February 18, 2011
Labor Union Madness in Wisconsin: Coming to a Legislature Near You?
I don't have much time, but this situation in Wisconsin is too much to ignore. The state is broke and labor unions are the big part of the problem. The story, in brief is this:
Union protesters and Democrat lawmakers will attempt to prevent for a second day a vote in the Wisconsin Senate that would increase public employees' contributions to retirement and health benefits and strip unions of the power to bargain for higher salaries.
The grassroots political operation of President Obama, who on Wednesday denounced the austerity legislation as an "attack on unions," has swung in behind the government workers. Organizing for America, the activist organizing wing of the Democratic National Committee is helping keep the pressure on Republican lawmakers who plan to pass the legislation today.
Members of the Service Employees International Union, the most influential union in national Democratic circles, have also joined the fray in support of the government workers. The SEIU is helping man an around-the-clock occupation of the central halls of the state capital.
SEIU, of course, is the labor union that spawned ACORN, which is as near a criminal organization as I can tell
And instead of demanding civility from the union thugs, Obama is egging them on.
Instead of doing their duty, Democrat lawmakers have fled so as to prevent a quorum, which prevents a vote on a bill designed to reign in the excesses of public sector labor unions.
The measure would increase the contributions of public employees to their own retirement and medical benefits. The plan, put forward by new Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., would have public workers make equal contributions to their retirement funds (teachers currently contribute $1 for every $56.94 from the state) and increase workers' share of health insurance premiums to 12.6 percent. Teachers in most districts currently pay less than 5 percent of their insurance costs. The national average for workers is 27 percent.
While the increased contributions are a sore spot, the greatest anger among demonstrators is over the portion of the bill that would strip public workers of the right to bargain for higher wages, benefits and changes to job duties. Pay raises for public workers would be subject to voter approval. Under the law, the state would also stop withholding union dues from government paychecks and make due payments strictly voluntary.
I see little reason for public sector labor unions in the first place. They certainly should not have collective bargaining power, or the ability to require dues from workers.
Sure, if it was 1911 I'd not only be a big fan or labor unions, I'd be an organizer myself. You don't have to believe everything Upton Sinclair said about how terrible the situation was in factories to believe that workers needed unions to protect them. Labor unions have a history to be proud of, because they were once needed. And even today, I'm ok with labor unions for coal miners and the like. But for the most part unions have outlived their usefulness, and cause more harm than good.
Although they are not allowed by law to strike, it appears that many of them are doing just that with a mass campaign to "call in sick." Many teachers are protesting the proposed legislation "by taking sick days in massive numbers, shutting down schools across the state."
The obligatory comparison of a Republican to Hitler:
A few thoughts by writers I like. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, quoting an email he received from a reader:
1)"What Walker is doing isn't unprecedented--18 states deny collective bargaining rights to some classes of public workers, or allow municipalities to do so. Virginia and North Carolina have outright bans on public sector collective bargaining. And nearly every state has some sort of restrictions on the scope of collective bargaining- for example, in New York, pension benefits are an excluded subject from collective bargaining."
2) "Boosting pensions is an especially attractive way for unions to increase members' overall compensation because pensions are commitments that come home to roost far in the future, when the politicians negotiating them will no longer be in office. Getting wage raises is harder because the must be factored into budgets immediately. So, reducing collective bargaining to wages only is a big deal."
Coming to a legislature near you?
Victor Davis Hanson, on the union thuggery in Wisconsin and Obama's hypocrisy on the issue of "civility":
When President Obama called for a new civility, I was somewhat confused. In 2004-7, the uncivil demagoguery of the Left damaged Bush; immediately after Obama's call for civility, someone wrote an "I hate Joe Lieberman" column; now, Governor Walker-Nazi signs have appeared in Madison. Given that the country polls center-right, the hysterical style is something that the modern Left uses to counteract public opinion; Obama has condemned a methodology that is predominately embraced by his own hard-core base. (Indeed, swarming someone's private home, or using terms like "enemy" and "punish," are not unknown to either the younger or older Obama.) The result is the hypocrisy of condemning the incivility that will only become more useful to the Left as the election nears.
More from Hanson's post:
At some point, Obama will have to see what Gov. Jerry Brown here in California has already realized: Out-of-whack public-employee compensation and pensions drain the treasury and preclude grandiose green projects and other dubious liberal programs. To put it rather crassly, the liberal calculus often works out as mostly older white guys wanting their unsustainable pension and benefit payouts while the "other" and the more needy are shorted from receiving proper public attention. Since the states cannot print money and often lose population to other states when they raise taxes, the reality is that the well-off are enjoying perks that younger and private-sector workers lack while social services and the green visions of an Al Gore or a 2008 Obama are defunded.
Of course, the teachers are recruiting their students to go and protest at the state capital. Think they'll face any discipline? Of course not.
On Valentine's Day, over 100 students in tiny Stoughton, Wis., marched out of their classrooms and into the unseasonably warm air. They had decided to protest Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's new bill to require higher pension and health-care contributions from state and local government employees.
As a student "union" leader barked into a megaphone in the background, one high-school junior expressed his concern for his teachers. "A lot of my teachers have been really concerned about this -- they don't know if they're going to have jobs next year or not," he worried.
Two days later, schools in Madison canceled classes so teachers could join 20,000 people in picketing the capitol building. A 700-student entourage from Madison East High School, urged on by their teachers, marched the three miles from their school to the capitol. Wisconsin's MacIver Institute, armed with a video camera, asked one of the students what the group was there to protest. "We're trying to stop whatever this dude is doing," he eruditely explained.
This "dude" is trying to fill a $3.6 billion hole in the state's budget by requiring state and local government employees to pay 5.8 percent of their salary towards their pensions (most currently pay nothing), and increasing their share of health-care premiums to 12 percent (double their current share). Governor Walker's plan would also eliminate collective bargaining for almost everything except salary for government employees.
States around the union are finding that the cost curve of generous benefits to unionized workers is simply not sustainable. Politicians, mostly liberal, promised the moon in return for votes and figured they'd be out of office when the bills came due. They are coming due now. The entitlements crunch is hitting us, and it's being played out before our eyes.
We can either cave to the unions and go the route of Europe, whereby we enter the long slow slide of ever slower economic growth with permanent high unemployment, or we can take the hard decisions, break the unions, and put our country back on a sound financial footing. I wish that Governor Walker and the Republicans didn't have to do what they are doing. But they won the election because the people in Wisconsin saw what was happening to their state, and they are trying to make good on their campaign promises. The labor unions are trying to subvert the vote. Let's hope that the governor succeeds, and the unions fail.
February 12, 2011
Mubarak Resigns: What Next? Different Views
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned yesterday and left the country. A few years ago I would have been more optimistic about the chances for real democracy than I am today. Maybe I've just read too much about Islam or the Middle East, or I've been jaded by our experience in Iraq.
Nonie Darwish' book Now They Call Me Infidel certainly didn't help. Darwish grew up in Egypt in the 1950s, and now lives in America. Her visits back to her home country have convinced her that Egypt is moving backwards, becoming more Islamist, rather than less. They are rejecting Western ways, not embracing them.
Reading about Islam in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular hasn't helped either. You don't have to believe everything Walid Phares, Bruce Bawer, Walter Laqueur, Melanie Phillips , Oriana Fallaci, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bernard Lewis, Mark Steyn, Steve Emerson, John Guandolo, Andrew McCarthy, Steve Emerson, Robert Spencer and oh about a few hundred other scholars and experts have to say to know that Islam in much of the world has a problem with we in the West think of as liberty and democracy.
Read this - I use "democracy" here to mean the process of voting, and "liberty" to be those things we have in our Bill of Rights. Democracy and liberty are therefore not completely synonymous. You can and certainly have the vote in many countries where they do not have civil liberties, although the reverse is not often the case.
There just don't seem to be many or any true Muslim democrats. There is no reform movement of any significance within Islam. Our own failure, under GWB and continued under Obama, to support Muslim democrats and an Islamic reform movement.
Sure, there are a few reform minded Muslims and organizations, which I've profiled on Redhunter. People like Dr Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and Irshad Manji, and organizations like the Free Muslims Coalition, the International Quranic Center, Muslims Agrainst Sharia, and the Quillam Foundation. But if you haven't heard of any of these except perhaps the first, there's a reason; they're rejected by most other Muslims. This is tragic, and something we need to try and reverse, though even the Bush Administration didn't do much in the way of embracing Muslim reformers and democrats.
Different Views on the Right
I think these excerpts capture the essence of these two editorials, but follow the link and read the whole thing if you prefer.
The optimistic view
Stand for Freedom
The Weekly Standard
February 14, 2011
It was not so long ago, after all, when conservatives understood that Middle Eastern dictatorships such as Mubarak's help spawn global terrorism. We needn't remind our readers that the most famous of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, was an Egyptian, as is al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al Zawahiri. The idea that democracy produces radical Islam is false: Whether in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories, or Egypt, it is the dictatorships that have promoted and abetted Islamic radicalism. (Hamas, lest we forget, established its tyranny in Gaza through nondemocratic means.) Nor is it in any way "realist" to suggest that backing Mubarak during this crisis would promote "stability." To the contrary: The situation is growing more unstable because of Mubarak's unwillingness to abdicate. Helping him cling to power now would only pour fuel on the revolutionary fire, and push the Egyptian people in a more anti-American direction....
