Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

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

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The problem with basing a diagnosis and irreversible treatment on people’s feelings

original article: Bravo to the Truth: What’s Wrong with Transgender Ideology
April 27, 2017 by Walt Heyer

A recent New York Post article tells the story of a Detroit mom named Erica who changed into a transgender dad named Eric. If that is not enough, his son had already changed genders: born a boy, he transitioned to living as a girl. Thus, mom became dad and son became daughter. Similarly, back in 2015, a fifty-two-year-old Canadian man made the news when he traded in his wife and seven kids to fulfill his “true identity” as a six-year-old transgender girl.

Stories like these remind us that transgender identity is a product of LGBTQ social ideology, not of each human person’s innate identity as male or female. Transgender identity is not authentic gender but man’s attempt to socially engineer the family, sex, and gender identity.

What Makes a Person Trans?

The accepted LGBTQ standard for being a “real” trans woman or trans man is simply that a person desires to self-identify as the opposite of his or her biological sex and to be socially accepted as such. If a person feels distressed about his or her birth gender, then the politically correct action is for everyone to affirm the new and “authentic” gender identity—the one that exists only in the trans person’s feelings.

In a recent interview on Fox News, transgender lawyer Jillian Weiss, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, was asked repeatedly by host Tucker Carlson, “What are the legal standards to be transgender?” Finally, the legal specialist admitted, “There are no legal standards.

That’s right—no legal standards or legal definitions of transgender exist. Yet, as Carlson pointed out, $11 billion of federal money is spent on sex-specific programs, such as the Small Business Administration investing in businesses owned by women. Without a legal definition, these funds become easy prey for, as Carlson puts it, “charlatans” who will claim to be women simply to get the money.

When people feel that their biological sex doesn’t match their internal sense of gender, they are typically diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This is defined as “discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth.” In other words, the medical diagnostician simply listens to and affirms the patient’s own verbal self-identification and self-diagnosis.

No objective tests can prove that the transgender condition exists. No physical examination, blood test, bone marrow test, chromosome test, or brain test will show that a person has gender dysphoria. It is a condition revealed solely by the patient’s feelings. Yet the recommended treatment is extreme—cross-gender hormones and sex-reassigning surgery.

Don’t be duped when trans activists conflate the unrelated condition of intersexuality with transgenderism to gain sympathy for a trans agenda. People with intersex conditions are not the same as self-identified transgender people. Being intersex is verifiable in the physical body; being transgender is not. People who identify as transgender usually have typical male or female anatomies.

How to Become Transgender
The wikiHow article entitled “How to Transition from Male to Female (Transgender)” outlines a simple five-part system for men who want to become women. Here is a small sample:

Seek a qualified therapist. . . . Ask your friends in the trans community to recommend a therapist. Browse the internet in search of a therapist experienced working with members of the trans community. . . .

Receive a diagnosis. Over the course of a series of sessions, your therapist will evaluate your individual situation issuing a diagnosis. After determining that you have consistently experienced symptoms such as disgust with your genitals, a desire to remove signs of your biological sex, and or a certainty that your biological sex does not align with your true gender, your therapist will likely diagnose you with Gender Dysphoria.

These instructions are typical of the advice offered to those who believe they may be transgender. I myself followed a similar series of steps. Yet, in hindsight, after transitioning from male to female and back again, I see that many important topics are ignored by such advice, placing vulnerable people at risk. Four crucial omissions are most obvious and problematic.

First, these instructions fail to caution the reader about therapist bias. Asking friends in the trans community to recommend a therapist guarantees that the therapist will be biased toward recommending the radical step of transitioning.

Second, no mention is made or warning given about sexual fetishes. If a person has been sexually, emotionally, or physically abused or is addicted to masturbation, cross-dressing, or pornography, he could be suffering from a sexual fetish disorder. As such, he is probably not going to be helped by gender dysphoria treatment protocols.

Third, the high incidence of comorbid mental conditions is not mentioned. Those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, oppositional defiance behaviors, narcissism, autism, or other such disorders need to proceed cautiously when considering transitioning, because these disorders can cause symptoms of gender dysphoria. When the comorbid disorder is effectively treated, the gender discomfort may relent as well.

Fourth, regret after transition is real, and the attempted suicide rate is high. Unhappiness, depression, and inability to socially adapt have been linked to high rates of attempted suicide both before and after gender transition and sexual reassignment surgery. My website gathers academic research on this topic and reports the personal experiences of people who regret transitioning.

Standards of Care?
In theory, the medical community follows certain standards of care for transgender health, now in the seventh revision, which were developed by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). The standards provide guidelines for treating people who report having discomfort with their gender identity.

People think that because standards exist, people will be properly screened before undergoing the radical gender transition. Unfortunately, the overwhelming theme of these standards is affirmation. Again, clinical practitioners do not diagnose gender dysphoria. Their job is to approve and affirm the client’s self-diagnosis of gender dysphoria and help the patient fulfill the desire for transition. The standards also advise that each patient’s case is different, so the medical practitioners may (and should) adapt the protocols to the individual.

The patient controls the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. If a gender specialist or the patient wants to skip the screening protocols and move forward with hormone treatment and surgical procedures, they are free to do so. The standards of care do not come with any requirement that they be followed.

For example, the standards do, in fact, recommend that patients be pre-screened for other mental health conditions. But I routinely hear from family members who say that obvious comorbid conditions, such as autism or a history of abuse, are ignored. The physician or the counselor simply concludes that the psychological history is unimportant and allows the patient to proceed with hormone treatment.

When Real Looks Fake
As simple as it is to become a “real” transgender person, it’s even easier to turn into a fake one. “Fake” transgender people like me start out as real, but when they eventually see through the delusion of gender change and stop living the transgender life, transgender activists give them the disparaging label of “fake.”

If someone comes to the difficult and honest conclusion that transitioning didn’t result in a change of sex, then he or she is perceived as a threat to the transgender movement and must be discredited. Name-calling and bullying ensues. To be considered real, the transgender person must continue in the delusion that his or her gender changed. The problem with basing a diagnosis and irreversible treatment on people’s feelings, no matter how sincerely held, is that feelings can change.

My message attempts to help others avoid regret, yet the warning is not welcome to the advocates whose voice for transgender rights rings strong and loud. Some will find my words offensive, but then the truth can be offensive. Personally, I cannot think of anything more offensive than men diminishing the wonder and uniqueness of biological women by suggesting women are nothing more than men who have been pumped with hormones and may or may not have undergone cosmetic surgery.

Cheers and bravo to the offensive truth. Let’s reclaim the beautiful reality of male and female sexual difference and reject transgender ideology.

biology, culture, government, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, law, left wing, liberalism, oppression, politics, progressive, public policy, reform, science, sex, tragedy, unintended consequences

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Teen came in for three abortions, parents never knew

original article: Former abortion worker: Teen came in for three abortions, parents never knew
April 8, 2017 by Sarah Terzo

Brenda Pratt-Shaffer spent three days working at a late-term abortion facility before she became so troubled by what she saw that she quit. She recently wrote a book about her experiences called What the Nurse Saw: Eyewitness to Abortion.

On Pratt–Shaffer’s first day in the abortion facility, she cared for a teenage girl who was there having an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. Pratt–Shafer wrote:

One of the things that really bothered me that day was a fifteen-year-old girl having her third abortion. Her parents did not even know that she was there. She was laughing the whole time she was in the clinic. I wondered if this was a nervous laugh or if she truly just did not care….I just kept thinking about my fifteen-year-old daughter that I had to sign for to have her ears pierced. But here was a fifteen-year-old having such a horrific procedure for the third time that her parents didn’t even know about.(1)

This young woman was in a self-destructive spiral. As a teenager having an abortion, she was already at higher risk of suicide than an adult having an abortion. One study found that a post–abortive teenager is 10 times more likely to commit suicide than a teenager who has never had an abortion.

Her physical health was endangered as well. If this teen were to suffer complications after an abortion, she might hide them from her parents in an effort to keep the abortion a secret. Her parents will not know to be vigilant about their daughter’s health. They won’t know to look out for symptoms of abortion complications in their child. They may not be aware of a dangerous complication like an infection before it’s too late.

This girl’s parents lost three grandchildren to abortion and were never given a chance to try and help their daughter.

In many states there are no parental notification laws, meaning that teenagers are free to schedule their abortions without their parents ever knowing. Even in states where parental notification or consent laws exist, there are judicial bypass clauses that allow teens to evade these laws. Often, Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities help walk teenagers through the process of judicial bypass.

According to Margo, who worked at a different late-term abortion facility:

Where I worked we were a privately owned late term abortion clinic up to 20 weeks, and Michigan did pass a 24 hour consent law, and we did have parental overrides, judicial overrides that the counselors would help the minors obtain. And some of those things were pretty sketchy…It was more of a goal to keep them [parents] out as much as possible, because we did notice that outcomes would change when there was parental involvement. And so there was a whole system in place to help the kids get a judicial bypass, which basically was a rubber stamp, just go before the judge and say, “I’m afraid of what my parents will do to me if they find out that I am pregnant.” And the judge would ask, “Do you feel like you would be in danger?” “Yes.” “Ok.” And it’s just that sort of thing.

The court bypass option available to minors has always been a loophole that allows teens to evade parental consent laws. The teen must go before a judge and convince him either that she is mature enough to make the abortion decision, or that the abortion is in her best interest. On either of these grounds, the judge can permit the abortion without parental consent. The book Adolescent Abortion: Psychological and Legal Issues discusses one of the first parental consent laws that went into effect and how little impact it had:

As a matter of practice, proceedings have turned out to be pro forma rubberstamps of minors’ decisions. Most minors are found to be mature, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, abortions are almost always found to be in the best interests of immature minors. In Massachusetts between April 1981 [when the parental consent judicial bypass law went into effect] and February 1983, about 1300 minors sought abortions through the judicial bypass procedure. In about 90% of cases, minors were found to be mature. In the remaining cases, all but five petitioners’ request for abortions were approved, according to a best interests standard. In three of those cases the trial court’s decision was overturned on appeal. In one case the judge invited the minor to seek approval from another judge, who granted the petition. In the remaining case the minor decided to go to a neighboring state for the abortion. (2)

The law, therefore, did not prevent a single teenager from having abortions without their parent’s knowledge. Better options need to be pursued to make sure vulnerable teens have the guidance of their parents when making life and death decisions.

abortion, children, corruption, cover up, culture, ethics, law, pro-life, prolife, public policy, reform, scandal, tragedy

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Transgender laws may usurp the right to privacy

original article: Transgender bathroom laws have contributed to ‘voyeurism epidemic,’ says researcher
February 15, 2017 by Steve Weatherbe

A Canadian pastor who has researched 140 incidents of voyeurism in unisex and transgender-friendly spaces, says it is clear that transgender bathroom policies have contributed to the problem.

Paul Dirks of the New West Community Church in New Westminster, British Columbia, says his information, published on his WomanMeansSomething.com website, shows there is a “voyeurism epidemic.”

It also shows that policies establishing unisex or trans-friendly facilities are exposing biological women and girls to typical male crime and violence, he said.

“Policy makers and politicians need to understand that the push to open women’s spaces is taking place in the middle of a voyeurism epidemic,” Dirks wrote in The Federalist recently.

Most of Dirks’ cases involved male voyeurs using unisex washrooms, dressing rooms and swimming pool change rooms to video nude girls and women.

However, others involve men pretending or sincerely claiming to be “trans-women” who are behaving in typically male ways criminally.

Dirks was in Ottawa this week to lobby senators against Bill C-16, which would add gender identity and expression as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.

One of Dirks’ most important gleanings from several hundred academic studies on transgenderism is that males who claim to be females commit more crimes than women do. They also retain male patterns of sexuality.

“One of their most frequent sexual behaviors,” Dirks told LifeSiteNews, “is to use their male gentials insertively into women’s vaginas.”

Dirks insists his data debunks the oft-heard claim that there is no evidence that open or unisex bathrooms pose a risk to the girls or women who use them. For example, Mic Network published a story in 2015 titled Statistics Show Exactly How Many Times Trans People Have Attacked You in Bathrooms.

The story’s lead sentence reads “Surprise: There are zero reported cases of this happening.”

It then sources the misleading claim: “Spokespeople from the Transgender Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union told Mic that no statistical evidence of violence exists to warrant this legislation.”

But what Dirks’ data show is multiple cases involving unisex or transgender-friendly facilities where biological males captured images of women or girls with cell phones and miniaturized cameras. Dirks considers acts like these true violence. They leave victims with genuine psychological injuries.

Dirks’ database also contains many cases of male-pattern physical violence committed by “trans-women.” These include sexual and non-sexual assaults on women in prisons, women’s shelters, bars and taxis.

“There is nothing keeping a violent man or a sex offender from putting on a wig and entering a woman’s safe space, or making no change to their appearance at all,” Dirks writes on his website. But there is also “no way for a woman or a child to tell the difference” between a sincere “trans-woman” and one feigning a female persona for criminal purposes.

Dirks began his Women Means Something campaign only three months ago. Already he has made the unsettling discovery as he searched for news stories on retailers with unisex facilities that he was not alone. Voyeurs were on a similar hunt.

“I found forums for voyeurs where people were asking about good places to peep,” he said.

Dirks’ research has also uncovered a significant increase in voyeurism charges and convictions in the United Kingdom. Academic studies indicate that for each criminal charge there are dozens if not hundreds of actual incidents. These cases and the proliferation of recent incidents in his database are the basis for his claim of a “voyeurism epidemic.”

He has also found unexpected allies. “A significant number of de-transitioning women are coming to the fore,” Dirks told LifeSiteNews. These are women who once believed themselves to be men. They sometimes had their breasts cut off, their ovaries removed and their genitals reconstructed to cure their gender dysphoria. But it did not work. Now they are accepting their biological gender.

“In the midst of this grand social experiment, there are some horrible effects,” Dirks said.

Dirks’ womanmeanssomething.com website offers the video testimony of some of these women after they returned to identifying and living as women. “Officially, only 2 percent or 3 percent of female-to-male transgender de-transition,” says Dirks, but he believes the number and the percentage are both growing fast.

Dirks’ site offers links to feminist organizations that also oppose Bill C-16 and transgender activism. Because some feminists do not want to align with social conservatives, they have their own petition against the bill.

Dirks sees other signs that “the tide is beginning to turn.”

Academics and health professionals are waking up to the real and permanent physical injuries being done to teenagers with gender dysphoria through hormone treatments and surgery.

The immediate task for Dirks, however, is to defeat Bill C-16.

“I do hope members of the Senate want to do a good job actually dealing with some of these questions,” he told LifeSiteNews.

However, in British Columbia, there is another serious threat to the safety of children. The transgender agenda is expanding in public schools.

“I will pull my daughter from public school if she is put at risk from a biological male,” Dirks told LifeSite.

abuse, criminal, crisis, diversity, ethics, government, justice, law, nanny state, public policy, scandal, unintended consequences, victimization

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The Gun Control Farce

original article: The Gun Control Farce
June 21, 2016 by Thomas Sowell

Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?

That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.

But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.

If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.

But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws — and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?

There are data not only from our 50 states but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.

Professor Malcolm’s book also illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.

Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.

As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only 4 had real guns. But in the remainder of the 20th century, gun control laws became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.

“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.

There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.

Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.

Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?

In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.

The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.

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2 fatal mistakes made by Roe v. Wade

original article: 2 fatal mistakes made by Roe v. Wade
January 18, 2016 by KRISTI BURTON BROWN

Roe v. Wade has been the most fatal judicial decision in U.S. history. In the aftermath of Roe, 58 million babies have been aborted, whilecountless women have been irreparably damaged and families have been harmed and torn apart.

Roe was based on multiple mistakes, direct lies, and a rejection of accurate science, research, and the real Constitution. (Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees that Roe was “heavy-handed judicial intervention [which] was difficult to justify.”) However, there are two particularly damaging mistakes – one made by the justices and one by the attorney who argued the case.

FATAL MISTAKE #1: The justices completely missed the intent of the 14th Amendment.

The justices behind Roe wrote that there was no constitutional basis for protecting preborn life. They rejected the 14th Amendment as a basis for protecting the preborn, even though it recognizes the right to life and equal protection for all persons.

They entirely failed to recognize the specific intent of the Congressional sponsors of the 14th Amendment. The intent – a key part of interpreting law – shows that the sponsors wanted to include future vulnerable and oppressed human beings in constitutional equal protection.

Representative John Bingham, a House sponsor, intended the Amendment to be applied universally – to any and every human being.[1] In a speech to Congress, prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment, he declared that the Constitution is “based upon the equality of the human race. Its primal object must be to protect each human being…”[2]

Senate sponsor Jacob Howard agreed that “the measure would apply to even the ‘humblest, the poorest, the most despised of the human race.’”[3] Representative H.D. Scott stated: “The strength of this Government…is in its willingness as well as ability to do equal and exact justice to every human being…”[4] He condemned justice being “made subservient to interest” and when the strong “can prey upon the weak and unfortunate with impunity.”[5]

Just as these statements applied to Black Americans at the time, they apply to the preborn now, just as they did on January 22, 1973, and at the time the 14 Amendment was passed. The Roe Court would have done well to recognize this clear and constitutional truth.

FATAL MISTAKE #2: The lawyer who argued Roe believed women needed abortion to be successful.

There are certainly things to admire about Sarah Weddington, the 26-year-old lawyer who successfully argued Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court. At a very young age, she took on the entire nation to advocate for something she believed in. She didn’t let her age, gender, or inexperience stop her.

However, besides the fact that Weddington was on the completely wrong side of a human justice issue, she also has a sad story in her personal history. Before she married Ron Weddington, she became pregnant with their child in her final year of law school. Neither of them wanted children, and so the couple traveled over the border to Mexico, for an illegal abortion.

Weddington cites her ability to have an abortion as the reason she went on to have a career as a lawyer, and yet countless successful female attorneys have proven Weddington’s assertion wrong. Women are, in fact, able to be successful and to be mothers.

Erika Bachiochi, a feminist and former pro-choice attorney,  authored “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights” for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. She also wrote about the real truth on abortion and women for CNN:

As a one-time abortion rights supporter, I well know the temptation to see the right to abortion as a representation of women’s equality. …

Abortion betrays women by having us believe that we must become like men — that is, not pregnant — to achieve parity with them, professionally, socially, educationally. . …

When we belittle the developing child in the womb, a scientific reality that most pro-choice advocates have come to admit, we belittle and distort that child’s mother. We make her out to be one with property rights over her developing unborn child (much as husbands once had property rights over their wives).

We give her the inhumane (but for 42 years, constitutionally protected) right to decide the fate of another human being, of a vulnerable child — her child — to whom she properly owes an affirmative duty of care. We do all this rather than offering her the myriad familial and social supports she needs, whatever her situation, and cherishing her role in the miracle of human life.

Conclusion

While these two fatal mistakes continue to cost millions of lives, we can each personally work to stop the damage. In our conversations with friends, on social media, on campus, and at our offices, clubs, churches, and groups, we can spread the truths that every human being – at every stage of development – deserves equal protection and that no woman needs to take her child’s life to succeed at life. We can actively and practically help women who make the choice for life.

As Carol Tobias, President of the National Right to Life Committee,says:  “As long as abortion is legal, pro-lifers will fight and never give up.”

Sources:
[1] CONG. GLOBE, 34th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1857)
[2] Id.
[3] SENATOR JACOB HOWARD, SPEECH INTRODUCING THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, Speech delivered in the U.S. Senate, May 23, 1866
[4] CONG. GLOBE, 34th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1857)
[5] Id.

abortion, culture, feminism, history, ideology, indoctrination, judiciary, law, lies, progressive, propaganda, science

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Maybe you can’t keep your health care plan after all

original article: ObamaCare may force employers to pull the plug on millions of health plans, CBO report finds
March 28, 2016 by FoxNews

In the latest report to undercut President Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” promise, the Congressional Budget Office projects millions of workers will leave employer-sponsored health plans over the next decade because of ObamaCare.

Some will opt to go on Medicaid, but others will be kicked off their company plans by employers who decide not to offer coverage anymore, according to a new CBO report titled,  “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.”

“As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted,” the report, released Thursday, said.

Employers now cover some 155 million people, about 57 percent of those under 65. That’s expected to decline to 152 million people in 2019. Ten years from now, employers will be covering about 54 percent of those under 65.

CBO said part of the shrinkage is attributable to the health care law: some workers may qualify for Medicaid, which is virtually free to them, and certain employers may decide not to offer coverage because a government-subsidized alternative is available.

Larger employers would face fines if they take that route.

But the agency also noted that employer coverage had been declining due to rising medical costs well before the health care law was passed, and that the trend continues.

The CBO also found that more people will enroll in Medicaid than previously predicted, though fewer will be covered through the public insurance marketplaces mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

The analysis underscores the view that the health care law is driving the nation’s gains in insurance coverage, which raises political risks for Republicans who would repeal it.

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This is how cronyism works

original article: New York’s Taxi King Is Going Down
October 26, 2015 by Jared Meyer

People don’t deserve to be millionaires because they can get government to let them pick people’s pockets.

Evgeny “Gene” Freidman is no fan of Uber. The increasing popularity of this vehicle-for-hire (or ridesharing) company has lost him millions of dollars. He has even asked New York City taxpayers for a bailout. As difficult as bailing out the big banks was to swallow, bailing out a taxi mogul—who at one point owned more than 1,000 New York City taxi medallions—is an even harder sell. A bailout would be especially outrageous considering that Freidman and his financial backers are actively working to make consumers pay more for fewer options.

Freidman reluctantly took over his father’s modest yellow taxi business as a young man. He brought his experience in Russian finance to the industry, and started to accumulate increasing numbers of taxi medallions using highly leveraged financing. Freidman expanded a company with just a few taxis into a conglomeration of three- to five-car mini-fleets.

As Freidman’s taxi empire grew, he expanded into other cities, including New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He gained control of hundreds more medallions that are also now in financial trouble. His willingness to bid on practically any medallion that came up for sale helped drive a rapid increase in medallion prices across the country.

Subprime Taxi Medallions

This model can work when times are good but, as the housing crisis showed, it has its dangers. It works until another technology emerges, consumers move on, and funding dries up.

This is where Uber comes in. Competition from Uber has left investors wondering how much the company will grow and what further effects its growth will have on taxis’ market share. While yellow taxi medallions were selling for $1.32 million as recently as May 2013, now they may be worth as little as $650,000.

This drastic drop in price has made the banks and credit unions that fund Freidman’s vast enterprise nervous. For example, his companies still owe around $750,000 for each medallion financed by Citibank. Without new loans to meet existing obligations and expand his fleet, Freidman’s companies became insolvent. This is why he sought the bailout and wants the government to support the medallion market by offering taxpayer-guaranteed loans.

Adding to this financing crunch, the lease rates Freidman now can charge taxi drivers who rent his cars have declined. Many taxi drivers switched to Uber, which offersincreased earning potential, flexible work schedules, and improved driver safety. Competition led Freidman to complain that he is no longer able to charge the city’s legal maximum lease rate. This is promising news for drivers, but problematic for Freidman’s income.

There’s Not Much Argument for a Monopoly

Medallions commanded such astronomical prices in New York because yellow taxis had, and still do have, a monopoly on street hails in Manhattan south of the northern boundary of Central Park. Ubers come rapidly, but they are not street hails, because people summon them beforehand with a smartphone. In cities across the country that also use a medallion system, the same reasoning applies. Government restricts the supply of taxis below the level of demand, and medallion owners reap the profits—all at the expense of consumers.

It is not just Freidman’s companies that are in trouble. The banks and credit unions that funded him and other medallion owners are also worried. Just four credit unions hold security interests in over 5,300 medallions, for which they are on the hook for about $2.5 billion. In the face of greater potential losses, these companies have resorted to calling people who work in policy (myself included) to try and convince researchers that Uber is illegal and needs to be banned.

The credit union argument progresses as follows:

  1. Yellow taxi medallion owners were granted a monopoly on street hails.
  2. For-hire vehicles are only allowed to offer pre-arranged rides.
  3. Uber uses street hails, not pre-arranged rides, to connect riders with its driver partners.
  4. Therefore, Uber is illegally using street hails, and this infringes on yellow taxi medallion owners’ government-granted monopoly.

If the third premise is true, this argument could hold some rule-of-law water. It is not.

The law governing New York City’s street hails date back to the Haas Act of 1937. This law restricted the number of New York yellow taxi medallions to 16,900, which was lowered and now stands at 13,437—even though the city’s population has grown byover 20 percent since 1940.

The Haas Act also set the stage for other common carrier regulations that apply to the taxi industry. These regulations place substantial limits and requirements on taxi owners and drivers in exchange for their monopoly privileges. For example, the city’s Transportation and Limousine Commission sets fare prices, and fares cannot change with increased demand for rides. This is one of the main reasons it is so difficult to hail a taxi in the rain or at the beginning of rush hour.

Updating regulations takes time, but New York City taxis were finally granted the ability to accept ride requests from smartphones (e-hails) early this year. Once taxis were allowed to accept e-hails, something they needed to compete with new technologies, four credit unions argued that the technology was now off-limits for Uber—the company that had popularized e-hails. They sued New York City for infringing upon medallion holders’ monopoly privileges.

This makes no sense. How can a decades-old law covering street hails be construed to cover ride requests made through smartphones? Anyone who has tried to hail a taxi on the side of the road, and then used Uber, knows that the two experiences are vastly different. Simply put, holding your hand up is not the same as pressing a button on your phone.

