Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

No, Jesus Would Not Kill Babies In The Womb

original article: No, Willie Parker, Jesus Would Not Kill Babies In The Womb
May 18, 2017 by Sean Nolan

In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Willie Parker says he believes “that as an abortion provider, [he is] doing God’s work.” It’s his Christian faith, the author contends, that drives him to abort babies. His “Life’s Work” (as his new book is ironically titled) is to end life for every preborn child that comes before him.

With the release of his book he is quickly becoming a hero and would-be martyr of abortionists, as they conveniently neglect the facts to make their case. As a self-identifying Christian, African-American, and feminist, he’s the perfect candidate to be the face of abortion advocacy.

Christianity’s Objections to Abortion Are Unyielding

Parker’s self-identifying as a Christian is a dream come true for abortionists. Anything they can do to imply Jesus was sympathetic to their cause builds hope that they can tip the scales in their favor. Hence the inclusion of this laughable line: “remember that conservative Christianity’s ferocious opposition to abortion is relatively new in historical terms.”

Remember, this is The New York Times, not The Onion, neglecting the scores of information highlighting the opposite case. One of the earliest Christian documents, The Didache, explicitly prohibits abortion. But overlook that fact because it’s inconvenient.

Historic Christianity has a long tradition of opposing abortion. The first Christians in Rome were also known to rescue abandoned children and take upon themselves the burden of raising them. That one could claim to represent Jesus, who came to offer abundant life, by helping “desperate women” to snuff out the life in their wombs is doublespeak right from the pages of “1984.” Jesus’ own mother, Mary, would’ve been a prime candidate for abortion as a “desperate” and unmarried woman who had faced ridicule for her pregnancy. Instead, the Bible calls her womb “blessed.”

The author correctly, but misleadingly, mentions the Bible’s silence on the issue. While the Bible doesn’t mention abortion by name, even a first-year seminary student would be quick to point out that some of the central claims of Christianity are not taught explicitly in Scripture, but rather made by inference. Chief of these is the orthodox belief in the Trinity, a word never used in the Bible but taught overwhelmingly by implication. We can add abortion to this list.

The Jewish people, some of whom later became the first Christians, were to avoid partaking in the practices of the surrounding peoples, who sacrificed their children to appease their gods. Christians have long held that to abort one’s child as an act of worship to the gods of convenience is not permitted by the God of the Bible. But abortion advocates will attempt to play the “he’s a Christian” card by spinning opposition from Christians to imply Parker is persecuted within his own faith tradition.

So, Do Black Lives Matter?

The second thing abortion elites love about Parker is his skin color. Any opposition he faces from white pro-lifers not associated with Christianity can be easily dismissed as bigotry. Sweep under the rug for a minute that even black celebrities are accusing abortion providers in black communities of genocide. While Planned Parenthood’s media arm proclaims support of black lives, its other arm is reaching for a pair of forceps to end life for hundreds of black babies each day.

In the shortest chapter of his book, Parker dismisses any notion that aborting black babies is a conflict of interest. His argument is that white pro-lifers are seeking to impoverish black women by forcing them to raise kids they can’t afford. He has convinced himself that he is helping his fellow African-Americans by freeing them from the responsibilities of parenting.

In the tradition of the black slave owners in the Confederate South, Parker makes his money by breaking the backs (or spines and what-have-you) of others, many of whom share his skin color. He can’t admit that his work (some have called it his “ministry”) hurts his own people or it’d affect his bottom line. Abortion advocates want us all to simply accept that black lives only matter once they’ve had the privilege of being born. This brings us to the final contradiction of Parker’s platform.

Fighting For Women, Or Against Them?

Parker considers himself a feminist. He believes he is bettering the future for females. Don’t think too long about the number of female lives he’s ended before they’ve begun. This is nothing new to the insane logic of abortion advocacy. If they can successfully shift our attention off the rights of the life inside the womb to the perceived “rights” the pregnant woman has over her inhabited womb, they’ve succeeded.

If we value the lives of women, we must value the lives of all women, whether they have been born or not. That is where Parker’s feminism, and the majority of what is called feminism today, makes a glaring omission. Their interest is simply in women having the right to sex without consequence.

The New York Times article concludes with a strong appeal to our emotions. Shouldn’t a 12-year-old-girl whose father raped her be permitted to abort her child? Those who advocate for life do so for all people, including those who are raped (who often regret aborting) and the children that are conceived as a result of such rape.

Unplanned pregnancy has affected my own family. No doubt it’d make our lives more convenient to have one less mouth to feed and one less diaper to change. But we believe our lives are just one among many and we don’t have the right to infringe upon the lives of others, even if we’re responsible for bringing them into the world.

Parker’s public persona is a farce. He parades the myth that he has a moral responsibility to “help women” while he strips them of their own responsibility to the children they’ve conceived. Christianity places value upon the lives of black women, so much so that it envisions a world in which their lives aren’t ended in the womb. But maybe we’re the ones who are deceiving pregnant women? Perhaps we’re the ones getting rich by volunteering with crisis pregnancy centers and giving away free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and diapers.

Oh, that’s right, it’s Parker’s bank account that grows every time a woman “chooses” abortion. The unsung heroes whose faith drives them to volunteer in crisis pregnancy centers make costly sacrifices to love their neighbors, even when those little neighbors’ own parents aren’t sure if they want to commit to parenthood. But go ahead, Willie, tell yourself you’re loving your neighbors by making sure their hopes for the future die along with the children in their wombs.

