Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on ‘Children’ and Guns

The Washington Post has surpassed the Brady Campaign and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to take a place alongside the New York Times as the premier anti-gun propagandists in the country. While those gun control groups have been known to pervert the facts to fit their agenda, a recent Post article and accompanying editorial go where even the most hardline gun control groups no longer tread.

On September 15, the Washington Post published an article with the sensationalist headline “Children under fire,” which carried the subtitle, “Almost two dozen kids are shot every day in the U.S. This 4-year-old was one of them.” In it, the author used the tragic shooting of a 4-year-old Cleveland boy as a jumping-off point to discuss the number “children” shot in the U.S. each day. Throughout the article, the author referred to his subjects as “children,” contending, “On average, 23 children were shot each day in the United States in 2015.” Accompanied by extensive artwork of the boy and his injuries, the author’s obvious intent was to give the impression that such incidents involving young children are common.

Using a well-worn anti-gun tactic, the author came to the deceptive 23 “children” a day figures by combining the annual number of firearms-related injuries among those properly identified as children (0-14) with firearms-related injuries among juveniles (15-17) and labeling the entire group “children.” As one might expect, juveniles, rather than children, account for the vast majority of firearms-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2015 there were 8,369 firearms injuries among those ages 0-17. Juveniles ages 15-17 accounted for 6,476, or 77 percent, of those injuries. Excluding these individuals from the measurement, the average number of children who sustained a firearm injury each day drops from 23 to 5.

Not content to let the article alone mislead the public, on September 18 the Post’s editorial board weighed in. The online version of the Post editorial carried the headline “Twenty-three children are shot every day in America,” just above a picture of the 4-year-old featured in the article. Once again, the Post’s intent was obvious; to portray young children as suffering gunshot wounds 23 times each day.

Such deceptive tactics place the Post at odds with even the institutional gun control lobby. After using this approach throughout the 1990s (sometimes using ages 0-19), the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) now refers to this age group as “children and teens” in their materials. Everytown also uses the term “children and teens” to refer to those ages 0-19. Unlike the Post, Everytown grants some additional context to the statistic, admitting on its website, “Rates of firearm injury death increase rapidly after age 12.”

If this NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert article seems familiar, that is because there has been a recent resurgence in the use of the misleading method employed by the Post. While Americans’ trust in the media is already near a historic low, the Post’s use of a deceptive tactic that even the gun control lobby has abandoned should further inform readers as to the “quality” of journalism to expect from the publication.

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Lib Teacher Tries to Mx up Kids on Gender

It’s hard enough to raise kids these days without worrying if their teachers are working against you! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what seems to be happening in public schools these days, as elementary schools become even more brazen in their liberal indoctrination. We talked about what’s happening in Rocklin, California yesterday. Today’s threat is in Tallahassee, Florida, where a teacher was quite up front about her real agenda for the year.

In a letter to parents, Canopy Oaks Fifth Grade teacher Chloe Bressack warned homes that only politically-correct pronouns would be tolerated.

“One thing you that you should know about me is that I use gender neutral terms. My prefix is Mx. (pronounced Mix). Additionally, my pronouns are ‘they, them, their,’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.’ I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but in my experience, students catch on pretty quickly. We’re not going for perfection, just making an effort! …My priority is for all of my students to be comfortable in my classroom and have a space where they can be themselves while learning.”

What if a student is most comfortable being their actual gender (which, I assume in the Fifth Grade, would be the majority)? What if embracing this radical ideology (one the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse”) is uncomfortable and scary — as the kids in Rocklin expressed? Don’t their feelings matter? Local parents certainly think it should. Moms and dads are fuming about the policy, which they made quite clear on a Facebook group.

Unfortunately, Canopy Oaks Principal Paul Lambert has no intention of heeding families’ concerns — or common sense. “We support her preference in how she’s addressed, we certainly do. I think a lot of times, it might be decided that there’s an agenda there, because of her preference — I can tell you her only agenda is teaching math and science at the greatest level she can.”

How can a person teach science at the “greatest level” if she doesn’t understand basic biology? Or the English language? Apart from being outrageous, the plural pronouns “they, them, and theirs” are incorrect for addressing a single child. When pressed, Lambert did admit to reporters that the school had fielded a lot of calls from concerned parents who object to the reeducation of their kids. But even Superintendent Rocky Hanna refuses to intervene. In a tone-deaf statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, he insisted that “teachers in our district will not be allowed to use their influence in the classroom to advance any personal belief or political agenda. At this time, I do not believe that is the case in this instance.” Then what, exactly, is this — apart from a gross misunderstanding of a teachers’ role, scientific law, and the rules of grammar? How would they respond if a teacher in Mr. Hanna’s district sent a letter home saying they would only use the proper biologically correct pronouns in a classroom? Would they support that teacher as not promoting an agenda?

Stories like this one are cropping up in every corner of the country — and the only way to stop them is for parents to get involved before bad decisions are made! It’s time for more moms and dads to run for seats on the school board, where they can take back control of our classrooms. As my good friend, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) says, “We need to push back our vision as Christians to not just vote — but run for office or recruit other Christians to run. We should be just as focused on Filing Day as we are Election Day! Rather than being reactionary (as is often portrayed in article after article of Christians flooding school board meetings AFTER a bad policy decision and trying to convince school board members to change their minds), we should be proactive and purposeful in recruiting Christians to run for school boards in the first place and avoid the problem to begin with.”

She has a book that will help you do exactly that called, Running God’s Way. Pick up a copy and learn how you can start taking back your community!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 21 Washington Update:

For Senate: Life Begins at 50… Votes

On Adoption, Left Attacks Mich. Again


Previous Washington Update Articles »

For Senate: Life Begins at 50… Votes

Republicans certainly have a flair for the dramatic. With less than four working days to kill Obamacare, Senate hallways are already empty. With their repeal bill still hanging in the balance, members left town late Tuesday to mark the Jewish holidays — adding even more suspense to next week’s September 30th deadline. Even now, Republican leaders aren’t sure where their party will land on the plan from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Although the push seems to be gaining steam, the results are anything but certain — as Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) reminded everyone the last time around.

One thing’s for sure: it will be an anxious few days for Planned Parenthood. Apart from Barack Obama, Cecile Richards’s group has the most to lose — almost $400 million a year, to be exact. Like the string of reconciliation bills before it, the Graham-Cassidy measure guts 86 percent of the organization’s Medicaid funding, putting a huge dent in the forced partnership between taxpayers and America’s biggest abortion business. That should be a major motivating factor for dozens of pro-life senators, who understand that this is conservatives’ best shot at ending the government’s direct deposit to a scandal-ridden organization.