How to Save Taxis Without Squeezing People

The path forward is not to ban ridesharing or bail medallion owners out. It is to make taxis more like Ubers. This takes more than simply allowing taxis to accept e-hails. Rather, the only ways to save taxis are greater flexibility in pricing and service and increased competition.

As Uber’s rise has made obvious, when the crucial aspect of competition is missing from markets, established companies do not have to worry about improving their services to attract and keep customers. Regulations need to be continually modified and updated in light of new technology.  There is no reason to require New York taxis to have expensive (and annoying) Taxi TVs. Pointless mandates such as this only increase the cost of taxi rides.

Even with a relaxed regulatory framework that embraces ridesharing and competition, taxis will still have an advantage. No one is talking about taking away New York City’s yellow taxi monopoly on street hails. Applying antiquated laws and regulations to new technology is what laid the groundwork for the rise of Uber and other ridesharing services in the first place.

Everyone Shouldn’t Pay for Some People’s Bad Bets

Credit unions oppose allowing Uber to grow because they want to protect their investments. The Queens County Supreme Court ruled against the credit unions last month. The court found that the credit unions did not have a cause of action against the city and its Transportation and Limousine Commission. This was a major win for Uber and consumers, but a death-knell for Freidman’s business and its financers.

The whole yellow taxi financing model is crashing, along with medallion prices. After the ruling, Montauk Credit Union, one of the plaintiffs, was seized by the New York State Department of Financial Services because of “unsafe and unsound conditions.” The day that New York City’s proposed cap on Uber’s growth was defeated, 22 of Freidman’s mini-fleet companies filed for bankruptcy.

Even if medallion holders such as Freidman lost a lot of money, it does not follow that the public should subsidize their losses. The returns from a yellow taxi medallion in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, or New York far outpaced the stock market or gold for many years. The values of these medallions about doubled in each city from 2009 to 2013.

Investments carry risk, as Freidman knows from his background in finance. He made a poor calculation that the Manhattan yellow taxi street hail monopoly would continue to provide him enough future cash flow to satisfy bankers, who would loan him more money to expand his fleet. Freidman and his investors have no claim to a taxpayer-funded bailout to cover their poor business decisions. Perhaps they should consider investing in Uber instead.

bailout, corruption, cronyism, economics, funding, government, greed, hypocrisy, law, nanny state, public policy, regulation, taxes

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Cummings Calls Gowdy a Liar…Gowdy Turns the Table on Him

original article: Cummings Calls Gowdy a Liar…Gowdy Turns the Table on Him
October 18, 2015 by The PC Graveyard

Elijah Cummings, one of the criminals from the IRS scandal has accused Trey Gowdy of lying and demanded he apologize to Hillary.  Cummings called Gowdy a liar because of a comment he made about Hillary endangering national security and lives with her handling of her emails.  This we know to be true.  Funny thing is that Cummings was able to get an answer from the CIA in 45 minutes on a weekend, while republicans are still waiting for information they requested over six months ago.

The CIA information is suspect also.  They said that naming their secret asset in Libya was not classified.  You don’t need to be a super spy to know that naming an asset that’s in the middle of terrorists is not a good thing and is never done.  Gowdy made mention of the response Cummings got.  Here is the letter Cummings wrote:

The CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified.  Specifically, the CIA confirmed that “the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.” …

Unfortunately, the standard operating procedure of this Select Committee has become to put out information publicly that is inaccurate and out of context in order to attack Secretary Clinton for political reasons.  These repeated actions bring discredit on this investigation and undermine the integrity of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives.

On Sunday, Gowdy answered in a missive of his own:

Contrary to your assertion, the CIA did not inform the Committee that anything about the facts stated in the October 7 letter “[was] wrong.”  As usual, I would ask you to completely and accurately relate the facts rather than attempt to create an impression that is misleading based on an incomplete and selective recitation of the facts.  In fact, my understanding is the CIA advised the Committee in a very brief email late Saturday night that it had reviewed the material in question and asked for no material to be redacted…

As such, we will continue to redact certain information to protect sensitive information regardless of how others treat that information.  Whether Secretary Clinton received protected information from Sidney Blumenthal or simply recklessly wrong information from Sidney Blumenthal is relevant at some level.  What is most important is to protect information that can endanger others.  As you will recall we had this same conversation when we received a letter from you we found troubling as it relates to the naming of certain assets.  We did the responsible thing which was come to you, alert you to the issue, and allow for that information to be withdrawn and or otherwise not made public…

So, our position is consistent.  Sources and methods of intelligence are among the most closely guarded information our government has.  We will continue to redact that information and treat it with the highest level of confidentiality and sensitivity, and we would advise you to do the same…

PS:  I am envious of your staff’s ability to get information from this administration in less than 45 minutes on a weekend.  This is something the majority Members struggle to do on weekdays.  Perhaps you would be willing to help us gain access to the information the Committee has been seeking from the administration for over half a year now.

