Thursday, January 31, 2019

Savage Culture Shift

It appears to me the side of evil is trying to one up each other. Last week New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo rejoiced that the state legislature had passed a bill for abortion up until birth.

Not to be left behind, the next day the Vermont legislature announced a state constitutional amendment to make abortion up until birth a right.

This week Virginia made the news when Governor Ralph Northam said infanticide is a right to privacy issue for the woman.

Earlier today, Andrew Klavan started his podcast talking about the shifting culture. He showed an election map from back in the 70s of Nixon winning reelection by an overwhelming majority; only Massachusetts and DC went for the Democrat. Then he showed a photo of some dope smoking hippies. There weren’t so many of them. Just a small part of the population, really.

Screenshots from Andrew Klavan's program

But now, if you were to ask who won, it would be that small minority. They changed the culture to want free sex without consequences, drugs without stigma, foul language, and a general coarsening of the culture. Klavan even pointed out that his not wearing a tie on his show is a result of their win. It wasn’t about numbers. It was about influencing the culture.

Further into his podcast, he was talking about the abortion bill in Virginia that got a lot of attention yesterday. It didn’t pass at this time (thank you Virginia Republicans). But there is video of the bill's proponent, Democrat Kathy Tran, giving testimony, and being pressed to answer what finally becomes clear: abortion would be accepted for essentially any reason (the mental health of the mother under too much stress) right up to the moment of birth, well beyond viability, and even during labor.

Then, to clarify, the Virginia’s governor did a radio interview. And he certainly did clarify—in a way that is beyond shocking. He calmly describes what would happen in the case of a completed birth in which the mother didn’t want the baby, maybe because of a disability or deformity. The baby would be made comfortable, and then doctors and the mother would discuss what should be done about whether to care for the baby or let it die. Or perhaps actively hasten the death of the baby (i.e., murder). He seemed mystified that there should be any upset about something that he thought should be a decision between the mother and the doctors.

Screenshot from here

The mainstream media did not cover the issue. At all. Fox News, however, did cover it. One part of that referred to a Maris poll (which I referenced the other day) showing that only 15% support unrestricted abortion at any time during pregnancy, while 74% want some kind of restrictions: in cases of rape, incest, life of mother, or first trimester, or possibly up to 20 weeks (when pain is known to be felt).

Here’s the transcript of this two-and-a-half-minute segment of Andrew Klavan:

Very few people support third trimester…. What he was talking about was infanticide. He said the baby could be born, and if they decide--  I’m only laughing because it’s so nuts. If you don’t laugh, you cry. I mean, he’s basically saying you could leave it there to die.
What I’m telling you is it doesn’t matter what the polls say. It doesn’t matter what the polls say. He has moved the Overton Window to where a governor of a state can talk about legalized murder, and people just say fine. [He had mentioned that the 3 main news networks were silent on it.]
I know so many liberals, and they all say the same thing. Whenever I talk about the radicalism in the Democrat party, the liberals all say, “Well, most of my friends don’t agree with that.” It doesn’t matter. It’s not how many people. It’s where they are, and what they do, and how they change the culture.
And whether you speak up. Because, if you’re sitting there going, “Well, I don’t agree with that, but I’m voting for him. I’m voting for him, because, you know, that’s radical, so he won’t get away with that,” then you just made that acceptable. If you vote for a guy like that—in fact if you vote for his party, as far as I’m concerned—you have made that statement acceptable. It is all right, if all the doctors agree, and the mother agrees—and men don’t get a say, because what have they got to do with humanity?—it’s all right to leave that baby to die.
If you vote for that, if that’s acceptable talk to you, if you’re not outraged, you’re part of the movement of the culture in that direction. It does not matter whether you agree or disagree. It doesn’t matter what the polls say. It matters that you allow that atmosphere, like poison, like miasma, to seep into the culture.
And people breathe it in, and the next generation of people sitting here will go, “You know, the majority didn’t want to be killing children, but somehow here we are all killing children. I killed mine, but it was different; I disagreed with it. I thought it was wrong.”
You know, it’s just in the same way I don’t wear a tie. You know, in the old days of course I would’ve been wearing a tie, but the 60s culture won. It’s—  Even I use a lot more foul language than I think is right, because the 60s culture won. The culture is dominant. It dominates everything.
What has the culture been doing? I’m not sure I can tell. I had hoped that the growing evidence that a fetus is a growing human baby, made more and more obvious as technology improves, would persuade more. And it does seem to.

And yet, simultaneously, the small minority of the pro-infanticide crowd gets more brazen.

Back in 2013 there was a Salon piece in which a woman admits that, yes, the growing fetus is a human life. But then add, “So what?” (I wrote about it here.)

There’s a story from several years ago, out of Melbourne, Australia, describing a debate over allowing “after-birth abortion,” or killing of a baby after it is born, if that is the mother’s “choice.”

Even earlier, 2011, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva wrote a piece in the Journal of Medical Ethics, inventing the term “after-birth abortion,” trying to change the emphasis from the Dutch guidelines: “infants with a hopeless prognosis who experience what parents and medical experts deem to be unbearable suffering”, instead proposing “‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice.” In other words, let’s ignore any caring feelings about the infant and shift the emphasis to the mother’s choices about her quality of life.

In 2015, Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer declared that infanticide wasn’t necessarily wrong; he’d been saying this for years, but in 2015 disability activists started a petition calling for his resignation. Here’s Singer’s logic:

Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do. It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents.
Sometimes, perhaps because the baby has a serious disability, parents think it better that their newborn infant should die. Many doctors will accept their wishes, to the extent of not giving the baby life-supporting medical treatment. That will often ensure that the baby dies. My view is different from this, only to the extent that if a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life support—which can lead to the baby dying slowly from dehydration or from an infection—but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.
Notice the shift away from acknowledging will to live of the infant (which is evident even in utero). Change the recognition of the baby’s human right to life, and pretend the baby is subhuman, without even a noticeable will to live. Then consider only the convenience or inconvenience to the mother. And then, with the attention shifted there, simply snuff out the life of the baby. Actively. That means to poison, stab, suffocate. To murder.

Yesterday a sitting governor declared, with apparent calm rationality, that killing a baby after it is born ought to be just as acceptable as before it is born, and no mainstream media found that remarkable. Since we know, from ultrasounds, that the baby is just as alive before birth, why should birth make a difference? If you’re not horrified by that, then you need to ask what cultural shift you’ve already succumbed to.
Another good story from the Babylon Bee

At what point does an infant become fully human? Well, that depends, according to these “experts.” On something vague, such as developing a “sense of their own existence over time.” How do you measure that? Do they have to develop language in order for you to measure it? Are you talking months, or years? At what point is a child safe from its parent’s murderous wishes?

The dehumanization that leads to genocide is something we ought to recognize from the last century. If there was an error the Germans made, it was not speaking up, loudly and clearly, to prevent the atrocities from happening.

We must stand up and loudly declare that killing babies is wrong. After birth, or before birth. As a wise elephant once said, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

Monday, January 28, 2019

Compassion and Clarity

Some people have a gift for humor, which is helpful during trying times. So I’m starting today’s post with some headlines from the Babylon Bee, which has been on a tear since the New York pro-abortion law passed last week. (Their articles are worth reading, in addition to the headlines.)

January 24th, 2019

January 24th, 2019

January 25th, 2019

January 23rd, 2019

Thank you, Babylon Bee, for doing the hard job of telling the truth through satire, even when it’s hard to distinguish satire from reality in these troubling times.

I want to additionally address some misunderstandings about what a late-term abortion is, what its purpose is, and why it might be done.

There was a post of a friend, who was concerned that we anti-choice people (i.e., pro-life people) might be making life harder for some women who are actually facing the heart-wrenching decision of a late-term pregnancy termination.

I believe my friend is compassionate. Many of the respondents were too—on both sides. I want to highlight two: one from each side.

One is the story (linked by a commenter) of a Mormon mom, who tells her story. She was at 22 weeks with twins, in the same amniotic sac. One died. That meant the possibility of sepsis for the mother, if the dead fetus was not expelled. But that couldn’t be done without also expelling the live twin, since they shared the same amniotic sac. The live baby had spina bifida and was unlikely to survive long beyond birth. So, for the sake of the mother’s life (she had several other children to raise), they did a C-section, delivering both the dead fetus and the live baby with the severe anomaly. The live baby lived only a short time, as expected.

For those of you who understand Latter-day Saints, this mother conferred with her bishop, who supported her decision and told her to do whatever she needed to in order to protect her health. And he sorrowed with her and her husband over the loss of one child and the impending loss of the second.

The mother was labeling this a late-term abortion, and the implication is that this is the kind of situation the New York law was making room for.

But that is not the case.

First, it was not an abortion; it was an emergency C-section, including the live birth of a child unable to live long thereafter.

Second, there has not been, either before or after Roe v. Wade, any law that would have forced this woman to die rather than risk shortening the life of the live twin. In this, as in almost all cases in which the mother’s life is at stake, the baby’s life is also at stake. So, unless the mother insists that doctors prioritize the life of the baby, doctors will protect her life and the life of the baby, as two patients, doing what they can for both.

The mother’s complaint was that there was an ethics board at the hospital, ruling on her decision, and that was very upsetting to her. But my belief is, they weren’t debating whether to overrule her decision; they were working to see what could and should be done for the live baby, in addition to saving the mother. They would have asked questions about timing, and whether anything more could be done for the live baby.

What would an abortion, rather than emergency C-section, have been? The live child would have been injected with a killing drug—such as is used in a lethal injection execution—and, after death, would have been delivered vaginally. That would entail a couple of days for dilation drugs to take effect. It could include crushing the skull of the child while still in the womb, since the head is the largest baby part needing to pass through the birth canal. In another method, called partial birth abortion, rather than injecting the baby for pre-killing, they partially birth the baby, feet first, and then, while the head is still inside, use scissors or other sharp instrument to stab the baby’s skull, killing the baby before birth is completed.

This woman’s C-section shouldn’t be used to support late-term abortion—because that isn’t what it was. It was an emergency delivery. A regular OB/GYN surgeon performed it, even if that doctor would never perform an abortion.

