Pushed by conservative Christians, Mr. Bush is also doing more to fight both AIDS and sex trafficking than any of his predecessors did. Foreign governments are learning that the U.S. now takes the slavery of 13-year-old girls almost as seriously as the pirating of American movies, and that's a step forward.
What brilliant spin! Two of Bush's predecessors were Reagan and Bush I. Reagan got the AIDS epidemic going by blocking common sense public health responses. Bush I was better, but even he was no great shakes, as Kristof admits. That leaves Clinton, who for six years faced a hostile Congress. But what about Dubya?
He has not added new money to AIDS! He has stolen
money for AIDS from moneys designated for other diseases! Look at what the World Campaign says:
Final pledges of money to the replenishment of the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria fell drastically short of what was needed to scale up the fight against these three big killers, said global civil society leaders at the climax of negotiations in London today. The $3.7bn pledged by donors will be just enough to sustain current programmes. However there is no funding for new prevention, treatment or care programmes for 2006 and 2007. $7billion was needed to adequately address funding needs. Specifically the US contribution, of just $0.6bn for the next two years was disappointing. For the first time since the establishment of the Fund, the US contribution will be well below their target of one third.
Six hundred million dollars for three major infectious disease! This is what Kristof praises!
As for Bush reducing sex trafficking, it's an out-and-out lie. Here's what AIUSA says:
Every year, an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders. ...This number is growing at an alarming rate and is in addition to an indeterminate yet far larger number of people trafficked within national borders.
And then there's commercial slavery, in which 13 year old girls are put to sewing instead of servicing. It's not quote as ugly or dangerous as the sex trade, but it's increasing.
Now get out the brain bleach. Kristof says:
Look, I think that Christian leaders on the right like Senator Brownback, Frank Wolf in the House and Chuck Colson are utterly wrong on many issues. I probably wouldn't vote for them for political office. But I admire them immensely for their humanitarian efforts, and I might vote for them for sainthood.
Mark Kleiman in Slate:
But when you look carefully at the Penn study [of Colson's program to rehabilitate convicts], it's clear that the program didn't work. The InnerChange participants did somewhat worse than the controls: They were slightly more likely to be rearrested and noticeably more likely (24 percent versus 20 percent) to be reimprisoned. If faith is, as Paul told the Hebrews, the evidence of things not seen, then InnerChange is an opportunity to cultivate faith; we certainly haven't seen any results.So, how did the Penn study get perverted into evidence that InnerChange worked? Through one of the oldest tricks in the book, one almost guaranteed to make a success of any program: counting the winners and ignoring the losers. The technical term for this in statistics is "selection bias"; program managers know it as "creaming."
And some of us call it "lying."
David Plotz in Slate:
Secular admirers overlook the central fact about Colson's work: He is a hard-core evangelist. Colson seeks to convert prisoners to Christianity, not necessarily to rehabilitate them.... Muslims in the program complain of ostracism, and civil libertarians are alarmed at the project's aggressive promotion of Christianity.... Colson sounds increasingly like other religious-right preachers. He doesn't yet have the bile of a Robertson, but he seems angrier and angrier, and he is more and more willing to wade into politics. He harshly criticizes evolution. He has lobbied to permit the display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings. He has been increasingly vocal about his loathing for gay rights.
And when you look into the funding, millions of dollars are flowing in from the usual right-wing thinktanks:
During the period from 1998 through 2003, Prison Fellowship Ministries received nearly $4 million in grants from conservative foundations including the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the William E. Simon Foundation, and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
An increasingly angry and political person claiming to be a Christian, receiving millions from fundamentally political "conservative" think tanks, who lies.
Kristof calls Colson a saint. I call him a grifter and a fraud.