It's understandable that conservatives should be wary of people taking to the streets--even when they are entitled to do so. It's also reasonable for conservatives to warn of the unanticipated consequences of ostensibly hopeful developments....
Conservatives are used to focusing on the downsides of situations. And there are potential downsides ahead, to be sure. But there is also a huge upside to a sound and admirable outcome in Egypt. American conservatives should remember our commitment, in the words of Federalist 39, to "that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government."
Egypt turns out to have its votaries of freedom. The Egyptian people want to exercise their capacity for self-government. American conservatives, heirs to our own bold and far-sighted revolutionaries, should help them.
The pessimistic view:
The Egyptian Precipice
February 11, 2011
The interest of the United States in Egypt is to avoid the worst case -- chaos, or a takeover of the state by the Muslim Brotherhood. That means we should want a very deliberate process of transformation, playing out over an extended period rather than all in a rush in the coming weeks or months. The best way to buy time for careful change shepherded by the Egyptian military is to do as much as possible now to meet the protesters' reasonable demands, beginning with Mubarak's resignation....
Elections have to be delayed so that players besides the Brotherhood can organize. We want to give independent political parties, journalists, and activists the space they need to build the foundations of a democratic polity. It very well may be that there's no way to deny the Brotherhood a role in the political process, but we shouldn't welcome that fact, and we shouldn't tell ourselves ridiculous bedtime stories about what the Brotherhood is, as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did in his congressional testimony yesterday.
Count us as cautiously pessimistic on Egypt. It needn't go the way of Iran in 1979. Yet we should remember that Egypt -- for all the hope represented by the young, tech-savvy protesters -- is a society with basically illiberal values. Simply throwing elections on top of such a society is not a formula for liberal democracy.
Our friend Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard writes, "An American conservatism that looks back to 1776 cannot turn its back on the Egyptian people." No one should turn his back on the protesters, who have risked their lives for what they imagine will be a better future. But we should be careful about comparisons to the American Revolution. In 1776, America already had a vast amount of experience with elections, self-government, and the rule of law; we were already in important respects a democratic society.
Egypt doesn't have that luxury, which is why its revolution must be handled with the utmost care.
What does President Obama Think?
If the views of retired Air Force Lt. General James R. Clapper, recently appointed by the president to replace Dennis Blair as the Director of National Intelligence are any indication, we're in deep trouble:
He has since, ah, "clarified" his statement, or rather, the White House clarified it for him, but readers can judge for their own what he and the Administration really think.
It's already been reported that the White House has reached out to the Brotherhood, and has thought to bring them into a post-Mubarak Egypt.
President Obama offered some remarks yesterday after Mubarak's resignation had been announced. Following are what I think are the key excerpts:
By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change. But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks.
For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day. ...
The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary -- and asked for -- to pursue a credible transition to a democracy. I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity -- jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight. And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world....
And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears; a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply: Most people have discovered in the last few days that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever....
The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people -- of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world. Thank you.
What Does Democracy Mean in the Middle East?
Barry Rubin reminds us why we shouldn't be too optimistic about elections in the Muslim world:
- Iranian revolution, 1978-1979: Mass protests by a wide coalition against dictatorship. Result? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now president.
- Beirut Spring, or the "Cedar Revolution", 2005: Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze unite against Syrian control. Moderate government gains power. Result? Hezbollah is now running Lebanon.
- Palestinians have free elections, 2006: Voters protest against corrupt regime. Result? Hamas is now running the Gaza Strip.
- Algeria holds free elections(1965?): Voters back moderate Islamist group. Result? Military coup; Islamists turn (or reveal their true thinking) radical; tens of thousands of people killed.
The jury is still out on Iraq. Turkey held a lot of promise for many years, but has taken a serious turn toward Islamism in recent years.
All in all, not a good track record.
I'm not so sure that the Egyptian's idea of democracy and liberty is in any way similar to our own. A poll published by the Pew Research Center on Dec 2 isn't encouraging. Some key findings about Egyptians:
30 % have a favorable view of Hizbollah
66 % have an unfavorable view of Hizbollah, with 4% undecided
49 % have a favorable view of Hamas
48 % have an unfavorable view of Hamas, with 3% undecided
20 % have a favorable view of al Qaeda
72 % have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 8% undecided
I don't know whether to be happy or not to know that according to the poll people in some other Muslim countries the numbers are even higher. Returning to Egyptian attitudes:
75 % favor laws stipulating the stoning of people for adultery, and the cutting off of hands for theft
59 % favor a democratic form of government
22 % say that in some circumstances a non-democratic form is preferable,
16 % don't care one way or the other
Unfortunately, this or any other Pew poll that I could find doesn't discuss how popular the Brotherhood is in Egypt, but googling around indicates that they're not liked by a lot of Egyptians.
