Saturday, January 29, 2005
Consequences When Morality Becomes Optional
Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.
The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.
She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.
Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.
The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.
When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.
"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits."
Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered jobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a 23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nude model", and should report back on the meeting. Employers in the sex industry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into force this month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can be sued.
Tatiana Ulyanova, who owns a brothel in central Berlin, has been searching the online database of her local job centre for recruits.
"Why shouldn't I look for employees through the job centre when I pay my taxes just like anybody else?" said Miss Ulyanova.
Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a brothel in Goerlitz, in former East Germany, but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement for 12 prostitutes, saying it would be impossible to find them.
Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of demand for a brothel in the area and planned to take a claim for compensation to the highest court. Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime.
Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employment targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of women who refuse jobs providing sexual services.
"They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexual services, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said.
"Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."
Source: UK Telegraph
Reality Check: Gun Ownership Rules and Gun Deaths Internationally
A 1997 Justice Department report on murders in the U.S. shows that our country has a murder rate of seven victims per 100,000 population per year. There are a number of well-known examples of countries with more liberal gun laws and lower murder rates than the U.S. One is Finland, with a murder rate of 2.9. Israel is another example; although its population is heavily armed, Israel's murder rate is only 1.4. In Switzerland, gun ownership is a way of life. Its murder rate is 2.7.
By contrast, consider Brazil. All firearms in Brazil must be registered with the government. This registration process can take anywhere from 30 days to three months. All civilian handguns are limited in caliber to no more than 9mm. All rifles must fire handgun ammunition only. Brazilians may only buy one gun per year. At any one time, they may only have in their possession a maximum of six guns: two handguns, two rifles and two shotguns. To transport their guns, citizens must obtain a special police permit. CCW permits are available but are rarely issued.
Therefore, it should not be a revelation to anyone that Brazil has a thriving black market in guns. Virtually any type of gun is available, for a price. Incidentally, Brazil's murder rate is 19 victims per 100,000 population per year.
In Cuba, Fidel Castro controls every aspect of life with an iron hand, including gun ownership. Castro remembers well how he and his rag-tag armed Communist rebels overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista and set up a Communist dictatorship. An armed populace is threatening to a repressive government. Still, somebody in Cuba is obtaining guns and using them to murder fellow citizens. Cuba's murder rate is 7.8.
The former Soviet state of Lithuania is now an independent democratic country. But it still retains some vestiges of Stalinism. Lithuania's citizens must obtain a police permit to buy a gun. All guns are registered with the government. Somehow these restrictions are not deterring the criminal element; Lithuania has an unenviable murder rate of 11.7.
Gun control in Mexico is a fascinating case study. Mexican gun laws are simply draconian. No civilian may own a gun larger than .22 caliber, and a permit is required to buy one. All guns in Mexico are registered with the Ministry Of Defense. Guns may not be carried in public, either openly or concealed.
Mexican authorities seem to take a particular delight in arresting and imprisoning unwitting Americans who are not familiar with Mexican gun laws. Americans may not bring legal guns or ammunition into Mexico. Possession of even one bullet can get you thrown in a medieval Mexican prison. The State Department says that at any one time there are about 80 Americans imprisoned in Mexico for minor gun crimes. The State Department even went so far as to issue a special notice to U.S. gun owners, warning about harsh Mexican gun laws. Americans are allowed to hunt in Mexico, but they must first obtain a permit from the Mexican Embassy or a Mexican Consulate before taking their hunting rifles south of the border.
Mexico's murder rate is an eye-popping 17.5. Mexican authorities are fond of blaming the high murder rate on firearms smuggled across the border from the United States. Nonsense. The U.S. has many more personal guns than Mexico, yet our murder rate is far lower than Mexico's. It is Mexico's absurd gun laws that prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves against illegally armed criminals.
Guns are effectively outlawed in Russia. Private handgun ownership is totally prohibited. A permit is required to purchase a long gun. All guns are registered with authorities. When transporting a long gun, it must be disassembled. Long guns may only be used for self-defense when the gun owner is on his own property. By the way, Russia's murder rate is a staggering 30.6.
