Saturday, November 13, 2004

Coalition Warfare

Voting coalitions are ruled by the least commited members.

So the question to the cultural conservatives is: do you want 2004 to be the Republican high water mark or would you like to extend the string.

BTW I have yet to get an answer from any of my "we need a law" anti-abortion friends on why a black market in abortion services and abortion drugs would be a good thing.

All I hear is "if there was a law there would be no abortion". Sure. Well I suppose it is nice to have faith.

So tell me if your faith is so strong why do you need a law (men with guns) to enforce your position?

So what have the cultural conservatives learned from alcohol prohibition? From drug prohibition?

I'd say aproximately nothing.

I actully had a commenter on the subject say that abortion was different. OK. So what happens to policing and criminal justice when 300,000 miscarriages a year are each turned into a murder investigations? Aren't 30 or 40 thousand murder investigations enough?

What will reality look like (as opposed to utopia) if you get your wish?

I call this whole exercise Republican socialism.

In any case if you get your wish expect to see the Democrats make gains. A lot of RINOs will leave the coalition.

Look at how Keyes did in Illinois vs. Bush.

So is this the high water mark or the beginning of the end?

Do you want to make gains on the economic front and on the war or is abortion so important that you would give up further progress in those areas?

And how pray tell is it that smaller government people want to enlarge government in this area?

Oh. Well.

BTW I voted Bush/Obama. If you look at Illinois Bush got 1 million more votes than Keyes.

And that is just one RINO state. You take hits like that (or even 1/4 of that) in States Bush won and you would be howling like a post election Democrat.

Well any way I predicted these post election Republican purges in May of '03. I knew the cultural conservatives could not withstand the scent of power. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Did any of you remember Bush asking for the RINO vote in the last days of the campaign ("you may not agree with all my positions but I want your vote")? So you going to throw them off the bus now that you have won? That is not nice. People remember.

Welcome Instapundit readers.


ed said...


As a social conservative I am morally opposed to abortion. I think it's wrong and it's tantamount to murder. But neither do I wish to return to the heady days of the 1950's when women died by the thousands, I assume, getting covert abortions. Ultimately it's comes down to a value choice on the part of both parents and no law can really make any serious difference.

On the other hand I am utterly opposed to the rampant judicial activism that exists today. I view that activism with extreme skepticism and I think that such activities usurp the role of the elected legislatures. Frankly I believe that any judge that does engage judicial activism should be automatically subject to impeachment hearings.

I point out that Jim Crow was approved by judicial activists. A court of strict constitutionalists wouldn't have imposed such a thing. I also point out the current rules on "diversity" in education, which are nothing less than a sham. I wonder how many minority students, admitted to universities with sub-par test scores, actually survive their freshman year. It frankly gives me the image of do-gooderism whereby people pat themselves on the back for admittance rates, but ignore the graduation rates.

IMHO Alan Keyes is a complete whack-nut that completely imploded. If I were a suspicious man I'd suggest he was a DNC mole. But I think I'd rather go with the "whack-nut" theory instead.

As for Arlen Specter, which I assume is included in this subject, I don't trust him. His views on abortion are immaterial to me. He could be the rightest of right-wing nutjobs in the world and it wouldn't make a difference to me. I simply do not trust the man. If people want to appoint another Republican Senator, who is absolutely pro-Choice, to head the Judicial Committee. That is fine by me.

But I still don't trust Arlen Specter. Not his politics. The man.

*shrug* do I have any real answers? Not really. I think that educating people is probably the best thing overall. If conception could be reliably prevented then that'll be the best solution. Otherwise leave the decision up to the individual states. Some will ban it, others will allow it. People will then travel as necessary.

David Blue said...

How can your wishes be accommodated when your opening statement is in effect: I hate you and I quit?

You already said: "Well any way. This RINO has already gone into opposition." (link) That wasn't after you reasonably raised your concerns in an appropriate context, couldn't find anyone to treat you fairly, and got angry. That was your opening statement, soon followed by "Stick to your knitting."

Cultural conservatives have no intention of driving liberals away. Look at the parade of proud liberals at the Republican National Convention in New York.

Rather, it's you who want to drive out cultural conservatives.

Anonymous said...

If abortion was illegal there would certainly be some illegal abortions performed.

However, the total number of abortions would certainly be reduced.

In a land with abortion being illegal, there would not be no abortion, but there would be much less abortion.

The first states to legalize abortion did so in 1967.

By any credible measurement, the number of legal abortions far surpassed the number of illegal abortions that were performed.

Your comment that if abortion was illegal "300,000 miscarriages" would be turned into murder investigations is patently absurd. Were miscarriages investiaged as potential murders prior to 1967-1973? No, they certainly were not.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

(There was a glaring typo in the first post...Since I'm a grammar stickler, I just couldn't let it pass.)

There is a fundamental difference between prohibiting a person from imbibing alcohol and from having an abortion. The former is a choice the individual inflicts upon her person only, and therefore it is her right to choose what she does to her own body. The latter however is something done to a separate entity, and therefore the choice to do harm to it becomes a wholly different matter. Do what you will to yourself, but you cannot harm another human being. You have the right to kill yourself: you do not have the right to kill someone else.

A friend of mine had a baby one week ago today. My sister is due in February. Both of them have said the same phrase: "It will be so nice to get my body back." It is the single most common phrase you will hear from a pregnant woman's mouth because once a woman becomes pregnant, her body is NOT her own. She is a host; she is helping another person enter the world. Perhaps that is what a lot of women hate about their femininity--that they do lose control of their body for 9 months. Another entity is sucking out the nutrients; another person is making her sick; another individual is making her fat and achy.

Instead of focusing on the privilege that they alone have, the power that they have to bring a new life into the world, feminists have deceived themselves into thinking that they are being taken over by something hostile. This is fate that has been FORCED upon them. But if they can "liberate" themselves, find a way to convince people that this baby inside them is still a part of their body and not separate, then they can control it. They can kill it because then they are only killing off a part of themselves and not a separate human life.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I suspect that you and I have similar convictions. That said, your point tends to lose salience if:

1. “Cultural conservatives” force restricted abortion on a vast majority of Americans that resent it and

2. That abortion restriction will be nationally and not by state.

1. The U.S. is growing more conservative. More and more polls show a majority of Americans are against or favor restrictions on abortion. Go online and do some research, from Zogby to Gallup to the LA Times to Fox to the Center For American Women and Politics, all polls reflect growing opposition to “abortion on demand” by significant numbers. That’s not to say they support complete restriction, but a large percentage of Americans view abortion as “failsafe” birth control with some distaste.

2. Prohibition was only a failue nationally, once individual states and communities had the power to prohibit the sale or use of intoxicants, they did so and still do. While you and I might consider that restrictive on our individual rights, we have the ability to go or move somewhere else more hedonistic. That still might constitute a local "failure" but with a built in safety valve (i.e. move) it will probably be more acceptable.

I think in the next 20 years we will see Roe V. Wade changed to allow individual states to determine their stance on the law.

Something to consider, Roe V. Wade probably contributed to the loss of Kerry.

“ lists the number of abortions in the U.S. each year starting in 1973, "based on assumptions by the Alan Guttmacher Institute." If we add up the numbers from 1975-86, we come up with approximately 17.5 million missing eligible voters between 18 and 29 years old. Exit polls found that voters this age who were born went for Kerry over Bush, 54% to 45%, while Bush had a majority in all other age groups. If it's true that women who have abortions tend to be more liberal than those who don't, then the unborn 18- to 29-year-olds likely would have favored the Democrat even more heavily.”

Anonymous said...

I'm torn on the abortion issue. I think that Roe V Wade was seriously flawed - indeed should never have been issued.

The proper way to legalize abortion was at the state level. If the people of Illinois and New York wish to legalize abortion that is their business. If the people of South Dakota and Mississippi do not, the same.

I feel similarly about Gay Marriage or civil unions or whatever we end up with. When I saw what the radicals and the Massachusetts Supreme Court were doing I had this enormous sense of deja vu. Democracy short-circuted - again. Roe v Wade part II.

No. I don't like the Federal amendment which has been proposed. It has the virtue of being constitutional (which a law passed by Congress would not be) buit it's major virtue is that it's extremely unlikely to pass either the Senate or 3/4ths of the state legislatures.

Unlike the back-door legal activism approach, which is extremely likely to succeed over the opposition of 60% or more of the electorate's wishes.

At this point I would like to see the republicans content themselves with outlawing most partial-birth abortions and leave Roe v Wade alone, because again I think that overturning Roe v Wade would be against the wishes of 60% of the electorate.

Crank said...

Well, Keyes is a bad example, given that he went off the deep end on issues like reparations.

Anonymous said...

I think that you would understand the decisions of cultural conservatives more if you realized that we regard abortion as killing a human being, and therefore the current status of abortion in America is, logically, genocide. This isn't drug policy, but something much more serious. We might not be able to completely stop abortion (just as the drug war is a failure), but we have to try SOMETHING -- anything -- to stop this rampant human harvest.

Anonymous said...

I find much of this argument to be specious.

When the legislature passes a law against a certain act, there will always be people breaking that law.

The author's statements on abortion assert that because women will seek out back alley abortions (were the right to abortion be made illegal) that we therefore should make them legal because 'they'll just get an abortion anyway. By seeking out a black market on the practice, that is.'

We don't scrap laws prohibiting murder, rape, and robbery on the basis that 'some people will just murder, rape, and rob, anyway.' There will always be murder, robbery, rape, and abortion whether our society deems these acts to be legal or not.

Ah yes, I can already hear the pro-choicer already say that murder, rape, and robbery are societal wrongs where one person harms another and that society cannot tolerate such wrongdoing. Therefore those perpetrators should be brought to justice. But when a woman has an abortion she harms no other person because the fetus isn't a person.

That is all good and fine to say I suppose, if you're a pro-choice person. But pointing out all of the above nixes the black market argument and simply brings us all back to the original exercise of whether or not a fetus is actually human life.

I would also suggest to the author that he re-read the medical and physiological differences between a miscarriage and an abortion, as his statement appears to espouse that rather silly idea that were abortion made illegal, every miscarriage all acorss America would have to be investigated as a potential abortion. I find this to be at best alarmist hyperbole.

As far as making gains on the economic front, I would unhappily point out that conservatives have made virtually no progress in shrinking the size of governmental spending at any level, even with Republicans sympathetic to our viewpoint. To further underscore the point on abortion, if Roe v. Wade was struck down, there are states that already have laws protecting a woman's right to legally seek out an abortion, not to mention those states that would certainly move to make abortion legal in their state.

Concerning Alan Keyes, he was more or less a sacrificial lamb for Republicans. He also was lambasted in various papers, notably the Chicago Tribune, for switching stances on hot-button issues such as slave reparations. The Chicago metro area holds most of Illinois' population and Chicago has long been a Democratic voter stronghold. It looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future. I seriously doubt that abortion rights are THE issue that divides the Land of Lincoln.

Will RINOs leave the coalition? The better question to ask is, does it matter? They're really Democratic voters; get real. Will it matter what happens if abortion were made illegal? If the size and scope of government shrunk? Either way, they would probably vote for a Democrat anyway. RINOs are called as such because, well, they're not really Republicans to begin with. Certainly not conservative Republicans. When they leave the conservative bus, it's because they never were a serious part of the movement to begin with.

This election was centered around the War on Terror and Iraq. Take those off the table on the next election and watch the Democrats start making gains in Congress and even the Presidency.

Republicans lost the battle over government a long time ago because our country is not as conservative, either socially or economically, as we're portrayed to be. We're a nation of moderates and we're getting more progressively liberal at the grassroots level as Time marches on. Many people WANT bigger government and WANT a more socially liberal society. No amount of politicking will change that.

Anonymous said...

It's just silly to argue against the cultural conservatives (and I'm not in agreement with them on this) in regard to abortion on the grounds of small government. As others have remarked, the entire opposition is based on the thought--not unreasonable--that abortion is murder, the killing of innocent life. The small government people are also for strong defense and law enforcement. To take the small government view as being across the board, to apply it to any and all functions, is to betray no understanding of this point of view.

in_the_middle said...
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in_the_middle said...

(sorry, i didn't proof my work for grammatical dorkiness)

it seems to me the cries of judicial activism are really just whining about decisions that were not liked.

how come i don't hear cries of judicial activism regarding things like school vouchers? isn't it the exact same type of situation that existed in some of the cases not liked by the far right?

i think a cursory study of post election polls confirm this 'value vote' thing was a gross oversimplification, and abortion really had very little to do with this election. likely because both candidates avoided it.

i personally wish the entire government would avoid it and a host of other issues, but that's a fantasy.

as far as whether this country has become more conservative, i have to say again this is too broad a generalization. you first have to define what 'conservative' means. defining it in terms of religious or christian sure doesn't fly when you look at strong, verified (not exit poll) surveys that consistently show a strong support for Roe, and an increasing amount of tolerance for gays.

Does that mean we're not becoming more conservative? No, but it sure doesn't mean the brand of 'cultural conservatism' that is being bandied about by many on the right is as prevalent or growing as they'd like every politician or pundit to think (lest they don't fall in line).

fortunately, as people start to dissect this 'value vote' non-entity and falsity, that is becoming more widely understood.

What's clear enough now is that "conservative" (and 'values', 'morals', etc) has different meanings for people in different parts of the country, in different religions, age groups, and beyond.

And that's what's fantastic about this Republic in the first place.

Anonymous said...

" Voting coalitions are ruled by the least commited members.

So the question to the cultural conservatives is: do you want 2004 to be the Republican high water mark or would you like to extend the string."

So if cultural conservatives would just give up on the main issue which keeps them in the Republican Party, then the GOP would enjoy a longer period of political control in Washington?

If you put yourself in the culturecon's shoes, you have to ask yourself "What's the point?!" If the party doesn't fight for what really matters to you, why should you give a flip about the party's success?

The Republican Party is nothing more than a means to various ends, but is not an end in itself (unless you're just a career politician). If you really believe that the Republican Party is a coalition, then I would remind you that coalition partners are in a coalition to further their own interests, not those of their fellow members.

And it is very important for you to remember this: if you sacrifice the objectives of one of your constituencies, don't count on that constituency being very committed.


Anonymous said...

[Quote] BTW I have yet to get an answer from any of my "we need a law" anti-abortion friends on why a black market in abortion services and abortion drugs would be a good thing.

All I hear is "if there was a law there would be no abortion". Sure. Well I suppose it is nice to have faith.
[End Quote]
Yes, I want to extend the string. And yes, cultural conservatives like myself need to be sage and thoughtful about how we go about doing that. Jesus is supposed to have said: "be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves." imply that, since a law against abortion would lead to lawbreaking, well then, we might have as well not have a law, is a serious fallacy (both logically and ethically).

Ethics calls this the "is-ought" fallacy. A simple example would be: people commit adultery (the "is"). Therefore, adultery is moral (it "ought" to be permitted). Clearly, the ought does NOT follow from the "is". Just because people DO commit adultery does not mean they OUGHT to be permitted to do so. (At the moment, I am making a moral argument, not a legal one. I am NOT suggesting that adultery ought to be made a crime.)

Now to the question of abortion. Certainly "back-alley" abortions are a bad thing. (But the evidence I've read suggests that pre-Roe figures for this sort of thing are wildly inflated.) BUT JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD BREAK A LAW DOES NOT LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE LAW OUGHT NOT BE ENACTED.

The first question is: is a fetus worthy of legal protection? (Forget all the logic chopping about when a fetus becomes a person, the problems of rape/incest, yada, yada. I am simply asking a basic ethical and legal question.)

The anti-abortion position is based on one essential claim: all other factors being equal (e.g., we are not talking about criminals or enemy combatants) one human being does not have the right to harm or terminate another. It is one of the fundamental duties of the state to enforce this right (not to be harmed or terminated).

Assuming you agree that the fetus has at least SOME fundamental rights under this claim, THEN we can begin to ask the ancillary questions: to what extent? Under what conditions? How do we protect the fetus while protecting the mother? Will the results of trying to enforce the law be more destructive (to women/fetuses/families/society) than NOT enforcing the law?

I respectfully dissent from the suggestion that this implies turning every miscarriage into an abortion investigation. Doctors and human beings know the difference between abortion and miscarriages in 99% of the cases.

I also disagree with the (libertarian?) position that this is inconsistent with small government. Protection of human beings against the predations of other humans is one of the fundamental tasks of government--more important than education, than social welfare, than a host of other governmental functions.
David Layman

Curt said...

