by Diane Robertson
What happens in the legislature and what happens in the courts ought to be very important to every one. Those are the places where laws are made and repealed. While not all laws affect everyone’s daily life, all laws have a profound effect on public opinion.
Here are three instances where legislation and court rulings will affect both public opinion and the daily lives of many.
- Hidden inside the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 is a section which will establish a “Global Engagement Center”. This center will be set up by the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. According to the bill signed into law in December by President Obama, “The purpose of the Center shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” Under the guise of national defense, the federal government has formed a bureaucratic unit aimed at identifying “disinformation” while proactively promoting “fact-based” information. Although the bill states that the Global Engagement Center is established to counter information coming from foreign countries, one can surmise that the center will extend to stop unapproved press releases and articles written by US citizens. Author Tyler Durden stated the problem well when he said, “while the US media has indoctrinated the public to assume that any information which is not in compliance with the official government narrative, or dares to criticize the establishment, is also ‘fake news’ and thus falls under the ‘Russian propaganda’ umbrella, the scene is now set for the US government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the government deems to be ‘foreign propaganda.’” And there it is, the US “ministry of truth” has been born.
- Along with nearly 900 other laws that went into effect in California on January 1st, a law that decriminalizes prostitution for minors has put Californians once again in the spotlight. They say that the law is to protect juveniles caught in the sex trade industry from being convicted of a crime. They say it is compassionate and will help youth. However, where once policemen could arrest minors who were soliciting for sex and bring them to a safe place away from the criminals prostituting them, the law puts a barrier between these victims and the police. This will make it harder for the victims to get help. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, told the media, “It just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” According to an article in the Washington Examiner, “another prosecutor insightfully observed that if traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.” And while the debate might cause people to wonder if this really will protect minors, 57, which has also just become law, should clear that up. Prop 57 will allow for the early release of “non-violent criminals”. Those “non-violent” offenders just happen to include criminals convicted of human trafficking involving sex acts with minors.
- And for some good legal news, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor recently signed an injunction to halt a rule made by the Obama Administration Health and Human Services that would force all doctors to participate in gender reassignment surgeries and abortions. Judge O’Connor concluded that the rules placed “substantial pressure on Plaintiffs to perform and cover transition and abortion procedures”. The rules were set to go into effect January 8th.