It is surprising to learn that there is gun trouble in the tropical paradises of Trinidad and Tobago. Here a permit is required to purchase a gun. All guns are registered with the police. In spite of (or perhaps because of) these restrictions, Trinidad and Tobago together have a murder rate of 11.7.
Gun Restriction Nation Gun Deaths Per 100,000
Low Finland 2.9
Low Switzerland 2.7
Medium US 7
High Brazil 19
High Cuba 7.8
High Lithuania 11.7
High Mexico 17.5
High Russia 30.6
Source: Guns and Ammo
Regulations don't guarantee safety. And if you push people who might otherwise be law abiding into the black market, you may erode their respect for the law even further, adding to social chaos. An interesting conundrum.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Don't Forget Darfur
A senior United Nations humanitarian official today expressed his serious concerns following reports that about 100 people were killed or injured when Sudanese Government airplanes bombed a village in the northern section of the country's war-scarred Darfur region.
Kevin M. Kennedy, Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), issued a statement saying UN agencies are struggling to reach and assist the thousands of people who have been displaced by the latest wave of violence to hit Darfur.
"This is the latest of several serious ceasefire violations in recent days that are having a devastating effect on civilians, and severely disrupt our relief operations," he said.
UN officials in Sudan said African Union (AU) reports indicated that the Sudanese air force bombed the village of Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur state, with unconfirmed reports giving a casualty count of about 100. UN humanitarian agencies have declared the location around Rahad Kabolong to be a "no-go" area for their staff until further notice, and the AU is investigating the bombing raid.
The area north of the town of Sirba in West Darfur state has also remained off-limits to UN staff since late last week because of violent clashes there.
Sudan Watch tells us about the troubles and shortfalls of goods in the area:
Across Darfur, UN human rights monitors are expressing concerns about the treatment of victims of human rights abuses.
Despite representations from WHO officials, victims are still being forced to pay fees to receive hospital treatment in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.
Jan Egeland, the UNs most senior humanitarian official warned the Security Council today that Darfur's perilous security conditions are hampering UN aid agencies' efforts to feed and assist many of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Mr Egeland said the World Food Programme reached 1.5 million people in Darfur in December - "a significant achievement, but still 500,000 less than the target." So far this month the agency has reached about 900,000 IDPs, only half of its goal for January.
He said IDPs continue to arrive in temporary camps every week - or in some cases are having to flee those camps and seek shelter elsewhere - because of fresh attacks on towns, villages and camps. The situation is considered worst, he added, in South Darfur and West Darfur states.
Safe, Legal, Rare?
The fallacy of safe, legal and rare, or that abortions are done for health reasons or for tragedies like rape and incest isn't really the picture. The real reason we kill our unwanted unborn is because we find them an inconvenience.
Lives are snuffed out because someone says "I'm not ready for this."
Lives are taken because someone, a parent, a mom, a father says "I can't deal with it."
We scream bloody murder when we hear of honor killings. But the only real difference here is the age of the victim. It's still a victim that some deem doesn't have a right to live.
Women who have had abortions cite the following reasons:
21% can't afford a baby
21% are unready for responsibility
16% concerned about how having a baby could change their lives
12% have problems with relationship or want to avoid single parenthood
11% are not mature enough/are too young to have children
8% have all the children they want/have all grown-up children
3% possible fetal health problem
3% maternal health problem
1% pregnancy resulted from rape or incest
1% husband/partner wants them to have abortion
1% don't want others to know they had sex or are pregnant
1. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, "Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: Evidence from 27 Countries" Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 24 (August 1998).
2. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, "U.S. Women Who Obtain Abortions: Who and Why?" Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 4, (July/August 1988)
Source of statistics: Second Look Project
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The ACLU and a Tale of Two Deaths
The ACLU claims to be working for the rights of the downtrodden.
They also claim not to receive taxpayer dollars. As Dan Sargis notes:
Imagine any lawmaker asking a constituency to support taxpayer funding for an organization that: (1) advocates killing innocent brain damaged people; (2) advocates killing innocent unborns; and (3) celebrates the lives of rapists and murderers. That is your 21st century ACLU.
