Pandering: 1.a person who furnishes clients for a prostitute or supplies persons for illicit sexual intercourse; procurer; pimp. 2. a person who caters to or profits from the weaknesses or vices of others. 3. a go-between in amorous intrigues. verb (used without object) 4. to act as a pander; cater basely: to pander to the vile tastes of vulgar persons. (From dictionary.com)
I would never want this word bandied about in association with my name- ever. And yet we hear on news reports and other commentators that President Obama is “pandering” to certain groups of people or “niches”. At first his campaign was targeting female voters with the phony “Republican War on Women”. His campaign pits the poor against the rich. In a hypocritical move, Obama told the wealthiest of the wealthiest from New York and Hollywood’s A-listers, “You’re the tie-breaker… You’re the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes”.
In May of 2012, Obama’s support of gay marriage opened doors for him to campaign openly to any and all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups all over this great country. It is ironic that his support for LGBT may have cost him some support with his largest base – the African American community.
In spite of the fact that Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been working on a Dream Act alternative that would legally address the issue of children born to illegal immigrants, Obama signed an Executive Order that stops the deportation of 800,000 illegals. Obama is so desperate for the Hispanic vote that he has bypassed his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. A country without borders is not a country. Every other country in the world understands this. Even Mexico.
Okay – before anyone starts labeling me or calling me names, let me give you my reasons for bringing up the previous points. #1 – Pandering. I realize that politics is a dirty game and must be won at all costs, but Obama is already our…our President. Isn’t this right? In my lifetime, in your lifetime, do you remember such divisiveness by any President or campaign? Do you remember reading about any campaign in the history of our nation that has resorted to labeling people, separating groups of Americans, or trying to call attention to our differences? This President, this man who was to be the “great uniter” has been the great divider. He panders to groups, dividing us like marbles in a child’s game. He is carefully placing us into groups by size, color, and worth (not to mention religion, class, party, etc.) Where do you fit into his strategy? This is no game, my friends.
Let’s talk about Gay Marriage and the entire LGBT issue. As Hollywood celebrates and many congratulate Obama’s “forward” thinking, I ask you to look at reality. Open your eyes to the truth that is staring at you. Just this past April, The White House opened its doors and hosted members of The Muslim Brotherhood. Who are the Muslim Brotherhood? They are Shariah-compliant, theocratic dictators. They are known to support terrorism and terrorists. In relation to how this affects the LGBT community, Shariah Law and Islam are very clear about homosexuality: it is not tolerated. Punishment is severe. The guilty are beaten, tortured, or executed.
The Democrats and Obama Administration failed at their “War on Women” as they should, because with this Administration embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, all women in this country should be very afraid for their future. Shariah Law suppresses women and their rights. Women are merely considered as property. Under Shariah, women would be diminished to the level of our dogs…or worse.
The Muslim Brotherhood eliminates free speech. They teach hatred toward Christians and Jews. That’s not all. They hate Western Civilization and top on their list is the United States of America. That’s you. That’s your child…your neighbor. That’s your Catholic or Christian immigrant neighbor from another country.
So, I ask you, what is Obama doing pandering to the Muslim Brotherhood?
In 2009, while commenting on our poor economic health, Obama said, “I will be held accountable…If I don’t have this done in 3 years, then there’s going to be a ONE term proposition”. Today he’s trying to re-spin this statement because of his failures. The price of gas is up, food prices have skyrocketed, un-employment is high, the housing market is in the toilet, etc. It doesn’t matter if you are Gay, Straight, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Legal, Illegal, Married, Single, Student or a Senior Citizen – this economy is Obama’s economy. He asked for it. He campaigned for it. He said he could and would fix it. It has been 3 years and the gig is up.
Now it is time for a President that speaks to us as a “people”…as a nation. Forget the “hope and change”. Forget “forward”. Put the car in reverse. Back up. Set a new course and look for the familiar road signs: Freedom, Liberty, Prosperity…
I’m voting for Mitt Romney. I’m voting for a man that I know is FOR America, not AGAINST America. I’m voting for a man that doesn’t have ties with terrorists. I’m voting for a man that IS on the side of women. I’m voting for a man that doesn’t divide Americans by race or group or religion. I’m voting for a man that doesn’t divide poor from rich. I’m voting for a man that sees me as quite simply, Debi Devens – American.