The number of women dying when abortion was illegal is grossly overstated. I don't have the information at my fingertips, but I've read in a number of sources that a doctor involved with getting abortion legalized has said that his group needed a figure to help sell the idea. They had no reliable information and neither did anyone else, so they made one up. I think the number they settled on was 10,000 a year. That figure has been widely debunked and one person in that group has since changed his mind and publically admitted that the number was made up.

So - yes, there may be deaths from illegal abortion, but nothing like the numbers commonly bandied about. No one is saying a law is a perfect solution. The perfect solution is for people to be responsible for their lives and to respect the lives of others, including the unborn. No law needed for that. Since we routinely fail to meet that lofty threshold, a law will set a floor of acceptable behavior.

There are deaths from heroin overdoses today too, does that mean we should have legal heroin? The deaths from heroin and the deaths from illegal abortion would have this in common: they would both be unaticipated results of an action that was freely chosen, despite it's risks.

I think most women are smart enough to do a good risk assessment and as a result, the number of abortions attempted will decline a lot, as will the number of unwanted pregnancies. Majority behavior will adjust to the meet reality once again. Abortion is reality avoidance.

There is always a death involved in abortion; your calculus needs to adjust for that. Then you can see the net gain in human life (not to mention dignity) that would result from banning it.

M. Simon said...

I'm still trying to find out if an abortion law will work any better than the drug laws.

I'm also wondering the value of putting the government in charge of women's wombs.

I'm wondering why anti-governmnt Republicans think government is the answer.

Republican Socialism? Alive and well. Its object is different from Democrat Socialism. Its tools the same.

Any one see a problem here? Or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

[quote]I'm still trying to find out if an abortion law will work any better than the drug laws.[/quote]

It's worked better in the past when abortion was illegal. Covert abortions aren't as easy as smuggling a bag of coke.

[qoute]I'm also wondering the value of putting the government in charge of women's wombs.[/qoute]

Number one, this is a straw man, and if you're going to lecture culturecons about how to act in a governing coalition, you're going to need to responsibly address the actual positions held by your allies. No one is advocating forced sterilization; no one is talking about forced impregnation.

You on the pro-choice side are really, really, really going to have to come to grips with the fact that the pro-life people actually believe that the fetus is a person, a human being of equal moral and legal standing to you or me. For pro-lifers (most, anyway) it isn't about keepin' the wimin-folk in their place. It's about protecting innocent life.

[quote]I'm wondering why anti-governmnt Republicans think government is the answer.[/qoute]

Because we aren't anarchists? You can use this same argument against any law in existence. No Republican belives in the abolition of law. In fact, I'd wager that Republicans of all stripes are nearly unanimous in their support of laws criminalizing acts of murder. What you seem insistent on missing is that many of us consider abortions to be murders, too.

[qoute]Republican Socialism? Alive and well. Its object is different from Democrat Socialism. Its tools the same.[/quote]

Huh? This has nothing to do with socialism.

[quote]Any one see a problem here? Or is it just me?[/quote]

The problem is that you expect to convince people to change their minds while ignoring what they actually believe. That's not going to work for you.


Joseph said...

I think of anti-abortion laws as a matter of extending civil rights to the unborn.

Judith said...

"feminists have deceived themselves into thinking that they are being taken over by something hostile. This is fate that has been FORCED upon them. But if they can "liberate" themselves, find a way to convince people that this baby inside them is still a part of their body and not separate, then they can control it. They can kill it because then they are only killing off a part of themselves and not a separate human life."

If you don't want a baby, the pregnancy HAS been forced on you. A woman is not a slave, not even for 9 months. We don't force people to donate kidneys or even blood, even if someone is dying for lack of same. We shouldn't force people to donate their bodies to fetuses against their will either.

Also, many anti-choice people are also against contraception, which exposes their real agenda, which is not saving babies' lives but forcing women to risk pregancy every time they have sex, even if they are married.

If you want to reduce the number of abortions, spread cheap, reliable, easy-to-use contraception that doesn't have bad side-effects, and encourage the pharmas to create more of it. Right now birth control methods are not being improved on because of risk of lawsuits from zealous anti-choice people.

