Senate Judiciary Committee Refers Planned Parenthood for Criminal Prosecution

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican majority says that Planned Parenthood and several of its fetal harvesting allies violated federal law — and then tried to hide it.

From the Committee’s press release yesterday:

Following an investigation into the practice of fetal tissue transfers and the federal laws governing the practice, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is referring several Planned Parenthood affiliates and companies involved in fetal tissue transfers, as well as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and possible prosecution.

“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral.  But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it,” Grassley said.  “And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.”

As happened in the nine criminal referrals from the House’s Select Panel on Infant Lives, Grassley urged various authorities to actually uphold laws protecting women and children from the abortion industry’s predations. Three fetal harvesting companies, including StemExpress, were referenced as having “paid affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to acquire aborted fetuses, and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.”

Planned Parenthood was the main target of the report. According to Grassley, the abortion giant

initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy.  When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance.   Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.

The current administration is never going to enforce federal law against Planned Parenthood or any group affiliated with the abortion industry. If Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) becomes U.S. Attorney General in 2017, however, that might change. In the meantime, kudos to the Senate for the referrals, even if they are a bit late in coming.

Leftist Logic Strikes Again — Eliminating Diversity to Promote…Diversity?

Last week, liberal logic struck again, as the conservative corporate watchdog group was targeted for the sake of “diversity”:

In an e-mail, Leadpages Director of Operations Doug Storbeck ordered 2nd Vote to take down its #AnywhereButTARGET website. According to Storbeck, “at Leadpages, we strive to create an inclusive workplace that upholds the dignity of all people. We value, respect, and celebrate everyone’s individualities and honor their unique strengths from all different walks of life.”

Storbeck also said 2nd Vote’s fight against Target’s embrace of liberal gender ideology violated the terms of the non-profit’s agreement with Leadpages:

We believe that embracing diversity of thought and perspective encourages collaboration that leads to product innovation, diverse products and a successful business. Staying true to our core values is something we take very seriously and we feel this is reinforced in our Terms of Service. Specifically, and according to our Acceptable Use and Conduct policy (to which you have agreed), we prohibit any content which: “(g) is hateful or discriminatory based on race, color, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or age or is otherwise objectionable, as reasonably determined by Ave. 81;”

2nd Vote’s landing page for the #AnywhereButTarget campaign was shut down for about 27 hours, though the effort continued through other mediums. But the whole exercise shows yet again that the left simply cannot stand for disagreement — why else would Leadpages discriminate against 2nd Vote over a non-discrimination policy that doesn’t even mention gender identity?

Related, Storbeck did not respond to multiple requests for comment about company policy. This included my question asking whether the company was being hypocritical by punishing a client for having an opinion on gender identity that Leadpages disagreed with…in order to promote diversity.

Yeah, I can hardly follow that “logic,” either.

Sanctuary City Officials Promise to Keep Protecting Illegal Immigrants

This week, mayors and police chiefs in some of the nation’s most infamous sanctuary cities are promising that they will protect illegal immigrants even under a Trump presidency:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, said Monday at a news conference that city officials have been fielding calls from residents worried that it may change its status because of the threat from Trump.

“Since the presidential election, there has been a sense of uncertainty among many immigrant communities in Chicago and across the nation,” Emanuel said. “I want to assure all of our families that Chicago is and will remain a sanctuary city.”

Emanuel isn’t alone:

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday that his department will not change its immigration enforcement stance. Trump has promised to toughen federal immigration laws, as well as deport millions of illegal immigrants.

“I don’t intend on doing anything different,” Beck said, according to the LA Times. “We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”

Whether these officials are violating federal law is outside my area of public policy knowledge. In 2015, Media Matters cited a Bush-era Inspector General report and a 2009 Congressional Research Service report that indicate no federal lawbreaking. However, a more recent Inspector General report says sanctuary cities that receive certain federal funds are in violation of federal law because of stipulations in federal money received.

Judicial Watch noted that the Department of Justice — a law enforcement agency — sends money to sanctuary cities that protect people who violate federal law, thus showing hypocrisy at the federal level.

What is not outside of my area of public policy knowledge is to note the utter stupidity of the feds in deciding what measures to enforce, and what measures to let slide. The Obama administration sends billions of taxpayer dollars to sanctuary cities — cities that openly defy the federal government’s efforts to secure our borders. Yet this same administration is expending taxpayer dollars to try and force nuns and priests to participate in the destruction of unborn children.

Whatever one thinks of immigration policy, this juxtaposition is asinine. Plain and simple.

The White House Just Threw Cold Water on Clinton’s FBI Conspiracy Theory

Since Friday, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its allies in the press and elsewhere have been panicking over FBI Director James Comey’s letter informing Congress that new information is being investigated related to Clinton’s e-mail practices.

They’ve accused Comey of illegally interfering with the election and of violating federal policy, and they are working overtime to tie Trump to the Russian government. (To be fair, there is an ongoing investigation related to this.) Comey has also been accused of hypocrisy for allegedly not accusing Russia of interfering with the elections to avoid interfering with the election, though this accusation is a) unsubstantiated, and b) ignores that other federal agencies accused Russia of interference.

One might expect President Barack Obama to join in this condemnation, which has spread to former prosecutors and DOJ officials who signed onto a Clinton campaign letter against Comey. Not so fast, according to spokesperson Josh Earnest:

Director Comey is a man of integrity and principle and well regarded by officials in both parties and served as a senior position in the Bush administration and got bipartisan support when his nomination to be director of the FBI was considered by the United States Senate… they speak to his good character and the president’s assessment of his integrity and his character has not changed. For example, the president doesn’t believe that Director Comey is trying to influence the outcome of the election. And the president doesn’t believe he’s secretly supporting a candidate or political party. He’s in a tough spot. He’s the one who will be in the position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts including officials who served in senior justice position for presidents led by both parties.

Earnest had a lot more to say that Real Clear Politics didn’t include, but can be read via the White House’s transcript. Earnest essentially said that the White House was staying neutral, and not going to opine on the FBI’s investigation.

This throws some solid cold water on the Clinton campaign’s claims. The highest office in the land, held by one of Clinton’s top allies, says Comey was doing his best to do his job. It’s going to be hard for Clinton to get around that.

The argument that Comey is playing politics also runs into another wall — namely, that Comey declined to prosecute Clinton over the summer. I am not a legal expert by any stretch of the imagination, but many conservatives have pointed to this section of federal law to say that the FBI should have pressed charges. If Comey wasn’t going to press charges despite Clinton clearly breaking the law — just days after Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, met with Bill Clinton in a clear conflict of interest — he’s highly unlikely to do anything to purposely interfere with the election now.

 

Segregation is so 2016. (Alternate Headline: The KKK Has Won.)

The KKK would be proud. Minority students at Berkeley (and elsewhere) have pro-actively separated from white students, even engaging in physical confrontation in order to force themselves away from whites.

The Federalist’s Bre Payton has the story:

One protestor complained there were too many white students in classrooms.

“When you walk into a class, what’s the majority in there?” one student angrily asked.

“I’m telling you, man, this is bigger than you,” a protestor told white student who was being blocked from passing by. “This is about ‘whiteness,’ this is not about you.”

Not all minorities were created equal (unequal?):

Many white and Asian students were forced to take a dirt path through brush in order to skirt the protestors as they chanted: “Go around! Go around!” The protestors then moved to the student store, where they began to chant “Students over profit!” apparently in objection to the fact the store makes money from the items they sell.

Fifty-two years after the Civil Rights Act became law, ending Jim Crow laws that forced blacks and whites to separate, a loud and apparently influential segment of today’s up-and-coming adult generation is forcing a throwback.

I cannot believe this incident and others like it represent a majority of black, Hispanic, and other college students in America. First, too many people have to recognize that these students have no grip on social reality. Second, I think we’d not see these sorts of loud and disruptive protests mostly limited to far-left colleges.

But it is time for college officials to halt these assaults upon decency, equality, social progress, and people. It’s growing too fast, and becoming too powerful.

A video of the Berkeley incident is making the rounds. It can be seen here and below:

The Federal Government is Targeting Veterans. Here’s How Outrageous That is.

ICYMI, the federal government is targeting 9,700 veterans and others who took sizable bonuses to stay in the military. The bonuses were given during the Bush years, in the California Guard, but massive fraud and mismanagement have been discovered since. Erick covered the issue  — originally reported by the Los Angeles Times on Saturday — earlier in the week, but here are a few things to consider about this bureaucratic debacle.

First, some basic numbers: The Times reported yesterday evening that the total in bonuses was $70 million. The paper also reports that 9,700 servicemembers were given bonuses. That equals $7,216.49 per veteran, on average (though for many, the bonuses were much larger — $15,000 or more).

Second, while that’s a lot of money per soldier, it’s a tiny portion of the Pentagon’s budget. In Fiscal Year 2016, the Pentagon’s budget was $586 billion. That $70 million is .012% of the Pentagon’s budget. Compare that to billions in contract overruns and other indications of incompetence and criminality in our vaunted DoD.

Third, the Times reports that while Members of Congress are throwing around angry words about this mess, President Barack Obama has yet to order the Pentagon to end its recoupment efforts. Hopefully, he’ll do so, especially since it was those giving the bonuses that did wrong, not those receiving them. So far, though, the Department of Justice is trying to dismiss a class-action lawsuit brought some who got bonuses.

Fourth, there were over $135 billion lost to improper payments in 2015 alone. Medicaid’s reported increase of improper payments that year was $12 billion. The feds are flush enough to spend money $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan, and to ignore $87 billion in better management practices, but they’ve got to put the screws to veterans?

Finally, while it’s no surprise that the federal budget leaks like a sieve, it’s also important to note that the feds are targeting people who served our country. They took the bonuses on good faith, and served in the military longer than perhaps they otherwise would have. The Obama administration would be better off shifting its resources to going after those who defraud the government on purpose, who are trying to hide their illegal and unethical behavior. Fraud is often difficult and expensive to track and recoup, so whatever money is being spent making veterans’ lives miserable should be going to making actual criminals pay for their wrongdoing — not honest and well-intentioned members of the  military.

Hell Hath Frozen Over: Chris Matthews and a NYT Reporter Explained in 93 Seconds Why Millions Back Trump

Last night, in a spontaneous and fast-moving exchange, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and a New York Times reporter explained exactly why millions of American voters trust Donald Trump.

Via Real Clear Politics, Yamiche Alcindor seemed to denigrate the idea pushed by Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — and, frankly, conservatives and leftists in general — that there is media bias intended to “rig this election” or “don’t want to cover the real issues…” Alcindor briefly mentioned “value judgments” that are made by reporters, and Matthews pounced:

“Do you know anybody, Yamiche, at The New York Times who’s pro-life?”

Alcindor dodged, saying that she’s “not asked my co-workers that question.” Matthews pounced again:

“That’s cute. You’re making your point.”

To her credit, Alcindor wasn’t thrown off her game. She said a Trump supporter once called the GOP presidential nominee a “blue-collar billionaire.” She described that as “powerful,” noting that “people really are believing that he is the voice for them, and that’s something that’s really powerful.”

Moments later, Matthewes compared Trump to Frank Sinatra, saying, that Trump “doesn’t look like he was born to” wealth.

And that’s exactly it. I’m still #NeverTrump, but the disenfranchisement of millions of people is exactly why Sanders and Trump have done so well.

Catholic Team-Up: Fighting Porn Addiction in the Military

Marine Captain Jerome Lademan is a practicing Catholic. He’s also addicted to pornography, a challenge he says faces a large number of Catholic servicemembers — and one he is fighting head-on along with the founders of a military-focused, anti-porn non-profit.

The Heroic Virtue Warfare Institute (HVWI) [was] started by three active duty military officers to help combat porn addiction in the military,” Lademan told The Stream. The group, which was founded in 2014 and is independent of the military, partners with anti-porn counselor and advocate Dr. Peter Kleponis. “Dr. Kleponis has been so generous with his time and expertise which have helped make this exciting resource a reality,” he said

Air Force Advocate General Ken Artz told The Stream that porn viewership among servicemembers is a “public health crisis,” and that he hopes HVWI can “help Catholic military members overcome their pornography consumption.”

How The Heroic Virtue Warfare Institute Helps

“HVWI’s main line of effort has been to get into these military member’s hands practical … materials that will help servicemembers overcome their use so it doesn’t control their life and negatively affect their relationships,” continued Artz. “To date, through donations, we have created and donated, 150 ‘Heroic Virtue Smartpacks’ containing a plethora of information to help one overcome their addiction.”

Lademan told Catholic Exchange (CE) that the Smartpacks have “various resources ranging from pamphlets on sexual addiction to the story of St. Maria Goretti to CDs from Jason Evert and Fr. Larry Richards, and even a scapular and rosary.”

Artz described the Smartpack as having ”educational, spiritual and supernatural guidance on how to use all the tools of the Catholic Church to fight the temptation to view pornography and break the grip it has on their life.”

One counselor who uses the Smartpacks is Father Rory Pitstick. An Air National Guard chaplain and instructor of seminarians at Mt. Angel Seminary, Pitstick told The Stream that he uses the Smartpack in his work among both groups.

He said that the addictive nature of porn has been widely prevalent during his five years as chaplain. “I hardly recall a time that any porn use reported didn’t degenerate into addictive use,” he explained. Pitstick also emphatically stated that he has never seen a positive outcome from pornography. “Not in any way whatsoever,” he said.

Struggling With Porn

Lademan told CE that his struggle began when he was 15, when he used his father’s computer to look up “explicit terms” he had heard at school. Thirteen years later, he is still fighting, both for himself and those around him — he explained that “when I’m using pornography on a regular basis, I become selfish, sensitive, proud and prone to anger. This happens to the point that I can actually tell a major difference in the way I treat those around me.”

“I was in a serious relationship a few years ago that I ended up breaking off,” he continued. “One of the main reasons was the pain I was causing because of my addiction. I did some soul searching and realized that I had to [do] something.”

HVWI was the result of that search and a meeting between Lademan and Artz. The group was created “to build a culture of respect for one another that acknowledges the dignity and beauty of each and every human being.”

Lademan told The Stream that “something has to be done about” porn, “especially for our troops. To fight porn is to fight sexual exploitation. Because this is exactly what pornography is. It is the art of presenting images of the human body so that others can use them for sexual gratification.”

“By using pornography, the man is basically saying it is OK to view a woman as an object of his pleasure. It accustoms the person to accepting deviant sexual behavior. Not only that, but since porn presents abusive behavior, it trains the mind through continued use, that it is fine to treat women in this manner.” Lademan cited a study that found “porn use can lead to a 22% greater risk for committing sexual offences,” which he said “leads to an increasingly violent and abusive culture.”

“Through processing countless sexual assault cases in the military courts, Artz has discovered … that porn use is a prime cause that propels these young men down that violent path [of sexual assault],” explained Lademan. “A life focused on pleasing and stimulating ones’ self through pornographic images and behavior is very lonely. It is like a black hole that demands more and more without ever giving the happiness that it promises.”

Editor’s Notes: 1) Lademan and Artz spoke on the condition that their commentary represented themselves and HVWI, and not the Department of Defense or any other government entities or government employers. 2) This piece was originally published at The Stream.