Even Planned Parenthood admits it performs more abortions (328,348 in 2015 alone) than basic breast exams. That’s not difficult to believe since overall health screenings have dropped by half since 2011. Even contraception counseling, the group’s bread-and-butter, fell by 136,244. So what, exactly, are taxpayers funding? Certainly not the “comprehensive care” Richards advertises. Or even the volume of care, since Planned Parenthood saw 100,000 fewer patients in 2015 than the year before.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to change Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) mind. The Kentucky pro-lifer insists he won’t vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill, despite the thousands of unborn lives it could save. That’s frustrating position for plenty of conservatives to accept. Like a lot of pro-lifers, they think the GOP’s concern for these children should outweigh the repeal’s imperfections. Susan B. Anthony List blasted Paul for his “outright opposition to the bill, and his dismissiveness of the pro-life priorities within it is alarming and damaging.” It is, they argue, an “unacceptable position for a pro-life senator to have.”

On Twitter, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the case for us, snapping a photo of all of the pro-life language in the bill. “These flags mark all the abortion restrictions in the Republican repeal of Obamacare,” he tweeted. That can only help the GOP’s cause, based on the support from both sides for more limits on Planned Parenthood’s biggest moneymaker.

In a New York Magazine piece this week, liberals try to set the record straight on the real driving force behind the Graham-Cassidy bill. The motivation, Ed Kilgore points out, is:

“…generally assumed to be the potential fury of the GOP’s conservative base if Republicans break their promise to repeal Obamacare. But there’s another thing pushing them toward the abyss: One of the most powerful factions in the GOP and the conservative movement, the anti-abortion lobby, is backing Graham-Cassidy to the hilt. That’s because, like every other GOP repeal-and-replace bill, it temporarily defunds Planned Parenthood” and aims to prevent use of federal insurance-purchasing tax subsidies for polices that include abortion coverage.”

It’s funny. One minute the media says the social conservative movement is dead — the next, it’s complaining we’re too powerful. According to Democrats, it’s the latter. Republicans are “scared to death of a promise they may not keep to the Republican primary base,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said.

Let’s hope so. This is a make or break moment for the GOP, as pollster John McLaughlin’s report makes quite clear. Voters elected Republicans to keep their word on Obamacare — seven years’ worth of words, actually. This week, I am in Arizona speaking to supporters in Tucson and Phoenix, encouraging them to get their senators in line on the partial repeal of Obamacare.

Join them by reaching out to yours — before it’s too late!

For more on the debate, check out Ken Blackwell’s interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Wednesday.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 21 Washington Update:
Lib Teacher Tries to Mx up Kids on Gender

On Adoption, Left Attacks Mich. Again


Previous Washington Update Articles »

The Trans Agenda in Schools: It’s Elementary

Do parents even have a role in their children’s education these days? That was the question posed to one school board in Rocklin, California, where administrators have intentionally kept moms and dads in the dark while they push transgenderism on kids as young as five. Angry parents lined up to complain about the indoctrination, which started when the school demanded that students call a young boy a girl — and continued when another teacher read a book about gender-confusion to her kindergarten class. Hundreds of families, community leaders, and pastors turned out to protest Rocklin’s handling of the situation, which left dozens of young children confused and scared. And why shouldn’t it?

The American College of Pediatricians calls this kind of transgender propaganda “child abuse.”

But despite the outcry, Rocklin’s board went ahead with a ridiculous policy that gives teachers more authority than the students’ own parents. With unanimous approval, the board will now let “teachers decide if an issue is controversial.” Teachers will also decide — not when, but if — parents are notified about controversial lessons on gender. And, in the most outrageous development of all, the district has decided that it will not allow families to opt their kids out.

Forty families have pulled their children from the district — and I don’t blame them!

It shows a stunning amount of arrogance on the part of the academic elite to suggest that teachers know better than parents. That’s in direct contradiction to the biblical instruction to mothers and fathers to train up their children in the way they should go. Parents are the first line of defense for their kids, especially as education becomes an even deeper liberal abyss. Now, districts like Rocklin are robbing moms and dads of their authority on an issue that shouldn’t be a classroom discussion in the first place — let alone an elementary school one.

San Antonio families can sympathize. Monday night, local families streamed into the city’s school board meeting to object to a gender-free policy that would let boys into girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. As usual, members approved the rules without ever consulting parents! And the backlash has been severe. More than 1,300 San Antonio residents have signed their names to a petition in opposition to the guidance, our friends at Texas Values explain.

“The community here in San Antonio needs to understand that we’re here tonight for every student –not just one particular kind of student,” said Elizabeth Gonzales. “If we’re truly wanting to be united, we must be fair and just to every student. And to be fair, we must make sure parents and students are being given ample opportunity to come to the table and be heard. I believe in doing that, there will be change.” Until then, she (and countless other parents around the country) aren’t so optimistic.

In schools, discussions aren’t allowed. And in an environment that already stigmatizes any form of religious expression, it’s not difficult to see where this kind of ideological oppression leads. What’s more, teachers are increasingly sending students the subtle message that parents don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s a dangerous seed to plant — and one that only grows as teenagers transition from public schools to public universities.

Too many parents have abdicated their leadership role in their kids’ education. And if moms and dads don’t take it back now, there won’t be much hope left.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 20 Washington Update:

U.N. Bears the Blunt of Trump

FRC in the Spotlight

Scientists concede climate models wrong

The scientific evidence is mounting against the global warming narrative and climate campaigners don’t like it.

In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a group of scientists concede that climate computer models have been projecting warmer temperatures than observations show for decades.

This is a crucial issue.  If the climate is not as sensitive to atmospheric CO2 as campaigners have claimed, their predictions of doom collapse.

We shared an article by James Delinpole on CFACT’s Facebook page.

“One researcher,” Delingpole writes, “from the alarmist side of the argument, not the skeptical one – has described the paper’s conclusion as ‘breathtaking’ in its implications. He’s right. The scientists who’ve written this paper aren’t climate skeptics. They’re longstanding warmists, implacable foes of climate skeptics, and they’re also actually the people responsible for producing the IPCC’s carbon budget.

In other words, this represents the most massive climbdown from the alarmist camp.”

At the same time this meltdown is taking place, the scientific and historical data shows that recent hurricane activity, while heart-wrenching to watch on our news, is operating well within historic norms.

CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen published a piece at Fox News in which he explains:

“The Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions that have unknown origins and mechanisms: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, and sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few. The combination of all these factors – plus weather fronts and land masses along the way – determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts and what track it follows.”

Facts are powerful things.

On global warming they are finally being heard.

RELATED ARTICLE: Poll: Over 40 percent of Canadians think science is “a matter of opinion”

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong Trump still out of Paris Climate Agreement

The Wall Street Journal caused quite a kerfuffle over the weekend when it reported that “the Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement.”

They got it wrong.

The WSJ based its reporting on statements by attendees at a climate conference in Montreal and by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said the President is “open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.”