Two invitations, separated by over two decades. The first invitation I declined and the second I accepted. If I had accepted the earlier, I might have ended up in a sad video tribute of people that had committed suicide, been murdered, or died of drug overdose. I watched the video through a veil of tears at the event for the second invite I attended. My mind played through all of the “what ifs” as I listened to horrific and hellacious tales. “This could have been me” was my answer to a nice couple when they asked why I was attending the “Human Trafficking, Pornography, Drug Cartel and Child Abduction” Conference in Los Angeles.
I was a single mom who worked for minimum wage and couldn’t make ends meet in the late 1980’s. It seemed that each week that passed, I sold more of what was left of my personal belongings to get by. The future looked bleak with every passing moment. My daughter, two large dogs and two cats needed a house, not an apartment, and rent in the city where we lived was very expensive. Our pets were the source of joy and stability for my daughter, so getting rid of them was not an option.
A favorite, trusted, and loved employee where I worked approached me when he heard that I needed money. He told me how I could earn extra income, working every other weekend when my daughter was away. It was a staggering amount of money. There was an obvious catch, but he assured me the work was “high class” with no funny business. When I showed my disgust at his suggestion and told him that I would never consider selling myself, he pressed on, saying that he was only concerned because of my daughter’s needs. He made me feel guilty for not pursuing his “job lead”. I told him, flat out, that is was because of my daughter that I would never consider being a call girl, and gave him my emphatic “NO!” I lost all respect for him and quit my job. I didn’t tell my employer what had happened. I felt shame and embarrassment for being viewed in such a demeaning way.
Tony Nassif is the President and Founder of the “Preventing Abuse Foundation”. http://preventingabuse.org/ He states that “there are many elements to human trafficking. One of the most important is the ‘demand’. If there are no buyers, the business shuts down.”
More than $32 billion dollars is brought in annually by the Sex Industry, which is only second to the illegal drug trade. This says a lot about the moral state of our society.
Ann Bissel was a victim of child sex trafficking. Her website and organization is http://www.silverbraid.com/ “Commercial sexualization of our children is a mistake”…and is “our nation’s silent epidemic”. “Silverbraide” opens up our eyes to child abduction, gang rapes, runaways, kidnapping, which all leads to trafficking within a blink of an eye.
Ann read from a poem she had written. At first she was calm, but as she continued to read she broke down. She was reading a part in her poem about a 13 year old, abducted while walking home from Bible study! The words came from her choked by tears and I barely could comprehend the phrase, “just another ho on the street”. The people who deal in child pornography and child trafficking are animals. It was only 10:00 a.m. Time to pass the Kleenex. How in the world could we sit through this until 3:00 p.m.?
I wonder how many women think that it is okay to watch pornography with their husbands or turn the other way when husbands, boyfriends, or guy friends watch porno on the internet? Perhaps if you were to go to http://www.thepinkcross.org/page/what-pink-cross and see the truth about pornography, you would change your mind. Be warned in advance that this website is not for the faint of heart. The brutality of how porn stars (and I would change that to porn “slaves”) are treated is truly worse than anyone treats their dogs, with the exception of Michael Vick and the like. Men and some women seek pleasure by watching pornography. They think that these girls are enjoying the sex that takes place. The reality is men are watching women being brutalized, raped, attacked, coerced, threatened; leaving them without self-esteem or hope. Is that sexy? Is that a turn-on? The fact is that these women are contracting sexual diseases right before everyone’s eyes, without consent and beyond their control. Now, ask yourself this question: What if that were your daughter, niece, son, brother, uncle, aunt, husband, neighbor, wife?
I saw men get up and walk out of the room during this conference and I wanted to get up and RUN out with them, not after them. My heart was breaking as I listened to Tania Fiolleau, who is the Founder of “Save the Women Ministry International”, based out of Vancouver BC. Tania’s story was gut wrenching and the ultimate story of survival and redemption. She ran 4 brothels with over 500 women. Now she is a minister and the author of a book, “Souled Out”. She is educating the public about domestic violence and human trafficking. See Tania’s story here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0UaBmtqHtk
The movie “Fireproof” was a wonderful portrait of how pornography can destroy marriage. This film accurately portrayed the hurt and betrayal that occurs when a previously loving and attentive husband disappears into the world of internet porn. Tiffany Leeper is the Founder of “Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking” (GAP) and was once told by her husband, “I don’t love you anymore” after he became addicted to internet porn. He withdrew from her, from his job, from his church…from everything because of his addiction to porn. Sadly, this is not uncommon to many households today.
Tiffany played a video clip of serial murderer, Ted Bundy during his last interview, where he spoke about his addiction to pornography, linking it to committing murders. We also watched a video clip of Tonya Flynt calling her father, Hustler Magazine mogul Larry Flynt, a “monster”. Hollywood portrayed Flynt as a champion of free speech and being likable in “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. Tonya said her father only cares about money and that she was a victim of her father’s industry. Tiffany’s information was alarming, as we learned that rapists act out what they learn from porn and that girls who are trafficked are trained by using porn. Most alarming, however, was that under our current Department of Justice (Eric Holder) all prosecutions of illegal adult obscenity has stopped. See video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEzc0yZunpY Why? Why stop prosecuting “the cancer of the soul…the battery acid of our culture”?
Los Angeles County is the largest center of porn production. Van Nuys and the San Fernando Valley are known as “Porn Valley”. 75% of performers are female. Girls are easily lured in by promises of love, by being told they will be stars, by being told they are very pretty or special, or promises of making lots of money.
If you are a parent, love your children, tell them you love each and every day. Girls without self esteem are easily targeted for the sex trade. Be on notice that FB and Craigslist prowls for your children like a lion hunts for its prey – luring your kids with promises of stardom. These sites will even fly your children to Los Angeles! Be advised that child and human trafficking and pornography is the modern day slave trade. There are not only victims from all over the U.S., but there is a huge problem with people that are smuggled into our country, being trafficked as well- including babies and children. (See http://www.slaverynomore.org/)
One person who had a compelling story that brought tears to my eyes was none other than Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan. He wrote an autobiography, “On the Outside Looking In”. Michael was a victim of child abuse. He established the “Michael Reagan Center for Advocacy and Research” in partnership with “Arrow Child and Family Ministries“. Michael is involved with political endeavors, but his top priority is meeting the physical and emotional needs of children rescued from abuse and neglect. (http://www.arrow.org/mrc/mrcoverview/Overview.html )
Shelly Lubben ( founder of “Pink Cross Foundation” and author of “Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn”) shared a scripture from Isaiah 58:6-9 that, to me, encapsulates everything I heard at the conference and from the speakers who are fighting this good fight. Here is the Message Bible version: “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”
The release of “The Avengers” announced the beginning of Summer Blockbuster Season at movie theaters. It was very hard to find a parking space in Monrovia, where I was excited to see the third installment of the film I had been waiting to see. Yes, I said third installment. I did not go to see “The Avengers”. I went to see Colony Bay’s (CB)production, “Courage New Hampshire: A Snake in the Garden”. “Courage New Hampshire” is a dramatic series that follows the citizens of a shire town on the border of western New Hampshire, prior to the American Revolution.
The first episode, “The Travail of Sarah Pine”, was an excellent first effort for creator, writer and director, James Patrick Riley and Executive Producer Jonathan Wilson. In fact, during the 2012 Life Fest Film Festival (May 4,5,6), Episode 1 garnered 3 awards: Best Use of Theme, Best Sound Design, and Audience Award! Episode 2 had a couple surprise guests: radio talk show host Mike Gallagher, and Conservative hero Andrew Breitbart.
