US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: Bloggers are journalists!

As a citizen journalist and the publisher of this online e-Magazine, I was most interested in the recent decision by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to provide the same First Amendment rights given to me and my contributors. Bloggers are no different than journalists!

I started my life as a blogger in 2002 with a free Google blog account. I have, as have the contributors to my e-Mag, matured over the years. Each has learned how to do cutting edge research, tell the truth and cover stories the mainstream media will not cover. This ruling provides each of us, and the new media or Fifth Estate, protections under the US Constitution by validating what we do is for the public good.

Fox News reports, “A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.”

Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.

“It’s not a special right to the news media,” he said. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.”

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., now living in Port Townshend, Wash., was sued for defamation by Bend attorney Kevin Padrick and his company, Obsidian Finance Group LLC, after she made posts on several websites she created accusing them of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and other illegal activities. The appeals court noted Padrick and Obsidian were hired by Summit Accommodators to advise them before filing for bankruptcy, and that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court later appointed Padrick trustee in the Chapter 11 case. The court added that Summit had defrauded investors in its real estate operations through a Ponzi scheme.

A jury in 2011 had awarded Padrick and Obsidian $2.5 million.

Troubling Jurisprudence in Miami-Dade: The Tale of Two Teachers

The actions by the Miami-Dade School District in the aftermath of Adobegate have been troubling to say the least and poses interesting questions in terms of justice and fairness for the parties involved.

How is it that the black, Christian, union member bears the brunt and gets the worst of Adobegate and the white, Jewish, non-union member gets a slap on the wrist?

How is it that I, a Catholic union steward, is removed from the school, following an unsuccessful transfer a month earlier, when I did nothing wrong?

The Miami-Dade OIG Final Report concluded that, “Miami Norland has benefited in the form of attaining a higher school grade and may have received financial compensation or other benefit resulting from its high pass rate on the industry certification exams” (page 13).

With the assistance of cheating, undertaken by Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, Miami Norland’s school grade went from a “C” for the 2010-11 school year to an “A” for the 2011-12 school year.

As a result, total federal funds (SIG, RTTT) given out due to a grade influenced by cheating was $100,560; the total state funds per FSRP was between $130,000- $140,000; the total overall combined federal and state incentive funds were $230,560- $240,560.

Each teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School received $1730.41 from all three payouts.

On October 16, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to terminate Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin for his role in Adobegate, and rightfully so.

On November 19, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to suspend Mrs. Brenda Muchnick for 30 working days without pay for her role in Adobegate, which boggles the mind.

When Mr. Fleurantin appeared alone on the D55 item of the School Board Agenda on October 16, 2013, something seemed amiss and it was common sense that something was in the works given the disparity in actions taken against them.

Most crimes, such as theft and homicide, have varying degrees; test cheating does not and state law is straightforward and clear.  In any given instance of test cheating, a role is a role; there is no distinguishing a major role from a minor role. Either one was involved or they were not.

Both Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick, according to the Miami-Dade OIG Final Report, allegedly “knowingly and willfully” violated test security rules irrespective of quantity of students in their respective roles.

When one reads that document and the Department of Administrative Hearings brief, issued by the School Board Attorney on January 8, 2014, justifying Mr. Fleurantin’s termination, one can reasonably conclude that Mrs. Muchnick is equally culpable and a reasonable person would think her employment was up for termination as well.

Excerpts concerning the actions of Ms. Muchnick from Mr. Harvey’s brief follow:

18. ‘O.D.’, a minor student, revealed to the OIG Investigator that during the 2011-2012 school year Respondent along with another teacher, Ms. Brenda Muchnick, allowed him to use a study guide during his certification exam.

22. During the 2011-2012 school year ‘C.N.,’ ‘A.O.,’ ‘L.T.,’ and ‘R.P’, minor students, were enrolled in Ms. Muchnick’s Dreamweaver class. During the course of the year, Ms. Muchnick took the entire class to take the certification exam. According to both students, Ms. Muchnick, along with an unknown black male teacher, allowed the entire class to use a study guide and a questionnaire with highlighted answers during the certification exam. ‘C.N.’, ‘L.T.’ and ‘A.O.’ stated that the questionnaire was similar to the document discovered by Mr. Gant in the computer lab.

However, this is not the case, and Mrs. Muchnick went back to work at Norland SHS two weeks ago while I am still displaced from there, and the library media program has been shuttered in violation of state law, since October 24, 2013, given my role as the whistleblower in this affair.

The optics of this does not look good and one wonders about the outcomes being anti-labor and questions of race and religion:

How is it that the union member, Mr. Fleurantin, who is black (Haitian) and Christian, is up for termination and his union steward (me), white and Catholic, has been removed from the school three months ago, but Mrs. Muchnick, a non-union member who is white and Jewish, the same religious persuasion as the Chief Human Capital Officer (Enid Weisman) over the process and two influential School Board members (Vice-Chair Dr. Larry Feldman and Dr. Martin Karp), received an inconsequential 30 day suspension without pay (possibly will be made up with supplements to her and/or her husband) and goes back to work at Norland?

One does wonder, especially given that my meritorious Civil Rights Compliance complaint was dismissed and a bogus CRC complaint devoid of merit was processed against me but later dropped last October.

A fair-minded person may conclude that Mr. Fleurantin lacked background, connections, and money, thereby being unable to evade justice like Mrs. Muchnick, and received what was right and just; and I, though contrary to federal and state law, was wrongly moved from Norland not only because I upset the School District, but because I was a white steward who exposed a massive fraud in terms of cheating in conjunction with over $230,000 of awarded federal and state incentive funds to teachers in a predominately African-American school.

Marie Winkelman’s Case demands Litigation, not Mediation, to protect her Life, Liberty and Property?

This is the second column I have written about Marie Winkelman. Read the first column by clicking here. Marie is the author of a book about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor in Poland titled “Keeping A Promise: To Tell My Story of Survival in Warsaw During WW II.”

Marie is another victim of financial guardianship abuse.  The first I wrote about was Al Katz, the father of Beverly Newman, another Holocaust Survivor.

What is at stake here? A woman’s life, liberty and her property valued in excess of $3 million… in this case, a Holocaust Survivor who in childhood was robbed of her property and stability and now is re-living the traumas of betrayal and asset seizure.  Who benefits from Marie’s guardianship? Robert and Corinne Szychowski and the State of Florida’s guardianship system.

What is happening? The systematic financial abuse of an elder.

Audrey Bear PA

Audrey Bear, PA.

Audrey Bear, Marie’s lawyer, at a court hearing before Sarasota County Probate Court Judge Deno Economou on January 8, 2014 agreed to “mediate her clients capacity” with lawyers representing Robert Szychowski. This is not what Marie wants according to Beverly Newman, Director of the Al Katz Center.

Emails were sent to Chief Judge Lee E. Haworth, 12th Circuit Court and to Elida Mujic, Client Relations Coordinator, FL Department of Children and Family Services requesting any legal authority for mediation in matters of capacity but no legal authorities were given.

Chief Judge Haworth replied, “Any action or issue in a case can be ordered to mediation. But it is not like arbitration where the arbitrator’s decision is binding on the parties. A mediated agreement cannot be forced upon the participants. They must consent to any resolution. It is designed to avoid protracted and painful litigation and can often serve as a way for parties to find remedies beyond those the court can fashion.  Since the discussions are confidential, not to be disclosed upon penalty of contempt, it allows for a free exchange of ideas and concerns with the consideration of evidence that may be inadmissible at a trial.  The mediator is a neutral party whose role is to explore all reasonable grounds for settlement.  A surprising number of intractable appearing cases have been settled at mediation, but only when parties agree. It only takes one to veto. If the mediation is at impasse, it proceeds to trial, the judge none the wiser about what was discussed in the mediation conference. In regard to mediating capacity, since capacity is a fluid, evolving condition, it might be daunting to construct a mediated agreement of long lasting duration, or one acceptable to all sides.  But I see no legal impediment to the parties being required to make an effort to do so.”

Ms. Mujic stated, “I would encourage you to contact 12th Circuit Court office or an attorney concerning any legal assistance with Ms. Winkleman’s situation. I am not able to provide you with any legal advice. If you are willing to provide me with additional information concerning Ms. Winkleman, I will do my best to assist you.”

In an email Beverly Newman questioned using mediation to deal with Marie’s case. Newman points out the following:

1. Mediation is a completely closed legal proceeding, with no recordings or records allowed and confidentiality forms that must be signed prior to the mediation.

2. In Marie’s mediation of November 25, 2013, one of the signatories to the mediated settlement agreement described it as “blackmail.”

3. There is no due process in mediation, as there is no sworn testimony of witnesses, no judge present, no public record, no evidence put on the record, and no cross-examination of witnesses.

4. Marie’s attorney (Audrey Bear) was hired to litigate the Court’s incapacity and guardianship order dated December 3, 2013, but she has refused to set for hearing her own motion to vacate said order and chose mediation instead.

5. Fl. Stat. 744.331 states:

(5) ADJUDICATORY HEARING.—
(a) Upon appointment of the examining committee, the court shall set the date upon which the petition will be heard. The date for the adjudicatory hearing must be set no more than 14 days after the filing of the reports of the examining committee members, unless good cause is shown. The adjudicatory hearing must be conducted at the time and place specified in the notice of hearing and in a manner consistent with due process.
(b) The alleged incapacitated person must be present at the adjudicatory hearing, unless waived by the alleged incapacitated person or the person’s attorney or unless good cause can be shown for her or his absence. Determination of good cause rests in the sound discretion of the court.
(c) In the adjudicatory hearing on a petition alleging incapacity, the partial or total incapacity of the person must be established by clear and convincing evidence.

6. Marie Winkelman never had an adjudicatory hearing in which any evidence was presented on her behalf.

7. The settlement agreement that the court adopted in its order was not seen by Marie until after it was signed and was never explained to her by her former attorney, Barry Spivey. The court held an incapacity and guardianship hearing on said mediated agreement on December 2, 2013, at which Marie was not present since her attorney (Spivey) did not inform her of said hearing.

The question: Is mediation the proper way for Marie to protect her life, liberty and property or is litigation a better pathway?

Federal Judge Grants Injunctive Relief from HHS Mandate for Five Non-Profits

On Monday, January 13, 2014, Federal District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III, granted injunctive relief to five additional non-profit organizations in the Thomas More Law Center’s newest challenge to the HHS Mandate filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

This newest challenge on behalf of the five non-profit entities was brought by Erin Mersino, trial counsel with the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The non-profit Plaintiffs include the Ave Maria Foundation, Ave Maria Communications (aka “Ave Maria Radio”), Domino’s Farms Petting Farm, Rhodora J. Donahue Academy Inc., and the Thomas More Law Center, all founded by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan.

Murphy with CaptionIn granting the injunction, Judge Murphy noted that the Plaintiffs showed “a strong likelihood of succeeding on the merits” of their case.  The Court rejected the government’s argument that the accommodation to the Mandate, which required the Plaintiffs to either pay for contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs directly or sign a “self-certification” which would act as a permission slip to their insurance company to pay for contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs, was sufficient to alleviate the Plaintiffs’ constitutional objections.  The government belittled the Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs by nakedly claiming that the Mandate did not violate them—despite the Plaintiffs’ sworn statements to the contrary and the government’s own position that never challenged the sincerity of the Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.

The Court, in rejecting the government’s position, proclaimed that “It is not the government’s business to decide what behavior has religious significance.”

The Court also made note of the “sheer number of exemptions” which allows other companies to avoid compliance with the Mandate, while the Plaintiffs did not qualify for an exemption and without judicial intervention would be forced to comply.  The Court recognized that since so many are exempted by the government from complying with the Mandate, there is no necessity for the Plaintiffs to comply at the expense of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The injunction protects the five entities from any compliance with the HHS Mandate. The government’s Mandate would have required the Plaintiffs to facilitate access to contraceptive and abortion-causing drugs and devices, as well as sterilization procedures, through their health insurance plan.

The Plaintiffs originally filed their federal lawsuit on December 20, 2013, and on December 23, 2013, they filed an Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order.  On December 31, 2014, hours before the Mandate would have been implemented against the Plaintiffs, the Court issued the Temporary Restraining Order blocking the enforcement of the Mandate and protecting the Plaintiffs for a limited fourteen day period while the Court considered the Plaintiffs’ request for relief.  This Monday, January 13, 2014, Judge Murphy gave his prior order more permanence by granting the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction which will protect the Plaintiffs through the pendency of the case.

Click here to read the Court’s Opinion

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented on Judge Murphy’s ruling:

“Christians in America are under increasing attack by the Federal Government.  And it’s important we realize that we must look to the Federal Courts to protect our religious freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution.   In this particular case, we are grateful for Judge Murphy’s decision and the expeditious manner in which he rendered it.”

The ultimate purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate which requires employers to obtain insurance coverage for abortions and contraception on the grounds that it imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas Perez, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury; and their respective departments.

A Message to White America: More Racial Protectionism from Eric Holder and Arne Duncan

When the concept of doing a website was presented to me, initially I scoffed thinking there wouldn’t be enough critical material daily to comment on — boy was I wrong. Every day I am amazed at the insanity I witness in our America and here is another example.

According to a report in The Hill, Attorney General Eric Holder is at it again with his racial preference policies,

Attorney General Eric Holder called upon the nation’s school districts Wednesday to rethink “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies that he said disproportionately punish minorities and push too many students into the justice system. Alarming numbers of young people are suspended, expelled or even arrested for relatively minor transgressions like school uniform violations, schoolyard fights or showing ‘disrespect’ by laughing in class,” Holder said during a speech in Baltimore.

What did his remarks really mean? They accompanied the release of new federal guidance from the departments of Justice and Education encouraging (i.e. threatening) schools to adopt disciplinary policies that are “fair, nondiscriminatory, and effective.” The guidance offers parameters for punishment as governed by federal civil rights protections, alternatives to exclusionary discipline and a comprehensive list of regulations on the books in every state.

So now the US Department of Justice under Eric Holder will use its power to enforce “civil rights protections” in school disciplinary actions. In fact, the DoJ and DoEd are putting schools on notice that they are prepared to use their authority to investigate the claims of racial disparity in the punishment of students.

And of course the American Civil Liberties union (ACLU) is thrilled with this policy. The ACLU offered research showing that black students make up 36 percent of those expelled, though they represent only 15 percent of students.”

Not to be outdone by Holder in the “stuck on stupid” category, Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated, “Positive discipline policies” can actually foster safer school environments, without a heavy reliance on suspensions and expulsions. Schools also must understand their civil rights obligations and avoid unfair disciplinary practices.

I taught high school for one year in Deerfield Beach, Fla and in the end, it was such an enjoyable experience breaking up fights daily, that I decided to return to the combat zone of Afghanistan.

Teachers are already disrespected and attacked, not feared. There were students at Deerfield Beach who steered clear of the lunchroom for fear of being picked on or engaged in a fight. A kid was stabbed while I was on the faculty there.

Yes, this violence on campus was perpetrated 8 out of 10 times by black students, male and female, but it had nothing to do with racial disparity. It had everything to do with a lack of discipline and control.

When a young man took a swing at me while I broke up a beat down that he and three others were giving a young man already on the ground, it had nothing to do with civil rights. It had everything to do with a criminal behavior which does not belong in a learning environment – and he was expelled. Now imagine under these new guidelines and rules, DoJ and DoEd would initiate an investigation.

Liberal progressives don’t want to tackle the problem they created, the decimation of the black family. Fifty years ago only six percent of births in America were out of wedlock Today the number is 72 percent in the black community. There was a time when “acting out” at school resulted in having to stay after school and worse, a call home to mom and dad — talk about a beat down.

Common core — now this — the progressive socialist dream of state-run education is coming to fruition. But what is even more heinous is the message being sent that race is an excuse for bad behavior in our kids, an acceptable excuse at that. It means the death spiral for education in the black community will increase as we overlook or reward the most abhorrent conduct.

Perhaps this is why Holder and Obama want Debo Adegbile as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division considering his defense of Black Panther and cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, when he was leader of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. There is no doubt that someone skilled enough to defend Abu-Jamal would be perfect to institute this policy of racial protectionism of juvenile criminal behavior.

This is my clear and succinct message to white Americans. How long will it be before “you people” realize you have elevated someone to the office of president who abjectly despises you — not to mention his henchman Holder. Combined they are the most vile and disgusting racists — not you.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

Government Retaliates Against Navy Chaplain who Sued over Shutdown of Catholic Mass

Father Ray Leonard, the Catholic Navy Chaplain who sued the Department of Defense and the Navy after he was barred from celebrating Mass at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia during the recent the Government shutdown, is now the target of Government retaliation even though the Department of Justice indicated the day after the lawsuit was filed that he could resume his duties as a Navy Chaplain.

The retaliation involves repeated Government assertions that the employment contract under which Father Leonard was working is no longer “valid”, demands that he must sign a new contract containing several pages of onerous new terms if he wants to be paid and refusals to pay for services he had already performed.

As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, on January 6, 2014 filed an amended complaint in their original federal lawsuit to prevent further retaliation against Father Leonard for exercising his constitutional rights. The amended complaint added a claim against the government for its retaliation toward Father Leonard which occurred after the filing of the initial complaint.

Father Leonard just returned to America after spending ten years ministering to impoverished Tibetans in China. Consequently, withholding Father Leonard’s earnings for approximately two months left Father Leonard himself in an impoverished condition. Yet, he continued to minister to his congregation by scraping up enough money for food and rent payments for housing near the Naval Base which he serves.
Father Leonard has stated in an affidavit;

“In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China. I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.”

The amended complaint discusses how on October 21, 2013, a mere week after blowing the whistle on the government’s unconstitutional actions, the government told Father Leonard that his contract would no longer be considered “valid.” The government presented Father Leonard with a new employment contract containing five additional pages of far more onerous terms than his original contract.

Prior to the original lawsuit, which TMLC filed on October 14, 2013, Father Leonard had been operating under his original contract without complaint. The original contract was even recognized and affirmed by the Navy and the Department of Justice in subsequent documentation on October 16, 2013.

From October 1, 2013 through the present, Father Leonard has continued to perform his duties as a military chaplain under the original contract. The Navy paid him for his work during the month of October. However in November, the government inexplicably refused to pay Father Leonard. The government’s withholding of income lasted from the beginning of November through the end of December. After repeatedly denying Father Leonard’s payment, the Navy finally approved an invoice for payment at the end of December.

TMLC attorney Erin Mersino, counsel for Father Leonard, explained:

“The Petition Clause of the First Amendment protects individuals who challenge the unconstitutional actions of the government from retaliation. The Archdiocese for the Military Services confirmed that no other military chaplain contracts were under review or subjected to the same scrutiny as Father Leonard’s. Thus, due to the timing of the Navy’s actions and the information gleaned from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, all signs point to Father Leonard being singled out and subjected to unlawful retaliation for bringing the government’s practices to light.”

On October 4, 2013, during the Government shutdown, Father Leonard was ordered to stop performing all of his duties as the Base’s Catholic Chaplain, even on a voluntary basis. He was also told that he could be arrested if he violated that order.

Additionally, Father Leonard was locked out of his on-base office and the chapel. Father Leonard was denied access to the Holy Eucharist and other articles of his Catholic faith. The order caused the cancellation of daily and weekend mass, confession, marriage preparation classes and baptisms as well as prevented Father Leonard from providing the spiritual guidance he was called by his faith to provide.

The services of other Christian denominations at Kings Bay were allowed to continue throughout the shutdown. Only Catholics were left without services.
A day after the original federal lawsuit was filed, three attorneys from the Justice Department contacted Erin Mersino by phone and indicated that Father Leonard could resume all his religious duties and that the Chapel would be re-opened for all Catholic activities. Those representations of the Justice Department attorneys were confirmed by orders to Father Leonard through the Navy chain of command. However a week later, the retaliation against Father Leonard began.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, affirmed:

“Although Father Leonard is for the moment being paid, based on the government’s pattern of inconsistent conduct, there is no guarantee that the Government will not again claim the contract is invalid and refuse payment. Our Amended Complaint is necessary to seek the Court’s protection from further government retaliation.”

The Department of Justice has requested an additional sixty (60) days to respond to the amended complaint, and the Court ordered their response by March 3, 2014.

ABOUT THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

Renowned as a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center’s mission is to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America.  In courtrooms throughout our Nation, Law Center lawyers fight for the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, the sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense. The Law Center does not charge for its legal services, and relies on tax-deductible donations from concerned patriotic Americans and charitable foundations.

FL Legislature: Adultery, Cohabitation & Marijuana are fine but Texting while Driving is a Crime?

“Did this really happen? House committee moves to decriminalize adultery, co-habitation and a strain of marijuana,” reads the headline on the Miami Herald Blog.

The Miami Herald Blog reports. “Word is today that people are still wondering if they existed briefly in an alternate reality Thursday as they watched the conservative House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice embrace a proposed committee bill that would decriminalize adultery, co-habitation and a strain of non-euphoric marijuana as part of a sweeping rewrite of the state’s sentencing laws.” Read more here.

Tad Mackie, an Executive Committee member of the Republican Party of Sarasota, in an email states, “I didn’t ask but I’m OK with it. Adultery is morally wrong … But criminal? Cohabitation is morally wrong … But criminal? Pot should be legal. (like it was before 1934).”

But what are the social costs for legalizing adultery, cohabitation and pot?

Florida has a growing drug abuse problem, especially among our youth, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement looked at drugs in deceased persons and reported, “The Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics estimates that about 85,810 deaths occurred in Florida during January through June 2012. Of these, the medical examiners reported on 4,126 drug-related deaths (whether the cause of death or merely present) through toxicology reports submitted to the Medical Examiners Commission. In order for a death to be considered ‘drug-related,’ there must be at least one drug identified in the decedent; this is recorded as a drug occurrence. The vast majority of these 4,126 cases involved more than one drug listed in the report.”

TrustForAmericasHealth.org reports:

Florida has the 11th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, with 16.4 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities, according to a new report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic.

The number of drug overdose deaths – a majority of which are from prescription drugs – in Florida doubled since 1999 when the rate was 6.4 per 100,000. Nationally, rates have doubled in 29 states since 1999, quadrupled in four of these states and tripled in 10 more.

The report also finds that Florida received seven out of 10 possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse.

Florida also has a growing number of single parent families, which strain the state’s social services programs including Medicaid.

According to CountyHealthRanking.org Florida has 37% of children living in a single parent household. Individual counties range from 20% in Lafayette County to 59% in Gadsden County, FL. An interactive map of children living in single parent households may be view here. Numerous studies have found a correlation between single parent households and poverty.

Decriminalizing adultery harms divorcees, most of whom are women. So decriminalizing adultery harms women and their children. Great idea.

According to Divorce.Net:

Florida is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that either party may seek a divorce without proving any reason for it other than the spouses don’t want to be married anymore. The spouse seeking a divorce simply needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This rule relieves the court of the complicated duty of deciding who is at fault, and the parties to the marriage are spared having to talk about painful personal issues in court.

Effect of Adultery on Child Custody

However, if one spouse committed adultery, it might affect other elements of the divorce. For example, “moral fitness” is one of the factors the court considers in making custody decisions, so if one parent can prove that the other parent’s adultery had or is reasonably likely to have an adverse impact on the child, the judge might limit that parent’s custody or visitation.

Effect of Adultery on Property Division

Adultery may also affect the division of marital property and debts. Florida is an equitable distribution state, so there is a presumption that the marital assets and liabilities should be evenly divided. This presumption may, however, be overcome by proof that one spouse has intentionally dissipated or wasted marital assets. Gifts, trips, apartment rent, car payments, and dinners for a non-marital partner are all considered a waste of marital assets. The court may reduce the adulterer’s share of martial assets to compensate the other spouse for this waste.

Effect of Adultery on Spousal Support (Alimony)

Florida laws specifically list adultery as a factor to be considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded, but courts have struggled to reconcile the consideration of adultery with the “no fault” concept. The bottom line is that judges will only increase a wronged spouse’s alimony if the adulterous conduct somehow increases that spouse’s monetary needs.

Finally, legalizing marijuana seems to be the new rave or wave by state legislators. Why? Because then they can tax it and spend the money taking care of the growing numbers of drug addicts, poor children from single parent homes and growing number of Floridians on Medicaid.

The Florida legislature is violating nature and nature’s laws. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: FL Rep. Ray Pilon wrote on his Facebook page,  “FYI it was only a workshop and no vote was taken.” Rep. Pilon sits on the Criminal Justice sub-Committee.

RELATED COLUMN: Study: Fatal Car Crashes Involving Marijuana Have Tripled – Now 1-in-9

The taking of Marie Winkelman 1-2-3

keeping a promise book cover by marie winkelmanWho is Marie Winkelman? Marie is the author of a book about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor in Poland titled “Keeping A Promise: To Tell My Story of Survival in Warsaw During WW II.”

“On December 4th, 2013, a beautiful and brilliant 88-year-old Holocaust Survivor named Marie Winkelman was put into guardianship in the Sarasota, Florida Probate Court – without a hearing – based upon a mediation agreement,” states Beverly Newman, President of the Al Katz Center.

Marie is the second victim of elder abuse in Sarasota County, Florida. The first was Al Katz, the father of Beverly Newman, another Holocaust Survivor.

The similarity of the two cases is striking and presents a pattern of what some believe constitutes “judicial cronyism.” It is a system that takes the liberty and property of its victims – usually the elderly.

Gary-Larsen

Federal Mediator Gary H. Larsen.

“Marie is a recent resident of Bird Key who still lives independently and keeps her home in immaculate condition. The mediation agreement was prepared by Federal Mediator Gary H. Larsen, which Marie did not see until after the mediation. Her fortune of many millions, which she earned through decades of hard work and prudent investments, is now in the hands of a company named Sabal Trust Company with which she has never had any contact. Through the mediated agreement, she is given a monthly allowance of her own money, despite the fact she has always spent her money judiciously,” notes Newman.

What makes Marie’s case different is the possible collusion to have Marie found incompetent not by strangers but by Robert Szychowski who is married to Marie’s step-daughter Corinne. This is the highest form of betrayal by the one person Marie trusted the most. She trusted Szychowski so much she signed a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) giving Szychowski control over every aspect of her life and wellbeing.  Marie made Szychowski her “attorney-in-fact” (my Agent) granting him “The power to exercise or perform any act, power, duty, right or obligation whatsoever…”

There was one proviso in her Durable POA. Paragraph 43 of the POA states:

It is my intent that My Agent [Szychowski] and attorney-in-fact have the broadest powers possible to act for me while I have the legal capacity to act and also while I am legally incapacitated to act, so as to avoid the necessity of a guardianship in case of my incapacity. [Emphasis added]

It was Szychowski who facilitated the process that violated Marie’s trust and express wishes to “avoid guardianship.” It was Szychowski who used Marie’s own money to pay those who are complicit in her placement into guardianship.

How could this betrayal happen?

likens

Christopher Alan Likens, P.A.

In July 2013, New Jersey resident and Rutgers University Acting Manager, Cost Studies, Szychowski, retained a lawyer, Christopher Alan Likens, using Marie’s money, to take her to court and force her into guardianship relative to her pharmaceutical routine. Even though Szychowski as the Durable POA could have hired a caregiver himself to monitor Marie’s medications, he hired a stranger to file a court action, without prior notice or giving Marie an opportunity to hire an attorney to represent her.

LoriGaetano

Lori Gaetano, care manager with Care InSight.

Szychowski then, using Marie’s money, paid at least $2,373 to Lori Gaetano, RN, a care manager from Care InSight, who testified in court that Marie was “incapacitated” with respect to financial matters because Gaetano had seen Marie’s checkbook lying on her table, where Gaetano projected that someone could take it from Marie’s private residence.

Dr. Miguel Rivera, MD, came into the picture, referred by Gaetano to Szychowski, hired by him, and paid at least $908 from Marie’s account.   To do a psychiatric evaluation of Marie, Dr. Rivera showed up with Gaetano at Marie’s home unannounced and without identifying himself as a psychiatrist, asked Marie a series of questions, and then left. Only later did Marie learn he was there evaluating her competence. It was Dr. Rivera’s negative evaluation report that began the process of the taking of Marie Winkelman 1-2-3.

In an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune published in 2011, Rivera noted, “They [the elderly patients] don’t know I’m a doctor,” he said, indicating his casual, golf-style shirt. “They just think I’m this friendly guy who comes around a lot.”

Although Sarasota County caps the fees to be paid to incapacity Examining Committee members at $200, Szychowski paid social worker, Linda Erickson, 11 times more, using Marie’s money without any court oversight.  Also, Szychowski paid Anne L. Olshansky, MSW, at least $500. Olshansky is a counselor and was another member of the panel that found Marie incompetent. Finally, although Florida guardians must file their fee statements with the court for court approval, Szychowski used Marie’s account to pay guardian Dawn Van Beck $1,294.63, on November 6, 2013, without any court oversight.

What is at stake here? A woman’s liberty and her property valued in excess of $3 million… in this case, a Holocaust Survivor who in childhood was robbed of her property and stability and now is re-living the traumas of betrayal and asset seizure.  Who benefits from Marie’s guardianship? Robert and Corinne Szychowski and the State of Florida’s guardianship system.

What is happening? The systematic financial abuse of an elder.

Stay tuned as Marie has a court hearing on February 28, 2014. This story must and will be told, to protect the innocent like Marie.

UPDATE: At the hearing held on January 9, 2014, in the Sarasota County Probate Court, Judge Deno Economou once again ordered Marie’s determination of incapacity and placement into guardianship to be mediated by a group of six attorneys (Gary Larsen, Christopher Likens, Kim Bald, Rebecca Proctor, Audrey Bear, and Tom Shults) being paid thousands of dollars per hour out of Marie’s assets, without any record being made and without the presentation of any evidence to the Judge. 

President Obama picks Cop Killer’s Defender to Head DOJ Civil Rights Division

The nation’s largest police union is blasting President Obama for choosing an attorney who defended a cop murderer—and member of the radical Black Panthers—to head a key division at the Justice Department, the agency responsible for enforcing the law and defending the interests of the United States.

Judicial Watch Blog reports, “Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Debo Adegbile [pictured above], spent more than a decade in various leadership positions—including director—at the Legal Defense and Education Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During Adegbile’s leadership the NAACP volunteered its services to represent Mumia Abu-Jamal, a member of the Black Panthers who murdered a police officer (Daniel Faulkner) in Philadelphia three decades ago.

Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death by the jury that convicted him in 1982 and his supporters—including the man who could soon be an Assistant Attorney General—have long claimed that he was the victim of a racist legal system. Nevertheless, Abu-Jamal has lost multiple appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected his case. In 2012, under the leadership of Adegbile, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund represented Abu-Jamal in his latest appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The cop murderer lost that one too, but the fact remains that Adegbile continues fighting on his behalf.

Understandably, this is upsetting to hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers represented by the National Fraternal Order of Police. In a hard-hitting letter to President Obama, the group expresses “extreme disappointment, displeasure and vehement opposition” to Adegbile’s nomination. “As word of this nomination spreads through the law enforcement community, reactions range from anger to incredulity,” the letter says, reminding that there is no disputing that Officer Faulkner was murdered by the “thug” who Adegbile continues defending.

“This nomination can be interpreted in only one way: it is a thumb in the eye of our nation’s law enforcement officers,” the letter continues. “It demonstrates a total lack of regard or empathy for those who strive to keep you and everyone else in our nation safe in your homes and neighborhoods—sometimes giving their lives in the effort.” Adegbile will certainly exacerbate the growing division and distrust between law enforcement and minority communities, the FOP claims. The group ends by telling the commander-in-chief of its hope that candidates with records of “fairness and respect to all Americans” are considered for future leadership positions in the administration.

Don’t hold your breath. It’s really not all that surprising to see a radical candidate like Adegbile nominated for this particular job. Remember the last guy (now Labor Secretary Thomas Perez) Obama picked to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division? He is a renowned La Raza advocate who led the DOJ’s attack on Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law and state Voter ID measures nationwide. Perez was also heavily embroiled in a scandal involving the DOJ’s abrupt decision to abandon its own voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Judicial Watch uncovered documents that show Perez lied under oath to a commission investigating the Black Panther debacle.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Judicial Watch Blog.

Common Law Grand Juries – Is There Such An Animal?

Yesterday I was contacted by an acquaintance whom I got to know through attendance at the Granada Forum, a patriot organization originally formed in Granada Hills, California, by Ralph Franklin and myself which we established in November of 1992. What this gentleman asked me if I would become a leader within what has become the Common Law Grand Jury Association. I expressed my views on the subject, and we made a conference call into another conference call that was underway taking place on the East Coast.

Within that conference call, I shared with them that approximately twelve or so years ago we used to have a group called “The Los Angeles County Common Law Grand Jury” that met here in the San Fernando Valley, Southern California, within Van Nuys, a suburb of the Greater City of Los Angeles. I attended not as a participant, but rather as an observer. I was personally known by many, if not all of the founders of this Common Law Grand Jury group. My expressed concern was in how these “Common Law Grand Jurors” were going to enforce their “indictments” within the system, and anticipated that someone was going to get hurt the moment this Los Angeles County Common Law Grand Jurors set forth to draw someone within their acclaimed jurisdiction for an indictment, and to have the “indicted” one criminally prosecuted. Since that time, this Los Angeles County Grand Jury has dissipated, and is no more. I am now hearing more about Common Law Grand Jury groups developing throughout the nation, and even a recent as yesterday, I am being asked to become a leader in this national development.

My concern is just the same as it was years ago, that someone is going to get hurt the moment these Common Law Grand Jurors assume jurisdiction and reach out to indict some government official and to have them criminally prosecuted.

