understand that we have to show how that works. You have to do it in pieces, and then as you show it has worked, you can build on that," he added.

Known for his work on the Dodd-Frank legislation on financial regulation, Frank weighed in on CNBC about the growing 2020 Democratic field. He said the American people were "unpredictable" in choosing their presidents so he was reluctant to make predictions.

He said he was worried about the fringes on the right and left who thought their preferences mirrored those of the public.

Frank said he didn't think democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who officially announced Tuesday he was running for president, could be elected.

All Senate Democrats running for president have come out in support of the radical energy proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) to battle climate change. The Green New Deal proposal had a rough rollout, with Ocasio-Cortez's office releasing a derided "FAQ" on the resolution that included details like providing economic security for those "unwilling to work," putting an end to air travel and getting rid of farting cows.

The proposal itself is wildly ambitious and calls for extensive government intervention in the economy to meet the goal of 100 percent, zero-emission energy sources and the elimination of fossil fuel use. It also guarantees a "family-sustaining wage" and high-quality health care for all Americans, in addition to calling for actions like upgrading every building in America for energy efficiency and expanding high-speed rail to a point where air travel becomes unnecessary.

Republicans have attacked the Green New Deal for being impractical and pushing the country toward socialism.

Sanders Brags About Democratic Party’s Leftward Lurch

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) took pride Tuesday morning in how far left the Democratic Party has shifted toward his socialist policies, remarking how many of his once extreme views are now mainstream.

Sanders, who earlier Tuesday announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential race, told "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson that he was "very proud" of the party's lurch to the left. He argued that what sets him apart from the crowded field vying for the Democratic nomination for president is not his policy platform, but his role in creating the platforms of the other candidates.

Sanders pointed out that when he ran for president 2016, he was viewed as a fringe candidate.

"In 2016, many of the ideas that I talked about – ‘Medicare for all,' raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free – all of those ideas people said [were so radical]," he said.

"‘Oh Bernie, they're so radical, they are extreme, the American people just won't accept those ideas,'" he recalled critics saying.

Sanders, a self-described socialist, proved a grassroots juggernaut during the 2016 Democratic primaries, raising millions of dollars in online donations and winning 23 primary contests. He lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

The newly announced 2020 candidate celebrated how his ideas are now setting the bar for the Democratic Party.

"Well you know what's happened in over three years?" he asked Dickerson. "All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream."

Sanders is running against a number of Democratic senators, many of whom have rushed to endorse his proposals. Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), and others support "Medicare for all," which the libertarian Mercatus Center pegs at $32 trillion. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), along with Harris and Booker, support the Green New Deal, a multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus proposal to eliminate U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, all while also addressing economic equality. Although, Klobuchar appeared to temper her support last week for the progressive resolution, calling it "aspirational."

When asked if he agreed the Democratic Party had moved his way, Sanders said he didn't "want to say that" but agreed "most people" would say as much.

Wyoming Blocks Death Penalty Abolition

The Wyoming state Senate late last week voted down a proposal to abolish the death penalty in the state.

State senators voted 12-to-18 against the abolition proposal, the Casper Star Tribune reported. This marked a reversal from its hearing in committee, when the bill received unanimous support from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If passed, the bill would have replaced all sentences of death with a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. This would have made Wyoming the 21st state to abolish the death penalty, according to the pro-abolition Death Penalty Information Center.

Abolition had previously passed the state House, on the back of a bipartisan coalition of anti-death-penalty Democrats and new pro-reform Republicans. The latter group, led by bill author Rep. Jared Olsen, made its argument based in large part on fiscal conservative grounds—thanks to never-ending procedural wrangling by defense attorneys, capital trials can cost states millions of dollars to prosecute.

The bill attracted the support of House Republican leadership, including House Speaker Steve Harshman, House Majority Leader Eric Barlow, and House Majority Whip Rep. Tyler Lindholm. It also was backed by the state's branch of the ACLU and the Roman Catholic dioceses of Cheyenne.

But this support was not enough to clinch victory in the more conservative Senate, even though some state senators voiced similar fiscal concerns.

