August 24, 2012

It's the Democrats who are Extreme on Abortion

One of the latest talking points coming out of the left is that conservatives and Republicans are "extreme" on abortion. This from the party of gay marriage no less, but never mind that. As Rich Lowry points out, it's the Democrats who are extreme:

In the Illinois legislature, (then-Senator Barack Obama) opposed the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" three times. The bill recognized babies born after attempted abortions as persons and required doctors to give them care. Obama's stalwart opposition to the bill came up during the 2008 campaign, and his team responded with a farrago of obfuscation and distortions.

The bill was supposedly redundant. Except it wasn't. Protections for infants who survived abortions were shot through with loopholes, which is why the bill was offered in the first place. (Abortion doctors were leaving infants to die without any care.) The bill was supposedly a threat to abortion rights. Except it wasn't. Obama opposed a version that stipulated it didn't affect the legal status of infants still in the womb.

About a year after his final vote against the bill, Obama gave his famous 2004 Democratic convention speech extolling post-partisan moderation. But he couldn't even bring himself to protect infants brutalized and utterly alone in some medical facility taking what might be only a few fragile breaths on this Earth. Some moderation. The federal version of the bill that he opposed in Illinois passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. Some post-partisanship.

President Obama is an extremist on abortion. He has never supported any meaningful restriction on it, and never will.

He opposed a partial-birth abortion bill in Illinois, even as the federal version passed the House with 282 votes and the Senate with 64 votes and was signed into law by President Bush in 2003. He arrived in the U.S. Senate in time to denounce the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the ban.

In 2007, he told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that his first act as president would be signing the Freedom of Choice Act. The act would enshrine in federal law a right to abortion more far-reaching than in Roe v. Wade and eliminate basically all federal and state-level restrictions on abortion. This isn't a point its supporters contest; it's one they brag about. The National Organization for Women says it would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."

All true. As I documented in 2008 during the campaign, Obama was the most pro-abortion candidate in our history. Yes that's right; pro-abortion, there's no "choice" about it. In his third debate with John McCain, Obama said that as a state senator he did not "vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant" and was " completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life."

All lies, as National Right to Life explained at the time:

-- The Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) was a simple three-sentence bill to establish that every baby who achieved "complete expulsion or extraction" from the mother, and who showed defined signs of life, was to enjoy the legal protections of a "person." As a state senator, Obama led the opposition to this bill in 2001, 2002, and 2003. On March 13, 2003, Obama killed the bill at a committee meeting over which he presided as chairman. In the October 15 debate, Obama said, "The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment." This claim is highly misleading. The law "on the books," 720 ILCS 510.6, on its face, applies only where an abortionist declares before the abortion that there was "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb." But humans are often born alive a month or more before they reach the point where such "sustained survival" - that is, long-term survival - is likely or possible (which is often called the point of "viability"). When Obama spoke against the BAIPA on the Illinois Senate floor in 2001 -- the only senator to do so -- he didn't even claim that the BAIPA was duplicative of existing law. Rather, he objected to defining what he called a "previable fetus" as a legal "person" -- even though the bill clearly applied only to fully born infants. These events are detailed in an August 28, 2008 NRLC White Paper titled "Barack Obama's Actions and Shifting Claims on the Protection of Born-Alive Aborted Infants -- and What They Tell Us About His Thinking on Abortion," which contains numerous hyperlinks to primary source

And the left has the temerity to call us "extreme" for our pro-life stance? Give me a break.

Read my 2008 post for the whole thing.

So What About the "Rape and Incest" Thing?

Here we are are forced to discuss, however briefly, things terrible and traumatic beyond most people's imaginings. This is a touchy subject and difficult to address. One's heart can only go out to the victims of such horrors, and we should do all we can to take care of them in their suffering.

The position of the pro-life movement on this needs to be explained in a clear fashion. Disagree if you will, but hear me out.

The logic is pretty straightforward: we believe that independent human life, complete with soul and spirit, is formed at conception. This does not of course mean that the new life can function outside of his or her mother, although scientific advances will one day make it possible, Aldous Huxley just being a bit ahead of his time. As such, it doesn't change the principle.

It does not, therefore, make any difference how that life started. It is not the doing of the pre-born baby as to how he or she was conceived.

No one would think that a 1 year old should be killed because he or she was the product of a rape, this because we would all agree that it is an independent being with soul and spirit. If you believe a pre-born baby to be an independent human with soul and spirit, then 1 year old = pre-born, therefore you can't kill either.

If you want to disagree on the status of a pre-born baby, ok, but at least please understand the logic before you go off half-cocked on the matter.

Again, the Real Extremists

So again, the real extremists are those like Barack Obama who not only won't ban partial-birth abortion, but are ok with letting living infants die who survived the abortionists attempt to kill them.

And it's just been announced that Sandra Fluke,Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood will speak at the Democratic National Convention. The first is a nut, and if the other two aren't extremists no one is.

I'll end with this must-watch video of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. She gives one of the most extraordinary speeches I've heard in my life. No matter where you are on this issue, please watch it.

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May 31, 2012

The War on Baby Girls Part II
Exposing Planned Parenthood in New York City

Yesterday, in Part I of The War on Baby Girls, Live Action released a video that showed a Planned Parenthood worker in one of their clinics in Austin TX encourage a women to get a late-term abortion because the woman said she was pregnant with a girl and wanted a boy.

Lest anyone think this was an isolated incident, today they released another video showing another Planned Parenthood worker, this time in New York City, encouraging a woman to have an abortion because she thought she was pregnant with a girl and wanted a boy:


Here's their press release:

Planned Parenthood NY Headquarters Counsels for Sex- Selective Abortion in Second Video: As Congress Mulls Ban, Video Unmasks Growing Trend of Sex-Selective Abortion

New York, NY-Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger clinic in New York City helping a woman determine if her unborn child was female so she could have a sex-selection abortion. The video is second in a new series titled "Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America," exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.

The new video can be viewed at www.ProtectOurGirls.com, a hub of research and information on sex-selective abortions.

In the video, Planned Parenthood social worker Randi Coun advises the woman on an early, definitive method to tell the gender of her child in the late first or early second trimester: "So if you were to have what's called a CVS test, which is, do you know what that is?" she asks, referring to the genetic Chorionic Villus Sampling test. "It's done between 11 and 13 weeks, so it is a test that you could do now." CVS tests have a risk of miscarriage of about 1 in 100, which Coun did not mention, and are typically done to test for genetic disorders in a pregnancy.

Coun also reassures the woman that she can carry her pregnancy farther into term before her abortion. "An abortion at any stage up to 24 weeks is considered a safe procedure," she asserts. "It's not that it's unsafe, or that there's a lot more risk involved, it's just there's more steps involved and it's just a little more complicated." Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Center in New York City does abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and is the organization's national headquarters.

"I can tell you that here at Planned Parenthood we believe that it's not up to us to decide what is a good or a bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy," Coun adds concerning the woman's request for a sex-selective abortion. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards yesterday opposed a ban on sex-selective abortions on the grounds that it would "limit [a woman's] choices as she makes personal medical decisions."

"Planned Parenthood has built their abortion empire on their belief that any abortion is a good abortion, even if it is motivated by the very discrimination against women that they claim to abhor," says Lila Rose, president of Live Action. "Planned Parenthood's abortion-first mentality leads them to defend targeting baby girls for extermination. When any of Planned Parenthood's other ideological commitments comes into conflict with their abortion-first mentality, it's clear that abortion always takes priority."

Six studies in the past four years indicate that there are thousands of "missing girls" in the U.S. from sex-selective abortion. The U.K., India, Australia, and other countries ban sex-selective abortion, but the U.S., save for three states, does not. This afternoon, the House of Representatives will vote on the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex-selective abortions nationally.

Live Action is a youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending the human rights abuse of abortion. They use new media to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless. More information at LiveAction.org.

For further information, please contact Dan Wilson or Jameson Cunningham with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or (800) 536-5920.

Disgraceful.

Previous by Live Action on The Redhunter:

The War on Baby Girls: Lila Rose of Live Action Nails Planned Parenthood Yet Again
Busted Again - Supervisor and Staffer at Bronx NY Planned Parenthood Clinic Assist Pimp with Girls as Young as 13
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

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May 29, 2012

The War on Baby Girls
Lila Rose of Live Action Nails Planned Parenthood Yet Again

This is all too typical of Planned Parenthood. From the Live Action website:


And from their press release:

Sex-Selective Abortion Thrives in America, Courtesy Planned Parenthood

Chilling Undercover Video Sheds Light on Growing Trend

CONTACT: Dan Wilson, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, 703-739-5920/800-536-5920, media@liveaction.org

AUSTIN, May 29 - Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy. The video is first in a new series titled "Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America," exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.

"I see that you're saying that you want to terminate if it's a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?" a counselor named "Rebecca" offers the woman, who is purportedly still in her first trimester and cannot be certain about the gender. "The abortion covers you up until 23 weeks," explains Rebecca, "and usually at 5 months is usually (sic) when they detect, you know, whether or not it's a boy or a girl." Doctors agree that the later in term a doctor performs an abortion, the greater the risk of complications.

Read full release...

For further information, please contact Dan Wilson or Jameson Cunningham with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or (800) 536-5920.

Via one of my favorite blogs, Sister Toldjah, here are excerpts from two press releases compiled by Steven Ertelt of Life News:

"Six weeks ago a former staff member serving in an entry-level position did not follow our protocol for providing information and guidance when presented with a highly unusual patient scenario. Planned Parenthood insists on the highest quality patient care, and if we ever become aware of a staff member not meeting these high standards, we take swift action. Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member's employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter."

"Recently, opponents of Planned Parenthood conducted hoax patient visits with hidden video cameras and are now using edited videotapes to promote false claims about our organization and patient services. In highly unusual and scripted scenarios, hoax patients sought services related to sex selection."

[...]

Planned Parenthood condemns gender bias but refuses to condemn sex-selection abortions or say their centers will deny them.

"Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood opposes racism and sexism in all forms, and we work to advance equity and human rights in the delivery of health care. Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other."

[...]

"The world's leading women's health and rights organizations, including the World Health Organization, do not believe that curtailing access to abortion services is a legitimate means of addressing sex selection, and have made clear that gender bias can only be resolved by addressing the underlying conditions that lead to it. And we agree. We support efforts that ensure girls and women have access to economic opportunity, including fair wages, basic health care, political participation, education, and a life free of violence and discrimination. Planned Parenthood works to ensure women and their families have access to high-quality nonjudgmental health services free of coercion, supported by information and counseling."

Mr. Ertelt comments: "In other words, sex-selection abortions are fine as long as other efforts are undertaken to try to stamp out gender bias." Yup, sounds about right.

This is nothing new for Planned Parenthood. Search through the Live Action website, or in the "Social Issues" category of this blog, and you'll find many undercover operations Rose's organization have done to expose Planned Parenthood.

Previous investigations by Live Action covered her at The Redhunter:

Busted Again - Supervisor and Staffer at Bronx NY Planned Parenthood Clinic Assist Pimp with Girls as Young as 13
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

Planned Parenthood's excuses wear thin. We know who and what they are; an organization that purports to care about "women's health" yet is dedicated to performing as many abortions as possible.

Imagine if an undercover operation revealed that gun stores routinely conspired with customers to circumvent identification and background check laws? How fast do you think before President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer introduced draconian gun-control legislation?

So where is CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, or even Fox News? Why is it that it takes a Lila Rose, James O'Keefe, or Andrew Breitbart to do what they should be doing? Whether it's Planned Parenthood, ACORN, or voter fraud, if it wasn't for enterprising young conservative journalists, the sacred cows of the left are untouched.

Lila Rose is one of the bravest young women in America. Abortion is the crown jewels of modern liberalism, "thou that shalt not be touched." By continually exposing them she is earning powerful enemies. She is unfazed, and she and her compatriots continue their work. A hero for our time

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May 10, 2012

How Predictable, Obama is for Gay Marriage

So President Obama now says that he is "personally" for gay marriage. We are supposed to think he is oh so very brave.

The reality is that just about the least brave thing you can do in America today is be in favor of gay marriage. Do so and the liberal media outlets (which is to say, most all media outlets) say wonderful things about you on their editorial pages and treat you favorably in their news section. TV personalities throw softball questions at you. The Hollywood crowd invites you to their exclusive parties and the rich and famous wine and dine you.

Come out against gay marriage, on the other hand, and all of the above call you a "bigot," intolerant, extremist, and racist and sexist for boot. The media treat you like a throwback to the 19th century, and if you get on their TV shows you'll get insults and hardball questions. The Hollywood crowd wants nothing to do with you.

Part of me, though, doesn't blame Obama for lying waffling dissembling, er "changing his mind" about the issue. After all, liberal politicians are caught in a terrible bind.

On the one hand, their working class, black, and Hispanic constituencies are almost entirely against it, the blacks and Hispanics especially so. Religious black leaders in particular are uncompromising on the issue.

On the other side, their supporters in Hollywood, academia, and the media are unanimously for it. Many upper-middle class guilt-ridden white yuppies are in favor of gay marriage to.

So how do liberal politicians resolve the dilemma?

They lie. They tell their their working class, black, and Hispanic constituencies that they are against it, but then they appoint liberal judges hoping that they'll do their dirty work for them by inventing a right to gay marriage in much the same way Harry Blackmun invented a right to abortion in Roe v Wade. This way, in the wake of a suitable court decision, they can look at their working class, black, and Hispanic constituencies and say "I didn't do it," then giving a "wink wink" to the Hollywood, academia, media, and liberal yuppie types.

Obama now pretends that his position on the issue has been "evolving," and if you believe that I've got a bridge to sell you. Like almost all other liberal Democrats, he's been in favor of gay marriage from day one; he just found it politically expedient to pretend like he was against it until now.

But the economy is bad, the deficit continues to skyrocket, and his signature health care program is wildly unpopular, so he can't run on his record. Instead, we have a series of invented issues such as a "war on women," the "Buffett rule," and so on. This latest foray into the politics of marriage is just another attempt to shore up his liberal base.

The editors of National Review have it right:

The Devolution of Marriage
National Review
May 10, 2012 4:00 A.M.
By The Editors

President Obama is getting credit, even from some critics, for finally being honest and consistent in his position on same-sex marriage now that he has announced his support for it. But he is still being neither honest nor consistent. And his dishonesty is not merely a matter of pretending that he has truly changed his mind about marriage, rather than about the politics of marriage.

His claim that he believes that states should decide marriage policy is also impossible to credit. One of the purposes of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was to block this scenario: A same-sex couple that resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex unions as marriages goes to a state that does so recognize them, gets married there, returns home, sues in federal court to make the home state recognize the "marriage," and prevails. Obama has long favored the repeal of the act. He does not truly want states to be able to continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

And really, why should he, given his premises? Does anyone doubt that he believes that the marriage laws of most states are not just wrong but unjust? His spokesmen have repeatedly said as much when registering his opposition to states' attempts to undo judicial decisions to impose same-sex marriage. If these marriage laws amount to unjust discrimination against certain persons, then it follows that states have no right to enforce them. If Obama's appointees to the Supreme Court join a majority that requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages, does anyone think that he will do anything but applaud? There is no reason to believe that Obama's long-advertised "evolution" on marriage is now complete.

All people, whatever their sexual orientation, have equal dignity, worth, and basic rights, by virtue of being human beings. We have previously explained why we believe that this premise does not entail the conclusion that the marriage laws should be changed (and defended our views from critics). For now, we will merely repeat one point: The only good reason to have marriage laws in the first place -- to have the state recognize a class of relationships called "marriage" out of all the possible strong bonds that adults can form -- is to link erotic desire to the upbringing of the children it can produce.

We have already gone too far, in both law and culture, in weakening the link between marriage and procreation. To break it altogether would make the institution of marriage unintelligible. What possible governmental interest is there in encouraging long-term commitments with a sexual element, just as such? What reason is there to exclude from recognition caring long-term relationships without such an element? (In one of the editorials mentioned above we mention the case of two brothers who raise a child together following a family tragedy; other hypotheticals are easy to devise.)

Many people who support same-sex marriage sincerely believe that they are merely expanding an institution to a class of people who have been excluded from it rather than redefining it. But this view is simply mistaken. We will not make our society more civilized by detaching one of our central institutions from its civilizing task.

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April 13, 2012

Around the News

I've got too little time and there's too much going on for a separate post on everything that's going on, so here are a few things that caught my eye and my thoughts on each.

Buffett Rule Baloney

The Buffett Rule: Free-Lunch Egalitarianism
Obama's disguised tax hike on capital gains
National Review
April 12, 2012 8:00 P.M.
By Charles Krauthammer

...Let's do the math. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this new tax would yield between $4 billion and $5 billion a year. If we collect the Buffett tax for the next 250 years -- a span longer than the life of this republic -- it would not cover the Obama deficit for 2011 alone.

As an approach to our mountain of debt, the Buffett Rule is a farce. And yet Obama repeated the ridiculous claim again this week. "It will help us close our deficit." Does he really think we're that stupid?

Yes and no.

Yes in that those who want to believe it will. No in that the purpose of the tax is not about raising revenue. One, he is sending a not-so-subtle message to the wealthy: Support me or I will punish you. Two, it satisfies his base who simply want to see the wealthy punished.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal call it right:

The Obama Rule
He says taxation is about fairness, not growth or revenue
The Wall Street Journal
April 11, 2012, 7:04 p.m. ET

Forget Warren Buffett, or whatever other political prop the White House wants to use for its tax agenda. This week the Administration officially endorsed what in essence is the Obama Rule: Taxes must be high simply to spread the wealth, never mind the impact on the economy or government revenue. It's all about "fairness," baby.
...
The Buffett rule is really nothing more than a sneaky way for Mr. Obama to justify doubling the capital gains and dividend tax rate to 30% from 15% today. That's the real spread-the-wealth target. The problem is that this is a tax on capital that is needed for firms to grow and hire more workers. Mr. Obama says he wants an investment-led recovery, not one led by consumption, but how will investment be spurred by doubling the tax on it?

The only investment and hiring the Buffett rule is likely to spur will be outside the United States--in China, Germany, India, and other competitors with much more investment-friendly tax regimes.

Exploiting Trayvon Martin

I made most of my thoughts on the Trayvon Martin - George Zimmerman affair clear in a long comment on this post, but a few more comments are in order:

The New Black Panthers' Unpunished Threats
The Department of Justice appears uninterested in pursuing the group.
National Review
April 13, 2012 4:00 A.M.
By John Fund

...Wednesday, (Attorney General Eric Holder) appeared before the Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network to praise Sharpton "for your partnership, your friendship, and your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless, and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill."

This is the same Al Sharpton who has led several rallies against Zimmerman, in which he called for civil disobedience and an "occupation" of Sanford, Fla., where the shootingThis is the same Al Sharpton who has never apologized to Steven Pagones, the assistant district attorney he falsely accused of raping Tawana Brawley, a black teenager. The "dastardly deed" Sharpton accused Pagones of was found to be a complete fabrication. In 1998, Sharpton was found liable for seven defamatory statements he'd made against Pagones and ordered to pay $65,000.

Earlier in the 1990s, Sharpton had become famous exacerbating racial tensions in New York's Crown Heights neighborhood, tensions that led to the killing of Anthony Graziosi. In 1995, Sharpton denounced the owners of Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem as "bloodsuckers" and "white interlopers" over a rent dispute the business had with tenants. A short time later, a man entered Freddy's and told all the black people present, patrons and employees alike, to leave. Once they did, the man firebombed the building, killing seven people -- including a black security guard. Sharpton insisted he bore no responsibility for the incident, saying it was only a tenant/landlord dispute that had escalated out of control. occurred, if an arrest wasn't made.

So AG Eric Holder congratulates Al Sharpton. That Obama would appoint someone who praises Sharpton speaks volumes about our president. But given that he went to a racist church for 20 years, listened to a kook hatemonger preacher and wrote nice things about him in his autobiography, we should not be surprised.

More, if Mr. Holder is so concerned with civil rights, why doesn't he investigate the New Black Panther party? When confronted with this, liberals typically respond that the NBP is small and insignificant. Maybe and maybe not, but what difference does that make? I didn't know that the criminality of death threats depended on the number of people making them.

Conservative opinion on the charges filed against Zimmerman is split. David French says that there's enough evidence to warrant Zimmerman's arrest, but John Lott sees Prosecutorial misconduct. Some conservatives have come out strong for Zimmerman, which is a mistake. Most professional conservative writers and pundits, though seem to be taking a "wait and see" attitude towards guilt or innocence while condemning the circus the left has created.

I've never taken sides in that I don't pretend to know whether Mr. Zimmerman is guilty of anything or not. My problem has been with the disgraceful behavior of Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, the liberal media, and liberal activists in general. These people, and yes I include our president and his attorney general, have done little but fan the flames of racial division since this thing began.

Does Hillary Hate Israel?

The Secretary of State Hillary, that is.

The Other Hillary Still Just As Appalling
NRO The Corner
By Andrew C. McCarthy
April 12, 2012 3:55 P.M.

As a fitting follow-up to Nina's post on the U.S. government's shocking indifference to the persecution of Christians by Muslims, let's shift to something the Obama administration cares passionately about: the good will of Muslims who wear on their sleeves their hatred for Israel.

In a story that's gotten very little attention, involving a town hall meeting in Tunisia last weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked how the U.S. could expect people in Muslim countries like Tunisia and Egypt to trust American politicians given that, during the U.S. election season, those politicians cozy up to their "enemy" (in context, an obvious reference to Israel) and "run towards the Zionist lobbies").

Mrs. Clinton responded that she thought this was "a fair question." Really? And the answer to this fair question? Madame Secretary explained that these Muslims who regard Israel as their enemy should understand that "a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention." She also thought they'd find it comforting that President Obama "will be reelected president" and that if people in Tunisia and Egypt just "watch what President Obama says and does" they'll realize they don't need to worry.