The first two episodes had two characters that I knew would be missing in episode three, and I wondered if I would miss their presence. Basil Hoffman plays Simeon Trapp, a villainous character I love to hate. Hoffman is an iconic character actor (The Artist, The Box,) and a joy to watch. Hoffman and I spoke prior to the screening of Episode 3. He, like so many other familiar faces, came to support what has become a close knit sense of family. (See photos from premiere here Courage New Hampshire: A Snake in the Grass Premiere) I pointed to my notebook, where I wrote, “I wonder if I’m going to miss Basil’s character”. He said, “I don’t think you will”. I had my doubts. Hoffman is not only is a great actor, he’s my friend.
Another character missing from episode three is the lovable town drunk, Braxton Cage, portrayed by Gary Moore (The Bill Collector). Moore was also in the first two installments and he came for the premiere. My notebook read, “Am I going to miss Gary and the comedic relief he brought?”
As the lights went down and the first credits came on the screen, the crowded theater erupted in applause for each and every name. I was sure “The Avenger’s” crowd on either side of us was ticked off that they weren’t in our theater, in our screening, enjoying the fun.
What a joy to see another great Conservative, Alfonzo (ZO) Rachel, do a dramatic role in episode 3. ZO played Cesar Mills and I hope to see him in the future.
Riley’s writing, the costumes, the setting, and the beautiful music all work together wonderfully to transport the audience back in time. “A Snake in the Garden” has Intrigue, betrayal, suspense, romance, justice, and comedy. I am happy to say (sorry to Basil and Gary) that the excellent storyline and new characters helped to alleviate any pain of missing previous favorites. Riley is a writer that combines history with current events, comedy and tragedy- good and bad…leaving us wanting more. The villainous character, William Bramley (Patrick Finerty), was in one minute menacing and the next hilarious.
My favorite line of the movie: “Silly, stupid law. Written by half wits, for half wits”. (Silas Rhodes, portrayed by Riley). Riley knows history and the “silly, stupid law” he speaks about is the law the British government passed in England that all white pines growing in the colonies with a growth diameter over 12 inches belonged to the Royal Navy. This was one of many reasons we fought for our Independence in 1776.
His character, Silas, went on to say, “Telling a lad … he can’t clear his land, he can’t farm; why don’t they tax the food out of his mouth? It would be faster.” This had a ring a familiarity. The British were taxing people for cutting trees on their own land. They were taxing people for working their own land. This brought the American people to rebel against the government and rise up against tyranny and fight for freedom. They were tired of working for the government and having the fruits of their labors – stolen.
Doesn’t this remind you of current laws today that prevent farmers from farming their own land, ranchers from ranching, and businesses from growing? Do you see parallels? Perhaps this is why the Tea Party movement supported Colony Bay’s efforts so strongly from the beginning.
There is something else I took away from Episode 3. The spirit in the town of Courage lives in many of us today. Nathan Kershaw plays Bob Wheedle, who spoke these inspiring words: “We’re either citizens of the town or we’re not. … Sooner or later I stop being a deserter. Sooner or later, (my child) is no longer an orphan. Is this our home or isn’t it?” When I heard these words and as I write these words, my eyes fill with tears. Can we be a nation of Americans, united and not divided by the countries of our ancestors and by our heritage? Can we simply be Americans? Is it possible to raise our children and grandchildren without divisiveness? This was what our Founders set forth to do. This is what the Sons and Daughters of Liberty fought and died for.
CB’s model started with the original Plymouth Colony. They set out on an impossible task, much like the pilgrims did when they colonized the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which is where Colony Bay’s name came from. CB applied Plymouth Colony’s model from the beginning – a group of people living in covenant together and responsible to each other. There were several families who were in a home church together. Riley and Wilson went to them and asked “what do you think about creating a film production company?” This explains an undeniably familial feeling surrounding the cast, crew, and audience that I’ve felt at each “Courage” screening. I spoke to Wilson about this during a recent interview and he was encouraged that viewers could recognize this. “The great thing is that we have a lot of home school kids that are learning the craft of film making. Our sound guys are 14 and15 years old.”
The Hollywood Reporter ran a story in June of 2011 when the first episode of Courage first premiered with the headline “Tea Partiers Create Their Own TV Show and Production Company.” Wilson says this was news to many of the actors who found themselves on the front page of Hollywood Reporter in a “Tea Party” show. Some of the cast didn’t know anyone from the Tea Party was involved. Wilson and Riley understood that politics, especially in Hollywood, is divisive. As a result, they have a philosophy of “NO POLITICS ON SET”.