The pro-life side in the online comment thread was offered by an experienced OB/GYN nurse (originating here): 

If there is an emergency situation during the second or third trimester, the mother is rushed to the hospital where she is immediately hooked to a monitor. Her belly (the baby) is also strapped to a monitor. Vitals for BOTH MOTHER AND BABY are done. Meds are pushed. Exams are completed. Blood drawn. Contractions monitored. We have TWO patients.
If there is a true emergency (high blood pressure due to pregnancy, for example) doctors will in fact end the pregnancy to save the mother. It is called an EMERGENCY C-SECTION. The baby is out- maybe very early, but the baby is out- and cared for. The pregnancy has ended and Mom can be cared for. Isn't that the so-called point of why pro-choicers advocate for abortion? That they need to be able to "terminate the pregnancy to save the life of the mother"? Well, here ya go. Emergencies ending in c-sections, ending the pregnancy and saving the mother, happen all the time.
You know what doesn't happen all the time? As in, like, never? An emergency abortion. There is NO SUCH THING. Never in the 9 years while working in a large hospital, often in the ER, did I hear the words, "Quick! Get me forceps and suction! This woman needs an emergency abortion STAT!" Why did I never hear these words? Because emergency abortions don't exist.
Since the New York decision, doctors have been weighing in.

Dr. Omar L. Hamada: “I want to clear something up so that there is absolutely no doubt. I’m a board certified OB/GYN who has delivered over 2,500 babies. There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.”
Dr. David McKnight: “It appears that the state of New York has legislated that an unborn baby can now be killed at term…. As a board-certified practicing OB/GYN physician for over 30 years, I need to say publicly and unequivocally, that there is NEVER a medical reason to kill a baby at term. When complications of pregnancy endanger a mother’s life, we sometimes must deliver the baby early, but it is ALWAYS with the intent of doing whatever we can to do it safely for the baby too…. God help us.”
Dr. Alan E. Smith: “[A]s I read this law would allow abortion past what we call the threshold of viability, generally thought to be 23-24 weeks and inching ever downward. If I see a woman at 36 weeks gestation with preeclampsia her life could be at significant risk. But her baby also has a 99% chance of surviving outside the womb.”
Dr. Monique Ruberu (in video): “I guarantee you there is no reason ever, to save the life of the mother, in the third trimester that would necessitate the killing of a child. You just deliver the child, and allow the child to live, and you save the life of the mother.”
And more. Dr.  William Lile also recorded his expert view as a video. I tried embedding it here, but was unable. However, the link is here.

Another thing my compassionate friend said was that late-term abortions are very VERY rare. Unfortunately, that isn’t so either. While it’s a relatively small percentage of total abortions (1.3% overall), it’s as high as 15-17% of abortions in some states. There were 8,296 abortions performed after 21 weeks in 2015, or about 251 for each of the 330 abortion providers willing to perform them. While that is low compared to the overall number of abortions, that’s still a lot. For comparison, about 5000 babies are born with Down Syndrome in the US each year; about 25% of families are affected. So half again more is not particularly rare.

The more common reasons for late-term abortions are birth defects. As in the story above, if the baby can’t survive long after birth, that may still be a cause for heartache. But progress has been made; many defects that used to cause death no longer do. Surgeries, blood transfusions, and other treatments can be performed in utero. This includes successful surgery for spina bifida.

This sweet little friend just took her first steps.
Not everyone sees things the same, but I know what it meant to hold a child who would only live a short while; I valued that time. I wouldn’t have given it up in some misguided attempt to spare myself or the baby some possible pain.

Down Syndrome is a common birth defect in babies being aborted. But those of us who know people with Down Syndrome see that it is not a cause for death; it may even be a cause for rejoicing. These children tend to be happy and loving, and bring great joy to the people around them. With therapy and care, they can grow to become productive adults, with a life expectancy of 60 years. Yet around 67% of Down Syndrome diagnoses lead to abortions—sometimes in the third trimester, because testing can take that long.

Do bad things happen late in pregnancies? Sometimes. Do we need to have compassion for women who face those bad things? Of course. Do we show actual compassion when we conflate an emergency C-section with a late-term abortion? No. One is civilized. One is not.

We people who value life are already compassionate to women facing those bad things. Killing a baby—when that is never necessary to save the life of the mother—is not showing compassion. It is devaluing life. And when the life of the most innocent and vulnerable is devalued, that devalues the life of each of us. Compassionate people value life.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Face of Evil

There’s a separation going on in our country, between good and evil. There’s less gray, more black and white, more clarity. I think this may be a trend that continues for some time.

It was a sad day for the state of New York this week. Nominally Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo got his way; the state legislature voted to allow abortion on demand, pretty much unhindered up to natural birth.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo
image from here

The bill was ironically called the Reproductive Health Act; it limits, or tries to eliminate, reproduction. It kills human life, rather than increasing the health of human life. And it endangers women by lowering health standards of service providers. Add to that, every late-term abortion endangers the woman more than natural birth or Cesarean would do.

The Governor spoke on the “victory”:

The Reproductive Health Act is a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values. In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women's reproductive rights, I promised that we would enact this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session—and we got it done.
Cuomo ordered landmarks including the spire at One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany to be lit up pink on Tuesday night as a celebration.

