ERA Revival: United 4 Equality in Action

BettyJean Downing Kling

United 4 Equality is teaming up to do Lobby Days this Wednesday and Thursday on Capitol Hill to secure a Senate sponsor for a companion bill to HJ Res 47. Thursday, June 30th is the 29th anniversary of ERA’s “expiration”, so what better way to mark its revival!  I am hoping each of you will gather your friends and family and using the calling script provided to call your senators (1st) and representatives (2nd) and join in the fun!   

BE VERY CLEAR THAT YOU ARE CALLING ABOUT ERA: REMOVING THE TIME LIMIT FOR 3 STATES AND NOT FOR THE ERA “START-ALL-OVER” amendment! There seems to be confusion among members of Congress that these are two separate bills.  HJ Res. 47 calls for the time limit removal so we can ratify the ERA now – not 100 years from now.

Please contact me for House and Senate Calling Scripts and please sign our petition: 

1. The ACTION ALERT to be used this week to join our NATIONAL CALLING or FAXING PARTY (SENATE) – (Send out a.s.a.p.)

2. NAT’L CALL IN SCRIPT FOR HOUSE – Although they are not in session, staff should be there, so they might pick up the phone since it’s quiet. 


IMPORTANT: If you head up an organization, please identify yourself as a member of the United 4 Equality Coalition when you are calling Congress. Congress must see there is significant on-the-ground support for ERA/HJ Res. 47 in their state.  Please track the calls/emails/or faxes made to Congress this week.  Email the staffer’s name and title to with the result of your call.  Did they agree to co-sponsor YES – NO-MAYBE?  This will enable us to follow-up afterwards with more information.

Once you’ve called your senators, please use the alternate script for the House.  These congresspersons already signed-on to Maloney’s bill by states where we have coordinators.  If you target them since they already support ERA, they should have no problem supporting our resolution as well.  Maloney is a co-sponsor.

  • LA: Cedric Richmond  
  • AZ: Pastor and Grijalva
  • WI: Kind
  • FL: Brown, Castor
  • IL: Biggert, Holt, Quigley, Davis, Schakowsky, Costello,
  • MD: Sarbanes, Ruppersburger, Cummings
  • MO: Clay
  • MI: Levin, Kildee, Conyers, Peters, Clarke, Dingell
  • MN: McCollum
  • NC: Watt, Butterfield, Price, Miller
  • NJ: Pallone, Pascrell, Rothman, Payne, Holt,
  • PA: Schwartz ,Fattah, Brady, Doyle, Holden

It is very important that we have all hands on deck.  Reach out to your friends, ERA advocacy groups and family far and wide!  Come on, let’s do this for Alice Paul. Our best chance to pass “47” is in the Senate this year!  The 2012 elections are right around the corner, so we need to strike while the iron is hot and give Congress something to campaign on…!

Have a great week all!  Thank you so much for your support and efforts – we are going to get this!  Let me know if you have any questions.

KIA: Disgraceful sleazy car ad

BettyJean Downing Kling

Banning same sex marriage: unconstitutionally forcing one’s religion on homosexuals against their will.

BettyJean Downing Kling

Equality, Opportunity and Justice for All is a Human Right.

This message does not necessarily reflect TMU or its Coalition partners. This is a personal message from BettyJean on behalf of her friend Marcia Pappas and in support of all of our friends who are entitled to the equality of human rights, along with the responsibilities and privileges any individual is legally entitled to as citizen of this United States.

The establishment clause in the First Amendment has generally been interpreted to prohibit in part the establishment of a national religion by Congress and the free exercise thereof. We must not confuse God and Country but love and obey both as is our personal calling and as we have to account for our own doings. God gave us free will, he did not make us robots, then he gave his only begotten son and one day we will all kneel before him and be judged by him for our deeds not the deeds of others. Meanwhile we have a Constitution which dictates how we are to live in the US and how we are to treat one another. God will judge us for how we treat one another as well as for our own sins.