However, nothing had changed in the President’s position.

President Trump spotted the inherent flaws in the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement for himself and vowed to pull the U.S. out while he was still a candidate.

White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn corrected the record saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”  We posted details at CFACT.org.

While the UN and American climate establishment would like nothing better than for Trump to reverse course on Paris, this appears to have been wishful thinking on their part.  The conditions under which President Trump might reconsider his approach to international climate politics that Secretary Tillerson reiterated presents no small hurdle.

The President is absolutely correct that Paris is a bad deal for America.  It would limit U.S. emissions now, while allowing countries such as China and India to dramatically increase theirs.  At the same time the U.S. would be expected to pay out huge sums of money to UN programs while again China, India and the rest get a pass.  President Obama sent the UN $1 billion for its Green Climate Fund on his way out the door.

The Paris Agreement is and always was a bad deal for America.  If the President sticks to his guns there’s no way back in.

Trump Should End All Speculation on Paris Agreement by Withdrawing From UN Framework Convention

Over the weekend, to the shock of many observers and loyal members of President Donald Trump’s base, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration was seeking to avoid withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn quickly sought to squelch these rumors, saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”

Cohn’s assertion of U.S. withdrawal is encouraging, but if the Trump administration wants to end all internal and external speculation over Paris, it should withdraw from the entire United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Moreover, if the administration wants to achieve its goal of 3 percent economic growth and give the coal industry an opportunity to compete, withdrawal from Paris and the Framework Convention is critical.

When President Barack Obama joined the Paris accord in 2016, he avoided sending the agreement to the Senate for advice and consent as the Constitution requires for treaties. The agreement committed the U.S. to reducing greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025, all without legislative consent.

Following through to meet these targets would require the Trump administration to enforce a number of costly Obama-era energy regulations. Trump has promised to end such regulations—indeed, they would make no noticeable impact on global temperatures.

While the Paris Agreement is nonbinding, remaining in the agreement would provide justification for a future administration to pile additional climate regulations on the energy industry—on top of those that the Obama administration promulgated. Thus, it is essential to withdraw.

Trump campaigned on “canceling” the global warming agreement and then followed through by announcing his intensions to withdraw from the Rose Garden in June. Foreign leaders immediately slammed the decision, calling the move “a major fault against humanity and against our planet.”

Yet these criticisms proved to be an act of hypocrisy. According to a recent article in Nature“All major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.”

And that’s just the industrialized world. To achieve any meaningful reduction in warming by reducing greenhouse gases, developing countries would have to remain de-developed or meet their growing energy needs without coal, oil, or natural gas.

Conventional fuels will be essential to meeting future energy needs in the developing world, where more than 1.2 billion people (17 percent of the global population) do not have access to reliable electricity. Pretending otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The German environmental and human rights group Urgewald projects that 1,600 new coal-fired generation plants are either under construction or planned, resulting in 840,000 megawatts of new capacity.

It estimates that these new plants represent a 43 percent global expansion of coal spread across 62 different countries, 14 of which previously have not had any coal power at all.

For countries that do not have access to reliable power, the imminent threat of energy poverty is much more pressing than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Paris Agreement is not just poor economic and climate policy for the United States—it’s poor policy for the rest of the world, too.

To formally leave Paris, the U.S. must wait until November 2019 to submit a notice of withdrawal. The U.S. would then officially exit the agreement one year later.

Having such a large window of time leaves more opportunities for discussions of avoiding withdrawal, or potentially seeking a renegotiation of the accord. But renegotiating the agreement is a nonstarter, as there are no terms that could possibly assuage the economic concerns posed by the deal or achieve any meaningful climate benefit.

Rather than wait, there is a shorter, more effective solution than just withdrawing from Paris. Trump could end all speculation by officially withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes the Paris Agreement.

Withdrawal from the Framework Convention would enter into force one year after the secretary-general of the United Nations receives notification.

Such a withdrawal would send a clear signal throughout the U.S. government, to the business community, and to every foreign leader that the current international approach to climate change is costly, ineffective, and unworkable.

COMMENTARY BYPortrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

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EDITORS NOTE: Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin — TAKE ACTION TODAY ON H.R. 3668, SHARE Act

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which had been introduced on Sept. 1 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Following the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee on Natural Resources marked up and passed the SHARE Act by a vote of 22-13.  All amendments offered in an attempt to weaken the bill were soundly defeated.  The bill now awaits floor action in the U.S. House. 

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands for these purposes, this year’s SHARE Act contains reforms that would widely benefit sportsmen and the gun-owning public at large. 

These reforms would protect Americans traveling interstate with lawfully-owned firearms, amend provisions of federal law that have been abused by antigun administrations to impose gun control by executive fiat, and make the health-promoting benefits of firearm sound suppressors more accessible. 

Attorney and constitutional scholar Steven Halbrook, who has litigated firearms issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the Act would “enhance protection of Second Amendment guarantees” without “adversely affect[ing] law enforcement interests.” 

Halbrook provided background on several key provisions of the act. He noted that under current law, for example, certain federal courts have denied plaintiffs remedies for violation of their federally-protected right to transport unloaded firearms interstate between jurisdictions where they may be lawfully carried. This has emboldened certain states, like New York and New Jersey, to ignore these protections and arrest law-abiding Americans for exercising their rights under federal law.  “Title XI of the bill will rectify this affront to the right to travel and the Second Amendment by explicitly immunizing law-abiding travelers from arrest and recognizing a civil action for violation,” he stated.

Halbrook also testified about the benefits of suppressors and how they were rarely implicated in violent crime. “That is why suppressors are freely available,” he noted, “even over the counter or by mail order, in many European countries.” In this regard, the bill would eliminate the current $200 transfer tax and a federal approval process that can take as long as a year to complete. 

Others testifying focused on Title IV of the bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which will reduce the regulatory burdens for federal agencies to promote hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal public lands across the nation.

Testifying against the bill was David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gabby Giffords/Mark Kelly gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Chipman claimed to draw on his experience as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in arguing that the Act “assaults the interests of our nation’s law enforcement officials and threatens our public safety and security.” In particular, his comments focused on the Act’s removal of impediments to the lawful purchase of suppressors. He also criticized the Act’s reforms to the “sporting purposes” standard for firearm importation.

Ironically, Ronald Turk, ATF’s current second-highest ranking official – who has spent over two decades working up the ranks of the agency from his initial assignments as a street agent – offered far different takes on these same issues in an interagency white paper that became public in February.  Turk cited both of these issues as ripe for “regulatory changes or modifications … that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATFs mission or adversely affecting public safety.” 