Had it passed, abolition in Wyoming would have been largely a symbolic gesture. Mark Hopkinson, killer of four, remains the only individual to actually be executed in Wyoming since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. The state's death row is completely empty. With just 15 murders in 2017, it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

Because of its highly limited impact, the effort to abolish capital punishment in Wyoming can be understood as part of a larger effort by abolitionists to run up the number of states without the death penalty. Clinching a majority of states or more would allow abolitionists to argue that "evolving standards of decency"—which the Supreme Court has used to interpret the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment" since 1957—have reached the point of excluding execution as an acceptable consequence for murder.

Despite Wyoming's rejection of abolition, there remain a number of states where the death penalty is up for debate. Opponents of capital punishment claimed a supermajority in the New Hampshire state Senate on election day, criminal justice news site The Appeal reported. The Senate had previously voted for abolition, but been vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu (R.)—the new supermajority would allow an override of that veto.

In Washington state, meanwhile, the state Supreme Court ruled in October that death penalty in its current form violated the Washington constitution. Presidential contender Gov. Jay Inslee (D.) lauded the ruling, calling it a "a hugely important moment in our pursuit for equal and fair application of justice."

Notably, the Washington ruling applied only to capital punishment as currently constituted—voters or the legislature may move to fix it, just as Californians did in 2014.

Other red states are also weighing the possibility of abolition. Kentucky State House Whip Chad McCoy (R.) had introduced an abolition bill, telling the Hill, "when you talk about death penalty, a lot of people immediately want to have a criminal justice angle on it or a morality angle. And mine is purely economics."

U.S. Concerned Over Hezbollah’s Growing Role in Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah's growing role in the Lebanese government worries the United States, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon said during a meeting with Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Tuesday, according to the U.S. embassy.

The armed Shi'ite group, which is backed by Iran and listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, controls three of the 30 ministries in Hariri's new cabinet, the largest number it has ever held. They include the Health Ministry, which has the fourth-largest budget in the state.

U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, speaking after the meeting, said she had been "very frank … about U.S. concern over the growing role in the cabinet of an organization that continues to maintain a militia that is not under the control of the government", according to an embassy statement.

Richard, who did not name Hezbollah, said the group "continues to make its own national security decisions – decisions that endanger the rest of the country".

It also "continues to violate the government’s disassociation policy by participating in armed conflict in at least three other countries", she said. Lebanon's official policy of disassociation is intended to keep it out of the region's conflicts.

Hezbollah's regional clout has expanded as it sends fighters to Mideast conflicts, including the war in neighboring Syria, where it has fought in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Together with groups and individuals that see its arsenal as an asset to Lebanon, Hezbollah won more than 70 of the 128 seats in parliament in an election last year. Hariri, who is backed by the West, lost more than a third of his MPs.

A new unity cabinet, which took nearly nine months to put together, largely reflects the election result.

The United States has supplied the Lebanese military with more than $2.3 billion in assistance since 2005, aiming to support it as "the sole, legitimate defender" of the country. The United States is the largest provider of development, humanitarian and security assistance to Lebanon, Richard said.

"In just this last year alone, the United States provided more than $825 million in U.S. assistance – and that’s an increase over the previous year."

(Writing by Tom Perry, editing by Larry King)

Kamala Harris’s Jamaican Ancestors ‘Turning in Their Grave,’ Her Father Says

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris's new embrace of smoking marijuana didn't go well back in Jamaica, where her father said her ancestors would be "turning in their grave" after hearing her stereotype the island's people as "pot-smoking joy seekers."

Harris cited her Jamaican heritage last week when she admitted to smoking marijuana. The California senator scoffed at claims that she opposes legalizing the drug by saying, "Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" She said she supports legalization because smoking "gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy."

Her father Donald Harris, who came to the United States from Jamaica in pursuit of a graduate degree in economics, took issue with his daughter's use of the drug stereotype as she runs for president.

"My dear departed grandmothers, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics," he said in a statement to Jamaica Global that gained attention in the United States over the weekend.

"Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty," he said.

Harris has taken heat stateside for her new stance on legalized marijuana, which she openly opposed as California's attorney general, when she locked up over 1,500 individuals for marijuana-related crimes. She has been accused of lying about the timing of her marijuana use, which she says she only tried in college.