In my opinion, the prohibition of same sex marriage, clearly based solely on religious values is therefore against the Constitution. Establishing marriage laws for same sex couples based on religious dictates amounts to unconstitutionally forcing one’s religion on homosexuals against their will. NY State has joined five other states to become the sixth and largest state to offer all of its citizen’s equal opportunity.

The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage in the United States, but such marriages are recognized by some individual states. The lack of federal recognition was codified in 1996 by the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted before Massachusetts became the first state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004. Such licenses are granted by five states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon. Legalization of same-sex marriage in New York is set to take effect on July 24, 2011.[1] Same-sex marriages could be legally performed in California between June 16, 2008, and November 4, 2008, when voters passed Proposition 8 prohibiting same-sex marriages. The legalization of same-sex marriage was driven by court rulings and legislative action.[2]

States that recognize same-sex marriage but do not grant same-sex marriage licenses include Rhode Island and Maryland.[3][4][5]

As of June 2011[update], 40 states prohibit same-sex marriage via statute or the state’s constitution.

Press Release


Contact; Marcia A. Pappas, President (518-469-2661)

Marriage Equality Legislation Finds a Home in New York

Last night, the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) took a giant leap forward towards equality for all by voting in favor of same-sex marriage.

 National Organization for Women – New York State President Marcia Pappas explained: “NOW-NYS is proud to be part of this historic moment. This bipartisan passage of the
Marriage Equality Act will make New York the sixth and largest state where same-sex couples can legally marry. The decades-long lobbying efforts of NOW and a host of other civil rights organizations has eventually paid off.  Same-sex marriage is finally a fact in New York. We rejoice for the vote and we stand proud with our Governor, Cuomo, who has advocated tirelessly for this legislation .”

Pappas summed up: “Today NOW-NYS looks forward to working with our Governor and State legislators on measures for further equality. And this long-awaited decision will set the tone for more states to follow, giving all people the ability to join in rights, responsibilities and privileges of heterosexual couples.”

H.J.RES.47: Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment

BettyJean Downing Kling

U4E (United4Equality) the architect behind House Joint Resolution 47 to remove the arbitrary time limit that Congress imposed on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. America is just three states short of outlawing discrimination on the basis of sex.

HJ Res. 47 was introduced on March 8, 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The day serves as a reminder that the US cannot curb human rights abuses of women and girls abroad while denying its female citizens constitutional equality at home.


Minnisota Democrat Collin Peterson withdraws support suddenly, perhaps he got confused?

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN7) initially sponsored our bill, HJ Res 47: Removing the Deadline on the Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and just withdrew his support last night.  Perhaps he confused HJ Res 47 with HRes 47 on the Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the contributions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Confused or should we assume he cares more about the rights of foliage than women? ~ Callie

June 25, 2011 

Latest Title: Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment.
Sponsor: Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] (introduced 3/8/2011)      Cosponsors (23)
Latest Major Action: 3/21/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.

Jump to:

Summary, Major Actions, All Actions, Titles, Cosponsors, Committees, Related Bill Details, Amendments



Eliminates the time limit for ratification of the equal rights amendment (prohibits discrimination on account of sex) proposed to the states in House Joint Resolution 208 of the 92nd Congress, second session. Declares that such amendment shall be part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the necessary number of additional states.



Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.


Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.


[followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:     

Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] – 3/8/2011
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 4/13/2011
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] – 3/9/2011
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] – 3/29/2011
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] – 3/8/2011
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] – 3/8/2011
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 3/10/2011
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] – 6/22/2011
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] – 5/24/2011
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 4/5/2011
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] – 6/15/2011
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] – 6/22/2011
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] – 6/14/2011
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 3/29/2011
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] – 3/15/2011
Rep Perlmutter, Ed [CO-7] – 5/24/2011
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] – 3/8/2011
Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] – 3/8/2011
Rep Tsongas, Niki [MA-5] – 3/29/2011
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] – 3/9/2011
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] – 3/8/2011
Rep Wilson, Frederica [FL-17] – 3/8/2011
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 4/7/2011
Rep Peterson, Collin C.
[MN-7] – 6/14/2011(withdrawn – 6/23/2011)