Turk characterized the import restrictions cited by Chipman as serving “questionable public safety interests,” because they often affect firearms “already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.” He also suggested a broader understanding of firearm “sports” was appropriate, to include activities and competitions that use “AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles.” Regarding suppressors, the white paper opined, “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

The SHARE Act now heads to the House Floor, where it could receive consideration as early as Sept. 25. 

Ask Your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act.

Please contact your U.S. Representative NOW and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

TAKE ACTION TODAY

There’s a Reason Americans are Amazing in Disasters

The United States continues to prove why it is simply the best nation in the world by virtually every measurement.

The latest example is the extraordinary resilience of Americans in Texas and Florida after devastating hurricanes within weeks of each other. After the Houston region’s long deluge and record flooding from Hurricane Harvey, that area’s rebound is underway and history suggests it will be stronger than ever.

We are long-term Floridians, but have never seen a hurricane that caused damage essentially through the entire state. From Miami up the Atlantic Ocean to Jacksonville and Tallahassee down the Gulf of Mexico to Naples and the Keys and all points in between, the state was crushed by Hurricane Irma’s direct hit and long path up the peninsula.

Hurricane Irma hits Naples, Florida on September 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A few jaw-dropping numbers:

  • Peak wind gusts: 142 mph in Naples, 120 mph on Marco Island, 111 mph on Big Pine Key, 99 mph at Miami International Airport, 94 mph at Key West and 92 mph up at Cape Canaveral. That shows the breadth of the wind damage. But storm surge from Miami to Jacksonville turned downtown Jax eerily similar to Houston.
  • The 15 million Floridians who lost power from the hurricane is three out of every four residents of the nation’s third largest state, plus another million in Georgia and South Carolina. That is more than twice the previous record. The Irma number is the equivalent of the fifth largest state in the Union losing 100 percent of power. Yet by the third day after the storm, the number was under 3 million.
  • Initial damage estimates are more than $100 billion, but that will undoubtedly rise.
  • With all this destruction, there are 19 dead so far in Florida. (Five more in Georgia and South Carolina.) That total may yet rise as Florida’s heat and humidity remain in summer mode and can be lethal, particularly for elderly people.

When we consider the size and scope of this monstrous hurricane — 16 million without power in three states, and wind speeds more than 100 mph over vast swaths, the broad range of surge inundation and the amount of destruction and damage — there are 19 dead. Every death is a tragic loss, but that is an almost miraculously low number.

Granted, Florida has had more experience than any state with deadly hurricanes. But the planning and preparation by state and local governments — one of the few times you will hear us giving props to government, but it is due in this case — really has minimized the loss of life. But so has American helping American — before, during and after.

Virtually all power is expected to be restored within 10 days of most of the state losing it. That also is astonishing. That goes to preparation, but also the support of surrounding states’ power companies. Florida sent large crews to Houston as did other states and now states are sending large numbers to Florida. More than 20,000 Florida Power & Light trucks alone are working to restore power, not including the other utilities in the state.

So…why is America so good at dealing with disasters?

Is there another nation in the world that could be hit with back-to-back record natural catastrophes and sustain such minimal loss of life and have the two separate regions back on their feet so rapidly?

I doubt it.

In fact, when other nations endure natural disasters, the United States is often one of the first on the scene and frequently offers the most help — more often than not through private charities, which are already handling the lion’s share of the need in Texas and Florida.

It’s important to understand why this is the case. It’s not a result of geography or stealing from others or dumb luck.

There’s a foundation in place undergirding this ability that exists at the base of no other country in the history of the world: The United States is a country built on an idea — not geography, not ethnicity, not through conquering other nations — but an idea.

And the idea is this: There is a supreme God and all people are created equal in His eyes and all are meant to be free. The rights of each man and woman are from God and are protected through the longest-standing Constitution in the world by limiting the scope of distant rulers in government. This is fundamental.

So religion, specifically Christianity and the rightly called Judeo-Christian ethic, are at the core and upon which is built the foundational rights of every citizen and a hardened vault of protection of those rights. Government’s existence is to protect those individual rights, including property and the exercise of capitalism in free markets. The wealth created by this system of individual liberty and reasonably unfettered capitalism is the primary reason we can afford the preparations and responses to such natural disasters.

From that foundational idea is the amazingly successful Republic that is still plowing forward. Let’s not forget our origins and foundations, or one day we will be unable to secure such safety in natural disasters — let alone man-made ones.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act. For those interested, we rejoice that the Florida writers for The Revolutionary Act all survived Hurricane Irma with minimal damage.

Failure of the ‘Biofuels’ mandate

Can government ever admit a mistake and reform?

Government “biofuel” mandates are a mistake we should eliminate.

CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen reminds us at CFACT.org of Ronald Reagan’s quip that, “the closest thing to earthly eternal life is a government program.”

“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” Driessen writes, “created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, is a perfect example. It has more lives than Freddy Krueger.”

“The laws require that refiners blend steadily increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline, and expect the private sector to produce growing amounts of ‘cellulosic’ biofuel, ‘biomass-based diesel,’ and ‘advanced’ biofuels. Except for corn ethanol, the production expectations have mostly turned out to be fantasies. The justifications for renewable fuels were scary exaggerations then, and are now illusions.”

“Bio-fuel” mandates reduce mileage, distort markets, raise prices, clog engines, reduce natural habitats and increase CO2 emissions (if that’s your thing).

They have no energy or environmental benefits and certainly are of no help to the climate.  They are an agricultural welfare program.

We love our farmers.  While some may defend these mandates to keep the cash flowing, virtually all admit that they are a big government mistake.

“Biofuel” mandates are ripe for cutting.

Congress should dust off and sharpen its ax and cut these foolish mandates off.

Some Recent Energy & Environmental News

The newest edition of the Energy and Environmental Newsletter is now online.

Once again, there were so many worthwhile articles that it was quite challenging to pick out a few to be highlighted.

Some of the more interesting energy articles in this issue are:

Property and Wind Turbines: a Missing Point in the Discussion

Military Officials Explain Concerns with Wind Turbines (with good pictures)

NC & NYS Dealing with Military-Wind Energy conflicts

The Failure of RGGI

Scientific Critique of Wind Project Bird & Bat Study

Scientists who publicly question solar are silenced

Green Delusions and the Wind Bully

The Climate Alarmists’ Gross Perversion of the Word “Clean”

Peer Reviewed Study: Altered brain connectivity due to wind turbines

Some of the more informative Global Warming articles in this issue are:

Climate Models Over-Estimated Warming

Moving the Goalposts in the Climate Change Debate

Climate Science Comes Up Short

The totalitarianism of the environmentalists

“Science” journals stung again

Al Gore’s Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts

Simplified Explanations of the Falsified Claims of Human Caused Global Warming

NYT guilty of large screw-up on climate-change story

Expose on Bill McKibben (a key energy and environmental player)

Lindzen: On the ‘Death of Skepticism’ Concerning Climate Hysteria

Not Sea Levels, Again!