Appalling but, by now, not surprising. See CNS News, here, for video & transcript.

Either the secretary hates Israel, she's saying that Obama does but will lie about his true fealings for political expediency, or she's just and idiot.

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try, Again

North Korea admits missile failure
Financial Times
By Christian Oliver in Seoul, Geoff Dyer in Washington and Mure Dickie in Tokyo
Last updated: April 13, 2012 11:27 pm

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North Korea made rare admission of failure on Friday, confirming one of its rockets had failed in its mission to put a satellite into orbit, but the abortive launch was enough to prompt the US to quickly cancel a food-aid programme.

The launch, which many outsiders saw as a cover for a ballistic missile test, went badly for the hermit state, with the missile breaking up after only 90 seconds, although that was long enough to cause fatal damage to an agreement with the US made in February.

The failure will pile pressure on Kim Jong-eun, the new leader of North Korea, whom analysts believe may seek to restore his credentials by conducting a nuclear test.

In recent days, South Korean media have reported that North Korea was already planning another nuclear test. It followed a long-range missile launch in 2009 with an atomic test.

South Korea and the US said the Eunha-3 (Galaxy) rocket blasted off at 7.39am local time, but broke apart after about 90 seconds, sending the shattered fuselage into the Yellow Sea.

In an unusual move for a country that almost never admits internal problems, a newscaster on state television said the rocket had not put a satellite into space.

Do I have to say it? They're just going to keep trying and sooner or later they'll get it right. If this regime survives sooner or later not only will they figure out how to make their missiles work, they'll figure out how to make nuclear warheads for them.

That's the easy part. The hard part is that the DPRK is an impossibly hard not to crack and there really are no good options for us. Certainly engaging in endless talks whereby they promise us this and that and they reneg on every agreement is foolish, but there's not much more we can do to pressure them by way of sanctions. They're already quite isolated, and it affects their behavior not a bit.

What the missile launch does tell us though is that our policy of "engagement" has not tempered them at all. They're just as militant, and whatever our policy is, theirs is to intimidate us.

Another policy (or part of the same one) is that their new leader feels he has to show his generals how "tough" he is. This may mean that he's just as bad as his father... or he has to stage a few displays of strength so he will have credibility to negotiate with a softer line... who knows. They don't call it the "hermit kingdom" for nothing.

It is interesting, though, that they admitted to the failure. This might signal a change, perhaps even a Gorbachev-style glasnost, or it might mean nothing. If the former, then one wonders if Kim Jong-eun understands the forces he is unleashing. Gorbachev didn't but at least when the Soviet Empire collapsed it came in for a soft landing. We should hope the same happens to North Korea.

Posted by Tom at 9:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 6, 2012

The "War on Women" is a Lie

Mona Charen has it exactly right

A Genius for Subject Changing
By Mona Charen
March 6, 2012 12:00 A.M

The Obama administration issues an edict regarding birth control that is a) blatantly unconstitutional, b) economically absurd, and c) completely unmatched to any national need, and what are we talking about? The "Republican war on women."

Democrats are geniuses at muddying the waters and twisting the debate in a direction they find congenial. They've been at this a very long time. Recall that in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we found ourselves ensnared in a discussion of so-called "censorship." The National Endowment for the Arts, (a luxury no deeply indebted nation should indulge), had provided grants to two particularly obnoxious exhibits. One was a photograph by Andres Serrano called "Piss Christ" that depicted a crucifix submerged in a jar of the artist's urine. The other was a series of homoerotic photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, featuring, to cite just one example, a man's anus being penetrated by a bullwhip.

A number of conservative organizations protested this use of taxpayer dollars, and some in Congress responded by threatening to cut off NEA's funding (droll, no?). The liberals were ready with a jaw-dropping claim: To deny a federal subsidy to "Piss Christ" was censorship. Or, as Obama might put it, "It's not who we are."

Conservatives and others who hadn't completely lost touch with common sense, responded that censorship had nothing whatever to do with it. No one was proposing to deny Mapplethorpe or Serrano the opportunity to sell their miserable wares to willing buyers, or to exhibit them at private galleries (which indeed happened). Certainly no one was threatening to deny employment to the artists (which happens in countries that practice censorship), or God forbid, to arrest them. The proposal was simply to refrain from offering such works taxpayer subsidies.

Today we are again invited to believe that to deny a taxpayer subsidy is to withhold a right. For no discernible reason, the Obama administration has decreed that all contraceptives must be provided "free" to those who want them (which of course means that everyone else's insurance rates must rise).

The administration demands this despite the fact that 1) most Americans can well afford their own contraception (it's less than the cost of a weekly trip to Starbucks); 2) inexpensive contraceptives are widely available at every supermarket and pharmacy; 3) Medicaid recipients already receive them free; 4) the feds also spend another $300 million annually to provide free contraceptives to those who are low-income, uninsured, or otherwise do not qualify for Medicaid; and 5) Planned Parenthood and state and local public health clinics distribute contraceptives free around the nation.

That even Catholic institutions, who object to this command on religious grounds, are to be bullied by the federal government into violating their consciences, ought to have provoked an outcry from liberals, allegedly firm guardians of the First Amendment. Instead, a compliant media has peddled the narrative of a supposed Republican "war on women." Every Sunday talk host presented the issue on the Democrats' terms. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) wailed that Republicans "want to take us back to the Dark Ages . . . when women were property." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is encouraging signatures on a petition to fight back against Republican efforts "to deny tens of thousands of American women life-saving health care services."

More bunk. Contraceptives are not a matter of life and death. But even if they were, as for example, cancer drugs are, is that an argument for forcing insurance companies to provide them free of charge? Why not force free distribution of all medicines? The mandate makes no economic, social, or moral sense.

President Obama has slyly maneuvered to participate in this subject-changing project. First, he contacted Barnard, a women's college, and offered himself as commencement speaker. They said yes, bumping New York Times editor Jill Abramson. Sisterhood is powerful, but apparently not that powerful. Next, he phoned the Georgetown Law student whom Rush Limbaugh insulted. To be sure, Limbaugh unintentionally helped the Democrats' project by offering them something that fit so conveniently into the "war on women" trope. But Limbaugh's unfortunate comments (for which he apologized) cannot obscure the absurdity of the Democrats' argument that it is an urgent national concern to provide free contraceptives to law students and everybody else.

Of course there is no Republican "war on women." But there is a Democratic war on religious liberty, taxpayers, and common sense.

Posted by Tom at 10:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 17, 2012

The Truth Behind Obamacare and the HHS "Preventive Care" Mandate

So why in the world would President Obama pick a fight with 70 odd million American Catholics? For that matter, why would he pick a fight at all with anyone over part of his healthcare bill?

Via Powerline, Paul Rahe has the answer: It was part of a planned strategy, and the decision was only taken after consultation with a wide variety of Democrats.

More Than a Touch of Malice
Paul A. Rahe
Feb. 16, 2012

[T]here can be only one reason why Sebelius, Pelosi, and Obama decided to proceed. They wanted to show the bishops and the Catholic laity who is boss. They wanted to make those who think contraception wrong and abortion a species of murder complicit in both. They wanted to rub the noses of their opponents in it. They wanted to marginalize them. Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.

Last week, when, in response to the fierce resistance he had deliberately stirred up, the President offered the bishops what he called "an accommodation," what he proffered was nothing more than a fig leaf. His maneuver was, in fact, a gesture of contempt, and I believe that it was Barack Obama's final offer. From his perspective and from that of Sebelius and Pelosi, the genuine Catholics still within the Democratic coalition are no more than what Vladimir Lenin called "useful idiots," and, now that the progressive project is near completion, they are expendable - for there is no longer any need to curry their favor.

In his piece in The Washington Examiner, Michael Barone mentioned Obama's decree with regard to contraception and abortifacients in tandem with a brief discussion of the President's decision to reject the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. He was, I think, right to do so - for there is no good reason that any student of public policy can cite for doing what the President did. Cancelling the pipeline will not delay or stop the extraction of oil from the tar sands in Alberta, and the pipeline itself would pose no environmental threat. If the President's decision had any purpose, it was symbolic - an indication to all that he cared not one whit about the plight of the white working class and that he was capable of punishing those whom he does not like and more than willing to do so.

In 2008, when he first ran for the Presidency, Barack Obama posed as a moderate most of the time. This time, he is openly running as a radical. His aim is to win a mandate for the fundamental transformation of the United States that he promised in passing on the eve of his election four years ago and that he promised again when he called his administration The New Foundation. In the process, he intends to reshape the Democratic coalition - to bring the old hypocrisy to an end, to eliminate those who stand in the way of the final consolidation of the administrative entitlements state, to drive out the faithful Catholics once and for all, to jettison the white working class, and to build a new American regime on a coalition of highly educated upper-middle class whites, feminists, African-Americans, Hispanics, illegal immigrants, and those belonging to the public-sector unions. To Americans outside this coalition, he intends to show no mercy.

Mark my words. If Barack Obama wins in November, he will force the Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, and the bishops, priests, and nuns who fostered the steady growth of the administrative entitlements state, thinking that they were pursuing "the common good," will reap what they have sown.

In the end, politics has as its focus persuasion. Our difficulties are a function of policy, not of mismanagement. If we are to stop Barack Obama in 2012, we will have to find a standard-bearer who can articulate a compelling argument against the administrative entitlements state and, by means of persuasion and praxis, reverse our democracy's inexorable soft despotic drift. Let us hope that one or another of the remaining candidates rises to the occasion.

This is ominous. It's not enough for Obama to force radical legislation through Congress without a single vote from the other party. But no opposition to any of his agenda is permitted. He ran for election as a moderate, and despite the attempts by many of us on the right to show otherwise, most of the media and American people took him at his word. If anyone had any doubt, he has certainly now been revealed for the leftist radical he his.

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February 13, 2012

Obama's Fake "Compromise" on Contraception and Abortifacients

It's bad enough that abortion up to birth has to be legal, but the Obama Administration demands that everyone pays for it as well. Their recent ruling on contraception and abortifacients is one of their more abhorrent along these lines. The recently announced compromise is a joke.

During the 2008 election, I showed numerous times in posts that Obama was one of the most extreme politicians in the country with regard to abortion.

He also doesn't care much for the rights of religious organizations, or their sense of ethics and morality. But what do we expect from a man who went to Trinity United for 20 years and listened to Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Obama's Free Abortion Pills
Revised White House contraception rule changes nothing
The Washington Times
February 10, 2012

Someone should tell President Obama there's no such thing as a free abortion pill. The White House is trying to douse a political wildfire sparked by an Obamacare mandate forcing religiously affiliated institutions to provide a full range of contraception measures for employees - including pills that induce abortions. Catholic and other religious leaders with principled objections cried foul, citing promises that they and their affiliates would be covered by a "conscience waiver" for any provisions of the law that created this kind of moral dilemma. On Friday Mr. Obama proposed a new rule whereby the onus would be on the insurance companies who cover the employees to reach out with cost-free contraceptives.

It was typical of the administration to make the proposed deal a giveaway program. Mr. Obama seems to be saying that if you don't see who is paying for the abortion pills then no one is. "Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services," he said. But of course they will. Insurance companies may be required by law to provide these services at no cost to the recipient, but costs are still involved. Employers will still be directly subsidizing the birth control plan. It was a classic Obama compromise; he gets 100 percent of what he wants and the other side gets a lecture about fairness.

Mr. Obama accused his opponents of politicizing the issue, which is what he usually says when people object to his extravagant use of government power. His proposed new rule is a pure election-year ploy. The White House cannot afford to bend on this issue and risk alienating feminists. Obama campaign planners may even see it as a useful wedge issue to keep women voters in the Democratic column. Even though Mr. Obama announced his decision "as a citizen and as a Christian," the White House is under no illusions that they will win the majority of votes of religiously observant Americans. According to Gallup weekly poll data, Americans who attend church weekly track 7 points below Mr. Obama's average approval rating, while those who seldom or never attend church are 4 points above. In a contest between the believers and the feminists, the Christians are clearly expendable.

The new rule does not address the root of the problem, which is nationalized health care. Mr. Obama's assumed power to dictate what types of coverage insurance companies must provide, and consequently what services employers must pay for, is what created this issue. Obscuring how religiously affiliated employers will have to support things they consider morally objectionable does not address the core principle. Mr. Obama still believes that the government has the power to force its will on religious institutions in the name of liberal dogma.

The fundamental issue is not health care, but freedom. America was founded in part as a haven for the exercise of religious liberty. A one-size-fits-all government mandated health care system necessarily will impinge on the rights of any religious denomination. No cleverly crafted, politically motivated tweaking of the rules will change that. Catholics will still be paying for abortion pills, like it or not.

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February 4, 2012

Celebrate Conformity - Or Else!

Mark Steyn is one of the most insightful writers of our time. His last book, America Alone: the End of the World as We Know It (reviewed by me here), is a classic, if a thoroughly depressing one. I'm currently reading his latest, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, and will have a review up on it next month. Liberals are famously intolerant of alternative opinions and thuggish in their enforcement, as the Susan G. Komen Foundation/Planned Parenthood imbroglio demonstrates. Having been a victim of liberal intolerance in Canada (see here and here), he knows what it's all about. From his column in National Review:

The Liberal Enforcers
Komen couldn't be permitted to get away with disrespecting Big Abortion.
February 4, 2012
By Mark Steyn

As Senator Obama said during the 2008 campaign, words matter. Modern "liberalism" is strikingly illiberal; the high priests of "tolerance" are increasingly intolerant of even the mildest dissent; and those who profess to "celebrate diversity" coerce ever more ruthlessly a narrow homogeneity. Thus, the Obama administration's insistence that Catholic institutions must be compelled to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity.

The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else: In Sweden, expressing a moral objection to homosexuality is illegal, even on religious grounds, even in church, and a pastor minded to cite the more robust verses of Leviticus would risk four years in jail. In Canada, the courts rule that Catholic schools must allow gay students to take their same-sex dates to the prom. The secular state's Bureau of Compliance is merciless to apostates to a degree even your fire-breathing imams might marvel at.

Consider the current travails of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This is the group responsible for introducing the pink "awareness raising" ribbon for breast cancer -- as emblematic a symbol of America's descent into postmodernism as anything. It has spawned a thousand other colored "awareness raising" ribbons: My current favorite is the periwinkle ribbon for acid reflux. We have had phenomenal breakthroughs in hues of awareness-raising ribbons, and for this the Susan G. Komen Foundation deserves due credit.

Until the other day, Komen were also generous patrons of Planned Parenthood, the "women's health" organization. The foundation then decided it preferred to focus on organizations that are "providing the lifesaving mammogram." Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms, despite its president, Cecile Richards, testifying to the contrary before Congress last year. Rather, Planned Parenthood provides abortions; it's the biggest abortion provider in the United States. For the breast-cancer bigwigs to wish to target their grants more relevantly is surely understandable.

But not if you're a liberal enforcer. Senator Barbara Boxer, with characteristic understatement, compared the Komen Foundation's Nancy Brinker to Joe McCarthy: "I'm reminded of the McCarthy era, where somebody said: 'Oh,' a congressman stands up, a senator, 'I'm investigating this organization and therefore people should stop funding them.'" But Komen is not a congressman or a senator or any other part of the government, only a private organization. And therefore it is free to give its money to whomever it wishes, isn't it?

Dream on. Liberals take the same view as the proprietors of the Dar al-Islam: Once they hold this land, they hold it forever. Notwithstanding that those who give to the foundation are specifically giving to support breast-cancer research, Komen could not be permitted to get away with disrespecting Big Abortion. We don't want to return to the bad old days of the back alley, when a poor vulnerable person who made the mistake of stepping out of line had to be forced into the shadows and have the realities explained to them with a tire iron. Now Big Liberalism's enforcers do it on the front pages with the panjandrums of tolerance and diversity cheering them all the way. In the wake of Komen's decision, the Yale School of Public Health told the Washington Post's Sarah Kliff that its invitation to Nancy Brinker to be its commencement speaker was now "under careful review." Because God forbid anybody doing a master's program at an Ivy League institution should be exposed to anyone not in full 100 percent compliance with liberal orthodoxy. The American Association of University Women announced it would no longer sponsor teams for Komen's "Race for the Cure." Sure, Komen has raised $2 billion for the cure, but better we never cure breast cancer than let a single errant Injun wander off the abortion reservation. Terry O'Neill of the National Organization for Women said Komen "is no longer an organization whose mission is to advance women's health." You preach it, sister. I mean, doesn't the very idea of an organization obsessively focused on breasts sound suspiciously patriarchal?
....

Read the whole thing.

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January 23, 2012

At the March for Life 2012

I went to the 39th annual March for Life today with the good people of St John's church of Leesburg VA. I went three years ago and have been looking forward to returning since. The date marks 39 years since the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade which legalized abortion in the United States. From the website of March for Life:


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On January 22, 1974, the first March for Life was held on the West Steps of the Capitol. An estimated 20,000 committed prolife Americans rallied that day on behalf of our preborn brothers and sisters.

In 1974, the March for Life was incorporated as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization.

News reports have only mentioned figures of "tens of thousands," understandably reluctant to try and nail down a precise figure. The March for Life site says approximately have 200,000 attended each march since 2002. Whatever the figure, I can tell you that an awful lot of people were there today. From my vantage it was impossible to really get a picture that conveyed the size of the crowd.

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There were the obligatory aborted fetus pictures, both on a billboard here and also on a giant-screen TV. There is a bit of controversy within the pro-life about using these photos. I am of the opinion that they do our cause more harm than good as they make us look like a bunch of nutty extremists to people who might otherwise by sympathetic to us. Sonogram videos, yes. Aborted baby pictures, no.


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There was a preponderance of Catholic church groups at the march, as was the case three years ago when I last went. I saw a few protestant church groups, but they were far and few between. I'm not sure if it's always been this way, but my hat is off to the Catholics for their unbending commitment to the pro-life cause. As such, it was hardly surprising to see EWTN there.

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"Byzantine Catholic" means "Eastern Orthodox" or "Eastern Catholic." They broke away from the Roman church in 1054

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The March starts with a rally on the Capitol Mall, where from noon until about 1:30 a variety of speakers address the crowd. At 1:30 people start marching down Constitution Avenue past the Capitol Building, then turn right and end up at the Supreme Court, which is across the street from the Capitol. This year we didn't get there until 1:30, so we missed the speeches and the march had just started. It would have been good to get there a bit sooner, but no matter.


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Turning around, here then is the U.S. Capitol


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Previous: March For Life 2009


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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, media@liveaction.org, (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.

Pimp: Cool!

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.

Mirror Imaging

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

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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
Jeremy Schulman

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?

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 22, 2010

Our Lame Duck Congress

For the first 140 or so years after ratification of the Constitution, the the new President and Congress took their offices March 4 after the elections in November. Without going into detail, although the date of March 4 was not explicitly spelled out, that's what the 12th Amendment of 1804, and custom, added up to.

Given travel difficulties of the 18th and 19th centuries, it took a lot of time to assemble a new government, and travel to and from one's home state to Washington DC. By the 20th century travel time had been reduced, and everyone could see that it would only get faster. As such, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution stipulated that the President and new Congress would take office in January. Relevant are sections one and two of the amendment:

Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

The issues, however, go beyond travel. The writer of this Wikipedia article on the 20th Amendment spells it out:

From the early 19th century onward, it also meant that the lame duck Congress and/or Presidential administration could, as in the case of the Congress, convene or fail to convene. In the case of the administration, to act or to fail to act, or to meet significant national crises in a timely manner. Each institution could do this on the theory that at best, a lame duck Congress or administration had neither the time nor the mandate to tackle problems. Where as the incoming administration or Congress would have both the time, and a fresh electoral mandate, to examine and address the problems that the nation faced. These problems very likely would have been at the center of the debate of the just completed election cycle.

Take it for what it's worth. But the issue of mandate is an interesting one, given how active our current lame-duck Congress has been:

Tax Cuts - Passed - Interestingly, both the extreme right and extreme left didn't like the deal Obama worked out with Republican leaders. I'd have held my nose and voted for it as the best of a series of bad choices.

Omnibus Budget - Failed - Fortunately, Republicans were able to stop the Democrats from digging us further into debt by forcing a continuing resolution instead of a full scale budget for next year. You don't have to look far to find the usual tales of woe in the liberal press about how government agencies will be starved of funds for "vital" upgrades. Sure. It was worth it to stop funding for ObamaCare and the usual pork programs.

Gays in the Military - Passed - The debate about gay marriage in the civilian world is about a lot of things, but marriage isn't one of them. Likewise, the issue is not whether gays can serve without disrupting military readiness. Progressives couldn't care less about the military or marriage. What they want is to force the acceptance of the gay lifestyle as equal to hetrosexuals. They want to forbid discussion of these issues, and shut down businesses and churches that refuse to play ball.

New START - Passed - Irrelevant at best, harmful at worst, the main purpose of this treaty is to make it look like Obama has achieved something. We're assured by the striped-pants set that the treaty is good for us, and you little people should just do as your told. They also assure us that the preamble to the treaty does not inhibit U.S. missile defense systems, but the Russians say otherwise.

DREAM Act - Failed - Otherwise known as the "let's create more Democrat voters bill," yet another attempt to pass what amounts to mass amnesty for illegal aliens was thwarted.

Food Safety Modernization Act - Pending - I haven't really followed this one, but it basically gives the FDA power to regulate "all foods sold, distributed, or imported within the US."

Net Neutrality - Pending - The issue is complicated, but the guiding principle of how government regulation should work isn't: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The Internet works just fine, and giving the FCC additional power is asking for trouble down the road. My general guideline to the FCC would be something like "make sure radio station signals don't overlap, and after that you're done." The FCC has no business telling broadband companies how to handle their traffic.