Committee/Subcommittee: Activity:
House Judiciary
Referral, In Committee
   Subcommittee on Constitution Referral

Gold Star Mother needs a car: Please donate today

BettyJean Downing Kling

Dear Friends,

Florence McSween is a personal friend of mine. She is the Vice President of the West GA. Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers of America, Inc. She gave us her son Adam on the field of fire in Iraq in 2007. Because he was a member of an especially effective Explosive Ordinance Disposal team, his Humvee was targeted with an especially powerful explosive device, and he and his Shipmates in the vehicle were instantly killed. Florence did not get to see Adam. His death crushed her and broke her heart into a billion pieces.

What keeps Florence going is her work with organizations like GSMA. I have had the privilege of helping her in some of those efforts. She is tireless and relentless in her efforts to honor and memorialize our fallen Warriors. She suffers with some health problems and is on a fixed disability income, but she presses on despite her challenges. She is an inspiration and a Hero to me.

She was recently on her way to a GSM event in Illinois when she had a car crash in Tennessee. She suffered non-life threatening injuries from which she will recover, but her car was a total loss. As I mentioned, she is on a fixed disability income, and is not able to replace her vehicle. Without a vehicle, she will be home bound. Her work as a Gold Star Mother is what keeps her alive. It gives her life purpose and meaning. I am in the process of setting up an account at the Delta Community Credit Union in order to take donations to secure a safe, clean, reliable vehicle for Florence. I hope to have this information by COB tomorrow and be ready to accept donations. Should someone be so kind as to donate a car, or in the case where funds are raised in excess of what is required to secure a vehicle for Florence, all donated funds will be given to the West Georgia Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers of America, Inc. ( )

Please donate whatever you can. Every little bit will help. Please pass this along as well. If you know someone or an organization that may be able to donate a vehicle, please put them in touch with us. Florence is a remarkable woman, and as you bless her, you will find yourself blessed a hundred fold. Should you require any further information, or have any questions or other inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone.

The Florence McSween CAR fund has been established at the Delta Community Credit Union in Atlanta, GA. Donations can be sent to:

The Florence McSween CAR Fund
Acct. #0991687004
c/o Delta Community Credit Union
1025 Virginia Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30354

You are also welcome to contact me for any information or if you desire to speak with me personally concerning this effort. My numbers are:

Hm; 678-272-0487
Wk: 404-714-5308
Cell: 404-759-6070

 Have a great day and THANK YOU in advance for whatever you can do.
Joe Norman

 Some gave all, some still are….NEVER FORGET!!!!

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Elyse A. Buongiorno
Eagles UP!
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Member Major Military Supporters Network


* To Serve, Support and Assist our active duty military personnel and their families,

* To Serve, Support and Assist our wounded and fallen heroes and their families,

* To Serve, Support and Assist our veterans of all wars and conflicts,

* To actively engage the community with activities that foster better understanding of our active duty military, veterans and wounded and that honor the fallen

Historic US Supreme Court Case on Behalf of America’s Mothers and Children

BettyJean Downing Kling


June 9, 2011


Historic US Supreme Court Case on Behalf of America’s Mothers and Children


DISTRIBUTED FOR CONFERENCE   JUNE 23, 2011                                                                            

 Case 10-1381 Petition for Certiorari Attached



The Sacks v. Sacks case has been distributed for conference on June 23, 2011. Just imagine the US Supreme Court in Washington DC will discuss the Sacks v. Sacks Petition for Certiorari Case 10-1381 on June 23, 2011 and will decide if they will hear the case.


Linda Marie’s daughter in April 2007, said “Mommy fight for us, and do something every day to get us back, and don’t ever stop”. This Florida Mother has kept her promise to her daughter’s and now is speaking on behalf of America’s children and their “protective parents”.