PS: Our intention is to put some balance into what most people see from the mainstream media about energy and environmental issues… As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens, and on your social media sites.

PPS: I am not an attorney, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters (or our WiseEnergy.org website) should be construed as giving legal advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent attorney when you are involved with legal issues.

Gore’s new health warning: ‘Every organ system can be affected by climate change’

In Al Gore’s new book, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, the former Vice President features a professor of pediatrics warning that global warming is impacting our health.

“Every organ system can be affected by climate change. When I say that, I get goosebumps,” says Pediatrician Susan Pacheco, a professor of pediatrics at University of Texas McGovern Medical School, in Gore’s new book. Gore’s book features Pacheco and her climate change health warnings and touts the fact that the professor was inspired to get involved in climate activist after seeing his original film. The book is a companion to Gore’s new film being released this month, a sequel to his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.”  The book is being billed as “Your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis.” Gore’s new book excerpts available here. Excerpts of Gore reading the book available here.

Image result for inconvenient sequel book

Gore wrote, “The obvious and overwhelming evidence of the damage we are causing is now increasingly impossible for reasonable people to ignore. It is widely know by now that there is a nearly unanimous view among all scientists authoring peer-reviewed articles related to the climate crisis that it threatens our future, that human activists are largely if not entirely responsible, and that action is needed to urgently prevent catastrophic harm it is already starting to bring.” (Climate Depot Note: Blaming extreme weather on “climate change” is not supported by evidence. & Climate Depot has repeatedly debunked Gore’s climate claimsGore admits Paris pact symbolic – Makes incorrect claims about Greenland, sea levels & extreme weather And here: Climate Depot’s New ‘Talking Points’ Report – A-Z Debunking of Climate Claims And Here  Skeptics Deliver Consensus Busting ‘State of the Climate Report’ to UN Summit)

Pacheco warns in Gore’s new book that climate change is already making us sick. “There’s heart disease, there’s lung disease, there’s kidney disease,” she says in Gore’s book. Gore writes that Pacheco “didn’t become concerned with climate science until 2006. Her eldest son was learning about climate change in school,, so she took the family to see An Inconvenient Truth.”

Gore wrote that “this trip to the theater proved to be a wake-up call. She had never paid much attention to climate science, but after seeing the move she found herself preoccupied by it. As time passed, she decided she needed to talk action, and applied to take part in the second-ever Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a training program I led in Nashville in 2006.”

“Pacheco became convinced she could see the effects in her own clinic’s waiting room, in the Texas children she saw suffering from asthma, heat sensitivity, and allergies. Children and the elderly, she discovered, tend to be the most vulnerable. And while many adults have lived for years in an environment less affected by climate change, today’s youth will grow up with an entire lifetime of exposure. The potential for damage and illness, she suspects, is much higher,” Gore wrote.

“Pacheco also founded the Texas Coalition for Climate Change Awareness. In 2013, the White House bestowed Pacheco with the illustrious “Champions of Change” award in recognition of her efforts,” Gore wrote.

Other activists have warned of similar climate impacts. UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Michael Oppenheimer warned in 2014: “In fact, anybody who eats is under threat from climate change.” (Also see: Scientist to the Hollywood Stars: UN IPCC’s Michael Oppenheimer ‘was the holder of the ‘Barbra Streisand Chair of Environmental Studies’ at Environmental Defense Fund’)

Related Links: 

Watch: Skeptic Morano confronts Gore with ‘Climate Hustle’ DVD in Australia! Gore refuses to accept, departs in SUV

Watch: Morano in Australia on Sky News TV Rips Gore’s Claims

Note: Al Gore accused of using ‘weather-porn to fuel superstitious belief’ in Aussie speech)

UK Daily Mail cites Depot: Al Gore compares climate battle to great moral causes

Australian Herald Sun

Listen: Gore & UN tout ‘modern witchcraft’ – Morano on Aussie’s Alan Jones radio promotes Climate Hustle & Rips Gore

WND: AL GORE: GLOBAL WARMING FIGHT LIKE SLAVERY, CIVIL RIGHTS

Fox News features Climate Depot on Gore speech in Australia

Sky News: Watch: Morano in Australia on Sky News TV Rips Gore’s Claims: ‘As CO2 has risen, extreme weather has actually declined’

Canada Free Press

Drudge Report: www.DrudgeReport.com

Independent Journal Review  – Al  Gore Just Compared Climate Change Activism to the Fight Against Slavery

The Blaze: Al Gore just compared climate change to this ‘great moral cause’

The Daily Caller – Al Gore Likened The Climate Change Movement To Campaign Ending Slavery

Watch: Morano on TV in Australia on meeting Al Gore: Gore attempts to ‘intimidate, silence & ignore’ – Liz Wheeler’s ‘Tipping Point’ show – One America News Network – Monday July 17, 2017

Paris climate deal exit by Trump reversible, French president believes – Morano responds

Rush Limbaugh: ‘Algore’s Back — And More Insane Than Ever’ – Links To Climate Depot Report

Gore ‘insanity and hypocrisy down under’ – Al Gore is jetting around the land Down Under, promoting his new climate chaos film and claiming manmade pollution is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off daily! Australian heat waves are now five times more likely because of manmade global warming! Teachers and journalists get free passes to Gore’s events, to get their propaganda talking points, but no one is allowed to record any part of his talks. When Climate Depot’s Marc Morano offered him a free DVD of the Climate Hustle documentary film, a scowling Al Gore turned and headed to his SUV and private jet.

Al Gore accused of using ‘weather-porn to fuel superstitious belief’ in Aussie speech

I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse.

Transgender politics have taken Americans by surprise, and caught some lawmakers off guard.

Just a few short years ago, not many could have imagined a high-profile showdown over transgender men and women’s access to single-sex bathrooms in North Carolina.

But transgender ideology is not just infecting our laws. It is intruding into the lives of the most innocent among us—children—and with the apparent growing support of the professional medical community.

As explained in my 2016 peer reviewed article, “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate,” professionals who dare to question the unscientific party line of supporting gender transition therapy will find themselves maligned and out of a job.

I speak as someone intimately familiar with the pediatric and behavioral health communities and their practices. I am a mother of four who served 17 years as a board certified general pediatrician with a focus in child behavioral health prior to leaving clinical practice in 2012.

For the last 12 years, I have been a board member and researcher for the American College of Pediatricians, and for the last three years I have served as its president.

I also sat on the board of directors for the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity from 2010 to 2015. This organization of physicians and mental health professionals defends the right of patients to receive psychotherapy for sexual identity conflicts that is in line with their deeply held values based upon science and medical ethics.

I have witnessed an upending of the medical consensus on the nature of gender identity. What doctors once treated as a mental illness, the medical community now largely affirms and even promotes as normal.