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Academia is lost

original article: The Left is forcing Christians out of colleges. That’s actually good news for conservatives
May 10, 2017 by Robert Oscar Lopez

In the eighth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus Christ makes two statements in rapid succession. They encapsulate in a few phrases wisdom to cure many Christians of the anxieties that afflict the conservative movement. In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A few lines later, Jesus adds, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Academic Casualties

My Twitter feed has exploded in recent weeks, with plentiful panic about the pitiable state of free speech on college campuses. Big cases—big because they both worsen and reveal the deep structural wounds caused by the purge of Christian and conservative professors—played out this week: John McAdamsAnthony EsolenRebecca TuvelPaul McHughCarol SwainKeith Fink, and Paul Griffiths.

I know of other professors, and of people who know of still others, who are in similar purges but who have to stay silent because of confidentiality gags. Then you must account for all the adjuncts like Mary Grabar who never got tenure-track jobs, earlier exiles like John Zmirak who got out of the academy for better lives, and the many conservatives in grad school who sold their souls to liberals, ran out of the hallowed halls screaming, or were chased out by the usual mobs of screeching race hucksters, homofascists, feminazis, climate-change cabalists, and Marxophonies before they could get their doctorates.

When the dust settles on this sandstorm, there will be many, many, many, many academics on the list of casualties. Seven in one week are but the tip of a big iceberg untouched by global warming.

Okay, the Time to Stay Calm is Over, Conservatives!

We don’t know how many conservatives the liberal academy is surgically removing in what can no longer be denied or ignored for what it is—a concerted putsch. This is the big political story of our era: money, propaganda, conspiracies, corruption, fraud, sex, lies, and hidden bodies.

This is bigger than McCarthyism, and way more expensive. It has involved financial corruption, tuition-based price-gauging, nepotism, and conspiracy to use publicly funded charities (universities) to advance one political party and stifle dissent. Besides persecuting political opponents, academia has corrupted research, knowingly spread profligate falsehoods (especially about sex, gender, and race), and defrauded millions of college graduates who went into debt for an overpriced education that left them dysfunctional, unemployable, mentally unstable, and brainwashed.

We have witnessed a criminal transfer of wealth from hard-working poor and middle-class families to fund managers and university administrators swimming in a deluxe swamp of untaxed endowments that are not being used to advance the common good.

Save the Evidence-Because It’s Really Bad for the Left

The left perpetrated this and must be held accountable, not only through shaming and a thorough accounting for the history books, but also, through some kind of massive restitution. The liberal corruption of academia coincided with enormous increases in tuition and student debt (discussed in my book).

Some estimates of student loan debt range between one and two trillion dollars, but this does not count all the money funneled into university tax shelters, which are not being taxed, and all the payments to colleges for tuition, books, fees, and other expenses, in exchange for a faulty product people were forced to buy through false advertising and a crooked credentialing system. A massive part of the nation’s economy—and of countless families’ budgets—went into a black hole of waste, creating a drag on our country’s economic growth and productivity, which nobody has yet fully theorized. And the people who did this were insufferably smug and completely wrong about everything, on top of all that. (Who will do a study on this when all the economists are paid by or scared of universities?)

Several months ago, when I came out with a book on higher education called “Wackos Thugs & Perverts,” people thought the title was outrageous. Now, as Berkeley has seen three riots and three guest speakers blocked by politically correct outrages, the harsh title seems almost too gentle. Isn’t there something deeper going on?

Everything is getting worse every day. Remember when it was only conservatives who saw their freedom crushed and they were generally deemed deserving of such treatment? I remember. I remember when even conservative watchdogs thought lots of us who came forward with stories were just loonies because why else would so many people in the academy think we were crazy?

At last, some who caviled are now realizing what is afoot. The AAUP responded to my SOS calls in 2014 with unworried emails, saying there was no tenure or academic-freedom issue there. They had the usual routine down, which they use, presumably, when being forced to deal with a kook: “My job is to make you go away, here’s a cookie; this gentleman with the holstered Taser and a security badge will see you out the back way. Good afternoon, Sir.” Now the AAUP is actually starting to sweat (too late to help me, of course—I left that job.)

But Conservatives Need to Get Serious

We can’t get it twisted, though; large numbers of conservatives were either complicit with the racket or contributed to it by their own foolishness. In 2015, I remember trekking to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican lawmakers about academic freedom, with the explicit aim of alerting them to the Higher Education Act and provisions therein, which would enable them to intervene in persecution cases like mine.

After months of trying to get appointments, my friend and I arrived to be told no lawmakers could meet with us, but instead two charming twentysomethings would greet us in their dungarees and flats, with mugs of coffee and yellow legal pads, the pages of which I am sure did not survive five minutes after my departure. These were interns or clerks or something—I wasn’t quite sure.

They told me they were concerned and keeping watch over academic freedom, mostly by reading stories about Laura Kipnis. Prof. Kipnis was a liberal Northwestern professor who wrote a column defending the practice of professors sleeping with students, and alluding to an ongoing rape investigation with dismissive comments about the (unnamed) accusers. As a result of this, the individuals who had raised the rape charges filed a Title IX retaliation charge against Prof. Kipnis, which resulted in her being investigated for two months and then cleared of all charges. I asked the Hill interns, “are you aware of other cases, for instance conservatives opposed to homosexuality, where people were actually investigated for years and then lost their jobs?”

They replied something to the effect of, “I am sure such cases exist.”

My friend stepped in to say, “It would be a very sad thing if you guys diddled around talking about academic freedom while Dr. Lopez, who’s been under investigation for 9 months already, had to leave his job in California, and nothing got done about this. Think of all the others who will lose their jobs.”

The writing could not have been darker on the wall than it was on that day. But the Hill interns said I should email them with any updates (I did, with no response) and they would keep an eye on things and let the appropriate lawmakers know they met with me. My friend and I got phone calls with various staffers over the next year, with nothing other than repetitive references to the case of Laura Kipnis. “We sent a letter to Northwestern about Laura Kipnis’s case,” one told me. I responded, with growing unease, “great! She seems a great lady! But she was cleared of all charges and has a job. Do you think you might send a letter to my college?”