On The Other Hand
It's just possible that elections will marginalize extremist groups like the Brotherhood. It is true that they derive some of their support from people who are disaffected or oppressed by autocratic governments. Remove the autocracy and you remove some of the attraction for these groups.
The question is how strong is the Islamist attraction people have for groups like the Brotherhood as opposed to the attraction just because of a reaction to the autocracy. I'm not sure, but we're certainly going to find out.
Do Polls Matter?
It seems to me that as often as not history is not so much decided by majorities, but by which group is the most organized and determined. Polls matter to the extent that they show how much support extremist groups have.
Neither the Jacobins in France nor the Bolsheviks in Russia took power immediately after the Ancien Régime was overthrown. Polls often don't show a lot of support for extremist groups, yet they end up at the top because they are organized, ruthless, and often underestimated by their opponents.
It's not at all certain that the Muslim Brotherhood will come out on top, but we should be worried that they might, and we need to take all the steps we can to marginalize them. The first step is for the Obama Administration to at least recognize them for the threat to Egypt and the world that they are.
February 8, 2011
Busted Again - Supervisor and Staffer at Bronx NY Planned Parenthood Clinic Assist Pimp with Girls as Young as 13
Less than a week after releasing a video showing the manager at a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey, Live Action has released another expose:
NYC Planned Parenthood Supervisor, Employee Shown Willing to Assist Pimp/Sex Trafficker With Girls As Young As 13
Supervisor and Staffer Serve Up Business As Usual, Counsel When Pimp Tells of Underage Girls Being Used for "Sex Work"
Media contact: Colleen O'Boyle, email@example.com, (703) 683-5004 ext. 122
General phone: (323) 454-3304
February 8, 2011 - When told by a man posing as a pimp that he needs help with girls he manages as young as 14-15 years old, a Bronx New York Planned Parenthood Staffer is unfazed and offers to go one better: "We see people as young as 13....everything is totally confidential."
New undercover Live Action footage from inside a Bronx, NY Planned Parenthood clinic for the first time shows a Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner willing to assist a man posing as a pimp, even offering guidance on how the pimp's underage girls can get insurance through tax payer funded programs to pay for abortions and other services even if the underage girls that are not U.S. citizens.
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: I'm one of the practitioners here.
Pimp: Oh, ok. I was wondering, uh, do you have a moment?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm
Pimp: I was wondering, um, so like is this still confidential?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Yeah.
Pimp: We're involved in sex work-
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm.
Pimp: We have some girls that are kind of young like, 14, 15, that they might need an abortion-
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm.
Pimp: And, how is the best way should they could go about it?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: They just show up, and set up an appointment. Do they have insurance?
Pimp: They don't have insurance, some don't even speak that good of English 'cause you know, they just got here.
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Right. So we have an interpretation phone, so if they don't speak Spanish that's not a problem. I mean if they don't speak English that's not a problem cause we can have an interpreter -
This is the sixth set of full footage released from Live Action's current ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood. This latest reel of footage uncovers what organization President, Lila Rose, calls an "institutional crisis in which Planned Parenthood is willing to assist sex trafficking and exploitation of minors and young women."
Live Action has released numerous videos over the past three years offering compounding evidence that Rose says, "unequivocally shows that Planned Parenthood is unsafe and puts underage girls and young women in harm's way."
"Planned Parenthood has shown repeatedly for the past three years of our investigation that they are willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of minors and young girls, even girls as young as 13 and here illegally, all under a sick code of 'confidentiality.' For Planned Parenthood, this 'confidentiality' supersedes a zero tolerance for sex trafficking and exploitation of minors and young women," Rose said.
Last week, Live Action released raw footage of five Planned Parenthood clinics, one in New Jersey and four in Virginia, all revealing employees willing to counsel a self-identified sex-trafficker on how to obtain STD testing, birth control and abortions for underage girls that he "manages" in "sex work."
"Today, we are making full footage and transcripts available to New York law enforcement officials and we are calling upon New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch a formal investigation as has been done in New Jersey by Attorney General Paula Dow. This footage shows that underage girls and young women are at potentially grave risk when they walk into Planned Parenthood clinics," Rose said.
