Russian police officer detains man in bridal gown during gay rights protest in Moscow.
New St. Petersburg law bans homosexual propaganda in public places, US State Department bullies Russia
(Posted by Bryana Joy on March 22, 2012)
Controversy erupted last week when a Russian city adopted a new policy designed to protect young people from exposure to propaganda by homosexual rights groups. On March 7th, St. Petersburg Gov. Georgy Poltavchenko signed into a law a bill that will fine individuals up to $170 and companies up to $17,000 for violating a ban on "public actions aimed at propagandizing sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors.” The new St Petersburg law also includes amendments introducing stricter punishments for pedophilia, which is commonly associated with homosexuality.
The Russian Orthodox Church has applauded the recent legislation and is calling for a similar nationwide ban to be enacted. Dmitry Pershin, head of the Church’s youth council, praised the St Petersburg law for “ helping to protect children from information manipulation by minorities that promote sodomy,” and said that, “the persistence of sexual minorities and their intention to rally near children’s establishments indicate that this regional law is highly needed and should be urgently given federal status,” referring to homosexualist activist Nikolay Alexeyev’s stated intention to organize rallies near children’s establishments to protest the new law.
Naturally, gay rights groups are unhappy and clamoring for redress against the government in St. Petersburg. The activist organization All Out, which succeeded last year in getting Paypal to shut down blogger Julio Severo’s account and suspend his funds, is crying foul and calling the law a “gag rule” that “muzzles artists, writers, musicians, citizens and visitors.” They have launched a campaign, We Won’t Go There, and are threatening to boycott travel to the Russian city.
Oddly enough, another institution has joined them in expressing disapproval, the State Department. “ Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” states the official website for the State Department, quoting Secretary Hillary Clinton. “We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens. We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this. The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”
Russia did not take kindly to the US government’s interference. " We view with bewilderment the American side's attempts to interfere, what's more, publicly, in the lawmaking process," foreign ministry representative for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, told the Interfax news agency, adding that there is “absolutely no discrimination by Russian law in the application of civil, political, social, economic and cultural human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation.”
Dolgov went on to explain that, “ the legislative initiatives of the regional bodies of authority…are intended to protect minors from the respective propaganda …Of course, the decision took into account the traditional cultural and moral values prevalent in Russian society, considerations of the protection of health and public morality, and the inadmissibility of discrimination through the encouragement of the rights and interests of one social group without proper regard for the rights and interests of others.”
It turns out that Dolgov has been well-informed. As shocking as it may seem to Secretary Clinton, Russians, by and large, don’t like public displays of homosexuality and many believe homosexual acts to be immoral and unhealthy. A 2010 poll by the independent Levada Center in Moscow found that 74 percent of Russians regard homosexuality as a result of bad moral choices. Is it right for our State Department to pressure the Russian government to go against the will of its people?
If the Russian government were, in fact, violating human rights, the answer would certainly be yes. However, the bottom line is that while freedom of speech, property rights, the right to a fair trial, freedom from unwarranted violence, freedom from involuntary servitude, etc. are human rights, freedom of sexual expression in public thoroughfares and in the presence of children is not, and categorizing it as such is a trivialization of the real human rights abuses and injustices enacted every day across the globe.
“Keep the government out of the bedroom!” has become a favorite slogan of pro-choice and gay rights activists, who are irritated by what they see as excessive legislation of sexual activity. The Russian government has obliged and has withdrawn from the afore-mentioned bedroom. Now, however, these activists are no longer content with confining their controversies to the bedroom, but continue to insist on dragging them out for public display. The issue is that much of what they wish to flaunt is not at all suitable for public display in the first place.
Are gay rights human rights? Only insofar as they are the same rights afforded to everyone else.
Thus, while the rights of gay people to be given equal protection under law are human rights, their “rights” to put on sexually explicit parades in public places or to indoctrinate children against the wishes of their parents, are not rights at all.
(First posted in Bryana's column over at The Washington Times Communities)
Conservatives who claim to champion family values fail to condemn the biggest attack on marital fidelity: underage dating
(Posted by Bryana Joy on March 18, 2012)
I have a bone to pick with you socially conservative Americans, and I know it’s something that will get under your skin. Just sit tight, though, and hear me out, because the elephant in our tidy little room is starting to tear things up. It’s time we acknowledge his existence, and maybe even call in some animal movers to take him back to the zoo.
I currently live in a small community in the Bible-belt of the country and I have been given some opportunities to mentor young people from my area through different venues. I can count on one hand the kids I know from the local high school whose parents have never been divorced. I’ve witnessed reactions of genuine surprise and envy from students who hear that my own parents are still together. In any given conversation that I have with a group of youth, I can expect to hear continual references to step-parents, step-siblings, and half-siblings. Divorce is a way of life down here – albeit one that has taken its toll in the lives of the young people that will make up the next generation.
However, while I could certainly write extensively on my experience with the negative effects of divorce on children and on society at large, I actually want to address something else entirely. I want to talk about the number one way that our culture chooses to perpetuate the cancer of broken marriages and failed relationships. Sadly, it’s not one that many of our conservative leaders are denouncing. In fact, it would appear to the casual observer that on this battlefield we’ve completely given up our fight. I am referring to underage dating.
You can follow them on Facebook – the failed attempts at love, I mean. Somebody is always changing their status from “in a relationship” to “single.” Unfortunately, a huge number of these disappointed lovers are too young to be legally allowed to marry. I wonder sometimes if I am the only one who winces to hear a thirteen-year old speak with cavalier abandon of his or her “ex”? Since when is it considered healthy and acceptable for underage people to be in “relationships”? Just what do parents and educators expect to be the result of the spoony talk and romantic conquests of these middle-school children and young high school students? The results I’ve witnessed personally are beyond disturbing: they are downright sinister, and have caused me to question whether or not those who claim to champion marital fidelity and family values are paying any attention at all to the standards we are passing on to our children.
The trouble with underage dating is that it presents an entirely faulty view of what interaction with the opposite gender should be all about. Rather than placing emphasis on building one strong relationship with one person at a stage of life when a marital commitment is feasible, dating encourages young people to pour their energies into consistently seducing other young people at a time when none of them are capable of making any long-term commitments. Their “relationships” are destined from the get-go to fail, because they are founded on unhealthy perceptions of love and not backed by any real necessity to stick it out.
The beauty of marriage is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to learn to work through their incompatibilities and give of themselves. In the same way, the great ugliness of dating as it is practiced by our culture and portrayed by our media, is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to be selfish by giving them an easy “out” when things don’t go according to their inclinations. I believe it is fair to say that this form of dating is a training manual for divorce, because it encourages young people to grow accustomed to giving their hearts away and then taking them back. When they find themselves in a marriage perturbed by some rough spots, they don’t find it especially emotionally difficult to walk away. After all, they have already walked away so many times before.
Sadly, parents who should know better continue to display shocking naïveté regarding the absurd practices of driving their twelve year olds out on a “date” or purchasing provocative clothing for their sixteen-year-olds, or sympathizing with their broken-hearted fourteen-year-olds by assuring them that they’ll “find someone better.” “They’re just having fun,” they’ll tell us, rolling their eyes at what they consider to be our excessively high-minded principles. I happen to work a volunteer shift at Crisis Pregnancy Clinic where I witness every week the ruined lives and broken dreams that this “fun” has left with our youth.
Another defense offered for the ridiculous habit of underage dating is that the kids are “just learning how to relate to the opposite sex.” It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out that what they’re really learning is how to recover quickly from a break-up and set their sights on another gorgeous and equally hormonal person. The culture of dating is a culture of hunger and unsatisfied eyes that are always looking around for someone else.
But perhaps the most ludicrous and most willfully naïve assertion is that “relationships” between young teens are “not really about sex.” Just what do we think such relationships are about between people too young to be interested in any of the other things (family, stability, home-making, etc. ) that come out of a romantic involvement with the opposite gender? Contrary to such half-baked assurances, it IS all about sex for these young people, and whenever they forget that, the pop-culture is quick to remind them of it. In the media, girls are unfailingly presented as having value to boys only in proportion to their physique and their manner of flaunting it. Boys are presented as bestial and incapable of responsibility. Overwhelming, this is the primary message being offered to our kids by the movies, magazines, music artists, and commercials directed at their age group. It is inexcusably irrational for us to suppose that their relationships with one another are untainted by the stereotypes that surround them.
If the situation is so straightforward, why is there not a greater resistance to this cultural trend that trivializes relationships and produces jaded and cynical people who have already been through the warm fuzzies of love and are ready to settle for mere physical gratification by the age of eighteen? Could it be that big-money industries like Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana, who thrive off of exploiting our hormonally charged youth, are partially responsible for throwing the wool over the eyes of so many well-meaning parents? Are sex-education advocates like Planned Parenthood, who profit from purchases of birth control and abortions, throwing money at the movement to desensitize parents about the perils of underage “relationships”? Are we really being duped into sacrificing our kids for the buck?
While social conservatives may proclaim the virtues of pre-marital abstinence and fidelity, their actions don’t line up with their words. They behave as though they expect our young people to embrace or at least abide by the values we preach to them, all the while continuing to direct them in lifestyle choices that foster exactly the opposite principles and attitudes. And we wonder why 95% of Americans admitted to having premarital sex in 2006? Or why it was estimated in 2008 that 40% of all US marriages ended in divorce? Or why 4 in 10 children are born to unwed mothers today? My friends, it’s time for us to wake up and smell the coffee! Or, better yet, give those animals movers a call and get that elephant out of here before he knocks over another delicate and priceless piece of furniture…..(First posted at The College Conservative)
The President not only voted for infanticide - he afterwards lied elaborately to cover it up....
(Posted by Bryana Joy on March 5, 2012)
A baby was born alive during a botched saline abortion on April 6, 1977. Weighing just two lbs and severely injured by the abortion solution which had burned her skin, the child was premature and had cerebral palsy. Her parents, two young teenagers, released her to the foster care system of the state, and she was later adopted at the age of four. Gianna Jessen is now a recording artist, public speaker and pro-life activist who seeks to raise awareness regarding the rights of abortion survivors. She understands, in a way many of us cannot, the brutal nature of abortion and the value of laws that protect infants born alive. She knows that if someone at the hospital where she was accidentally born had not intervened on her behalf, she could have been left to die in a utility room on a heap of soiled linens.
In 2008, nurse Jill Stanek explained in a riveting and shocking video that many abortion survivors have not fared as well as Gianna. Many have been denied medical care and simply abandoned. As 2012 Presidential Candidate Ron Paul shared in his ad, “Life,” during his time as a ob/gyn doctor in Texas, he witnessed viable and breathing babies that were delivered after botched abortion procedures being ignored and left to die in buckets, while premature babies born to expectant parents were given every consideration and surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to prolong their lives.
Fortunately, the Born Alive Protection Act, which was signed into law by President George Bush in August 2002, now provides legal protection to any and all babies born alive at “ any stage of development that has a heartbeat, pulsation of the umbilical cord, breath, or voluntary muscle movement, no matter if the umbilical cord has been cut or if the expulsion of the infant was natural, induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.”
The Born Alive Protection Act requires medical personnel to provide care to living babies and bars them from killing children who have survived birth. It doesn’t seem like it should be a controversial issue. And, as a matter of fact, it wasn’t really. Pro-abortion groups as strident as the NARAL backed the bill and Democrats like Barbara Boxer and Sen. Edward Kennedy supported it and even urged its passage. The act passed the Senate unanimously.
Oddly enough, and a bit horrifically, when a similar bill came up for vote in Illinois in 2001, 2002, and 2003, then-Senator Barack Obama opposed all three versions of it. When his opposition of the bill came back to haunt him in the 2008 Presidential elections, he accused the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) of “lying” about his stances, and claimed that although he did not support the Illinois bill, he would have voted for the federal bill that was eventually signed into law. He opposed the Illinois bill, he claimed, because he saw it as a back-door attack on a woman’s legal right to abortion, whereas the federal bill included a neutrality clause that protected Roe v. Wade.
As it turns out, that’s not true. Richard Land has put together a report debunking Obama’s claims against the NRLC, and Jill Stanek has also compiled a list of sources for those interested in finding out about the President’s real actions with regard to the Born Alive legislation. FactCheck.org, a site which has been frequently accused of unfair liberal bias, weighed in on the NRLC controversy with this surprising statement,
“We find that, as the NRLC said in a recent statement, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.”
Interestingly enough , Obama was not only a member of the committee that added the neutrality clause to Illinois’ Born Alive legislation – he was the chairman of that committee. And after taking great pains to get the bill to include the clause which would have upheld Roe v. Wade, he voted against it.
The documents prove that in March 2003, state Senator Obama, then the chairman of the IL state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, presided over a committee meeting in which the "neutrality clause" (copied verbatim from the federal bill) was added to the state Born Alive Protection Act, with Obama voting in support of adding the revision. Yet, immediately afterwards, Obama led the committee Democrats in voting against the amended bill, and it was killed, 6-4.
In light of this shocking evidence against Barack Obama, and suggestions that his claims about the Born Alive legislation were calculated to deceive the public, it’s not surprising that critics have expressed dismay over the former senator’s “infanticide” vote. Political voices from Alan Keyes to Newt Gingrich have spoken with horror of the President’s refusal to uphold the legal rights of human babies, and radio host Rush Limbaugh pulled the issue out again this week, referring yet again to the President’s vote as an “infanticide vote.”
Media Matters, the George Soros-funded liberal think tank, paraded their outrage in a piece titled, Limbaugh Revives Bogus Attack That Obama Supports "Infanticide."
Born Alive legislation aside, there are other reasons to accuse Obama of supporting infanticide, two of the most infamous being his “present” votes for Partial Birth Abortion bans, (in Illinois, a “present” vote carries the same weight as a “no” vote) the second of which passed overwhelmingly and was signed into law. Partial birth abortion, a truly horrible form of late-term abortion which involves the abortionist inducing labor and then severing the skull of an often fully-viable child, is largely seen as inhumane, even among pro-choice activists. If that isn’t infanticide, it’s hard to say what is.
But the good folks over at Media Matters still aren’t convinced. In order to make our discussion more accessible to them, let’s use a simple, real-life example: suppose the legislature were to decide that if someone really, really hacks me off, and I go into their home in the middle of the night and shoot them, I haven’t committed murder. They decide that I can walk away from the scene completely scot-free. Does their verdict mean that what I have done isn’t a homicide? Of course not! Because a homicide is the act of killing a homo sapiens, whether the act is legal or not. While the definition of murder varies according to legislation, any time I end the life of a human being, I have committed a homicide. Thus, when I end the life of an infant, I have committed infanticide, even if the government doesn’t think I have committed murder. In the words of ethicist G.K. Chesterton, “to have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
The question remains: what is an infant? I bet Gianna Jessen is pretty sure she was one in 1977 when medical personnel scrambled to save what was left of her life.(First posted at The College Conservative)
Law-abiding citizens concerned about the government's most recent belligerent actions -- against them
(Posted by Bryana Joy on March 1, 2012)
A facebook user who posted a negative comment about a presidential candidate to a private page found himself in a whole mess of trouble when authorities showed up at his workplace and later arrived at his home to interrogate him. According to Jason Brashear of Citizen Wars who reported Sunday that the facebook user, also named Jason, had contacted him with the story, a local police officer and two sheriffs showed up at his home, explaining, “We are here because of a possible threat to Senator Santorum based on your Facebook comment.”
The comment in question? “I wish there was a magic wand to make Senator Santorum disappear,” Jason had posted to a private political thread.
The officer explained he had made his appearance at Jason’s house, “to view the home and make sure that there were no pictures of the former Senator Rick Santorum or evidence that Jason was planning something against the former Senator. The officer explained the US Government has a system to monitor and scan all social sites like Facebook for key words that might raise suspension [sic] of ill intent. The officer stated that Jason was ‘flagged due to his post on Facebook.’ Chris Frierson said, “we are here to warn you that there is a very fine line between freedom of speech and a threat.” He told Jason “Be thankful that it is just the Austin Police Department here and not the secret service as they would be going through your entire house and documents.”
The officer said that he concluded Jason was not a threat and reported that in his statement.
This disturbing story coincides with reports from last week that The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been paying a defense contractor $11.4 million to monitor social media websites and other Internet communications to find criticisms of the department’s policies and actions. Noel Brinkerhoff reports that a government watchdog organization, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), obtained hundreds of documents from DHS through the Freedom of Information Act and found details of the arrangement with a contractor, General Dynamics. The company was contracted to monitor the web not only for “potential threats and hazards,” “potential impact on DHS capability” to accomplish its homeland security mission, and “events with operational value,” but also for “reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government, DHS, or prevent, protect, respond or recovery government activities," including sub-agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In a testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Ginger McCall, director of EPIC’s Open Government Project, stated that, “the agency is monitoring constantly, under very broad search terms, and is not limiting that monitoring to events or activities related to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or manmade disasters.”
EPIC wasn’t able to acquire these documents for a song, though. When they first asked for access to them in April, under the Freedom of Information Act, they were denied, and were only able to obtain the documents months later, after a lawsuit. You can read their full report here.
In another episode that has infuriated concerned citizens, the FBI released a flyer earlier this month which outlined methods for internet café owners to identify potential terrorists. Included on the list were such tell-tale behaviors as,
1) repeatedly paying for coffee with cash
2) trying to shield the computer screen so that others can’t see personal or credit card information
3) using web search engines to look up information about “police” or “government”
4) obtaining photos, maps or diagrams of transportation, sporting venues, or populated locations
What do these three stories all have in common? Law-abiding Americans who are active online are afraid that these reports indicate a paranoid governmental system which may have an unhealthy obsession with repression of dissent. Many are pointing to the Obama administration’s extensive exploitation of the 1917 Espionage Act, said David Carr in the New York Times on Sunday,
“The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance ‘whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,’ has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers.”
Indeed, the Espionage Act, which was enacted in 1917 for the purpose of cracking down on spies who provided information to foreign powers at war with the US, was used only three times in all of the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media. It has been used six times since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“In case after case,” Carr argues, “the Espionage Act has been deployed as a kind of ad hoc Official Secrets Act, which is not a law that has ever found traction in America, a place where the people’s right to know is viewed as superseding the government’s right to hide its business.
Jesselyn Radack, director for national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project, weighed in on the issue, saying that, “the Obama administration has been quite hypocritical about its promises of openness, transparency and accountability. All presidents hate leaks, but pursuing whistle-blowers as spies is heavy-handed and beyond the scope of the law.”Do you think that spending $11.4 million on a program to track your internet activity is a good use of your money? You be the judge. After all, it’s your money. (Originally posted at The Washington Times Communities)