“We don’t want to make things worse,” they said.

“You need hearings!” I was screaming like a crazy person screaming, “soylent green is people!” My dean, who would be named the head of the Clinton Global Initiative on campus and got elected to be president of the National Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences (which is interesting since she is dean of neither arts nor sciences), methodically loaded up my personnel file with reprimand letters and procedural annoyances until at last I decided the only fate worse than losing tenure at Cal State Northridge would be having tenure at Cal State Northridge. But as I was on my way out, I had some consolation that finally Congress was going to hold hearings about academic freedom.

The “hearings”

Professor Robert George, distinguished with his grey locks and gleaming spectacles, appeared before Congress alongside a bunch of his students and a leftist who was told he could not hang up Bernie Sanders posters at Georgetown.

They spoke about the importance of free thought and exchange of ideas, etc., etc., etc., while I proceeded to pull out most of my hair screaming at the wall, “this is it? These are your hearings? These people aren’t about to be fired. When will we talk about defunding the colleges and subpoenaing all the creepy Medusa figures in the administration who keep landing millions of dollars in grants and harassing conservative Christians until they leave?”

Get ready for the death toll-but stop diddling

On many campuses that pushed out conservatives, the routine was frighteningly similar. Well aware of FIRE and other groups devoted to academic freedom, the administrators had learned, by a few years ago, that they could not attack conservatives by openly repudiating their conservatism. They either frame them for some unrelated procedural violation (falsifying files if they have to), or else drag them into a complicated investigation that they know will not survive an academic-freedom challenge, but will likely lead to the victim breaking a rule like confidentiality, notification, disclosure, or non-retaliation.

Because this was how the system worked and still works, countless people live now under investigation, facing certain ousters. They are hostages but we do not know where they are, since they are cowed by confidentiality rules, gag orders, and the observation that courts are siding with liberal oppressors.

Reality Check

If you want to save academic freedom, be aware of some hurtful truths.

First, conservatives dropped the ball. Nothing they’ve done worked and if they don’t try new approaches, this will become even worse.

Second, no painless strategy can fix this. You love homecoming, reunions, the football games, and the friends you made in college. You may have nostalgia for all you learned and the warm professors who guided you into adulthood. But those charms chain you to an oppressive system that threatens our democracy.

Universities are utterly hostile to your values and to God—even the vast majority of religious colleges. They got this bad because they rely on a steady stream of money that has never slowed or stopped, no matter how outraged the nation became. The only strategy that will work will be financial. The federal government must cease all public funding for colleges and universities, save for trade or vocational programs and seminaries (which are vocational). Our nation’s debt matches, roughly, the enormous amounts of cash that this corrupt system has funneled out of the functioning economy into their twisted Wonderland of emotional torture, sexual depravity, and fiscal recklessness.

People you love in the university system will experience pain if this system is to be fixed. Grants, backing of student loans, and tax exemptions on donations must all cease. Forget the conservative refrain of local and state control—the federal government got thoroughly entangled in all this and must take the lead. These are not non-profit charities so that loophole smacked of fraud from the beginning. In the case of most Catholic colleges, the non-profit status actually constituted charities fraud since the church has not yet reversed its stance on chastity yet these Catholic colleges not only fund homosexual social groups but even persecute people who defend Biblical sexuality on their own campuses.

Were such a strategy pursued, we would see massive job losses, the abolition of tenure, the closing of many struggling colleges, and cuts in pay. The wasteful and parasitic administrative class would have to go, causing painful unemployment to possibly millions of people who have made their living off the fat of this monstrous system. So many good people with good intentions would be hurt in the process. For that we must grieve.

But I left my job and quit tenure. It can be done. The universities and their workers brought this infernal crisis on themselves. They had adequate warnings and have no excuse for why they let the situation get this far.

Let go of “academic freedom”

Lastly, you must realize that this is not about academic freedom in the way we have discussed it thus far.

If you are truly conservative, your end goal is not a state of academic freedom, which would imply a situation in which all ideas are expressed and allowed on campus forums, and nobody is blocked from or suffers retaliation for their statements. Such a world would lack all discernment. It would be without virtue, without distinctions, constantly doubting its morals, and incapacitating the triumph of any position over others even in matters of grave importance. It would be demonic.

If you are conservative, and especially if you are Christian, what you seek is the Truth. The Truth is from God and exists as wisdom un-darkened by confusion and sinful thoughts. The Truth is not only what is, but what is right. With our imperfect minds, we cannot rush to decide what Truth is. We cannot censor competing views, except when we can show certainty. But academic freedom within such a system is a means to an end, a tool to build our monument to the Truth. In debates eventually we must acknowledge Truth where it lies, not remain uncommitted.

The left became horrendous because the left was wrong. Their prescriptions about improving race relations did not work because they were wrong. They were wrong about homosexuality and now we see the falsehoods of the LGBT movement growing more arrogant and multiplying as people who were celebrated for their errors now see further false affirmations as their entitlement, and Truth as an attack on their fragile sense of self.

The Truth is on our side. Now as we see all of higher education declare war on Truth, and on us because we championed it, we have nothing to lose. Do not hide behind caveats of academic freedom, as if all we want is to be given a chance to speak, a slush fund to bring Ann Coulter for a speech, a seat on a panel beside people peddling lies—that is not what we want. We want the left to stop lying. We want to proclaim the Truth so people see it, and stop listening to the left, and start listening to God. If this means that academia crashes and turns into ruins of a lost past, do not be mournful. Rejoice, for God has given us victory. Do not worry for tenure or being published somewhere prestigious or stuffing your resume with awards and grants. God gave you legs to walk and a tongue to shout His Word from the rooftops.