And stop treating an embryo like a fetus like a person. An embryo is a blob of cells, it's a person like a tumor is a person. Legalize RU-487.

-- A pro-Iraq War Bush-voting small-government social liberal.

M. Simon said...

As far as I know the morality of abortion has not been in doubt long before there were Christians. 2,500 years at least.

Christians act like they woke up yesterday and discovered how bad the practice is. Something never recognized before. Something new.

I have yet to see any coherent plan for either law or its enforcement. Just visions of utopia. Billy Sunday and alcohol prohbition come to mind here. "Hell will be forever rent" was his turn of phrase. It didn't exactly turn out that way. Which is why I call this whole exercise utopian.

It also shows a stunning lack of faith. If the morality is correct why won't social pressure work to change peoples minds. Why do people with guns (government) need to be brought in as persuaders? No faith in the rightness of your cause?

Well my point is. If RINOs are 10% of the Republican coalition can you win elections by driving them to the Democrats? Is support on the war and economics insufficient? And what about the Lieberman Democrats (me)?

Morality is one thing. Law is another. Not all moral questions should be legal questions. Given the diversity of acceptable solutions to the problem can the government actually make enforceable laws? Or will it wind up like drug prohibition with everescalating laws and penalties that seem to vist harsher and harsher punishments without solving the problem until we are now at the point of hounding legitimate pain doctors and patients in the hopes of what? Oh, yeah. Keeping large groups who want something from getting it. In America. The land of the free.

Passing laws and getting judicial enforcement is just the beginnings of the problems of solving abortion by law. Who would have guessed when Nancy R. said just say no that taking a pee test for Purity of Essence would be a requirement for getting a job in America. The mark of the beast is not a number. It is a check box on an employment form.

You think similar tests will not be called on (weekly) to prevent murder? Yer dreamin. Just wait till the laws are passed and the survey comes out showing a small decline in abortions. Something will need to be done. They ought to pass a law.

john said...

Reversing Roe v. Wade is probably the best single decision SOTUS could make to improve the country right now.

By taking this issue out of the courts it will defuse it and place it back into the legislatures where it belongs.

Result? Almost all states will allow early (1st trimester) abortions though waiting periods and parental consent restrictions will remain. The public won't finance them.

Most of the population will live in states where it is relatively possible to get a 2nd trimester abortion, particularly if there are extenuating circumstances (rape & incest, Downs).

Third trimester abortions will be illegal and doctors will be prosecuted for performing them unless there is good evidence of significant physical danger to the mother's life. (If it would simply upset her, tough.)

During this time Republican politicians who push for making abortion illegal in all cases will be routed at the polls. During this time Democratic politicans who push for making abortions legal without restriction or limit will be routed at the polls.

Most people, however, will find a middle ground.

submandave said...

A pro-Iraq War Bush-voting small-government social liberal: "If you don't want a baby, the pregnancy HAS been forced on you. We shouldn't force people to donate their bodies to fetuses against their will either."

Am I to take it from this statement that you favor manditory contraception? Except in very rare circumstances pregnancy is cetrainly not forced upon anyone. They may unthinkingly and unintentionally invited it in, but should the relatively soon-to-be person suffer the death penalty for the poor judgement of the soon-to-be parents? I'm not a hell-bent pro-lifer, but these sorts of arguments are so transparently self-centric and vapid they defy serious consideration.

Re the return to the glory days of '50s back alley abortion, not only do I doubt the validity of the scare-tistics of tens of thousands of annual deaths from these black market procedures, but find equally empty any argument these numbers, even if accurate, meaningfully predict the result of a possible ban or reduction in legal abortion today. First, the stigma of being a pregnant unmarried woman that was predominant simply does not exist today. In that time a single unwanted pregnancy literally could ruin your entire future. Second, people today are more informed consumers of medical services than they were at that time, especially women. In the '50s people had a greater inherent trust of medical practicianers, especially women who societally were expected to be much more deferenial than men. Today's woman would be more sceptical and cautious in choosing an illicit provider. Third, the mechanisms for communication and information today would serve the interest of safety. In today's world, where international terrorists and paedophiles regularly communcate with relative security and secrecy on the internet I have no doubt that in the face of a complete abortion ban there would be many who in similar fashion would compile and provide information on illicit providers, including warnings against known poor providers.