Think Of The Children!

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“What about the children?”

Politicians of both parties often stoop to using our children as props whenever they’re fighting for a new law or pet government program.

They argue we need to cut the $18 trillion debt, regulate the Internet, or pay teachers more “for our children.”

“Think of the children” is almost always an emotional and irrational appeal made in desperation by those who don’t have a reasonable or legitimate argument.

Invoking “the children” is pure BS. It’s obvious political BS. But it’s BS that’s been used for a long time by Democrats and Republicans.

It became so common that it was satirized way back in the early 1990s in the “The Simpsons,” when the character Helen Lovejoy constantly shrieked “Think of the children” during town debates over everything from lowering taxes to what to do about too many bears roaming the streets.

Despite becoming a cultural joke, using “the children” as emotional weapons in political warfare still goes on all the time.

Every other lousy politician in Washington who wants to tax, subsidize, or regulate something still claims he’s doing it “for the children” — whether it’s saving the planet from climate change, giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, or intervening in Syria.

But when it comes to passing a piece of legislation that will actually do something to help hundreds of thousands of real children, it’s another story.

As part of the latest parliamentary maneuvering and cat-fighting between Democrats and Republicans, the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 has been delayed in the Senate.

Passed by the House, and having broad bipartisan support, the act would strike an important blow in the fight against human sex trafficking.

The act would create a fund to help authorities in the USA deter and combat sex trafficking, prosecute traffickers when they are caught, and provide assistance to private groups that work to rescue and restore the lives of trafficking victims — most of whom are children.

We hear little about it, but human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States and around the globe. The U.S. State Department estimates there are 27 million victims of trafficking worldwide.

Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry involving more than 125 countries. The majority of victims are women and girls who are forcibly trafficked from one place to another to do work or provide sex, usually under horribly unsafe and unhygienic conditions.

The United States is not untouched by this crime against children. Experts say 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year; and about 300,000 American children, particularly children in foster care, are continually at risk of being pulled into the hell of human trafficking.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the typical sex-trafficked child in the United States is 13 or 14 years old. The average pimp makes upwards of $200,000 a year from one of his four to eight children, who are forced to have sex 20 to 48 times a day.

Private organizations like the Polaris Project and Arrow Child and Family Ministries in Texas, which I’m affiliated with, are working hard to educate the public about the horrors of sex-trafficking and rescue as many young victims as they can.

But it’s a huge job, and the public and private resources to do it are spread thin and hard to acquire.

With the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, Republicans and Democrats are in a great position to actually do something “for the children” instead of just talking about it.

For now, the act has become another bargaining chip in Washington’s never-ending private poker game.

It will pass eventually. Even Congress gets it right once in a while. But it’s time for politicians to quit playing politics with the lives of our children.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Why Did The GOP Write That Stupid Letter Anyway?

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There we go again, Republicans.

We keep shooting ourselves in the feet — and at the worst possible times.

Things were going pretty well for the GOP until Monday.

President Obama was getting major grief from Republicans (and even some Democrats) for preparing to sign America on to a horrible nuclear arms deal with the Iranians.

Hillary Clinton was ensnared in an email-deleting scandal of her own making that was so obviously unlawful and politically devious that even the liberal media were attacking her.

So what did 47 Republican senators do?

They attracted the full attention of the mainstream media by sending a letter to the Iranian ayatollahs reminding them that any agreement the president signs without approval of the Senate can be undone by the next president faster than you can spell Bibi Netanyahu.

Nice job, Republicans.

Yes, what you told the Iranians in the letter was right. Any B-plus middle-school civics student knows that the Senate gets to ratify or reject treaties made by the president.

But sending an open letter to Iran was dead wrong — and politically stupid.

It merely gave Democrats — and their media buddies — a chance to change the subject and accuse Republicans of irresponsibly trying to sabotage the president’s foreign policy.

What rookie Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and his co-signers did with their letter was nothing new.

Members of Congress have been trying to score political points by undercutting the president’s treaty-making power for decades.

Ted Kennedy did it in the late 1970s when he tried to get the Soviets to do something to embarrass Jimmy Carter so he could take the nomination from Carter in 1980.

Kennedy pulled the same slimy trick against Ronald Reagan in 1983, when he sent emissaries to Moscow and offered to obstruct my father’s anti-Soviet foreign policy in Congress if the Kremlin helped Teddy run for president in 1984.

In 1987, Democrat House Speaker Jim Wright stuck his congressional nose into the negotiations between the Reagan administration and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

More recently, who can forget Nancy Pelosi’s jaunt to Syria in 2007, when she and a gang of House Democrats made nice with Bashar al-Assad at the same time the Bush administration was trying to put pressure on Syria to work with it on Mideast peace talks?

Those 47 Republican senators didn’t need to send a public letter to Tehran to remind the Iranians how America’s separation of powers works.