Here’s a look at some of the changes.

The New Normal

Pediatric “gender clinics” are considered elite centers for affirming children who are distressed by their biological sex. This distressful condition, once dubbed gender identity disorder, was renamed “gender dysphoria” in 2013.

In 2014, there were 24 of these gender clinics, clustered chiefly along the east coast and in California. One year later, there were 40 across the nation.

With 215 pediatric residency programs now training future pediatricians in a transition-affirming protocol and treating gender-dysphoric children accordingly, gender clinics are bound to proliferate further.

Last summer, the federal government stated that it would not require Medicare and Medicaid to cover transition-affirming procedures for children or adults because medical experts at the Department of Health and Human Services found the risks were often too high, and the benefits too unclear.

Undeterred by these findings, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health has pressed ahead, claiming—without any evidence—that these procedures are “safe.”

Two leading pediatric associations—the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Endocrine Society—have followed in lockstep, endorsing the transition affirmation approach even as the latter organization concedes within its own guidelines that the transition-affirming protocol is based on low evidence.

They even admit that the only strong evidence regarding this approach is its potential health risks to children.

The transition-affirming view holds that children who “consistently and persistently insist” that they are not the gender associated with their biological sex are innately transgender.

(The fact that in normal life and in psychiatry, anyone who “consistently and persistently insists” on anything else contrary to physical reality is considered either confused or delusional is conveniently ignored.)

The transition-affirming protocol tells parents to treat their children as the gender they desire, and to place them on puberty blockers around age 11 or 12 if they are gender dysphoric.

If by age 16, the children still insist that they are trapped in the wrong body, they are placed on cross-sex hormones, and biological girls may obtain a double mastectomy.

So-called “bottom surgeries,” or genital reassignment surgeries, are not recommended before age 18, though some surgeons have recently argued against this restriction.

The transition-affirming approach has been embraced by public institutions in media, education, and our legal system, and is now recommended by most national medical organizations.

There are exceptions to this movement, however, in addition to the American College of Pediatricians and the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice. These include the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, the Catholic Medical Association, and the LGBT-affirming Youth Gender Professionals.

The transgender movement has gained legs in the medical community and in our culture by offering a deeply flawed narrative. The scientific research and facts tell a different story.

Here are some of those basic facts.

1. Twin studies prove no one is born “trapped in the body of the wrong sex.”

Some brain studies have suggested that some are born with a transgendered brain. But these studies are seriously flawed and prove no such thing.

Virtually everything about human beings is influenced by our DNA, but very few traits are hardwired from birth. All human behavior is a composite of varying degrees for nature and nurture.

Researchers routinely conduct twin studies to discern which factors (biological or nonbiological) contribute more to the expression of a particular trait. The best designed twin studies are those with the greatest number of subjects.

Identical twins contain 100 percent of the same DNA from conception and are exposed to the same prenatal hormones. So if genes and/or prenatal hormones contributed significantly to transgenderism, we should expect both twins to identify as transgender close to 100 percent of the time.

Skin color, for example, is determined by genes alone. Therefore, identical twins have the same skin color 100 percent of the time.

But in the largest study of twin transgender adults, published by Dr. Milton Diamond in 2013, only 28 percent of the identical twins both identified as transgender. Seventy-two percent of the time, they differed. (Diamond’s study reported 20 percent identifying as transgender, but his actual data demonstrate a 28 percent figure, as I note here in footnote 19.)

That 28 percent of identical twins both identified as transgender suggests a minimal biological predisposition, which means transgenderism will not manifest itself without outside nonbiological factors also impacting the individual during his lifetime.

The fact that the identical twins differed 72 percent of the time is highly significant because it means that at least 72 percent of what contributes to transgenderism in one twin consists of nonshared experiences after birth—that is, factors not rooted in biology.

Studies like this one prove that the belief in “innate gender identity”—the idea that “feminized” or “masculinized” brains can be trapped in the wrong body from before birth—is a myth that has no basis in science.

2. Gender identity is malleable, especially in young children.

Even the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology admits that prior to the widespread promotion of transition affirmation, 75 to 95 percent of pre-pubertal children who were distressed by their biological sex eventually outgrew that distress. The vast majority came to accept their biological sex by late adolescence after passing naturally through puberty.

But with transition affirmation now increasing in Western society, the number of children claiming distress over their gender—and their persistence over time—has dramatically increased. For example, the Gender Identity Development Service in the United Kingdom alone has seen a 2,000 percent increase in referrals since 2009.

3. Puberty blockers for gender dysphoria have not been proven safe.

Puberty blockers have been studied and found safe for the treatment of a medical disorder in children called precocious puberty (caused by the abnormal and unhealthy early secretion of a child’s pubertal hormones).

However, as a groundbreaking paper in The New Atlantis points out, we cannot infer from these studies whether or not these blockers are safe in physiologically normal children with gender dysphoria.

The authors note that there is some evidence for decreased bone mineralization, meaning an increased risk of bone fractures as young adults, potential increased risk of obesity and testicular cancer in boys, and an unknown impact upon psychological and cognitive development.

With regard to the latter, while we currently don’t have any extensive, long-term studies of children placed on blockers for gender dysphoria, studies conducted on adults from the past decade give cause for concern.

For example, in 2006 and 2007, the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology reported brain abnormalities in the area of memory and executive functioning among adult women who received blockers for gynecologic reasons. Similarly, many studies of men treated for prostate cancer with blockers also suggest the possibility of significant cognitive decline.

4. There are no cases in the scientific literature of gender-dysphoric children discontinuing blockers.

Most, if not all, children on puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormones (estrogen for biological boys, testosterone for biological girls). The only study to date to have followed pre-pubertal children who were socially affirmed and placed on blockers at a young age found that 100 percent of them claimed a transgender identity and chose cross-sex hormones.

This suggests that the medical protocol itself may lead children to identify as transgender.

There is an obvious self-fulfilling effect in helping children impersonate the opposite sex both biologically and socially. This is far from benign, since taking puberty blockers at age 12 or younger, followed by cross-sex hormones, sterilizes a child.

5. Cross-sex hormones are associated with dangerous health risks.

From studies of adults we know that the risks of cross-sex hormones include, but are not limited to, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes, and cancers.

6. Neuroscience shows that adolescents lack the adult capacity needed for risk assessment.

Scientific data show that people under the age of 21 have less capacity to assess risks. There is a serious ethical problem in allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young themselves to give valid consent.

7. There is no proof that affirmation prevents suicide in children.

Advocates of the transition-affirming protocol allege that suicide is the direct and inevitable consequence of withholding social affirmation and biological alterations from a gender-dysphoric child. In other words, those who do not endorse the transition-affirming protocol are essentially condemning gender-dysphoric children to suicide.