Additional Findings from the footage:
Prostitute: They just came over, they're workin' with us, and we're helpin' them out -
Planned Parenthood Staffer: Mhm
Prostitute: Just keeping them safe.
Pimp: Could we even sign off as guardians? Could we even sign off as a guardian, is that even possible?
Planned Parenthood Staffer: If you were writing the support letter, yeah, you could say -
Prostitute: Oh good
Planned Parenthood Staffer: that you take care of them, you support them.
Planned Parenthood Staffer: But nothing here, like, our patients, we don't ask for guardian's signature. Everything is the patient. Like a thirteen-year-old could come in and get the services she needed, by herself.
Pimp: So, how would you recommend for them best to do it? Cause we don't want them getting confused or what not, and it's kind of a sensitive subject, so we don't want you know, them saying the wrong thing, you know getting refused or turned away, so how would you suggest they go about you know being able to get the access even in spite of what they do, you know?
Planned Parenthood Staffer: Yeah, like, like I said everything's confidential, they don't have to tell anybody what it is that they do when they make the an appointment, it's just gonna be between them and the Physician they see.
Live Action has previously released more than a dozen hidden camera videos from ten states. This body of visual evidence shows several alarming patterns of illegal Planned Parenthood activities including cover-up of sexual abuse of minors, the skirting of parental consent laws, citing unscientific and fabricated medical information to manipulate women to have abortions, and Planned Parenthood's willingness to accept donations earmarked to abort African-American babies.
To learn more about Live Action, visit: LiveAction.org
Visit the Live Action website for the full, unedited video and to download a complete transcript.
If an anti-gun group sent undercover investigators into gun shops posing as felons or underage minors, and the manager and/or employees coached them into faking the background check in order to obtain firearms, I'd be outraged... at the gun store. As a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, I know that the only way we'll keep the anti-gunners at bay is if we obey the laws to the letter. And even so, I do not want felons or minors to purchase firearms. Heck, I'd thank the liberal investigators for helping to put bad gun dealers out of business.
But there are liberals who defend such behavior. I've seen it all over Facebook. It's always tempting to try and defend your side when you're being attacked by the other, but it's something that must be resisted.
Planned Parenthood Defenders Spin Like Tops
This first interview was done after the video of the New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic was released last week. The PP spokesman tries to claim it was an isolated incident. Additional videos have proven this false. He also tries to attack pro-life views as "extreme," a dishonest tactic.
The fact is that there are strong pro-life and a strong pro-choice movements in this country. It's always tempting to see yourself as being "mainstream" and the other side as "extremists," but this should be avoided. He also says that PP called the authorities as soon as the Live Action people left. Well, maybe or maybe not, but this is beside the point, because it is clear that at least while the Live Action investigators were in the PP facility the staffers were aiding and abetting the "prostitution ring."
What the staffer should have done is excused herself and called police while the investigators were in the clinic. But she didn't; instead, in this and all other videos, she stays there and coaches the pimp on how to skirt the law. It is irrelevant that she or others at PP may have called the police later.
Finally, he regurgitates another liberal talking point, which is that undercover work is somehow by itself unethical. If so, this would be news to mainstream journalists and other agenda driven organizations, who have used this tactic for decades.
Laura Ingraham takes the Planned Parenghoold defense apart piece by piece in this interview. The PP supporter tries to claim a connection between Live Action and "the Republican Party" but provides no evidence. But even if they were, so what? What PP did was wrong and it matters not a whit who did the investigating and who
The PP supporter also tries to say that "the pro-live and pro-choice communities should actually come together and common sense laws"
Previous on The Redhunter
Caught on Tape: Planned Parenthood Aids Pimp's Underage Sex Ring
Lila Rose Nails Planned Parenthood of Tennessee
Lila Rose Takes On Planned Parenthood of Tennessee
Lila Rose Rocks Planned Parenthood's World Again
Lila Rose - Exposing Planned Parenthood and the Culture of Abortion
February 3, 2011
The Protests in Egypt Turn Violent: No Good Can Come of This
The protests in Egypt have turned into a near-revolution. What started in Tunisia has spread to Sudan, Jordan, Yemen, and of course Egypt. There are demonstrations scheduled for Syria and Algeria tomorrow, all this according to numerous reports.
Having the most people and being the strongest military, what happens in Egypt could set the tone for the rest of the region.
The longer the conflict continues the greater chance for a bad outcome.
In my last post on this on Sunday, I quoted Barry Rubin who said there were three probable outcomes. Summarizing, they are
1) The military deposes Mubarak and takes over, but otherwise keeps the regime
2) A revolution ensues, and radical elements, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, take over
3) Neither side gets the upper hand, and a bloody civil war ensues.
