Blog author: jcarter
Monday, April 27, 2015
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550 Slaves Rescued in Indonesia: Time to Get Serious About Fighting Human Trafficking in Asia
Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal

An estimated 550 slaves were rescued from the remote Indonesian island Benjina late last week. The International Organization for Migration believes there are at least 4,000 men that have not yet been rescued and may be victims of human trafficking. Events in Benjina are a reminder that the fight against human trafficking in Asia is far from over

What You Should Know About The Armenian Genocide
Stella Morabito, The Federalist

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that killed 1.5 million Christians. Remembering is one way we can safeguard against such atrocities.

Why the ‘safe space’ movement is a liberal assault on freedom
Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week

Why worry about the exotic (and sometimes silly) life of a college campus? Well, it matters because future elites — who will set the norms and tone of our institutions of power — are coming of age in this intellectual stew.

Roepke and von Mises: The Difference
Ralph Ancil, The Imaginative Conservative

Since Roepke was an Austrian economist and former student of Mises, it appears to be assumed that, aside from small differences arising from individuality, they are in agreement on all important matters. Nothing could be more incorrect.

In this video, Richard Hovannisian, professor emeritus of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains the Armenian Genocide.

Today is April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which is held annually to commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by Ottoman Turks. It is also the official remembrance of the centennial of the campaign of human and cultural destruction. Here are more reflections and news items:

Message of HH Karekin II at the Canonization of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Church — Mother See of Etchmiadzin

The martyrs of the Genocide today, in the luminous chambers of the kingdom of heaven, bearing the crowns of martyrdom, are the patron saints of justice, philanthropy and peace; whose intercession from heaven opens the source of God’s mercy and graces wherever justice is weakened, the tranquility and security of peace is disturbed, where human rights and the rights of people are trampled, threats arise against the welfare of societies, and persecutions against faith and identity are fanaticized.


The courage to call genocide what it is: Recalling the Armenian slaughter, 100 years later

Robert Morganthau, New York Daily News

In 1939, when Hitler was explaining the rationale for wiping out the Polish people in order to take over their land, he asked, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” If there had been a greater outcry and condemnation from the international community, perhaps Hitler would not have been so encouraged to proceed with his plans.

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Acton’s Communication’s Specialist, Elise Hilton, recently penned an op-ed for the Detroit News on human trafficking. She argues that not only is it bigger than people realize, but it’s happening in Acton’s home, Michigan.

The facts are grim:

Michigan’s proximity to the Canadian border and waterways increases the likelihood of trafficking in our state.

Michigan truck stops and hotels are used for sex trafficking.

Major events such as ArtPrize and the North American International Auto Show are also major draws for sex trafficking in Michigan.

Michigan agriculture, manufacturing and construction businesses attract labor trafficking.

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California RaisinsA policy started during FDR’s New Deal is being used today by the federal government to steal raisins from farmers. And the implications could lead to government theft of a wide range of personal property.

During the New Deal era, Congress gave the USDA the authority to take raisins from farmers without compensation. Actually, the USDA was given the authority to steal a variety of agricultural products—including almonds, walnuts, and cherries—and keep them in a government-controlled “reserve” to prevent them from being sold in U.S. markets. But while many of the other reserves faded away, the government continues to steal raisins from farmers—and claims it’s allowed to do so for because the theft benefits the farmer.

The stolen raisins are given to the Raisin Administrative Committee, a California-based organization made up of industry representatives, which is allowed to sell off some of those reserve raisins to pay its own expenses and to promote raisins overseas. Many raisin farmers are fine with the price-fixing cartel. But not everyone is taking the theft lightly.

Marvin Horne is one farmer that has refused to surrender his raisins to the government. Because of his refusal to allow his crops to be taken without compensation Horne “owes” hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and over 1 million pounds of his crops to the federal government.

Horne’s challenge to the law, Horne v. US Department of Agriculture, was heard this week before the Supreme Court. He is arguing the taking of his property without compensation is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, while the government is claiming they can take personal property without compensating the owner. More broadly, the government is arguing they have the ability to take a broad range of personal property—from raisins to iPhones from Americans without compensation. A lower court has agreed, ruling that while the Fifth Amendment protects private property it does not apply to personal property.