MSNBC Panel Mocks Kamala Harris for Awkward Reaction to Her Tweet About Smollett Story

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday mocked Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) for her awkward response to questions about her tweet calling the alleged attack on actor Jussie Smollett a "modern-day lynching."

2020 Democratic presidential candidates were quick to pounce on the alleged attack of Smollett, a gay, black actor, after he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in late January. He initially alleged two men beat him up in a Chicago street, poured bleach on him, placed a rope around his neck, and yelled, "This is MAGA country," referring to President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan. However, the narrative changed over the weekend when it was reported Chicago Police are now investigating whether he orchestrated his own attack. Authorities suspect the actor paid two brothers, who are now cooperating fully with law enforcement, to carry out the purported attack.

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski played a clip of a reporter asking Harris about her tweet from Jan. 29 reacting to Smollett's initial story. She praised Smollett in the tweet as "one of the kindest, most gentle human beings" she knows. "This was an attempted modern day lynching," she added.

"Which tweet? What tweet?" Harris asked the reporter during an appearance at a bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire.

"About saying that it is a ‘modern day lynching,'" the reporter said, prompting Harris to look to her left for an unknown reason and laughing before facing the reporter again, who added, "Jussie Smollet."

"Um, uh, OK, so, I will say this about that case. I think that the facts are still unfolding, and, um, I’m very, um, concerned about obviously, the initial, um, allegation that he made about what might have happened," Harris said, according to the Fox News report.

She went on to say everyone could comment after an investigation has been completed.

"And I think that once the investigation has concluded then we can all comment, but I’m not going to comment until I know the outcome of the investigation," she said.

Co-host Joe Scarborough responded to clip by saying Harris looked like she didn't know anything about the tweet. He then quickly clarified that he wasn't making any excuses for her and that "the buck stops with her."

Mike Barnicle, a frequent "Morning Joe" guest agreed with Scarborough and said she did "as well as you can do" in a moment when you don't have a response. He then proceeded to imitate Harris's gestures.

Guest Tom Nichols, explaining he was once a Senate staffer, warned Harris against throwing her staffers under the bus for the tweet.

Brzezinski said if the 2020 hopeful did send the tweet herself, she needs to take full ownership.

"Do you really think these candidates are tweeting 24/7? No. They have people tweeting for them and let me tell you, ‘Stop.' Only tweet when you're tweeting. It's not going to work otherwise," Brzezinski said. "When you have people tweeting for you. Ooh. It's not helpful, and something like that will happen. If she did tweet that, she's going to have to completely roll it back and take ownership for it."

She further warned about jumping to conclusions when it comes to the Smollett case, advice many in the media didn't heed in their immediate response to the actor's accusations.

"We don't know what happened, and this is a problem. Everyone thinks mob rule is where we are going to go. It's not going to work in the elections. It's not going to work for Democrats," Brzezinski said.

The Media’s Credulous Response to the Jussie Smollett Case

Actor Jussie Smollett's claims of being the victim of a horrific hate crime last month are beginning to come apart, but that didn't stop national press members from reacting with painful credulity at the outset of what was always an implausible tale.

Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men in January who recognized him from his Fox show "Empire," in the middle of the night in an affluent Chicago neighborhood with temperatures around zero degrees. He said they beat him up, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and then ran off. He also said they yelled "This is MAGA country" at him, to indicate the assailants were supporters of President Donald Trump.

Now, investigators have reason to believe Smollett orchestrated the attack himself and the entire thing was an elaborate hoax, although the entertainer maintains he is a victim.

Yet at the time of the incident, newscasts played up the "brutal" attack and some news chyrons blindly accepted Smollett's turn of events, such as one from MSNBC that read "Breaking News: ‘Empire' Star Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago by men hurling racist and homophobic slurs." MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle mourned the "horrible" assault, while CNN's Brooke Baldwin intoned, "This is America in 2019," adding the details were "absolutely despicable."

E! News personalities reacted in horror at the "stomach-churning" details of the attack, and one "Entertainment Tonight" reporter said at the conclusion of one of his segments that his "prayers were with Jussie."

ABC News host Robin Roberts interviewed Smollett last week for "Good Morning America" and asked such softball questions that one CNN analyst said later it "was a celebrity interview more than a news person interview."

"It's been two weeks since that night left actor Jussie Smollett bruised but not broken, and he's still processing the raw emotions," Roberts said over footage of Smollett wiping away tears with a tissue.

Smollett reiterated during the interview that the nature of his attack was political, saying it was because he comes "really hard at 45," a reference to Trump being the 45th president. He cried several times and said he couldn't bear the idea his attackers wouldn't be brought to justice.

Chicago Police now believe Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to CNN.

The initial media reaction was worse on Twitter. Mediaite compiled dozens of media members who repeated Smollett's account and often tied it to the culture of Trump's politics.

In contrast, local Chicago reporters have dug into the story since it began. Cracks were subsequently exposed in Smollett's story, and the police turned their investigation around.

The initial reaction was even more stark in the 2020 White House race, with Democratic presidential candidates and other progressive politicians immediately tweeting out their horror and condemnation of the purported attack. Trump also called the attack terrible when asked about it at the White House.

Only now are some hopefuls like Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) saying they want to wait for all the facts before commenting further.

If only the national press were this incredulous in the first place.

77-Year-Old Democratic Socialist Announces Bid for President

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, announced on Tuesday that he is launching his second presidential campaign.

Sanders made the announcement on Vermont Public Radio, telling his home state he would travel around the country with "the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of."

"First of all, I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first. What I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of – our belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics and town meetings – that's what I'm going to carry all over this country," Sanders said.

He suggested part of his reason for running is to rid the White House of the "embarrassment" of President Donald Trump.

"I think he is a pathological liar every day," Sanders said of Trump. "He is telling one lie or another and it gives me no pleasure to say that, but I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants."

Sanders, who ran unsuccessfully against Hilary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, said the next president must be someone who brings people together rather than someone who divides.

"[W]e began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it's time to move that revolution forward and make sure those ideas are implemented into policy," Sanders said.

Sanders also announced his intention on Twitter. "I'm running for president. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least 1 million people from across the country," he tweeted.

The Trump campaign said in response to Sanders's announcement that due to the Democratic Party's move to embrace his "brand of socialism," the democratic socialist "has already won the debate in the Democrat primary."

Republican Party spokesman Michael Ahrens said most Americans, unlike Democratic Party leaders, oppose Sanders's "radical agenda."

"Bernie Sanders is a self-avowed socialist who wants to double your taxes so the [government] can take over your health care. The vast majority of voters oppose his radical agenda, just like they are going to oppose all 2020 Dems who have rushed to embrace it."

The Sanders campaign released a longer – nearly 11 minute – presidential announcement here.

Sanders enters into the race as one of the progressive frontrunners in a field of 2020 candidates focused on several progressive proposals like "Medicare for all" and the Green New Deal.

"I can tell you very happily, and I think any objective observer would confirm what I'm saying, is that in the last year and half or so, the Democratic party has moved in a far more progressive direction than they were before I ran for president," he said in an interview with CNN last year.

Update 10:51 a.m.: This report was updated with responses from the Trump campaign and Republican Party.

Hypnotizing the World: Omar Has Ties to Radical Anti-Israel, Anti-American Group

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) has ties to a group that includes numerous radical anti-American and anti-Israel activists on its board of directors.

Notes of support posted to the controversial congresswoman's door include a message from the organization Witness for Peace. "Keep up the good work!" the note reads, signed, "Witness for Peace Columbia Team :)."

The note appeared the same week Omar attacked Elliott Abrams, a Jewish-American and longtime diplomat who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations. Abrams is now the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela. Omar has sided with the socialist government in Venezuela, accusing the Trump administration of leading a "U.S.-backed coup" against Nicolas Maduro.

Witness for Peace got its start fighting the Reagan administration's anti-communist policies during the Cold War, specifically the group opposed funding the Contras in Nicaragua. Abrams, who Omar called "Mr. Adams," pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, and was later pardoned.

"Faith-based peace activists founded Witness for Peace in response to the U.S. funding of the Contras," its website states. In 1984 "Witness for Peace activists across the country organized events to resist Reagan's war on Central America," the group said.