Yet as noted earlier, prior to the widespread promotion of transition affirmation, 75 to 95 percent of gender-dysphoric youth ended up happy with their biological sex after simply passing through puberty.

In addition, contrary to the claim of activists, there is no evidence that harassment and discrimination, let alone lack of affirmation, are the primary cause of suicide among any minority group. In fact, at least one study from 2008 found perceived discrimination by LGBT-identified individuals not to be causative.

Over 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosed mental disorder, and there is no evidence that gender-dysphoric children who commit suicide are any different. Many gender dysphoric children simply need therapy to get to the root of their depression, which very well may be the same problem triggering the gender dysphoria.

8. Transition-affirming protocol has not solved the problem of transgender suicide.

Adults who undergo sex reassignment—even in Sweden, which is among the most LGBT-affirming countries—have a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population. Clearly, sex reassignment is not the solution to gender dysphoria.

Bottom Line: Transition-Affirming Protocol Is Child Abuse

The crux of the matter is that while the transition-affirming movement purports to help children, it is inflicting a grave injustice on them and their nondysphoric peers.

These professionals are using the myth that people are born transgender to justify engaging in massive, uncontrolled, and unconsented experimentation on children who have a psychological condition that would otherwise resolve after puberty in the vast majority of cases.

Today’s institutions that promote transition affirmation are pushing children to impersonate the opposite sex, sending many of them down the path of puberty blockers, sterilization, the removal of healthy body parts, and untold psychological damage.

These harms constitute nothing less than institutionalized child abuse. Sound ethics demand an immediate end to the use of pubertal suppression, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgeries in children and adolescents, as well as an end to promoting gender ideology via school curricula and legislative policies.

It is time for our nation’s leaders and the silent majority of health professionals to learn exactly what is happening to our children, and unite to take action.

COMMENTARY BYPortrait of Michelle Cretella

Michelle Cretella, M.D., is president of the American College of Pediatricians, a national organization of pediatricians and other health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.

A Note for our Readers:

Our society and traditional values are at a crossroads. Gender issues and the decline of marriage and family stability is threatening society.

Sensitivity and political correctness are infecting our culture and reshaping our society. Government overreach into our families, local communities, and churches threatens our ability to live productive and free lives.

That is why it is our mission to ensure you receive accurate, timely, and reliable facts impacting our society today. Culture wars dominate the news, and for good reason.

The Daily Signal gives you the facts so you can form opinions, make decisions, and stay informed. And to do that we report clear, concise, and reliable facts impacting every aspect of society today.

We are a dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts funded solely by the financial support of the general public. And we need your help!

Your financial support will help us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and ensure you have the facts you need (and can trust) to stay informed.

Make a gift to support The Daily Signal today!

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RELATED ARTICLES: 

Camille Paglia: ‘Transgender Propagandists’ Committing ‘Child Abuse’

Rocklin Is Roiling after Trans School Lesson

EDITORS NOTE: Transition-affirming protocol tells parents to treat their children as the gender they desire, and to place them on puberty blockers at age 11 or 12 if they are gender dysphoric. Featured photo: iStock Photos. Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Here are four of the report’s most important conclusions:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh. Mayer is a scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

McHugh, whom the editor of The New Atlantis describes as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was for 25 years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was during his tenure as psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins that he put an end to sex reassignment surgery there, after a study launched at Hopkins revealed that it didn’t have the benefits for which doctors and patients had long hoped.

Implications for Policy

The report focuses exclusively on what scientific research shows and does not show. But this science can have implications for public policy.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that ‘only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.’

Take, for example, our nation’s recent debates over transgender policies in schools. One of the consistent themes of the report is that science does not support the claim that “gender identity” is a fixed property independent of biological sex, but rather that a combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely shape how individuals experience and express themselves when it comes to sex and gender.

The report also discusses the reality of neuroplasticity: that all of our brains can and do change throughout our lives (especially, but not only, in childhood) in response to our behavior and experiences. These changes in the brain can, in turn, influence future behavior.

This provides more reason for concern over the Obama administration’s recent transgender school policies. Beyond the privacy and safety concerns, there is thus also the potential that such policies will result in prolonged identification as transgender for students who otherwise would have naturally grown out of it.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that “only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.” Policymakers should be concerned with how misguided school policies might encourage students to identify as girls when they are boys, and vice versa, and might result in prolonged difficulties. As the report notes, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

Beyond school policies, the report raises concerns about proposed medical intervention in children. Mayer and McHugh write: “We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.”

They continue: “We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures.” But as they note, “There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents.”

Findings on Transgender Issues

The same goes for social or surgical gender transitions in general. Mayer and McHugh note that the “scientific evidence summarized suggests we take a skeptical view toward the claim that sex reassignment procedures provide the hoped for benefits or resolve the underlying issues that contribute to elevated mental health risks among the transgender population.” Even after sex reassignment surgery, patients with gender dysphoria still experience poor outcomes:

Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

Mayer and McHugh urge researchers and physicians to work to better “understand whatever factors may contribute to the high rates of suicide and other psychological and behavioral health problems among the transgender population, and to think more clearly about the treatment options that are available.” They continue:

In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex. … Better research is needed, both to identify ways by which we can help to lower the rates of poor mental health outcomes and to make possible more informed discussion about some of the nuances present in this field.

Policymakers should take these findings very seriously. For example, the Obama administration recently finalized a new Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires all health insurance plans under Obamacare to cover sex reassignment treatments and all relevant physicians to perform them. The regulations will force many physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to participate in sex reassignment surgeries and treatments, even if doing so violates their moral and religious beliefs or their best medical judgment.

Rather than respect the diversity of opinions on sensitive and controversial health care issues, the regulations endorse and enforce one highly contested and scientifically unsupported view. As Mayer and McHugh urge, more research is needed, and physicians need to be free to practice the best medicine.

Stigma, Prejudice Don’t Explain Tragic Outcomes

The report also highlights that people who identify as LGBT face higher risks of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, such as “depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and most alarmingly, suicide.” The report summarizes some of those findings:

Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.

Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 percent in the overall U.S. population.

What accounts for these tragic outcomes? Mayer and McHugh investigate the leading theory—the “social stress model”—which proposes that “stressors like stigma and prejudice account for much of the additional suffering observed in these subpopulations.”

But they argue that the evidence suggests that this theory “does not seem to offer a complete explanation for the disparities in the outcomes.” It appears that social stigma and stress alone cannot account for the poor physical and mental health outcomes that LGBT-identified people face.

One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

As a result, they conclude that “More research is needed to uncover the causes of the increased rates of mental health problems in the LGBT subpopulations.” And they call on all of us work to “alleviate suffering and promote human health and flourishing.”

