Obama admin ‘stonewalling’ freedom of information request on Planned Parenthood funding
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, February 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama administration is “stonewalling” on a Freedom of Information Act request about why it chose to fund the local affiliate of Planned Parenthood after New Hampshire’s state government cut off state funds, according to a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund.
The New Hampshire Executive Council – a part of the state government’s executive branch – denied Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) a $1.8 million grant last June, while approving family planning contracts with nine institutions that do not provide abortions. Its members suggested the state “should find health centers who would be able to utilize these monies more effectively than Planned Parenthood, which was unwilling to give the Executive Council the proper assurances and documentation of how this money was going to be spent,” ADF-affiliated attorney Michael Tierney told LifeSiteNews.com.
Then, in August, the HHS informed state officials that it would open the Title X grant in 2012 to a competitive bid. However, a local clinic in Manchester says it never received a response about how to apply. Instead, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, announced she had written a letter urging Kathleen Sebelius to make a “direct grant” to Planned Parenthood. (ADF’s legal complaint records that Shaheen received $390,000 in political donations from Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, and NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2008.)
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The Obama administration subsequently made a direct $1 million grant to PPNNE. Councilor David Wheeler said the action smacked of “arrogance,” saying, “Even though the state of New Hampshire turned down Planned Parenthood as a contractor, the Obama administration says you’re going to take it anyway, whether you like it or not.” Three councilors filed a formal complaint.
New Hampshire Right to Life filed an FOIA request to determine if HHS ever actually made the grant competitive, or received assurances PPNNE would not divert tax dollars to promoting abortion. It has yet to receive two-thirds of the documents it has requested.
According to the HHS website, “Under the FOIA program, agencies initially have 20 working days and may take an additional ten (10) working days to respond to the request.” Tierney said the process has taken 130 days, and the government has yet to give a deadline for compliance.
Federal officials repeatedly told the pro-life organization it had to change its wording or petition another agency of government before HHS could provide the documents, as required by law.
“I think it was a run-around,” Tierney told LifeSiteNews, adding that some of their explanations bordered on the “comical.”
New Hampshire RTL has received 465 of 1,225 requested pages – including many duplicates of the same document. “For example, the Susan B. Anthony List issued a press release on these Planned Parenthood grants. I think I’ve received that 30 times already,” Tierney told LifeSiteNews.com. Tierney added HHS officials sent him copies of e-mails he had sent them. “But Planned Parenthood’s grant application? I haven’t received even one copy of that.”
The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted last month to divest Planned Parenthood of state tax funds by a wide margin. That bill is now before the state senate, and Tierney thinks senators deserve information related to the grant process before casting a vote – particularly information relating to the Executive Council’s suspicions that PPNNE would not be able to assure Title X money would not be illegally used for abortion.
Such fears are not without basis. A compilation of state audits and whistleblower lawsuits assembled by the ADF uncovered an alleged $99 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud by at least 20 percent of all national Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Slow compliance from Washington is nothing new, Tom Fitton, president of the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, told LifeSiteNews.com.
New Hampshire Right to Life’s treatment adds corroboration to claims that the Obama administration has politicized the FOIA process to deny information to its perceived enemies, he said. FOIA requests filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, and National Public Radio were answered in less than the 20 working days – sometimes the same day – while requests filed by conservative institutions such as the Washington Times, Human Events, and the English First Foundation dragged on for months or were never answered.
“You can’t treat people unequally based on where you think they’re coming from in terms of philosophy,” Fitton said. “This is what the administration seems to be doing.”
Fitton said the problem of federal evasion “goes way back” – and things are only getting worse. “Comparing [the Obama administration] to the Bush administration, which was supposedly the pinnacle of secrecy, it’s a lot worse,” Fitton told LifeSiteNews.com. “Administratively, they play more games, and in court they’re as hardcore.”
“You have an administration that is more secretive than the Bush administration,” he said.
Fitton said Judicial Watch has sued the government at least 60 times to receive documents it has requested under the FOIA law.
“There’s a real problem with lawlessness in Washington,” Fitton said. “It’s about time we see this administration follow the law.”
Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.
I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:
Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.
Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.
After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.
The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.
So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.
When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.
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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.
The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans. Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”
Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.”
The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.
“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says.
The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children.
“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked.
There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so.
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”
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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.
Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.
At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.
“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”
The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.
“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”
One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.
“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”
“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”
Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.
But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.
The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.
Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.
“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”
Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:
The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.