Omar attended a delegation sponsored by Witness for Peace to Honduras in November 2017. She returned to the Minnesota House of Representatives calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Honduras, a position shared by the radical group Code Pink.

Witness for Peace is now led by a group of radical board members who have taken positions against America, Israel, democracy, and capitalism.

Members of the board include activists who have called for efforts to "dismantle U.S. militarism," accused Israel of inflicting "institutionalized racism that equates to modern day apartheid," and pro-Maduro activists who write "dear comrade" letters calling for war against capitalism. One board member has ties to a group founded by a Palestinian activist who called for the "eradication of Israel."

Upon her election to Congress, Omar received a wave of glowing media coverage as the first Somali-American Muslim legislator. Since, she has come out in favor of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, and has called Israel "evil," and accused the only democracy in the Middle East of "hypnotizing the world."

This week Omar received widespread condemnation for again making anti-Semitic remarks on Twitter, and was forced to apologize.

Her views on several issues align with the group Witness for Peace, whose campaigns include calls to "stop ICE raids," issuing a "solidarity statement" with migrant caravans, and calling for the return of the "illegally occupied Guantanamo Naval Base to the Cuban people!"

The group facilitates travel to Cuba, and attacks the Trump administration as "regressing us toward the old unjust, counterproductive Cold War posture of past decades."

Witness for Peace highlighted one trip taken by Mercy Carpenter, a community organizer, artist, and farmer, who said the people of Cuba face "oppression resulting in evidence of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism." Cuba is a communist country.

Carpenter said she "felt right at home," though she said "every space we visited echoed that their work is committed to inspiring daily transformations against Transphobia, Homophobia, Racism, Ageism, Sexism, Ableism and Colorism."

Nevertheless, she felt "honored to have visited a country" with free healthcare, where "housing and food are provided for all."

Witness for Peace lists three board members on its English-version website, including Eunice Escobar, Atrayus O. Goode, and Maricelly Malave.

Escobar, the group's treasurer, also works for the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, and is a board member of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America.

The mission of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) is to "dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence."

Like Omar, CRLN has called America's recognition of Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela a "right-wing" "attempted coup against" socialist Maduro.

Atrayus O. Goode, another board member, is the chair of Movement of Youth, Inc., and a vocal critic of Israel.

Goode gave a sermon in 2017 after traveling to the Middle East, accusing Israel of "modern day apartheid."

"The Israeli military occupation and illegal Jewish settlements at the heart of the city have forced thousands of Palestinian residents to leave their homes," he said. "Thousands of Palestinians were systematically uprooted and dispossessed from their land at the hands of the Israeli government in order for a few hundred Jewish settlers to walk around that land free."

Goode continued: "This type of structural violence enacted by the Israeli government on everyday Palestinian citizens is nothing more than a regime of systemic and institutionalized racism that equates to modern day apartheid."

Goode accuses Israel of "stealing land and displacing Palestinians by any means necessary," and compared Israel to America as governments of "white supremacy."

"If you change the word Israeli Jew to white and Palestinian to black, depending on the time period, you would think I was talking about America," he said. "America's sin was this country being founded as a white society on the stolen land of Native Americans and on the enslavement of Africans. It was whiteness being written into legislation in the late 1600s, it was all the subsequent laws and policies that reinforce white supremacy even up until this day."

Witness for Peace has an expanded list of its board of directors on its less frequently updated Spanish-version of its website. Goode and Escobar are still listed, along with other anti-Israel activists, including Phyllis Albritton, who was identified as a "Gaza donor."

Albritton was listed in a to Friends of Sabeel newsletter in 2012 as a "Gaza donor" for giving between $500 and $999 to the organization. The same newsletter announced the group's "new faith-based boycott campaign" against SodaStream, the Israel-based company.

"All Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine are illegal by international law and are also against U.S. policy as obstacles to peace," the newsletter states. "Yet settler products are sold in the U.S. If we buy them, we contribute to settlement funding and prolong the suffering they cause."

Friends of Sabeel supports the BDS movement, and advocates for being a "moral voice" against "Israel's periodic offensives on Gaza and exponential encroachment in the West Bank."