Findings Contradict Claims in Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

Finally, the report notes that scientific evidence does not support the claim that people are “born that way” with respect to sexual orientation. The narrative pushed by Lady Gaga and others is not supported by the science. A combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely account for an individual’s sexual attractions, desires, and identity, and “there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

Furthermore, the scientific research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than the media suggests. The report notes that “Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80 percent of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults.”

These findings—that scientific research does not support the claim that sexual orientation is innate and immutable—directly contradict claims made by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in last year’s Obergefell ruling. Kennedy wrote, “their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment” and “in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”

But the science does not show this.

While the marriage debate was about the nature of what marriage is, incorrect scientific claims about sexual orientation were consistently used in the campaign to redefine marriage.

In the end, Mayer and McHugh observe that much about sexuality and gender remains unknown. They call for honest, rigorous, and dispassionate research to help better inform public discourse and, more importantly, sound medical practice.

As this research continues, it’s important that public policy not declare scientific debates over, or rush to legally enforce and impose contested scientific theories. As Mayer and McHugh note, “Everyone—scientists and physicians, parents and teachers, lawmakers and activists—deserves access to accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity.”

We all must work to foster a culture where such information can be rigorously pursued and everyone—whatever their convictions, and whatever their personal situation—is treated with the civility, respect, and generosity that each of us deserves.

COMMENTARY BY

Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research.

A Note for our Readers:

Our society and traditional values are at a crossroads. Gender issues and the decline of marriage and family stability is threatening society.

Sensitivity and political correctness are infecting our culture and reshaping our society. Government overreach into our families, local communities, and churches threatens our ability to live productive and free lives.

That is why it is our mission to ensure you receive accurate, timely, and reliable facts impacting our society today. Culture wars dominate the news, and for good reason.

The Daily Signal gives you the facts so you can form opinions, make decisions, and stay informed. And to do that we report clear, concise, and reliable facts impacting every aspect of society today.

We are a dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts funded solely by the financial support of the general public. And we need your help!

Your financial support will help us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and ensure you have the facts you need (and can trust) to stay informed.

Make a gift to support The Daily Signal today!

My ‘Sex Change’ Was a Myth. Why Trying to Change One’s Sex Will Always Fail.

Recently, during a radio show on which I appeared as a guest, a caller posed a question I frequently get asked: “Do the administration of cross-gender hormones and genital surgery change a boy into a girl or a girl into a boy?”

The answer is simple: biologically, not at all.

Underneath all the cosmetic procedures, vocal training, and hair growth or hair removal lies a physical reality. Biologically, the person has not changed from a man into a woman or vice versa.

Sex is an indelible fact of a person’s biology. Specifically, it describes one’s biological makeup with respect to its organization for reproduction. As Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh explain in The New Atlantis:

In biology, an organism is male or female if it is structured to perform one of the respective roles in reproduction. This definition does not require any arbitrary measurable or quantifiable physical characteristics or behaviors; it requires understanding the reproductive system and the reproduction process.

The authors go on to note that “[t]here is no other widely accepted biological classification for the sexes.” Sex pertains to the two different ways males and females are structured for reproduction, and these structures are permanently engrained in one’s biology. They cannot be chosen at will.

A man can mutilate his body, but he can never transform it to be organized as a female—and vice versa for the woman.

This makes sense of the head-snapping (and false) headline many of us saw about a man having a baby. The “man” featured in the story is simply a biological woman who kept her childbearing anatomy intact.

My Sex Change Fiction

My “sex change” surgery from male to female was performed by Dr. Stanley Biber in Trinidad, Colorado.

His unusual field of expertise drew clients from around the world and earned the small mountain town the nickname “Sex Change Capital of the World.” The surgeon estimated that he performed over 5,000 such surgeries during his career.

I lived legally and socially as a female for eight years, but I came to the realization that I wanted to go back to living as a man. To legally change my gender back to male, I needed to file a petition with the California Superior Court that verified I met certain criteria. (The process has since changed.)

My surgeon wrote a letter to the court stating that I met the medical criteria for the courts to legally change my birth certificate back to male. The very surgeon who earlier said that hormones and surgery had changed me to female, now admitted that it did not.

In the letter, he testified that the surgery and cross-gender hormones had the effect of neutering my external appearance and genitalia, but my internal biological structure and my genetics were still male.

That’s the key to understand: Hormones and surgical changes can affect one’s external appearance, but no innate biological change of sex occurs.

This truth should seem obvious, but discontented trans women contact me who say they didn’t know that they could never become a “real” woman. They are unhappy and opting to go back to the gender of their birth.

False Hope Could Lead to More Suicide

A 2004 U.K. Guardian article, “Sex Changes Not Effective,” points out:

“While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”

Too many post-surgical patients contact me to report they deeply regret the gender change surgery and that the false hope of surgical outcomes was a factor. For children, the focus on encouraging, assisting, and affirming them toward changing genders at earlier and earlier ages, with no research showing the outcomes, may lead to more suicides.

Others Advocate Less Surgery

A growing number of people like me, 50 years after the first surgery at Johns Hopkins University Gender Clinic in 1966, are advocating the scaling back of the radical, irreversible, often unnecessary genital mutilation surgeries.

Rene Jax, in his 2016 book, “DON’T Get on The Plane!” says, “Sex change surgery will ruin your life.”

Jax and I have had similar experiences. Both of us were approved for hormones and surgery to resolve our gender dysphoria, and after following the medically prescribed full regimen of hormones and genitalia surgery, and living as women, both of us came away with the same conclusions:

  • Gender change surgery was a destructive body mutilation and a waste of time and money.
  • After the medically-certified gender change, life didn’t improve.
  • Gender dysphoria, that feeling of unease with one’s gender, persisted, and was not relieved as promised.

Surgery as a Last Resort

Based on the emails I receive, I would urge the person who thinks that gender change is the answer in their situation to delay any surgical changes, or at the very least to restrict any physical changes to ones that are reversible.

This is especially important for younger people who may want to have children one day.

Today in 10 states, only a verbal declaration and a doctor’s letter supporting the change are needed to legally change the gender on a birth certificate. Cross-gender hormones or surgery are not required. Only 10 states affirm that surgery and hormones do not change biology.

Studies show that two-thirds of people with gender dysphoria have co-existing disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

I’ve become an outspoken critic of gender reassignment surgeries because many people are not being treated for other co-existing problems first. Instead, they are quickly prescribed cross-gender hormones and shuttled on a path toward surgery.

But as noted earlier, this surgery cannot succeed in delivering what it promises. It will only mutilate the body, a far cry from the promised “sex change.”

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker. Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, and his blog, WaltHeyer.com, Heyer raises public awareness about those who regret gender change and the tragic consequences suffered as a result.

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EDITORS NOTE: According to the most widely accepted definition of “sex” and America’s most famous sex-change doctor, a true change of sex is biologically impossible. Featured image: iStock Photos.