But the truth is, they do get taxpayer money, and a good bit of it:
To end the inevitable nitpicking over the status of ACLU taxpayer funding right up front...it is. Despite the ACLU categorically stating that “We do not receive any government funding”, they do. As a myriad of non-profit organizations, the ACLU receives taxpayer support in three ways: (1) the organization is a non-profit and does not pay any taxes; (2) the donations to ACLU “foundations” are tax-deductible and reduce the donor’s tax liability; and (3) under certain circumstances, ACLU lawyers are compensated with tax dollars for their time. What's in a name? That which we call taxpayer funding by any other word would smell as sweet.
So, what are they doing with these funds. Let us look at the tale of two deaths they are trying to be involved in:
There is the case of Connecticut serial killer Michael Ross. From 1981 to 1984, Ross, a Cornell University graduate, murdered eight young women after raping seven of them. He did not rape 14 year old Leslie Shelley who was locked in a car trunk while Ross raped and then murdered her 14 year old best friend April Brunais. In his confession, Ross said that he thought Shelley was brave so he didn’t rape her before murdering her.
As an indication of Ross’s depravity, liberal little Connecticut produced juries that sentenced him to death two times: in 1987 and again in 2000. In a typically convoluted mess, Ross wants to be executed; 80% of Connecticut citizens want Ross executed; the families of the victims want Ross executed; and the liberals with the support of the ACLU want to save Ross from execution.
Despite a scheduled execution and Ross’s own stated desires to die, “Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut argued...that serial killer Michael Ross could suffer ‘excruciating pain’ during his execution by lethal injection Jan. 26, and asked a federal judge to stay the execution....” The federal judge who heard these arguments denied the stay and allowed the planned execution to proceed. BUT...two days before the execution, “Chief U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny's dramatic stay...of the execution” threw the outcome into doubt.
The federal judge who granted the stay of execution, also a graduate of Cornell University, agreed “that conditions on death row have contributed to Ross' desire to die.” One of the attorneys arguing for the stay said that, “"A government can't say, `We're going to give you the death penalty,' and then put you in conditions that are so unbearable that you don't fight.”
They are working to block this death because of the pain it will cause the person. That is perhaps a noble thing, although they don't seem worried about the pain caused to babies dismembered without anesthetic in late term abortions, or other situations.
Let's look particularly at the case of Terri Schaivo:
In the latest round of an ongoing battle, the Supreme Court refused to intercede and keep Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, hooked to a feeding tube. Schiavo can breathe on her own but cannot swallow. Without the aid of a feeding tube, she will slowly starve to death. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, who lives with another women, has been fighting to have the tube removed. Terri Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, and her siblings, Bobby and Suzanne, want to fight for life with Terri. The ACLU is fighting with Terri’s “husband” to end her life.
How much kinder is what they want to do to her than the relatively quick death by lethal injection?
Let us look at her death a moment. This is exempted from the drug protocol they used with the first attempt to kill her:
• Upon discontinuation of enteral feeding the following signs/symptoms may or may not occur. The following is a brief list of symptoms for which to monitor and recommended interventions.
• Monitor symptoms of pain/discomfort. If noted, medicate with Naproxen rectal suppository 375 mg. Q8 prn [“Q8 prn” means eight times a day as needed].
Terri can and will feel pain during this process — and a lot of it.
“Think about what hunger pains are like if you haven’t eaten in a while,” Ford said. “You start to get that gnawing feeling, almost a burning in your stomach. Most people don’t extend themselves into the depths of hunger. They grab a cracker or bread if they’re out shopping for a while just to make themselves feel better.”
Terri would not have this option, however. “Within several hours, she’ll start to feel this kind of hunger pain,” Ford said.
Dehydration would only add to the discomfort: “When she starts going into the dehydration stage, her metabolism will start to change. Her electrolytes will get imbalanced. She’s going to get uncomfortable and will start to writhe.
“Advance a couple days without food or water. Now her mouth is parched, her lips, her gums, her tongue will start to crack and bleed. The nasal cavities will start to dry, crack and bleed. The stomach will get dry and shrink, causing vomiting and heaving,” Ford said.
(a) Inability to clear secretions — reposition and swab mouth, consider scopolamine patch behind ear every 3 days.