Sacks is speaking for all of America’s children and addresses the failure of the courts and child protective services to protect our children. This cert being reviewed shows the documented evidence of an epidemic which shows how courts  give custody  of children to the batterers and pedophiles, while the safe, loving non-offending parent is sanctioned by the court to having their contact terminated or being placed on supervised visitation without any case plan or reunification plan.


Sacks,  a pro se litigant, and after reading Justice Scalia’s book “Making Your Case” The Art of Persuading Judges, used this valuable information in her Briefs to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2009, and  this book was instrumental in helping her formulate her cert petition for the US Supreme Court.  


Imagine, Sacks going to “Internet Law School”,  reading law books,  and researching how to write a cert petition, in her effort to be re-united with her children, and addressing  this national crisis for parents all over the US.  She needed to file a cert in the 90 days time, as this is the time frame allotted by the US Supreme Court rules.


On March 2, 2011, Peter Jamison from the SF Weekly published the article, Illegal Guardians: When Judges Give Custody To Abusive Parents the Family. This article documents child sexual abuse cases and the identified perpetrator/ pedophile will get sole physical custody of the minor child(ren), and the safe protective parent, will be restricted to supervised visitation or all contact will be terminated. It’s on page 24 and 25 of the Cert as well. (


This national case  clearly shows how fit parent’s all over the U.S. are being be deprived of a relationship with their children, and this case exposes the national crisis for America’s children who are victims of child sexual abuse and or physical abuse, and the failure of family courts to protect them.


This is a liberty right protected by the United States Constitution, for a parent-child relationship, but not protected by family courts or CPS all over the U.S.


The National Organization for Women, NOW and the NOW Ad Hoc Law Committee are addressing this issue and in their Spring 2011,  “and explore what can happen to a protective mother and her children when she does nothing more than to protect her children”, as quoted on page 36 of the Petition for Certiorari.


The Petitioner, in the US Supreme Court case, Linda Marie Sacks, has been chosen as the “Poster Mother” of the Family Court Crisis, is interviewed for the article.( Click on the Family Law Spring Newsletter. Page 36 of the Cert Petition.


This “squeaky clean” Mom, truly the “All American Mom” has only seen her children for 83 hours in 4 years and 3 months, under supervised visitation at the local visitation center. Sacks says she is one of the lucky ones, as documented cases, and personal stories from Mothers across the US, and International cases in the UK and Australia show that some never are allowed to see their children after an erroneous ruling by a lower court, or an appellate court, or State Supreme Court.


 In the Sacks case, the “Court appointed” psychologist, Dr. Deborah O. Day of Psychological Affiliates is quoted on page 5 as she stated “that it is this examiner’s opinion that this child is experiencing a significant mental health crisis, likely to pediatric bipolar, and therefore that negates any child sexual abuse”. Then Dr. Day thwarted the investigation by the police department and DCF, Dept. of Children and Family. The child never had pediatric bipolar, but yet Dr. Day falsely labeled her, and provided false and misleading information to the court, and failed to protect the minor children. (Page 5 and Appendix J of the Cert Petition).


This is a rare opportunity for the US Justices to review an historical case, which could establish case law, clearly needed to uphold the constitutional of the United States, for a parent to establish a home, and to the care and custody of their children, and violated in courtrooms all across the U.S.


The last time a case similar to this was presented to the U.S. Supreme Court was Wendy Titelman’s case. Ms. Titelman’s book, A Mother’s Journal Book One: Let my Children Go! details her children’s case in Cobb County, Georgia where her children were placed in the custody of their allegedly abusive parent after the failure of that family court system to protect her children. Ms. Titelman’s book is cited in the Sacks Cert Petition and, on page 38 includes a quote from Hon. Sol Gothard who said,”the problems expressed in Wendy’s book are epidemic and widespread.”


These cases and outcomes are so widespread, they have gained the attention of our Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and advocates all over the United States. (Page 12, 13 and 37 of the Cert Petition).


According to The Leadership Council, 58,000 are court-ordered to live with a sexually or physically abusive parent after a divorce in the U.S. This a “public health crisis” for America’s children.( This information is included in Ms. Sacks’ petition on page 24.