Can I add the irony here about the color pink being used, to honor feminism, which is only a thing if you believe in the two sexes (genders), which progressives say you’re not supposed to believe in. And they do it with a broad pink brushstroke, for all women, supposedly—as if it is a natural good for women to kill their babies.

Cuomo also said, “It's bittersweet. There is a bitterness because we shouldn't be here in the first place. We should not have a federal government that is trying to roll back women's rights,” and added, “This administration defies American evolution.”

This is how differently we think. There’s no sweetness; only bitterness. We shouldn’t be here in the first place; it ought to be self-evident that killing innocent offspring—particularly for the self-centered reason of avoiding inconvenient consequences following illicit sex, which is overwhelmingly the most common reason—is inhuman, ugly, savage, and evil.

He’s also wrong about rights. It is not, and never was, a right of women to kill their babies. It is not the right of humans to kill other humans except in self-defense, and as the lawful consequence of capital crimes. (Another irony: NY prohibits lethal injection of serial murderers, but celebrates it as a means of killing the unborn.)

The vast majority of Americans agree that women do not have the unfettered right to kill the unborn. The court that ruled in Roe v. Wade was incorrect. The decision was badly done. The court has been granted no constitutional power to make law. And the test cases of Roe and Doe, in the Roe v. Wade decision were based on lies; the evidence given was made up.

That decision has caused a third of a generation to die before birth.

And what does Cuomo mean by “American evolution”? He probably believes, and means, that there is “progress” of changing views toward agreement with his radical views. But that isn’t actually the case.

Results of a Marist poll came out last week, concerning American’s views on abortion, which they have been measuring for eleven years. The surprise is that “an overwhelming majority of Americans want to limit and restrict abortion and enact protection for children.” 75% overall hold this view. 96% of those who call themselves pro-life. And a surprising 61% of those who call themselves pro-choice. This desire for greater restrictions seems to coincide with improved ultrasound and other technologies that show the living child in the womb. Clearly this is a human life, with its own separate DNA, that has senses and can feel pain, and can be viable outside the womb at earlier stages than ever. To cling to the “it’s just a mass of cells” claim is anti-science.

Marist poll results page 3

Cuomo is also wrong about this being something this administration is inflicting coercively on the country. He is out of touch with the American people, because of the bubble he keeps himself in. If you’re looking at parties, 92% of Republicans, 60% of Democrats (way over half of his own party), and 78% of Independents believe abortion should be allowed AT MOST during the first trimester. 

Marist poll results page 2

Only a small percentage, about 15%, believe in Cuomo’s dastardly view of abortion on demand throughout pregnancy for any reason. In other words, he’s an extremist.

His claim of anything positive rings false when you look at the outcome. Back in 2001, we all thought of ourselves as New Yorkers, but I can’t abide this: 78% of abortions in that city are on performed on the 26% that are black. More black babies are killed through abortion than are born in NYC. If journalists called on him to defend those numbers while he’s rejoicing about raising them, we might all recognize the indefensible.

As for health, it’s ironic that nearly all the things Hermit Gosnell was prosecuted for—including the unclean circumstances and the lack of medical personnel in a clinic performing procedures—New York has now made legal. So far, the only thing they haven’t officially legalized is killing a baby after birth—except that the law did repeal protections for babies that survive abortion. In other words, they can be left to die even though born alive.

Republicans in the NY Senate pointed out that the changes moving abortion law from the penal code to the health code could mean that a woman who loses her preborn child as the result of an assault will have no means to prosecute her assailant for that loss.

Sadly, the day after the New York bill passed, Vermont announced it would push for a state constitutional amendment to recognize abortion as a “fundamental human right.” I don’t think they understand what that means. 

There’s worry that Roe v. Wade may be overturned with a more conservative court. I don’t know how likely that is. But that would not make abortion illegal; that would put the power to decide back in the hands of the states, where it was before the court made its untimely intervention. New York and Vermont would have no threat to their pro-baby-killing policy by the elimination of Roe v. Wade. The difference would come for states like Florida and Texas, where legislators are pushing for more restrictions on abortions, which would have been a state decision all along, except for Roe v. Wade. 

Florida recently legislated to disallow abortion after the fetal heartbeat is detected—which could happen between 6-8 weeks gestation. 

A similar fetal heartbeat law was rejected by a judge in Iowa Tuesday, claiming it was unconstitutional—evidence that it is states affirming life that have been deprived of their constitutional rights by the bad SCOTUS ruling.

The Republican Party of Texas has as a legislative priority this session, going further than ever before: 

Pass legislation to abolish abortion; including, but not limited to, enacting legislation that would ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statues, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life, as well as enacting life-saving legislation such as PreNDA or a “heartbeat bill.”
So it’s a two-pronged approach: total, and incremental progress. I haven’t identified a bill number yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing this debate play out. It’s about time a state asserted its Tenth Amendment rights, and the killing of babies might just be the issue to stand on.

Several states have limited abortion to 20 weeks, including Texas; twenty weeks is considered to be the time at which it is certain the baby in the womb can feel pain. Many states have also passed legislation against dismemberment abortion (Texas did this last legislative session), a procedure that crushes and breaks up the fetus, purportedly for ease of removal, but which is not only particularly horrendous to the fetus; the sharp broken bones endanger the woman.

As technology improves, fetuses on ultrasound can be seen trying to avoid a needle or instruments meant to kill them. Facial expressions can show fear. The more people who see the reality of the growing baby in the womb, the more they are likely to oppose abortion.
ultrasound image from here

In fact, the procedure of abortion, even when shown only with graphics, rather than actual imagery, is so violent that it persuades people to change their opinion about allowing it once they’ve seen the truth.

That means that a large majority of people are not basically evil. Only those who see the truth, know that this is an innocent human life, and yet promote killing that life anyway. As a sacrament to the worship of their evil.

We’re polarized because there must be no compromising with evil. We’re sifting ourselves, somewhat geographically, but philosophically everywhere, as we are faced with clearer choices between good and evil.

We learned this week, by looking at New York’s governor—and anyone celebrating with him—what the savage face of evil looks like.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Still Dreaming

The other day Mr. Spherical Model was commenting on how much he enjoys working with a particular client. The main person who brings him in on projects is especially pleasant. She’s high energy, has a good sense of humor, works well with others—on top of being good in her field of expertise.

They had an exchange over the weekend about postponing a scheduled meeting because of a family emergency, and Mr. Spherical Model said he’d be praying for her. And she thanked him and said that, because he’s such an angel, she’s sure the prayers would be answered.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
image found on Facebook
Other people at that company are also great to work with. They’re kind of our favorites right now.
For whatever reason, the company appears to be a majority black, plus a fair amount of Hispanic, at least here at the office we’ve worked with. But color doesn’t seem to be an issue. It has never come up in any of our discussions. Since we are the minority there—one that the media would tell you is privileged and all kinds of negatives—it’s nice to be treated as though we’re just additional great people to work with.

In other words, it’s about content of character, not color of skin.

Politics have never come up. Family values may have come up at times. Respect for co-workers and customers comes up frequently as part of the job. Part of the company’s ability to prosper depends on workers treating customers with respect—even when, or especially when, they have complaints.
Everybody prospers when people treat one another as valuable human beings.

Skin color is so irrelevant that we never talked about it, except looking at the situation around the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Our experience is that his dream is reality, which is worth saying.

The irrelevance of race is our experience, in general. We encounter a pretty wide array of races and ethnicities in the very cosmopolitan salad bowl that is Houston, Texas. In church. In Scouting. In community organizations related to politics or service. In business.

That’s why it’s so puzzling when the media story is that the country is so hateful and racist. I don’t believe it. It’s not that the evil of racism is non-existent; it’s just that it is anathema to civilization, so you don’t find it except where savagery wins.

We saw an example this past weekend, at the March for Life. A group of Catholic students from Kentucky was gathering near the Lincoln Memorial after the march, and after some sight-seeing, to wait for their bus.

screenshot image found here

A group of adults came at them, shouted vile epithets at them, tried to provoke them (unsuccessfully). A Native American man, playing a drum, walked into the group, banged the drum in the face of a young man, whose personal space was invaded, but the boy was respectful.

This is all on video. But the media attacked the boys, falsely telling the story, editing video to create the negative story about them they wanted, claiming the chant was done as they surrounded and attacked the Native American man to taunt him. (There’s a good retelling of the entire story here.) 

There were two racist elements in this kerfuffle involving Catholic boys who favored ending abortion. One was that the adult group attacking the boys was black. Not a typical black group, but what some have referred to as a cult of black supremacists called Black Hebrew Israelites. They are a known group; they do this kind of attack frequently. Any journalist who has spent time in New York or Washington, DC, has likely encountered these people and knows exactly who they are and what they do, so they would have known without any confusion that they were the ones attacking the boys, not the other way around.

The other racist element was the Native American, Nathan Phillips and those with him. He used his race to lie about being a victim when the boys had done nothing wrong—and in fact were very respectful to him, considering his purposeful entering of their group and playing his drum in their faces. One of his companions shouted at the boys, apparently trying to provoke them, and told them they had stolen the land and should go back to Europe.

I don’t know about the black group’s protest purpose for the day, but it was footage from their video—an unedited hour and a 46 minutes—that shows them shouting vile things at the boys, and records the boys shouting only school cheers in an attempt to cover up the vile words being hurled at them.

The Native Americans were there for a demonstration, completely separate from the March for Life, that just happened to coincide nearby. Whether the man with the drum actually thought the boys were attacking the black men, or was simply lying, is hard to know for certain. But his actions and those around him show no evidence of racism from the boys—only towards them.

Social media attacked the boys. One of their chaperones was on Glenn Beck Radio this morning. If I understood her story, their school website was hacked in an attempt to get the boys’ names and private information to “dox” them (which included boys who hadn’t even been on the trip).

The media, aided and abetted by social media, served as accuser, judge, jury, and executioner for some boys on a school trip. Young boys. Teenagers. Who believe in protecting the unborn. Based on a brief video clip—purposely clipped to prevent showing context—that in itself shows them doing nothing wrong, but is used to foment hate towards them anyway.

This attack happened on the very steps in front of the location where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Two things can be true simultaneously. One is that, for the vast majority of Americans, MLK’s dream has come true. The other is that, for those who want to find racism, they’ll create it where it doesn’t exist and use it for their own racist purposes. What we need is for that second thing to be even more rare.

Maybe we all need to make it a practice to take a step back, from any media story—or any anecdotal story we encounter—and wait. See if more context or detail comes out. In the meantime, give people the benefit of the doubt. Because most of America is made up of people who like each other and don’t even understand what the anger is about. In our civilized lives, racism is not part of our personal experience.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Worth Standing Up

I’m about a third of the way through a book that I expect to write more about. But I just read a chapter that was kind of overwhelming. So I’m not waiting.

cover image from here
The book is Standing Up to Goliath, by Rebecca Friedrichs. She’s the one from the US Supreme Court case Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. She, along with other plaintiffs, was trying to prevent the teacher’s union from forcing teachers to pay money to the unions that would be used for political purposes against their beliefs.

After oral arguments, it was clear her side was prevailing. The Court was likely to vote 5-4 in her favor. On the verge of their celebrations, however, Justice Scalia suddenly passed away. So the case went 4-4, which left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in place. The CTA won by default.

Much of the book talks about tactics used by the teachers’ unions—not just the California state one, but national ones as well. Friedrichs says,

I’d like to point out four psychological manipulations used by those who force power and control over others: fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance.
Teachers unions aren’t the only places we see those things. They show up wherever there are power mongers seeking power. It’s one of the evils of mankind.

The challenge is standing up to those power mongers despite the fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance they use against us.

The chapter I’m covering today is Chapter 8: “SeXXX Education—Teachers’ Union Style.” I’ve mentioned before that things are worse than we had imagined. (See also here.) But I continue to be shocked.

Friedrichs begins with a friend’s story, from 2013. This young mother had an eleven-year-old daughter in a California fifth grade public school. She had just learned about the school’s sex education program and wanted to spread a warning. She sent a link to an eight-week Planned Parenthood-designed curriculum called Making Proud Choices!

Warning: Please use discretion if you’re reading this around children, since this blog is usually guaranteed safe.

Here’s one of the “fun” “age-appropriate” activities for fifth graders: In the classroom, set up two anatomically correct, fully erect adult penis models. Separate the pre-teens into two lines of boys and girls. Have the two teams of children race to put a condom onto the penis the proper way while verbalizing the steps involved.

That one, while not age-appropriate, is at least about a type of sex the students are likely to encounter in their lifetimes. But they’re taught not to be limited. Friedrichs says,

Vaginal, Anal, and Oral sex (referred to casually as VAO) come up and was normalized in every single lesson, and in one lesson, in which they discuss a thirteen-minute “Hawaii Video,” kids are taught to protect themselves during anal and oral sex by using a “dental dam.” I had no idea what this meant, so I had to look it up. I was so shocked by what I saw in the search results, I couldn’t bring myself to open any of the links, but I was able to understand enough to know dental dams (originally created to help dentists during oral surgery), are now being used between the mouth and anus or vagina during oral sex, and our school leaders feel this is appropriate information for eleven-year-olds.
I don’t have the imagination to make up such a thing.

Another teacher friend, referred to only as Stella, contacted her from Massachusetts, with links to a similar program used there called Teen Talk. This included sixteen birth control methods, “including an ‘insertive condom’ that can be used in the vagina or anus, government approved birth control methods we’d never even heard of or seen, and a large erect penis model.” And she described the “dental dam” as “a big, pink rectangle of vinyl—maybe ten inches long.”

I’ve been in a dentist’s chair when this was used—particularly for removing hazardous mercury-containing fillings. But how is a fifth grader supposed to come by one, after being told it’s the “responsible” thing to do?

Stella said, at this point,

“We were all floored by the content in Teen Talk. It had really extreme and explicit sexual content and graphics, a lot of detailed discussion about intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, and really immature handling of it with games and activities that demonstrated sexual practices. You’re using these inappropriate childish games to teach something that is far beyond age appropriate. This was not family life or teaching kids how to their bodies were changing or what to expect with hormones. This was straight up training them to partake in various sexual acts.”
Friedrichs’ reaction was probably similar to yours:

This is child abuse, and I would resign my position before being forced to teach this deplorable lesson to children. It’s more suitable to a drunken fraternity party than a classroom full of vulnerable kids. I remember vividly what it was like to be eleven years old, and I’ve worked with eleven-year-old children for three decades. I can assert with authority that most eleven-year-olds forced to touch fully erect man-sized penis models and discuss condoms, penises, and sex would be profoundly traumatized.
If you have a teacher who would not resign before teaching such lessons, do you want that either pervert or spineless drone teaching anything to your child? And yet the lessons are being taught by teachers who do give in simply because the union is coercing them to.

Parents were not being warned that this new curriculum was different from what the schools had been teaching. And if the parents didn’t want their child to receive it, they had to “opt out.” Also, the district was sneakily calling it a “pilot program,” to avoid public review, but teachers were told at the training that it was being implemented district-wide for all middle schools that year (2017).

If you think this was about providing the children with needed information to prevent teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases and even AIDS, you would be wrong. That is not the agenda. The agenda is to indoctrinate children to accept any and every form of sexual activity.
Another teacher in California, referred to only as Priscilla, looked further into the Teen Talk curriculum.

Using data from the CDC, Red Cross, FDA, and, Priscilla has been challenging these curriculums because while teaching risky sexual behaviors, they are withholding vital information that would protect students from contracting or transmitting HIV. She told [Friedrichs], “The law says its purpose is to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from HIV. However, given the critical knowledge they are withholding from students, it seems the real purpose is to promote various sexual orientations.”
The unions’ idea of “age-appropriate” and “medically accurate” information isn’t going to have the same definitions you, as a sane parent, would have. Why are school unions doing this? I’m expecting that the unions have long been seen as an avenue for forcing ideologies onto the public, because of their power. So anyone with an ideology that can’t win on its merits infiltrates the unions in order to propagandize through the schools.

The bullying tactics specifically target people who believe in traditional sexual mores. Priscilla gives this example, which hit home for me, as a Latter-day Saint:

“I used to teach high school. I had a transgender student, gay students, and students of faith in my classes. In the context of a class discussion a Mormon student expressed his personal beliefs about marriage being between a man and woman. He shared his views respectfully.” She then asked the presenter [at a CTA conference] the following question: “As a teacher, how do you think I should have handled that situation in order to respect the diversity of all of my students?”
The CTA lobbyist replied, “You should treat that student as though he said, ‘Black people should be burned at the stake.’”
At first Priscilla thought this might be an aberrant opinion of a particular union representative. So she asked again, at a conference the following year, in a workshop ironically titled, “Creating a Safe Place—Legal Obligation,” led by the LGBT CTA caucus chairman. This person “affirmed that his colleague was right to say the Mormon student should have been treated as though he had said, ‘Black people should be burned at the stake.’” Creating a safe space does not mean for everyone, but only for the ones who agree with the union’s ideology.

Friedrichs added that her son was bullied for his Christian beliefs, from middle school through college. She says, “One of Ben’s teachers even harassed him in front of the class because his political science tests revealed his conservative values.” Teachers who attack students with these ideas are protected. But Friedrichs gives many examples in her book of teachers being bullied for doing what is actually in the best interest of students, their education, and their wellbeing.

Dr. Linda Gonzales verified the experiences of Friedrichs and people like Priscilla. She told Friedrichs,

I believe we can practice tolerance and debate issues and beliefs without mocking, insulting, disparaging, or offending one another. What I found difficult about the CTA position is that it disparages and disrespects divergent ideas by mocking, insulting, and dismissing the speakers of different persuasions, especially Christians, with labels such as “Hate Speech.” My takeaway is that the First Amendment, in their view, applies only to sanitized ideas and beliefs. In my view, this is anti-American and not aligned to the Constitution. I value open debate and religious freedom.”
Is there a way out? There has to be. If we don’t find a way out, we have savagery replacing our civilization.

I haven’t left room to cover the possible ways out today. But, for future review, here are some:

·       Homeschool. The best option, if you can do it.
·       Be vigilant. Be the parent who reviews the curriculum, brings it before the school board, warns the other parents, and pulls your child out of that dangerous pornographic harm that’s being labeled as education.
·       Work toward legislation that prevents pornographic materials from being presented in schools; this idea is to remove the “obscenity exemption,” which has been used to allow certain images and words to be used in schools that would otherwise be prosecutable as pornography. It’s in the Texas Republican Party Platform this year (Plank 93), so I’m hoping we can get this protection passed in the legislature. There’s also a plank (plank 121) to prevent schools from contracting with any third party, such as Planned Parenthood, for sex education or health curriculum.
·       Work toward doing away with the power of the teachers’ unions—who are using teacher pay and tax-free money to lobby for political positions that have nothing to do with a good education and everything to do with propagandizing their versions of savagery.
Painting called "Captain Moroni and
the Title of Liberty" by Arnold Friberg
found here
The only way to win against a bully that uses fear, intimidation, isolation, and ignorance to enforce ideas that are absolutely unacceptable is to stand up to them, regardless of the power differential. If you value freedom and civilization, this is a battle you have to fight. Here we are about to celebrate the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. He stood up. Spoke up. And brought about needed change.

There’s a story in the Book of Mormon, during a time of war, when a leader, Captain Moroni, reminds the people what they’re fighting for (Alma 46:12). He writes this on a cloak, to use as a battle flag, which is called the “Title of Liberty”:

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children

That would be a good battle flag for us now.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Prevent Defense at the Legislature

The Texas Legislature is in session, as of last week. So I’m busy putting together a list of bills to follow. There’s a lot left to do, although I do have a few items so far under the categories of the legislative priorities we developed at the state convention last June.
Texas State Capitol

Usually we follow, and do citizen lobbying for, bills we want to have pass. Most of the time we don’t spend a lot of time on things we’re against. We’ve had Republican leadership, so that means a Democrat agenda doesn’t make a lot of headway.

This year we have a better speaker—which means we have reason to hope more conservative legislation will get on the calendar for a vote. But the minority party is slightly larger than last session. So there’s reason to be cautious.

As I’ve been going through the bills that have been filed, I thought it might be instructive to go over a few things we don’t want to see happen. Like I said, I don’t think these things have much of a chance. But maybe you should be aware of what some legislators think would be “progress” for Texas.

The state Senate has a bill, SB 150, attempting to codify in Texas law a right to abortion. Meanwhile a joint resolution, SJR 3, was filed attempting to guarantee the right to life of unborn children (to the extent authorized under federal constitutional law). That’s the kind of contrast we have between the two parties. Irreconcilable differences.

There’s a bill in the House, HB 513, attempting to set up a pilot program for distributing “long-acting reversible contraceptives” in public schools. I consulted Wikipedia to know what such contraceptives entailed: “Long-acting reversible contraceptives are methods of birth control that provide effective contraception for an extended period without requiring user action. They include injections, intrauterine devices and subdermal contraceptive implants.” So, either hormones by injection or subdermal implant, or a device requiring minor surgery—provided by a school. Why should a school be involved in this medical business in the first place? The bill says,

the pilot program may not distribute or provide for the distribution of a long-acting reversible contraceptive to a student who is under 18 years of age unless the school district obtains consent from the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student.
Which is better than no parental approval for minors. Who is a “person standing in parental relation to the student”? It’s a legal term that would disqualify a parent whose custody rights have been discontinued. But it does not necessarily mean that both parents in divorce or separation must be informed.

In the category of Religious Freedom come several things related to privacy versus the LGBT agenda, which uses coercion. In the name of preventing housing discrimination, HB 188, forces landlords or facilities operators to allow transgenders or opposite sex individuals, disregarding the privacy rights of other individuals. It makes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression protected in the same way as race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

HB 244, and also HB 254 (they look the same to me), creates a criminal offense for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in hiring practices by public, private, or religious entities. Again, this law adds “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” to the list of protections from discrimination, which are race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. The additional harm of this legislation is that it allows prosecution for perceived discrimination or perceived possibility of future discrimination—actions that haven’t happened. A defendant is forced to defend themselves based on some person’s guess that they might be about to do something perceived as discrimination. Think Minority Report—prosecution before the crime.

Another one, HB 517, labels it “unprofessional conduct” for health providers to notice, recognize, or treat according to biological sex definitions that, regardless of actual science, run counter to the current LGBT agenda.

Here’s the definition of “gender identity or expression”:

A person’s having or being perceived as having a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, expression, or behavior is different from that commonly associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.
So, healthcare professionals, who presumably studied a lot of biological science to qualify for their professions, must disregard actual biology and notice—and then go along with—a person’s self-perception. There’s a huge science-denial problem there.

Also, people aren’t assigned sex a birth. Every cell in the baby’s body shows the individual’s sex with the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, from conception onward. There are some rare exceptions, with individuals who have a chromosomal anomaly, something extra, such as vestigial organs of the opposite sex; almost all these cases are clearly one sex or the other, so doctors, looking at the obvious evidence, “assign” the sex based on the physical evidence. Doctors making random decisions, or assigning incorrectly in these rare cases, isn’t a thing. And such cases certainly give no support to the transgender movement’s claims against reality.

Who are the healthcare providers to be prosecuted and disciplined for recognizing reality as opposed to a person’s anti-reality perceptions?

·         A licensed behavior analyst
·         A licensed chemical dependency counselor
·         A licensed professional counselor
·         A licensed marriage and family therapist
·         A licensed nurse
·         A licensed physician
·         A licensed psychologist
·         A licensed sex offender treatment provider
·         A licensed social worker
·         A special officer for offenders with mental impairments
·         Another person licensed by the state to provide professional therapy or counseling services
Specifically, the proponents of this law are lashing out against any treatment—whether desired by the patient or not—that could dissuade the patient from the sexual “transition” or sexual orientation that defies their biology.

This bill pertains specifically to the treatment of children, who, according to data, are highly likely to overcome gender dysphoria by adulthood if left untreated. But anyone who might know the research, be aware of the high likelihood of changes in the belief of people with gender dysphoria, the higher incidence of depression and suicide risk following transition, the high probability of regret and desire to de-transition (as in this story)—must not share that data, mention it, whisper under breath, hint at in professional or private settings. And not just mental health counselors, but also nurses and social workers. The law’s coercive intrusion appears totalitarian.

When we say our freedoms are at risk whenever the legislature is in session, this is evidence. So far we still have a majority in the state. But we’ve only had that since about the turn of the century. Prior to that Texas was a Democrat stronghold going back to its founding. We don’t know if the “redness” we have now is just temporary.

Here in Harris County, we’ve been half-and-half for quite a while, but mostly able to get more conservative voters out than the opposition. But the last two county-wide elections, we’ve lost. And now we have an inexperienced 27-year-old in her first job out of college as the county’s top executive, and a new county clerk who wants to spend a couple billion dollars to throw out the tried and true free and fair election practices, prevent precinct chairs—and thereby anyone from a party the clerk doesn’t want to hire—from running polling places, and return to the rampant fraud of the paper ballots that used to work so well for lovers of voter fraud.

at the Texas State Capitol
We have a lot of recovery to do in the county. And a lot of vigilance to do in the state.

Other bills to prevent include registering prisoners to vote, voter registration at the polling place, eliminating photo ID for voting. Plus there are minimum wage laws (outlawing entry-level pay), elimination of capital punishment, and preventing assistance to immigration officers. In other words, there’s a lot of mischief that could be done, if we don’t pay attention.

Prevention is better than repair. And there’s already plenty to repair, if we want freedom, prosperity, and civilization.