The Progressive Plan

Progresssives realize that their large majorities in the 111th Congress, coupled with the administration of Barack Obama, present the best chance of getting their agenda enacted into law that they'll ever probably see in their lifetimes. It's now or never.

Further, they realize that an law, once enacted, is hard to completely repeal. They know that once the cat is out of the bag on things such as universal health care, or gays in the military, its hard to stuff it back in. And once an illegal alien has been made a citizen, and thus a Democrat voter, you can't take that citizenship away.

Thus their method of ramming as much legislation through as possible while they're still in office.

The Republican Response

There's not much we can do now. Contrary to the dreams of some Tea Party and conservative extremists, we're never going to have anything but a spectrum of Republicans in Congress that run from moderate-liberal to hard right. We're paying the price for screwing up in the early part of this decade.

Once the new 112th Congress is seated we can get to work. We can't repeal ObamaCare, but we can starve it of funds, and refuse to pass any enabling legislation.

What Can Be Done?

It may well be time to revise the 20th Amendment. This Congress has been rejected by the American people, and they have no business passing anything but emergency legislation. If Republicans did this in the past then shame on them, and two wrongs don't make a right.

But given the herculean task of passing an amendment to the Constitution, the 112th Congress would do well to concentrate on practical matters of reducing government spending and rolling back ObamaCare. If they can simply prevent the progressives from doing any more damage I'll be happy. Let's set ourselves up for a bigger victory in 2012, and then we can really set about the true business of reform.

Update - Additional Research

The Heritage Foundation has a paper on treaty ratification during lame duck sessions of Congress that sheds some additional light on the matter:

While recognizing that such sessions were necessary under extraordinary circumstances, proponents of the (20th) Amendment argued that laws made by lame duck sessions were less democratically legitimate because those laws were promulgated by individuals different from those chosen by a popular election immediately preceding the session. In cases where there were changes in the control of Congress or the presidency, significant binding actions--such as the ratification of treaties--may violate the principle of the consent of the governed
.

There have only been 18 lame duck sessions since 1933, out of a possible 38. That is, there have been 38 elections since 1933, and Congress has only met after the election and before the new Congress was seated 18 times. Six of those took place from 1940 to 1954, mostly to pass emergency World War II and Cold War legislation. There were only four lame duck sessions from 1956 to 1994, but eight since then, including the current one.

Several observations flow from this.

One, Lame duck sessions during World War II and the early days of the Cold War could be justified by military necessity. That rationale has mostly not existed since then.

Two, lame duck Congresses are somewhat of a bipartisan phenomenon. Two wrongs never make a right.

Three, this current lame duck Congress has been unusual in the number and type of bills it has passed. There has been nothing like it since the 1940s. The conclusion of the Heritage paper:

The Senate date of treaty ratification cross-checked with the dates of each lame duck session of Congress confirms the general assertion that no major treaty has ever been ratified by the Senate during a lame duck session of Congress. ...

The recent midterm elections created significant ramifications for passing New START during the lame duck session. The ratification of New START by a lame duck Senate would not only ignore the message sent by voters in November but also break a significant precedent, consistent with the principle of consent, maintained by Presidents and Congresses since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 8, 2010

In the Battle of Life and Death, We Know Which Side This Woman is On

Earlier this week I posted a video of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen speaking about her near-death experience at the hands of an abortionist. She asked her audience, "in the battle of life and death, which side are you on?"

Journalist Virginia Ironside isn't shy about declaring where her loyalties lie (h/t Belmont Club)

I get that watching someone suffer is a horrible experience, and "putting them out of their misery" is tempting. And before modern times, or if you're trapped in some third world country with no escape, it might even be the thing to do. But that's not what Ironside is talking about here. She's talking about smothering with a pillow a baby in a modern country in our current time.

Children born with debilitating conditions, or people who are old and infirm are heartbreaking situations. The distinction I make is whether the person is on life support, or living on their own. It is one thing to remove life support and let nature take it's course, it is quite another to take the life of someone who is able to live on their own. It is the latter that Ironside advocates, and which made her interviewer gasp.

That this is, to put it mildly, a difficult subject is indisputable. And that's what makes Ironside's cold, dispassionate, statement that she would smother a child with a pillow so horrifying. If that's your position, at least exhibit some emotion. At least act like you see the moral dilemma involved. And don't be so callous as to say you'd just kill a baby with a pillow.

Update

"If a baby's going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother."



You just can't make this stuff up.

Posted by Tom at 7:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2010

In the Battle of Life and Death, Which Side are You On?

I wasn't going to watch this when I first saw it on Facebook, and then I thought I wouldn't watch the whole thing. But once I started I just couldn't stop.

This video is extraordinary. Trust me.

Posted by Tom at 8:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2010

The McCarthyism of the Gay Rights Movement

As with yesterday, I've got no time to do a proper post, so I'll let Maggie Gallagher speak for me. She hits the nail on the head on the McCarthyism of the "gay rights" movement:

Here's a rich discussion on the First Things site of the letter David Blankenhorn and his colleagues recently sent to the New York Times, protesting the irresponsible way in which Frank Rich has now three times dubbed Blankenhorn an ignorant bigot.

A few thoughts: David is not a movement conservative. He's not a political conservative at all, in my judgment; I consider him both a dear friend and a stalwart pro-marriage liberal. This is why he cares so much about what the New York Times writes about him, and why he is appealing to its editors to do the right and fair thing. He believes in the New York Times.

Back in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court first brought gay marriage to the national stage, gay-marriage advocates scrambled to assure Americans that gay marriage would have no consequences. An effort was made to sift the sheep from the goats, the bigots from the concerned, well-meaning Americans opposed to gay marriage. At one point, support for civil unions was proposed as the great dividing line between decency and outlaw status. (Even Ramesh Ponnuru suggested once that if conservatives supported civil unions it would take the acrimony out of the debate.)

Now, David Blankenhorn -- who not only supports federal civil unions but tells conservative audiences (I've been there and seen it) that he believes in the "equal dignity of homosexual love" -- is beyond the pale in polite liberal society. (To their credit, gay conservatives Dale Carpenter and Jonathan Rauch have defended him.)

It's sad and disturbing, and a confirmation of what I began saying seven years ago: When they say you are a bigot, comparable to those who opposed interracial marriage, if you think marriage is the union of husband and wife, believe them. They say it because they think it's true. The movement goal is to use the power of law to help reshape the culture, as was done for race. Those who didn't realize this in 2003 will start acting that way in 2010, because framing ideas have consequences.

If even David Blankenhorn's reputation can be irresponsibly assaulted by allegedly respectable people without any pushback in this way, what will become of the rest of us?

At a private conference last year, I was asked why I did not begin my talks by acknowledging in some fashion the legitimacy of same-sex relationships -- either through support for civil unions or some other way. "Like it or not," I am told, "that is the currency to be taken seriously." I wasn't fast enough to think of this at the time, but what I should have done was whip out my birth certificate and say, "Here, here's the currency I need to speak up in defense of marriage. I was born free. I may or may not die free. Power is a reality. But I will not volunteer to live in a world where an idea as good and reasonable as 'to make a marriage you need a husband and wife' gets treated a radioactive proposition that you need to 'pay some price' in order to express." Marriage deserves its unique status, because these are the only unions that can make new life and connect children in love to their mother and father. On that ground, I will stand or fall.

I hope David is able to blaze a trail, to get the New York Times to respond, to win some validation that there is something really wrong with a world where a respectable writer at a respectable paper can slander him in this way, not once but three times.

Posted by Tom at 9:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 30, 2010

McDonald v. City of Chicago: Upholding the Constitution

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court does the right thing:

In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court Monday extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. The decision will be hailed by gun rights advocates and comes over the opposition of gun control groups, the city of Chicago and four justices.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying "the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner."

The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states. Today's ruling also invalidates Chicago's handgun ban.

It always struck me as bizarre that anyone would claim that the Second Amendment could not be applied to the states. I know we went through this with the rest of the Bill of Rights, and I had thought that the issue was pretty much settled.

The issue is that liberals want to treat the Second Amendment like they treat immigration laws; as "fake" laws that ok are on the books but aren't meant to be enforced.

Some on the left will also claim that this decision represents "conservative activism," but this is not a serious argument.

Activism is when you're making things up that aren't in the constitution. Harry Blackmun found a right to abortion in the due process clause Constitution, but this was pure imagination. Likewise, the commerce clause has been stretched to the point where it's meaningless. But the Second Amendment is there in plain sight, and any study shows that it means an individual right to own firearms. So it's not judicial activism when you're striking down laws that blatantly violate the constitution.

Gun prohibition is dead, at least for now. Jurisdictions such as Chicago will have to obey all of the Constitution, and are rewriting their laws as I type this. Whether their rewritten laws pass muster will be determined in innumerable court cases. The McDonald decision correctly left open some gun control, the question will be how much is acceptable.

What is scary is that as with DC v Heller, this was a 5 - 4 decision. This shows the importance of winning elections, and of getting originalists on the Supreme Court. Four justices actually do not believe the Second Amendment means what it plainly says, or what the Founders meant it to mean. Now that is judicial activism.

Writing in The Washington Times, author and attorney David Kopel explains how the McDonald decision has implications for the current hearings on Elena Kagan's bid to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court:

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the Supreme Court opinions in McDonald v. Chicago was the dissenters' assault on District of Columbia v. Heller. Not only did Justice Stephen G. Breyer vote against extending the Second Amendment to state and local governments, he also argued forcefully and at length for overturning Heller and, therefore, for turning the Second Amendment into a practical nullity. Ominously, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the Breyer dissent - contradicting what she told the U.S. Senate and the American people last summer.

Regarding the key issue in McDonald - whether the 14th Amendment makes the Second Amendment enforceable against state and local governments - Justice Sotomayor resolutely refused to tell the senators how she might vote. So in voting against incorporating the Second Amendment, Justice Sotomayor was not inconsistent with what she had told the Senate. But regarding Heller, her actions as a justice broke her promises from last summer.

The Breyer-Sotomayor-Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent urged that Heller be overruled and declared, "In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense."

Contrast that with her Senate testimony: "I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller." And, "I understand how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans."

Yet her McDonald opinion shows her "understanding" that those many, many Americans are completely wrong to think they have a meaningful individual right.

To the Senate Judiciary Committee, Justice Sotomayor repeatedly averred that Heller is "settled law." The Associated Press reported that Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, "said Sotomayor told him during a private meeting that she considers the 2008 ruling that struck down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban as settled law that would guide her decisions in future cases."

They're looking to overturn Heller, folks.

Posted by Tom at 7:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 20, 2010

05/20/10 News and Headlines Update

Sorry, sorry, not much blogging as I've been so involved in local projects I haven't had time. When I do get to this thing I've been spending my time working on a book review of Kimberley Kagan's The Surge: A Military History. Unfortunately it's going to take another week or so to finish it but if you are interested in that sort of thing make sure to check back.

In the meantime, there are quite a few stories of diverse nature below the fold, so comment away!

Second Amendment

First up is this

Mexican President Felipe Calderon called on Congress Thursday to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons that he said are ending up in the hands of violent drug cartels south of the border, using a highly contentious estimate of U.S. guns seized in Mexico when addressing Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Mr. Calderon said he respects the Second Amendment but argued that violence south of the border spiked in 2004 after the expiration of a U.S. ban on semiautomatic weapons. Echoing statements made by President Obama Wednesday, Mr. Calderon said the U.S. bears some responsibility in propping up the drug trade with its demand for narcotics and supply of guns.

Of course, they don't have a Second Amendment in Mexico, and although the Mexican Constitution allegedly guarantees the right to own firearms, legislation has made it nearly impossible to do so. So it's all a lot of nonsense for him to say he respects it.

But there are a few larger points.

One, liberals are always telling us that we can't sacrifice our civil liberties for the sake of reducing crime. In this case they are mostly right. Once those gun-control freaks an inch and they'll take a mile.

More, the problem has little to do with guns per se. The problems are demand for drugs in the U.S. and the fact that Mexico is just about a failed state. It's run by an oligarchy that has rigged the system to keep the rich people rich and give no one else a chance. They callously boot their poor over the border and then complain when we object.

The simple fact is that any gun ban won't make the slightest dent in the drug trade. Calderon is using it to cover up the corruption of his own government, and liberals in the U.S. will use it as cover for their anti-Second Amendment agenda.

Illegal Immigration

You just can't talk about Mexico without talking about illegal immigration and the story of CNN's Wolf Blitzer's interview with Mexican President Felipe Calderon has just about gone viral

Ouch!

Here's a summary of some of the interview:

Citing a Washington Times article explaining Mexican immigration laws that incriminated those who willfully participated in illegal immigration or helped illegal immigrants, Blitzer asked President Calderón to contrast those laws with Arizona's. Calderón replied that, while the Times assessment used to be true, it is no longer, and immigration cannot be illegal in Mexico. "Of course, on the border, we are asking people 'Who are you?'" explained Calderón, and "Once they are inside the country, what the Mexican police do is, of course, enforce the law, but any means immigration is a crime anymore in Mexico... if someone does that, we find them and sending [sic] them back."

In response to that, Blitzer noted that many in the US do not know that Mexico does not criminalize illegal immigration, and reference the older, harsher laws to argue that border states are only trying to do what Mexico does in its lower half, as well.

Blitzer later asks if Mexico checks papers at the border, and Calderon says yes, but when then asked if Mexican police do not go around asking for papers to prove residency, Calderon of course answers no. The coup de grace is when Blitzer follows up by asking him if a Guatemalan who is illegally in Mexico can just go and get a job, and Calderon is forced to answer no.

Yet he demands that we allow Mexicans to come illegally into the U.S. and get jobs.

Illegal Immigration II

Here's a headline good for a laugh Obama urges passage of immigration law
Fears racial profiling by states

Who are all these people kidding who claim that they object to Arizona's law because it allegedly profiles? We all know they're just in favor of illegal immigration.

Here, I'll prove it. My challenge to anyone who claims that they object to Arizona's SB1070 over civil rights issues is this; write your own law that enforces our immigration laws and gets reduces the number of illegals in the country. They never do it.

Leftist Intolerance

Here's a story that struck me today, Scientist booted off oil panel over writing

The Energy Department removed a St. Louis scientist from a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because of writings on his website about homosexuality and race relations.

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.

Mr. Katz is a leading scientist, but his website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings include defenses of "homophobia" and doubts about the value of racial preferences and similar diversity efforts.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was not aware of Mr. Katz's writings before selecting him for the panel, spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller told the Associated Press. It was not immediately clear how the department became aware of the writings.

"Dr. Chu has spoken with dozens of scientists and engineers as part of his work to help find solutions to stop the oil spill," a statement from the Energy Department said. "Some of Professor Katz's controversial writings have become a distraction from the critical work of addressing the oil spill. Professor Katz will no longer be involved in the Department's efforts."

Mr. Katz, reached by phone by The Washington Times, said he had no comment and referred a reporter to official statements.

"There's enough mud being thrown around. I think it would be better if I just referred you to the public record," he said.

The extent of work he performed on the oil-spill recovery effort was not immediately known.

In a website posting titled "In Defense of Homophobia," Mr. Katz wrote that "the human body was not designed to share hypodermic needles, it was not designed to be promiscuous, and it was not designed to engage in homosexual acts."

"Engaging in such behavior is like riding a motorcycle on an icy road without a helmet. It may be possible to get away with it for a while, and a few misguided souls may get a thrill out of doing so, but sooner or later (probably sooner) the consequences will be catastrophic. Lethal diseases spread rapidly among people who do such things," he said.

In another posting, Mr. Katz questioned the value of universities' diversity efforts, saying they show no intellectual diversity and merely ingrain race-based thinking.

"The diversity movement is racist at its core," he writes. "When dealing with people, we should be concerned with intellect, talent, character and accomplishment. People aren't dogs or cattle; race matters only to racists."

When I read the things that Mr Katz wrote I thought "yeah, I believe most of that too."

Just remember, the left loves diversity! And don't you dare say otherwise.

Elena Kagan

We're supposed to believe that Elena Kagan is a moderate, that she's oh-so-smart, yada yada. Well, I don't know about the second part but anyone who believes the former needs to let me know because I've got a nice bridge to sell you.

She'll turn into another proponent of the "living constitution" theory which basically says make it up as you go along to fit your political agenda. Yep, it's Queen of Hearts time, folks, conclusion first, Constitution second. Want to take bets on how may penumbras she'll find over the course of her time on the bench?

Don't believe me? From her masters thesis: "Judges will often try to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends.... Such activity is not necessarily wrong or invalid."

"Anti-Incumbent? Try Anti-Obama"

Fred Barnes says it's nonsense to think that the mood in this country is anti-incumbent:

The idea that anti-incumbent fever, striking equally at Democrats and Republicans, is the defining feature of the 2010 election is as misguided as last year's notion that President Obama's oratory would tilt the nation in favor of his ambitious agenda. Yet the media, echoing the Obama White House, has adopted anti-incumbency as the all-purpose explanation of this year's political developments...

What demolishes the notion of anti-incumbency as a scourge on both parties are the calculations of credible political analysts--Democrats and Republicans from Charles Cook to Jay Cost to Nathan Silver to James Carville--about the outcome of November's general election. They believe dozens of congressional Democrats either trail Republican challengers or face toss-up races, while fewer than a handful of Republicans are in serious re-election trouble...

If there's a Republican wave in November, Republicans will capture the Senate seats in Kentucky and Arkansas and probably in Pennsylvania as well. The most important political event of the week may have been the revelation that the Democratic Senate candidate in Connecticut, the state's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, had falsely claimed to be a Vietnam veteran. That gives a Republican a chance to win in Connecticut, too--and maybe even a Senate majority.

We'll see. I'm not taking anything for granted. We've got a very good Republican congressman where I live in Frank Wolf (VA-10) , but he did vote for TARP which won't play well. I'm going all out to support him this year.

A Bomb South of the Border

Not in Mexico, thank heavens. But Brazil? Who do they have to worry about?

Turns out they've "extending over $1 billion in credit to Iran, in order to boost Brazilian exports to the country" . There goes the sanctions regime.

Above all, there is reason for doubt because of numerous signs that Brazil is working on its own secret nuclear program. The evidence is discussed in a recent paper by German nuclear security expert Hans Rühle. The paper is available in English from the German Council on Foreign Relations here. One point in Rühle's paper is of particular interest in connection with the policies of the current American administration. Rühle notes that in its December 2008 National Defense Strategy, Brazil confirmed its status as a member of the NPT, but also stated that "Brazil will not agree to any additional NPT restrictions until the nuclear weapons states make more progress toward nuclear disarmament." Concretely, Rühle points out, this meant that Brazil would not sign on to the 1997 additional protocol to the NPT allowing for expanded IAEA inspections and, in particular, would refuse to be more forthcoming about its suspect nuclear submarine program.

Brazil's conditioning of NPT cooperation upon the progress made by the existing nuclear powers toward nuclear disarmament reveals how the global "nuclear zero" campaign, of which Barack Obama has made himself the spokesperson, plays into the hands of would-be proliferators. After all, Iran itself has used similar arguments. Moreover, the stated condition for cooperation is entirely vague and flexible. How much "progress" is enough progress?

Another story with additional details here.

Lamest Mascots Ever

We end on a lighter note. Recently unveiled are Wenlock and Mandeville, the mascots for the 2012 Olympics in London

Wenlock and Mandeville

Video and story at The Guardian:

In the end they were neither animal, vegetable nor mineral. Nor, as some cynics had predicted, did they resemble white elephants.

Instead, Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, elicited mostly baffled reactions as to just what they were at their unveiling today.

With a metallic finish, a single large eye made out of a camera lens, a London taxi light on their heads and the Olympic rings represented as friendship bracelets on their wrists, they resemble characters dreamed up for a Pixar animation.

Perfectly androgynous, they represent what the UK has become. No wonder the British Empire fell.

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March 11, 2010

Book Review - Whose Ethics? Whose Morals?

I listen to a lot of Christian radio, mostly music during the day and talk at night. Of course, I also listen to Laura, Rush, Dennis Miller, and others too. But I can't go a whole day without some time with God, and radio is part of His ministry.

Like any other genre, some Christian talk radio is good and some is bad. Spare me the fire and brimstone. Bring on insightful, intellectual, and intelligent commentary. Of the latter, Christian Research Institute Chairman Hank Hanegraaff is one of the best. I've listened to him long enough to know that he didn't earn the moniker "the bible answer man" by accident. Check your local radio listings for availability.

Hanegraaff has published a number of works, and one day I'll buy more of them. My time for reading being somewhat small, I decided to start with one of his smaller ones, Whose Ethics? Whose Morals? The Best of the Christian Research Journal. At 95 pages, it's not a long read.

Whose Ethics?  Whose Morals?

The book is a collection of short essays; one by Hanegraaff, and 5 by other authors. My conclusion; there are a few good sections, but in general it was a letdown. Partially this is just me, because any reader of this blog knows that while I am pro-life, I don't spend much time on the subject. Ditto with other hot-button social issues such as cloning and stem cell research. If the details of these subjects interest you, you'll probably find the book more useful than I did.

In the first part of the book Hanegraaff poses a series of everyday moral questions, and addresses them from a Christian perspective. "What's the problem with pornography" and "What should Christians think about global warming" are two typical ones. You can guess his answer to the first, the second is a bit more complicated. Global warming, climate change, or whatever you want to call it, is a scientific issue which is on the surface removed from Christian thinking. However, there is more to it than that. God has called us to be good stewards of the earth, so we must pay attention to environmental matters. On the other, the environmental movement has a strong quasi-religious aspect to it, and we must avoid falling into this trap.