Academia is lost. We will never get our desks and library carrels back. Harvard will not ask us to speak what we know from behind a podium with a brilliant seal while the future leaders of America applause and smile. We have won our freedom. Enjoy it.

abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, bureaucracy, censorship, corruption, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, government, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, politics, progressive, public policy, reform, scandal, tragedy, victimization

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What happens when no one asks whether insurance is really a good way to deal with health care costs?

original article: How Obamacare Hurts Millions Of Americans By Robbing Peter To Pay For Paul
May 10, 2017 by Scott Ehrlich

In my prior article, I tried to outline the pre-existing condition issue. I concluded the amount of people potentially affected by this issue ranged somewhere between 500,000 and 1.9 million and, due to political reasons, it is much likelier to be on the lower end of that spectrum.

So for this article, I will use 1 million people as my number. Based on this data from Avalere, it’s a pretty sensible estimate, if you only count states that are solely Republican-run and therefore likely to seek a waiver.

This 1 million people are adults covered by the individual market, at the moment largely through the federal exchanges. People on group insurance are not affected by pre-existing conditions laws, as those plans do not do individual underwriting. People in government insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Tri-Care are guaranteed issue upon meeting certain conditions. Children under 19 who aren’t covered by Medicaid are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has no pre-existing condition exclusions. Futher, people in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington have state laws that mandate guaranteed issue.

So our at-risk people are made up of the remaining 7 million or so people in the other 45 states who choose to self-insure, have pre-existing conditions that stop them from getting insurance, have states granted waivers under the American Health Care Act (AHCA, if it passes Congress in its current form), and have failed to keep continuous coverage.

Assuming your eyes glazed over a quarter of a way through that sentence, that shows just how many safety nets one has to fall through to be at risk of being denied coverage at the market rate, or any rate, for pre-existing conditions. Recall that just because someone has a pre-existing condition or is denied by an insurance company for one, doesn’t mean he will be denied by all. So that is why my numbers are lower than many others being reported.

Let’s Pin Down How Much These Folks’ Health Care Costs

So let’s go with that 1 million number, which is still a lot of people needing help. What can we do with them? That is the challenge. When enrolling a random assortment of 1 million Americans in a pool, theoretically about 27 percent could have some sort of ailment requiring immediate treatment. Depending on the mix of other people, it’s possible to make that pool actuarily sound.

But high-risk pools don’t work that way. In that pool, 100 percent of enrollees have pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it’s impossible to provide them insurance and keep a stable pool. You can’t insure someone for a condition he already has any more than you can insure a house that is already on fire or a car that has already crashed. There is no ability to pool risk.

So this group of people is very expensive to cover, as they are already sick and use a lot of health care. Average costs in the PCIP federal high-risk pool, the one the Affordable Care Act set up as a bridge to the exchanges, averaged more than $32,000 per enrollee per year. Based on those numbers, at 1 million enrollees, we’d be looking at more than $32 billion annually in costs for high-risk people. That $8 billion that got Rep. Fred Upton to vote yes on House Republicans’ Obamacare tweaks? That would cover only three months of expenses at full enrollment.

If the entire amount appropriated in AHCA were applied to pre-existing conditions, a whopping $123 billion, we’d only have enough to make it through four years if that cost were accurate.

Luckily, That Cost Is Likely Overstated

Reading deeper into the report, you find that, fortunately, it may not be. Not all people with pre-existing conditions are created equally: “4.4 percent of PCIP enrollees accounted for over 50 percent of claims paid, while approximately two-thirds of enrollees experienced $5,000 or less in claims paid over the same period.” So while Avalere used the $32,000 figure, it probably vastly overstates the cost of a program like this. That’s because the people most likely to have been enrolled in PCIP would be the sickest, who need the most care immediately.

Someone with early-stage diabetes with no side effects, like myself, who may currently be tough to insure may ignore a high-risk pool like this since it costs more than I spend on treatment, while someone with advanced cancer requiring frequent doctor visits, expensive medication, and consistent chemotherapy would seek something like this out. Therefore, if the pool of 115,000 enrollees in PCIP were expanded to the 1 million people who have pre-existing conditions but couldn’t be insured, we’d likely see many more costing about $5,000 per year than the ones costing $100,000 and up.

Therefore, I prefer the number $12,000 as the cost per additional enrollee. This uses the average benefit used by a person enrolled in Medicare based on the total benefits paid divided by the total people covered. Since these people are older, sicker, or disabled and have high health utilization, I think it makes a good proxy for the sort of person likely to seek a high-risk pool who would not have jumped at the opportunity to sign up for PCIP.

Adding 900,000 people at that cost to the 100,000 people at $32,000 in PCIP gives us a total annual cost of $14 billion. That means if people in these pools were to cover about 10 percent of their own health-care expenses, the money AHCA appropriates could cover the entire affected population of the high-risk pools for the entire 10-year budget window.

This Is Still a Lot of Money

So now we’ve seen the numbers. About a million people may need help. Pooling them with the healthy has real costs to a lot of people to help a few. But we have decided as a society that we can’t just let those few suffer. Yet helping pay for their care will be staggeringly expensive. Even in my example, with this smaller pool and smaller assumed costs, we would burn through the entire pool of $123 billion in a decade. These people will still need help at the end of that decade. How do we take care of our sick population into the 2030s without busting our budget?

That is why people argue we should keep the Affordable Care Act provisions regarding pre-existing conditions, which are community rating and guaranteed issue. The benefits are obvious, as they have been blasted all over the media. People getting operations they might not otherwise have had, seeing doctors they couldn’t otherwise see, getting care they wouldn’t have otherwise received. Who would be so heartless as to take that away?

This is a classic example of concentrated and observable risk and diffuse and hard to see benefits. Remember what has happened to premiums since ACA was implemented. All these people were not covered without a cost. That cost comes out of the pockets of everyone else in the exchanges. While much harder to see, and much less heart-wrenching in a soundbite or a video or a tweet, those costs did make a difference.

Adding a few hundred dollars a month to health premiums can mean the difference between eating terrible food and eating healthy, not working out and a gym membership, scrimping and stressing over every dollar and rationing essentials which adds mental and physical health costs, or a budget that more comfortably covers your fixed expenses.

More severely, higher premiums for lower-quality policies may mean that some people who may have formerly been able to afford some form of insurance now are going without, causing exactly the sort of problem ACA was supposed to fix. To act like the days, weeks, months, and years taken off the lives of some people due to the costs ACA imposes to help others is without consequence is sadly mistaken.

When Compassion Is Cruel

Those realities aren’t purely speculative, either. Rates are rising year over year. Even with rising subsidies, the plans get more expensive to both buyers and the taxpayers. And there is no sign these rising rates will abate, as more people for whom insurance has a marginal value will choose to go without, leaving a sicker pool, causing not only rates to rise but insurance companies to lose more and more money on these policies.

That leads to insurers dropping out of markets entirely. This is why doing it the “compassionate” way has not only costs for people whose rates will rise, but also costs for those this is supposed to help, as this adverse selection will result in many of them also having no insurance options. Guaranteed issue and community rating do very little good if no one is willing to sell policies because the cost risk is too high.

That is why, whichever way you lean politically, both the ACA and AHCA seem to be just a band-aid. Neither are sustainable, needing significant federal money pumped into them to survive. ACA will need it to subsidize the cost of policies to get healthy people to sign up while also subsidizing the losses insurance companies suffer in an effort to keep them on the exchanges when they don’t.

AHCA will need massive continued subsidies to fund high-risk pools, all as health-care gets more individualized and potentially more expensive. This is in addition to the increasing burden Medicare will put on state and federal budgets as baby boomers retire and live to a ripe old age, while higher birth rates among poorer Americans, in addition to ACA expansion, should cause a massive increase in Medicaid spending.

This is why any comprehensive health insurance reform is doomed to fail. Americans want great quality care at cheap prices that is abundantly available. At best, we can get two of those three. At worst, we get very expensive plans that provide very little real health care for the most vulnerable while making things worse for everyone else. That is why our efforts should focus on ways to provide better health care for everyone, increasing the size of the pie of good-quality, available health care rather than locking in the worst parts of our current system and merely fighting about who should pay for them.

crisis, culture, economics, government, health care, legislation, nanny state, public policy, reform, regulation, spending, 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.

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Some refugees prefer to stay home. Who knew?

In the present environment of American politics, some say bringing refugees to the U.S. is THE solution to the Syrian crisis. But there are other perspectives, such as the perspective of some refugees themselves.

 

This refugee from Syria expresses gratitude for America’s military action in response to the gas attack on Syrian civilians, which appear to be the work of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. He also mentions the fact he and his fellow refugees don’t want to be forced out of their homes and into some foreign country. Some in the American media, such as CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, fish for criticism of President Trump and his immigration policies when interviewing refugees. Debora Heine at PJ Media wrote on this story in CNN Narrative Fail: Syrian Refugee Slams Clinton, Obama; Praises Trump.

“With all due respect, with all due respect,” Kassem began. “I didn’t see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban…. I didn’t see you three days ago when people were gassed to death….I didn’t see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that left us refugees,” he said, completely deflating her expectations.

“If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please — help us stay here in our country,” he continued.

Others who have looked into immigration have reached a similar conclusion. Rather than play politics and act as if racism or xenophobia are the motivation, those who are willing to make an intellectually honest assessment of the crisis recognize immigration is not the solution the refugees need. Just like the Syrian refugee who wants help remaining in his home, Roy Beck shows good reasons to question the open immigration narrative by discussing the practical details that actually affect the people involved.

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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

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

Junk science pushes sex-changes studies

original article: Research Claiming Sex-Change Benefits Is Based On Junk Science
April 13, 2017 by Walt Heyer

Caitlyn Jenner has perfected the art of cashing in on each step of gender transition. A few short weeks before the release of his new book, Jenner acknowledges the boys are now gone. Adios to his life-long companions in gender reassignment surgery (known as bottom surgery).

Jenner is wealthy and can cash in on celebrity, but a large portion of the transgender population remains lost and unaccounted for. Did they die, detransition, or commit suicide?  All we know is the attempted suicide rate for transgender people has remained above 40 percent for many years.

Doctors jam trans kids with puberty blockers and trans adults with cross-gender hormones, then recommend irreversible genital surgery, all without having long-term systematic studies of the effectiveness of such invasive treatment. Parents of trans kids don’t have the benefit of trustworthy information on the probable outcomes of up to 90 percent of gender changers.

Research about transgender people is biased toward reporting success. Studies lose track of many participants, often the majority, and there is no mechanism for tracking those who are dissatisfied after gender-change treatment. My transition back to male hasn’t been tallied in the negative column of any study. Ditto for the trans people who reach out to me.

Huge Numbers of Study Subjects Are Lost to Follow-Up

One limitation of long-term transgender research is that many participants who were present at the beginning of the study can’t be located at its end. In medical parlance, they are “lost to follow-up.” A 2007 textbook titled “Principles of Transgender Medicine and Surgery” explains the limitations of the studies: “A large proportion of patients (up to 90%) are lost to follow up… [which]…complicates efforts to systematically study the long-term effects of gender reassignment surgery.”

Another review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals conducted in 2004 by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research facility, Arif, warned “the results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants. For example, in a five-year study of 727 post-operative transsexuals published last year, 495 people dropped out for unknown reasons.”

Since the scientific community reports up to 90 percent of transsexuals are lost to follow-up and therefore not counted in study results, I’m skeptical when I hear the LGBT soundbite that says only a tiny percentage are dissatisfied after changing gender. The missing 90 percent could have given up on gender change and gone back to their birth gender or even committed suicide. No one knows, because they dropped out of sight. Too many hormones, too much surgery, and too many are lost.

Media reports about transgender outcomes is also biased positive because the research is also. Arif found “most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial.” Arif also reported “no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.”

None of the people who have contacted me over the past 11 years about going back to their birth gender will be counted as having undesirable outcomes. That’s because the LGBTQ studies purposefully exclude anything that would reflect badly on their overblown trans agenda.

Sex Changes Have Been Unsound Since Their Inception

From the start, the effectiveness of treating transgender people by affirming their non-biological identity was based on falsified evidence. Dr. Harry Benjamin will be known as the founder of transsexualism, but the real madness we see today reflects the legacy of Dr. John Money, a psychologist. During his time at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in the 1960s and ‘70s, Mooney launched the tragic trajectory of surgical transgenders, suicides, and regrettable outcomes.

Money made a name for himself with research on a set of twin boys, one of whom had his penis ruined in a botched circumcision. When the boy’s distressed parents contacted Money for help, he saw an opportunity to conduct research on the cultural versus biological determinants of gender. Money recommended that doctors remove the remnants of David’s injured genitalia and his parents raise him as a girl. They followed Money’s advice, and at the age of two David Reimer became Brenda.

Over the years, Money met with the Reimer twins and wrote articles touting the success of his gender experiment and how well Brenda was adapting. His results fueled the acceptance of gender reassignment in the medical community.

The problem was, Money fabricated the results. The truth didn’t come out until the twins were in their 30s. David had been suffering for most of his life from severe depression, followed by financial instability and a troubled marriage. Money withheld information the medical community and public needed to know about gender reassignment, and replaced it with lies.

When David Reimer and his twin brother broke their silence, they exposed Money as a fraud and pedophile. They told how Money had taken photos of them together naked in sexual poses when they were only seven years of age. Money did not stop with snapping photos. The twins described sexual abuse, saying Money forced them to engage in incestuous sex play with each other while he watched.

The twins’ outcome was grim. David died of suicide at age 38, and his brother died a few years later of a drug overdose. This foundation of gender reassignment surgery was based on fraudulent, fabricated research, and this form of treatment all too frequently ends in suicide or suicide attempts.

When a High-Profile Trans Person De-Transitions

Once in a while, a high-profile trans person reveals discontent with life after changing genders. Alexis Arquette, of Hollywood’s famous Arquette family, began life as Robert and achieved fame as a transgender actress. In the media tributes that followed his death at age 47 last September, few mentioned that Alexis had detransitioned and stopped living as a woman. However, The Hollywood Reporter did write of Arquette’s view of gender change:

In 2013, amid increasing health complications, Alexis began presenting herself as a man again, telling [close friend] Ibrahim that ‘gender is bullshit.’ That ‘putting on a dress doesn’t biologically change anything. Nor does a sex-change.’ She said that ‘sex-reassignment is physically impossible. All you can do is adopt these superficial characteristics but the biology will never change.’ That realization, Ibrahim suspects, was the likely source of her deep wells of emotional torment.

Clearly, even a well-known and talented transgender individual who is embraced and accepted in his chosen identity can struggle and decide to return to his birth sex. But he is not counted in any study.

As one who transitioned, lived as a woman for eight years, and returned to life as a male, I hope more people will speak publicly about the reality of life after changing gender—the doubts and questioning, the fatigue of living a masquerade, and the desire to go back to one’s birth gender. Transgender people write to me confidentially, yet frankly, about their gender struggles and the desire to de-transition, but they find the idea of once again changing their appearance and identity daunting.

When People Speak Openly About Their Sex Change

People who write to me aren’t counted in any ongoing studies, but they give insight into the minds of those who undergo gender transition. Here are two stories from folks I corresponded with in 2010.

Regret arrived quickly for a male who transitioned to female and wrote to me four months post-op:

I recently had the sex change surgery, and although I thought I was completely sure of what I was doing, I began to regret the decision a mere three weeks after the operation.

Some might say I was experiencing post-op depression, but it was definitely more than that. I also suspect that many of the other patients at the hospital who had the same operation experienced similar feelings based on my discussions with them.

What really drove the point home for me was the realization that it required eight hours on an operating table to make my genitalia appear to be female.

That pretty much tells me that I’m NOT female at all. If I were female, why wasn’t I born with female genitalia? Sure, there are some intersexed people with ambiguous genitals, but I’m not at all intersexed. My chromosomes are the normal male XY, with absolutely no abnormalities.

The reality is that I’m male, and no amount of surgery changes that fact. I’m now four months post-op, and I’ve begun to transition to live as a male again. I feel it’s the only way to be honest with myself and with society.

If you are considering this surgery, think very carefully about the consequences. Make sure that the doctor or counselor that’s approving you for the surgery is qualified to evaluate whether you need the operation or not.

The second email comes from a man who regretted his gender transition a mere year and a half after surgery. It shares a father’s painful revelation of wanting to return to being a man and father again.

I am 46 and 1.5 years post op MTF [male to female]. I struggled with my gender identity most of my life. I am so miserable and every day I struggle to get thru the next minute. I have to pray for the strength not to go to the gun store. Every minute is filled with suicidal thoughts. I can’t live like this anymore. Please help me. Guide me what to do medically, surgically to fix this mess.

I am so glad I came across your website. After 10 months of post-op psychotherapy, I know sadly now my problems were great depression, unresolved issues as you said (I was sexually abused by my grandfather at 3 years old, father was killed in the line of duty when I was 5, grew up thinking I must be gay, had sex with men and was disgusted, and cross dressed most of my life.) My new therapist is calling it a transvestic fetish that went terribly wrong, coupled with GID.

Why couldn’t we get to this pre-op? It’s just a sick money making industry as I see it. I have already removed the breast implants, and will be restarting testosterone soon. I have destroyed my career, my finances and my marriage and alienated my family.

The pain as you know is so great! It feels like a knife in my heart. I can’t sleep. I am so disgusted with myself. How could a smart, successful guy get so lost? I had it all. Now I’m watching it slowly fade away. You and all the people that give me words of encouragement are the only thing keeping me going. I have rope, and I know when and where all the next guns shows are; I don’t want to live like this. My therapist is going to recommend me to gender therapists; to get a surgical solution I can live with. At 46 years of age I just hope I have the strength to get there; my batteries are drained. I have not read your book; but I am willing to listen to your thoughts and ideas.

(Taken from “Gender, Lies and Suicide,” by Walt Heyer. p. 73-76.)

Red flags against gender-change surgery abound. Up to 90 percent of gender changers in studies cannot be located for follow-up, lowering the quality and credibility of the activist trans agenda. Scientific evidence showing that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective is lacking.

A founder of the modern surgical gender change model of treatment, Dr. John Money, falsely reported success to promote himself and advocate for transgender surgery. Performer Alexis Arquette de-transitioned back to Robert, said “Gender is bullshit,” and blew the whistle on the madness and futility of gender change.

Letters in my inbox relate first-person accounts that the LGBTQ lobby will not even acknowledge exist and that poke holes in the often-told myth that regret is rare. Jenner has said adios to his boys, while far too many transgender people have said adios to family and friends and cannot be found.

One can only hope people considering a sex change or who regret their sex change have a “come to Jesus” meeting like I did, or risk becoming one of the 90 percent lost in the wilderness of transgenderism.

culture, science, sex, tragedy

Filed under: culture, science, sex, tragedy

Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

original article: Upside-down Down Under
April 12, 2017 by Kay S. Hymowitz

Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.

This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”

Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.

Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.

How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.

It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.

Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.

That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.

Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.

In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.

Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?

abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, islam, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, relativism, scandal, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, islam, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, relativism, scandal, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences

African migrants sold in Libya ‘slave markets’, IOM says

original article: African migrants sold in Libya ‘slave markets’, IOM says
April 11, 2017 by BBC

Gambian migrants who returned voluntarily from Libya stand in line with plastic bag from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as they wait for registration at the airport in Banjul, Gambia April 4, 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionReports of African migrants being bought and sold mark a new low in the crisis

Africans trying to reach Europe are being sold by their captors in “slave markets” in Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

Victims told IOM that after being detained by people smugglers or militia groups, they were taken to town squares or car parks to be sold.

Migrants with skills like painting or tiling would fetch higher prices, the head of the IOM in Libya told the BBC.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 Nato-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Hundreds of young sub-Saharan African men have been caught up in the so-called slave markets, according to the IOM report.

Migrants ‘forced to starve’

A Senegalese migrant, who was not named to protect his identity, said that he had been sold at one such market in the southern Libyan city of Sabha, before being taken to a makeshift prison where more than 100 migrants were being held hostage.

He said that migrants held at the facility were told to call their families, who would be asked for money to pay for their release, and some were beaten while on the phone to allow relatives to hear them being tortured.

He described “dreadful” conditions where migrants were forced to survive on limited food supplies, with those unable to pay either killed or left to starve, the report adds.

African migrants gather at the Tripoli branch of the Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority, in the Libyan capital, 23 March 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMigrants have to survive on limited food supplies, according to the IOM report

Another witness, who was able to raise the funds needed for his release after nine months, was later taken to hospital with severe malnutrition, weighing just 5.5 stone (35 kg).

Women, too, were bought by private Libyan clients and brought to homes where they were forced to be sex slaves, the witness said.

The IOM’s chief of mission for Libya, Othman Belbeisi, told the BBC that those sold into slavery found themselves priced according to their abilities.

“Apparently they don’t have money and their families cannot pay the ransom, so they are being sold to get at least a minimum benefit from that,” he said.

“The price is definitely different depending on your qualifications, for example if you can do painting or tiles or some specialised work then the price gets higher.”

A migrant hangs from a boat as they wait to be rescued as they drift in the Mediterranean Sea, some 12 nautical miles north of Libya, on October 4, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMany thousands of migrants each year try to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean

An IOM staff member in Niger said they confirmed the reports of auctions in Libya with several other migrants who had escaped.

“They all confirmed the risks of been sold as slaves in squares or garages in Sabha, either by their drivers or by locals who recruit the migrants for daily jobs in town, often in construction.

“Later, instead of paying them, [they] sell their victims to new buyers.”

Some migrants, mainly Nigerians, Ghanaians and Gambians are forced to work “as guards in the ransom houses or in the ‘market’ itself”, the IOM employee added.

The organisation has called the emergence of these markets “a disturbing new trend in the already dire situation for migrants in Libya”.

Map showing Central Mediterranean migrant routes

In February, the UN children’s agency Unicef released a report documenting – in sometimes horrific detail – stories of slavery, violence and sexual abuse experienced by large numbers of vulnerable children travelling from Libya to Italy.