What was wrong with Sen. Cotton and a few others writing an op-ed piece about the Senate’s treaty-ratifying powers for the Wall Street Journal?

I bet the Iranians would have gotten the message just as well.

Instead, Republicans only brought attention — bad attention — on themselves for doing exactly what many of them had rightly criticized Pelosi for doing.

Republicans in the Senate should have shut up and let Obama negotiate and sign the treaty with Iran, bad as it is bound to be.

Then they could have pointed out to the Iranians and everyone else that the deal needed to be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate — and that 47 Republicans were strongly against it.

The letter was a blunder. Until the senators sent it, Iran was exclusively Obama’s problem.

All the media attention was on the president’s defense of his treaty and Netanyahu’s concerns about how dangerous and naive it was.

Republicans should be sitting pretty right now, and the media should be focusing on Obama’s and Hillary’s problems.

But now, the Iran nuke deal is not just Obama’s issue. It’s the Republicans’ too.

And if anything goes wrong, which it probably will, you can bet that Republicans will — as usual — get most of the blame.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Few Words On Living In Obama World

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Barack Obama is living in his own dream world.

To hear him tell it, thanks to six glorious years of his leadership, America is in great shape again at home and overseas.

According to his boasts, which the mainstream media rarely challenge, the economy has rebounded from the Great Recession; and federal budget deficits have been sliced in half under his watch.

Never mind that we’re in the slowest economic recovery since FDR’s awful policies prolonged the Great Depression.

Never mind that the “official” unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is a statistical fraud because it doesn’t count the millions who’ve dropped out of the job market.

Never mind that the federal government still spends $486 billion more every year than it takes in and future deficits are projected to be a trillion bucks a year.

And never mind that ObamaCare is a fiscal time bomb that’s already driven up the cost of health insurance for millions of individuals and small business owners.

Pay no attention to all those grim realities at home, says our strange man in the Oval Office. All is well on Obama World.

And don’t worry about those bloody wars going on in Syria and what’s left of Iraq. Don’t worry about the future of Afghanistan or the recent terrorist takeover in Yemen, either.

We have ISIS terrorists on the run, President Obama says. We’ve outfoxed Putin in Ukraine. Soon, we’ll sign a deal with Iran’s mullahs about ending their nuclear weapons program.

Dream on, Mr. President. Time’s running out.

After six years of President Obama, it’s frightening to see what an alien, almost un-American worldview he has and how he puts it into practice daily.

When it comes to religion, everyone knows the president lives on another planet.

He’s clearly more interested in sticking up for Islam than for Christianity. And, I swear, he’s more comfortable quoting from the Koran than from the Bible.

He outdid himself at a recent prayer breakfast when he tried to equate the atrocities committed by modern Islamic terrorists with what Christians did during the Crusades a thousand years ago.

But President Obama is most dangerous to the country when he delves into foreign policy.

When he goes overseas to visit our allies, he’s more likely to start off by apologizing for America’s history of slavery or blaming America for something like climate change.

His recent move to unilaterally ease our 54-year-old economic embargo with communist Cuba is a perfect example of how badly Obama negotiates and what he thinks is important.

The Castro Brothers are still high-fiving each other. But the United States — and the imprisoned and impoverished Cuban people — got little in return for making it much easier for trade and travel activities to take place between our countries.

Compare Obama’s blase attitude toward communism and its victims with Ronald Reagan’s. In 1987, my father went to Berlin and challenged the USSR to allow more political and economic freedom for its captive countries.

At the Brandenburg Gate, he called for Mr. Gorbachev to prove he was serious about liberalization by tearing down the Wall.

When the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall came along in 2009, Obama showed how little he cared by skipping the ceremony and sending a video message.

The good news is that in two years, President Obama and his world will be gone.

We’ll be back to reality, and someone much more competent — President Hillary or Jeb or Scott or Rand or whoever — will have to clean up all of his messes.

Whoever our next president is, we’ll be better off. There’s no way in heck he or she could be as strange or as harmful to the country as Barack Obama.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Time For Torture

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A poll released this week found 51 percent of Americans approve of the harsh interrogation tactics the CIA used immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Imagine what those numbers would have been on Sept. 12, 2001.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey is in sync with the results of similar opinion polls that show a majority of Americans are not naive about what “torture” is or isn’t, or when it should be used.

About half of those polled called the CIA’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other tough interview methods “torture”; but a majority still approved of it.

About 30 percent of Americans — most of them Democrats — told NBC they think the CIA went too far in the early days of the Bush administration. About 80 percent of Republicans approved the CIA’s tactics.

Dick Cheney got beat up this week by the liberal media, Senate Democrats, and the holier-than-thou crowd for refusing to use the word “torture” to describe the CIA’s methods of extracting information from evil people who wanted to kill us or who knew where Osama Bin Laden’s home address was.

As for the future, 45 percent of those polled say the CIA should continue to use the same interrogation tactics, while 28 percent said they should not.

Interrogating our enemies during war is a dirty business.

It’s not anything like that classy old 1950s quiz show “What’s My Line,” where a panel of well-dressed celebrities like Steve Allen had 10 questions to figure out the occupations of the mystery contestants.

“Mr. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, did you ever mastermind a plan to blow up the World Trade Center?”

“No.”

“OK, panel. Eight down and two to go.”

I have a little story for anyone who thinks America’s rough interrogation tactics really deserve to be called “torture.”

During the mid-1980s, when I was on a vacation in Italy, my wife and I were being protected by the U.S. Secret Service and its Italian equivalent.

A few years earlier, the leftist Red Brigade had been terrorizing Italy, assassinating people, kidnapping business executives, setting off bombs, robbing banks, and blowing off people’s kneecaps as they walked down the sidewalks.

In 1981, after the Red Brigade kidnapped U.S. General James Dozier, it took Italy’s counter-terrorism agency 42 days to rescue him — without firing a shot.

I asked one of the unshaven, rugged, glass-eating Italian secret servicemen working in our motorcade detail how they finally found out where General Dozier was being held.

He told me that after his colleagues caught a few members of the Red Brigade, they were taken to the basement and interrogated.

The terrorists became very talkative after their genitals were placed in a vise.

The agents who used this persuasive technique — which also led to the capture of hundreds of Red Brigade members and put the deadly terrorist group out of business — were disciplined by their superiors.

They were suspended for five days and went to the beach.

As the Italians proved, sometimes in war you have to use “enhanced” interrogation methods to get the successful ending you want.

In 2001, we found ourselves in a bloody war against terrorists. The White House knew it. The CIA knew it. Even the media and Democrats in Congress knew it. The American people figured it out too.

What the CIA did to extract information from the Islamist terrorists was not nice, but it was not really torture.

We shouldn’t be second-guessing and beating up on the CIA, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the other men and women who’ve helped to keep us safe for the last 14 years.

We should be thanking them.

Merry Christmas.

 

Photo credit: LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Pipeline Politics–Why The Democrats Will Lose

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Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.

This week, I’m in bitterly cold Nebraska — Omaha, to be exact — visiting with my wife Colleen’s family.

On Tuesday night, I watched the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate stop a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada and Montana and North Dakota to the refineries of New Orleans.

The proposed $8 billion shortcut across Nebraska and other Red States is a big deal.

It makes economic and environmental sense for their citizens and for all Americans. But of course, that hasn’t stopped the pipeline from becoming a political cause celebre for liberal Democrats and their narrow interest groups.

President Obama, Senator Reid, and their whacko pals in the environmental lobby have managed to delay the Keystone XL’s approval for six years.

But they better celebrate Tuesday night’s buzzer beater while they can. Their one-vote “victory” in the Senate is the last time they’ll be able to get away with their screw-you attitude toward voters.

The Keystone XL will get the green light as soon as the Republicans who were elected in the midterm elections start running things in Congress next year.

Watching the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate vote against the pipeline was creepy. It reminded me of the spiteful thing President Carter did in 1980 when he was blown out of office by my father.

As the 1980 election returns were coming in from Back East, my father was taking a shower and getting ready to go to dinner in L.A.

Polls were still open in the rest of the country, but Jimmy Carter already could see the landslide coming. At 6:01 Pacific time, he called my father to concede.

Giving up so soon — and thereby discouraging many Democrat voters in the western time zones from going to the polls — made the Reagan avalanche even worse.

Republicans took control of the Senate, 53-46, picking up 12 seats.

Carter knew what he was doing. He was an outsider who never worked well with his party’s Washington insiders.

Insisting on conceding so early, despite advice from his advisers and the pleas of party leaders like Tip O’Neill, was Carter’s way of punishing the Democrats who ran Washington.

I think Senate Democrats were acting like Jimmy Carter on Tuesday when they defeated the pipeline vote.

It’s inevitable that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. Harry Reid and his gang of obstructionists know that.

But they voted against the pipeline anyway, even ignoring the small chance that a pro-Keystone vote might have saved Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana.

Democrats flat didn’t care. The pipeline vote was their final act of spite. It was a last-minute kick in the teeth of Red State voters for electing so many Republicans to Congress in the midterms.

I believe it was President Obama who famously said to Eric Cantor after re-winning the White House in 2012 that “elections have consequences.”

Obviously, you were right, Mr. President.

But seeing Democrat Senators stick it to the American electorate on the pipeline, and watching you desecrate the Constitution to push your immigration agenda, has made me realize something.

When you and the Democrats win an election, America suffers. And when you guys don’t win an election, America suffers just as much.

For the last six years, voters have been playing in a lose-lose game. But for the next two years, things will be different. Because, thank God, elections do matter.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom