Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LGBT Activists Falsely Smear Those Protecting Children in Need

Oklahoma is just shy of a major victory for children in the adoption and foster care system—but LGBT activist groups are now threatening the state with boycotts if leadership follows through.

Senate Bill 1140 passed the Oklahoma Legislature and is currently sitting on the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin. The bill ensures that faith-based foster and adoption providers can continue to operate according to their religious and moral beliefs as they serve children and families in need.

But now LGBT activist groups like the Human Rights Campaign are attacking the bill, claiming that it “shrinks the pool of prospective parents” and “is a blatant attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ Oklahomans.”

These accusations could not be further from the truth.

SB 1140 has no effect whatsoever on who can adopt. LGBT individuals are free to adopt in all 50 states, and this bill wouldn’t change that. Instead, this bill would maintain the current status of Oklahoma’s child welfare system, where faith-based agencies play a small but crucial role in meeting children’s needs.

As the opioid crisis drives more and more kids into the foster care system, America needs an “all hands on deck” approach to child welfare, where the maximum number of quality providers are available to serve.

In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services found “a particularly strong positive relationship between overdose death rates and foster care entry rates” in various parts of the country—including Oklahoma. In other words, when parents die because of overdoses, their children too often enter the foster care system.

Most states are completely unprepared to meet this influx of children. Foster families are needed now more than ever, but they are in short supply. Eighty percent of prospective foster parents who train with public agencies drop out within the first two years.

And of the remaining 20 percent who persevere, most are motivated by their faith, according to Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption.

Here a diversity of providers is key. Not only does the presence of faith-based agencies increase the number of places able to help, but they create unique recruitment opportunities. These agencies can provide personalized resources that make the foster or adoption process less intimidating and more personal, making it easier to recruit and retain families.

These unique qualities make faith-based agencies a tremendous asset to the child welfare system. So why target these agencies after decades of service?

This is not the first time that activists have used adoption and foster care as a tool to impose their sexual ideology. Activists leveraged the power of government to drive out faith-based agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Washington, D.C. These shutdowns did nothing to increase LGBT individuals’ access to the adoption or foster care system. In the end, playing politics with child welfare ended decades of service from trusted providers, reduced both manpower and resources, and displaced thousands of children.

Further, Oklahoma is not the only battleground in this culture fight. Liberal activists have filed lawsuits against faith-based agencies in Michigan and Texas in an attempt to drive out even more religious groups.

This dangerous precedent is now spreading. In Philadelphia, the city suspended its contracts with Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian Services to investigate whether these agencies were discriminatory—just days after the city released an urgent call for 300 families to provide foster care while children flood in due to the opioid crisis.

These lawsuits and legislative battles are pointless. They do nothing to increase access to adoption or foster care and they only put children’s futures at risk.

Policymakers must meet these challenges with policies that protect a diversity of providers. Commonsense solutions like SB 1140 at the state level or the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would shore up these protections and enable the maximum number of agencies to serve kids and families.

Oklahoma has a golden opportunity to do something for kids in need. The state should put down the weapons of the culture war and prioritize children’s best interests.


Welfare With No End in Sight Is a Terrible Fate. Let’s Help Americans Avoid It

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or "food stamps") is high on the Republican list of programs targeted for reform—and justifiably so.  The program has gone from 17 million enrollees in 2000 to about 43 million today, with outlays up from about $25 billion to more than $70 billion.

The Trump administration’s budget submitted last February includes major reforms to the program, designed to save $216 billion over the next decade. Now the House Agriculture Committee has put forth its own reforms as part of the bill reauthorizing the budget of the Department of Agriculture for the next five years.

The problem with the food stamp program is similar to the problem of the other anti-poverty, welfare programs on which we spend almost 25 percent of the federal budget. That is, what is directed in the spirit of compassion, to provide temporary assistance to those who have fallen on hard times, transforms into a way of life.

As we might expect, food stamp enrollees skyrocketed as the recession set in heavily in 2008. The number of recipients went from approximately 26 million in 2007 to a peak of 47.6 million in 2013. With the economic recovery, the number has dropped off to about 43 million.

The Labor Department now reports that unemployment has fallen to 3.9 percent—the lowest since December 2000. Unemployment peaked during the recession at almost 10 percent. Why, when unemployment has dropped by 61 percent, has the number of food stamp recipients dropped by only 10 percent? The number of recipients is about 17 million higher than before the recession.