The best essay is "Dispelling False Notions of the First Amendment: The Falsity, Futility, and Folly of Separating Morality from the Law" by Michael Bauman. There are those who argue that "you can't legislate morality," which is usually a prelude to "keep religion out of government/the/law etc." Bauman presents a convincing case that all law is ultimately based on moral and ethical judgments.

For example, one can justify environmental laws on pragmatic grounds by saying that clean air or water benefits us all. But the simple idea that more people leading healthy lives is itself a moral judgment. Speed limits can be justified on pragmatic grounds by saying that they save lives and we benefit economically and that "cleaning up" wrecks is expensive. Again, the idea that saving lives is good and that cost is a factor is itself a moral judgment. It is therefore foolish to think that law can be made on a strictly pragmatic basis.

Right now we are in a stage whereby vice-type laws are being removed, and more and more moral prohibitions relaxed. A quick look at the supermarket magazines and the cover of Cosmopolitan, or the window of you local Victoria's Secret, makes the point. And that's before turning on the TV for the evening sitcoms. Even the most cursory look at all of the social indicators; divorce rate, single parenthood, etc show a downward trend in the past 40 years, and every serious study out there shows these conditions lead to poverty. The cause-and-effect / chicken-and-egg is complicated, but if "pragmatism" was the basis for our law we'd make divorce and single-parenthood illegal. Neither I nor Bauman are saying these things should be illegal, just pointing out that pragmatism isn't the basis for our legal system.

More, vice-laws have more effect than many people want to admit. Prohibition didn't stop drinking but even after it ended, alcohol consumption was considerably less than before it was enacted. Before prohibition the average American drank 3 gallons of alcohol per year. After it was lifted it was at 1 gallon for the next 10 years, and took 40 years to return to pre-prohibition levels.

Obviously not all sins can or should be legislated, and Bauman makes this explicitly clear.

I don't want to say there is a "worst" essay, but unless you're interested in reading about the ethics of abortion in excruciating detail, you'll find the two essays on abortion tedious. The authors take on seemingly every imaginable "pro-choice" argument, including many I'd never heard of before. They not only take you through the biology of conception and pregnancy step-by-step, but address the very issue of "what does it mean to be human?" I'll admit that in a way it is interesting and indeed important, but it's just not my personal hot-button topic.

Before too long, though, we as a society are going to have to face all the hard questions about "what it means to be human" that we can now see but are just over the horizon. The debate over embryonic v adult cell research is all the rage now, but other issues will be at the forefront soon. Before too many years human cloning will not only be possible but cheaper and easier. Even the Brave New World scenario whereby babies are "grown" test-tubesin baby-factories is not too far off as our technology advances. We'll have to answer the question; just because something is technically possible, do we want to do it? Should these things be legal, illegal, or regulated? These questions are not my cup of tea, but in the end I'll be affected by them as much as anyone.

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August 5, 2009

I Thought that "Dissent was the Highest Form of Patriotism"

How many times during the Bush Administration did you hear that "dissent is patriotic" or "dissent is the highest form of patriotism," or some such? Too many times to count.

In my post yesterday taking President Obama to task for talking out of both sides of his mouth on single-payer, I failed to notice this tidbit from the White House website titled "Facts are Stubborn Things"

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov

Should I report myself? Or will my liberal commenters do it for me? No doubt much of what I've published counts as "disinformation" to Obama and his supporters.

At least one United States Senator, John Cornyn (R-TX) has posted an open letter to the Administration, demanding that they stop this program and asking what exactly they intend to do with information they gather about private citizens.

As I think we're all aware, citizens have been swamping "town hall" meetings set up by congressmen. Many angry comments, questions, and yelling have been directed at Democrats who voted with Obama.

Here's one in which Congressman Steve Kagen's (D-WI) "Listening Session" turned into something of a shouting session. (h/t both videos Mike's America)

Here's another, in which turncoat Arlen Spectre and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius get an earful from Pennsylvanians

Now, I'm very much against shouting speakers down. And if that occurs I condemn it. There's nothing wrong though with speakers angrily making their views known, and there's nothing wrong with a few catcalls from the audience.

Here's a DNC ad attacking these people as "an angry mob"

And indeed in a statement issued by the DNC

The Republicans and their allied groups - desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill - are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country....

The right wing extremists' use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President's citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are. This type of anger and discord did not serve Republicans well in 2008 - and it is bound to backfire again.

As Michael Goldfarb asks, "Am I missing something or isn't this exactly the kind of behavior that Democrats encouraged for the last, oh, five or so years of the Bush administration. ...And are Democrats really going to complain about people using Nazi imagery to criticize a sitting president?"

Only problem is that it wasn't so long ago that Obama organized just these sorts of angry mobs himself.

During the campaign Obama told his supporters that

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said.

And were told incessantly that Obama's experience as a "community organizer" uniquely qualified him to be president. Guy Benson at NRO's Media Blog links to a March 2007 story in The New Republic titled "The Agitator." From the TNR story:

...After Obama arrived [in Chicago], he sat down for a cup of coffee in Hyde Park with a fellow organizer named Mike Kruglik. Obama's work focused on helping poor blacks on Chicago's South Side fight the city for things like job banks and asbestos removal. His teachers were schooled in a style of organizing devised by Saul Alinsky, the radical University of Chicago-trained social scientist. At the heart of the Alinsky method is the concept of "agitation"-- making someone angry enough about the rotten state of his life that he agrees to take action to change it; or, as Alinsky himself described the job, to "rub raw the sores of discontent."

...[Organizer] Kruglik remembers this episode as an example of why, in ten years of training organizers, Obama was the best student he ever had. He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation...he could be aggressive and confrontational.

Also linked to by Benson is a September 2008 story by Stanley Kurtz in the New York Post titled "O's Dangerous Pals." Following are excerpts:

One key pioneer of ACORN's subprime-loan shakedown racket was Madeline Talbott - an activist with extensive ties to Barack Obama. She was also in on the ground floor of the disastrous turn in Fannie Mae's mortgage policies. Long the director of Chicago ACORN, Talbott is a specialist in "direct action" - organizers' term for their militant tactics of intimidation and disruption. Perhaps her most famous stunt was leading a group of ACORN protesters breaking into a meeting of the Chicago City Council to push for a "living wage" law, shouting in defiance as she was arrested for mob action and disorderly conduct. But her real legacy may be her drive to push banks into making risky mortgage loans.

...And no one has been more supportive of Madeline Talbott than Barack Obama. When Obama was just a budding community organizer in Chicago, Talbott was so impressed that she asked him to train her personal staff.

In those years, he also conducted leadership-training seminars for ACORN's up-and-coming organizers. That is, Obama was training the army of ACORN organizers who participated in Madeline Talbott's drive against Chicago's banks.

More than that, Obama was funding them. As he rose to a leadership role at Chicago's Woods Fund, he became the most powerful voice on the foundation's board for supporting ACORN and other community organizers. In 1995, the Woods Fund substantially expanded its funding of community organizers - and Obama chaired the committee that urged and managed the shift.

Barack Obama is getting a small taste of his own medicine, and it is bitter indeed.

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"Saving children from depravity"

I don't normally discuss the culture wars here but it is an issue of some importance. As such, I thought this editorial by Rebecca Hagelin in last Friday's Washington Times to be quite good. I don't have any children of my own so I won't comment further myself but will let her say it for me:

Our teenagers are more sexually active than any generation of youth before them. They also are consuming more pornography and compromising basic moral standards more often. It seems that many of them have lost not only their innocence, but their conscience, too.

The plethora of negative and immoral behaviors glorified by a media world that's gone stark raving mad - combined with graphic, nonjudgmental sex education and a highly sexualized culture, in general - causes many of them to lose understanding of what is wrong and what is right.

When a young child's sensibilities are constantly violated, and he or she begins to ignore the natural pangs of guilt after yielding to cultural pressures, he or she can end up being miserable and begin to develop a hard heart and weak spirit.

If we as parents blindly turn our own hearts away from them because we're scared of confrontation, or because we're too lazy to do "the hard stuff" like fight for their integrity, we have a hand in dooming their young spirits to inner torment. And, ultimately, if the pattern continues, to the loss of basic decency and sensitivity to evil.

In chapter 32, the Psalmist reflects on the misery that comes with ignoring a guilty conscience:

"When I kept things to myself/I felt weak deep inside me./I moaned all day long./Day and night you punished me./My strength was gone as in the summer heat."

Do you really want your child to live that way?

How To Save Your Family from a loss of conscience

It's critical as a parent to take control and do everything in your power to make certain that the culture does not molest your child's young mind. Setting standards for media consumption can help avoid a lot of regrets, especially when it comes to the evil of pornography. But because we are all sinners, we also need to learn to recognize when our children might be feeling uncomfortable and guilty - and offer them hope and a way out of their despair.

Talk often about God's miracles of forgiveness, redemption and restoration. These concepts are foreign to our modern world, yet they are as tranformational today as they were for the Psalmist and when God offered his forgiveness to a sinful world as He sent His son to atone for the sins of all who would accept Him.

I John 1:9 promises: "When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Our children experience the beautiful gifts of wisdom and grace when we help them develop their conscience and teach them how to respond to feelings of guilt. We need to be bold about sharing with them the life-giving power and joy that comes with confession. Tears of repentance over wrongs done makes our hearts strong, yet malleable in the hands of a a loving God. Ignoring our sins turns us into desperate, weak souls with hearts of stone.

In Psalm 32, the author actually begins the passage with what we can look forward to when we confess our sins to the loving and merciful God:

"Happy is the person whose sins are forgiven/Whose wrongs have been pardoned./Happy is the person whom the Lord does not consider guilty,/And in whom there is nothing false."

The forgiveness and joy that comes with sincere repentance is the best news mankind has ever heard! Have your own children heard it?

• Rebecca Hagelin is a family advocate and the author of the best-seller "30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family." For more family tips, visit HowToSaveYourFamily.com or e-mail Rebecca@HowToSaveYourFamily.com.

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May 1, 2009

Lila Rose Nails Planned Parenthood of Tennessee

Yesterday I posted about how 20 year old UCLA student Lila Rose went undercover to expose Planned Parenthood of Tennessee. Rose went into the clinic posing as a 14 year old girl made pregnant by a 31 year old man, and the PP staffer engaged in a blatant cover up of statutory rape.

Correction To My Last Post: In my last post I wrote that "I don't know enough about the law to say whether or not was Rose was doing was legal or not." In an email communication with Live Action, I have been assured that the taping was in fact legal, and neither did they violate any trespassing laws.

I also played devils advocate, saying that "The aberration defense is plausible" (that the Planned Parenthood employee who covered up the statutory rape was the aberration, not the rule). I the same email Live Action pointed out that

We have released 8 clinics now in 4 states that have been irresponsible in their behavior towards minors. In Indiana for example, our two videos from that state were shot on the same day, 90 miles apart. We can say with confidence that the majority of the clinics that we visit are irresponsible and at a minimum violate Planned Parenthood policy and common sensibility, if not the law.

I stand corrected. At this point there is enough evidence to discern a trend at Planned Parenthood; a callous disregard for the laws regarding statutory rape.

Today's Post

Since Live Action, Rose's organization, posted the video of her undercover work, Tennessee lawmakers have introduced legislation to reduce or cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood receives some $700,000 in taxpayer money from the state of Tennessee. From a press release posted at Live Action:

Lila Rose, 20-year-old president of Live Action, says the unedited video further exposes Planned Parenthood's reckless counseling practices. When Lila, posing as a 14-year-old girl impregnated by a 31-year-old man, mentions, "My boyfriend said he could pay for everything--But he shouldn't come here to pay 'cause you'll see him, right?" the counselor replies, "It doesn't matter. As long as your parents are not here and can't identify him, he can just pay and that's it. He could be like your older brother or whatever." Tennessee law states that a minor must have parental consent before undergoing an abortion....

On Monday, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region CEO Barry Chase sent an email to state legislators asking them to stop the bill and claimed that Live Action's president, Lila Rose, refused to release the unedited footage, even though neither Rose nor Live Action received any correspondence from Mr. Chase.

Following is the letter Chase sent, followed by Live Action's response

If the text is too small to read it is posted at Jill Stanek's website where it can be more easily enlarged.


PP Response to Live Action Tenn 1

Photobucket


Live Action Responds to Memphis Planned Parenthood Letter

First, in a video

Second, in a letter

Dear Tennessee Legislator:

My name is Lila Rose and I am the young woman who went undercover in to the Memphis Planned Parenthood and created the YouTube video of the sexual abuse cover up I found at the clinic.

You can read about more about this here.

I am very pleased to hear that the Tennessee legislature has moved to reduce taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood. However, I would like to respond to a number of points raised in an email by Barry Chase, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, disputing the relevance of the results of my organization's undercover investigation. It is my hope that both the footage of Planned Parenthood covering up the sexual abuse of young girls and the organization's subsequent denial and indifference will assist you and inform you as you work on behalf of the residents of your state.

To begin with, let me clarify two issues:

First, while Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis claims they have "asked, unsuccessfully" for "unedited" copies of our footage, we have never received a request for the raw footage by Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis. They have been making this false assertion since the start of our media release.

Second, last Monday, we sent the full undercover footage to the Shelby County District Attorney's office. They will determine whether laws were broken and confirm the veracity of our recording. You can view the unedited footage, the original video, and press documentation on our website, LiveAction.org.

In his email, Mr. Chase tries to pass blame by claiming that the employee in the video, who identifies herself as "Marie," was not properly trained. The question at hand, however, concerns not whether some or any employees at Planned Parenthood are properly trained, but whether they are practicing, in private counseling sessions, the same policies that they profess to the public.

In our undercover video, "Marie" demonstrates a clear knowledge of the legal boundaries to abortion. The video shows that she is familiar with the process for obtaining a waiver from a judge to the parental consent requirement for abortion (which Mr. Chase incorrectly calls a parental notification law). Marie then deliberately uses her familiarity with the system to forestall the judge from finding out about the statutory rapist. The Planned Parenthood counselor has created a perfect storm for ensuring that the statutory rapist is never found out: the parents will never find out about the pregnancy, the judge will never find out about the statutory rapist, and Planned Parenthood will never again mention either.

It is all the more troubling to think that even a supposed novice counselor at Planned Parenthood would know to recommend this law-evasion strategy. How prevalent must law-evasion be at Planned Parenthood clinics when even the "interpreters" are implicated? We have taped employees, mostly counselors, from six clinics covering up the sexual abuse of children in exactly the same manner. Previous studies have found over 90% of Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide willing to do so as well. This is an ingrained pattern in the operations of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

With this in mind, consider the response of citizens without special training or prerogative upon learning about statutory rape situations. Responsible citizens automatically know to tell proper authorities about even their slightest suspicions of sexual abuse of young girls, because the crime is too deplorable to overlook. However, when Planned Parenthood employees have a professed victim reveal abuse explicitly, they not only fail to report it, but proactively take measures to hide it. The problem, it follows, is not from an absence of training, but the presence of a more fundamental perversion, a blind tolerance of statutory rape in the service of a careless abortion-first mentality.

Sincerely,

Lila Rose
President, Live Action
LiveAction.org

Once again, Lila Rose and her compatriots at Live Action have nailed Planned Parenthood.

All funding should be cut off for Planned Parenthood.

At the very minimum there needs to be full-scale congressional inquiry into the practices of Planned Parenthood.

Go Lila Go!

Previous

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

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April 30, 2009

Lila Rose Takes On Planned Parenthood of Tennessee


Part 1 of 3: Full Footage of Planned Parenthood Tennessee Investigation

At the end of the video you'll see where to click to view parts 2 and 3.

Following the video, Live Action has released this response letter to Tennessee lawmakers:

Dear Tennessee Legislator:

My name is Lila Rose and I am the young woman who went undercover in to the Memphis Planned Parenthood and created the YouTube video of the sexual abuse cover up I found at the clinic.

You can read about more about this here.

I am very pleased to hear that the Tennessee legislature has moved to reduce taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood. However, I would like to respond to a number of points raised in an email by Barry Chase, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, disputing the relevance of the results of my organization's undercover investigation. It is my hope that both the footage of Planned Parenthood covering up the sexual abuse of young girls and the organization's subsequent denial and indifference will assist you and inform you as you work on behalf of the residents of your state.

To begin with, let me clarify two issues:

First, while Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis claims they have "asked, unsuccessfully" for "unedited" copies of our footage, we have never received a request for the raw footage by Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis. They have been making this false assertion since the start of our media release.

Second, last Monday, we sent the full undercover footage to the Shelby County District Attorney's office. They will determine whether laws were broken and confirm the veracity of our recording. You can view the unedited footage, the original video, and press documentation on our website, LiveAction.org.

In his email, Mr. Chase tries to pass blame by claiming that the employee in the video, who identifies herself as "Marie," was not properly trained. The question at hand, however, concerns not whether some or any employees at Planned Parenthood are properly trained, but whether they are practicing, in private counseling sessions, the same policies that they profess to the public.

In our undercover video, "Marie" demonstrates a clear knowledge of the legal boundaries to abortion. The video shows that she is familiar with the process for obtaining a waiver from a judge to the parental consent requirement for abortion (which Mr. Chase incorrectly calls a parental notification law). Marie then deliberately uses her familiarity with the system to forestall the judge from finding out about the statutory rapist. The Planned Parenthood counselor has created a perfect storm for ensuring that the statutory rapist is never found out: the parents will never find out about the pregnancy, the judge will never find out about the statutory rapist, and Planned Parenthood will never again mention either.

It is all the more troubling to think that even a supposed novice counselor at Planned Parenthood would know to recommend this law-evasion strategy. How prevalent must law-evasion be at Planned Parenthood clinics when even the "interpreters" are implicated? We have taped employees, mostly counselors, from six clinics covering up the sexual abuse of children in exactly the same manner. Previous studies have found over 90% of Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide willing to do so as well. This is an ingrained pattern in the operations of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

With this in mind, consider the response of citizens without special training or prerogative upon learning about statutory rape situations. Responsible citizens automatically know to tell proper authorities about even their slightest suspicions of sexual abuse of young girls, because the crime is too deplorable to overlook. However, when Planned Parenthood employees have a professed victim reveal abuse explicitly, they not only fail to report it, but proactively take measures to hide it. The problem, it follows, is not from an absence of training, but the presence of a more fundamental perversion, a blind tolerance of statutory rape in the service of a careless abortion-first mentality.

Sincerely,

Lila Rose
President, Live Action
LiveAction.org

Go, Lila Go. You are one of the bravest women there is.

Let's hope that Tennessee lawmakers and prosecutors do the right thing and at the very least investigate Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood gets some $272 million per year from the federal government. Certainly there should be a congressional investigation into this organization. Preferably all payments to them should be ended immediately.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/26/Students-anti-abortion-crusade-has-effect/UPI-98261240804482/

Objections

I read of 4 objections to what Rose does

1) Her undercover work is illegal in itself as you cannot tape someone without their knowledge
2) These incidents are aberrations at Planned Parenthood, and you'll get a few bad apples in any large organization, and
3) Her real motive is to ban abortion, so all this is just a smokescreen

Alan Colmes makes all three of these charges in an Hannity and Colmes show.

Let's go through each of the objections.

I don't know enough about the law to say whether or not was Rose was doing was legal or not. Her tape may not in fact be admissible in court. But as a guest in the segment says, it is admissible in the court of public opinion. Further, Alan's charge that Rose is engaged in entrapment seems patently silly. This and other tapes make it clear that the PP employees do not care about her age.

On the second charge, according to Wikipedia, Planned Parenthood has some 880 clinics nationwide. The aberration defense is plausible, but we're not talking about a sales clerk misquoting the store refund policy. At the very least you'd think there should be a congressional inquiry.

Third, of course the ultimate goal of Lila Rose and all pro-life organizations is to overturn Roe v Wade and make at least most abortion illegal. That hardly justifies what PP is doing now.

Here's the analogy; suppose members of an anti-gun group went undercover into gun stores, posing as minors who wanted to purchase firearms. And suppose the dealer helped them falsify the background check. If this happened I would want the dealer prosecuted, and I'm a staunch member of the NRA.

Go, Lila, Go!

Previous

Lila Rose Rocks Planned Parenthood's World Again
Lila Rose - Exposing Planned Parenthood and the Culture of Abortion

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April 21, 2009

Carrie Prejean: True Character

Here is the exchange that started it all

Perez Hilton: "Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?"

Carrie Prejean: "Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much."

Myself, I can't see what all the fuss is about. Her answer was polite and non-confrontational. She did not denigrate or insult anyone. All she did was state her belief, and can hardly be accused of "forcing her morals" on anyone.

But of course it did raise a fuss.

Demonstrating that he us utterly without class, Hilton called Perjean a "dumb bitch" in an interview following the incident. Here's the video blog he made where he says it, if you can stand to watch

What a guy.

But if this was just one loser asking a question then making a video about it we could let it go and I wouldn't be posting this. But it goes farther. A lot farther. Fox News reports this

In an exclusive interview with Pop Tarts on Monday night, Miss USA contestant Brooke Werner said that she was shocked by Miss California's controversial response on Sunday evening.

"Everyone has the right to their own actions," Werner said. "But I totally disagree with Carrie. I have a very different perspective on gay marriage and I would never have said what she said."

The remaining 45 pageant princesses watched the competition from backstage and after Prejean's anti gay marriage answer, apparently the room fell pretty silent.

"A lot of people were shocked," the Vermont beauty queen said. "We were all kind of giving each other those eyes, we couldn't believe it."

And even though Prejean herself as no regrets about her answer, Werner said the pressure of the moment probably made her speak before thinking things thru thoroughly.

"Under the stress, you can't answer at a level you normally would, it is a lot of pressure," she added. "But I thought it was a great question, its a very hot topic right now and was totally appropriate."

