Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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The religion of sex: is rape in the eye of the beholder?

In the 1990s Whoopi Goldberg played wise, ancient sage in a popular TV show. In one episode her character and another were discussing matters of truth, and Goldberg’s character voiced this popular tenet of progressivism: “Truth is in the eye of the beholder”.

This was nothing innovative even back in the 90s. It was merely another example of how the political left revels in customizable reality. But the quote is a good reminder of the underlying problem: some people don’t know the difference between fact and opinion.

People who wish to genuinely understand the world freely recognize the difference between fact and opinion. We recognize there is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth” or “true to you but not to me”. If something is “true to you”, it’s your opinion, not truth. Your opinion is yours, reality is not yours.

Truth is reality, what ever reality happens to be. Our views, preferences, beliefs, feelings about reality matter not to the universe. Reality is what it is, regardless of what you or I wish it to be. We can change some aspects of reality, which is best accomplished one heart and mind at a time, by persuasion and understanding. This is the antithesis of modern progressivism, both in the acknowledgement of truth and in the peaceful, non-coercive means of accomplishing change.

Recently, another Hollywood-ite once again entered the light of controversy. Quentin Tarantino once defended known pedophile Roman Polanski. There is now a published audio recording from 2003 of Tarantino stating “I don’t consider him a rapist”.

Consider what he’s saying here. Social norms and sexual mores, even the law, are irrelevant as far as Tarantino is concerned. What matters is the fact someone wanted to have sex, and that should be the end of it.

Consider this attitude in some other contexts. Business owners don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their businesses, and people don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their money. Given the more recent limitations imposed on us all via political correctness, one could legitimately argue we no longer have the right to free speech either. But never mind all the areas of life where limitations imposed by culture or by law are widely considered good, healthy, and necessary.  On the matter of putting one’s genitals where one wishes, in this one area, our same progressive culture would have us believe any limitations here constitute a grievous form of oppression.

So we find this curious contradiction in progressivism. On matters related to money, ownership, speech, and more, progressive culture has no problem imposing limitations on individuals who challenge societal pressure (such as florists, bakers, photographers, or pizzaria owners). The culture gets to dictate what is acceptable, such as the transgender controversy taking the United States by storm. But on matters of sexuality the opposite is demanded, society must acquiesce to the demands of individuals who challenge cultural norms. Here, it is the outlier individual who gets to dictate what is acceptable, and the broader community must give way.

And that leads us back to the failure of progressive culture to distinguish between fact and opinion. Reasonable people recognize words mean things. If we intentionally distort the meanings of words we can find ourselves in a heap of trouble where no one wanted to go, such as the asinine but inevitable position of a pedophile raping girls as young as age 6 claiming he is a 9 year old boy trapped in an adult’s body. This is where customizable reality leads us. An acknowledgment of genuine truth protects us from such things.

Tarantino offers us another example of the insanity Western culture has embraced, an insanity where actual rape is not to be considered rape, but false allegations of rape are treated as unquestionable, depending on who the accused happens to be (such as Roman Polanski or Bill Clinton on one hand, and the Duke Lacrosse team on the other.)

Rod Dreher has good insight into this problem in his short piece “The Religion of Sex“. Give it a read.

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Climate change, scientific fraud, and population control work hand in hand

original article:
Climate change is ‘the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated’: scientist
October 18, 2017 by Fr. Mark Hodges

Social scientist and author Steven Mosher called the global warming movement an enemy of the sanctity of innocent human life at an international symposium that began online Tuesday to address the anti-Christian nature of population control.

Mosher, long recognized as an expert in China’s domestic policy, started his address by explaining that the earth’s temperature has always fluctuated, sometimes dramatically.

“I did a historical study of climate change in China, which shows that the climate in China 2,000 years ago was several degrees warmer than it is today,” Mosher said, adding, “And of course that was a long time before we started hearing about climate change and global warming.”

The bestselling author, who went through a Ph.D program in Oceanography at the University of Washington, further noted that during the Jurassic period, the earth was 15 degrees warmer on average than it is today.

Criticizing global warming fearmongers, Mosher said not long ago the same “experts” were frantically making the exact opposite claims. “In the 1970s … the climate ‘experts’ were warning about a coming ‘ice age,’” he said. “Now it has flipped over 180 degrees to be global warming.”

“The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen to the climate in the future,” Mosher explained. “We’ve seen extremes of temperatures on the cold side and on the warm side that make any projection of one or two degrees pale in comparison.”

Mosher spoke on “Environmentalism and Climate Change as an Avenue for Population Control.” The International Conference on Population Control is sponsored by the Lepanto Institute. Its theme is “How Radical Enemies of Life are Pushing Their Global Agenda to End Poverty by Eliminating the Poor.”

“We had global warming and ice ages a long time before human beings invented the internal combustion engine, and a long time before there were a million of us running around the planet giving birth to little ‘carbon dioxide emitters,’“ he quipped, quoting how climate change activists refer to children.

Turning to his compromised colleagues, Mosher said too many are swayed by the government dole. “I’m really appalled at how the scientific community has sold out for big research grants and to get their name highlighted in the faculty journal and get invited to U.N. conferences,” Mosher said. “This is the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on the family of man.”

Mosher accused “experts” of jumping on the global warming bandwagon because “they are well paid to do so.” “When you spend billions of dollars subsidizing research, you generally get what you pay for,” he charged. “The climate scientist who gets the million dollar grant and says, ‘After study, there’s really no danger of global warming,’ doesn’t get his grant renewed.”

“But the guy who gets 10 million dollars for ‘finding’ global warming probably gets a hundred million after that,” Mosher illustrated.

Mosher, who received the Blessed Frederic Ozanam award from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists for “exemplifying the ideal of Catholic social action,” mentioned that meteorologist Anthony Watts has tallied government payouts related to global warming.  Watts estimates $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion are “tied up in the climate hoax.” ClimateDepot‘s Marc Morano described the racket as the “Great Climate Hustle.”

But even if the earth’s temperature is rising, Mosher says that does not translate into the doomsday predictions of Al Gore — that the state of Florida sinks into the ocean in a decade.

“In my view, a little bit of warming is not necessarily a bad thing,” Mosher claimed. “Even if the earth does warm in the next hundred years, I argue it will be a good thing for humanity.”

A warming planet will open up land for much needed farming. If temperatures rise, “we will see Canada be able to bring vast areas of land under cultivation.  We will see Siberia bloom. We will see food production go up,” Mosher said.

“More people die in the winter of cold than die of heat in the summer,” he explained.  “We’ll see mortality rates among the very young and the very old go down.  Lives will be saved,” Mosher said. “There will be less hunger in the world.”

Other speakers at the conference include Child Advocacy attorney Lis York, LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen, Human Life International’s Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI president Fr. Shenan Boquet, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s Riccardo Cascioli, Italian economist Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Sacred Heart Institute’s Raymond De Souza, and Dr. Philip Chidi Njemanze.

Mosher calls the current politically correct environment a billion-dollar a year “giant propaganda effort” against science and common sense. “This is a myth of guilt,” he said. “This is a myth that drives population control. This is a myth that will decrease the use of energy that will literally kill poor people.”

“This is ultimately about radical environmentalists (engineering) their idea of paradise before man,” Mosher charged, saying radicals believe that people “ruined it.” “They have seized upon global warming as an excuse to justify their war on people to promote abortion, sterilization, and contraception around the world.”

Mosher emphasized that the ultimate goal of global warmists is population control. “They cheered China’s one-child policy from the very beginning,” he mentioned.

The Q&A session then turned to Catholic leaders’ part in the anti-life global warming movement.

“Catholic teaching promotes stewardship of the environment,” Mosher reminded listeners, “but some of the participants of recent Vatican conferences have a history of promoting population control (and) abortion. That’s in opposition to Catholic teaching. I’m surprised they were invited to these conferences (and) given a platform by the Vatican itself to propagate views to directly violate Catholic teaching.”

According to Michael Hichborn, president of conference sponsor the Lepanto Institute, pro-abortion population control activists have established a foothold inside the Catholic Church under the pretext of environmental protection. Now they are “actively working to undermine and subvert the Church and her teachings from within” in an “unprecedented attack.”

Mosher agreed. “The radical environmental movement is using the borrowed authority of the Vatican to propagate its false view of humanity (and) its false view of the relationship between man and the environment,” he charged. “Unfortunately, some in the Vatican are allowing themselves and the Catholic Church to be misused in this way.”

The pro-life researcher and social activist questioned the motivations of those in the Vatican who would give pro-abortionists a voice. “I’m afraid there are certain people in the Vatican who are more interested in winning applause from the world than … evangelizing and getting as many people home to heaven as possible,” he said.

Mosher quoted one Vatican guest speaker, former colleague Paul R. Ehrlich, who claims  “the biggest problem that we face is the continuing expansion of the human enterprise.”  Mosher quoted Ehrlich as saying, “Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell.”

Mosher criticized Ehrlich for his extremist view of population growth and for “comparing it to a cancerous growth. I can hardly imagine a more derogatory description of the human family than comparing it to a cancer cell,” Mosher said.

“When my wife and I had nine children, we didn’t think that they resembled cancer cells.  We thought that we were new souls into existence, cooperating with God in populating this world and hopefully in the next,” Mosher commented.

Mosher then took on worldwide abortion promoter Bill Gates. “Bill Gates tried to argue that he was only funding population control programs in countries where the population was increasing at three percent a year,” Mosher quoted, adding that he disagreed that high birth rates are a problem in the first place. “But I said, ‘Bill, there are only a few small islands in the Pacific where the birth rate is still that high.’”

Then Mosher got to his point with Gates. “If you’re worried about high birth rate, cure childhood diseases, reduce the infant mortality rate, and the birth rate will come down naturally,” he told the Microsoft billionaire. “The reason why families in Africa still have four and five children is because they expect to lose one or two children to disease before they reach adulthood.”

Mosher went on in his address to assert that climate changers have the solution all wrong. “This is all done under the false assumption that if you reduce the number of people on the planet you will somehow increase the number of seals and whales and trees and other things that the radical environmentalists seem to value more than human beings,” Mosher revealed. “What we need to have is continued economic growth, because once a country gets above $2,000 per capita, they have the resources to set aside natural parks and nature preserves and national forests and so forth.”

“It’s poverty that’s the enemy of the environment, not people,” he summarized.

“It’s poverty that leads the poor to cut down the last tree, as they have in Haiti, to build a house or cook their food,” Mosher pointed out. “It’s poverty that leads them to pollute the water that they need to drink because they can’t afford to dig a well or build a sewage treatment plant. It’s poverty that leads them to plant the last square foot of land because they … can’t afford fertilizer or they can’t afford proper irrigation.”

“Poverty is the enemy of the environment,” the human rights advocate said. “And we know how to cure poverty: You have the rule of law, you have property rights, you have an open and free economic system. And once you cure poverty, people will take care of the environment.”

But the radical environmentalists’ have it backward, Mosher claimed. Their “more people equals less of everything else” narrative is not true, he said. “More people as good stewards of the environment means more of everything else: more whales, more trees, more land set aside.”

The author described the global warmist movement as “anti-people.” “Here we almost have a demonic hatred of our fellow human beings,” he said. “They cry copious tears over a mistreated dog or cat, but they ignore that 4,000 babies are being brutally killed — torn limb from limb — in wombs across the United States today.”

“The other side of the evangelization coin,” Mosher said, “is allowing the human beings to come into existence in the first place.”

Back on the subject of Catholic response to global warming threats, Mosher said the Christian response cannot be legislated. “The questions of how we should be good stewards of the environment are prudential questions that will never be settled dogmatically,” the Population Research Institute president concluded.

Part of the Catholic solution is the Pontifical Academy of Science should invite as contributors “only people who were Catholic,” Mosher offered.

“If you do not have a Trinitarian worldview,” he explained, “then your position on many of these issues are going to be radically different than what the Catholic Church teaches.”

Global warmists “are people who have radically different views of what humanity is,” Mosher said. “It makes a real difference if I think that mankind is only a little lower than the angels, created in the image and likeness of God. Paul Ehrlich believes that we’re only a little higher than the apes, and it’s necessary now to thin the herd. He believes that we’re only animals, (so) there’s no moral question to be answered; it’s just a simple question of numbers and power.”

“Such a radical reductionist view of what human beings are should not be endorsed by the Vatican,” he opined.

Mosher commented that after listening to some of the non-Catholic Vatican conference speakers, Pope Francis himself has talked about climate change as the cause of world hunger. “That gets the facts exactly backwards,” he said. “I think we need to go to Rome … and talk and educate people.”

Hichborn noted the significance of the issue today. “Population Control is an agenda that ties together nearly every major cause of the anti-family left,” he said. “Homosexuality, environmentalism, poverty reduction, foreign aid, and even mass immigration are connected to the population control agenda.”

“For the sake of souls, lives, and the family, it is vitally important for everyone who calls themselves pro-life to stand up now,” Hichborn added. “If we don’t fight this now, it won’t be long before there won’t be a civilization left to defend.”

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This, above all else, is why Roy Moore has as much support as he does

original article: ‘Reckoning’ Attempts Display A Left Still Unable To Face Bill Clinton’s Alleged Sex Crimes
November 15, 2017 by Daniel Payne

It is fascinating and welcome to see liberals discovering their consciences on Bill Clinton’s alleged rapist tendencies. True, this moral revelation comes about two decades later than it should have, and at precisely the moment the Left can no longer reasonably ignore it and not a moment sooner.

Just the same, it is nice to finally see some honesty on this issue. It is nice to see liberals, having no more use for the Clintons, finally undertaking what MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls “a real reckoning” with the very real possibility that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick nearly 40 years ago.

And yet. One is tempted to believe we’re witnessing not a “reckoning” but a quick and guilty kind of moral shrug, a sort of Kansas City shuffle meant to absolve a bunch of deeply culpable people of their own deep and stinking culpability. For a real “reckoning” of American liberalism’s wink-nod approach to Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes would implicate American liberalism itself, or at least the last few decades of it. That is understandably not something many liberals are willing to do.

Still Too Scared to Face Themselves In the Mirror

A great example of this evasive genre can be found at The Atlantic, where Caitlin Flanagan has written an article titled, simply, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.” The article itself is actually not a reckoning of Bill Clinton or even an overture toward a reckoning.

Indeed, Flanagan only comes to the sexual assault allegations leveled at Clinton only about two-thirds of the way through, after bringing up Clarence Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill. She places most of the blame for Clinton on “machine feminism” rather than Democratic opportunism, then lamely asserts Democrats need to “come to terms” with how they “abandoned some of [their] central principles” in their unthinking defense of Clinton.

At The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg offers a similar pastiche of self-serving pseudo-reflection. “I Believe Juanita,” her most recent column declares upfront. After that she spends a great deal of time grumbling about Breitbart, “the right’s evident bad faith,” “right-wing propaganda,” “the right-wing press,” “epistemological warfare,” and “various figures in conservative media.” Only after six paragraphs do we get to Broaddrick, after which Goldberg quickly returns to the conservative-led “blizzard of lies” that led progressives to doubt Broaddrick 20 years ago.

Almost as an afterthought, Goldberg writes: “It’s fair to conclude, that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” Goodness, after two decades this is the best we can manage?

Even Hayes’s own viral tweet is couched in a tired and evasive formula. “As gross and cynical and hypocrtical [sic] as the right’s ‘what about Bill Clinton’ stuff is,” he wrote, “it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” Got it: so the Right is “gross and cynical and hypocritical” regarding the Left’s steadfast avoidance of Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes, but we’re also correct? Are liberals capable of discussing Clinton’s sordid history without having to obsessively refer back to conservatives?

They Let Bill Clinton Keep Legitimacy for 18 More Years

There is a deeper and more cynical politics at work here. “Reckoning” with Bill Clinton’s alleged crimes is not just a matter of the Democratic Party saying sorry for not believing Broaddrick in 1999. Bill Clinton has remained a prominent fixture of the party in the intervening 18 years, including as a major fundraiser during his wife’s two failed campaigns for president and as a stump for other Democrats, including President Obama.

Progressives, meanwhile, adore him. “Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants, but he was a great president!” one very liberal woman told me years ago. Broaddrick would surely agree with the first part. Summing up the feelings of millions of progressive millennials, comedian John Mulaney described Clinton as a “smooth and fantastic hillbilly who should be declared emperor of the United State of America.” This kind of hero-worship is only possible if one disbelieves Broaddrick’s testimony entirely—testimony that, 20 years on, remains very credible.

A “reckoning” of the accusations against Bill Clinton must thus also function as a reckoning of the last couple of decades of Democratic politics, a politics that has featured Bill Clinton as an ancillary yet still near-permanent fixture. Every Democrat has known of Broaddrick’s accusations for years. Yet Bill Clinton was still eagerly accepted within “decent society,” and his wife—who is quite reasonably seen as both an apologist for her husband’s perverted behavior and possibly a criminal conspirator regarding his crimes—became the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party itself in the last election.

To reckon with all of this means to reckon with the Democratic party in toto—its political instincts, its morals, and its public credibility and future viability. The Left predictably isn’t very keen to do that. So we get what we’ve witnessed in the past week: liberals feigning a kind of come-to-Jesus public confessional over Bill Clinton while ultimately just complaining about conservatives.

It is true that, in the end, we do not know if Bill Clinton raped Broaddrick. It is virtually impossible to prove it one way or the other, as it generally is with these types of claims. It would not be wholly unreasonable for someone to doubt Broaddrick after a careful review of the evidence. Then again, her claim, and the evidence surrounding it, is compelling enough to be believable, more so than many.

So what does it say about the Democratic Party that it has nevertheless allowed Bill Clinton a revered and permanent spot in its ranks? And what does it say about liberals that, even now, after all of this time, they cannot truly come to grips with it?

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Government is not enough to rebuild a broken society

original article: Why America Will Not Solve Its Existential Crisis Without A Rebirth Of Faith
November 8, 2017 by Emilie Kao

Country music legend Johnny Cash had hit rock bottom. Exhausted by his struggle with drug addiction, he literally crawled into a cave to die. But then, as he described it later, a feeling of tranquility came over him and drew him back from the brink: “There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God’s time, not mine.”

Cash’s spiritual awakening gave him new hope. His story of redemption rings true among countless Americans who credit faith with helping them overcome addiction and other self-destructive behaviors.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are living only the earlier part of Cash’s story—the misery, futility, and sense of hopelessness. The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Culture and Opportunityreports that Americans are now four times more likely to die from opioid overdose than in 1999. Teens are 13.5 percent more likely to use drugs than in 2006, with just under a quarter of high school seniors reporting drug use last year. President Trump was right to recognize that the opioid crisis is really a national emergency.

The suicide rate has risen so sharply that the overall life expectancy of Americans is declining for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, the marriage rate continues to decline. A likely related trend is the unemployment of young men, which has doubled in the last 15 years.

Money and Programs Can’t Provide Existential Meaning

Clearly, many Americans are stressed out—economically, emotionally, and psychologically. But what ails America cannot be remedied with just money or counselling. A genuine cure must include cultural revival in which religious communities come alongside individuals and families to reweave the frayed ends of broken relationships. Empirical research demonstrates that religion contributes to individual and societal prosperity. In his book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” J.D. Vance shows how religion can help generate holistic flourishing.

Like Cash’s story, Vance’s memoir brings to life the statistics about divorce, domestic violence, and drug addiction. He credits his own upward trajectory to acquiring “social capital.” Through personal networks, he learned “soft skills” like conflict resolution and financial management that fueled his upward mobility. He cited both the military and churches as critical institutions that form social capital.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber’s research has demonstrated a causal connection between children’s church attendance and their ability to stay off drugs and out of prison. After analyzing religious attendance, Gruber also observed an “incredibly strong correlation” with higher education, more stable marriages, higher income, and lower likelihood of being on welfare. A study at Harvard showed that those who attend religious services at least once a week are five times less likely to commit suicide.

A Commitment to Morality Increases Social Trust

The role of faith in preventing and treating opioid addiction is increasingly evident. New Hampshire and West Virginia present a contrast in addiction and religiosity. New Hampshire confounds purely economic explanations of addiction, since it has both high employment and high addiction. It doesn’t fit in well with mainstream media narratives, but states like West Virginia, Utah, and those in the Deep South have both high levels of religiosity and low levels of addiction.

As the Trump administration builds a strategy to combat this public health emergency affecting 21 million Americans, it should consider not only criminal punishments and opioid alternatives, it should also take into account the empirical evidence of faith’s role as seen in the states. Similar to Gruber’s observations about faith’s effects in the lives of individual Americans, a Chinese economist saw faith’s effects on business transactions in America’s national economy. Zhao Xiao traces America’s prosperity back to the Puritans.

He sees a relationship between their transcendental motives and a high degree of personal integrity, which generated trust and minimized friction in economic transactions. Zhao’s research has influenced policymakers in the Chinese Communist Party, who are increasingly emphasizing the role of morality in fostering trust.

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen also attributes America’s economic success to civic virtues religious communities teach, such as obedience to the law, respect for private property, and honesty. While earlier generations created the cultural momentum that led to American prosperity, Christensen warns that momentum is dissipating as religious belief wanes: “If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police”

Religion Is Important for a Thriving Country

The importance of personal virtue for society is something Vance takes seriously. He urges Americans to incorporate cultural causes into our discussions of the structural factors that contribute to poverty. When individuals feel hopeless, marriages dissolve, and children get caught up in families’ breakdown, government solutions are not enough to make up the difference. Religious communities, however, are there when life falls apart.

Just how critical are religious organizations to the fabric of American life? Religious networks provide $161 billion in medical services annually. Religious schools and colleges provide $138 billion in education. Religious charities contribute $95.2 billion, religious businesses $438 billion, and religious congregations $326 billion. Eliminate religious organizations, and Americans would lose $1.2 trillion in services.

Communities also benefit greatly from partnerships between government and religious groups. Consider the relief efforts needed to deal with natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Nonprofits provide 80 per cent of recovery efforts, and they are mostly faith-based. But faith is equally as powerful in less visible day-to-day interactions. In Gadsden County, Florida, partnerships between faith leaders and city officials have transformed programs in women’s prisons and schools.

In the words of the town sheriff, “We cannot incarcerate our way out of crime. When all else fails, you sometimes have to appeal to the spiritual side of offenders.” Local churches in Gadsden send members to teach inmates the Bible and life skills. Other churches help find jobs and housing for newly released inmates. Gadsden County’s story is one of countless examples showing the “spiritual capital” that religion provides on top of its tremendous economic value—more than that of Facebook, Google, and Apple combined, according to the research of Brian Grim.

Faith Provides Private Accountability We All Need

Faith infuses lives with greater meaning, and faith communities help us make and keep wise commitments. They help us to stay engaged in the lives of our spouses, children, and friends. They help us to stay in school and at jobs when we might prefer to quit. Most of us are more likely to keep commitments when others help. But this kind of accountability, which requires face-to-face contact over a long period of time, is not something the government is well-equipped to provide.

Religious communities help parents raise their children. They provide counseling to individuals while they are dating, after they get married, and even when they lose a spouse. They provide assistance, loans, and job contacts to those who are unemployed. And they are a source of encouragement and hope for people desperate to stay out of addiction.

The American Dream is still alive, but it needs renewal. Government can help. But it takes communities of faith to fully rebuild what has been broken and to restore hope where it’s been lost.

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crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

After tearing down the old religious sexual barriers, is feminism rebuilding them?

original article: From chaperones to modesty wear, a sexual reformation is underway
November 4, 2017 by Lara Prendergast

Quick note: there is no such thing as “ethical porn” and being fearful of harmful allegations is not “prudish”.

Nell Minow, an American film critic, recently described how in 2010 she had interviewed the Friends actor David Schwimmer. When the noise in the restaurant grew too loud, he asked her whether she might like to move to a room upstairs with him, and if so, would she like a chaperone present. She praised him for this behaviour. ‘He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.’

When I read Minow’s story, my reaction was to think what a patronising arse Schwimmer must be. A woman journalist shouldn’t need a chaperone when she is doing her job. But, in the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein allegations, it has become clear that, for many women, safety is starting to trump liberty. We are moving towards a chaperone culture, in which women, delicate lambs that we are, must be protected at all times.

A new schism is opening up between men and women. Women are incessantly told to be vigilant of predatory men and are increasingly scared to be out in public. Men, meanwhile, are becoming more nervous around women for fear that their very nature is itself threatening to the opposite sex. The wrong words, gestures or body language might now render them guilty of one of the new crimes popping up on social media — for example, ‘creeping’ on someone or being ‘too handsy’. The spotlight is on Hollywood and Westminster — or ‘Pestminster’, as it has been dubbed — but it will soon turn to other industries. More sex pests will be exposed or their peccadillos gossiped about on WhatsApp groups. The internet jury will then make its decision.

It’s not hard to see why this is happening. There have always been rapists and men who exploit women for kicks, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s has done nothing to stop them; worse, perhaps, it has given them licence to operate without the old boundaries. We live in a time that is almost defined by seedy characters such as Donald Trump and Weinstein, so it’s natural that women feel they must be on their guard.

Sexual abuse allegations are coming thick and fast. If real crimes are uncovered because women feel emboldened to come forward, that can only be good. It should go without saying that any woman who has been the victim of sexual abuse deserves sympathy and to be believed. Unfortunately, that still has to be said, because too many women are not believed when they tell their stories. And if they took a while to speak, they are doubted because of the delay or told not to cause trouble. Just this week, activist Bex Bailey claimed that she was raped by a senior Labour official six years ago — but was advised by a party official not to report it in case it damaged her career.

But if you look beyond the current hysteria, something sinister is happening. Barriers between men and women that had been knocked down by feminists are being resurrected — in the name of feminism. Whereas it used to be religious groups that enforced sexual morality, in our modern, secular culture, the loudest voices on the internet are taking over that responsibility.AdTech Ad

Think of it as a new sexual reformation. Five hundred years ago, Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg; today, prominent women have begun issuing edicts about appropriate male behaviour. Like Luther, these women think it is their mission to change the world.

Earlier this month, the writer Helen Rosner published a guide to ‘20 things men can do to support women, beyond just literally ceasing to sexually harass us’. It included suggestions for men such as ‘seek out women to be your heroes’, ‘talk less. At all times’ and consume ‘ethical’ porn made by women, queer people and people of colour. I wonder what Luther would have made of that.

A lot of this boils down to that boring ancient impulse to separate men and women. There is political chatter about the possibility of ‘women-only carriages’ on trains. The orthodoxy of ‘safe spaces’ —which began as part of the women’s movement before becoming a university campus cliché — is starting to infiltrate public life.

Last year, a survey showed that 70 per cent of British women have taken steps to guard themselves against harassment. The poll included ten different strategies those polled had used, including avoiding parks or public transport, missing school or work or taking a chaperone. ‘Modesty wear’ — clothing which offers an alternative fashion for those who want to cover up — is becoming more popular on the catwalks. In February, more than 40 designers took part in the first ‘London modest fashion week’.

The old feminist trope says that it is not a woman’s responsibility to worry about her own safety; it is a man’s job not to harass her. Yet women are clearly taking increasingly extreme measures to protect themselves because a small number of vocal campaigners are telling us that all our worst fears about men are true — and we must take action. And if this means reinstating old-fashioned segregation at the expense of hard-won freedoms, so be it.

The #MeToo hashtag, which trended on social media in the days after the Weinstein story broke, revealed just how many women considered themselves victims of sexual abuse. But also, how alarmingly wide that definition ran. On my own Facebook feed, the experiences described stretched from rape to ‘feeling as if a man once looked through me’. The implicit message of all these confessional posts was clear: if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ve just been lucky. Or perhaps you are in denial. It’s as if a new feminist movement is advocating victimhood, rather than equality. And women who protest about this new reality are denounced as traitors to their sex.

The paranoia isn’t confined to women. Understandably, plenty of men are starting to feel anxious about what this might all mean. Each day brings fresh stories in the newspapers of prominent figures tumbling from positions of power because of a major — or minor — misdemeanour. A sexual abuse accusation, or even a snifter of gossip published online, has the power to sabotage a career and ruin a life.

So men are also starting to think about how best to defend themselves. Nobody wants to be daubed with the pervert brush. Older men tell me that they are nervous that something in the distant past that would once have been dismissed as silly behaviour will now be dredged up as damning evidence. Younger men, meanwhile, seem even more reticent about approaching women or making a move. I heard a story recently about a woman who had been on a date with a man who was younger than her. After a few drinks, they ended up back at her house. The woman was keen to go to bed with him, but he refused because he was so worried about doing something that might later lead to recriminations. In the current climate, who can blame him?

Professional life is becoming a nightmare. Young women feel uneasy about the lay of the land. What career can you choose that won’t involve creeps? And men in positions of authority will inevitably become more anxious about hiring women. It must just seem easier to hire other men, who are less likely to interpret a clumsy comment as sexual assault. Across a wide range of industries, men are being given guidance as to how they should behave so as to avoid getting caught out by this new sexual counter-revolution. Consent classes have been compulsory at British universities for a few years, but law firms and banks are also starting to introduce them. In the military, some officers have been advised that they should ask for a woman to give them consent, filmed on their phone, before taking things further.

It’s a surprise, really, that anyone is having sex these days, given the reputational risk involved. One single girlfriend tells me she is worried about what this all means for her hopes of finding a husband. What sensible man would try it on after a few drinks? Then again, what happy romantic relationship didn’t start with a lunge? Sexual relations are never black and white.

The paradox is that all this paranoia comes during an era of intense sexual libertinism — the decade of Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the bestselling books of all time. We live in an age of chemsex parties and ‘hi-tech sex toys’. Hard-core porn is always a few clicks away. It’s never been easier to hook up, via dating apps or the internet. While embracing so much freedom, society is moving towards prudishness. We all talk about sex all the time, but the safest sex is no sex at all.

This new sexual reformation may leave women feeling safer in a domestic environment, surrounded by other women — or chaperoned when out in public. So what started off as an attempt to give support to abused women mutates into a movement that undoes everything women’s rights campaigners have fought for. Men, too, may cut themselves off, retreating into the company of other men, and we will be back where we were a century ago. How’s that for a sexual revolution?

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culture, ethics, feminism, freedom, reform, sex, unintended consequences

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The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

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The political left can’t tell the difference between fantasy and real life, and doesn’t care to

original article: The media doesn’t understand guns — and doesn’t want to
October 4, 2017 by Stephen L. Miller

The American political left and mainstream media pundits at large do not understand guns. They are not educated about them and they refuse to learn about them. They could not tell you the difference between an automatic or semi-automatic firearm. They don’t understand what a suppressor does or does not do. It’s safe to say most of them have not heard the term “bump stock” until this week.

What they are, however, is convinced that we need more laws to prevent mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas from happening ever again – and they will host guest after guest on their shows who are not experts in firearms, or firearm training, to lecture the American public at large about why this needs to happen.

If anyone out there on that side of the aisle is wondering why your pleas to “do something” are falling on mostly deaf ears,that would be why.

Democrats would be better off offering up legislation banning high-rise hotels in attempting to make a connection to the Las Vegas shooting than they would suppressors or background checks

It’s a largely one-sided debate happening on cable networks, and it is why those on the right – including everyday Americans and lawful gun owners not responsible for mass shootings or breaking gun laws – largely ignore what is blaring out at them from their televisions and social media.

Column after column is fired off about how much the National Rifle Association donates to congressional candidates (spoiler: it’s not much, about 200K a year). For every breathless declaration that the NRA has blood on their hands, it’s worth noting more journalists have committed mass shootings in this country than NRA members.

Firearm experts in media such as Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski (also an NRA-certified instructor), National Review Online Editor Charles Cooke and Federalist co-founder Sean Davis are sidelined from national cable news and Sunday show appearances in favor of guests who suggest suppressors are used by hunters to prevent deer from hearing a fired shot. Gutowski, Cooke and Davis will never be invited on Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert’s shows to clear up the falsehoods being spread to mass audiences or to defend the second amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Las Vegas narrative jumped to ludicrous speed shortly after the massacre ended when losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton demanded that we “put politics aside” right before immediately politicizing the shooting in the same tweet. She then went on to state, “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.” Mrs. Clinton’s claim that firearm suppressors render guns “silent” was given three Pinnocchios by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post. This of course didn’t matter. Kessler’s fact check went mostly ignored on social media. Clinton’s false tweet about firearm suppressors garnered more than 58,000 retweets on Twitter. Glenn Kessler’s fact check? Thirty.

Kimmel chastised Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress for not enforcing laws about guns that literally do not exist.

Within hours of the Las Vegas shooting, Senator Chuck Schumer was pushing the narrative that the GOP was ramming through legislation to de-regulate silencers. This was also a fabrication. Reporters began shouting questions at Paul Ryan about “Silencer” legislation. The 64-year-old shooter in Las Vegas did not use a suppressor but Democrats have found their shiny object to fixate on – much like the no-fly list post-Orlando – which had nothing to do with the actual tragedy at hand.

Democrats would be better off offering up legislation banning high-rise hotels in attempting to make a connection to the Las Vegas shooting than they would suppressors or background checks.

America’s foremost health care expert, Jimmy Kimmel, once again repeated long-debunked Democrat talking points in another tearful monologue (Las Vegas is his hometown so it’s hard to berate him for showing emotion). Kimmel chastised Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress (again) for not enforcing laws about guns that literally do not exist. These include the so called “gunshow loophole,” an online background check loophole and allowing mentally ill individuals (a move supported by the ACLU) from purchasing firearms. All of these claims have been debunked and yet are ignored by fact-checkers at mainstream outlets and cable news pundits. Stephen Paddock did not have a criminal background, prior record and no evaluations of suspect mental health. So what then?

New York Times Magazine’s Ana Marie Cox tweeted “Man, imagine if the right believed in unfettered access to the ballot box as much as they believed in the right to own guns.” Her sudden support of background checks and voter ID laws (two things needed to purchase a firearm in America) are a welcome surprise.

Politico reporter Dan Diamond tweeted out an email announcement from The American College of Physicians calling for a ban on all automatic and semiautomatic weapons. What Diamond did not reveal is a ban on semiautomatic weapons would include most handguns. I’m not sure members of media know this fact, and more importantly, have demonstrated zero willingness to learn. But sure, let’s put them in charge of the health care debate.

And this is where the credibility chasm exists in media as they continue to parrot Democrat narratives on guns. As the sun rose on Vegas the morning after, and before Americans could grasp the facts of what had happened, Democrat leaders including Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and their celebrity Hollywood base were already pointing fingers and placing blame without facts and without knowledge.

Law-abiding, gun-owning Americans will not be lectured to about a national tragedy they had nothing to do with, and they certainly won’t be lectured by elitists in media who refuse to understand even a basic grasp or terminology about a sacred constitutional right.

And until they do, we will refuse to have that “conversation” the left and the media keep telling themselves needs to happen.

bias, corruption, crisis, culture, Democrats, ethics, government, gun rights, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, legislation, liberalism, nanny state, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, regulation, second amendment, tragedy

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Medicalized killing. What could possibly go wrong?

original article: Dutch euthanasia getting so out of hand that even assisted-death docs want to hit the brakes
July 5, 2017 by Doug Mainwaring

An advertisement taken out in a major newspaper in the Netherlands by more than 200 Dutch doctors begins, “[Assisted suicide] for someone who cannot confirm he wants to die? No, we will not do that. Our moral reluctance to end the life of a defenseless man is too great. ”

The doctors, many of whom currently serve as assisted-suicide providers, are objecting to the unchecked growth of euthanasia in their country, where people who have reduced mental capacity due to dementia are being euthanised.

Current law allows doctors to euthanize without verbal consent if a written declaration of will has been provided in advance. In addition, a doctor has to also first determine that the patient is undergoing unbearable suffering. But with reduced mental capacity, patients are often unable to confirm that their former request to be euthanized — executed perhaps years earlier — is still valid.

A turning point

Alarm bells began to sound for these doctors a few years ago when an elderly woman was euthanized against her will.

The 80-year-old suffered from dementia. She had allegedly earlier requested to be euthanized when “the time was right” but in her last days expressed her desire to continue living.

Despite changing her mind about ending her life, her doctor put a sedative in the her coffee. When that wasn’t enough, the doctor enlisted the help of family members to hold down the struggling, objecting patient so that she could administer the lethal injection.

“Doesn’t someone have a right to change their mind?” asked Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. He told LifeSiteNewsearlier this year, “They sell it as choice and autonomy, but here’s a woman who’s saying, ‘no, I don’t want it,’ and they stick it in her coffee, they hold her down and lethally inject her.”

“It’s false compassion,” Schadenberg continued. “It’s killing people basically out of a false ideology” that treats euthanasia as somehow good when “it’s the exact opposite of what it actually is.”

In 2016, the Dutch doctor was cleared of wrongdoing by a euthanasia oversight panel. The chairman of that panel expressed hope that the case will go to court – not so the doctor can be prosecuted but so a court can set a precedent on how far doctors may go in such cases.

Troubling new legislation

That case remains fresh in the minds of the Dutch as ‘groundbreaking’ new legislation is being floated by the country’s lawmakers.

Legislators in the Netherlands have now proposed the ‘Completed Life Bill’ that would allow anybody age 75 or older to be euthanized even if they are healthy. If the legislation passes, it would be a big step toward the ultimate goal of making euthanasia available to any adult who wants it.

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Dutch political party D66, said, “It’s my personal opinion that in our civilization dying is an individual consideration. You didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” He went on to explain that this new legislation would be one more step toward the universal availability of euthanasia, part of a process of steady incremental gains over the last few decades.

Belgium’s culture of death seeping into the Netherlands

As reported by Schadenberg several years ago, according to available data, more than 1,000 Belgian deaths were hastened without explicit request in 2013.

Schadenberg quoted Belgian ethicist Freddy Mortier from an Associated Press article:

“Mortier was not happy, however, that the ‘hastening of death without explicit request from patients,’ which can happen when a patient slumbers into unconsciousness or has lost the capacity for rational judgment, stood at 1.7 percent of cases in 2013. In the Netherlands, that figure was 0.2 percent.”

The Netherlands appears to be going the way of nearby Belgium, with that 0.2 percent statistic climbing rapidly. In 2009, 12 patients with dementia were euthanized. In 2016, there 141 cases reported. And for those with psychiatric illness, there were no cases in 2009 but 60 in 2016.

Boudewijn Chabot, a psychogeriatrician and prominent euthanasia supporter, said in June that things are “getting out of hand.” He continued, “[L]ook at the rapid increase … The financial gutting of the healthcare sector has particularly harmed the quality of life of these types of patients. It’s logical to conclude that euthanasia is going to skyrocket.”

In North America, Alex Schadenberg warns, “People need to recognize that euthanasia or assisted-suicide laws will be abused. Will assisted death be your choice or will it be imposed on you?”

abuse, corruption, crisis, ethics, eugenics, extremism, government, health care, nanny state, public policy, scandal, unintended consequences

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This is socialized medicine

original article: Matt Walsh: Courts in Europe have sentenced a baby to death. This is socialized medicine.
June 28, 2017 by Matt Walsh

There’s a horrific case over in the U.K. that hasn’t gotten a ton of attention here, but it should. If we look closely, we may see our future — and our present.

Charlie Gard is a 10-month-old baby who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. It’s a horrendous condition that leads to organ malfunction, brain damage, and other symptoms. The hospital that had been treating the boy, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, made the determination that nothing more can be done for him and he must be taken off of life support. He should “die with dignity,” they said. The parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, disagreed.

This is the very crucial thing to understand: they are not insisting that GOSH be forced to keep Charlie on life support. Rather, they want to take him out of the hospital and to America to undergo a form of experimental therapy that a doctor here had already agreed to administer. Chris and Connie raised over $1.6 million to fund this last ditch effort to save their child’s life. All they needed the British hospital to do was release their child into their care, which doesn’t seem like a terribly burdensome request. They would then leave the country and try their luck with treatment here. However slim the chance of success may have been, it was better than just sitting by and watching their baby die.

Here’s where things get truly insane and barbaric. The hospital refused to give Charlie back to his parents. The matter ended up in the courts, and, finally, in the last several hours, the European Court of “Human Rights” ruled that the parents should be barred from taking their son to the United States for treatment. According to the “human rights” court, it is Charlie’s human right that he expire in his hospital bed in London. The parents are not allowed to try and save his life. It is “in his best interest” to simply die, they ruled.

In Europe, “Death with dignity” supersedes all other rights.

In Europe, a mother may kill her baby but she is not allowed to keep him alive.

Again: barbaric.

I have heard many people rationalize this demented decision by saying “the doctors know best.” That may well be relevant and true in situations where family members are trying to force doctors to administer treatments that they, the medical professionals, know will not work. But that is not what’s happening here. The only thing these parents are trying to “force” the doctors to do is relax their grip so the child can be taken to different doctors in a different country. The doctors may be the final authority on what kinds of medical measures they personally should take, but they are not the final authority over life itself. It is one thing for them to say, “I will not do this treatment.” It’s quite another for them to say, “You are not allowed to have this treatment done by anyone. You must die.” The former is reasonable. The latter is euthanasia. This baby is being euthanized. By barbarians.

I’ve seen some on social media calling this case “unimaginable” and “mind boggling.” It is certainly awful, but unfortunately it does not boggle my mind or exceed the limits of my imagination. These sorts of cases are inevitable in Europe, and, unless we make a drastic change of course, they will soon become commonplace here. The stage is already set. Just consider these three factors:

(1) This is what happens with socialized medicine. 

If the State runs the health care system, ultimately they will be the ones who decide whose life is worth saving and whose isn’t. That’s not just a byproduct of socialized medicine — it’s the point. And it is especially risky to cede this sort of power to the government when you live in a culture that doesn’t fundamentally value parental rights or human life, which brings us to the last two points.

(2) This is what happens when parental rights are subordinate to the State. 

This case came down to the question of who should have the final say over a child. Should it be the parents, or should it be a collection of doctors, judges, and bureaucrats? And if the parents don’t take precedence in a life or death situation, can it really be said that they have rights at all? If I have no say when my child’s very life is at stake, when do I have a say?

The way things are headed in Europe, a parent may have some jurisdiction over the minor minutia of daily life, but when it comes to the major issues — how a child is to be educated, how he is to live, what he is to believe, when he is to die — it is increasingly up to the State to determine. As a “medical ethics” expert at Oxford put it, parental rights are “at the heart” of most big medical decisions, however “there are limits.” Chris and Connie apparently reached the “limits” of their parental authority and now must sit back obediently while their son dies in agony. “Limits,” you see. You’re only a parent up to a certain point, and then your relationship to your child doesn’t count for anything anymore. That’s how things are in the U.K. — and the U.S., as always, is close behind.

(3) This is what happens when human life is not considered sacred. 

But what really is the downside of taking the child to the U.S. for treatment? It may not work, OK, but why not try? They raised enough money to pay for everything, including an air ambulance to get the baby to the treatment facility. Nobody is being burdened here. Nobody is being forced to do something they don’t want to do. What is there to lose?

Well, the court answers, it’s just not worth the trouble. They’ve weighed all the variables using their various formulations, and they’ve decided that it makes no sense to go through all this trouble on the slim hope of saving this one measly life. Yes, they’ve used the excuse that the baby is “suffering,” and I’m sure he is suffering, but that doesn’t explain why the parents should be prevented from pursuing every option to ease that suffering. Death is not a treatment plan for suffering. Death is death. Death is the destruction of life. We all must experience it some day, but the inevitability of death does not negate the value and dignity of life.

What this really comes down to is that the Powers That Be don’t see the fundamental value in life. That’s why you’ll hear these people speak more often of the “dignity” of death than the dignity of life. They preach about the “right” to die but not the right to live. And the laws in Europe reflect this emphasis on death instead of life. Over there, they kill children in the womb and euthanize them when they come out. They even euthanize alcoholics and depressives and other people who are by no means terminally ill. Once the right to die has been placed over the right to life, death will continue claiming new ground and eating into life more and more. Death is a destructive force. What else can it do but consume?

It’s not quite as bad here yet, but we’re getting there. We already kill hundreds of thousands of children in the womb, and we often speak with admiration of people who make the “brave” decision to commit suicide. And we already, in many instances, place the authority of the State over the rights of parents. Our education system is built around that philosophy.

So, as I said, the stage is set. Prepare yourself for what’s to come.

And pray for Chris and Connie tonight.

 

babies, bureaucracy, children, civil rights, crisis, elitism, ethics, eugenics, extremism, government, health care, ideology, law, medicine, nanny state, progressive, public policy, scandal, socialism, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: babies, bureaucracy, children, civil rights, crisis, elitism, ethics, eugenics, extremism, government, health care, ideology, law, medicine, nanny state, progressive, public policy, scandal, socialism, tragedy, unintended consequences

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