The California Protective Parent Association ( cites case studies showing a clear pattern of similar cases and has asked for Congressional hearings to address
this crisis. Sacks petition pages 34-35.


This is a perfect opportunity for advocacy groups, national organizations and law firms to file an amicus briefs, and top national organizations are ready to sign on in support of the Petitioner, Linda Marie Sacks, and the issues raised about the crisis in the family courts.


 Linda Marie Sacks states, “This is an historic case for all of America’s children who are not being protected by the official avenues which were put in place to protect them. I am truly the “All American Mom”
and never did I ever imagine, that I could lose custody of my children for believing them and trying to protect them. The family court system is giving pedophiles and batterers custody. Typically, the parental rights of safe and absolutely fit protective parents are being terminated – or like me are placed on supervised visitation for years without a case plan or reunification plan.”


Please forward to all and thank you for all you do, as YOU are part of the solution to this nationwide crisis.


Press Contact:


Kathleen Russell

Executive Director

Center for Judicial Excellence

495 Miller Avenue, Suite 304

Mill Valley, CA 94941

Main 415.388.9600 Fax 415.388.4610



For more information on Amicus Briefs please contact:


Linda Marie Sacks






No. 10-1381



Linda Marie Sacks, Petitioner


David Michael Sacks, et al.


May 11, 2011

Lower Ct:

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District


  Case Nos.:


  Decision Date:

December 7, 2010

  Rehearing Denied:

February 7, 2011



~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 6 2011

Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due June 10, 2011)

May 17 2011

Waiver of right of respondents David Michael Sacks, et al. to respond filed.

Jun 7 2011

DISTRIBUTED for Conference of June 23, 2011.








Attorneys for Petitioner:



Linda Marie Sacks

P.O. Box 730966

(386) 453-3017


Ormond Beach, FL  32173


Party name: Linda Marie Sacks






Verizon Wireless: Awards Domestic Violence Grant to Tri-County Crisis Center, Inc.

BettyJean Downing Kling

Maria DiBari, TMU member and coalition partner of TMU WOMEN is the Executive Director of Tri-County Crisis Center, Inc. in Dutchess County NY has been recognized by Verizon Wireless for their efforts. We ask our readers join with a contribution today.

Donations can be sent directly to:

PO Box 346
Beacon NY 12508TCCC

For Immediate Release

Tri-County Crisis Center, Inc. is honored to announce that it has been awarded a Verizon Wireless Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant. TCCC was recently founded in Beacon NY and will assist all victims of domestic violence; this generous grant will be used to help get the organization established. 

“Victims that reach out for help need assistance and support in a timely manner. Tri-County Crisis Center, Inc. intends to make sure every victim receives services and will continue to do so with the support of generous donors like the Verizon Foundation and volunteers,” said Executive Director Maria Di Bari.

TCCC was recently founded in the wake of several domestic violence deaths in Dutchess County. “Given the recent tragedies, this grant is an important step toward getting TCCC up and running so that we can begin getting resources to domestic violence victims across Dutchess, Orange and Putnam Counties,” said Administrative Director Alyssa Kogon. 

TCCC is in need of donations and victim supplies such as pre-paid cell phones, laptops, fax machines, printers, postage, office supplies, and intends to create a “victims fund” for victims in need of emergency funds in the future. 

You can learn more about the services that are offered by visiting their website .  

For more information, contact: Maria DiBari at

Donations can be sent directly to:

PO Box 346
Beacon NY 12508TCCC

DV Reform requires a two prong approach: We not only strengthen the laws against violence and stalking but we also need to reach out to offer the victims some real help!

By: Alexis A. Moore

The truth is really there is not any organization “picking up the slack anywhere” instead there are non-profits founded on every corner honoring a loved one’s memory or that offer the same exact services that our nation’s shelters are doing and what is really needed is “real help” for victims in 2011.