In this video, legal scholar Ilya Somin explains the broad implications of this ridiculous form of government theft.
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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, April 24, 2015
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How Christianity invented children
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn’t exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

To Protect Religious Freedom, Republicans Attempt Historic Move Against D.C.
Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

A powerful congressional committee last night passed a measure to kill one of two controversial pieces of legislation from taking effect in the District of Columbia, moving closer to acting out a historic power play against a bill that critics believe infringes on religious liberty.

How to Be Productive According to the Bible
Kevin Halloran, Unlocking the Bible

The Bible contains truth that applies to all of life and has a tremendous amount to say about how we live our lives and work our jobs. The Bible’s view of work and productivity is vastly different from our culture’s view.

Obama urged to act as slaughter of Christians escalates
Susan Crabtree, Washington Examiner

Activists and elected officials are urging President Obama to stop slow-walking his response to the slaughter of Christians throughout the Middle East.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, April 23, 2015
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Subsidiarity is often described as a norm calling for the devolution of power or for performing social functions at the lowest possible level. At the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Rev. Robert Sirico told a story about stickball that illustrates how the concept of subsidiarity applies in our neighborhoods.

(Via: Cardus)

HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_8705943What is the story with the human trafficking bill?

The recent human trafficking bill, officially known as the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, was originally introduced in in the Senate on January 2015 by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The bill had 34 cosponsors in the Senate, 13 Democrats and 21 Republicans (Sen. Barbara Boxer initially signed on as a cosponsor but withdrew her support a day later.) However, after initially supporting the bill, Democrats launched a filibuster because of language in the bill related to abortion.

In response, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until the trafficking bill made it out of the Senate. After weeks of negotiations, a bipartisan agreement was reached and the bill was put up for a vote, passing unopposed (99-0).

Why did the Democrats oppose the bill?

Senate Democrats—including ten of the cosponsors—filibustered the bill to prevent it coming up for a vote after learning of opposition by abortion rights groups, such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood. The abortion lobby opposed the bill because it included the Hyde amendment, an addition routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976 which bans federal funding of abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

According to NPR, Democrats said restrictions on abortions should apply to only taxpayer money, and that the fund created by the trafficking measure was not taxpayer money because it’s collected from fines on people convicted of sex-trafficking crimes. A deal was later reached which would allow the criminal fines to be used for victim services unrelated to health. The money related to the bill used for health services would still be subjected to the Hyde amendment.

As NPR’s Alisa Chang says, “both sides can say they won. Republicans can say no part of the fund pays for abortions. Democrats can say the Hyde Amendment was never expanded to apply to non-taxpayer money.”

What does the trafficking act do?
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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, April 23, 2015
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Shriveled grapes, shriveled liberty
George F. Will, Washington Post

In oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the government defend its kleptocratic behavior while administering an indefensible law.

We don’t know how many people around the world are living in poverty
Sarah Shearman, Quartz

We live in a era of big data, but developing countries are suffering from a data drought: governments and the international community know less about the world’s poorest than they think.

We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership
Kyle Wiens, Wired

It’s official: John Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.

What Harvard Students Pushing Fossil Fuel Divestment Are Missing
Alex Belica and David Kreutzer, The Daily Signal

It’s usually a lot easier to tell someone else to solve a problem than to do it yourself. A movement has sprung up on many college campuses urging schools to divest their endowment funds of any companies that produce fossil fuels.

Every year on Earth Day events are held around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. You aren’t likely to see any celebrations of fossil fuels, though, despite all the ways they have improved the environment for human life and flourishing. As Alex Epstein says, maybe we should reflect more on how fossil fuels has made our environment cleaner and healthier.

(Via: AEI Ideas)

acton-commentary-blogimage“The primacy of God, which Pope Benedict XVI made a priority of his pontificate, reminds us that reality is intelligible and human reason must be used,” says Bishop Dominique Rey in this week’s Acton Commentary, “reason that is able to recognize the logos, the objective reason that manifests itself in nature.”

Some radical environmental movements (such as those who embrace what is often called “deep ecology”) clearly derive their inspiration from a pagan pantheism, which leads to a deification of nature. Reason is subdued and abdicates its role and dignity. In fact, as Benedict affirmed, “the victory of reason over unreason is also a goal of the Christian life.”

Illuminated by faith, reason allowed the world to cease to be regarded as divine. It helped man to cease worshipping the elements (earth, sky, and water), the stars, the plants and the animals as mythical beings or as multiple facets of the divinity.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.