Now I'll add number four as what I think will happen
4) Mubarak hangs on and/or he is deposed and the military takes over, but either way elections are held in short order. A supposedly moderate government is formed and the world breaths a sign of relief. We're told that Egypt is on the path to pluralism and democracy.
And then, a few years later, the radicals are in control.
Let's go through a few popular uprisings that turned into revolutions. I'm leaving the American Revolution out of it because it was more a colonial revolt, and it was characterized by a long war instead of a mass uprising, and it is that latter model we want to examine.
French Revolution - In 1789 Louis XVI called for a meeting of the Estates-General to discuss a tax problem. Things spiraled out of control, and a revolution ensued with no small amount of violence. But when the dust settled, it did seem that there was hope for democracy ("liberté, égalité, fraternité") in France. There were radicals involved from the outset, but moderates (the Girondists) held much power. But within a few years the radical Jacobins had taken power and during the ensuiing Reign of Terror (September 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794) they sent their enemies to the guillotine. Eventually being deposed themselves, the whole thing devolved into the military dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Russian Revolution - For a variety of reasons the Russian people were tired of the Romanov dynasty, and in 1917 decided to do something about it. There were two revolutions in 1917, one in February and the other in October. The February one left the Social Democrats in control, at least nominally. However, in October the Bolsheviks seized power.
Iranian Revolution - Demonstrations against the Shah started in 1978 and within a year the country was paralyzed by strikes. The Shah fled, Khomeini returned and the country voted to become an Islamic Republic. The first president of the new republic, Banisadr, was a relative moderate, but fell out of favor with Khomeini and was impeached and removed from office. Wikipedia has it right in that ""what began as an authentic and anti-dictatorial popular revolution based on a broad coalition of all anti-Shah forces was soon transformed into an Islamic fundamentalist power-grab."
Philippine Revolution In 1986, President Ferdinand Marcos was reelected in an election widely held to be fraudulent. Already upset over the assassination of Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr, in 1983, elements within the armed forces organized to overthrow Marcos. The people saw what was happening and mass demonstrations ensued. The Philippine communist party was taken by surprise and largely sidelined. Marcos fled, and by all accounts the Philippines are a free country today.
Romanian Revolution - . Nicolae Ceausescu ran Romania with an iron fist for 25 years, then one day in December 1989 we heard about disturbances in the streets, then in a few days there was a revolution and he was hopscotching around the country in a helicopter, and a week later he and his wife were shot dead by firing squad. The victors set up a democracy, and by anybody's reckoning is a free country today.
Cedar Revolution - A popular uprising that followed the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 led to the ouster of Syrian troops. Without their presence, it seemed that the country had a chance to the relative prosperity, stability, and democracy the country had enjoyed before the start of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. Today Hizbollah is the most powerful element in the government.
In four of my six examples, what started as a popular uprising against a tyrannical regime ended up being hijacked by extremists who turned the government into something worse than it was before.
How did Romania and the Philippines escape? Put another way, why did France, Russia, Iran, and Lebanon succumb to extremists? I'm not entirely sure, and such complex events are not given to pat analysis. But I think there are a few factors we can identify
- If there is a healthy civil culture, there is a greater chance the country will end up as a true democracy
- If no powerful and/or well organized extremist group is waiting in the wings, the greater the chance the country will end up as a true democracy
- If the country has a Western culture the greater the chance the country will end up as a true democracy
What else? Help me out, commenters.
This is Not Encouraging
A few hours ago the New York Times broke the story that the Obama Administration wants Mubarak to go now, and that the Muslim Brotherhood should be part of a provisional government:
The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, administration officials and Arab diplomats said Thursday.
Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defense Minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.
The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country's electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September, the officials said.
Senior administration officials said that the proposal is one of several options under discussion with high-level Egyptian officials around Mr. Mubarak, though not him directly, in an effort to convince him to step down now.
No long term good can come of this.
It's not just that Egypt is the home of the Muslim Brotherhood, because that organization has chapters in a lot of countries. It's also because Egypt itself has become more Islamist in the past few decades. A country that looked like it was becoming more Western in the 1950s and 60s has taken a serious turn toward radicalism. I doubt that can be reversed with a few votes, but hopefully I'll be proven wrong.
February 1, 2011
Caught on Tape: Planned Parenthood Aids Pimp's Underage Sex Ring
Yup, Planned Parenthood has bee caught again. This time one the manager of a Planned Parenghood clinic covers up for a prostitution ring. This is the organization that gets at least $300 million a year in taxpayer money:
Full, unedited version here.