Real help is defined as providing victims with the tools that they need to become survivors in 2011. It starts with a total reform of domestic violence victim resources starting from the national level working down to the shelter level.

Victims are a diverse group and come from all backgrounds and the “cookie cutter approach” is not working. For example victims have children, some victims have jobs, some don’t- some victims are in relationships with cops, judges, attorneys, celebrities, public officials along with the “average joe” batterer/stalker. In addition victims are stalked and cyberstalked when they flee and there is no agency assisting stalking victims anywhere except a handful of volunteers (myself being one of them) in the nation today- this is ridiculous to say the least since 76% of female homicide victims are stalked prior to their deaths. (DOJ stat)

We need the domestic violence resources of today to reflect the victims that they serve by providing services that victims need in 2011. The services today are antiquated and tend to do more harm than good because they fail to address the numbers that are being left behind and what needs to be done so that victims – all victims regardless of age, gender, offender occupation or martial status get the help and support they need.

One key point is that public policy changes without reform of victim resources does little because all the laws on the books mean nothing if a victim dies reaching out for help relying on the law alone – because resources providing support and “real help” and the laws work hand in hand.

What needs to be done to reform the domestic violence resources of today is very “doable”; however, it takes leadership that is willing to put the needs of the victims first above all else and this is very difficult for those presently employed by the DV Establishment today because they are all tied to politics and special interests and frankly they don’t have the passion to do what is needed. We need leadership that will put victims needs first and the bureaucracy second always.

In addition to myself I know of countless men and women from across the nation that are ready, willing and able to roll up their sleeves and help ensure no victim is left behind and do the “heavy lifting” to help reform the victim services and resources of today all we are waiting for is the opportunity to take action.

The White House Advisor for Violence Against Women Sarah Lynn Rosenthal knows of this offer and that the resources are in dire need of reform; however, she has failed to take any action- we need action not words and fast or more lives will continue to be lost.

For every statement I have made above I have evidence that I can provide in support that is why DV REFORM (domestic violence victim resource and public policy reform) was launched by Survivors In Action in 2009 we were told by Ms. Rosenthal that she needed evidence to support that victims were falling through the cracks. We have the evidence.  Now we need action.

Alexis is one of the original Board members of TMU and a coalition partner of TMU WOMEN She can be reached as follows:

Alexis A. Moore .
Founder:Survivors In Action
4354 Town Center Blvd., Suite #114-143
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door

Contributed By Lisa Thompson

The article below by Amy Fine Collins plunges into the depths of a Connecticut sexual trafficking case. To say it is a harrowing account is an understatement. The acts perpetrated will make you shudder at their raw evil. Thankfully, in this case, the American justice system worked flawlessly and the traffickers are being duly punished, and the victims are moving on with their lives.

What I’d like you to especially note as you read this piece are the various types of grooming tactics used by the pimps. Understanding the types of physical and psychological control pimps/sex traffickers use to condition/control their victims is critical to helping victims break free and heal.

Additionally, please note the discussion of “johns” — the sex buyers. It seems there are a lot of male sex buyers out there . . . in every stripe imaginable. If we ever want to end sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women, we must do more to inspire men to live lives that reject the commercial sex industry and the purchase of sex in any form. Helping one man to stop buying sex could save countless numbers people from a life in the sex trade. And if that number were 12, 50, 100, 1000, think of the impact we can begin to make. My friends, this is the heart of the battle — the battle for men’s hearts.

For inspiration please visit the MST Project website at:



Vanity Fair

By Amy Fine CollinsPhotographs by Larry Fink

WEB EXCLUSIVE May 24, 2011

Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door

Even as celebrity activists such as Emma Thompson, Demi Moore, and Mira Sorvino raise awareness about commercial sex trafficking, survivor Rachel Lloyd publishes her memoir Girls Like Us, and the Senate introduces a new bipartisan bill for victim support, the problem proliferates across continents, in casinos, on streets, and directly into your mobile device. And, as Amy Fine Collins shows, human trafficking is much closer to home than you think; victims, younger than ever, are just as likely to be the homegrown American girl next door as illegally imported foreigners. Having gained access to victims, law-enforcement officials, and a convicted trafficker, Collins follows a major case that put to the test the federal government’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act.