“When you first go into dehydration, your body will automatically compensate by making saliva. But when she gets into the stage where the stomach shrinks and nausea begins, they’re going to stick a patch behind her ear for the nausea. What the patch also does is dehydrate you by taking away this fluid.”
(b) Dyspnea — nebulize low dose 2-5 mg. Morphine sulfate Q4 prn [four times a day as needed].
“Dyspnea is when you have difficulty breathing. What they’re going to do is use a nebulizer the way you might use for asthmatics — only instead of giving a histamine to help her breathe, they’re going to give Terri morphine sulfate, which only suppresses respiration more. In the later phases she’ll start gasping for air.”
In seven to nine days, as most of her body fluids are lost, her blood pressure will go down and her heart rate will rise. The blood will be shunted to the central part of the body from the periphery of the body, so that usually two to three days prior to death, the hands and feet become extremely cold. They become mottled and have a bluish appearance. The eyes will become so dry the patient can’t move them anymore because there will be fluid in them.
• Multifocal myoclonus or terminal agitation [sometimes caused by electrolyte imbalance]. Consider diazepam rectal administration 5-10 mg. May repeat in 4 hours if not resolved then daily — twice daily as needed.
Multifocal myoclonus means seizures taking place in various parts of the body. “Because of the electrolyte imbalance, Terri will begin to have seizures,” Ford said. “She’ll start to twitch. You don’t see this in an oncology patient because they’re already dehydrated. Even the elderly, who are going into the natural process of death, their bodies are doing what God created them to do — slow down.
“Our job as health-care professionals at this point is to understand the death process and to oblige the process God has given these people to help them in comfort measures — palliative care — not to enhance death. But Terri’s not terminal,” Ford said. “What they’re doing here is starving a healthy person to death. This is the only reason why she’ll go into multifocal myoclonus.”
• Grand Mal seizure, which is highly unlikely given current conditions and lack of contributing factors (meds) [medication]. Recommend diazepam 15 mg. rectally as indicated in seizure management orders.
“If she happens to make it into a grand mal seizure, they will give her 15 mg. of valium. … The valium won’t make this easier, it will just help to bring her to death faster, because she won’t have the ability to fight her way out of it,” Ford said. “Her body will not be in good shape at this point. You wouldn’t look at her and say she was comfortable. She’s been without food and water for a long time. She’s pretty much withered, her skin is broken down, her metabolism is broken down, her kidneys haven’t received anything. Her body is reacting to the lack of food.”
At this point, death is imminent.
During the Oct. 2003 tube withdrawal, Ford saw Terri before the process began.
“They started off by dressing her in wool sweaters and long pants, then wrapped her in a wool blanket — to ‘sweat her out’ — to make her deyhdrate faster,” Ford said. She was horrified, especially because it was only October and it’s still hot in Florida in October.
Now what is is that the ACLU is really trying to accomplish? It certainly isn't mercy. “This is not a painless or dignified way to die,” Ford said. “It’s against the law to dehydrate and starve to death a prisoner on death row. Why should we allow it to be done to a disabled woman — or anybody?”
Academics, Hysteria, and The Indignation Industry
WASHINGTON -- Forgive Larry Summers. He did not know where he was.
Addressing a conference on the supposedly insufficient numbers of women in tenured positions in university science departments, he suggested that perhaps part of the explanation might be innate -- genetically based -- gender differences in cognition. He thought he was speaking in a place that encourages uncircumscribed intellectual explorations. He was not. He was on a university campus.
He was at Harvard, where he is president. Since then he has become a serial apologizer and accomplished groveler. Soon he may be in a Khmer Rouge-style re-education camp somewhere in New England, relearning this: In today's academy, no social solecism is as unforgivable as the expression of a hypothesis that offends someone's "progressive" sensibilities.
Someone like MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, the hysteric (see above) who, hearing Summers, "felt I was going to be sick. My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow." And, "I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill." She said that if she had not bolted from the room, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up."
Is this the fruit of feminism? A woman at the peak of the academic pyramid becomes theatrically flurried by an unwelcome idea and, like a Victorian maiden exposed to male coarseness, suffers the vapors and collapses on the drawing room carpet in a heap of crinolines until revived by smelling salts and the offending brute's contrition.
