MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 3rd of December, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Today’s Giving Tuesday!
Now, before we get started today, I need to make a quick correction about yesterday’s Monday Moneybeat.
When I reported on record-breaking retail sales totals for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I left out one small word, and that’s the very-important word online. As in online sales. Which stands to reason, because these figures are estimates, and the only way to make such quick, reasonably accurate estimates is to pull the only instant data available, and that’s the online data.
So, online sales broke records.
It’ll be awhile before we know the overall figures. I predict the overall figures will be enormous. We set a record for retail sales in calendar year 2018 of $6 trillion, according to the Census Bureau.
So, sorry for the imprecision. I hope that fixes it.
REICHARD: Those are staggering numbers.
You know, I noticed in the news wires numerous stories about a sort of Black Friday backlash overseas, people boycotting stores and protesting what they say is harmful consumerism.
And from a Christian perspective, you want to resonate with that a little bit, not specifically the protesters’ message. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but there is something a bit unseemly about measuring solemn holidays like Thanksgiving by retail sales, right?
EICHER: Oh, sure, I don’t necessarily disagree with that, and I say that as a proponent of free-market economics. I’m an Austrian, I resonate with free trade on terms that are mutually agreeable, because in that way we meet our own needs and at the same time meet the needs of our neighbor.
That’s the beauty of the market, that it’s not coercive. It’s cooperative. It’s win-win.
And, along those lines, I mentioned Giving Tuesday and I want to suggest Giving Tuesday as a healthy addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Now, I love Christmas shopping. Because it is, it should be, about giving gifts to others, to our children and friends and family. But in addition to your early Christmas shopping, Giving Tuesday is a great day to remember your favorite charitable endeavors.
REICHARD: Well, it is. And this is a great kickoff to WORLD’s December Giving Drive. We’ll be talking more about that in the coming days: about the importance of supporting sound journalism grounded in God’s Word.
WORLD is a nonprofit, so that means your contributions qualify as tax-deductible. And with a community of believers powering this journalistic team, we are making a difference by modeling biblical objectivity and recapturing a historic vision for sound journalism.
EICHER: Yes, and “Giving Tuesday” is a perfect starting point.
This little idea for Giving Tuesday started back in 2012, and it’s grown as of last year to a $400-million day for all kinds of charities. 3.6 million people participated last year and they gave a little more than $100 each on Giving Tuesday.
I did a little figuring, looking at last year’s Cyber Monday, so we’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. In 2018, Cyber Monday was $7.9 billion and Giving Tuesday was 400 million, and that works out to roughly 5 percent. When it’s all counted, it’ll be more than $9 billion this Cyber Monday and if it’s a bellwether of giving, that ought to translate to $455 million for America’s Giving Tuesday and I hope it’s more than that.
America continues to be the most charitable nation on earth, and it’d be great to keep the title.
REICHARD: And WORLD Movers are, in my view, the most charitable group in our most charitable nation! We don’t have the specific stats to back this up, but we feel like it’s safe to say WORLD people aren’t 5 percenters. We’re 10 percenters. We’re 15 percenters. You have been so generous in the past to support our work, and we’re counting on you to keep doing it.
EICHER: We do know specifically that 90 percent of listeners to The World and Everything in It use mobile devices to listen, three quarters of our listeners use iOS, and I’m happy to let you know we’ve made mobile giving very, very easy—especially if you’re using an Apple product.
Of course, we have several other easy options, and all that’s spelled out on that page, wng.org/donate.
REICHARD: So if you’re thinking about participating in Giving Tuesday, I hope you’ll remember your friends here at WORLD and that you’ll support sound journalism, grounded in God’s word. Support us with a tax-deductible gift here on Giving Tuesday.
It’s a labor of love, what we do every day: we love doing it, but it is also labor, and it takes a team of co-laborers to make it all happen. So join our WORLD Mover team and you have our heartfelt thanks!
EICHER: Well, let’s get into the rest of our program, and we start out today with a legal setback for the pro-life movement.
Let’s go back four years. You may remember the name David Daleiden. He stunned the abortion industry with secretly recorded videos of candid conversations with Planned Parenthood executives.
Daleiden made those recordings at an abortion industry conference he infiltrated by posing as a trader in fetal tissue.