The answer is that it’s a lot easier to get aid recipients onto a welfare program than get them off.

Although the unemployment rate has dropped dramatically, the employment rate—the percentage of the population over 16 working—is still far below where it was prior to the recession. The latest jobs report shows the employment rate at 60.3 percent. Just prior to the recession in 2007, it was at 63.4 percent.

If today’s employment rate stood where it was before the recession, there would be 8 million more Americans working.

These 8 million Americans are not sitting on the sidelines just because of food stamps. Disability insurance and other welfare programs also leave the door open to not working.

How to solve this problem? Start with the Reagan rule: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

The more government we have, the more we make food stamps into the big business it is today. Why do we want corporate lobbyists for firms selling to food stamp EBT cardholders—Walmart, Target, Kroger, and even Amazon—lining the halls of Congress to lobby for these programs?

The Department of Agriculture is proposing that the government provide a food basket instead of cash. There is also the idea that government should manage the nutrition of food stamp recipients. The House bill incentivizes purchases of fruit, vegetables, and milk. But do we really want a huge new government bureaucracy buying and packaging food baskets for 40 million enrollees?

I say no. We should not expand government interference in anybody’s life.

Instead, the best idea is to expand work requirements for getting benefits. The House bill requires 80 hours of work per month to receive ongoing benefits. This for those 18-49, with no dependents, and parents of school-age children, up to the age of 60. For any new or changed requirements, let’s have the states decide.

Government assistance should not be about changing anybody’s life. Changing lives should be left to family, friends, and private charity.


How Have Men been Affected by Feminism?

I am reading Professor Janet Fiamengo's new book entitled Sons of Feminism: Men Have Their Say in which she asks men what it's like to be male in a feminist culture. She presents 26 stories of the accounts of men who have been "belittled, disliked, dismissed, blamed, falsely accused, and discriminated against under law--all while being expected to apologize for their 'male privilege.'"

Like me, Dr. Fiamengo, wanted to know what it was like for men who have to listen day in and day out about how women are vulnerable and good, and men are dangerous and despicable. In my book, Men on Strike , I tried to get across the legal and psychological obstacles that men face in today's female-centric society, but "Sons of Feminism" goes a step further: it gives the reader more detailed accounts into the world of men who have dealt with a variety of political and personal injustices against them.

The stories ranged from an immigrant from India who felt that "feminism was a cultural force that had the effect of dehumanizing me in a manner far more severe than the experience of racism"... to a man who was fired from his job due to baseless allegations. In-between, there are other accounts of men who did not have children because they were afraid of having them taken away after seeing this happen to so many others, men whose fathers were abused by their wives without intervention, and men who no longer wanted relationships with women because of the psychological (and sometimes physical) pain they have caused, all without concern or empathy.

This book brings these stories to life, it's gives a voice to the voiceless. As one man stated after a lifetime of dealing with an abusive mother: "My aim is to go through life as a ghost. "Un-noticed. No footsteps. No trace. No arguments....I seek isolation and invisibility...Now I know the patriarchy is a conspiracy theory designed to shut men up."

Those of us who seek justice cannot let this sick and twisted culture shut men up: that is the real purpose of this book in my view. It is an important piece of work that deserves to be read and discussed. Men in our country are not the enemy; and if feminism says they are, then we should fight it every step of the way.


The politically correct madhouse that is Ballard, a neighborhood of Seattle

The Seattle area, once the trendsetter for the counter cultural movement complete with daring piercings, Doc Martens, and the heroin second hand smoke infused despondent guitar solo of the grunge movement, now readily imports chilling narratives of mind numbing politics leading to short-sighted decisions of governing bodies, and the grotesque craziness threatens to propagate in other regions with the fervid sociopathic enthusiasm of a copycat to a serial killer. The current culture of policy is truly this bad and there is no turning back.

The Seattle City Council, as residents search for answers of how these people were ever elected, passed a controversial business head tax Friday, where larger commercial entities will be forced to pay approximately $500 a year per employee for funding homeless programs. Although the city is already facing a deluge of bums, thanks to a system that basically enables individuals to live a rent free college dormitory lifestyle funded by the middle class, and complete with car camping privileges and nurse-assisted injection sites, the additional $75 million per year will certainly fuel a cottage industry of discontent as downtown streets are transformed into a post apocalyptic dystopian world of detritus, the constant harassment of consumers and tourists, and of course the needles. It’s all about the damned needles. The propensity towards socialism is simply a microcosm, when weighed against the overall level of corruption at the civic level.

Politically, if Seattle is Caracas, then Ballard, just to the North of downtown, is Port-au-Prince or maybe even Kinsasha. Portland and San Francisco would be the most apt metaphors, but that would entail giving too much credit to the powers that be. After a series of truly ugly events that merit mention, the historically vibrant Scandinavian fishing community is at the front lines of a nasty battle involving jobs, rights, bikes and beer.

Last Friday night, one of the dubious members of the Seattle City Council, Mike O’Brien, was ceremoniously tossed from a private reception, after he knowingly barged his way into an angry hornet’s nest of constituents and opposition. O’Brien and a non-profit lobby group disguised as an advocacy organization, the Cascade Bicycle Club, have been aggressively pushing for a bike trail extension along the Ballard waterfront filling the gap in a regional cycling route. The $12 million per mile planned development, has local businesses and residents up in arms, as the illogical route will adversely affect commerce and jobs.

Ballard is not only a major hub for the local fishing fleet, but also boasts various industries. O’Brien’s bizarre decision to attend the soiree predominately consisting of fishermen and workers enjoying a beer or two at a local shipyard which will have to relocate if the trail is approved, is just the tip of the iceberg in a messy under the radar scandal. The whole incident smacks of a set-up conjured up the overzealous politician, who is appallingly out of touch with the majority of the population he represents. To culminate the evening, O’Brien’s wife shouted a few popular four letter words to the crowd as the couple was leaving. An alternative route a couple of blocks away and only 100 feet longer (a few more seconds when on a bicycle), that makes more sense logistically and financially, has been effectively shouted down by the downtrodden duo of O’Brien and the Cascade Bicycle Club.

According to and talk show radio host Dori Monson, who is a lifelong resident of Ballard, the ulterior motives of the politically active bike club were clearly evident way back in 2014 as displayed in this pointed email from a staff member in regards to the trail extension. “Once it’s built, the operations of Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel and other light industry will likely have to be limited during evening hours due to noise issues — especially if the development is a hotel, apartment, or condo,” he wrote. “Once their hours are limited, it’s only a matter of time before they sell out and give up the litigation.”

When the author of the memo was questioned as to the real motives of the trail, the individual balked and claimed a faulty memory in failing to acknowledge the existence of the email.

But this is what it boils down to in cities that are overrun by progressives, thuggish ideological guerilla tactics where politics are dangerously intermixed with business ventures in targeting selected industries. In the case of Ballard the startling equation works out like this. The city benefits from replacing blue-collar industries with droves of tech workers and increased tax revenue, the bike club gets their sacred pathway, and “associates” of the bike club and the club itself profit from the multi-use developments. It’s the new mafia, marked with a twinge of socialism and fraud.

On the other side of the fence, the middle class non-techie demographic of society again takes a hit as skilled labor positions dissipate into the Puget Sound fog and the cost of living goes up in proximity to the luxury developments.

These pseudo-intellectual radicals elected into office only because of necessity, as reasonable and sane individuals understand that bureaucracy is implacable, continue to perpetuate a complete detachment to balance and what is best for the greater good, in caving to the minority and special interests groups in forming alliances which are borderline criminal. As residents in Ballard and other neighborhoods attempt to protect their families, homes, and businesses, they are continually shouted down by the elitist members of an extremism so noxious and counterproductive, that duty and accountability are completely obscured by overspending and the belief that government is the necessary force in ensuring a successful future.

What complicates the Ballard controversy, is that the quite liberal local mainstream media continues to recreationally bunk with the homeless and bike lobby, and any content that would be a detriment to the two causes goes unreported or is eloquently spun in favor of an agenda. The only possible recourse for residents is in organizing public outreach events and future voting efforts, however the powerful lobby groups on the opposite side, tend to spend large sums of capital in hosting protests and employing bullying tactics.

While the Seattle City Council just set a gruesome precedent in giving away the downtown key to a tens of thousands of nomads and potentially losing the Amazon corporate headquarters in the process, the reprehensible actions of O’Brien and the Cascade Bicycle Club completely redefine the concept of underhanded corruption in engineering society for selfish purposes. In the new Ballard, bikes supplant jobs and cars, as the priority.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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