Hopkins' sufferings, although severe, were not incapacitating: She somehow found strength quickly to share them with The Boston Globe and the "Today" show, on which she confided that she just did not know whether she could bear to have lunch with Summers. But even while reeling from the onslaught of Summers' thought, she retained a flair for meretriciousness: She charged that Summers had said "that 50 percent" of "the brightest minds in America" do not have "the right aptitude" for science.
Men and women have genetically based physical differences; the brain is a physical thing -- part of the body. Is it unthinkable -- is it even counterintuitive -- that this might help explain, for example, the familiar fact that more men than women achieve the very highest scores in mathematics aptitude tests? There is a vast and growing scientific literature on possible gender differences in cognition. Only hysterics denounce interest in those possible differences -- or, in Hopkins' case, the mere mention of them -- as "bias."
Hopkins' hysteria was a sample of America's campus-based indignation industry, which churns out operatic reactions to imagined slights.
There is truth to this. The reaction becomes, "If I don't agree with you, I am not going to have rational discourse, because that doesn't make me feel good (or whatever the motivation is). I am going to throw a fit, and if I can, I will smash you."
O Academia, how far you have fallen! They have turned the temple of the muses into a cross between indocrination center for the leftist religion, a training camp for left wing brownshirt tactics, and a hairpulling center for the indignation industry.
Fair thee well, ivy covered halls of my youth - thy promise of wisdom and knowledge seem to have been lost by the wayside.
Thinking about Auschwitz
"This article is posted by participants of the January 27, 2005, BlogBurst (see list at end of article), to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.
On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.
Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that '45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz' (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004,
The meeting at Wannsee established the mechanism for "the final solution" -- shipment of Jews to eastern labor and death camps -- as the official policy of the Third Reich. Ever efficient and unashamed, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office.
The conference addressed every aspect of Nazi genocide in chillingly ordinary logic and language, e.g., " Europe will be combed through from West to East," "forcing the Jews out of the various spheres of life of the German people." Ever efficient, the participants foresaw that, "[i]n the course of the final solution and under appropriate direction, the Jews are to be utilized for work in the East in a suitable manner. In large labor columns and separated by sexes, Jews capable of working will be dispatched to these regions to build roads, and in the process a large number of them will undoubtedly drop out by way of natural attrition."
The minutes reflect an intention to dispose of "roughly eleven million Jews." This figure was derived after a horrifyingly detailed discussion of those with only partial Jewish ancestry, sparing some only a quarter Jewish, and magnanimously exempting others from evacuation only if "sterilized in order to prevent any progeny . . . Sterilization will be voluntary, but it is the precondition for remaining in the Reich."
Many conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. The conference, and the bureaucratic sounding murderous minutes, provide a prototypical example of Hannah Arendt's Banality of Evil.
Yet I wonder after seeing all the pictures, hearing the horror stories, how much we have really learned.
PARIS — For the past four years — as friends erased "Dirty Jew" graffiti from their office plaques and her French-born daughter puzzled over "go back where you belong" comments from strangers on the street — Evelyne Chiche has spent a piece of each day wondering if she was living in the wrong country.
This spring, the 62-year-old Jewish radio host plans to move to Miami. "I think it's important for my grandchildren here that I move, to provide them with a safe place should they need to get away," she said, waiting until a nearby businessman left the restaurant before talking about being Jewish. "France has changed."
Today, 27 world leaders — a king and queen, presidents and prime ministers — will gather in Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, where 1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.
But as the world focuses on the past, an increasing number of European Jews are concerned, to quote Sammy Ghozlan, a retired Calais police chief who now investigates anti-Semitic crimes, that "After decades of peace, the old taboos against anti-Semitism are broken. There is no future here for a Jew." Nobody maintains that Europe is again suffering the kind of hatred that gave rise to Auschwitz and other death camps that claimed 6 million Jews in Adolf Hitler's mad rush to his "final solution" to the "Jewish problem."
But the rise in anti-Semitism, chronicled in upward trend lines of European reports on attacks and threats against Jews, has prompted open concern in a continent whose history, from the Spanish Inquisition and medieval ghettos to the Dreyfuss affair and Hitler's rise, is riven with attacks on Jews
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Modern Academia in Action: 9/11 victims - Ward Churchill says:"True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."
A professor who likened victims in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann will headline a discussion at Hamilton College, a campus that has been a lightning rod for controversy in recent months.
Ward Churchill, chairman of the ethnic studies program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will be on the Clinton campus Feb. 3 to discuss his essay "Some people push back," a treatise written the day after the terrorist attacks.
In the piece, the Native American rights activist argues that the 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Center attacks worked for "the mighty engine of profit," calling them "little Eichmanns," a reference to the man who implemented Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate Europe's Jews.
"True enough, they were civilians of a sort," he writes of the victims. "But innocent? Gimme a break."
People who think like that are terrorists of another sort. They create waves of hate wherever they go. The fact that they are allowed to teach others while being paid public money for the privilege of insulting the everyday people of America, confusing our children and indoctrinating the next generation with hate is a crime calling out to heaven.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Several years ago I had an elderly neighbor who would always tout the benefits of legalized abortion. To him, it was simply a matter of cost efficiency. He would quote me the cost to the state and federal governments of raising a child to adulthood and beyond on public assistance and incarceration of a certain percentage of these folks. The figures were truly mind-boggling, for we were talking of tens of millions of aborted unborn babies. My neighbor was correct about the initial costs. It will always be cheaper to kill the unborn than to have a baby.
While it may seem crass to argue the pro-life perspective from the economic impact on our society, it does bear looking at. We have discussed this subject every which way, and at this point, only the very ignorant would contend that the unborn are not people. Those who deny the personhood of the unborn do so out of loyalty to the cause of "reproductive choice" or inability or unwillingness to admit their part in killing innocent lives.
My neighbor's hypothesis assumed all of these children would be born to single women or at least families on public assistance. He assumed they would all grow up to be on welfare for the rest of their lives at best and incarcerated at worst. There are a few things wrong with that assumption.
Statistically, at least some of those aborted and missing from our tax roles today would be on the dole or even possibly locked up. But certainly most of these would be productive members of society. The oldest would be in their early 30s; getting married; having more children; buying houses; some moving up the corporate ladder; some with low-paying, hard-to-fill jobs; some nursing their elderly parents; and paying Social Security. Our colleges, high schools and grade schools would be bulging at the seams. We would need bigger buildings, more teachers and more everything. But that would be OK because we would have more tax dollars to pay for these expenses. We would certainly have more soldiers and more doctors and more nurses and more workers in just about every category. In fact, there might not be a need for illegal immigrants if we had not callously extinguished an entire generation.
But what of the women who would have birthed these babies? Wouldn't the financial impact of choosing life have been negative for them? Choosing life doesn't mean they would be forced to parent the child. The waiting list to adopt American infants is many months and sometimes years long. A tremendous number of couples choose to adopt foreign infants to fill the supply/demand gap. Even for infants with special needs, there's no lack of empty arms waiting eagerly to assume the role that the birth mother may not be able to fulfill. Perhaps if some of the energy and dollars currently being routed to protect "a woman's right to choose" were instead funneled into programs to support and encourage her right to be a mother, many of those women would choose to parent their children.
Post-abortion women have an elevated risk of substance abuse and a higher incidence of smoking than women with other reproductive outcomes. Women are six times more likely to commit suicide following an abortion than following childbirth. There is substantial evidence that induced abortion is an independent risk factor for breast cancer in women. Tens of millions of healthier, happier women surely would be good for our economy.
Just imagine the effect of 50 million more babies using disposable diapers, consuming formula and baby food, getting medical care, clothing and other assorted "baby" things.
Now, imagine 50 million more wage earners paying Social Security and fueling our economy. There, now doesn't that make you feel bullish on America?
Debbie Joslin is president of Eagle Forum Alaska and is a former national committeewoman for Alaska to the Republican National Committee. She lives in Delta Junction.
It's sad to think of the what ifs. So much potential lost for good. Last week I read something that said that until quite recently, abortions in San Francisco outnumbered life births. These were not all the children of teenage girls caught in a crisis. These were the children of professional people as well, the children of the educated and the children of the middle. Children who could have made a difference. Children who will never know the joy of what if.
Take a moment, if you will, and say a silent prayer for those people stripped of all the potential in front of them, born to an agony of death and destruction, and sigh for all the beauty and hope and courage and joy that will never be.
Stem Cells Trigger Immune Attack
Most human embryonic stem-cell lines, including those available to federally funded researchers in the United States, may be useless for therapeutic applications. The body's immune defences would probably attack the cells, say US researchers.
When embryonic stem cells are added to serum from human blood, antibodies stick to the cells. This suggests the cells are seen as foreign, and that transplanting them into the body would trigger the immune system to reject them.
"We've found a serious problem," says Ajit Varki, a cell biologist at the University of California, San Diego.
The difficulty arises from the way human embryonic stem cells are grown and maintained in the lab. Scientists grow stem cells in petri dishes containing nutrient broth and other cells. These feed the stem cells, and give them a place to attach themselves.
Feeder cells are typically embryonic cells from mice and nutrient broth usually contains animal serum. These mouse cells have a molecule on their surface called N-glycolylneuraminic acid or Neu5Gc.
Varki's team had already found that human embryonic stem cells take up Neu5Gc; they now show that humans react against it. Eating red meat and dairy products has sensitized people to the molecule, Varki says. The team reports its latest finding in the February issue of Nature Medicine
Culture War, Civil War - Metro vs. Retro?
What we witnessed in this election is a continuing deepening of hostilities between "red" and "blue" states—Retros and Metros. Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb described this phenomenon as two cultures existing within one nation. She believes these two can coexist peacefully; I wonder. Americans are engaged in a civil war carried on by other means; as with the first Civil War, fundamental issues divide us.
How did we get into this mess? Some suggest it started when secular forces pressed their views on abortion and gay rights in court. In part, that's so. But I think we must look deeper. We dug the hole that became a cultural Grand Canyon when we abandoned belief in a moral truth that is knowable.
People who reject transcendent authority can no longer persuade one another through rational arguments; everything is reduced to personal opinion. Debates about ideas thus degenerate into power struggles; we're left with no moral standard by which to measure the common good. For that matter, how can there be a "common good" without an objective standard of truth?
The death of moral truth has fractured America into two warring camps, with each side's preferences hardening into an ideology. And ideology is the enemy of revealed truth. It's also the enemy of classical conservatism, which depends, as Russell Kirk wrote, upon tradition and the accumulated wisdom of the past; ideology, on the other hand, is a human scheme for how the world ought to be formed. Whether on the Left or the Right, ideologies are utopian—the dangerous idea that we can construct the perfect society.
A lot of it really does come down to those who believe in "natural law", that there are absolutes of Good that should not be crossed vs. another world view that lends itself to the vision of man as a tool of the state instead of the state as a tool of man, and that the truth of cultural values is truly judged by a majority vote. These two views are bound to clash. The one that most embraces survival value will be the one that wins.
We are definitely living in what the old Chinese curse calls interesting times.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Let Us Remember
how outraged we were
when we heard how the Nazis
their mentally different.
And then let us remember
when she saw her mother,
a smile they said
had nothing to do
with what she was seeing,
what the difference really is.
Let us remember
the outcry some have
about the death by lethal injection,
of the quick and painless way
we treat those we choose to execute.
Then let us consider
the death that Terri will suffer,
buried in woolen blankets
with nothing to drink
with the thirst burning her body,
with the drugs to control
the pain reactions
all the other suffering
that comes from death by starvation
and ask God to forgive us
when we call this a mercy killing.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Bigotry can sometimes wear a politically correct face...
Need some proof? Look at the following list of feminist quotes I found at the A Face Made 4 Radio blog:
"I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He's just incapable of it." -- Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
"I feel that 'man-hating' is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them." -- Robin Morgan, MS. Magazine Editor
"Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies." -- Andrea Dworkin
"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometime gain from the experience," said Catherine Comins, Vassar College Assistant Dean of Student Life in Time.