In the videos, the abortion providers talked about selling the body parts of aborted babies and making a profit from it.
REICHARD: Now, that’s illegal under federal law. But Planned Parenthood escaped any penalty in part by claiming Daleiden edited the videos in a deceptive way.
Then the abortion giant went after Dalieden in court—claiming he violated federal racketeering laws to make those recordings.
Last month, a California jury sided with Planned Parenthood and ordered Daleiden to pay more than $2 million dollars in damages. Joining us now to talk about what’s next is Peter Breen. He’s an attorney with the Thomas More Society, and he represents David Daleiden.
Good morning, Peter!
PETER BREEN, GUEST: Good morning! Thanks, Mary.
REICHARD: Planned Parenthood sued David Daleiden under the federal RICO statutes, the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations law. Can you explain in simple terms how Planned Parenthood made the case for a RICO violation?
BREEN: Well, they used a rarely—really, it was a rare part of RICO, a part that’s not really used. They said the fact that he used a couple of novelty IDs brought this within RICO. The problem is that is the same thing any other undercover journalist who takes on a cover story—they use these novelty IDs on a regular basis. We think that’s not going to hold up on appeal. But it is something that that was the theory that they went in with to get treble damages, multi-million dollars. And attorneys fees, which would be millions of dollars on top of the actual damages themselves.
REICHARD: Your firm has defended against RICO charges in other pro-life matters. Another case your firm was involved in called NOW v. Scheidler might help in Daleiden’s appeal from this latest ruling. How so?
BREEN: Right. And NOW v. Scheidler was—probably was the top pro-life case of the last 20 or 30 years until the David Daleiden cases. And that was to defend pro-life sidewalk activism, so sidewalk counselors and others who go to abortion facilities. We were able to beat that in the Supreme Court, although we took a tough jury verdict in that case as well out of Chicago. But that case established very clearly that when you are not obtaining property, so anytime you’re in an activist type situation where it’s a boycott or what have you, you’re not trying to steal from the people you’re boycotting or that you’re picketing or protesting, you just want people to stop going to those businesses and you want them to shut down. It was the same thing that was being done here. No one stole anything, harmed anything, took anything. All they did was, like any other undercover journalist, you start the camera rolling, you get people engaged in conversation, and they are much more candid with you because they don’t know they’re being taped than they would be if they were, for instance, under subpoena or being represented by lawyers and what have you.
REICHARD: This jury verdict obviously personally affects Daleiden a great deal. In a larger sense, though, if this verdict stands, what’s at stake as far as legal protections for pro-lifers?
BREEN: Well, this verdict has the potential to shut down any sort of undercover journalism against Planned Parenthood or any other abortion providers. And that is extremely important particularly in the blue states where you’ve seen prosecutors look the other way repeatedly when abortion clinics have legal violations and what have you. The only people who are there to be able to ensure that these folks are following the law are undercover or some other surreptitious actors. And so you could shut all of that down if this jury verdict holds true.
But even broader—and this is going to be one of our primary grounds for appeal—let’s say your issue isn’t abortion. Let’s say it’s animal rights. Let’s say it’s corrupt politicians. How are you going to do undercover journalism when you can’t use a cover story, when you cannot use a novelty ID to get into a building so that you can get into a meeting with that corrupt politician or the shady lawyer or whomever that needs to be investigated? There’s really broad, sweeping implications of this jury verdict.
REICHARD: We should also note that this was a civil lawsuit, but Daleiden and fellow activist Sandra Merrit still face criminal charges in California. Where does that case stand?
BREEN: Well, on December 6th, we are going to hear whether that case is going to go to jury trial. There are 14 counts remaining. We were able to get one of the 15 counts thrown out already, but what we’re trying to do is just slice off as many counts as we can. Because they’re really not supported by the evidence. And that case is about the undercover taping law in California. There’s a decade of San Quintin at risk on those charges if we are unsuccessful. So we’re going to do everything humanly possible. The nice thing about that case is we are able to put in more full evidence than the federal judge in the civil case was allowing us to do. And that is something that will assist us in terms of showing the public good of what David and his colleagues did.
REICHARD: Peter Breen is an attorney with the Thomas More Society. Thanks so much for joining us today.
BREEN: It’s great to be with you, Mary. Thanks.