Wilson states clearly that CB doesn’t support anything on set that divides. He said, “Good story has the ability to transform and unite. I think that is what is missing in America…stories about our common heritage.” He went on to say (the Courage series) is so important to make because it takes (the audience) “back to America’s founding. America needs to know where she came from.”
The future looks very optimistic for “Courage”. This series just received the Dove Foundation Seal, meaning the show is approved for family viewing. There are no limits to where Riley will take the characters of “Courage”. Just as our nation was born through dreams, courage, honor, and the devotion of incredible men and women, CB has a community equally devoted to take each of us along with them on their journey. I will be there and hope you will join me! Huzzah!
As the 2012 election draws closer, Democrats desperately want to divert the public’s attention away from President Obama’s abysmal record on the economy and jobs. It seems no attack on Republicans is too absurd or too low to make toward that effort. Case in point: The Democrats now preposterously claim that the GOP is waging a “War on Women,” and the media is shamelessly going along with that fact-free propaganda slogan. With a straight face, they insist that Americans should be gullible enough to believe that Republicans truly hate women and want to enact laws to prevent them from getting any birth control.
The truth is, Republicans simply don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s birth control—or use government force to require a religious institution to violate its sacred beliefs. The GOP wants to stay out of bedrooms and churches. (To nip the standard liberal red herring in the bud: no, being pro-life is not being in your bedroom; it’s being pro-pre-natal care. Using the Democratic playbook, Republicans could easily, disingenuously ask: Why do Democrats hate pre-natal care?)
Women writers from across the political spectrum have documented the fact that when it comes to making vicious attacks on female political opponents, the Democrats take the cake…and then deny they ate it. Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers bravely penned a piece for the Daily Beast (“Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist”), calling out liberally abusive commentators:
Did you know there is a war on women? Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts.
Right-wing author Michelle Malkin’s most recent syndicated column, “The War on Conservative Women,” chronicled the ugly side of being a conservative woman in the public eye from her own personal experience. In it, she also pointed out that it’s not just liberal men doing the name-calling and slandering:
Self-serving opponents argue that such attacks do not represent “respectable,” “mainstream” liberal opinion about their conservative female counterparts. But it was feminist godmother Gloria Steinem who called Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a “female impersonator.” It was NOW leader Patricia Ireland who commanded her flock to only vote for “authentic” female political candidates. It was Al Gore consultant Naomi Wolf who accused the late Jeane Kirkpatrick of being “uninflected by the experiences of the female body.”
Conservative blogger Nice Deb has dug through the internet to compile another collection of left-wing venom and hypocrisy in her post “The Left’s War On Conservative Women.”
The Real War on Women
It all seems so important, proving our side is the truly aggrieved party—and it is, in terms of not letting a false narrative take root in the minds of the voting public. But when it comes to the phrase “War on Women,” it is utterly ridiculous for that phrase to be used in relation to any Western women. On this International Women’s Day, we need to turn our eyes to the true assaults on women.
One such assault was launched yesterday by the Afghanistan government and clerics. The US-sanctioned appeasement of the Taliban has begun blossoming in full, with Afghan women getting pushed back into the burqa and isolated in the home. As reported in the back pages of American newspapers (and on FoxNews.com):
Afghanistan’s president on Tuesday endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women’s rights in the country.
President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday endorsement of the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.
Both the U.S. and Karzai hope that the Taliban can be brought into negotiations to end the country’s decade-long war. But activists say they’re worried that gains made by women since 2001 may be lost in the process.
While the Democrats and their leader, Barack Obama, have taken to the microphones to phonily decry their ginned-up “GOP war on women” since this declaration was made, they have uttered no disapproval of the Afghan move. After all, if they were to complain, they might hinder the negotiations to turn the country over to the Taliban (ok, perhaps not officially, but does anyone doubt that will be the end result?) so our military can hurriedly leave by Obama’s rushed political timetable.
Surely our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who used to tout her daring to lecture China on women’s rights during her stint as First Lady—would feel compelled to speak out and issue a statement. But no, she didn’t, even though she, and Obama, had to have seen this coming.
Two years ago, she authorized $500 million to go to Karzai to grease the wheels in negotiating with the women-hating people killing our soldiers: the Taliban and other “insurgents.” Then, in May 2010 when Karzai visited DC and the public expressed concern over his Taliban negotiations, Clinton vowed to a group of visiting Afghan women, “We will not abandon you, we will stand with you always.”
But feminist-hero Clinton’s State Department has been waffling and weakening on Afghan women’s rights ever since. Now, in the wake of this new and worrisome development, instead of taking Karzai to task, they have stuck their head in the sand and made not a peep about this reignition of a true War on Women.
Here’s a few things with which Clinton and the Obama State Department have no problem, as reported in the FoxNews.com story:
Among the rules: Women should not travel without a male guardian and women should not mingle with strange men in places like schools, markets or offices. Beating one’s wife is prohibited only if there is no “Shariah-compliant reason,” it said, referring to the principles of Islamic law.
Asked about the code of conduct at a press conference in the capital, Karzai said it was in line with Islamic law and was written in consultation with Afghan women’s groups. He did not name the groups that were consulted.
“The clerics’ council of Afghanistan did not put any limitations on women,” Karzai said, adding: “It is the Shariah law of all Muslims and all Afghans.”
According to the Guardian, Karzai’s Taliban appeasement could lead to the expulsion of women from the Afghan government and the loss of 10 years of hard-won gains:
The clerics renounced the equality of men and women enshrined in the Afghan constitution, suggesting they consider the document that forms the basis of the Afghan state to be flawed from a religious perspective.
“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the statement says, according to a translation by Afghan analyst Ahmad Shuja. “Also, lineage is derived from the man. Therefore, the use of words and expressions that contradict the sacred verses must be strictly avoided.”
The statement drew criticism in parliament, where some politicians took it as a direct assault on the constitution and the wider government. If a ban on men and women working and studying together were implemented, it would in effect dissolve the legislature. (emphasis added)
How ironic that just last week, Obama issued his annual proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month, with today March 8 as International Women’s Day. What a history we have developing in Afghanistan.
Likewise, the UN issued an International Women’s Day statement from their United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan calling on the Karzai government to finally get around to implementing its anti-violence against women act:
Enacted in August 2009, the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women for the purpose or under the pretext of marriage, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute), forced self-immolation and 17 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.
In spite of these legal protections under the EVAW law and other constitutional safeguards for women, violence against women and girls remains pervasive in Afghanistan with an inconsistent response from Afghan authorities.
UNAMA found that judicial and law enforcement officials were implementing sporadically the two-year-old law and were not yet applying the law to the majority of cases of violence against women. The report determined that many cases of violence against Afghan women were withdrawn or mediated including serious crimes that would require prosecution with a low number of cases prosecuted.
“I have knocked all doors to get rid of violence but all my complaints had fallen on deaf ears. Instead, the prosecutor accused me of lying and warned me of dire consequence,” 15-year-old Sadat said while undergoing treatment in a Herat hospital. She had set herself on fire due to repeated and unaddressed domestic violence. Sadat later died in a hospital in Turkey where she was taken for further treatment.
They can quote a 15-year-old girl’s heart-breaking words from her deathbed, but the UN can’t bother to note the deal Karzai had just approved days before that will make life brutal again for all the other women and girls of Afghanistan.
But the real War on Women is not confined to Afghanistan. It is being waged on women around the world, as Nina Shea, co-author of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide, showed in an excellent roundup at National Review Online, outlining the atrocities happening daily in:
Shea didn’t have room to mention hundreds of other unspeakable offenses, including ones that occur outside the Muslim world, such as India’s pervasive problem with selectively aborting female babies, creating extreme societal problems that are also seen in China where they abide a similar practice as a result of the one-child policy.
The point is, those are the places that are experiencing a real War on Women, not here in Chicago, El Paso and San Francisco. It is an insult to those women fighting real threats in distant lands to apply that phrase to a hyperbolic political argument between the Left and the Right in the United States, where we women have it cushier than anywhere else in the world.
As I read Once Upon a Secret, the latest political tell-all by Mimi Alford, I imagined how I would have reacted to and handled the situations she faced. Many years ago, as a young lawyer starting my career on Capitol Hill, I witnessed all sorts of inappropriate behavior involving both men and women. Nevertheless, I was surprised by much of what Ms. Alford experienced during her time in Washington, D.C.
Alford provides many pearl-clutching, salacious details, deliberately and painstakingly taking the reader through her early life as a privileged woman who enjoyed many of the benefits of high society. She delivered a lengthy description of her home, social debut, and the education of her family members at the finest schools in this country. She describes her mother as both a beautiful and capable woman and a strong matriarch. Yet, as Alford described her later life choices, I thought to myself, did they teach this behavior at Miss Porter’s School? Ms. Alford’s actions certainly contradict what I learned in my small town public school in upstate New York.
Ms. Alford, then a student at Wheaton College, began her internship in Washington, D.C., when she is invited for a swim at the White House pool, along with several other female interns and staffers. The President joined them for a swim and made small talk with the women. Later, Ms. Alford was invited to the President’s quarters for an afterhours gathering orchestrated by JFK’s First Friend, Dave Powers. After a few daiquiris (this becomes a pattern), JFK invited Ms. Alford to tour the White House. The tour ended in Mrs. Kennedy’s bedroom, where President Kennedy and Ms. Alford engaged in their first sexual encounter—which was also Alford’s first sexual experience.
This was the beginning of an 18 month affair. As I read her details, I reflected on everything I’ve read about JFK. A number of the Kennedy relatives have reinforced previous characterizations that many Kennedy men are rapists and sexual deviants.
I was surprised by Mimi’s naiveté throughout the book. One example is a pregnancy scare which emerged during the affair. Alford claims that she knew nothing about birth control. Nevertheless, I was surprised that a person who was having sex with the President of the United States would not consider the use of contraceptives. I realize it was 1962, but even then, everyone knew how babies were made.
The affair continued when Alford returned to Wheaton for her sophomore year and JFK called her at her dormitory using the pseudonym Michael Carter. She then mets him on various trips and spent hours in hotel rooms waiting for him, instructed by First Friend Powers. Another example of Alford’s naiveté is her assumption that people were unaware of why a Wheaton College student was a part of official Presidential trips. Obviously, this was before the 24/7 news cycle, but it seems strange that she didn’t suspect that her friends from college knew about the affair.
Soon, Alford met her future first husband, Tony Fahnestock. Again, she details his privileged background and explains that by marrying him she was “fulfilling [her] destiny.” Fahnestock didn’t know he had a surprise coming. On the unfortunate day of JFK’s assassination in Texas, Alford was visiting with Fahnestock and her future in-laws at their home. When the news was announced, Ms Alford was so inconsolable that she caused great alarm and finally revealed her secret to her fiance. What followed was yet another unfortunate first sexual encounter with Fahnestock and a promise that she would never reveal the secret to anyone. So, Alford began her marriage with a secret and a husband who seemingly harbored ill-will that his wife had been the mistress of JFK. No surprise that this marriage ended in a bitter divorce.
Alford also shares details about her life post-divorce. She writes a bit about her life with her daughters as they were growing up and her marriage with her first husband. After her divorce, Alford apparently found her voice, learned to assert herself, and found fulfillment in her career.
She argues that she wrote this book because the media’s was hounding her after discovering the identity of “Mimi the intern.” She wanted her full version of events on the record, not a false narrative created by the media.
As a mother, I could not help wondering how Alford explained this to her children.
I definitely felt Alford was lonely and vulnerable during the affair. She could not confide about the secret to anyone and was isolated from a large part of the college social scene.
Ironically, it was Henry Kissinger, who served in JFK’s cabinet, who told her that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”—to this 19 year-old woman, apparently it was. She lost a part of herself along the way, but thankfully, she eventually got it back.
Cherylyn Harley LeBon is a writer, commentator, and former Senior Counsel,.
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Follow her on Twitter @HarleyLeBon.