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, is our hero for her work at exposing Planned Parenthood. Here's her organization's press release:
NEW JERSEY - February 1, 2011- A Planned Parenthood manager in New Jersey coaches a man and a woman posing as sex traffickers how to secure secret abortions, STD testing, and contraception for their female underage sex slaves, and make their whole operation "look as legit as possible" in an undercover video released this morning.
Clinic manager Amy Woodruff, LPN, of Planned Parenthood Central New Jersey's Perth Amboy center, warns the pimp and his prostitute to have their trafficked underage girls lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws, promising, "even if they lie, just say, 'Oh he's the same age as me, 15,'...it's just that mainly 14 and under we have to, doesn't matter if their partner's the same age, younger, whatever, 14 and under we have to report." She says, "For the most part, we want as little information as possible.
Woodruff also recommends how the pimp can get his prostitutes cheaper contraception by claiming they are "students": "If they're minors, put down that they're students. Yeah, just kind of play along that they're students--we want to make it look as legit as possible."
If one of the young trafficked girls needs an abortion, Woodruff refers the pimp and prostitute to the Metropolitan Medical Association, where "their protocols aren't as strict as ours and they don't get audited the same way that we do." The prostitute in the video asks how long after the abortion until the girls can have sex again, and when Woodruff says "minimum of 2 weeks," she asks what sex acts the girls could still do to make money. Woodruff advises, "Waist up, or just be that extra action walking by" to advertise sex to potential clients.
Sex trafficking is punishable under federal law and carries a potential life sentence. The new video is released by Live Action, a pro-life new media organization led by 22-year-old Lila Rose. The video airs just days after Planned Parenthood's leadership suspected the sting operation and sought an FBI probe of Live Action in order to deter the release of the exposé. Live Action is sending full footage to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and other law enforcement officials, requesting federal and state investigations into Planned Parenthood's sexual abuse and sex trafficking cover up.
The abridged 11-minute video is available at: LiveAction.org
"This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of the young girls it claims to serve," said Lila Rose, President of Live Action. "Time and time again, Planned Parenthood has sent young girls back into the arms of their abusers. They don't deserve a dime of the hundreds of millions they receive in federal funding from taxpayers. Congress must cease funding and the Department of Justice should investigate this corrupt organization immediately."
Live Action has previously released more than a dozen hidden camera videos from ten states and shows the alarming trend of illegal Planned Parenthood activity including cover-up of sexual abuse of minors, the skirting of parental consent laws, citing unscientific and fabricated medical information to convince women to have abortions, and Planned Parenthood's willingness to accept donations earmarked to abort African-American babies.
The new undercover video can be viewed at: http://liveaction.org/traffick
To learn more about Live Action, visit: LiveAction.org
I'd say this was shocking, but we already know this is Planned Parenthood's MO:
Lila Rose Nails Planned Parenthood of Tennessee
Lila Rose Takes On Planned Parenthood of Tennessee
Lila Rose Rocks Planned Parenthood's World Again
Lila Rose - Exposing Planned Parenthood and the Culture of Abortion
It's bad enough that abortion is legal, but do we really have to fund this stuff through taxpayer money?
Stay tuned: Live Action "is preparing to launch several major investigations of the abortion industry next year. A donor fund has awarded Live Action a $125,000 matching gift, and Live Action is now starting a fundraising campaign to match the gift and fund the new investigations."
Planned Parenthood's Response
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey also issued a press release, which is on their website embedded in a story by the (partially) Soros funded Media Matters:
HOAX VIDEO EXPOSED: Planned Parenthood Already Reported "Sex Trafficking" To FBI
Media Matters for America
February 1, 2011
Today, anti-abortion rights propagandist Lila Rose released her latest in a series of heavily edited videos seeking to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activities. Rose's organization, Live Action, claims their video exposes what they call "Planned Parenthood's cover-up of child sex trafficking."
Except that isn't what the video shows at all.
Rather, the Live Action video shows edited comments made by a single Planned Parenthood employee. Live Action has so far refused to publicly release the full video of the incident, instead posting what the organization itself admits is an "abridged 11-minute video." (Live Action claims they are "sending full footage" to law enforcement officials.) [UPDATE: Live Action subsequently released what they say is the full video.]
Is Live Action accurately portraying the Planned Parenthood employee's statements and actions? It's impossible to say for sure without the full video, but there is good reason for media to be skeptical. Lila Rose, after all, began infiltrating abortion clinics in collaboration with James O'Keefe -- a convicted criminal who repeatedly lied about his heavily edited ACORN videos. Rose herself has a history of smearing the subjects of her videos.
But even if Live Action's video doesn't take the employee out of context, the incident obviously doesn't show Planned Parenthood covering up child sex trafficking. That's because Planned Parenthood has already reported the "potential sex trafficking" to law enforcement officials.
On January 24, Planned Parenthood released the following statement, titled "Planned Parenthood Informs Federal Authorities of Potential Sex Trafficking" [emphasis in original]:
Last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) alerted federal authorities to a potential multistate sex trafficking ring. Over a five day period, visitors to Planned Parenthood health centers in six states said they were seeking information from Planned Parenthood about health services Planned Parenthood could provide to underage girls who were part of a sex trafficking ring. Subsequent to alerting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Planned Parenthood learned the identify of one of those involved and believes these visits are likely a hoax by opponents of legal abortion seeking to discredit Planned Parenthood, which delivers preventive health care and abortion services to three million women each year.
Men, sometimes accompanied by a woman, have visited at least 11 Planned Parenthood health centers in six states within a one-week time frame. During their visits, they claimed to be involved in sex trafficking of teens, some of whom are in the United States illegally. These men appeared at health centers without appointments and said that they were seeking health services for themselves, but they quickly turned the conversation to the sex ring they said they were managing.
"When Planned Parenthood learns of an operation that exploits young women, we vigilantly work with law enforcement authorities to uncover and stop this abhorrent activity," said Stuart Schear, PPFA vice president for communications. "Planned Parenthood's top priority is the health and safety of our patients and the health and well-being of women and teens across the country, and we have been in contact with federal and local authorities to identify the persons involved in these visits."
One of the men involved in these visits has now been identified, and he appears to be associated with or influenced by Live Action, an anti-Planned Parenthood organization that uses surreptitious videotaping and manipulative editing for media and political campaigns. The pattern of these visits and the highly unusual nature of the information being shared with staff lends credibility to the possibility that these multistate visits are part of this organization's ongoing effort to "bring down" Planned Parenthood, a nearly 100-year-old organization with more than 800 health centers from coast to coast. Live Action is associated with James O'Keefe, the conservative activist who was arrested for attempting to wiretap the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
In recent years Planned Parenthood has been the target of activists attempting to portray the organization negatively by secretly videotaping inside health centers and publicizing heavily edited versions of those tapes to the media. Recent incidents are the first time that such visitors have told Planned Parenthood staff that they are involved in sex trafficking of minor girls.
"If a multistate sex trafficking operation is in place, those responsible must be pursued to stop the exploitation of girls and young women," said Schear. "If these visits are part of a 'dirty tricks' campaign, they must be condemned. Falsely claiming sex trafficking to health professionals to advance a political agenda is an astoundingly cynical form of political activity."
All Planned Parenthood staff have been alerted to the suspicious visits, and Planned Parenthood is working with FBI investigators and local authorities.
Last week, the AP reported that "Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder summarizing the visits and requesting an FBI investigation. If the man's assertions were true, she wrote, they would indicate possible violations of federal laws dealing with interstate sex trafficking of minors. ... Schear said there had been some preliminary contacts with the FBI, which was asking for information from the clinics that were visited."
Planned Parenthood reported the potential sex trafficking to the Attorney General and the FBI. So clearly, Planned Parenthood wasn't trying to cover anything up.
The Live Action video is not a "hoax," so that is just a lie. The video is real, and no amount of editing could change the fact that the PP manager coached a "pimp" on how to obtain secret abortions for his "employees." Whether or not they really reported the group's visits to the police or not is as of now undetermined, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
As with just about investigations, I suppose, the Live Action people probably did visit a number of clinics before they got a "hit." Undercover cops probably have to approach a number of suspicious people before someone agrees to sell them illegal drugs. What you see on TV shows like Cops is only the end result of a lot of investigatory work. Further, what you see on these TV shows is edited footage. If they showed the entire thing the show would last for hours and most of it would bore you silly.
So much of the PP response is hogwash.
The fact is that Live Action has found much evidence that a cavalier attitude towards the law exists at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Mirror Image It
I was at a terrorism lecture last night when the subject of how well most Muslims knew the Koran. One of the ladies in the audience made the comment that "if most Muslims didn't know the Koran maybe they shouldn't call themselves Muslims." I wanted to ask her if she was a Christian, and of so to name all 10 commandments. Statistics are clear that many or most Christians are woefully ignorant of what is in much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
I therefore find mirror imaging useful in determining the validity of an argument.
So what do you think the reaction would be if our heroes had visited a chain of gun stores, and after visiting a dozen they found a manager who helped them fake their way through the federal background check?