"We are, as a sex, infinitely superior to men." Elizabeth Cady Stanton, quoted in " One Woman, One Voice ", Wheeler, page 58.
The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist." (National NOW Times, Jan.1988).
"In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them." (Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist and assistant professor of education at Wellesley College and associate director of the school's Center for Research on Woman).
The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands..." -Declaration of Feminism
Hatefilled. Against men, against the family. If you said these things about any "in" group, you would be charged with a hate crime in some places, and could very well lose your job at many others.
There is a certain view in political correct circles that say, If you don't walk with me in my cause, then you don't deserve to live or have an opinion. This is not the American way. The American way allows for debate, differing opinions, dissent. People who share these views say, my way or else.
Not all feminists are like this. Not all people who believe in various other causes are filled with hate. But don't let yourself be fooled by a mask of toleration that hides a totalitarian agenda. Totalitarian - they want it all. Total. No other views accepted. And that is something that needs to, must, be stood up against whereever it rears its ugly head.
Hate speech is hate speech. Bigotry is bigotry. Let us call it for what it is when we see it.
Insider's Comment on US Media's News Coverage of Iraq
Editors' Note: LTC Tim Ryan is Commander, Task Force 2-12 Cavalry, First Cavalry Division in Iraq. He led troops into battle in Fallujah late last year and is now involved in security operations for the upcoming elections. He wrote the following during "down time" after the Fallujah operation. His views are his own.
The inaccurate picture they paint has distorted the world view of the daily realities in Iraq. The result is a further erosion of international support for the United States' efforts there, and a strengthening of the insurgents' resolve and recruiting efforts while weakening our own. Through their incomplete, uninformed and unbalanced reporting, many members of the media covering the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy.
The fact is the Coalition is making steady progress in Iraq, but not without ups and downs. So why is it that no matter what events unfold, good or bad, the media highlights mostly the negative aspects of the event? The journalistic adage, "If it bleeds, it leads," still applies in Iraq, but why only when it's American blood?
As a recent example, the operation in Fallujah delivered an absolutely devastating blow to the insurgency. Though much smaller in scope, clearing Fallujah of insurgents arguably could equate to the Allies' breakout from the hedgerows in France during World War II. In both cases, our troops overcame a well-prepared and solidly entrenched enemy and began what could be the latter's last stand. In Fallujah, the enemy death toll has exceeded 1,500 and still is climbing. Put one in the win column for the good guys, right? Wrong. As soon as there was nothing negative to report about Fallujah, the media shifted its focus to other parts of the country.
Jack Kelly has an excellent discussion of media spinning :
There's more. But the ultimate question has to be - why is the mainstream media at war with the US? Could this be a case of Vietnam Syndrome - that is the desire to cover all military actions like it was 1968?
The Washington Post's Dana Priest has demonstrated yet again why so many Americans don't trust the "mainstream" media to tell the truth about what is going on in the war on terror.
Her story Jan. 14 on a study by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA's think tank, ran under a scare headline: "Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground: War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report."
One wouldn't gather from the headline or Priest's lead that the study, "Mapping the Global Future," has next to nothing to do with Iraq. Based on interviews with 1,000 non-government experts around the world, it paints four scenarios for what the world might look like in 2020.
The most important developments in the next 15 years, these experts said, will be the rise of China and India as economic powers that could rival the United States, and the decline of Europe, due to its shrinking and aging population and sclerotic welfare states.
Priest hangs her scary lead on a single sentence in the 119-page report: "The al-Qaida membership that was distinguished by having trained in Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq."
This is the rather commonplace observation that over time, veterans of the current war will replace veterans of the war against the Russians in Afghanistan 20 years ago as the leaders of al-Qaida. The calendar alone guarantees that. But Priest describes this single sentence as: "an evaluation of Iraq's new role as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists."
Except, of course, there is nothing "new" about Iraq being a breeding ground for terrorists. Saddam Hussein had a special camp at Salman Pak to train terrorists from other lands, and had given sanctuary to terrorist leaders, including one of the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing, and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian who is the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The biggest thing that's changed since the American invasion is that now there is a high likelihood that jihadists who come to Iraq will be killed there.