Albritton volunteered her email address to the comments on a Code Pink petition to "stop the abuse of Palestinian children," and has called for imposing sanctions on Israel.

"Living with hope that this will happen," Albritton commented on an article, entitled, "Will Obama Impose Sanctions Against Israel?"

"How long, O Lord, how long? How about sanctions AND cutting WAY back on the military aid we give to Israel," she wrote. "Proud of my Jewish heritage, I am not against Israel's right to exist but NOT beyond the 1967 border!!"

Albritton also signed onto a letter calling for peace with Iran. One of Omar's top donors sponsored a "No war on Iran" campaign, which advocated for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.

Also on the board of directors is Jeanette Charles, who worked for the Witness for Peace Southwest division. She is a member of the Chiapas Support Committee, a pro-Maduro group that blames the United States and Israel for a "coup attempt" against Maduro.

Charles participated in an event at Scripps College on "Charting Radical Futures with Black Lives Matter," which explored ending "anti-black state sanctioned violence."

She also has given talks pro-Venezuelan regime talks at Scripps, according to the College Fix, including one where she called Hugo Chávez "god-like."

Charles believes socialism in Venezuela is "our greatest hope against war and capitalism."

"Dear comrades in the U.S. and the world," Charles wrote in 2017.

Charles said Venezuela is "leading the struggle against U.S. hegemony," praising its socialist regime, which has resulted in hyperinflation, shortages, imprisonment of political prisoners, and starvation.

Charles supports Chávez's socialist programs as "political and spiritual transformations," praised its "reparations model," while denouncing America's "laws drafted by a white slave-owning elite class."

"As Venezuelans struggle to overcome great challenges, our role is not to join the chorus of attacks that seek to dismantle the revolution, but rather, it is to stand with Venezuelans' right to self-determination in defining, shaping and practicing a 21st century socialism that offers our greatest hope against war and capitalism," Charles wrote.

Charles has written several other articles as a "Solidarity Correspondent" to the socialist regime, claiming in August 2018 Venezuela is at the "forefront of a global vision for justice, liberation and building another world."

"In twenty or fifty years, today and tomorrow's decisions will hopefully bring Venezuela closer to the socialist society that leaders like Comandante Chávez and the comunerxs (communards) envision," she wrote. "However, much of the nation’s success is contingent on its ability (and of those in solidarity) to fight against US efforts to destabilize Venezuela as well as the region politically and economically."

In September 2018 she praised "Chávez's vision of a multipolar world and an inclusive society radically rooted in the people’s determination to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives."

Another board member is Bette "Rainbow" Hoover, a Quaker and anti-war activist who founded CASA de Maryland, a left-wing group that supports illegal immigrants. Accuracy in Media identified CASA as a radical group with ties to Code Pink.

Hoover told the Capital Research Center the group aided illegal aliens who were communist guerrillas who fought in El Salvador's civil war. The group was involved in creating a brochure "explaining how illegal aliens can protect themselves during immigration raids and arrest."

Hoover claimed the Maryland State Police mistakenly labeled her a terrorist in 2009.

Board member Paul Magno is an anti-nuclear weapons activist with Nonviolence International, which was founded by Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad in 1989.

Awad called for the "eradication of Israel as a Jewish state," according to an editorial written by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting published in the Washington Post in 1988.

"The PLO wants the entire Palestine and I agree," Awad said. "Palestine for me is the Galilee, Akko, Ashdod, everything. This is Palestine for me."

Magno is a "Plowshares" activist who "uses hammers and blood to convey its message" for eliminating nuclear weapons. He was arrested in the 1980s and served 20 months in prison for breaking into a military plant and damaged missile equipment in Florida.

Gail Phares is listed as a board member working for Witness for Peace Southeast. Phares is anti-military activist who began protesting anti-communist interventions in the 1960s.

"We all need to be radicalized," she said in an interview with Indy Week, a progressive newspaper in North Carolina.

"For me, it was seeing the economic power and the military power of the U.S. government," Phares said about her early activism in Nicaragua. "I was appalled."

"And I came home, so angry that I didn't read body language back then," she said. "My dad thought I was a communist."