Let me say, I certainly believe in the power of the People as manifest in the Magna Carta of 1215, which Great Charter in essence established that whenever the People have no remedies, they may take whatever actions they deem necessary to provide for a remedy. We have this same power delineated within our Declaration of Independence, to wit; “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” It is therefore manifest that if our future freedom demands an Armed Revolution, then Americans are charged with such duty to provide it. This is how I view what is being called, “Common Law Grand Juries.”

For years, this author has preached on the need for Grand Juries in an atmosphere when everyone was looking for a remedy via legislatures, presidents and governors. I am most grateful that I have recently witnessed the message sinking it with more realization that Grand Juries are the key for our future security. Make no doubt about, the establishment has become concerned on this point. The government has long striven to extract the power of Grand Juries out of the hands of the People, and sought to establish Grand Juries as a hammer in the hands of government prosecutors.

As a history lesson, it was back in 1960 that the California Legislature determined to strip the People of the power in the hand of the People by the creation of what the Legislature called, “The Commission on Judicial Qualifications”, later changed to “The Commission on Judicial Qualifications.”  By so doing, the power of the People to investigate judges within California through Grand Juries was transferred to a special commission made up of principally judges. So we had judges judging judges with little to no participation of the People as to judicial conduct. This legislation laid well with legislatures and judges across the nation. And so, within all fifty states there was created judicial commissions throughout the country for judges to oversee the conduct of judges. The net results was that the People lost control over their judges, and all judges were under the protection of other judges. There was thus created a “You watch my back, and I will watch yours” mentality. We were left only with the People suing Judge A before his friend and colleague Judge B. The decisions were always “You can’t sue Judge A because he is a judge and covered by Judicial Immunity.

In the Nation of England from which we separated by the Declaration of Independence, we revolted against the doctrine that “THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG!” But, through the manipulation of politics we have established a new fable, which is “JUDGES CAN DO NO WRONG!” Out of this background has arisen the concept of JAIL4Judges, which means Judicial Accountability Initiative Law for Judges by the proposal of the creation of an Independent Special Grand Jury to which all judges shall give direct account to a panel of 25 citizens who judge judges as Grand Jurors independent of government prosecutors, members of the Bar Association, all law enforcement, and anyone connected with the judicial system. It places all judgment concerning the judiciary directly and totally in the hands of just you and me with no participation of the government.

The Judicial Accountability Initiative Law started right here where We the People were robbed of our autonomous right to be the Alpha and the Omega as the Grand Jurors. Through J.A.I.L., we can once again reclaim our power we once had prior to the deprivation of our rights as Grand Jurors. By simply adding the words “Common Law” in front of Grand Juries, and asserting we are now a Grand Jury only leads to physical confrontation in which those involved will get hurt. What makes Special Independent Grand Juries different is that it becomes a revision to our various State’s Constitution, of which all governments, including judges, legislators, and executive must give a sworn Oath to obedience thereto in order to hold, or retain their positions.

Article II, Sec. 1 of the California Constitution reads, “All political power is inherent in the People. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform i when the public good may require.” So it is manifest by the Constitution that the People are autonomous,” they have and control all political power”, which power is totally within their hands, and no government may interfere with that right. This is why all governments throughout the United States are afraid of the possibility of the People adopting the provisions within J.A.I.L., as it would spell the end of their dynasty of control over the People.

Citizens group wants common law grand jury in Westmoreland County [PA]

Sunday – January 5, 2013

By Rich Cholodofsky

Published: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A citizens group filed court documents on Friday seeking to convene a common law grand jury in Westmoreland County, but legal experts say such a body has no real authority.

It’s the latest of a number of similar filings throughout the nation by people wanting to empanel investigating grand juries that are separate from the government. Citizens in the group would seek jurors from the local population, then make presentments to prosecutors.

Locally, groups in Allegheny and Beaver counties have issued the same call.

The move, however, is not backed by the law, according to a local official and a legal scholar.

“This is a rogue band of citizens with no legal authority,” said Wes Oliver, associate professor and director of the criminal justice program at Duquesne University School of Law. “To what extent there was ever a common law grand jury system that was self-creating, there no longer is.”

The Westmoreland group, founded by Tom Altman of Greensburg, wants to convene a grand jury that is not presided over by a judge and/or convened by county or state prosecutors.

Altman claims his grand jury is legitimate under the law and the Constitution.

But legal experts say that in 1946, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were established, doing away with the common law grand jury model.

District Attorney John Peck said grand juries must be approved by the courts.

“I don’t know there is a statute or procedural rule that allows citizens to convene grand juries,” Peck said.

Altman filed documents with Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline seeking to formalize the grand jury process. Kline said he was required under state law to accept the filing.

Altman said he paid the $21.40 filing fee under protest.

“We’re working to undo tyranny that’s been done,” he said. “We’re stirring a pot that’s real big, but it has to be stirred.”

Unless common law grand juries are officially recognized by the courts, prosecutors offered presentments or individuals subpoenaed by the self-formed grand juries would not be legally compelled to cooperate, Oliver said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

Are US Judges more Racist and Bigoted than either the Ku Klux Klan or New Black Panthers?

There is a growing concern in America that the judiciary is no longer enforcing natures laws as written in the US Constitution or upholding the Bill of Rights. The US Constitution, Article VI states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Citizens are seeing a judiciary that is part of a growing dysfunctional government, particularly at the federal level. Recent decisions by federal district court judges and the US Supreme Court have ordinary people scratching their heads. This growing dissatisfaction has led to the creation of grassroots groups like Jail4Judges.org. Jail4Judges website states it is a, “[N]ational grassroots organization designed to end the rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system of the United States.”

Perhaps the recent and most watched case of “rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system” at the state level was the George Zimmerman case in Florida. Many saw the Zimmerman case as a “political show trial” rather than an effort to serve justice and enforce the law. In the Zimmerman case no grand jury was ever empaneled. Had there been a grand jury, the case may never have gone to trial. Mark I. Sutherland in his book “Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America” forward notes, “We live in the greatest nation on Planet Earth, but it is becoming more and more apparent that in order to keep it great, people must do something to stop the federal courts that are daily setting themselves above the law and dictating how we should live and what we should think.”

History demonstrates that those wearing black robes are not immune to racism and bigotry.

Perhaps the most notable case, of many, of racism and bigotry is that of Carrie Buck, a helpless Virginia teenager. Edwin Black, in his book “War Against the Weak” shows how judicial corruption was rampant in Carrie Buck’s case. Black writes, “Carrie Buck’s mother, Emma, was one of Charlottesville’s least respected citizens. Widowed and worthless, living on the margins of society, Emma was deemed a perfect candidate for feeblemindedness … On April 1, 1920, Emma was hauled before the so-called Commission on Feeblemindedness. Justice of the Peace C.D. Shackleford convened the very brief hearing … A few minutes later, Emma was officially deemed feebleminded. Shackleford signed the order of commitment, declaring she was ‘suspected of being feeble minded or epileptic.’ Five days later, Emma was driven to the Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. There she was consigned to Ward Five . She would remain at the colony for the rest of her life.”

But it did not end there.

Black found, “One day in the summer of 1923, seventeen-year-old Carrie [the daughter of Emma Buck] was found to be pregnant. She explained she had been raped … On January 23, 1924, [Justice] Shackleford convened a brief hearing … Carrie was quickly declared ‘feebleminded’ and transferred to the custody of the Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. For Shackleford it was the second generation of Bucks he had sent to the colony-first the mother, Emma, and now the daughter, Carrie.”

“By March 30, 1924, Virginia’s eugenics law, which now included numerous due process safeguards, was finally passed by both state houses and signed by the governor. It was to take effect on June 17, 1924,” notes Black. “Carrie’s arrival at the colony was delayed until June 4, just days before the new [Virginia] sterilization law took effect. A legal guardian, Robert Shelton, was properly appointed for her and properly paid $5 per day, just as the statute and due process required. On September 10, 1924, a colony review board properly met and ruled Carrie ‘is feebleminded and by the laws of heredity is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted…”

Carrie became a test of Virginia’s eugenic law. The idea was to appeal of Virginia’s sterilization law “[I]n order that we may test the constitutionality through our state courts, event to the Supreme Court of the United States.” The legal challenge was scheduled for November 18, 1924 with Carrie represented by attorney Irving Whitehead “a staunch eugenicist, founding father of the colony and an advocate of sterilization, who was to champion Carrie Buck’s defense.”

“If the Supreme Court would uphold Carrie Buck’s sterilization, the floodgates of eugenic cleansing would be opened across the United States for thousands,” wrote Black. In Buck vs Bell 1927, none other than Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the majority opinion “the words that would reverberate forever”:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Eugenical sterilization was now the law of the land.

Buck vs Bell would be quoted in the US Supreme Court decision in Roe vs Wade in 1972 and in San Antonio Independent School Board vs Rodrigues in 1973.

Fast forward to today. The judicial system is accountable only to itself. There is no outside review of judicial malfeasance from the bench. Judges are closely protected by none other than their fellow judges, who among other things, cannot be sued. Is it any wonder that there are groups like Jail4Judges springing up across America?

Healthcare.gov is fraudulent, deceptive and illegal

My good friend Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, USMC (Ret.) was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission in 1997 and remained in that position until 2005. I have been friends with Colonel Swindle for many years.

The Honorable Orson Swindle asked me to remind us, the American people, that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal government’s principal Law Enforcement Agency for enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws. The FTC deals with mergers and acquisitions, fraudulent, deceptive, and illegal business practices, and information system privacy and security.

In a National Review Online article by Andrew Stiles, former FTC Commissioner Swindle outlines a number of illegal aspects in the Obama administrations healthcare website (http://Healthcare.gov) and how the Obama administration has been promoting the Health Care law. He points out how the website runs afoul of Federal Regulations of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Here are excerpts from the Stiles column:

Orson Swindle, who served as an FTC commissioner from 1997 to 2005, says there are a number of practices that, if HealthCare.gov were a private entity, would result in its being “taken to the shed and horsewhipped” by government regulators.

President Obama’s oft-repeated falsehood, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” — something the administration knew was untrue — would almost certainly be a textbook case of deceptive advertising, punishable under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practice in or affecting commerce.” This includes a “representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer,” such that the consumer would be “likely to have chosen differently but for the deception.”

Other examples of potentially deceptive practices include the apparently deliberate decision to withhold information from HealthCare.gov visitors as to the actual prices of the policies offered via the exchanges. In fact, users aren’t told how much those policies will cost until after they have created an account, which requires giving a slew of personal and financial information.

Additionally, a recent CBS News investigation found that HealthCare.gov contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s gross violations of FTC’s and CFPB’s Federal Regulations are being ignored by US Attorney General Holder and the Democratically controlled Senate, whose members continue to permit the President to disregard Federal Laws, Federal Regulations and provisions of the US Constitution with impunity.

We are appreciative of the fact that Orson Swindle has pointed out these violations of Federal Laws and Federal Regulations by the President.

Orson_Swindle

Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, III, USMC (Ret.), former Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Orson Swindle’s impressive background follows.

Lieutenant Colonel Orson Swindle, III, USMC (Ret.) is a Vietnam POW who retired from the US Marine Corps in 1979. His military career is one of extraordinary triumph. On November 11, 1966, he was serving as a US Marine Corps aviator in South Vietnam flying his 205th mission, on what was to be his final combat mission, when he was shot down, captured by the North Vietnamese, and held as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi for six years and four months.

On March 4, 1973, LTC Swindle was released from captivity at the conclusion of America’s involvement in the Vietnamese War. For valor in combat, he was awarded with more than twenty military decorations, including two Silver Star Medals, two Bronze Star Medals, two Legions of Merit Medals, thirteen Air Medals, and two Purple Heart Medals. From 1981 to 1989 Mr Swindle served in the Reagan Administration, where he directed financial assistance programs to economically-distressed rural and municipal areas of the country.

As the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development he managed the Department of Commerce’s national economic development initiatives, directing seven offices across the country. In 1993, Orson Swindle worked with former Cabinet Secretaries Jack Kemp and William Bennett, former Congressman Vin Weber, and Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick to form Empower America.

He was the Republican candidate for Congress in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District in 1994 and 1996. LTC Swindle was a former roommate of Senator John McCain’s in the Hanoi Hilton prison in North Vietnam.

The Honorable Orson Swindle’s full biography is listed on the “Leadership” page of the Combat Veterans For Congress PAC website.

Defense of American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) & Response to Critics

Response by the American Freedom Law Center to Joe Carter’s “The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws,” published in The Gospel Coalition Blog, and to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) opposition to American Law for American Courts in general. Act for America has been trying to get the American states, such as Florida, to pass ALAC legislation.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/AhUcuSyS6jk[/youtube]

 

To learn more about the American Freedom Law Center click here.

To learn more about ACT! for America click here.

Shouldn’t Federal Judges be subject to their own un-Constitutional rulings?

Today I read a ruling by a Reagan appointee Federal Judge Edward R. Korman (pictured above). Judge Korman ruled, “that the government does not need reasonable suspicion to examine or confiscate a traveler’s laptop, cellphone or other device at the border.” He stated that its legal for law enforcement to peruse through laptop computers, cell phones, text messages, and other means of communication within 100 miles of the United States border and without a warrant and with no probable cause.

This means if you are walking down the street in San Diego, according to Korman’s ruling, a police officer can take your phone and look through it. If you are at Starbucks relaxing at a border town in Arizona working on your lap top emailing your girl friend, a police officer can confiscate your computer with no probable cause and can look through your hard drive without a warrant. He can also confiscate your private property and hold it indefinitely.

Today I called Judge Korman’s chambers in the East side of New York phone number and spoke to his personal secretary. His secretary said he was told not to comment on the ruling and he said its public record. I stated “You do understand this is a direct violation of the 4th Amendment and NOBODY looks through my stuff on my computer or phone without a warrant”, well excluding the NSA, those spies who read and save everything I send out anyway.

I then said that the Judge lives within 100 miles of the Hudson River which is a entry point into the United States and he falls into the “No warrant clause” Hey its his ruling. I said I will fly up there as a retired military official and I would like to take a look at his cell phone text records and peruse through his emails. No warrant required and as a private citizen maybe I feel like pressing a citizens arrest on the judge for treason against the Constitution.

The secretary said I cannot do that and the request is denied. Oh so very proper and the guy was so wanting me to hang up the phone. He then said I have no authority to do that.

Hah! I said and the same rule applies to me and the other 197 million people that live within his self appointed 100 mile border searches. He can’t do this. Its illegal!

Tomorrow I will call the local FBI office in New York and ask them to mosey on over to his office and ask to look at his emails, phone records and text messages as per his own ruling. Lets see what happens. I have had just about enough of these un-Constitutional rulings from the bench and not from the rights given to me by God. The 4th Amendment is non negotiable.

Oh, by the way, it was Judge Korman who ruled that age restrictions on over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill are “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” and must end. The ruling means consumers of any age (like underage children) could buy emergency contraception without a prescription — instead of a girl first having to prove she is 17 or older, as they do today.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler an American Feminist Fighting Sharia

In December 2003 we organized a summit with noted counter-Jihadists at a private university club in Manhattan. We were endeavoring to develop a concerted campaign in America to warn about the threat of Qur’anic doctrine and sharia to Constitutional guarantees of free expression, liberty and freedom. We had assembled notable figures from both academic and non-academic research sources to attend the conference. Among the attendees was Dr. Phyllis Chesler, noted radical feminist, author of bestselling books and peer–reviewed journal articles, groundbreaking pioneer in the fields of women’s studies and founder of the Women’s Psychology Association.

When we made our initial acquaintance with her, we also learned of what had propelled her doctoral studies in these fields. She had been virtually imprisoned under the Islamic law in purdah, a women’s enclosure, in a polygamous household in Kabul, Afghanistan with her US passport taken away. All because she had married a man whom she thought was a young bohemian like herself at a private college in the US who came from a privileged Afghan family. Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim husband culminated a tempestuous relationship between a young scholarship student from an Orthodox Jewish background and the debonair attractive young Muslim man who shared her un-orthodox views.  Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim came at a time in the early 1960’s when cross cultural encounters were both exotic and yet politically correct. That fantasy ended upon her arrival at Kabul Airport with the taking of her US passport and abrupt introduction to Medieval 10th Century purdah in her husband’s Afghan household. Her debonair husband abandoned her in the women’s enclosure controlled by her Afghan mother-in-law who sought to convert her from Judaism to Islam. She subjugated Chesler to totalitarian control of her person under Islamic sharia law in violation of universal human rights.

Chesler’s subsequent illness, flight back to America, and annulment of her marriage to her Afghan husband led to her professional pursuit of an academic program in feminism and advocacy of changes in women civil rights and equality. Her 1972 landmark best seller, Women and Madness capped her research and women’s psychoanalytic practice, becoming an iconic work in 20thCentury American feminism. She also went on to deepen her appreciation of Judaism and to fight for female equality in worship, Torah and Talmud study against the strictures of Orthodox Judaism. Her deepening involvement in her Jewish faith, including a second marriage (and divorce) with an Israeli and birth of her son Ariel, crystallized in another pioneering work in 2003,The New Antisemitism. That book drew groundbreaking attention to delegitimization and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people by leftists and Palestinian advocates. Her views expressed in The New Antisemitismhave grown in importance given contemporary compelling research on European and Islamic Antisemitism. Views that belatedly have been recognized by both American and World Jewish leadership.  You can view Chester’s oeuvre of published works and scheduled appearances in 2014 at her website, here.

At the December 2003 private conference many of us in the emerging counter-jihad activist community heard her discuss Islam as a system of gender apartheid under sharia knowing that she had directly confronted it. We urged her to take the time out of her feminist endeavors and write about the experience. She subsequently did in a chapter her book, The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom and a Middle East Quarterly article in 2006, “How Afghan Captivity Shaped my Feminism.” That is a reflection of the long lasting support of Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum where she made been made a Fellow. That exposure drew her into conflict with many leaders in the US and world feminist movement who took multi-cultural relativism as an article of faith that conflicted with what Chesler contended was the imperative of universal civil liberties in the face of Islamic anti-Western triumphalism.

Chesler’s academic research also extends to honor killing, female genital mutilation  and support for banning the burqa under doctrinal Islam. As a result she has been much sought after to provide expert testimony in court matters involving Muslim women in such matters. In a recent Fox News op ed, “Beneath Burqa-Bruised and Badly Beaten Teenager”, about a  recent violent occurrence reported in The New Zealand Herald she drew attention to  the precursors to violence committed against Muslim women. Using the extreme example of quadruple honor killings of a polygamous Muslim family committed by the convicted Afghan Canadian Shafia family, she drew attention to the moral equivalence of “omerta” in Muslim families. Chesler said “that sustained physical abuse and psychological cruelty often precedes or is correlated with a subsequent honor killing.” In the case of the savage beating of the Muslim teenager in New Zealand, hidden from public view by a burqa, Chesler commented that the police became aware that “members of the community in positions of power and trust knew that the abuse was serious but did not help the girl.” Given the increasing evidence of cases of FGM committed in the US by African and Muslim émigré families, legislators in more than 21 states have introduced legislation seeking tougher sentencing guidelines despite existing federal law that prohibits the horrendous procedure.

Praise for her work in these latest efforts for women and freedom from Islamic totalitarianism is reflected in  her abiding friendship with two noted former Muslims, Sudanese former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel and Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations and our NER colleague, Ibn Warraq, author of critical works on Islam, including Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy.

Chesler has maintained communications with her former Afghan Muslim husband despite their divorce. Five decades following her escape from Kabul she completed the long suggested a memoir of her confrontation with an Islamic household ruled by sharia, An American Bride in Kabul. Read our review of Chester’s latest book in the current edition of the New English Review. 

We recently were afforded the opportunity to renew acquaintances and interview Dr. Chesler about her Afghan memoir, professional career as a psychoanalyst in women’s health, commitment to Jewish women’s equality and her advocacy and expert testimony against Islamic doctrinal denial of women’s rights to their physical person, liberty and freedom.

Jerry Gordon:  Dr Chesler thank you for consenting to this interview.

Phyllis Chesler:  Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon:  What prompted you to write, An American Bride in Kabul?

Chesler:  Afghanistan and its people seem to have followed me into the future and right into the West. Islamic burqas are here in America, on the streets and in the headlines. One reads about Afghanistan daily in most major newspapers. This is the country where I was once held hostage; it is the country which sheltered Bin Laden after he was exiled from Saudi Arabia and Sudan. He hatched his 9/11 plot in an Afghan cave. And now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by Al Qaeda and Al-Qaeda-like Jihadists. An eerie coincidence. Also, in my lifetime, Afghanistan has also literally turned into a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel—even darker and more misogynistic than The Handmaid’s Tale. Given the increasing persecution and subordination of Muslim women, I decided to connect my five long months in purdah to the surreal lives of Afghan and Muslim women today, including in the West.

The Al Aqsa Intifada of 2000 and 9/11 also changed the direction this book would take. How could I write about Afghanistan and Muslim women without also writing about Jihadic terrorism and its war against civilians, both infidel and Muslim, and against both Israel and the West?

Gordon:  What was seductive about Afghan reformist Abdul-Kareem during your courtship at college that led to your marriage as an Orthodox Jewish woman to a Muslim man?

Chesler:  I was a naïve eighteen year old, a full scholarship kid at a private college and there he was—dapper, charming, debonair, a Prince right out of my childhood fairy tales, a fellow bohemian, as secular as I had become, and so very attentive. In retrospect, he was shadowing me, monitoring me, but at the time, I was flattered and thought it meant that he loved me very much. We never discussed religion. In 1959, there were no college courses about Islam or about Islam’s historic imperialism, colonialism, conversion by the sword, and slavery. I thought Jews and Muslims were both “other” in America and therefore somehow similar. He promised me a Grand Adventure the likes of which only wealthy, mainly British travelers had experienced: Time in a place that was once the cross-roads of the known world. Also, just perhaps, like so many other Jewish dreamers, I also yearned for a mystical union between Isaac and Ishmael. Thus, I married Ishmael.

Gordon:  What happened when you reached Kabul and entered your Afghan husband’s polygamous household?

Chesler:  When we landed in Kabul, officials smoothly removed my American passport—pro forma for all foreign brides. I never saw that passport again. Suddenly, I was the citizen of no country and had no rights. I had become the property of a polygamous Afghan family and was expected to live with my mother-in-law and other female relatives in purdah. That means that I was not allowed out without a male escort, a male driver, and a female relative as chaperones. I had expected a life of travel and adventure but this marriage had transported me back to the tenth century and trapped me there without a passport back to the future.

Gordon:  Describe for us how purdah, sharia treatment of women, subjugated your freedom in your Afghan husband’s household?

Chesler:  I lived gender apartheid long before the Taliban or the war lords arose. My Afghan husband was not religious but his family was and so was the country he had not lived in for more than a decade. My mother-in-law kept trying to convert me to Islam. Polygamy was accepted. Half-brothers jockeyed and competed for their father’s attention and inheritance. Although the women had been unveiled by King Zahir Shah in 1958, the poor women of Kabul and the women in the provinces wore burqas or hid from stranger-men behind long veils. Everyone’s marriage was arranged, traditionally to a first cousin, but not necessarily. There were no “love matches” which were viewed as a filthy Western idea. I was a prisoner in fairly post purdah. I could not go out alone, without permission, a male escort, and a female relative to chaperone me. No one but me found any of this abnormal or horrifying.

Gordon:  How much of the denial of basic freedoms in what you witnessed in Kabul was tribal versus emblematic of Islamic sharia treatment of women?

Chesler:  Women were not the only ones who lived under royal Afghan tyranny and a much closed society. Male political dissent was punished; any man who could not manage his wife was in trouble and got his family in trouble. My Afghan husband had brought an infidel, Jewish, American woman to Kabul as his bride. He was already in trouble. The jails in Afghanistan were always filled with political dissidents, “Western” oriented dreamers and thinkers who were tortured and locked away for years. Once, long ago, Afghanistan was pagan, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Hindu, even Jewish—but that all ended with the Arab conquest and the forcible conversion of the people to Islam. It is sometimes hard to say that Islam versus tribal culture and tradition are responsible for what we view as human rights violations and atrocities. Let’s just say that any indigenous barbarism or tribal customs that existed in Afghanistan pre-Islam was not tempered or abolished by Islam. In some cases, for example, the stoning of an alleged adulteress/rape victims, the persecution of religious minorities, polygamy, cross-amputations, rote recitation of the Qu’ran in Arabic without comprehension, physical punishment of children by mullah-teachers, etc. is very much a part of Sharia practices.

Gordon:  How did the experience and flight from Kabul impact on your lifelong pursuit of feminism and women’s rights?

Chesler:  I believe my feminism was forged in purdah in Kabul. That experience may also explain why I am not a cultural relativist and why I believe in universal human rights. Even if we cannot guarantee such rights in a Muslim country, we can do so for everyone who lives here in the West and in North America. I am not one of those academics who believe that it is a woman’s religious right to choose to wear a face veil (niqab) or burqa (ambulatory body bag/sensory deprivation isolation chamber). I also understood that while American women may be discriminated against economically, politically, legally, and in terms of physical and sexual violence, that we have the right to fight for our rights, without being stoned or be-headed; we have free public libraries, access to education and employment, we are not forced into arranged marriages. Thus, I always understood that America, despite all its flaws, is the best country in the world, not the worst.

Gordon:  When did you return to the study and observance of Judaism and what place does Jewish feminism have in gender equality?

Chesler:  I have always been a proud Jew. I helped create feminist Jewish rituals (Passover Sedarim, etc.) and stood against anti-Semitism starting in the early 1970s. But, when I prayed with the Original Women of the Wall for the first time in 1988, I was asked to open the Torah for the women for the first-time ever. It wedded me fatefully to this struggle which is now in its 26th year. I began to study Torah. I joined synagogues, both Conservative and Orthodox. I published a book with my chevrutah (Torah study partner), Rivka Haut, who is a serious Talmud scholar, about this legendary struggle. Recently, alas, this struggle has now been fatefully compromised by a group we call The Women of Robinson’s Arch, led by Anat Hoffman, the very woman who defamed Israel all over the United States for the last decade. I never used this injustice against Jewish women’s religious rights at the Kotel against Israel in the world media. Actually, come to think about it, if we were waging such a struggle in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, or Afghanistan we would all have been stoned to death a long time ago. I publish devrai Torah which may be found at my website under Judaism. Feminism born in the secular world has been used by religious Jewish feminists who have become rabbis, cantors, and Torah scholars—which is rather revolutionary.

Gordon:  What was your career path subsequent to you return to America that transformed you into a pioneering academic in women’s studies and later co-founder of the Association of Women in Psychology?

Chesler:  I returned to complete my last semester at college, spent nearly three years fighting my Afghan husband for a divorce, something he opposed, entered graduate school in psychology, and got a Ph.D in 1969. I was also active in the American civil rights movement and became a leader in the American feminist movement. My first book, Women and Madness(1972) became a classic work and a bestseller. I would say that this work has possibly changed the mental health professions and their clients by at least 20-25%. Thus, sexism remains in the diagnosis and treatment of both genders. But 25% is still something

Gordon:  In Sacred Bond: The Case of Baby M (1988) you championed the rights of a surrogate birth mother in a New Jersey case and subsequent law. What were your arguments and the opposing views of liberal feminists?

Chesler:  I had published With Child. A Diary of Motherhood (1979) and Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, (1986) which I expanded and updated in 2011. I saw the Baby M case as a new and more terrifying kind of custody battle which it was. Many liberal feminists, themselves or their daughters wrestling with infertility problems, wanted this option if needed, especially since adoption is so perilous an undertaking in terms of bureaucratic red tape and other problems. Also, such feminists were ambivalent about biological motherhood and truly believed that if a woman—any woman—broke a contract that this would be used against all women in terms of women changing their minds. This is ridiculous. Men and business people always demand changes to contracts. But if a contract is illegal and immoral, involves enormous exploitation and risk to the “surrogate” mother, where is the glory in upholding it? When the Vatican came out against surrogacy, I was accused of “being in bed with the Pope.” I rather liked that.

Gordon:  You experienced 9/11 in Manhattan as a defining moment. How did it impact you and change your feminist agenda?

Chesler:  Even before that, the Al Aqsa Intifada had galvanized me. Although, as noted above, I had organized against anti-Semitism since the early 1970s, this was a quantum leap forward or backward. I knew the bloody beast was back and that I would have to write about it and about how the western intelligentsia was making common cause with Islamists who hated Jews and the Jewish state. When 9/11 happened, I said: “Now we are all Israelis.” And so we are.

Gordon:  The New Antisemitism (2003) was among the first serious examinations of the demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In the decade since the book was published what developments have occurred that confirm your warnings?

Chesler: Thank you for remembering this. At the time it came out, major Jewish organizations were indifferent or hostile. I was mocked as the “Jewish Cassandra.” Liberal Jews would not allow me to speak. I was not reviewed in the mainstream media. On campuses, I needed bodyguards. Now, a decade later, the leaders of Jewish organizations are saying precisely what I said long ago. These same people are now raising money to organize on campuses. They claim they are “on it,” are solving the problem. They are not—they cannot, and they are way too late. Israel still does not have a Ministry devoted to Cognitive Warfare. We, the Jewish people, do not have an Al-Jazeera of our own which broadcasts around the clock globally, covers many issues, and when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, simply tells the truth. Israel has effectively lost the war of ideas. I belong to a premier group of pro-Israel advocates who are brilliant, informed, at the ready, but we are soldiers without boots or weapons and most work without funding. The determined and excellent grassroots pro-Israel groups that have sprung up fight each other for limited funding and Jews continue to give large sums to organizations that take no risks, still have President Obama’s back, and will sacrifice Israel in a heartbeat in the belief that they will remain safe and prosperous in America. Too few Jews want to bear the burden of associating themselves with a country which has been so demonized and isolated. Ironically, misogynist Jews, often Orthodox, often haredi, can be counted on to have Israel’s “back.”  Kavod kaved. Glory is a heavy burden indeed.

Gordon:  What was the message in The Death of Feminism (2005) that led to your complete rupture with academic and leftist feminists and your defense of Muslim and ex-Muslim women’s rights and issues?

Chesler:  There has been no complete rupture. I remain a feminist; I have not renounced the cause of women’s freedom. Also, over time, privately, cautiously, some Second Wave feminists have told me that I am brave, that I am right, that they wish they had the courage to speak out. My closest allies today are Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents and religious Jewish feminists. But politically correct journalists succeeded in keeping me as well as many others who share my views, off the mainstream/left stream airwaves and away from all the distinguished lecture podiums. Every so often, I get across the aisle. I will continue to talk to both sides of the aisle.

Gordon:  You have defined the treatment of women under sharia as gender apartheid. How can the West combat it?

Chesler:  Very simply by enforcing the laws of our land. But it is also not so simple. When daughters are beaten and death threatened, forced to veil against their will, they rarely “tell” authorities and when they do, proper action is rarely taken. No one (teachers, guidance counselors, child protective services, physicians) in the West wants to believe that a family will actually conspire to kill one of their daughters because she does not want to wear hijab, drop out of school, and marry her first cousin; or because she wants a higher education, wants to choose her husband, has infidel friends, wants to lead a Western life. Also, “rescuing” such a girl will mean putting her in the equivalent of a federal witness protection program and giving her a new, extended, adoptive Muslim family. This is labor intensive and costly and America is not yet ready to undertake this. Also, girls, even endangered girls, love their families they fear, and do not want to leave them.

Gordon:  Why have honor killings occurred with disturbing frequency in the West?

Chesler:  Although Hindus perpetrate honor killings as well, they do so mainly in one part of India, they do not bring this custom with them into the West. Only Muslims do so. I have published three studies in Middle East Quarterly in 2009, 2010, and 2012. I strongly suggest that your readers view them: Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence (2009); Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings (2010), and Hindu vs. Muslim Honor Killings (2012).

Gordon:  Recently proposed state legislation has been introduced against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). How prevalent is FGM in domestic Muslim and African émigré communities in this country and would the adoption of the proposed anti FGM legislation make a difference?

Chesler:  This practice continues even though it is prohibited by Federal law. I have recently been told by an immigration lawyer that FGM is very widespread in the United States and that the greatest number of such women are in New York City. New York! This means that unlicensed butchers carry out this often lethal and life-scarring procedure right here, sometimes without anesthesia; that girls are sent back home for “vacation cuttings;” and that licensed physicians are performing this mutilation. The girls and their families all believe that without this mutilation, the girl is impure, tainted, and that no one will marry her and she will remain a shameful burden to her father. Legitimate physicians will not treat pregnant women who have been mutilated which means that when they give birth, it is with no pre-natal care and in emergency rooms staffed by physicians who do not know how to cut through the massive scarring or how to safely remove such scarring after the birth. By the way, I do not believe that the Qu’ran mandates such mutilation; the custom began primarily as an African tribal custom but has been spread via Islam to non-African countries such as Indonesia where the rates are increasing.

Gordon:  Under sharia doctrine domestic violence against women by husbands, male relatives and even female siblings is condoned for alleged unruly and disobedient behavior. Given that you are an expert witness in domestic cases involving Muslim and ex-Muslim women, has evidence of this surfaced in divorce, custody and spousal abuse matters?

Chesler:  I have submitted affidavits to judges on behalf of girls and women in flight from being honor killed and in search of asylum. I have also learned that my work has been relied upon in a number of high profile prosecutions of honor killers in the West. This is a great privilege. Western style domestic violence sometimes results in femicide but not always. Honor killings are not like domestic violence. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousins do not conspire to kill a teenage girl in the West. An honor killing is a family conspiracy or collaboration to do just this, although sometimes the victim is a battered wife. In both cases, the girl’s or the woman’s alleged disobedience is seen as shaming her family and ruining their standing in the community.

Gordon:  Thank you Dr. Chesler for this engrossing interview with insightful observations on the treatment of women under Islam.

Chesler:  Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these issues.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.