Someone is lying.  I’m betting the rent money on Cummings.

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Say Goodbye to Bride and Groom in Florida

original article: Say Goodbye to Bride and Groom in Florida
September 28, 2015 by Michael Brown

N. T. Wright is one of the most world’s foremost New Testament scholars, a sober-minded man not given to extreme rhetoric. Yet when it came to the question of redefining marriage, Wright did not hold back, explaining how dangerous it is to change the fundamental meaning of words:

“When anybody—pressure groups, governments, civilizations—suddenly change the meaning of key words, you really should watch out. If you go to a German dictionary and just open at random, you may well see several German words which have a little square bracket saying ‘N.S.,’ meaning National Socialist or Nazi. The Nazis gave those words a certain meaning. In post-1917 Russia, there were whole categories of people who were called “former persons,” because by the Communist diktat they had ceased to be relevant for the state, and once you call them former persons it was extremely easy to ship them off somewhere and have them killed.”

He continued, “It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality.”

That’s why I have often said that once you redefine marriage, you render it meaningless.

It would be like saying a couple can now consist of five people, or a pair can refer to one item, or a tricycle can have two wheels.

Redefining those terms doesn’t change reality, and when it comes to marriage, if you don’t have the two essential components, namely a husband and a wife, you don’t have marriage.

Consequently, if you change the fundamental meaning of marriage, you change the meaning of husband and wife as well.

As I pointed out last year in an article entitled, “I Now Pronounce You Spouse and Spouse,” as England began to move towards redefining marriage, the Daily Telegraph reported that, “The word ‘husband’ will in future be applied to women and the word ‘wife’ will refer to men, the Government has decided.”

According to John Bingham, “Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses.”

In the government’s proposed guidelines, “‘husband’ here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman. In a similar way, ‘wife’ will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.”

So, a man could be a wife if married to another man (or not), while a woman could be a husband if married to another woman (or not), all of which begs the question: Why use words at all if they have utterly lost their meaning? It’s like saying that up is down (or up) and down is up (or down), while north is south (or north) and south is north (or south).

In the same article, I cited the Huffington Post, which reported that “California’s same-sex couples may now be pronounced spouse and spouse after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill [last] Monday eliminating outdated ‘husband and wife’ references from state laws.”

Not surprisingly, according to California bill AB 1951, birth certificates will have three options: “mother,” “father,” or simply “parent,” meaning that, in the case of two lesbians, one could be designated “father,” while in the case of two gay men, one could be designated “mother.” (The bill would also allow for three parents to be listed on the birth certificate, since there’s obviously a missing third party in the event of two men or two women “having” a baby.)

This means that we’ve come to a place of semantic insanity, a place where you can have male wives, female husbands, male mothers, and female fathers.

Do people really think you can just turn the world upside down without having any adverse effects?

In keeping with this social madness, the state of Florida recently changed its marriage certificates, removing the terms “bride” and “groom” and replacing them with “spouse.”

This goes hand in hand with other international trends. As I pointed out in 2011, “In Ontario, Canada, as a result of the legalization of same-sex marriage, all references to terms like husband, wife, and widow were removed from the law books in 2005. In Spain, birth certificates were changed from ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ to ‘Progenitor A’ and ‘Progenitor B.’”

But of course!

That’s why principle #4 in my new book is: Refuse to Redefine Marriage, since, to repeat, once you redefine marriage, you render it meaningless.

The Supreme Court can gives its ruling; laws can be passed; public opinion can shift and turn, but that doesn’t mean we have to affirm it, participate in it or, God forbid, celebrate it.

But all is not lost. True marriage – natural marriage, marriage the way God intended it from the beginning (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:4-6) – will endure, while radically redefined marriage will undo itself.

I was reminded of this as I watched some baby dedications at a church service on Sunday, with the proud moms and dads holding their precious little ones in their arms: There’s no substitute for marriage and family the way God set it up, regardless of what Florida or California or England or Spain or Canada might say.

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