"Shocked?" Have we gotten to the point where even politely stating that you personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman is "shocking?"

And the condescending statement from Werner that Ms Prejean was under stress so didn't answer as she normally would is pretty revealing about the hollywood mindset.

But it gets better

Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, tells FOXNews.com that he was "saddened" by Prejean's statement.

"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."

Apparently we have gotten to the point where for the liberal Hollywood types at least, no dissent on this issue is allowed.

As for Ms Prejean, she's sticking to her guns

In an exclusive interview with FOXNews.com's Courtney Friel, Miss California says her phone has been ringing off the hook with people offering her support after she took on a question about gay marriage on Sunday night's Miss USA telecast.

"I have no regrets about answering [judge Perez Hilton] honestly," she said in one of her first interviews following the show, where she answered that she was against gay marriage becoming legal in California. "He asked me for my opinion and I gave it to him. I have nothing against gay people and I didn't mean to offend anyone in my answer."

In her interview, Prejean talks about being "tested" by God, the outpouring of support, and the first thing she and her family did after the show. (Hint, it involves ketchup and mustard.)

FOXNews.com: How are you feeling today?

Carrie Prejean: Honestly, happy. This happened for a reason. By having to answer that question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith. I'm glad I stayed true to myself.

Read the whole thing.

I say God bless Carrie Prejean. Let me explain why

This is about resisting the forces of political correctness that seek to enact their policies by eliminating debate. It is about standing up for decency, for your beliefs in a society where the mockers get the headlines.

What's going on here is a full fledged frontal attack on traditional values. What they're trying to do is make certain subjects undiscussable. We saw the attacks on the Mormon Church in the wake of the defeat of Proposition 8 in California. We are not at all there yet, but we are moving in the direction of the soft-totalitarian state taking shape across the pond.

Some years ago I saw an editorial in one of our local newspapers, congratulating a young man for "standing up" to then-Senator George Allen over the issue of gay rights (or marriage, I forget). The editorial lauded the person for his "courage" in the matter.

At the time I thought, "courage?" About the least courageous thing you can do in America today is speak out for gay rights or marriage in a public forum. You're guaranteed favorable press coverage, and will be extolled by almost all of the talking heads on TV. Speak out against the gay agenda, however, and watch out. You'll be denounced as a bigot, homophobe, on and on.

Carrie Prejean has courage. Real courage. The type of courage we need a lot more of.

I harbor no animosity towards gays themselves. No I do not believe you are automatically going to hell if you are gay (it's not for me to decide anyway. Only God gets to make that judgment). I'm all for tolerance as properly defined; no legal penalties, government discrimination, or personal insults. I'm against gay marriage and having it taught in our schools as an equal lifestyle, that's all.

Political correctness and attempting to end debate are what it's mostly about, but it goes farther. It's about what you do in your daily life. It is not just about big public events/interviews or even political issues.

It's about resisting peer pressure from workmates who want to to go to the bar and have a dozen drinks after work and look at you like you're weird when you demur. It's about situations like when you're on a business trip, and some of the guys want to go to a nudie bar, and having the courage to stand up and say no, that does not comport with your values. It's about standing up when a mocker makes fun of Christianity or tells a dirty joke.

I am sure that Carrie Perjean is the type of person who would stand up when challenged in a personal situation as well.

Not that I've always done the right thing in these circumstances. Like all of us I am a fallen creature, so if you want to make the charge of hypocrisy, then I plead guilty. Peter denied Christ three times after promising not to do so, and likewise I've failed to stand up for things I've believed in at times. But I try, and do think I'm getting better. As with Peter, I'm confident that I'll be reinstated.

Many are blogging about this, but some of the better posts are by Jason over at The Western Experience andProfessor Donald Douglas at American Power. Be sure and pay both a visit.

Posted by Tom at 10:30 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 9, 2009

Obama's Unlimited Stem Cell Research - No Ethics Allowed

Today the Obama Administration reversed President Bush's ban on certain types of stem cell research. It was done by executive order, and you can download it here.

The key in my first sentence is "certain types." If you don't know why, don't worry, for many in the media don't appear to know either.

The issue is that there are two types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Too many people on the left talk about "stem cells" as if that's all there was to it.

I'll give you my bottom line up front; I think that embryonic stem cells, like embryos in the womb, are individual, separate, human beings and as such should be protected by law. As I oppose abortion, I oppose creating and killing embryonic stem cells. As you'll find out below, I'm sure about embryos in the womb, but not 100% on the embryonic stem cells.

My reasoning is simple; killing a life to save a life is immoral. I think that in fact this is a point we can all agree on. If you believe that embryonic stem cells, like embryos in the womb, are not individual, separate, human beings, fine. But lets avoid irrational statements and name calling while discussing the issue.

Here is a summary of the dispute, taken from Wikipedia. Yes I know, it's not always a good source, but this article is not flagged as "the neutrality of this article is disputed" so what we get is I think is probably pretty accurate:

There exists a widespread controversy over human embryonic stem cell research that emanates from the techniques used in the creation and usage of stem cells. Human embryonic stem cell research is controversial because, with the present state of technology, starting a stem cell line requires the destruction of a human embryo and/or therapeutic cloning. However, recently, it has been shown in principle that adult stem cell lines can be manipulated to generate embryonic-like stem cell lines using a single-cell biopsy similar to that used in preimplantation genetic diagnosis that may allow stem cell creation without embryonic destruction.[34] It is not the entire field of stem cell research, but the specific field of human embryonic stem cell research that is at the centre of an ethical debate.

Opponents of the research argue that embryonic stem cell technologies are a slippery slope to reproductive cloning and can fundamentally devalue human life. Those in the pro-life movement argue that a human embryo is a human life and is therefore entitled to protection.

Contrarily, supporters of embryonic stem cell research argue that such research should be pursued because the resultant treatments could have significant medical potential. It is also noted that excess embryos created for in vitro fertilization could be donated with consent and used for the research.

The ensuing debate has prompted authorities around the world to seek regulatory frameworks and highlighted the fact that stem cell research represents a social and ethical challenge.

Read on and you quickly find that the entire issue is horribly complicated. As such, I'll be the first to tell you that I don't understand it all and take much of my position on this issue from people I trust, like these folks, who have investigated the matter in detail.

I think that serious people on both sides of the debate will admit that it's not a simple matter. Further, most I think will agree that we don't want to leave all decisions to scientists. At the very least, if they want our money for their research, not to mention their salaries, they must listen to our opinions.

Yes we all want to save lives. Yes, we on the right are in favor of research that results in cures for the dread diseases that we hope we never get. But please, those of us who object to embryonic stem cell research are not just a bunch of religious kooks, as too many on the left want to paint us. Religion can and does form our world view, including that of protecting the unborn. It is a sad day when this in and of it self is said to be invalid. I would simply comment that the left has no problem with religion when it's used to promote government spending on the poor, or when it's part of the antiwar movement (note that I don't have any problem when it's used that way also. I just disagree with the theology and reasoning).

We're told, insistently screamed at, that we must have unlimited stem cell research. It will save lives, they say.

Undoubtedly some cures will be found through such research. But there's the nagging suspicion, confirmed by the most elementary google search, that the promise has been wildly exaggerated. Another basic google search returns many articles stating that recent scientific advances render embryonic stem-cell research unnecessary. But increasingly facts don't matter, because we must have research. It all reminds one of Al Gore and his global warming adherents.

No doubt that just as with global warming, many proponents of unlimited stem cell research are sincere good people. In these matters I try to give the benefit of the doubt.

But there are many, especially although not exclusively in the pro-abortion, er, "pro-choice" movement, whose motives are... less than honest.

You see, it's only partially a scientific debate. At its heart, the stem cell debate is really part of the controversy over abortion. Where you come down it all depends on where you think life starts. Or whether you just want to go out, have sex with whomever you like, and not worry about the consequences.

It's all part of what Ramesh Ponnuru was talking about in The Party of Death. These are the people who are not just happy with abortion and all manner of scientific research and how-dare-you-bring--up-ethics, they're pushing us to accept things such as cloning and assisted suicide.

If such things do not at least give you pause, you need to start wondering about yourself. If you think that George W. Bush, or any serious person on the right is callous with regard to Afgani or Iraqi civilian deaths, you're not intellectually honest. If you think we haven't at least considered whether support for the death penalty might not contradict our pro-life position, you're poorly informed.

The notion that science must be unfettered from all moral and ethical concerns is seen in the Washington Post story on the matter, the headline of which is "Obama Aims to Shield Science From Politics." Sigh.

The Post uses the term "politics" because they want to disparage those of us who want restrictions. Despite its fairly bland denotative meaning as simply "The art or science of government or governing," the term has taken more a more sinister connotative meaning in everyday speech. The Post doesn't want you to think that there might be legitimate ethical concerns.

It is not, after all, "politics" or "political ideology" to believe that that embryonic stem cells, like embryos in the womb, are individual, separate, human beings and as such should be protected by law.

Further, let's consider that there is legitimate debate over the use of animals for scientific research. There is growing awareness, I think, that there should at least be some sort of restrictions. Certainly there is a large movement, mostly on the left, that supports much restriction if not outright bans on animal testing. I think it safe to say that these are usually the same people who on abortion call themselves "pro-choice" and who today celebrate Obama's decision.

However one comes down on animal testing, it is only the callous few who insist that "anything goes" in the name of saving human lives. To be sure, I value human lives more than animal, and if at least some testing is beneficial, so be it. But the point is that those who support restrictions do so because they understand that no, scientists cannot be allowed to do whatever they want unfettered by moral and ethical concerns.

Which brings us to President Obama and his executive order.

What's noticeable about it is its complete lack of acknowledgment that their might be an ethical debate. Download the executive order linked to above and read it yourself if you don't believe me. Obama sees not restrictions on science at all as valid.

At least when President Bush announced his policy he went on national television and explained it to the nation. He admitted it was a "complex and difficult issue," and one he had arrived at only through much study and reflection.

Obama shows no such concern. During the signing ceremony he remarked that

This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let's be clear: promoting science isn't just about providing resources - it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

To Obama, any restrictions at all are "manipulation or coercion" and "ideology." This is amorality at it's worst. Apparently, as part of the new regimen; we are to serve science, not the other way around. It's the attitude of science uber alles, and those of us without the proper degree need to just shut up and listen to our betters. And keep the cash flowing.

During the campaign I tagged Obama as "the pro-abortion candidate" because of his extremism on the matter. Since becoming president, his policy decisions confirm what I wrote. People like him, who voted against the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and then lied about why he did it, are callous with regard to all life. We saw it in his executive order, and I fear we'll see more.

Posted by Tom at 10:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 7, 2009

The Left's War on Charities

Liberals constantly tell us what good people they are because they want to help the poor and downtrodden. Why, then, is President Obama out to destroy charitable institutions? From an opinion piece in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal:

Nonprofit leaders are reeling from the recent news that President Barack Obama's proposed budget would limit tax deductions on charitable contributions from wealthy Americans. But now the philanthropic world has something else to worry about. Today the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a research and advocacy group, will release a report offering "benchmarks to assess foundation performance." Its real aim is to push philanthropic organizations into ignoring donor intent and instead giving grants based on political considerations.

The committee is part of a rising tide of politicians and activists who are working to change the face of American philanthropy -- and not for the better.

The report, titled "Criteria for Philanthropy at its Best," advises foundations to "provide at least 50 percent of grant dollars to benefit lower-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups, broadly defined." The committee looked at 809 of the largest foundations in the country, whose combined three-year grants totaled almost $15 billion, and concluded that the majority of foundations are "eschewing the needs of the most vulnerable in our society" by neglecting "marginalized groups."

"But it's only advice," you protest. So far it's just advice, I respond. I think that limiting tax deductions was only Obama's first step. His next step will be to say "if you want your deductions back you have to meet my requirements."

Reducing the Charitable Deduction

First, here are the tax brackets for fy 2009:

_______0 to _$8,350 10%
__$8,350 to _$33,950 15%
_$33,960 to _$82,250 25%
_$82,250 to $171,550 28%
$171,550 to $372,950 33%
$372,950 and above _ 35%

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explains that the amount of charitable giving you can deduct depends on your tax bracket, so that if you're in the 33 or 35% bracket, that's what you can deduct (beyond the "standard deduction," and for up to 30 - 50% of your adjusted gross income). Under Obama's proposal, anyone making over $250,000 would be limited to 28% for all itemized deductions.

As an example, suppose

...a wealthy donor in the top tax bracket who makes a $100,000 gift. The donor currently would save $35,000 in taxes, or 35 percent of the gift. Under President Obama's proposal, that same donor would save only $28,000, or 28 percent -- a difference of $7,000.

For all of you liberals who profess to care so much about the poor, what this means is that wealthy people will give less money to charity. Happy now?

And as you might imagine, charities are up in arms over this.

Politically Correct Giving

Reducing the tax deduction is only part of the story. In addition, Obama and his fellow leftists are looking for ways to regulate how charities spend their money.

Let's look at that report mentioned earlier; Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best: Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact, issued by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. I read the Executive Summary, and a few of the other documents, and most of it didn't look so bad. This stuck out, though, in Chapter 1, "Values:"

A grantmaker practicing Philanthropy at Its Best serves the public good by contributing to a strong, participatory democracy that engages all communities....

b) Provides at least 25 percent of its grant dollars for advocacy, organizing and
civic engagement to promote equity, opportunity and justice in our society.....

Reading on, there is much talk about "income inequality" which we are told "remains a
significant barrier to improving one's quality of life and data suggest that income inequality has been exacerbated in recent years." I'm not so sure about the data, but I do know that it's not "income inequality" that's the problem. The problem is not that incomes are unequal, but that there are too many people whose income is too low. This is a distinction with a difference.

Also worrisome is that Harvard political philosopher John Rawls is cited approvingly:

In A Theory of Justice, Rawls articulated his now famous and often cited principles of distributive justice. The first principle calls for all people to have "equal rights to the most extensive system of basic civil liberties." The second principle, also called the "distributive justice principle," states that the socio-economic inequalities inherent in the free market system are morally justifiable if they "work to the benefit of the least advantaged" in our society. Rawls sought to ensure justice and fairness, with an emphasis on redistributive justice in the welfare state. Rawls asserted that all wealth in society is made by the cooperation of all the members of society in the context of the arrangements of basic institutions. He stated that there are two types of societies: a capitalist welfare society and a democratic property owning society. The first is concerned with order and will support welfare for the purpose of maintaining order and serving capital. The latter will arrange institutions and norms to support democracy and welfare to secure membership. Capital will be arranged to support democracy and people.

Socialist income redistribution, here we come.

Also sticking out in the NCRP report was this in Chapter 1 as well

Advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement have played essential roles in the development of our society and our democracy...

Digging further, one comes across the term "social justice" many times. Conveniently, they define it for us:

Social justice philanthropy is the practice of making contributions to nonprofit organizations that work for structural change and increase the opportunity of those who are less well off politically, economically and socially.

Their recommendation:

Leading the field, 108 foundations (13.35 percent of our sample) provided at least 50 percent of their grant dollars for the intended benefit of marginalized communities. Also noteworthy, 56 foundations (6.9 percent) provided at least 25 percent of their grant dollars for social justice. These are the benchmarks for Philanthropy at Its Best.

This is scary stuff for those of us who believe in traditional concepts of liberty. Hold on to your wallets, because these people want to use charitable causes to advocate for income redistribution and other leftist political goals.

Much of the rest of the proposals were innocuous, and some of the ideas were actually quite sound.

However, read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article cited above. Ms Riley discusses other leftist groups that advocate leftist goals for charitable institutions, such as The Greenlining Institute and the Council on Foundations. Given how leftist the Obama Administration is proving, it can't be long before they enact at least some of their recommendations into law.

Why They're Doing This

Obama makes his purpose clear in "Jumpstarting the Economy", one of the documents outlining his proposal. Under "Financing health Care Reform" it says

The reserve fund is financed by a combination of rebalancing the tax code so that the wealthiest pay more as well as specific health care savings in three areas: promoting efficiency and accountability, aligning incentives toward quality, and encouraging shared responsibility.

This is straight out class warfare. Obama and his fellow leftists hate large segments of America and are determined to punish them. The blather at the end about "shared responsibility" is a lot of hooey. Their idea is that you are not only responsible for your neighbor in a moral sense but as such must be forced to pay for them as well. It's not a matter of doing the right thing out of a sense of moral obligation; the liberals want to force you to do it their way.

When Obama said to "Joe the Plumber" during the campaign that "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" he wasn't kidding.

Obama and the left have a simple objective; they want total control of how aid to the poor is distributed. They'd like government to do as much as possible, and failing that the want to control what private charities do.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2009

March for Life 2009

For years I'd always heard about the March for Life in Washington DC the day before it happened, or read about it the day after in the newspaper. As such, I'd always missed it. Last year I decided to solve the problem by going to their website and signing up for their email alert. That way, I'd get reminder and would be able to schedule for it.

This year our new president gave us an extra reason for concern. On his campaign website he promised to sign the horrible Freedom of Choice Act if elected. He was, and I think he will. Here he is making the pledge:

Without going into details, suffice it to day that FOCA would dramatically expand abortions and federal funding for them in this country. It's bad enough to have virtually unlimited abortion, but we shouldn't have to pay for them. And our laws are far more liberal than in Western Europe, to which we often hear we should turn to for guidance.

But my purpose here is not to rehash the issues surrounding abortion, but rather to report on the March for Life 2009. All photos can be seen on my photobucket site, but here are a few along with the notes I took today.

Here we are assembled at about noon in front of the stage when the event kicked off. The idea was to listen to speakers for maybe 2 hours then march around the Capitol building to the Supreme Court where the march would end.

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I have no idea how many people there were, but having been to many rallies and such on the Mall I can tell you that the crowd was very large. A story in this morning's Washington Times said today that past events had drawn about 250,000 each year since 2003.

It was hard to get a wide enough angle shot from a high vantage point to give an idea of the size of the crowd, but I got a pretty good flavor of events, I think.


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It was a veritable sea of people

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99.9% of the crowd dressed normally and maybe wore a pro-life sticker or button. Many had signs, most of which were pre-made. All, even the homemade ones, that I saw were in good taste. The worst thing you can do at these things is come across like a nut. Then people just laugh at you or shake their heads.

There's always one dope in the crowd, though. This was COMPLETELY unnecessary:

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Don't get me wrong; I'm all for showing pictures of aborted babies if it is done right and to make the point. But if you dress up in a stupid costume and wear a chain of bloodied dolls no one is going to take you seriously. The point is to change minds, and this sort of nonsense does not achieve that goal. Besides, it is all too reminiscent of what I've seen the leftists do at their anti-war rallies.

Speakers and More

We started out by singing the national anthem, followed by a benediction, and then took the pledge of allegiance. They're 0 for 3 on those at ant-war rallies. I ought to know, since I've been to many of them as a counterprotester, or just to mingle with the lefties and get photos. Go under Categories at right and look down to Rallies and Protests.

March for Life founder and chief organizer ("president"? chairman? not sure on title) Nellie Gray was MC and started out with a brief talk. She then introduced a whole host of congressmen and one senator. It was impressive that so many showed up. I took notes and I think I got most of them:

Rep Jim Sensenbrenner WI
Rep. Mike Pence IN
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett MD
Rep. Todd Aiken MO
Rep. Jean Schmidt OH
Rep. Dr. Paul Brown GA
Rep. Steve King IA
Rep. E. Scott Garrett NJ (not sure if I heard this one right)
missed a name
Rep. Henry Brown SC
Rep. Robert Aderholt AL
Rep. Mary Fallon OK
missed a name
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry NB
Rep. Dave Bitter LA
Rep. Jack Kingston GA
Rep. Bob Latta OH
Rep. Bob Inglis SC
Rep. GT Thompson PA
Rep. Pete Olson TX
Rep. Todd Tiahrt KIS
Rep. Michelle Bachmann MN
Rep. Trent Franks AZ
Rep. Chris Smith NJ
Sen. Sam Brownback KS

Quite a list! Fortunately each only spoke for a minute or two. Nevertheless they all spoke well and I am appreciative that they took the time to come.

Senator Brownback got the crowd fired up and led us in a few changes

Are you ready to say Yes to Life?

Yes!

Are you ready to say No to FOCA?

Yes!

Then who spoke but "B-1" Bob Dornan! Dornan, a former Navy A-7 Corsair pilot, was a representative to Congress from California from 1977-1983 and again from 1985-1997. Among other things he quoted 1 Corinthians 13:11, the one about "when I became a man, I put away childish things." but my note taking wasn't good enough to get the context. No matter. With his raspy voice he delivered a firebreather for 3-4 minutes that got the crown roaring with approval.

There were also a number of pastors and priests who spoke. More on them tomorrow.

The Crowd

There were a lot of teenagers and what seemed their parents. This in contrast to anti-war protests in which you see mostly 20-somethings and aging hippies. At pro-troop/pro-war rallies you see mostly 20-somethings and Vietnam veterans. An interesting contrast.

From the various signs i it was an obviously very Christian audience. Many churches had their own banners and signs, and the vast majority with Catholic. I saw one "Lutherans for Life" but that's it. No evangelical presence that I could see at all. I wasn't surprised not to see the mainstream protestant denominations, since many of them, like the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA ) is very left wing. No Southern Babtists or black churches either (that I saw, anyway). While I'm happy that the Catholics are so active in this particular pro-life activity, I'm disappointed that others are not.

As such, there were a lot of Catholic church groups. EWTN was there filming the march. I saw many priests and some nuns and monks (or friars? they had a friar's habit on. I'm not familiar with Catholicism).

At no point did I hear even a single boo when a speaker mentioned President Obama. Many speakers, in fact, lauded his achievement of being our first black president. It was a very respectful crowd, not angry or bitter.

Back to the Rally

Here's a good photo of the stage with the Capitol in the background. I do have to say that the dome is absolutely beautiful when the sun shines on it.

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Here's a pretty typical banner from one of the Catholic churches

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After B-1 Bob spoke, Nellie Gray came back on to deliver her address. Here are some of her points:

  • No compromise on abortion
  • No killings
  • Abortion is not therapy
  • There is no moderate position on abortion. No middle ground between killing and not killing
  • No exceptions
  • She addressed President Obama. Quoted his statement that if one of his daughters became pregnant he didn't want her "punished with a baby." She challenged him on this
  • Live begins at fertilization by any means
  • There is an abortion site within walking distance of the White House
  • Abortion is the commercial equivalent of Dachau and Auschwitz
  • We want you, President Obama, to stop abortion
  • We can overturn Roe v Wade. Abortion must be made illegal at the federal level. It is not good enough to simply turn it back to the states

Later we heard from Bobby Schindler, Terri Schaivo's brother. He pointed out that Terri's case and abortion are all part of the same battle for life. We must battle the pro-euthanasia just as we must battle the abortionists as they're all part of the same philosophy.

I think he's right. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a book on this called The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life. Although I haven't read it, I have read Ponnuru often enough in the magazine to get a pretty good idea of his thesis (and you can read the editorial reviews at Amazon) and I think he's pretty much got it right.

A Brief Comment

Obviously the message from March for Life, as it is with most pro-life groups, is completely to the right side of the spectrum. No abortion at any time unless it is truly to save the mother's life. The pro-choice folks are completely to the left; any abortion for any reason at any time.

The logic of each side is pretty straight, and it all depends on when you think human life begins. If life does begin at conception, then even an exception for rape and incest is wrong. If life begins at birth, then no restriction makes much sense.

Political reality being what it is, though, the battle is fought in the middle. Our laws are more restrictive than some, but less so than in western Europe. Right now I think we're way too far off to the pro-choice side, and unfortunately the situation is only going to get worse.

Sometimes conservatives get the objection that we're supposedly hypocrites because we tend to support the death penalty. Without arguing the case, I'll simply point out that ">Death Penalty Information Center 1.37 million abortions. If hypocrisy is really the issue then let's trade; no death penalty, no abortions.

The Message

Some years ago the message of the Pro-Life movement was essentially "you stupid woman don't have that abortion! You are killing your own baby now stop it!"

As you can imagine it wasn't terribly well received.

The movement has thankfully changed it's tune.

Now it's seen as a tragedy for women, as a painful terrible experience that is foisted on them by predatory males and a culture that pressures them into "getting rid of their problem."

It's now more all about finding women, young and old, who are pregnant and scared or don't know what do so, and supporting them. It's about finding a way for them to have the baby or put it up for adoption; so that the baby lives in a loving household.

This was made clear by the speakers today.

The March

At around 2:00 the events on stage seemed to be wrapping up, so I headed for the front left corner of the field where the march would start. Unfortunately, either there were just too many people trying to cram into too small a space, or the thing wasn't that well set up, but it took over an hour to where I was actually walking on the street in anything like a march. No matter, the weather was nice and it was a great crowd to be in among.

Note - due to technical issues I used photobucket up until now and the rest are posted locally. If you care why the posting looks a bit different from here on out.

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At the Supreme Court

The whole thing ended up at the Supreme Court, which is behind the Capitol building if you go back to the photo at top. The reason, of course, is that this is where Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. In my opinion, along with Dred Scott and Plessy v Fersuson, it is one of the wost decisions that have ever been issued.

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The organizers set up a small stage with sound system, and some 200 women (I heard) gave their testimony as to why they regretted having their abortion. I even heard one man talk about how, when he was younger, his girlfriend had "got rid of their problem" through an abortion and how horrible he now felt. I can say that it is only through the grace of God that I was not in his shoes.

Does it Matter?

The CNN story below makes pretty clear that President Obama doesn't care about the pro-life agenda. He is the most radical pro-abortion (not pro-choice (a copout anyway. Was any one ever pro-choice on slavery), but pro-abortion) president we've ever had.

But despite what the First Amendment right to "petition the Government for redress of grievances," we know that the purpose of these things is not to directly speak to anyone in government. The purpose, as I see it anyway, is to fire up the troops into local action. And that is something that I am all about.

Note - I will add to this post tomorrow or Saturday but it's late and that's enough for tonight. Come back for more!

More Reporting

Washington Times

Washington Post

Fox News

CNN

World Magazine

National Review - Kathryn Jean Lopez

National Review's The Corner - Mark Hemingway

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 18, 2008

Lila Rose Rocks Planned Parenthood's World Again

Earlier this week our heroine Lila Rose, President of Live Action, released a second film as part of their Mona Lisa Project, the purpose of which is to expose how Planned Parenthood encourages underage girls to cover up statutory rape. Recorded June 24th, 2008, here it is:

Stay tuned, because this is just a preview of more to come. A note on the Live Action website says that they will release the full, unedited version tomorrow, Friday December 19, which I'll post here as an update. The reason for the delay is that they "are taking extra precautions to protect the identity of private individuals included on the tape." Apparently there are legal implications.

An extraordinary young woman, Rose is a 20 year old student at UCLA, who at age 15 founded Live Action, a pro-life student group. Rose and her friends work to expose the culture of abortion and how it degrades and corrupts our society. As the largest provider of abortions in the country, and a recipient of some $272.7 million annually in taxpayer money totaling $3.9 billion since 1987, Planned Parenthood is an integral part of the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood clinics perform some 255,000 plus abortions annually.

The good news, if there really is any in all this, is that on December 15 Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced that his office will investigate Planned Parenthood (h/t The Warrior)

The bad news is that the Indiana Department of Child Services won't be doing an investigation. From the WTHR news story:

The Indiana Department of Child Services says it won't investigate a Planned Parenthood site in Bloomington after a worker was fired for violating policies on abuse reporting and intervention.

A conservative anti-abortion group sent a woman to the office who claimed to be a 13-year-old pregnant by a 31-year-old man.

The worker reportedly brushed aside that information when the law calls for any health care professional to report inappropriate relationships to CPS.

Planned Parenthood says it's retraining workers on mandatory reporting procedures.

To the IDCS it's all business as usual, and nothing must come in the way of abortions.

WTHR apparently sees it important to identify Live Action as "a conservative anti-abortion group," as if that really matters.

But hey, Planned Parenthood is "retraining" workers and "suspended" the counselor in question, so everything's ok now. I hate to sound snarky but this is all really just too much.

Not Just Isolated Incidents

Don't kid yourself; what you saw in the video above was not an isolated incident. As I discussed in my first post on Rose and her work last week, in 2002 WB33 News of Dallas TX did an investigation in which they used a company called Life Dynamics to call over 800 Planned Parenthood clinics. The calls were legally recorded. The investigation found that in 91% of the calls, Planned Parenthood employees were willing to cover up statutory rape.

In addition, Students for Life of America recently did their own investigation, which showed how Planned Parenthood clinics in North Carolina were covering up statutory rape:

So I think it's pretty clear that there is credible evidence that the practice of covering up statutory rape is widespread. If this isn't cause for congressional investigation, what is?

Where's the Outrage?

If members of a liberal group had posed as minors, and gone into gun shops and bought firearms, the left would have gone bezerk. The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and all the others would headline the story day after day. Exploiting the incident, Democrats in Congress would demand, and probably get, new legislation restricting gun rights in areas having nothing to do with underage purchases of firearms.

As I said in my last post on all this, I too would be outraged.

My analogy with firearms sales may not be perfect, but it does make the point. Abortion is the holy grail of liberalism. Nothing, and I mean nothing, must come in the way of unlimited abortion, apparently to the extent of ignoring credible accusations of coverup of statutory rape.

At the very least, what we need is a full investigation of Planned Parenthood and all abortion providers. PP officers should be hauled before congressional committees and grilled. Their records need to be examined. At a minimum, their funding needs to be cut off.

Write your congressmen today. I have.

Instead of outrage, the left is preparing measures that will increase the numbers of abortions performed in this country. You can read all about it in a document called "Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration," which is posted on Obama's stupid Change.gov website. Details on how far reaching it is are in an editorial in today's Washington Times. Follow the link for details, but among other things they want $700 million for "family planning."

Much, Much, More

All I can really say is go to the Live Action website and view the videos of their investigations, of which there are many. Rose has made quite a name for herself as a result of all this. She has been interviewed by Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, Ed Morrissey, and more.

Lila Rose is one of the bravest conservatives there are. It's easy to sit here and write blog posts. Going uptown to Washington DC to be among a small group of conservatives counterprotesting tens of thousands of insane leftist "anti-war" types took a bit of doing, but it's not really that much.

Rose, however, disguises herself, hides a camera in he purse, and with a compatriot, Jackie Stollar, goes into Planned Parenthood clinics, and tapes the resulting interview. She catches them covering up felony behavior, then posts it on the Internet for all the world to see. it's not just one or two few videos, either, as they've got quite a bit of material on their website. What she has caught Planned Parenthood doing is pretty explosive, as testified by the national media attention she and her group have received.

She is taking on one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, and doing so in a manner guaranteed to earn her scorn and abuse from the left. That she presses on is testament to her character and determination.

One more video and then we'll stop for tonight. Here is Lila Rose' address to the Values Voters Summit

More to come. In the meantime, my hat is off to the Lila Rose and the team at Live Action.


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December 8, 2008

Lila Rose - Exposing Planned Parenthood and the Culture of Abortion

If you don't watch any other videos today, make sure you watch this one:


Pretty outrageous, no?

The person who made this video is Lila Rose, president of Live Action, a small youth led organization based in California and dedicated to the pro-Life movement. I heard about her today while listening to Laura Ingraham. The video was recorded on June 24th, 2008.

Currently a student at UCLA, 20 year old Lila founded Live Action when she was 15. I'm in awe of someone that young doing so much for a cause so good. Further, this isn't just working at the local homeless shelter, good though that is. No one will, or should, attack you for dolling out Thanksgiving meals to the homeless. But go after the abortion industry, and watch out. It is for this bravery in the service of a good cause, and willingness to be mocked and vilified by those on the other side that I admire her.

Lila and her associates "use new media and educational presentations to share the truth about life and the threats to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness posed against the born and unborn." They tell the story of the abortion culture and abortion industry. Lila is a woman who makes the world better through her work. If you want to see women who make the world worse, go here.

The purpose of her Mona Lisa Project is to expose Planned Parenthood for what it is:

Planned Parenthood's "clinics" contribute to the abuse of young girls.

The Mona Lisa Project videos document Planned Parenthood's willingness to repeatedly violate mandatory reporting laws for statutory rape that protect children.

Our series of hidden camera investigations, collected by a team led by Lila Rose in summer 2008, provide the public the inside story about the abortion industry and its abuses across the nation. Despite a consistent pattern of lawlessness and abuse, Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million from taxpayers. The tax-exempt "nonprofit"netted $100 million in profits last year including revenue in excess of $100 million from performing 250,000 abortions.

We hope that our project will lead to criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood so that their business practices will be forced to comply with governing laws that protect young girls.

Concerned Women of America says that

Planned Parenthood Federation of America released its 2004-2005 Annual Report on June 1, revealing a record income of $882 million and Planned Parenthood's second-highest profit of $63 million. The organization also set a record number of abortions performed in one year¯255,015¯ and an all-time low in adoption referrals: 180 abortions were performed for every one woman referred to an adoption agency.

The organization is using these alarming numbers to promote their services and gain customers.

"Planned Parenthood will use any means or any claim to lure more customers and money," said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA). "It insists that the morning-after pill will reduce abortions. Yet Planned Parenthood posts its highest number of abortions committed at the same time as its aggressive campaign promoting and selling the morning-after pill."

On top of its $63 million profit, Planned Parenthood last year received its largest sum of state and federal taxpayer funding ever: $272.7 million, making Planned Parenthood the recipient of $3.9 billion of taxpayer money since 1987.

It's bad enough that we have legal abortions. But do we the taxpayers have to pay for them?

Please follow the links to Live Action and read their many reports and view their many videos. There is also much on YouTube, but you know how to search that site for yourself.

Next is a condensed version of a three part series about an investigation into Planned Parenthood by WB33 News of Dallas TX. In 2002, they used a company called Life Dynamics to call over 900 Planned Parenthood clinics. The calls were legally recorded.

The investigation found that in 91% of the calls, Planned Parenthood employees were willing to cover up statutory rape.

Obviously, Planned Parenthood didn't learn their lesson. They've continued this behavior again and again. Michelle Malkin, to her everlasting credit, has report after report on their nefarious activities at her website.

The Culture of Sexual Abuse

In this interview with Pro-Life Unity Lila explains what he group does and why they do it

As she says, this is not just about Planned Parenthood, though they are the biggest target because they represent the abortion industry and lobby. From the video above, Lila says that

"Planned Parenthood... is violating, is mocking, federal and state regulation ob abortion, they're manipulating women, and they're giving the one choice, of abortion, to women, which is the taking of human life. So all of that is the reason why we stand against them and that we're fighting to get the truth out there."

Much of her expose' centers around workers at Planned Parenthood helping young girls cover-up statutory rape. Lila explains why this is no small matter:

The young girls of America are not being protected. These young girls are victims of the... heavy dose of sexuality that our culture pours on them. Older men prey on them, they get pregnant, and to cover up the crime of that sexual abuse, the older men drive them to an abortion clinic, drive them to a Planned Parenthood, they get the abortion and no one ever knows about the sexual abuse.

...it's all part of the abortion culture that we need to combat and that we need to educate about, and that's what we strive to do at Live Action.

According to a Live Action press release, someone at YouTube is pulling Live Action's videos, and it's not clear why. I'm sure we'll hear an excuse to the effect that "the videos may have been made illegally," but that seems patent hogwash, since there has been no court injunction.

In the Final Analysis

I suppose one can make the argument that the reason Planned Parenthood does this is because they actually have the best interests of the girl at heart. By covering up the rape, the girl doesn't get risk get beaten by her parents (which in the world of the defenders of abortion happens all the time, don't you know). If they knew, the parents might not allow an abortion, and having a child at this age would presumably hurt the child (apparently adoption is not to be considered?). This way, the girl is relieved of a tragedy and goes on with her life unscarred. Or something like that.

Here's the bottom line: Even if you are pro-abortion, er, pro-choice, you should be appalled at this. I'm about as pro-Second Amendment as they get, and I would be furious if a gun store was caught selling guns illegally to anyone. One, I would be angry that they would knowingly sell guns to felons, minors, whomever. Second, as a gun owner and NRA member I would be embarrassed for my movement. I would clearly see how the other side would use this against us and would strive to make sure that all gun stores obeyed the law from here on out.

But where is the investigation of Planned Parenthood? It's clear that these are not isolated incidents but part of a trend. And this organization gets $300 million dollars of taxpayer money each year. I'm sure that if an equivalent thing had happened at gun stores we'd have already had Federal legislation. Senators Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer would be salivating over the opportunity to press their agenda. Getting hearings about Planned Parenthood in congress now, however, will be impossible. It's the penalty, I suppose, for losing elections.

For her actions Lila Rose is a hero.

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October 16, 2008

Obama the Pro-Abortion Candidate

First, lets get this out of the way: Ithought that John McCain cleaned the floor with Barack Obama last night. In the first McCain might have won, and in the second he clearly lost.

But in this third McCain wiped the floor with Obama. Far from and "calm, cool and moderate" I've heard some commentators say, Obama was clearly rattled and flustered throughout. He stammered and stuttered his way though his answers. McCain was clearly in command from beginning to end. McCain had all of the good one-liners. He nailed Obama on the facts time and again.

But that's not what I want to talk about in this post. The subject of abortion - finally - came up in last night's debate. Moderator Bob Schieffer had asked about Roe v. Wade. Here's the relevant part:

McCain:... Sen. Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born of a failed abortion. He voted against that.

And then, on the floor of the State Senate, as he did 130 times as a state senator, he voted present.

Then there was another bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the state of Illinois not that long ago, where he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, one of the late-term abortion, a really -- one of the bad procedures, a terrible. And then, on the floor of the Illinois State Senate, he voted present.

I don't know how you vote "present" on some of that. I don't know how you align yourself with the extreme aspect of the pro- abortion movement in America. And that's his record, and that's a matter of his record.

And he'll say it has something to do with Roe v. Wade, about the Illinois State Senate. It was clear-cut votes that Sen. Obama voted, I think, in direct contradiction to the feelings and views of mainstream America.

Schieffer: Response?

Obama: Yes, let me respond to this. If it sounds incredible that I would vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant, that's because it's not true. The -- here are the facts.

There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.

And the Illinois Medical Society, the organization of doctors in Illinois, voted against it. Their Hippocratic Oath would have required them to provide care, and there was already a law in the books.

With respect to partial-birth abortion, I am completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life, and this did not contain that exception.

And I attempted, as many have in the past, of including that so that it is constitutional. And that was rejected, and that's why I voted present, because I'm willing to support a ban on late-term abortions as long as we have that exception..

Unfortunately for Obama, he's not telling the truth.

National Right to Life has the goods. Their article is rather long because Obama told so many lies. Here is the one dealing with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that has been the subject of so much controversy:

-- The Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) was a simple three-sentence bill to establish that every baby who achieved "complete expulsion or extraction" from the mother, and who showed defined signs of life, was to enjoy the legal protections of a "person." As a state senator, Obama led the opposition to this bill in 2001, 2002, and 2003. On March 13, 2003, Obama killed the bill at a committee meeting over which he presided as chairman. In the October 15 debate, Obama said, "The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment." This claim is highly misleading. The law "on the books," 720 ILCS 510.6, on its face, applies only where an abortionist declares before the abortion that there was "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb." But humans are often born alive a month or more before they reach the point where such "sustained survival" - that is, long-term survival - is likely or possible (which is often called the point of "viability"). When Obama spoke against the BAIPA on the Illinois Senate floor in 2001 -- the only senator to do so -- he didn't even claim that the BAIPA was duplicative of existing law. Rather, he objected to defining what he called a "previable fetus" as a legal "person" -- even though the bill clearly applied only to fully born infants. These events are detailed in an August 28, 2008 NRLC White Paper titled "Barack Obama's Actions and Shifting Claims on the Protection of Born-Alive Aborted Infants -- and What They Tell Us About His Thinking on Abortion," which contains numerous hyperlinks to primary source

Call the NRLC biased if you wish, but at the end of the day you have to deal with the facts.

As far as the partial-birth abortion excuse goes, the truth is that there is never a reason to do a partial-birth abortion "for the health of the mother." This one is a total fraud.

I'm not at all happy with legal abortion for any reason and at any state of the pregnancy, but if we are going to have them, do we the taxpayers have to pay for them? According to Barack Obama, that would be a "yes". And not only that, but as you'll see, since the culture wars are "so '90s", we can't even argue with him about it

Again, the NRLC has the scoop

-- Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) (S. 1173), which would nullify all state and federal laws that "interfere with" access to abortion before "viability" (as defined by the abortionist). The bill would also nullify all state and federal laws that "interfere with" access to abortion after viability if deemed to enhance "health." Because the term "health" is not qualified in the bill, no state would be allowed to exclude any "health" justification whatever for post-viability abortions, because to do so would impermissibly narrow a federally guaranteed right. In short, the FOCA would establish a federal "abortion right" broader than Roe v. Wade and, in the words of the National Organization for Women, "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies." The chief sponsors and advocacy groups backing the legislation have acknowledged that it would make partial-birth abortion legal again, nullify state parental notification laws, and require the state and federal governments to fund abortions.

Wonderful.

No doubt some will object that despite all this, Mr. "I don't want them punished with a baby" is still not "pro-abortion" but is "pro-choice." Robert George, in Obama's Abortion Extremism, compares today's pro-choice crowd to those who "accepted" slavery but would not fight against it. Many, such as Thomas Jefferson, were "personally opposed" to slavery, but also opposed abolition. Roberts asks

Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as "pro-choice"? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were "personally opposed" to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were "unnecessary," or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said "Against slavery? Don't own one." We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.

Ouch. Be sure and read the rest of his piece, for he lays out the case that even if we do accept the label of "pro-choice" for most people today, Obama himself is so extreme that he deserves the label of "pro-abortion"

For Additional Reading

True Lives: An abortion survivor takes on Barack Obama. An interview with Jill Stanek, who was a nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She was the one who brought to light the horrific practice of how official policy was to let living babies who had survived a botched abortion die - slowly, by simply putting them on a table until the expired.

Life with Obama: Abortion champion

Obama and the Born-Alive Act

Life with Obama: A chronology

Deniers for Obama: Abortions do sometimes produce live births

Rick Warren, Obama and the Born-Alive Act

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June 26, 2008

District of Columbia v. Heller - A Victory for Civil Rights

That's right, a victory for civil rights. I know that most liberals don't see gun rights as having anything to do with civil rights. They mostly see guns as "scary" things, and the idea that individuals should have them is a relic of a bygone age. In most discussions about the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is either ignored, or interpreted in weird and bizarre ways.

The most bizarre of these is the notion that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to grant the states the right to establish their own armies, which is today the National Guard. The right to bear arms is a "collective" right, not one held by individuals. This despite that no one doubts that the rest of the Bill or Rights applies to individuals.

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller changed all that. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that it was in fact an individual right. It also struck down the District of Columbia's handgun ban as unconstitutional, as well as the D.C. provision that all long guns be kept disassembled and with a trigger lock in place. There was more,but that's the essence.

This is very good news. All in all, I rate the decision as 80% positive.

Here's the Court's syllabus of the decision, as posted by Ed Whelen over at Bench Memos over at NRO

(a) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense at home.

(b) The Second Amendment right is not unlimited. The Court's opinion should not cast doubt on concealed-weapons prohibitions, laws barring possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, laws barring firearms in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and laws imposing conditions on commercial sale of arms.

(c) D.C.'s handgun ban and trigger-lock requirement violate the Second Amendment. The total ban on handgun possession prohibits an entire class of arms that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any standard of scrutiny, that ban falls. The trigger-lock requirement makes self-defense impossible. D.C. may use a licensing scheme.

The decision can be downloaded from the SCOTUSblog here.

Ed Whelen has much more information and commentary on the decision here, and Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog.com) has a must-read post here. More from the SCOTUSblog here, here, and here.

I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play on on TV. Here then are some observations from an NRA member who believes strongly in the individual right to own firearms:

The Good News

Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, says outright that "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense at home." This in and of itself is a huge victory.

Scalia also knocks down the notion that the Second Amendment was meant to protect the "right" of the states to have their own militias, ie National Guard.

Also, as mentioned above, the court declared that "D.C.'s ban on handgun possession violates the Second Amendment." and that "The "inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right." This last one is big, because the anti-gunners want us to rely on the government for protection.

And lastly, the total ban on handguns was struck down: "The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of 'arms' that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose....banning from the home 'the most preferred firearm in the nation to 'keep' and use for protection of one's home and family,' would fail constitutional muster."" Take that, you liberal anti-gunners!

The Bad News

While a victory is a victory, I wish it had been by a lot more than 5-4. That 4 justices see the Second Amendment as a "collective" right is disturbing.

The decision left the door open to gun bans beyond automatic weapons ("machine guns" for you non-gun types). "We do not cast doubt on concealed-weapons prohibitions...the sorts of weapons protected are the sorts of small arms that were lawfully possessed at home at the time of the Second Amendment's ratification, not those most useful in military service today, so "M-16 rifles and the like" may be banned"

So there's still going to be much fighting in legislatures. The anti-gunners can still ban "scary" guns.

Finally, the "licensing scheme" business is troubling. The court said that "Respondent conceded at oral argument that he does not 'have a problem with . . . licensing' and that the District's law is permissible so long as it is 'not enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner.'" which seems to mean that jurisdictions may require a license to own a firearm, but can't be used in a manner to as to create a de facto firearms ban. This, too, opens the door to many court cases.

The Dangers

A change of one justice and a 5-4 decision is reversed. For all the liberals talk about stare decisis with regard to Roe v. Wade, you can bet you'll never hear the term if they think they can reverse this decision.

The bottom line is that a president Obama will appoint liberals to the court who will want to overturn today's decision, and McCain will appoint conservatives who will uphold it. The choice couldn't be clearer.

Update

I've noticed around the Internet that some on the left are decrying this as an "activist" decision, and thus conservatives are hypocrites. I'm not sure if the people making this argument really believe what they are saying of whether they're being disingenuous, but I'll take it on.

No serious person on the right believes that the Supreme Court should not strike down unconstitutional laws, as long as the reasoning is solidly based on what the Constitution actually says, and what the founders (or those who wrote the various amendments) intended. What we object to is "making it up as you go along", ie rulings that are social engineering disguised as constitutional law. Whenever someone starts talking about a "living Constitution" or "penumbras", you know they're making it up to suit their political agendas.

So when Senator Obama said during the Roberts confirmation hearings that

Both a [conservative Justice Antonin] Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time. What matters at the Supreme Court is those 5% of cases that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction will only get you through 25 miles of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works and the depth and breadth of one's empathy.

In those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart.

and during a town hall meeting

What I really believe is that the Supreme Court has to be first and foremost thinking about and looking out for those who are vulnerable. People who are minorities, people who have historically been discriminated against. People who are poor. People who have been cheated. People who are being taken advantage of. People who have unpopular opinions. People who are outsiders.

and to CNN's Wolf Blitzer

...what I do want is a judge who's sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless, those who can't have access to political power, and, as a consequence, can't protect themselves from being -- from being dealt with sometimes unfairly, that the courts become a refuge for judges.

That's been its historic role. That was its role in Brown vs. Board of Education.

...you know you're dealing with someone who sees the Supreme Court as a second legislature, who's purpose is to enact whatever laws the Democrats can't get through the regular legislature. And bty, he's wrong about Brown v Board of Education. Nothing other than the plain reading of Section One the Fourteenth Amendment was needed to decide that case.

Contrast this with Senator John McCain, who says he is a "Strict Constructionist" on his campaign website

John McCain believes that one of the greatest threats to our liberty and the Constitutional framework that safeguards our freedoms are willful judges who usurp the role of the people and their representatives and legislate from the bench. As President, John McCain will nominate judges who understand that their role is to faithfully apply the law as written, not impose their opinions through judicial fiat.

As I said, the choice couldn't be clearer. You have Senator Obama, who wants to use the courts as a second legislature, and Senator McCain, who wants the courts to make rulings based on the law.

Update II Sunday June 29

This letter to the editor today in The Washington Times exposes the liberal mindset perfectly:

The Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller ("The gun ban ends," Editorial, Friday). leaves me with a disturbing realization that our society is strangely wedded to words written in a profoundly different era. While your editorial praises the importance of this ruling on the District's gun ban and the protection of the rights of its citizens, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion was not about what is right, nor about what is smart, nor about the best interests of the District. Justice Scalia's grammar lesson on the relationship between prefatory clauses and objective clauses is hardly worthy of the sheer importance of such landmark decisions for our society. The District of Columbia and the United States do not need a long and winding recitation of the tyrannies of King George III that led to the formation of militias.

Were Justice Scalia and the others in the majority to have argued why the Second Amendment, as interpreted, is relevant today, this decision might not seem so anachronistic. On the contrary, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens' dissenting opinion smartly ignores such irrelevant history lessons and argues with the realities of the present era in mind. We need a justice system that lives in the 21st century, not one beholden to the myth that words written in 1791 about men carrying muskets have any bearing today.

ANDREW CORSO
Arlington

If you don't like a law, just have some judge declare it irrelevant and put something different in its place. Those legislatures and referrendums can be so pesky!


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April 14, 2008

Obama and Clinton at the Compassion Forum

Yesterday evening presidential candidates and Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton participated in a "Compassion Forum" at Messiah College in Grantham Pennsylania. Messiah College is a private Christian institution. CNN broadcast the event. Here's what amounts to a mission statement from the website

Now more than ever, Americans motivated by faith are bridging ideological divides to address domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. The Compassion Forum will provide the opportunity for candidates to discuss how their faith and moral convictions bear on their positions on these important issues.

The Compassion Forum will be a unique and unprecedented event. Each candidate will participate in a separate substantive conversation. This will not be a debate. Questions will be posed by co-moderators Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," and Campbell Brown, anchor of CNN's Election Center.

This is not the first time the Democrats have openly discussed religion in such a forum. Last June, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards participated in a "Presidential Forum on Faith, Values and Poverty" that was sponsored by the Sojourners, a very liberal Christian group. I thought that Clinton and Obama did well in that one, but didn't much care for what Edwards had to say.

Let's see how the Democrat candidates did this time.

But first, let's state the obvious:

If Republicans did this the left would scream that they were "pushing their religion" on the country, and that if elected they would declare a theocracy and (somehow) force everyone to be a Christian. Yet in this presidential season the Democrats have participated in not one but two faith-based forums, and I haven't heard boo about it. If you think that these forums are an aberration and that it is only the right that "mixes politics with religion", just do some basic research on churches and associations like the Sojourners, the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopalian Church USA, The Unitarian Universalist Association, Christian Peacemaker Teams.... and there are many more.

As I said in my post on the Democrats first forum, I was glad to see that they are not afraid of talking about faith. This is good. What we now have to do is get people to recognize that yes Republicans can and should talk about it too, and no, doing so does not portend the coming of a theocracy.

Both the religious left and religions right think that faith should play a role in public life, and that it should influence what you think about matters of public policy, and thus how you vote. The left is primarily concerned with what they call "social justice", and the right social conservatism (I can't think of an equivalent term so if you have an honest suggestion please leave it in the comments). This is how it should be.

Ok now that I've said that let's move on to the forum. CNN has helpfully posted a transcript.

Read the whole thing, but the parts about abortion are the parts I found the most interesting

MEACHAM: Senator, do you believe personally that life begins at conception?

CLINTON: I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. I am a Methodist, as you know. My church has struggled with this issue. In fact, you can look at the Methodist Book of Discipline and see the contradiction and the challenge of trying to sort that very profound question out.

But for me, it is also not only about a potential life; it is about the other lives involved. And, therefore, I have concluded, after great, you know, concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, that our task should be in this pluralistic, diverse life of ours in this nation that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society.

And as some of you've heard me discuss before, I think abortion should remain legal, but it needs to be safe and rare.

And I have spent many years now, as a private citizen, as first lady, and now as senator, trying to make it rare, trying to create the conditions where women had other choices.

I have supported adoption, foster care. I helped to create the campaign against teenage pregnancy, which fulfilled our original goal 10 years ago of reducing teenage pregnancies by about a third.

And I am committed to doing that. And I guess I would just add from my own personal experience, I have been in countries that have taken very different views about this profoundly challenging question.

Some of you know, I went to China in 1995 and spoke out against the Chinese government's one child policy, which led to forced abortions and forced sterilization because I believed that we needed to bear witness against what was an intrusive, abusive, dehumanizing effort to dictate how women and men would proceed with respect to the children they wished to have....

On to the other senator

REV. SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Senator Obama, the vast majority of Americans believe that abortion is a decision to be made by a woman, her family and her doctors. However, the vast majority of Americans similarly believe that abortion is the taking of a human life.

The terms pro-choice and pro-life, do they encapsulate that reality in our 21st Century setting and can we find common ground?

OBAMA: I absolutely think we can find common ground. And it requires a couple of things. Number one, it requires us to acknowledge that there is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that's a mistake because I think all of us understand that it is a wrenching choice for anybody to think about.

The second thing, once we acknowledge that, is to recognize that people of good will can exist on both sides. That nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion. How we determine what's right at that moment, I think, people of good will can differ.

And if we can acknowledge that much, then we can certainly agree on the fact that we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion.

And we've actually made progress over the last several years in reducing teen pregnancies, for example. And what I have consistently talked about is to take a comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children.

But we also recognize the importance of good medical care for women, that we're also recognizing the importance of age-appropriate education to reduce risks. I do believe that contraception has to be part of that education process.

And if we do those things, then I think that we can reduce abortions and I think we should make sure that adoption is an option for people out there....

MEACHAM: Senator, do you personally believe that life begins at conception? And if not, when does it begin?

OBAMA: This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know, as I've said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates.

Oh please.

Both of these Democrats talk in circles and split hairs. Obama's fine words can't hide his radical left voting record on the issue. Clinton is no better. Both claim to want to reduce the incidence of abortion but their records say just the opposite. To them it's all a matter of providing enough condoms and "eduction" and maybe the pesky right-wingers will go away. Their real audience is the abortionist crowd who doesn't want the slightest restriction on their activities. Judging from this forum, they got what they wanted.

Tuesday Update

Some commentary I was reading today over at The Weekly Standard brought up this exchange

MEACHAM: Senator, we've heard about HIV/AIDS. Many people here are concerned about Darfur and a number of other humanitarian issues. Why do you think it is that a loving God allows innocent people to suffer?

CLINTON: Well...

(LAUGHTER)

MEACHAM: And we just have 30 seconds.

CLINTON: Yes. You know, that is the subject of generations of commentary and debate. And I don't know. I can't wait to ask him. Because I have...

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I have just pondered it endless endlessly.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: But I do want to just add that what that means to me is that in the face of suffering, there is no doubt in my mind that God calls us to respond. You know, that's part of what we are expected to do.

For whatever reason it exists, it's very existence is a call to action. Certainly in, you know, our...

There's no need to "ponder" the matter, Senator Clinton. The Bible is very clear on the subject, and it says that there are three reasons why God allows suffering:

1) The original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as told in Genesis 3

2) Heavenly events about which we know nothing about, as told in Job 1-2

3) Punishment for sin, much of the OT, but the book of Lamentations spells it out best

The catch is that we humans can never know which of the three applies to any given situation. Only a prophet can tell us such things, and there are no living prophets.


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January 20, 2008

Book Review - Come On, People!

On the 17th of May, 2004, Bill Cosby delivered a speech to the NAACP on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education that rocked the Black community, and indeed the country at large. Known as the "Pound Cake speech", he pointed out negative social trends within the Black community, and said point blank that "we cannot blame white people."

In the speech, he focused on the high crime rate, lack of parenting, "50 percent drop out rate", bad English, focus on multimillionaire sports figures that "can’t write a paragraph", and other social pathologies that plague the black community. Cosby was later criticized for his remarks, but refused to back down.

Come On, People! On the Path from Victims to Victors is the book that resulted from this speech. To write it, Cosby teamed up with Dr Alvin Pousssaint, who is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Cosby draws the readers, and my guess is that most of the writing was done by him. Dr. Pousssaint leads intellectual weight to the book, so that when they write "studies show that..." you can be sure they are not blowing smoke.

The book is written in a casual, easy-to-read style. It is unfootnoted (although there is an excellent bibliography at the end), as it is meant to be more a call to action than an academic treatise.

What Cosby and Poussaint do not do in the book is prove through a mass of statistics and academic data that the black community is in trouble. This is taken as a given. Nor do they spend their time relating the history of black people in America, and how we got to our current situation. Rather, this is more of a self-help book than anything.

Cosby and Poussaint do not deny that racism plays a role in America today. To do so would be unfactual, and they would lose all credibility. But neither do they dwell on it. Racism gets a few lines here and there, but their message is clear: Most of our ills are not the result of racism, and are things that we can and need to set right ourselves.

The intended audience for Come on, People! are the very people that they are trying to help; black people who are caught in a cycle of poverty and violence. They are also trying to reach black community leaders who can turn things around.

As such, much of the book consists of common-sense advice for black people. There are chapters on prenatal care, parenting, eating properly, managing your finances, how to get a good education and use it to seek gainful employment, and much more. Here is a small sample taken at random:

Go to a doctor early and often for prenatal care

Don't let your kids watch too much TV

Be a good role model for your children

Proper English is a must

Slow down on the fast food

If you're going to have children, get married and stay married

Stop charging anything you don't absolutely need

Whatever you do, graduate from high school

Community colleges have many great courses that can lead directly to a job

Walk away from a fight

Shield your kids from what's on the Internet

The best way to avoid diabetes is to keep your weight under control.

Intersperced throughout the book are "call outs"; most of which are brief stories of black people who faced overwhelming odds yet made it. Others are those of successful black professionals who have useful advice. All are valuable and interesting.

The overwhelming message is that values matter. Come On, People! reminds me as nothing so much as Laura Ingraham's Power to the People, in which she discussed various social ills that are the result of bad value values.

Cosby and Poussaint are all about advancement through education. Unlike too many elies, who obsess over how many CEOs or professional football coaches are black, they look to action that will help the average black person. High profile black success stories in sports and entertainment world are simply not meaningful to the average person, as the chances that he or she will achieve such fame and riches are slim. As such, their advice, as illustrated in the above list, is designed to move people toward obtaining basic degrees at average colleges (they especially stress community colleges) that lead to concrete careers.

I'm not quite sure how much Cosby's message has resonated within the black community, as surely he has faced much resistance from elites for refusing to blame everything on white racism. Yet he and co-author Poussiant are not alone in their quest. For example, NPR Senior Correspondent and Fox News contributor Juan Williams, a black man with impeccable liberal credentials, wrote Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure that are Undermining Black America, and What We can Do About It in 2006, and between the three of them perhaps they can turn the debate around.

Cosby, Poussiant, Williams, and for that matter Ingraham, have picked up on the fact that there is only so much the government can do. Ending blatant racism was good and a must, but clearly this isn't enough to truely liberate black people. Create all the enterprise zones you want, Jack Kemp, but until you change values and attitudes you're whistling dixie.

To me, the question is not whether Come On, People! is a useful book. It is. The question is how to get it into the hands of the people who need it the most. I suspect that many or even most of the people who buy it are people like me; white guys who live comfortably in the suburbs. I'd buy a hundred books and donate them to a black church uptown if I thought they'd hand them out, but such an act would be seen as condescending, I suppose.

Much of the solution, then, is going to have to come from within the black community itself. But there are things that we can do also, like stop buying "gansta rap" music, and cleaning up our own culture. Because ultimately we're all in this together.

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September 16, 2007

Hanging with Laura Ingraham

Ok, so I didn't really hang out with Laura Ingraham today, but the title sounds good.

I went over to the Arlington Costco to her book signing, where I got an autographed copy of Power to the People.

Unfortunately I forgot my regular camera, so was left with the camera on my cell phone, which is only VGA quality. The Costco lady accidentally hit the button too soon, and since there were a lot of people waiting it wasn't appropriate to reset it for another try. It doesn't really matter though, I really just wanted an autographed copy of her book

LauraIngraham.jpg

Although I obviously haven't read the book yet, I did skim through sections while waiting in line, and she has talked a lot about it on her radio show. In her book she talks about negative social trends that are harming our country, such as the "pornification" of the culture. As you may imagine, I'm completely in sympathy with her.

It seemed like people of all ages were waiting in line. It was especially encouraging to see younger people, those who looked to be in their teens or 20s, as they are the ones who need this the most, since they are under the most peer pressure.

The man behind me was with his two preteen daughters, and he was telling them about Laura and her message, as they are obviously in school when she is on the air. But he was telling them that he was going to have Laura sign it to them as well as him, and in the coming months they were going to learn about her and her message.

There's a man who loves his daughters. Sometime small things give me great hope for our country.


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June 10, 2006

Brave New World, Here We Come

While our troops are trying their best to win the War on Terror abroad, some on the West seem determined to wreck our societies beyond all recognition.

Sherlock Holmes once commented to his companion Dr Watson that while rural areas seem tranquil and uneventful to the observer, great crimes and horrors were committed in isolated homes. Crime went unreported because of the isolation of such residences.

Switzerland is one of those idyllic little countries in Europe that everyone would like to visit. Tranquil and beautiful, it offers the tourist a respite from the busyness of everday life. Who could think ill of such a country, or imagine that anything bad happens there?

But as Holmes pointed out, horrors can occur under our very noses without our being aware of them. The residents of an apartment complex in Zurich have been living with a "house of horrors" in their very midst

Residents who share an apartment building with Dignitys, an assisted-suicide charity, have begun a campaign to evict the organization from the building.

In the eight years that Dignitys has been in the building, more than 450 people have killed themselves with barbiturates in the fourth-floor apartment owned by the Swiss charity. The bodies are put into a zipper bag and transported in the three-person elevator or carried downstairs.

Traumatized by the experience of passing living people going up in the elevator only to come across them hours later descending in a body bag, some residents want to move out of the block.

Unbeknownst, I think, to most people, Switzerland "has gained a reputation for "death tourism"." The residents in the apartment who seek to evict Dignitys do not necessarily object to assisted suicide as such, but just don't want it going on near them. As Miss Sonny, the person leading the effort so evict Dignitys says, "Some people admire the charity but are horrified that they use communal areas." Out of sight, out of mind.

I guess none of this should be surprising. After all, abortion is legal in most Western countries. Once we got used to killing our babies, it was a small step to killing the living, as long as we could be assured that they were terminally ill. Or at least upset with their lives. Or whatever, as long as we could assure ourselves that we were protecting "choice."

You Speciesist!

Not to be outdone in their attempt to destroy our society, the socialists in Spain have introduced a measure in their parliament which will give human rights to apes. Really.

Spain could soon become the first country in the world to give chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and other great apes some of the fundamental rights granted to human beings under a law being proposed by members of the ruling Socialist coalition.

The law would eliminate the concept of "ownership" for great apes, instead placing them under the "moral guardianship" of the state, much as is the case for children in care, the severely handicapped and those in comas, said the MP behind the project, Francisco Garrido

Garrido and his fellow socialists get their inspiration from the Great Ape Project, a Seattle-based organization who's mission statement declares that

We demand the extension of the community of equals to include all great apes: human beings, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans.

The community of equals is the moral community within which we accept certain basic moral principles or rights as governing our relations with each other and enforceable at law.

Among the "principles or rights" that they demand be extended to the great apes are "the right to life", the "protection of individual liberty", and "the prohibition of torture".

All this is part of the "animal rights" movement.
According to Wikipedia, he infamous Peter Singer, in his 1975 book Animal Liberation,

Argues against what he calls speciesism: discrimination on the grounds that a being belongs to a certain species. He holds the interests of all beings capable of suffering to be worthy of equal consideration, and that giving lesser consideration to beings based on their having wings or fur is no more justified than discrimination based on skin color. In particular, he argues that while animals show lower intelligence than the average human, many severely retarded humans show equally diminished mental capacity, and intelligence therefore does not provide a basis for providing nonhuman animals any less consideration than such retarded humans. He concludes that the use of animals for food is unjustifiable because it creates unnecessary suffering, and considers veganism the most fully justifiable diet.

Once we have degraded our unborn and aged to the point where they can be killed, it is but a small step toward seeing animals as our constutional equals. Today it is the great apes and chimpanzees, tomorrow the rest of the animal kingdom. Don't you doubt it.

The Family No More

Not satisfied with killing our unborn and ill and with reducing humanity to but one more species among many, the family is now under attack like never before. The prospect of "gay marriage" looms large on the horizon. It's all done, of course, under the banner of "equality". Don't think that you can object on the basis of your religion, either,

New Government proposals on equality could require clergy to bless homosexual "weddings" or face prosecution, the Church of England said yesterday.

It said the proposed regulations could undermine official teaching and require Christians to act against their religious convictions.
...

Unless exemptions were strengthened, Christian centres that disapproved of homosexual behaviour could be forced to hire out rooms to gay groups and Christian charities could have their public funding cut if they did not agree to the regulations.