Stop Playing Politics With America’s Economic Future; Re-Frame the Medicare Discussion Now; Whisper Welfare Reform

Warning: The following likely will offend more than a few.

It’s time for Congress and all the pundits to stop playing political games with America’s economic well-being, future and security. It’s time for Conservatives to stop looking the other way or retreating as Obama Democrats falsely frame the important discussion about Medicare,  illustrated by outlandish,  patently false TV ads of poor ol’ grandma being dumped off a cliff.

Time for Conservatives to re-frame the Medicare discussion now, based on facts:

  1. It was Obama’s Democrats who decimated Medicare by taking $500 BILLION (A HALF TRILLION) DOLLARS from the Medicare Trust last year  in order to juggle the numbers to fund Obamacare. The Obama Democrats thus  drove Medicare to the brink of bankruptcy. The Obama Democrats are the ones who plotted to deprive senior citizens–who’ve paid into the Medicare system via payroll taxes throughout their working lives, and  who continue to pay into Medicare via taxes on their Social Security benefits–in order to pass Obamacare, an insurance-industry-driven/government-run health rationing program, which the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want, and that ultimately will have a disastrous impact on the healthcare of seniors and women in particular.
  2. The only members of Congress preparing, presenting and advocating any reasonable proposals for reforming and saving Medicare from the Obama Democrats’ Obamacare ripoff of Medicare and the complete bankruptcy of the Medicare program being forecast by year 2025 are Conservative Republicans such as Paul Ryan. If nothing is done to reform and thus save Medicare, the program will go bankrupt, and will  no longer be able to benefit seniors, no matter how long they’ve paid into it. So far, the Obama White House has been completely AWOL on the subject, having neither prepared, presented nor advocated any plan to offset its decimation of Medicare funds. In fact, in terms of the nation’s  increasingly calamitous economic situation overall, the Obama WH has  come up with nada, zilch, zip, not even a viable Federal budget, which the Obama WH has now failed/refused to do by three separate statutory deadlines (in violation of Federal law).
  3. Despite efforts of some pols and pundits to spin the recently held NY-26 special election outcome as a backlash against the Conservative effort to reform/save Medicare, that race can only logically be viewed as the combined result of:
  • a weak, Republican-in-name-only (RINO) candidate running a lackluster campaign
  • a fake Tea Party candidate (who had run several times before as a Democrat) siphoning off 9 percent of the Republican vote
  • the Obama Democrat candidate’s  patently false, ridiculous TV ad with grandma doing a full gainer off a cliff influencing perhaps some knee-jerk, single-issue,  ill-informed voters

Even given all that, NY-26 was a squeaker, with the Obama Democrat eking out a paltry four-percentage-point win.  By any stretch of logic, a four percentage point margin cannot be construed as a mandate or definitive statement about anything, including Medicare.

But, IMO, there’s a crucial missing element in the discussion of how to bring America’s economic well-being, security and future back from the brink by reforming and reining in “entitlement programs.”  [It’s important to note that  Social Security and Medicare–which the government often seems to discuss as the only “entitlement programs” needing reform–are not technically  “entitlement programs,” because they are programs that working Americans have funded via payroll taxes and taxes on Social Security benefits  for more than a half century.] The missing element in the discussion of America’s economic well-being, security and future has to do with these questions: When will any of the so-called Congressional representatives of “we, the people” be brave enough to openly discuss the fact that it is Welfare –not Medicare and not Social Security–that is the fastest-growing and most onerously burdensome of the “entitlement  programs” threatening to stampede our nation’s economy over a cliff? When will our government be brave enough to openly discuss the fact that it is Welfare that is the most gluttonous monster in the room, which everyone sees but seems afraid to admit must be placed on a strict abuse- and budget-cutting diet?

Welfare’s sheer size cries out for some Congressional budget-cutting tough love. Obama apparently spent an estimated $880 BILLION DOLLARS in fiscal year 2010 alone on 70 different Welfare Programs under 14 different Federal Programs—the largest increase in welfare benefit spending in U.S. history. In fiscal 2010 alone, this cost each U.S. household of  everyday, working, taxpaying American citizens an estimated $638 per month. Imagine what the average  working American household could do with an extra $638 a month in these tough times. At this rate, Welfare spending will grow to about $1 TRILLION DOLLARS for fiscal year 2014, and to more than $10 TRILLION DOLLARS over ten years. An estimated one out of seven total Federal and State dollars now go to fund Welfare Programs, such as cash payments (AFDC/TANF), food stamps, housing, Medicaid, social services, subsidized and free child care, etc.

Let me say emphatically,  anyone who can provide bona fide proof of real need should have access to the full benefits of  government social safety net “entitlement programs” such as Welfare until they can get back on their feet and regain their independence if/when possible by utilizing programs such as Welfare as the temporary economic support systems they were intended to be when they were initiated.  On the other hand, we must strenuously object to the rampant abuse of such programs by large numbers of multi-generation, entitlement-dependent individuals who view/abuse Welfare programs as an ongoing way of life and refuse to take any meaningful, productive, serious steps toward regaining economic independence. Moreover,  we must strenuously object to similar abuse of Welfare programs  by large numbers of non-citizens from around the world now living in our country who also view/abuse such programs as a way of life rather than as a temporary support system toward ultimate economic independence. Perhaps most importantly,  we must strenuously object to the fact that such rampant abuse is a huge contributor to America’s current drastic economic circumstances. We must let our government know that we find it unconscionable that, so far, it is refusing to mention during budget discussions–even in whispers –the need to investigate and curtail such abuse. For our government to continue to ignore such abuse amounts to coddling and perpetuating the vast economic, human tragedy caused by the burgeoning growth of  government-entitlement dependence,  helplessness and hopelessness. (And yes, the government also needs to rein in and cut ALL programs rife with abuse and waste, not just “entitlement programs.”)

Such widespread, entrenched abuse of social safety net programs such as Welfare as a way of life rather than as a temporary support system makes it virtually impossible for Americans who really do at times find themselves in dire straits to obtain much-needed help from these programs. While Social Security Disability, thankfully, provides help to many who are truly disabled, it too, is rife with abuse. And again, despite the fact that the program is funded by payroll taxes, such widespread willful abuse  deprives many who are  in fact disabled from receiving desperately needed and deserved benefits from a system into which they too have paid.

Those American seniors receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits have paid into these systems throughout their working lives through payroll taxes, and continue to pay into Medicare via taxes on their Social Security income. The taxes those seniors have paid throughout their working lives also have funded other government social safety net programs such as Welfare. People abusing the Welfare system do not, and likely never have, paid into any U.S. government social safety net program. People abusing any government social safety net programs deprive many who truly do need such help from getting it.

Someday soon, Congress must bravely, methodically, systematically, thoroughly and vociferously investigate and put a stop to  widespread abuse of programs such as Welfare, and cut spending down to levels to cover only those who can continuously demonstrate bona fide proof of real need . If ever Congress begins to whisper that it’s prepared to do that, then perhaps large numbers of reasonable Americans will be prepared to listen carefully to reasonable proposals to reform Medicare and Social Security, programs which–were it not for Congress and the Obama WH using them as  “piggy banks” to fund other far-less-worthwhile programs such as Obamacare–might possibly have remained solvent. But, let’s not forget, it isn’t Conservatives and their responsible, sensible budgetary reform and  program-saving proposals that threaten to push poor ol’ grandma and the rest of us over the economic cliff. Rather, it’s the Obama Democrats–whose continued re-elections depend upon government-entitlement-dependent voters– recklessly pushing spending upwards of catastrophic levels in order to keep feeding programs such as Obamacare and the gluttonous Welfare monster.