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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Crimes, cover-ups and character corruption at State Department

Adding a chapter to a tome of government scandals, an internal State Department memo paints a picture of crimes, cover-ups and character corruption at every level of the agency.  Lower-level staff allegedly have been running drugs and abusing prostituted women at "endemic" rates while senior officials allegedly have systematically suppressed the evidence.
From the administration's politically edited whitewashing of the terrorist attack on the Benghazi embassy to these revelations of widespread State Department misdeeds, from the Justice Department's targeted secret surveillance of news reporters to nationwide National Security Agency secret surveillance of domestic communications, from the systematic silencing by the IRS of conservative groups' political speech to the Department of Health and Human Services abortifacient pills mandate's wholesale assault on the religious liberties of conscientious objectors, Americans are losing trust in their government.
The solution lies in the ingenious design of our government, focused on stemming the corruption of power through a system of competing powers and interests. The Constitution and the courts are designed to check the power of an overreaching Executive. Congress is empowered to investigate and rein in runaway federal agencies. A free watchdog press can uncover government cover-ups. Even partisan politics can fuel reform, as one party exposes their opponents' corruption and hypocrisy.
As Lord Acton warned, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The American system of government offers us recourse to check that power--if only we will stand up to the abusers of power and employ it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CMA physicians: Supreme Court marriage decision impacts children, First Amendment freedoms

The Christian Medical Association, the nation's largest faith-based association of doctors today issued the following statement on the Supreme Court's decisions regarding marriage:
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "The Supreme Court failed to recognize that 'We the people' should decide marriage policy. Activist judges with an agenda have been foisting their views on the people--based not on the original Constitution or the duly registered will of the people--but on what these judges imagine their progressive society should look like. Yet 38 states have affirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman. Regardless of this Court's decision, the debate on marriage will continue.
"Regardless of the shifting opinions of judges, 'We the people' recognize that certain truths about marriage remain self-evident. Simple biology and observation shows us that marriage is based upon the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman and upon the reality that children need a mother and a father in a stable marriage. Same-sex "marriage" undermines the need of children to understand gender and to benefit from the unique contributions of a man and of a woman to a child's development.
"We as physicians have long recognized that the most important function of marriage is to protect the needs of children--not simply to fulfill the emotional desires of adults.
"The best research shows that children consistently experience the most positive outcomes with a Mom and a Dad and too often experience negative outcomes in same-sex households. When some research has attempted to convince us otherwise, rigorous examination of those studies has uncovered fatal research flaws, most likely the result of presuppositions and political agendas that undermined objectivity.
"Some activists, both in the courts and in public policy, appear intent on forcing people of faith to bow to a new and radical viewpoint that ignores our faith convictions and the testimony of millennia regarding marriage. Such pressure inevitably threatens religious freedom, as same-sex relationship advocates insist that conformity to their ideology trumps First Amendment speech, religious liberty and conscience freedoms.
"For millennia, governments have recognized marriage because the institution uniquely benefits society. Parents teach children to be good citizens, and intact traditional families remain one of the best predictors of positive social indicators and outcomes. When government recognizes marriage, it protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and to take responsibility for the care and well-being their children. When a government disregards these benefits and attempts to redefine marriage as rooted in anything other than the union of one man and one woman, anyone can assert any  relationship as marriage, no matter how bizarre.
"We will continue to advocate for marriage and the children protected by marriage."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Supreme Court "prostitution pledge" decision opens door to more abortions, funding for pro-prostitution, pro-abortion groups

Esteemed colleagues who focus on religious liberty issues are uncharacteristically divided regarding the Supreme Court's decision yesterday that struck down as unconstitutional a government requirement that recipients of grants to fight human trafficking and AIDS provide assurance that they oppose prostitution, which spreads AIDS and human trafficking.
Some legal advocates who focus on religious liberty issues had filed briefs opposing the "prostitution pledge" provision. They reasoned that its allowance would let the government unconstitutionally dictate the ideological views of any organization that receives government funding. These groups understandably feared strengthening the Obama administration's attacks on religious liberty, buttressing local governments' attacks on pregnancy centers through speech requirements, and squeezing out campus student groups that decline to conform to university dogma on social issues. The groups reasoned that even the tax exemption status of charitable groups, seen (oddly) as a form of government subsidy, could be jeopardized if groups opposed the social policies of the government.
Other religious liberty advocates, such as the American Center for Law and Justice, reasoned--rightly, in my view--that requiring grantees to supply proof of opposition to prostitution was an eminently reasonable requirement to further the goals of a government health program that hinges on stopping prostitution. The anti-prostitution requirement, in this view, does not restrict the free speech of anyone--it just keeps the government from paying for speech opposed to the goals of this particular program, which provides funding on a completely voluntary basis. Justices Scalia and Thomas agreed in their dissent:

But here a central part of the Government’s HIV/AIDS strategy is the suppression of prostitution, by which HIV is transmitted. It is entirely reasonable to admit to participation in the program only those who believe in that goal.
In a comment relevant to the funneling of government funds to groups that support prostitution, abortion and other evils, the dissenting Justices noted,

Money is fungible. The economic reality is that when NGOs can conduct their AIDS work on the Government’s dime, they can expend greater resources on policies that undercut the Leadership Act. 

Whatever one might conclude regarding the theoretical impact of this case on religious liberty, what remains undeniable and real are the immediate harms, from a pro-life, anti-trafficking and anti-AIDS perspective, that result from this ruling:

  • more money to groups that see prostitution as legitimate "sex work" rather than as an evil to be eradicated--including pro-abortion and pornography (see CATW footnote below) groups;
  • a blow to efforts to eradicate prostitution, along with prostitution's threat to public health and its degradation of and violence against women and children;
  • the prospect of yet more forced and elective abortions, resulting from relying on condom distribution programs and unionization of prostituted women and children rather than rescuing them out of sex trafficking and other forms of prostitution.

Following are a few examples that illustrate the real-world implications of striking down the anti-prostitution requirement:

Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) - Supreme Court brief

E.   Sections 7631(e) and (f) were enacted in the wake of specific abuses documented prior to the passage of the Leadership Act. The requirement of a “policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking” was enacted, not in a vacuum, but in the wake of specific abuses by certain organizations that have used HIV/AIDSprevention funds to support their own efforts to promote legalization of prostitution and acceptance of prostitution as legitimate employment for poor women. The requirement in Section 7631(f) is justified as a way to ensure that HIV/AIDS-prevention funds are used to support programs that distribute condoms and provide health services, while seeking to eliminate prostitution rather than perpetuate it.
A vivid example of such an abuse is an organization in South Africa called SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce), in which the pro-prostitution “advocates” and the sex industry have been one and the same. SWEAT received funding to do HIV/AIDS-prevention work in AIDS-ravaged South Africa and used the funds not only to distribute condoms but to advocate decriminalization and legalization of the sex industry. 69 In 1995, SWEAT distributed a pamphlet whose goal was to “assist you in your career in the [sex] industry.”70 Funded with HIV/AIDS-prevention monies, SWEAT offered training in “sexual massage.”71
The Tab Bazar brothel in Bangladesh is another example of an organization that perhaps helped prostituted persons in some small measure, but in reality, perpetuated the sex slavery of vulnerable women and children.72 The brothel does in fact provide services for prostituted persons: condoms, HIV treatment, postnatal checkups, and gynecological care. 73 Yet the brothel, the largest in Bangladesh, locks women and their children inside, “constantly available for purchase but out of public view.”74
Against this backdrop, it is even clearer that the United States has compelling reasons to adopt a policy that requires organizations combating HIV/AIDS through work with prostituted persons, to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking . 75 Organizations advocating the legalization of prostitution are promoting the interests of the commercial sex industry and, in cases such as the ones cited above, are the sex industry.
The United States has an interest in ensuring that federal money is spent on organizations that, while addressing HIV/AIDS’s harm, will simultaneously attack the source of that harm, not defend it. In light of the extensive evidence of the devastation caused by prostitution and sex trafficking, this interest is truly a compelling one.
69  Farley, Prostitution Harms Women, supra note 27, at 1113.
70  Id.
71  Id.
72  Id. at 1114.
73  Id.
74  Id.
75  Indeed, in an action filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in which the plaintiff’s claims are similar to the ones at issue here, the plaintiff is DKT International. DKT International’s president is Phil Harvey, who runs a multi-million dollar pornography business. Complaint at 10-11, DKT Int’l, Inc. v. U.S. Agency for Int’l Dev. et al., 435 F. Supp 2d 5 (D.D.C. 2005) (No. 05-01604); U.S. Man’s Porn Sales Helping Fight AIDS Overseas, Associated Press, Oct. 10, 2005, AP051016.html.

Pregnancy in Prostituted Children

Willis, B.M., Levy, B.S. Child Prostitution: Global Health Burden, Research Needs, and Interventions. Lancet 2002; 359: 1417-22.
The following consequences of pregnancy in prostituted children have been estimated to occur each year based upon 9 million prostituted girls:
•     Maternal deaths - 4752
•     Induced abortions - 1,224,000
•     Abortion related complications - 367,200
•     Abortion related deaths - 710

The Reality of Human Trafficking: One Woman’s Story

I was transported to Florida, and one of the bosses told me I would be working in a brothel as a prostitute. I told him he was mistaken and that I was going to be working in a restaurant. He said I owed him a smuggling debt, and the sooner I paid it off the sooner I could leave. I was constantly guarded and abused. If any of the girls refused to be with a customer, we were beaten. If we adamantly refused, the bosses would show us a lesson by raping us brutally. We worked six days a week, 12 hours a day. Our bodies were sore and swollen. If anyone became pregnant we were forced to have abortions. The cost of the abortion was added to the smuggling debt. I was enslaved for several months; other women were enslaved for up to a year.  Our enslavement finally ended when law enforcement  raided he brothels and rescued us.”

Girl testifies she had abortion at 12

Published: Feb. 21, 2013 at 12:20 AM
LONDON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A witness testified Wednesday at the London trial of an alleged sex trafficking ring she was recruited at 11 and endured an abortion when she was 12.

'Pattern Emerges' Of Abortionists Covering For Child Sex-Traffickers

3 more Planned Parenthood locations caught aiding 'child prostitution ring'
Published: 02/04/2011 at 9:55 PM

Three more undercover videos taken at separate Planned Parenthood clinics have been released by an organization called Live Action, which claims it’s finding “alarming patterns” of abortion providers willing to aid and abet underage sex-trafficking.

“Live Action has previously released more than a dozen hidden camera videos from ten states,” Live Action asserted in a statement. “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.”

As WND reported earlier this week, the Live Action team, posing as the leaders of an underage prostitution ring in Richmond, Va., discovered a Planned Parenthood worker assuring them they’d find “no judgment, no sharing of information, like, uh, nothing here,” at the clinic and explaining how they could go about getting a “judicial bypass” of abortion laws for girls as young as 14 or 15.

Modern-day slaves, hostage to abortion

Set aside politics to help Catholic groups that fight human trafficking
New York Daily News
By Steve Wagner And Kim Daniels
Some contend that Catholics are simply trying to impose their beliefs regarding abortion and contraception on others. Those who make this argument particularly ignore the context here: When abortion or contraception is provided to trafficking victims who remain under the control of those who exploit them, it’s the trafficker who benefits, continuing to exploit his victim without interruption.
In fact, with its edict, the government is imposing an ideological position without regard to the welfare of the victim. There is no possibility of a victim providing informed consent for abortion, sterilization or contraception, whatever the trafficker considers convenient; this is referred to as “modern-day slavery” for a reason.

Alveda King speaks on Human Trafficking

And in this sense, human trafficking does not stand alone as a separate issue.  It’s part of a greater over-arching problem plaguing our world since the beginning of time – our selfish tendency to dehumanize those whose humanity is in the way of what we want.
Then there’s the case of Karnamaya Mongar.  Mrs. Mongar was forced to leave her tiny Himilayan nation of Bhutan because of internal strife.  Discrimination in her country had led to the loss of livelihood, loss of rights, and even loss of life.  Tens of thousands, including Mrs. Mongar and her family, fled Bhutan and lived in refugee camps in nearby Nepal.  Mrs. Mongar had been dehumanized by her government.
After spending 18 years in a hut in a refugee camp with no real home and no real hope, Mrs. Mongar was allowed to come to the United States with her family.   It was here, though, that her lack of hope and trust caused her to seek out an abortionist when she became pregnant.  Mrs. Mongar’s grown daughter had urged her to keep the child, but Mrs. Mongar didn’t share her daughter’s optimism.
Her desperation led her to Kermit Gosnell, a human trafficker if ever there was one.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

House passes late-term abortion ban

The US House of Representatives has passed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (HR 1797) by a vote of228-196.  The vote breakdown was as follows:

-          Votes in Favor: 6 Democrats (Cuellar, Lipinski, Matheson, McIntyre, Peterson and Rahall) and 222 Republicans 
-          Votes Against: 190 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted NO(Broun, Dent, Frelinghuysen, Hanna, Runyan and Woodall)


General Debate:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R-TN] Part 1Part 2 @MarshaBlackburn

Rep. Diane Black [R-TN] @RepDianeBlack

Rep. Michele Bachmann [R-MN] @MicheleBachmann

Rep. Bob Goodlatte [R-VA] @RepGoodlatte

Rep. Martha Roby [R-AL] @RepMarthaRoby

Rep. Ann Wagner [R-MO] @RepAnnWagner

Rep. Vicky Hartzler [R-MO] @RepHartzler

Rep. Steve Scalise [R-LA] @SteveScalise

Rep. Kristi Noem [R-SD] @RepKristiNoem
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry [R-NE] @JeffFortenberry
Rep. Renee Ellmers [R-NC] @RepReneeEllmers

Rule Debate:

Rep. Virginia Foxx [R-NC] Part 1Part 2Part 3 & Part 4 @virginiafoxx

Rep. John Fleming [R-LA] @RepFleming

Rep. James Bridenstine [R-OK] @RepJBridenstine

Rep. Steven Daines [R-MT] @ SteveDaines

Rep. Dan Benishek [R-MI] @CongressmanDan

Rep. Chris Smith [R-NJ] @RepChrisSmith


One Minute Speeches:

Rep. Sam Johnson [R-TX] @SamsPressShop
Rep. Jackie Walorski [R-IN] @RepWalorski