Liberals in the US Senate recently defeated a proposed constitutional measure that would have preserved traditional marriage. The text of the proposed amendment

Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

The reason, of course, for an amendment is that we have activist judges in this country who have decided that they want to play legislator. They know no boundaries in their rulings, and will pronounce on just about anything. They relieve Democrats from having to push controversial issues in legislators, where they can be publicly debated. Democrats are caught between two constitutencies; blacks, hispanics, and labor-union types who oppose gay marriage, and gay groups, who want it. They way out is to let the courts do their dirty work for them. That way they can say to the former "don't blame us!", while "wink wink" to the latter.

The claim by opponents of the amendment that the issue ought to be left to the states is therefore disingenuous. As if state legislatures will be deciding the matter. We all know that liberal activist judges will impose it on us sooner or later if we do nothing to stop it.

Matthew Spalding, in a paper on The Heritage Foundation's website, points out what is at stake

The basic building block of society is the family, which is the primary institution through which children are raised, nurtured, and educated, and develop into adults. Marriage is the cornerstone of the family: It produces children, provides them with mothers and fathers, and is the framework through which relationships among mothers, fathers, and children are established and maintained. Only in the context of family built on the foundation of marriage can the sometimes competing needs and interests of men, women, and children be harmonized.

People who think that allowing gays to marry will not have ramifications throughout our society are kidding themselves.

Brave New World, here we come.

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January 17, 2006

And Now for Something Completely Different

Is it just me, or is there an epidemic of jaywalking in our country?

Yes that's right, Jaywalking.

I cannot drive around anymore without seeing people running across some fairly busy streets. The mainstreet of my little town is one of those four-lane roads, with businesses on each side, with a turning lane down the middle of the street. Undivided, you know what I mean. Every quarter mile or something there is a stoplight, and the speed limit is maybe 35mph but you know how that goes.

And half the time I'm downtown some idiot is running across the street, as often as not young parents with little children in tow.

Now mind you there's a crosswalk not more than a hundred feet away.

And I've seen this too on busier roads than this.

Now mostly, and this is just a personal observation, most of the jaywalkers are Hispanic. If this is accurate, and it might not be, is this the result of cultural or socio-economic factors? Or is it the result of a general breakdown of an attitude towards law-and-order?

Maybe it's just me, but when I was a kid it was inconceivable that I'd do anything other than cross at the crosswalk. But then, we also called adults "Mr" or "Mrs" in those days, too, which is something else that seems to have gone by the wayside.

So tell me, do you notice this where you live too, or is it just me?

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July 15, 2005

The War on the Boy Scouts II

Some months ago I wrote about the War on the Boy Scouts over at Conserva-Puppies. It looks like things are heating up again.

A federal judge has ruled the Pentagon can no longer spend millions in government money to ready a Virginia military base for a national Boy Scout event typically held every four years, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning's June 22 order stems from a 1999 lawsuit by the ACLU of Illinois that claimed the Defense Department (search) sponsorship violates the First Amendment because the Scouts require members to swear an oath of duty to God.

It's enough to want to make you throw up. What is the matter with these people? What is their problem?

The ACLU claims that it's an "establishment of religion" issue (see link above). One suspects that if the Scouts caved on the gay issue the lawsuits would suddenly cease.

Pentagon lawyers are expected to appeal the case above, so this particular situation is not settled yet. Common sense and decency may yet prevail. Yet that mere fact that such lawsuits are brought, and the Scouts and government much spend vast sums of money fighting them, ought to disturb anyone who cares about the youth of this country.

If you're one of those who thinks that this is a simple matter of separation of church and state, explain this:

During the 2000 Democrat National Convention, when a group of Boy Scouts took the stage, they were booed by a significant number of the delegates. This was widely reported in the press, at least the conservative press, so the left is wasting their time if they want to deny it. Here's one account:

Eagle Scouts have earned the highest rank in scouting. When a group of them took the stage at the Democratic National Convention, delegates booed.

Convention-goers knew in advance the Scouts were coming, and they were ready for them.

"We Support Gay Boy Scouts," read the previously prepared signs they waved as they shouted derision at the uniformed Scouts with all their hard-won merit badges.

The Scouts, who had been invited by organizers of the Democratic convention to make their podium appearance Thursday, appeared shocked.

This issue isn't going away, folks.

DefendScouting.org Bookmark it.

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July 12, 2005

The Most Irrelevant Organization

From today's Washington Times:

The NAACP will target private companies as part of its economic agenda, seeking reparations from corporations with historical ties to slavery and boycotting companies that refuse to participate in its annual business diversity report card.

"Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table," Dennis C. Hayes, interim president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said yesterday at the group's 96th annual convention here.

"Many of the problems we have now including poverty, disparities in health care and incarcerations can be directly tied to slavery."

What a load of bunk. Unbelieveably, they've been able to blackmail, er convince, several cities into going along.

Such laws exist in Philadelphia and Chicago, which can refuse to grant contracts because of a company's slavery ties although neither city has done this. Detroit and New Orleans are considering similar bills.

Two unnamed banks in Chicago, as well as J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, have already apologiezed and are making payments in the form of scholarships to black children.

There are to many things wrong with this one hardly knows where to start.

Let's just start with these observations;

The people who did wrong and evil things are dead, so there is nobody left to apologize.

The people who suffered are dead, so there is nobody left to apologize too. The idea that blacks today are hurt significantly by slavery over a hundred years ago is ridiculous, given the massive federal and local spending on their behalf since then, to say nothing of quota programs, which now go under the guise of "diversity".

So people who didn't do anything wrong are apologizing to people who weren't hurt. How modern.

Scholarships based on race are racist. They should be based on economic need, not sex or race or some other such artificial factor.

The whole thing is nothing more than a "get rich quick" scheme.

The Real Crime

All of this is bad, but in itself it's not the end of the world. The real crime is that the NAACP has become absolutely irrelevant to the needs of black people in the United States. Rather than concern itself with genuine problems, such as illegimacy, drug use, the infuence of gangster rap, or bad attitudes towards education that plague inner-city youth, they're off on this reparations kick.

Ten Reasons Why Reparations are a Bad Idea

David Horowitz, who fought for civil rights in the 1960s, has published the best and most succinct response to the reparations movement that I've found yet. It's called "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too"

I'm going to reprint the ten reasons here, because I think it important that we be armed against arguments for reparations. This issue isn't going away, folks:

One

There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery

Black Africans and Arabs were responsible for enslaving the ancestors of African-Americans. There were 3,000 black slave-owners in the ante-bellum United States. Are reparations to be paid by their descendants too?

Two

There Is No One Group That Benefited Exclusively From Its Fruits

The claim for reparations is premised on the false assumption that only whites have benefited from slavery. If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves. The GNP of black America is so large that it makes the African-American community the 10th most prosperous "nation" in the world. American blacks on average enjoy per capita incomes in the range of twenty to fifty times that of blacks living in any of the African nations from which they were kidnapped.

Three

Only A Tiny Minority Of White Americans Ever Owned Slaves, And Others Gave Their Lives To Free Them

Only a tiny minority of Americans ever owned slaves. This is true even for those who lived in the ante-bellum South where only one white in five was a slaveholder. Why should their descendants owe a debt? What about the descendants of the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves? They gave their lives. What possible moral principle would ask them to pay (through their descendants) again?

Four

America Today Is A Multi-Ethnic Nation and Most Americans Have No Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery

The two great waves of American immigration occurred after 1880 and then after 1960. What rationale would require Vietnamese boat people, Russian refuseniks, Iranian refugees, and Armenian victims of the Turkish persecution, Jews, Mexicans Greeks, or Polish, Hungarian, Cambodian and Korean victims of Communism, to pay reparations to American blacks?

Five

The Historical Precedents Used To Justify The Reparations Claim Do Not Apply, And The Claim Itself Is Based On Race Not Injury

The historical precedents generally invoked to justify the reparations claim are payments to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, Japanese-Americans and African- American victims of racial experiments in Tuskegee, or racial outrages in Rosewood and Oklahoma City. But in each case, the recipients of reparations were the direct victims of the injustice or their immediate families. This would be the only case of reparations to people who were not immediately affected and whose sole qualification to receive reparations would be racial. As has already been pointed out, during the slavery era, many blacks were free men or slave-owners themselves, yet the reparations claimants make no distinction between the roles blacks actually played in the injustice itself. Randall Robinson's book on reparations, The Debt, which is the manifesto of the reparations movement is pointedly sub-titled "What America Owes To Blacks." If this is not racism, what is?

Six

The Reparations Argument Is Based On The Unfounded Claim That All African-American Descendants of Slaves Suffer From The Economic Consequences Of Slavery And Discrimination

No evidence-based attempt has been made to prove that living individuals have been adversely affected by a slave system that was ended over 150 years ago. But there is plenty of evidence the hardships that occurred were hardships that individuals could and did overcome. The black middle-class in America is a prosperous community that is now larger in absolute terms than the black underclass. Does its existence not suggest that economic adversity is the result of failures of individual character rather than the lingering after-effects of racial discrimination and a slave system that ceased to exist well over a century ago? West Indian blacks in America are also descended from slaves but their average incomes are equivalent to the average incomes of whites ( and nearly 25% higher than the average incomes of American born blacks). How is it that slavery adversely affected one large group of descendants but not the other? How can government be expected to decide an issue that is so subjective - and yet so critical - to the case?

Seven

The Reparations Claim Is One More Attempt To Turn African-Americans Into Victims. It Sends A Damaging Message To The African-American Community.

The renewed sense of grievance -- which is what the claim for reparations will inevitably create -- is neither a constructive nor a helpful message for black leaders to be sending to their communities and to others. To focus the social passions of African-Americans on what some Americans may have done to their ancestors fifty or a hundred and fifty years ago is to burden them with a crippling sense of victim-hood. How are the millions of refugees from tyranny and genocide who are now living in America going to receive these claims, moreover, except as demands for special treatment, an extravagant new handout that is only necessary because some blacks can't seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others -- many less privileged than themselves?

Eight

Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid

Since the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the advent of the Great Society in 1965, trillions of dollars in transfer payments have been made to African-Americans in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences (in contracts, job placements and educational admissions) - all under the rationale of redressing historic racial grievances. It is said that reparations are necessary to achieve a healing between African-Americans and other Americans. If trillion dollar restitutions and a wholesale rewriting of American law (in order to accommodate racial preferences) for African-Americans is not enough to achieve a "healing," what will?

Nine

What About The Debt Blacks Owe To America?

Slavery existed for thousands of years before the Atlantic slave trade was born, and in all societies. But in the thousand years of its existence, there never was an anti-slavery movement until white Christians - Englishmen and Americans -- created one. If not for the anti-slavery attitudes and military power of white Englishmen and Americans, the slave trade would not have been brought to an end. If not for the sacrifices of white soldiers and a white American president who gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves. If not for the dedication of Americans of all ethnicities and colors to a society based on the principle that all men are created equal, blacks in America would not enjoy the highest standard of living of blacks anywhere in the world, and indeed one of the highest standards of living of any people in the world. They would not enjoy the greatest freedoms and the most thoroughly protected individual rights anywhere. Where is the gratitude of black America and its leaders for those gifts?

Ten

The Reparations Claim Is A Separatist Idea That Sets African-Americans Against The Nation That Gave Them Freedom

Blacks were here before the Mayflower. Who is more American than the descendants of African slaves? For the African-American community to isolate itself even further from America is to embark on a course whose implications are troubling. Yet the African-American community has had a long-running flirtation with separatists, nationalists and the political left, who want African-Americans to be no part of America's social contract. African Americans should reject this temptation.

For all America's faults, African-Americans have an enormous stake in their country and its heritage. It is this heritage that is really under attack by the reparations movement. The reparations claim is one more assault on America, conducted by racial separatists and the political left. It is an attack not only on white Americans, but on all Americans -- especially African-Americans.

America's African-American citizens are the richest and most privileged black people alive -- a bounty that is a direct result of the heritage that is under assault. The American idea needs the support of its African-American citizens. But African-Americans also need the support of the American idea. For it is this idea that led to the principles and institutions that have set African-Americans - and all of us -- free.

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June 14, 2005

Over the Top

This is unbelieveable. He is sick, truely sick.

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May 17, 2005

About what I think, too

Are you familiar with the Bratz series of dolls? If not, good for you.

Normally I don't write about this type of thing but yesterday I saw an article in my morning paper that struck me. It was originally in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and it's about the increasing sexualization of children


With their made-up eyes, pouty lips and short skirts, these girls look like real party dolls.

In fact, they are dolls. They're the Bratz, the 10-inch "girls with a passion for fashion" whose skyrocketing popularity among young girls has ignited a marketing war with Barbie, the long-reigning queen of the fashion doll world. Compared with the flirtatious-looking Bratz, Barbie looks like the scrub-cheeked -- albeit curvaceous -- girl-next-door.

As thousands of girls dump Barbie for the Bratz, child development experts worry. They see the Bratz as the cutting edge of a worrisome trend: the increasing use of sexual imagery in products marketed to young children.

They call it the "sexualization of childhood" and point to other examples: thong underwear emblazoned with sexually suggestive phrases for 6-year-old girls; "pimp" Halloween costumes for little boys; the increasingly sexually explicit content of TV shows, movies, and music CDs.

About what I've been thinking, too. And it is most decidedly not a good thing.

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December 17, 2004

Racial Reconciliation

The Homespun Bloggers Symposium question of the week

What do you believe is necessary for true racial reconciliation to take place in American society? Does your solution involve coercive governmental remedies? Do you believe that Churches have an important role to play in this process?

My answer

Let us first define the problem. The question, I believe, relates mainly to white-black relations in our country. While Hispanics make up a large part of our nation, the issues with them or any of the other minority groups do not have the unique historical background that defines white-black relations.

The problem is that each side blames the other for the current problems that the "black community" faces. I put black community in quotation marks because as a committed individualist I always wince whenever someone tries to lump all people into a neat classification, as if everyone in that group thinks and acts the same way. With that caveat firmly in mind, however, for purposes of this discussion we will cautiously speak of groups of people.

In 1990 Shelby Steele wrote that he thought that "...the real trouble between the races in America is that the races are not just races but competing power groups." It is tempting to say that this is half-right, that the NAACP, for example, constitutes an institution dedicated to black power (which it does) but that since there is nothing similar on the white side we are not a power group. This, I believe, is incorrect. Whites do have power groups, but they are less well defined.

White Guilt

White guilt has been a powerful driving force among white people for over forty years. That such a syndrome developed is not only understandable, but perhaps necessary. Jim Crow lived for far too long in our country, and when he was finally extinguished white people felt that they had to make up for years of oppression.

It's initial result was the construction of LBJ's "Great Society" programs in the 1960's. The consequence of many of these programs has unfortunately been to further the misery of the black underclass. Further, as long as these programs exist, the situation in our country is not going to get any better. (Note; no time now for a detailed discussion of programs such as AFDC or affirmative action)

Today white guilt is mainly confined to liberals and leftists. Those of us usually considered conservatives have seen for some time that these programs were not only working, but are positively harmful. That the left is still consumed by feelings of guilt is demonstrated by the method with which they defend these programs; not through rational discussion but by name-calling and personal attacks. Daniel Patrick Moynihan discovered this in 1965 when he released his "Moynihan Report" showing black families to be in crisis because of the growth of single parenthood. For his trouble he suffered the indignity of being called "racist" and other epithets.

In order for progress to be made, the left must get rid of it's white guilt complex.

Conservative Compassion

At the same time, conservatives must not "write off" black people. That we do not get but a fraction of their vote is no excuse. Jack Kemp is right when he says that we must work to find solutions outside of the traditional leftist welfare state. Now, much work in this area has been done in the past fifteen or so years. The "Welfare Reform" bill passed during the Clinton years is a result of this effort.

There have been many other conservative thinkers who have written about this problem, and they are too many to list here. Suffice it to say that we must not be disheartened by the venom coming from groups like the NAACP, but must redouble our efforts. Survey after survey shows that many blacks hold quite conservative social views. If we work hard enough, and we must surely try, we can over time work to alleviate racial problems.

Black Acceptance

On the "other side" (augh, how I hate to divide us so) some (is that better?) black people need to accept that it is no longer 1955. The NAACP and other extremist groups need to recognize that what columnist Walter Williams has said; that the war against racial opppression has been won, and that it is over. We're not still fighting the Germans or Japanese, thus our military and foreigh policies have changed. Jim Crow is dead, but extremist groups cannot accept this simple fact.

Likewise, racial provocateurs such as Al Sharpton must be marginalized. It is to the everlasting shame of the Democratic Party that such people are not only tolerated but accepted with open arms. Media institutions fawn over Sharpton, and totally ignore his history. This must change if there is to be racial reconciliation. Jesse Jackson marginalized himself, but as long as Sharpton is accepted it will be difficult or impossible for changes to occur.

Lastly, the entire liberal obsession with "victimhood" must end. As Shelby Steele put it, in order "to move beyond the victim-focused black identity; we must learn to make a difficult but crucial distinction; between acual victimization, which we must resist with every resource, and identification with the victim's status."

The Role of the Government

This part is simple; coercion must not be involved. What goes by the euphamism of "affirmative action" has been a net loss for black people. The reasons for this are two: On the one hand it fosters dependancy. On the other, resentment.

The Role of Churches

I wish that I could say that churches could play a significant role. They may be able to effect some change at the local level, but nationally their effect so far has been harmful.

On the "white side" (arugh, there I go again) the mainstream churches are consumed with White Guilt. The Presbyterian Church USA, for example, is run by leftists (no ifs ands or buts, folks, they are way out in left field. I know because I'm a member). As the possiblilty of significan change within their national leadership seems remote, they are best kept out of any discussion process.

Same on the "black side". As long as the "Reverend" Jackson and Sharpton are given prominent places no progress can be made.

If churches are to have a role, it is at the local level. Individual churches can make contact with each other and set up joint-projects. For example, the mostly-white Presbyterian church in my old hometown works with the largely-black First Babtist church. They do joint charity projects. I'm not sure, however, that any of this will bring about any significant changes, but it is better than nothing.

The Bottom Line

Each side must make changes if we are to have racial reconciliation in our country. It behooves each side to make an honest accounting of their failures and prejudices. We have come a long way, and this must be recognized and celebrated, but still have a long way to go, and this, too, must be recognized.

Posted by Tom at 9:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 12, 2004

Immigration and Economics

I had a debate with a friend of mine on the issue of immigration and the global economy. He sent me a copy of the Phyllis Shlafly Report titled "What the Global Economy Costs Americans"

I responded to him with a critique of her column. Sections are reprinted below.

What the Global Economy Costs Americans
by Phyllis Shlafly

The big argument for the tax cut just signed by President Bush is that it will create much-needed jobs. But one big question remains: will those jobs be created for
Americans, or will corporations simply hire more job-seekers from India and China?
First, do we really want these jobs to stay here?  Consider the consequences of forcing
corporations to keep these jobs here. To do these jobs, Americans will want to be paid
more than Indians or Chinese. The increased cost will be passed along to the consumer.
So your bills will eventually (maybe not immediately) go up. You'll pay more for many
services in the long run. Because either prices will have to go up, or corporate revinues
will have to go down. Lagging revinues means recession. Is this really good for the
American consumer?

Second, any discussion of outsourcing must also include insourcing. You don't hear so much
about it, but jobs are coming to the United States. And we are creating new jobs all the time.
In the short term both outsourcing and insourcing cause social dislocations causing politicians
to get involved. Thomas Sowell has an excellent editorial on this which you can find here.

It's time for Congress to call a halt to the scandal of the way big corporations hire foreigners at the same time they are laying off their American employees. The hiring of hundreds of thousands of foreigners is why this year's college graduates face the worst job market in recent memory.
When U.S. corporations built hundreds of plants in Third World  countries, we were
told not to worry about losing blue-collar
manufacturing jobs because we were
keeping the service jobs. Now the high-paying white-
collar service jobs are going
overseas, too, particularly jobs for engineers and computer
specialists.

Follow the money. The big corporations hire aliens from India and China at half or
a third
the wages, work them long hours without overtime pay, and treat them like
indentured
servants unable to quit for a better job. What makes this racket possible
is the partnership
between corporations and government.

The wording in this article is a bit too conspiratorial for me, but I'll answer the substance
anyway.

Yes "corporations" hire illegals because they can pay them less. And politicians are reluctant
to crack down because of the economics of the matter. What economics am I talking about?
Consider the consequequences of tossing all illegals out of the country. The jobs previously
done by the illegals would now be open. But Americans would refuse to take these jobs at the
same wage rates as the illegals were paid. Thus to fill these jobs corporations would have
to raise wages. The consequences of this would be higher prices paid by the consumer. Either
that, or lower corporate profits. And the consequences of lower profits are twofold; lower
investment in new plant and R&D, and lower stock prices. Do you want your 401k to tank?

Now, I am NOT saying that we should ignore illegal immigration. In fact, I'm in favor of a
cracking down. What I AM saying is that we need to understand the economic consequences
of doing so. Unfortunately the Eagle Forum newsletter you sent me makes no attempt to do so.

The corporations make political contributions to assure the passage of legislation that legalizes the importation of foreign cheap labor by the devices called H1B visas L-1 visas, and outsourcing....
I admit that I don't know enough about these issues to really comment on the details.

But the basic economics are clear enough; if you put a halt to these visas you will end up paying
higher prices as a consumer. This may or may not be what the public wants, but before we take
any decisions we need to understand the economic consequences. This article seems to think
that you can cut off visa's and we'll all live happily ever after.

Corporations hire people for less money because they're trying to stay competitive. They want
to offer a good service at a low price. There's nothing really conspiratorial about it.

Ok readers, tell me if I've got it right or not.


Posted by Tom at 2:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack