David Barton Again Falsely Claims Obama Administration Has Not Prosecuted Child Pornography

Repeating a false claim he made in 2011, David Barton told his Wallbuilders audience yesterday that the Obama Administration has not prosecuted any child pornography cases. In contrast, Opposing Views links to six different FBI cases in just the last week (e.g., this MS case).
According to World Magazine, the Obama administration has been less than active on adult cases but has been vigorous in prosecuting cases involving children.  The Department of Justice has placed emphasis on enforcement and has a special task force devoted to child protection. A quick review of the press releases for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the DOJ’s website reveals numerous actions by the Obama administration to prosecute crimes involving children (see 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014). A search of the FBI website reveals numerous actions as well.
Barton often stretches the truth when it comes to history and public policy, but this claim is a complete falsehood. In addition to misleading his listeners, Barton owes an apology to the hard working men and women who work for the FBI, the DOJ and other federal agencies who daily try to make the world a little safer for kids.

Department of Justice won’t defend DOMA, advocates “heightened scrutiny”

Old news by now, but I am including the post by request to facilitate discussion.

Some see it as a way to maintain support among younger voters since they favor gay marriage. I think this puts more pressure on the GOP to come out strongly against gay marriage in order to differentiate the party on the issue. While I think that would be misguided and cut against them in the general election, I am pretty sure this will be a big deal during the primary season.

To better understand the legal issues involved, see this article which reviews the different types of scrutiny a discriminatory law must go through. Also here is AG Holder’s letter laying out the Administration’s position and support for a heightened scrutiny analysis.

To those who say equal rights is not linked with legal assessments of status, I say read the letter and this article.

Paul Kengor: God Gets His Healthcare Bill

Note: The recent healthcare reform certainly is historic, in the sense that it most likely will be considered an important, perhaps defining, event in the Obama Presidency. Whatever eventually happens politically as a result, there are important elements of public discourse which marked the debate. One of those elements –religious rhetoric– is the subject of Dr. Kengor’s column.  

God Gets His Healthcare Bill

By Dr. Paul Kengor 

The most frustrating thing I’ve dealt with in professional life was eight years of outrageous, baseless charges against President George W. Bush on matters of faith. Even when Bush was simply asked about his faith, and responded with utterly benign statements, like saying he couldn’t imagine surviving the presidency “without faith in the Lord,” or noting he prayed before committing troops, echoing every president from Washington to Lincoln to Wilson to Carter to Clinton, he was viciously assaulted.

“We are dealing with a messianic militarist!” thundered Ralph Nader.

“He should not be praying,” intoned Lawrence O’Donnell to the MSNBC faithful.

Repeatedly, I was called to respond to this nonsense. My retort was agonizingly simple: I merely ran through example after example of American founders, presidents—Democrats and Republicans—saying either precisely what Bush said or something far more extreme, like Woodrow Wilson claiming God called upon him to found the League of Nations, or FDR mounting a battleship leading troops in a rendition of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

What I said rarely mattered. Every Bush mention of God was a signal, somehow, that this Bible-quoting “simpleton” was trying to transform America into a “theocracy.”

Alas, there was another tactic I used: I quoted current Democrats on the campaign trail, from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, invoking the Almighty. I knew that if these politicians reached the White House, they’d say the same as Bush, or much worse—with no backlash from the secular media. Quite the contrary, liberals would roll out the red carpet, enthusiastically welcoming faith into the public square.

All of that is prelude to my point here today:

The Religious Left, from “social justice” Catholic nuns and Protestant ministers to the Democratic Speaker of the House and president of the United States, have been incessantly claiming God’s advocacy of their healthcare reform. That’s no surprise, just as it’s no surprise that the press is not only not outraged but silently supportive. There’s nary a whimper, let alone howls, of “separation of church and state!”

Consider a few examples, most telling in light of passage of the healthcare bill:

Last August, President Obama addressed a virtual gathering of 140,000 Religious Left individuals. He told them he was “going to need your help” in passing healthcare. Obama penitently invoked a period of “40 Days,” a trial of deliverance from conservative tormentors, from temptation by evildoers. He lifted up the brethren, assuring them, “We are God’s partner in matters of life and death.”

Like a great commissioning, in the 40 Days that followed the Religious Left was filled with the spirit, confidently spreading the word, pushing for—among other things—abortion funding as part of an eternally widening “social justice” agenda. The Religious Institute, which represents 4,800 clergy, urged Congress to include abortion funding in “healthcare” reform, adamantly rejecting amendments that prohibited funding. To not help poor women secure their reproductive rights was unjust, declared the progressive pastors. As the Rev. Debra Hafner, executive director of the Religious Institute, complained, federal policy already “unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized” abortions.

Here we see the Religious Left’s continued perversion of “social justice.” Behold: social justice abortions.

Early last week, a group of 59 nuns sent Congress a letter urging passage of the healthcare bill. This came in direct defiance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which insisted the bill “must be opposed” because of its refusal to explicitly ban abortion funding. What the bishops said didn’t matter, one nun told Fox’s Neil Cavuto—supporting the bill is what “Jesus would do.”

The liberal media cheered on the nuns, gleefully exaggerating the sisters’ influence. In a breathtaking display, the Los Angeles Times beamed, “Nuns’ support for health-care bill shows [Catholic] Church split.” Quoting the nuns, the Times reported that the letter represented not more than 50 nuns but over 50,000. (I’m not kidding, click here.) Like Jesus with the loaves, the militantly secular/liberal Times had displayed miraculous powers of multiplication.

Finally, last Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, invoked the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph on behalf of the healthcare bill. She urged American Catholics to “pray to St. Joseph”—earthly guardian of the unborn son of God. Such overtures are hardly new for Pelosi, who routinely exhorts Democratic disciples to vote the liberal/progressive agenda as an “act of worship.”

All of that is prelude, of course, to what happened the evening of March 21, 2010, A.D., with a rare vote not merely on a Sunday—God’s day—but the final Sunday in Lent, the week before Palm Sunday that initiates the Lord’s Passion. To President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the Religious Left faithful, Jesus, presumably, has gotten his healthcare package.

Amid that process, secular liberals got religion, as their political soul-mates spearheaded this “change” in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s a quite radical departure from eight years of scourging George W. Bush every time he confessed he prayed. At long last, there is room for Jesus in the inn, so long as the Savior “supports” a certain agenda. Who says conversions don’t happen?

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include “God and George W. Bush,” “God and Ronald Reagan,” and“God and Hillary Clinton.” The topic of this op-ed will be discussed at length by several speakers at our coming April 15-16 conference on “The Progressives.” Click here for more information.

Gibbs: FOX News is unfair (sniff)

I have not followed the White House whining about Fox News very closely but I took notice of this:

White House officials once again advanced its contention that Fox News and its commentators are not journalists, rather a propaganda wing of the Republican Party. During the gaggle, an informal on-the-record but off-camera briefing between the White House press secretary and some members of the media, Robert Gibbs and ABC’s Jake Tapper had this conversation:

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –

(Crosstalk)

Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC –

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

Read the whole report. The White House and the left-leaning press is unhappy. Moveon.org wants Dems to stay off Fox, a kind of boycott.

I have trouble getting worked up over this given the savaging that Sarah Palin took during the campaign, especially from MSNBC. As noted in this blog report, an unnamed White House contact said the purpose of the FOX war is to get journalists to think twice about what to cover.

“We’re doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible,” a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it “breathlessly for weeks on end.” 

Yeah, that’s going to work. When an administration actively attempts to control the press coverage in this manner, they expose their real objective. FOX News will probably work a little harder to find the stories which the other networks ignore. And perhaps, one hopes, the real journalists in the other organizations will wake up.

Additional thoughts: I should have paired this story with the one about the unnamed White House advisor telling the liberal left to take off their pajamas and get dressed. Message to right or left who question the big boys: How’s your cat?

UPDATE: David Axelrod tells the New York Times Thursday:

“This is a discussion that probably had to be had about their approach to things,” Mr. Axelrod said. “Our concern is other media not follow their lead.”

Crashing the pajama party

I am pretty sure Andrew Malcolm nails it here.

Saturday night before he was asked about “don’t ask-don’t tell” Obama told the banqueting but impatient Human Rights Campaign crowd (full text right here) all the Democratically-correct things it wanted to hear before the big march for LGBT equality the next day.

So it was very surprising — even jarring — when on Sunday CNBC’s John Harwood, long a respected political journalist, reported a conversation with an anonymous White….

… House “adviser” about the growing grumbling coming not from the predictable party of No but from, oh my, Obama’s own political left, described as the “Internet left fringe.”

Here, just hours after Obama’s warm remarks to his applauding gay constituency, is how Harwood described the conversation on-air:

For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely-divided country is complicated and difficult.

As it turns out, the “adviser” was talking about the entire internet-left, but gay bloggers went off.

AmericaBlog’s thoughtful John Aravosis wrote:

So the gay community, and its concerns about President Obama’s inaction, and backtracking, on DADT and DOMA, are now, according to President Obama’s White House, part of a larger “fringe” that acts like small children who play in their pajamas and need to grow up. (And a note to our readers: The White House just included all of you in that loony “left fringe.”)

I wonder how the Human Rights Campaign is going to explain how the White House just knifed our community less than 24 hours after he went to their dinner and claimed he was our friend.

Malcolm sees a method to the madness of giving first and then taking away:

Also, Obama enjoys overwhelming support generally among the nation’s Democrats. So what if his popularity there plummets to 80%?

Now, who’s the president gonna need to support healthcare reform and bandage this Afghan mess heading into the 2010 midterm election year when history says he’ll likely lose seats on the Hill? Bingo, those same conservative/centrist House pals of Emanuel’s whose incumbencies are a main shield against any Republican resurgence.

Oh, and about those crucial independents who elected Obama last November and then started falling away all summer as Obama’s liberal spending, reforms and deficits metastisized? What better way to let those swayable folks come back home than by asking the helpful question, how can Obama possibly be an ultra-liberal if he’s being so publicly vilified by angry ultra-liberals?

So it was no accident whatsoever when that wily White House “adviser” explained, “governing a closely-divided country is complicated and difficult.”

Or, as that wily, briar-patch denizen Br’er Rabbit pleaded of his ursine captor in the old Uncle Remus tales, “Please, please don’t throw me in that briar-patch over there!”

What he said. Conservatives can’t crash this party alone. If moderates and conservative Dems view Obama as a moderate, then we’ll have the pajama party for the duration.

Obama: Prince of Peace?

President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO – The Nobel Committee stunned the world today by awarding US President, Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Committee chair, Thorbjoern Jagland, said it was kind of a consolation prize since Chicago didn’t win the 2016 Olympic games.

“We just all felt sorry for Obama,” Jagland said. “He was all sad and stuff, you know, over the Olympic thing, so we thought it would be a nice pick-me-up.”

Hearing the news, Nobel Laureate, Al Gore said, “What the…? What has he done? At least I invented the Internet.”

The White House had no comment.

 

(The second part is lame parody; the first part, strangely, is not.)

UPDATE: Comedians give the event two thumbs up!

Best Obama-Nobel Jokes

October 09, 2009 10:09 AM

Courtesy of conservative activist Keith Appell:

Barack Obama’s Teleprompter: Big Guy says Bill Clinton called and was gracious in defeat; offered to fly Kanye West over 4 the Nobel awards ceremony.

Erick Erickson: Obama is becoming Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter.

Ana Marie Cox: Apparently Nobel prizes now being awarded to anyone who is not George Bush.

Headline over AP analysis by White House correspondent Jennifer Loven: He Won, But For What?

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review: I want to buy the world a coke.

Ezra Klein: Obama also awarded Nobel prize in chemistry. “He’s just got great chemistry,” says Nobel Committee.

Adam Bromberg, CRC: Nobel Prize Committee must be staffed by out of work comedy writers.

Kristina Hernandez, CRC: It was the Beer Summit that put Obama over the edge.

– George Stephanopoulos

Various Blog Additions:

Cecil: Miss America was robbed. She was for world peace way before Obama was for it.

Tony Ramirez: The Cook County Democratic machine ain’t what it used to be. They were supposed to bribe the Olympics Committee.

Mesquito: Was he, like, the tenth caller or something?

Ron: I thought I should have won, I haven’t fought with my wife in more than a year.

US Veteran: Obama Wins Heisman Trophy After Watching Football Game

Add Your Own!

Does Brewster’s age matter?

As noted here two days ago, Kevin Jennings made a statement regarding a student’s disclosure of involvement with an older man while Jennings was a teacher at Concord Academy. Here again is the statement:

Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently.  I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing. All teachers should have a basic level of preparedness. I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers.

Since then, left-leaning websites, some gay advocates (although a notable exception is Gaypatriot who says Jennings should resign) and CNN have commented further on the matter, defending Jennings. At issue is dispute over Brewster/Robertson/Thompson’s age – was he 15 or 16? And does it matter?

Media Matters, parroted by CNN, asserted that Brewster was 16, not 15. If Brewster was 16, Jennings was not required to report sexual conduct because 16 was the age of consent in MA. Their reasoning is:

Massachusetts law required reporting by those with reason to believe child “is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse.” According to a footnote in a 1990 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case, in 1988, chapter 119, section 51A, of the General Laws of Massachusetts provided:

[Any] public or private school teacher … who, in his professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him including sexual abuse … shall immediately report such condition to the department by oral communication and by making a written report within forty-eight hours after such oral communication …

Jennings’ attorney: Book passage does not indicate that Jennings had reason to believe student was being abused. In the letter, Boland stated, “Nowhere in the book does Mr. Jennings state that he understood the student was being abused of victimized, or that he suffered injury from any abuse.” Boland added, “Based on the plain meaning of the words in the book, it is clear that Mr. Jennings had no ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the student was being abused in any way. Because there was no abuse and no ‘sexual victimization,’ the statute does not apply.” [Boland letter, 8/3/04]

Media Matters accuses Politico’s Mike Allen and Fox News of not reporting all of the facts in this instance. While they may be correct about some omissions, they also make omissions in their reporting. For instance, Media Matters does not include all of what Boland said on behalf of Jennings.

jenningsboland letter

They left out the phrase, “…or indeed that the student was even having sex.” In light of Jennings’ 2006 book where he was advising Robertson on safe sex, the description from his book, One Teacher in Ten, where Brewster disclosed a relationship with an “older man” in Boston, and the 2000 speech where Brewster went home with someone he met in a Boston bathroom, this statement from Boland now seems misleading. Media Matters also ignored the audio of the 2000 speech where Jennings himself said that the boy was 15 years old. He also said that Brewster was an advisee and that he learned about the Boston trip early in his first year. Here is what he said about it:

And in my second job I wasn’t sure how I wanted to deal with that. And I was in my first month on the job and I had an advisee named Brewster. Brewster was missing a lot of classes; he was in the boarding school so I said to his teacher, his first period teacher, I said, ‘next time Brewster misses a class I want you to tell me that he’s missed that class and, uh, I will go find him.’ So I went and found Brewster one morning when she had called and he was asleep in his dorm room. And I said, “Brewster, what are you doing in there asleep?” And he said, “Well, I’m tired.” And I said, “Well we all are tired and we all got to school today.” And he said, “Well I was out late last night.” And I said, “What were you doing out late on a school night.” And he said, “Well, I was in Boston…” Boston was about 45 minutes from Concord. So I said, “What were you doing in Boston on a school night Brewster?” He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, “Well I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.” High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn’t know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly so I finally said, My best friend had just died of AIDS the week before. I looked at Brewster and said, “You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.” He said to me something I will never forget, He said “Why should I, my life isn’t worth saving anyway.”

Why did they omit those details? Surely, they are relevant to the defense they are trying to mount.

I don’t know how old Brewster was or even if there is a Brewster. Only Mr. Jennings know this and up to now, he has not disclosed much. I can understand some of this. It is not uncommon for speakers to disguise details of case studies in order to preserve confidentiality. Age might be one of those details. Readers will have to judge which account seems more plausible.

The credibility of statements in the Boland letter is now open to review given the 2000 speech, the 2006 book and the statement from Mr. Jennings this week. I am puzzled that Media Matters (then followed by CNN and others) would rely so heavily on it and ignore other relevant information.

The other age-related wrinkle here is the requirement that mandated reporters (teachers in public and private schools are mandated reporters) notify the Department of Social Service if they have

 reasonable cause to believe…that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare including sexual abuse…

Everybody seems to stipulate that if the boy was 15 then a report should have been made. However, if not, then what? One would need to make a judgement call about the nature of the disclosures and whether they are causing the child under 18 to experience injury. Given the repeated statements that the boy was suicidal, something was not right and needed some attention. What was causing the boy’s distress?

We may be dealing with an issue of attribution. Apparently Jennings believed the boy’s suicidal thoughts were coming from a lack of acceptance of his sexual attractions. Many gay defenders of Jennings point to this as quite likely and have an intuition to relate to his 1987/1988 response. However, others may believe the suicidal thoughts derive from his youthful sexual behavior and possible remorse or dissonance. Some might wonder if he was struggling with his sexual identity. Still others might suggest mental illness or some combination of all three. Different attributions about the cause of the behavior will lead to different actions on the part of the teacher. It is difficult enough for people who are trained in mental health to make these calls, it surely is above the pay grade of an inexperience teacher to be certain. The law says that suspicion of abuse is needed not certainty. With that in mind, Jennings admission that he should have sought consultation is a step in the right direction.

There is a larger issue here which I will take up in future post. When ideological differences are great, how can we develop policies and procedures which help offset our biases? Brewster is like a Rorschach test for projecting adult recollections of adolecent angst. Each of us look at the situation and think, ‘he needed this or he needed that.’ As many have opined through the years when reflecting on GLSEN, perhaps what adolecents need is not to be turned into a political movement but guided in light of their individual needs.

UPDATE: Media Matters apparently is the PR arm of the Department of Education and has released what they say is a photo of Brewster’s license. MM however, continues to avoid dealing with what Jennings said to his own constituents about the boy’s age.

UPDATE #2: A Brewster has come forward to express support for Jennings. CNN has the summary and Media Matters has the details, including a Facebook conversation between FOX News reporter, Maxim Lott and Brewster. The account provided by this Brewster is confusing when trying  to reconcile it with Jennings’ past accounts and the recent statement that he should have handled the situation differently. While Media Matters has focused on the exact age of the boy, the group has not addressed the discrepancies in past accounts. They accuse FOX of wildly inaccurate reporting but fail to note that the reporting was based on Jennings own statements.

The saga of Kevin Jennings and Brewster: Enter Robertson

In an op-ed dated today but available online over the weekend, the Washington Times assails Obama safe-schools appointee, Kevin Jennings for his handling of a 15-year old student’s sexual revelations when Jennings was a young teacher.

According to Mr. Jennings’ own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the “older man” in a “bus station bathroom” and was taken to the older man’s home that night.

FOX News has also reported on this and pointed to that recording. That audiotape was recorded by someone who attended a speech Jennings gave in Iowa in 2000 and then given to me. The relevant clip is here. You can read more about Brewster and the controversy in the article, Remembering Brewster and in this prior post on the topic.

There is another wrinkle to this story. It appears that Brewster had a name change in 2006 for Jennings book, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir. Below, I have excerpted the passages in the book where he discusses a boy named Robertson, who has issues like Brewster. The first two selections are from pages 161-162. Jennings, a young teacher at Concord School, answers the boy’s concerns in the same way as he answered Brewster. Continue reading “The saga of Kevin Jennings and Brewster: Enter Robertson”

Cooking up an easy way to make a big impression on health care reform

How to be organized without really looking organized.

This came today:

Friend —

All throughout August, our members of Congress are back in town. Insurance companies and partisan attack groups are stirring up fear with false rumors about the President’s plan, and it’s extremely important that folks like you speak up now.

So we’ve cooked up an easy, powerful way for you to make a big impression: Office Visits for Health Reform.

All this week, OFA members like you will be stopping by local congressional offices to show our support for insurance reform. You can have a quick conversation with the local staff, tell your personal story, or even just drop off a customized flyer and say that reform matters to you.

We’ll provide everything you need: the address, phone number, and open hours for the office, information about how the health care crisis affects your state for you to drop off (with the option of adding your personal story), and a step-by-step guide for your visit.

According to our records, you live near Sen. Arlen Specter’s office in Pittsburgh, PA.

Sign up now to visit Sen. Arlen Specter’s office in Pittsburgh this week.

(Not your representative, or think there might be another office that’s easier for you to get to? Click here to find a different office.)

As you’ve probably seen in the news, special interest attack groups are stirring up partisan mobs with lies about health reform, and it’s getting ugly. Across the country, members of Congress who support reform are being shouted down, physically assaulted, hung in effigy, and receiving death threats. We can’t let extremists hijack this debate, or confuse Congress about where the people stand.

Office Visits for Health Reform are our chance to show that the vast majority of American voters know that the cost of inaction is too high to bear, and strongly support passing health reform in 2009.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before. The congressional staff is there to listen, and your opinion as a constituent matters a lot. And if you bring a friend, you’ll have more fun and make an even greater impact.

Click below to sign up for an Office Visit for Health Reform:

http://my.barackobama.com/OfficeVisit

Wherever you live, these visits matter: Many representatives are pushing hard toward reform, and they are taking a lot of heat from special interests. They deserve our thanks and need our support to continue the fight. But those who are still putting insurance companies and partisan point-scoring ahead of their constituents must know that voters are watching — and that we expect better.

Earlier this week, the President wrote that “this is the moment our movement was built for” and asked us all to commit to join at least one event this month. This is the way to answer that call, and rise to the challenge of this moment together.

Thank you for going the extra mile when it matters the most,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart

Director

Organizing for America

When people opposed to the President’s health care reform plan show up to town hall meetings, they are minions of big insurance. When his supporters show up, they are constituents.

Please be sure to send this post to flag@whitehouse.gov