The report, A Deadly Journey for Children, said that almost 26,000 children – most of them unaccompanied – crossed the Mediterranean in 2016, many of them suffering abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers.

abuse, foreign affairs, immigration, oppression, tragedy, victimization

Filed under: abuse, foreign affairs, immigration, oppression, tragedy, victimization

Healthy masculinity is exactly what our young boys need

original article: The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Trend Blames Boys For Being Born Male
April 12, 2017 by Nicole Russell

The term “toxic masculinity” is en vogue now, from college campuses to Playboy. But the term implies there’s a problem with masculinity, and teaching our boys and men that their innate wiring is wrong, stupid, and even toxic creates far worse problems. If anything, society doesn’t need less toxic masculinity, we need more men embracing their natural masculinity.

The latest in the explorations and denigrations of toxic masculinity is the University of Regina, a school in Canada. They’re hosting a program called “Man Up Against Violence,” which asks male students to sit in a Catholic-style confessional booth and confess their sin of “hypermasculinity.”

What’s that? You weren’t aware masculinity, hyper or otherwise, was a problem? Well, universities want guys to own it and apologize for it—not just inwardly, but outwardly too. After a female colleague wrote about toxic masculinity, New Zealand’s Martin Van Beynen observed, “Toxic masculinity is the new male burden.” He is also trying to figure out what it means.

You then have to ask what aspects of manliness its accusers don’t find toxic. Surely they can appreciate the masculinity that builds cities and roads and fixes things. Maybe they could also find the hardiness associated with masculinity commendable and worthwhile.

Of course, some men do rape and beat up their partners and make excuses for rude behavior. But nothing suggests a rape culture is endemic to the male psyche—not anywhere close to the majority of men are rapists—and to stigmatize masculinity on the strengths of some bad attitudes among teenage boys and some men is simplistic, counter-productive, and unfair. Labeling masculinity itself as toxic is hardly going to change attitudes, particularly among teenage boys, or enlist the help of men who can make a difference.

Do the Actions of a Few Men Characterize Them All?

While I applaud that Regina University is hosting a “Healthy Relationships and Healthy Masculinity” workshop—who’s not for “healthy masculinity?”—I’m afraid the whole initiative reinforces the myth that men are toxic just because of their natural biology, not because they’ve done anything wrong. Man Up Against Violence says, “[W]e challenge mindsets and behaviors about the social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence. We work together to bring light to the causes of all types of violence related to gender, race, socio-economic status, ability level and beyond.”

The phrase “social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence” carries an assumption that some men, even all men, are violent. Some women are prostitutes too, but does that mean it’s healthy for society, particularly universities tasked with shaping young minds, to automatically equate females with selling sex? Of course not.

Even Playboy has started using the term. Earlier this month the publication said British singer Ed Sheeran had a “Toxic Masculinity Problem”: “[Sheeran] sometimes comes off as sad and out-of-control. And his attempts to own that—in both his music and his interviews—is what makes it feel like he’s dealing with a severe case of toxic masculinity, one that is continually fueled by binge drinking and sex.”

What this author describes isn’t a toxic male but an immature one. This kind of behavior has been common among musicians and Hollywood celebrities for a long time. In the 80’s, Eddie Murphy joked the band The Busboys made his fish stop swimming because of their propensity to, “f–k anything that moves.” But this says more about Hollywood culture than “toxic masculinity.”

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Even advocates of this thinking can’t agree on what “toxic masculinity” is, save for things men do that women don’t like. Of course, rape, misogyny, and abuse are toxic. Any civilized society should demand that criminal or abusive behavior to be dealt with as a legal and moral imperative.

But if the “We-hate-toxic-masculinity” crowd were just referring to this, they wouldn’t have a confessional booth set up on a college campus for the average male student, and abuse is more serious than that. Criminalizing manhood is a sure way to trivialize actual crimes by comparison by lumping two completely unlike things under the same heading.

Suggesting men confess a crime they didn’t commit, or confess to a crime that’s not even a crime (being a man) is progressive virtue-signaling in overdrive.  Such a scheme is framed in such a way to deliberately hurt young men and thus our society at large, which benefits most from men meeting their masculine potential.

What We Need Is Healthy Masculinity

Our culture is so wrapped up in trying to blur the lines of sexuality, and women have become so obsessed with their warped concept of feminism, we seem dead-set on confusing, even hating, men for their masculinity. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Yes, society should strive for equality between men and women, but no phrase, whether “cisgender,” “toxic masculinity,” or “gender binary attack helicopter,” will ever change that men and women are not the same. Nor should it mean men shouldn’t be as proud to be masculine as women can to be feminine.

Camille Paglia once said, “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”

Masculine men are as much the bedrock of society as strong, nurturing women. Don’t think so? Read a bit of history about the men and women who traversed this country’s wilderness and winters with minimal belongings on horseback and in carriages during the pioneer era. Talk about the sexes working together. Without each other, they likely may not have survived. Even though survival is easier today, men and women still need each other. We both have unique and complimentary things to offer each other and society.

Because feminists are so clueless and careless about the differences between men and women they seek to emasculate even an “average” guy as opposed to calling out men who are actual misogynists.

Instead of teaching our boys to embrace a healthy masculinity that includes what at first glance appears to be trivial—such as holding doors, carrying groceries, or throwing a coat over the shoulders of a wife or girlfriend—society forces them to not only to eschew such chivalrous gestures but to repent of exuding masculine strength.

I have two boys and believe teaching them the value of healthy masculinity is as imperative as teaching girls it’s good to embrace their femininity. Even the simple truth that maleness is nothing to be ashamed of seems to be a radical concept. Healthy men and boys know their strengths, and instead of seeking to annihilate these traits, we need to encourage them to use their strengths for good. Society needs it far more than we need men to apologize for existing.

bias, bigotry, bullies, children, culture, diversity, education, feminism, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

Filed under: bias, bigotry, bullies, children, culture, diversity, education, feminism, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

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