Freedom from endangerment

In this column, we’re going to discuss the freedom from endangerment.

It is vital for human well-being that individuals are protected from dangers to their air, water, sanitation, and safety. Energy production and use, including fossil fuel production and use, can endanger people in all kinds of ways if done badly—from bad burning processes, to waste that’s handled improperly, to oil rigs going out of control, to gas lines exploding.

It’s really important that we have policies to protect us from such dangers. How to do this is not obvious, but the key is to always think about what’s best for human flourishing.

Personally, I think there are three keys to a good policy that protects the freedom from endangerment. A good policy is one that establishes standards of health and safety that are:

  1. reasonable and equitable
  2. scientifically verifiable
  3. economically desirable

Reasonable

What do I mean by reasonable? When talking about protecting health and safety from certain kinds of risks, we have to acknowledge that every human action and technology carries risks and dangers. Nature itself carries risks and dangers.

We can’t have a policy that demands actions and technologies be totally free of risks and dangers, because then we would not be able to do anything, or we would just keep doing the same old things, ignoring that they also have risks because we’re used to those risks.

Instead, we need standards that protect us without overprotecting us to the point where they do harm.

image

For example, think of the first people to use fire. They were exposing themselves and their family to a certain amount of smoke—much more than modern power plants do, for sure. Now, should they have not used fire because of the smoke? No. Fire was so vital to their lives that it would have been harmful to their health and safety not to have the fire. If there had been a policy banning the use of fire because of the smoke, that would have been an example of overprotecting themselves to the point of harm.

By the same token, we can’t have standards for energy risks or energy safety that would prevent people from using energy. That’s what I mean by a policy having to be reasonable: protecting without overprotecting.

Equitable

This goes right along with equitable, or fair and impartial.

We want to be equitable and we don’t want to discriminate against some industries or some forms of energy, holding them to impossibly high risk and endangerment standards. Often, however, safety standards aren’t equitable because people tend to see new and unfamiliar things as riskier than old things.

Take hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for example. This is a technology that has been around a long time, but the term fracking wasn’t introduced into common usage until around 2010. People think of it as very risky even though it’s been done very safely for a long time. They worry about the risk of fracking but not about the risk of driving, which is an incomparably greater risk than fracking.

Unfortunately, it is very common to treat unpopular industries such as the oil and gas industry this way. They get held to completely different standards than more popular industries. Take the issue of noise. What you’ll find is that the amount of noise accepted from janitors, construction workers, and movie theaters is often far greater than that of a fracking job. But people complain that their rights are being violated by the noise from the fracking job and not by the noise from these other activities. That’s clearly non-equitable.

It’s important when we hear talk of risk and danger that we’re clear on whether there is actually an unreasonable amount of risk in a given area, or whether we’re holding some industry or activity to a higher standard than other comparable industries or activities.

Big Abortion’s Corporate Backers Include Your Favorite Social Media and Technology Companies

America’s social media and technology companies are increasingly showing themselves to be populated by left-wing activists. Just last week, social conservatives called out a number of platforms for supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dangerous ideology.

Promoting anti-Christian bigotry, gun control, abortion, and open borders would be problematic enough. But as we’ve highlighted in recent weeks, platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Apple have gone out of their way to block the truth of the pro-life movement, and — in at least one case — attack those who defend mothers and unborn children from abortion.

For example, Facebook protected Planned Parenthood from Live Action’s campaign to expose the abortion giant’s cover-ups of sexual abuse. And just like many of Hollywood’s leading actresses, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer is completely tone-deaf to the hypocrisy of supporting #MeToo while hiding Planned Parenthood’s crimes.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google took their pro-abortion activism international during the recent abortion referendum in Ireland. Pro-life ads were blocked by all three tech giants.

Apple joined the pro-abortion left by pulling the Human Coalition’s pro-life prayer app. Their reasons were…less than satisfactory, to say the least.

And it was several tech giants which sponsored a popular gathering of left-wing activist groups — a gathering which included a pro-abortion protest of a pro-life pregnancy resource center.

Your second vote dollars are important to showing these companies that they cannot get away with taking the wrong side on life. There are two ways you can use the market to promote life:

First — make sure you’re not buying from companies that support Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry. 2ndVote’s resource page has the full list. If we can cause Planned Parenthood’s official corporate backers to think twice about supporting the ending of unborn life, tech companies will get the message.

Second — contact FacebookTwitterApple, and Google directly to let them know that you want them to run their businesses for all consumers. Taking sides in the abortion fight is scientifically and morally wrong, and puts them on the wrong side of history.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tell Bank of America & General Electric: Stop Funding Big Abortion’s Attacks On Pro-Life Centers

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Refusal to Use Preferred Gender Pronouns Costs British Doctor His Job

The belief that gender is assigned at birth has cost one British doctor his job as a disability assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom.

Dr. David Mackereth, 55, the father of four, was dismissed from the department after only recently being hired because he told the instructor for a training course that he would not recognize a pronoun that didn’t correspond to a patient’s biological sex, the Telegraph reported Sunday.

Mackereth, who worked 26 years for the National Health Service, says sex is established at birth and is both genetic and biological. That’s something that “has been believed by mankind for centuries,” he said.

“I’m not attacking the transgender movement,” Mackereth said, “but I’m defending my right to freedom of speech, and freedom of belief.”

Mackereth, from Dudley, West Midlands, was hired by the Department of Work and Pensions for “interviewing and then writing independent reports about the health of those claiming disability benefits,” the Telegraph reported.

“I don’t believe I should be compelled to use a specific pronoun. I am not setting out to upset anyone. But if upsetting someone can lead to doctors being sacked, then, as a society we have to examine where we are going,” he told the London newspaper.

After informing the instructor of his objections, “Mackereth then received an email from Advanced Personnel Management, the agency that employed him and would have hired him out to the DWP,” the paper reported.

The email explained that he could “undergo training” regarding the Department of Work and Pensions’ policy, but if he did not address his clients by their preferred pronoun, such action could be “considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act.”

Mackereth now accuses the Department of Work and Pensions and Advanced Personnel Management of violating his right to freedom of speech. The Telegraph also reported that he has concerns that “many other” people of faith like him could be dismissed from jobs if they believe in birth-assigned gender. He is a Reformed Baptist.

A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman told the Telegraph: “Dr. Mackereth made it clear during his training that he would refuse to use pronouns which did not match his own view of a person’s biological gender,” and that he would be violating the Equality Act by discriminating against individuals with a “protected characteristic.”

But Mackereth maintains that he is being discriminated against for his beliefs and even went so far as to say that the UK government was policing thought.

“Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe,” he said. “Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.”

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry,” said Ryan T. Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“Government shouldn’t coerce people to think, speak, or act in ways that violate these basic truths. Indeed, there are human costs to getting human nature wrong,” he said.

COLUMN BY

Jeremiah Poff

Jeremiah Poff is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Three Years Past Obergefell: From “Equality” To Totalitarianism

Military Vets of another War: on Gender

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Staisy Mishchenko/CrowdSpark/Newscom

Energy Policy

In the next few columns, we’re going to be talking about energy policy.

In previous columns, we concluded that fossil fuels are a moral form of energy that should be expanded, not restricted. But, there’s one qualifier. We can say there are moral forms of energy, but it’s only moral to use them if they are being used the right way.

Minimizing misuse

Like any technology, fossil fuels can be misused. Part of ensuring the proper use of fossil fuels involves every company doing its best to be ethical and having a major emphasis on safety.

By the same token, consumers of fossil fuels need to be responsible—for example, performing regular maintenance on their heating systems and vehicles. Everybody has a part in making sure that all forms of energy are used as safely as possible. But that’s not enough.

Once we’ve concluded that fossil fuel energy is a fundamentally good technology when used in a beneficial way, we need to have the right kinds of laws in place to ensure that it is used in a beneficial way.

This brings us to the issue of energy policy.

We need policies that protect our right to use energy responsibly and that punish people when they deliberately fail to use energy responsibly and endanger our lives.

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The three energy freedoms

One of the major things we need is proper policy to protect us from companies endangering neighbors, whether through explosions, spills, or dangerous emissions like smog.

But we also need policy to protect companies, and more broadly to protect production, from people who want to stop it. Imagine you’re running a company that’s trying to drill for oil and somebody who doesn’t like oil tries to sabotage your rigs. That can cause you to lose millions and millions of dollars. The government needs to protect every producer from people who try to sabotage them—whether it’s direct sabotage or getting the government to sabotage projects they don’t like. Having policies that restrict our ability to develop is a major threat to progress. And less progress means less prosperity.

Finally, we need policy to protect innovation. We want the energy market to evolve over time, but with the wrong policies it is very easy for special interests to stop innovation. One thing fundamental to innovation is competition. It’s important that we be free to choose the best kinds of energy—that we be free to choose fossil fuels when they’re the best form, but also others when they’re the best. Often, however, companies will want to suppress competition. But if we care about human flourishing, what we need are policies that protect everyone who’s not endangering others to compete.

We can think of policy, then, in terms of three crucial freedoms:

  1. freedom from endangerment
  2. freedom to develop
  3. freedom to compete

We’ll be discussing each of these freedoms in more depth.

VIDEO: A Watched Gun Hasn’t Fired for Nearly One Year — GunCam Miracle?

Will the gun on 2ndVote GunCam make it through an entire year without committing a crime? The countdown is on.

American left and its allies in the media have long insisted that it is guns, and not people, that commit acts of violence. Pieces at Psychology TodayThe NationThe Washington PostThe Huffington PostRolling Stoneand even the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association have all supported the alleged accuracy of this notion.

Given this conclusion, it is nothing short of a miracle that 2ndVote’s GunCam video has recorded zero deaths and zero crimes committed by a gun which we have closely observed for nearly a year. Don’t take our word for it! Check out the live stream video below:

Perhaps we’re being unfair to those who believe inanimate objects can choose to kill human beings. That’s why we’re carefully scrutinizing GunCam. Will this pistol suddenly jump up and run away? Will it pivot and target the video camera by which it is being observed?

We doubt it. And like several companies which have recently separated from Dick’s Sporting Goods over its anti-Second Amendment corporate decisions, we’re very confident that no other guns will commit any crimes of any sort under their own volition. Like those companies, we know that millions of Americans safely use guns — many to defend themselves and their families.

Then again, Enterprise seems to disagreeSo do dozens of other companies. Who is right — 2ndVote and America’s Founders, or these companies’ leaders who are afraid of anti-gun zealots?

The answer is still in the Great Unknown. So we shall continue our careful scrutiny of GunCam to ascertain the answer!

Help us continue developing the content and research that conservatives are using to hold corporations for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

The UN’s coming for your Air Conditioners

What happens when two items high on the Green agenda collide with each other? One thing for sure, it isn’t a pretty sight.

Such is currently the case concerning “ozone depletion” and “global warming.”

Through the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the Greens clamored for the adoption of refrigerant HFC’s, or hydrofluorocarbons, to replace older refrigerant chemicals (CFC’s) that were said to be punching a hole in the ozone layer. Today, HFC’s, that same chemical the Greens were in love with, is now claimed to be causing – you guessed it – global warming.

That is the basis for the little known “Kigali Amendment” to the Montreal Protocol, adopted in 2016. Through this amendment, the Greens want to replace HFC’s with HFO’s (hydrofluoro-olefins) in air conditioners, refrigerators, cars, and much more.

HFC’s are currently selling for around $7 per pound, while the most common HFO is selling for over $70 per pound. If companies want to start incorporating HFO’s into their appliances, they are completely free to do so. But the American public should not have it forced down their throat by the UN bureaucracy.

Most studies have concluded that fully implementing the Kigali Amendment would reduce the global mean temperature by an unmeasurable amount by 2050.

The Trump administration is considering whether to send Kigali to the Senate for ratification. Like most radical environmentalist initiatives, the Kigali Amendment provides little environmental benefit in exchange for extreme economic cost.

That’s why CFACT signed onto a letter with 22 other free market groups urging the President to oppose the inclusion of the United States in the Kigali Amendment.

You can read the entire letter at CFACT.org.

As the letter states, Washington needs to “cut red tape, not add to it.”

Going after HFCs will no doubt greatly enrich a few corporations who want to sell us expensive new refrigerants and equipment, but would not affect global temperature enough to measure.

It’s time for the Trump White House to send the Kilgali Amendment off on the same train out of town it did the Paris Accord.

For nature and people too.

RELATED ARTICLE: Conrad Black: Thirty years of climate hysterics being proven wrong over and over again

Vesting in Lavender

Anthony Esolen recalls a time when there was a solidity in belief: in the differences between the sexes and in the Church and its servants. 

Do you remember a time, readers, when you could spend a whole day, actually a whole month, occasionally even a year, and not give one passing thought to the issue of sexual perversions?

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought it a good idea to have drag queens do story-hour for children in a public library? When people who fell into sexual perversion, or who are alleged to have done so, or who are alleged to have wanted to do so though they did not, or who are alleged to have been the sorts of people who would have wanted to do so if they had known What We Know Now, were not held up for the admiration of children, in their school textbooks?

Do you remember a time when not one liberal in a thousand would have thought that a man who said he was a woman or a woman who said she was a man was in touch with reality and not prey to a destructive fantasy or delusion?

Do you remember a time when liberals, precisely because they were liberals, held men and women up to high standards of sexual decency, and (wrongly) believed that they were capable of maintaining those standards without the ministrations of the Church?

Do you remember a time when it would not have occurred to you in a hundred years that your priest was anything other than an ordinary man, a real man, following the special call of the Lord? A man who in another life, with a different call, would have been married with a passel of children, a pillar of his community?

Do you remember a time when a priest could march alongside miners and auto workers and look like one of them, not like a breathless female reporter in the locker room of a football team? Do you remember when nobody, absolutely nobody, would have considered that a female reporter should even be in that locker room?

Do you remember a time when divorce was a scandal? I do. Do you remember a time when family-owned motels would not let unmarried people book one room instead of two? Do you remember a time when boys and girls actually dated, and when the vast territory between loneliness and going to bed as a married couple had not been strafed and scorched and left with not a single healthy custom standing – a cultural Nagasaki and Hiroshima, from sea to sea?

And now this, about Cardinal McCarrick. 
The cardinal, choosing his words precisely, says he has no memory of ever having engaged in the sexual abuse of the erstwhile young man who is now accusing him.

About that accusation I have no confident opinion, nor need I have. For when you have a gorilla in the living room, thrashing the furniture, chewing the upholstery, and defecating in plain sight and smell, you do not ask whether it was also the gorilla who smashed the light bulb.

The Last General Absolution of the Munster Fusiliers at Rue du Bois by Fortunino Matania, 1916. It is assumed that the painting was destroyed during the German blitz of London in WWII. Certainly the original is missing.

The cardinal has cautiously denied one sin, while not bothering to address the thousand others. For all these years, according to witnesses at last speaking out, he has been vesting in lavender, compromising young men in his charge, including those who he made sure would see his misdeeds though they did not participate in them, and exerting all the subtle pressure of power and prestige to keep those who demurred – who did not enjoy bunking with Uncle Ted – from speaking out.

He has pointedly not said, “I have never had sexual relations with a seminarian or a priest.”
 It was a perversion of the male protective brotherhood, whose noblest and purest manifestation is the apostolic band.

Unlike those brothers the apostles, who went forth into the world to lay down their lives for Christ and the Church, these bands in our day have used the Church as a cover, and a means of procurement. They have turned the Church inward upon themselves and their essentially narcissistic and childish desires and deeds.

We should not then be surprised that the Church, in their hands, becomes contentedly anti-apostolic and anti-evangelistic. The leaders make common cause with ambitious women against their enemies: ordinary, healthy, self-assured, masculine men and the women who love and esteem them.

The Mass itself is made soft and effeminate – neither masculine nor feminine. I have often noted that every single hymn in vast repertory of Christian hymnody that has anything to do with fighting for Christ, hymns going back all the way to Prudentius and Venantius Fortunatus, has been banished from the hymnals, except for For All the Saints.

That one exception we may attribute to the need to have something or other for All Saints’ Day, and even then, in many hymnals I have seen, the lyrics are made squishy, or the stanzas with the most fight in them are simply dropped.
 These leaders are simply not interested in taking on the world.

But that is the raison d’être of the brotherhood. Men who are friends, soldiers in the field, do not gaze into each other’s eyes, melting. Your drill sergeant does not call himself Uncle Ted. He does not write lovey letters to you, after he has snuggled you into a compromise. He does not engage in spiritual bribery and blackmail.

Men who stand shoulder to shoulder – you can picture them in your mind’s eye, leaning against a fence or a car or a tank – look out in the same direction, towards the world to conquer. That has been the orientation, the direction to take, of every true leader of men the Church has known, from Peter and Paul to Benedict, from Francis and Dominic to Ignatius, from John Bosco to Jose Maria Escriva.

We have the Lord’s own choice to follow, ordaining men to form that band of brothers. Men, not just anatomical males. They might get something done.

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child and Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. He directs the Center for the Restoration of Catholic Culture at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts.

EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured image is of Boy Scout Casey Chambers carring a rainbow flag during the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Noah Berger

Why the Escalation in Suicides?

A couple of months ago, I produced a presentation titled, “The PRIDE Renewal Tour,” which noted the changes in our culture and what can be done about them. Among the subjects discussed, I reviewed a recent report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding how youth suicides have skyrocketed 70% over the last decade. “According to the CDC, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016, making it the 10th leading cause of death.” It is also the 2nd leading cause of death among young people, ages 15-24.

According to Tom Simon, one of the authors of the CDC report, the increase in suicides is not limited to just our youth, “We know that overall in the US, we’re seeing increases in suicide rates across all age groups.”

This was amplified by the recent suicides of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Although it is unclear as to precisely why they decided to take their own lives, it was reported they suffered from depression. Despite their success, they simply couldn’t find happiness and contentment.

From their deaths, the public is slowly becoming aware of the growing trend in suicide, particularly among our youth. So what is causing this, failure? This certainly was not the case with Spade and Bourdain. Perhaps it was triggered by the influx of drugs and technology. Maybe it is simple depression, which has also been growing over the years. A recent REPORT claims “15 percent of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.” Of that, “nearly 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.”

Again, we can look at the influences of drug and technology addiction, but I believe it goes deeper than this, specifically a loss of meaning in life which particularly affects our youth. To this end, let us consider the slow erosion of our MORAL VALUES as reported annually by the Gallup organization.

I have been following this since 2012 and in just the past six years alone, there has been a noticeable decline; when asked, “HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE OVERALL STATE OF MORAL VALUES IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY?”

2012 2018
20% 14% EXCELLENT/GOOD
36% 37% ONLY FAIR
43% 49% POOR

We can blame this erosion on the media’s distorted views of morality, the failure of the family unit to properly teach their youth, and the decline of organized religion. As to the latter, both Gallup and Harris have produced polls showing the belief in a Supreme Being is slowly declining. Further, attendance at religious institutions is also dwindling; “65 percent of churches are declining or plateaued.”

Even more disturbing is fewer younger people are going to church which, of course, affects membership. Consequently, “for every new church that opens, four close.” For many years, churches and temples preached the lessons of right and wrong, but with fewer attendees, these lessons now go unheeded. It has become glaringly obvious to churches they must change in order to survive, be it the venue or how to disseminate their message.

More importantly, STUDIES make a direct connection between the rise of youth suicides on a loss of sense of purpose as derived from the decline of religion. In other words, as religion declines, youth suicides skyrocket. It is not a coincidence.

We would like to believe money, fame, and success leads to happiness. As evidenced by celebrities such as Spade and Bourdain, this is not the case. It’s a matter of how we see ourselves, our role in society, and learning to live a meaningful life, which are all lessons we should learn from our family, our schools, and our places of worship. However, if we do not support such institutions, we are doomed to watch our suicide rate continue to escalate unabated.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Keep the Faith!

EDITORS NOTE: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies. Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Time to Preach to the Non-Converted on Abortion

Filip Mazurczak writes that no one says he’s personally opposed to human trafficking, but it’s better to have it safe, legal, and rare. So why on abortion?

Those who believe that the right to life is a fundamental human right have experienced two major defeats on two continents in less than a month. On May 25, two-thirds of Ireland’s population voted to strike down a constitutional amendment protecting the right to life, paving the way for what the Irish government has promised will be one of Europe’s most aggressively pro-abortion regimes. Then last week Argentina’s Congress voted by a 129-125 margin to legalize abortion up through the fourteenth week of pregnancy (for the bill to become law, it needs to pass the Chamber of Deputies and be signed by the nation’s president).

It is clear that pro-lifers are losing the battle to save unborn human life. To emerge victorious in the long run, we need to create a social consensus that the unborn deserve the right to live, a consensus transcending political and religious divides.

The recent anti-life Irish debacle has been often presented as more evidence of Ireland’s rapid retreat from its Catholic roots since the 1990s. In Argentina, there is still hope that the Chamber of Deputies, more conservative than the Congress, might stop the legalization of abortion. But even if it does there is a strong probability that it will be an ephemeral victory: polling shows that 60 percent of Argentines support the liberal abortion bill, almost twice as many as those who oppose it (34 percent).

Furthermore, in Argentina, as in Europe or North America, pro-life forces are very closely associated with Catholicism. And Argentina is one of Latin America’s least religious countries. Thus an Irish-style anti-Catholic, anti-life popular rebellion there seems very likely in the not too distant future.

Internationally, the greatest weakness of the pro-life cause is its close association with Christianity and the political Right. It’s not a bad thing, of course, that churches – Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestants (along with Orthodox Jews and some Muslims) – stand at the forefront of the battle for life. On the contrary, Christianity is once again showing evidence of its rejection of the Zeitgeist in favor of timeless values, just as it did in 1537 when slavery was a common practice during the European colonization of the Americas and Pope Paul III issued a bull prescribing excommunication for that odious practice.

Rather, the problem rests in the fact that in a pluralistic democracy, no party or leader will permanently rule. Helmut Kohl was the West German chancellor for sixteen years, but even his grip on power eventually ended. I was happy when President Trump rescinded the Mexico City policy and enacted other pro-life policies. But Trump too won’t last forever.

In the United States and in many countries, someone’s stance on abortion is strongly tied to political affiliation and religion. In recent decades, this has become even more pronounced. The number of pro-life Democrats in Congress, for example, is in the single digits today, compared to more than 100 in the 1970s. For pro-life legislation to be irreversible, a certain consensus has to be created.

To do that, we need to reach out to so-called people of good will. We need to start on a grassroots level and explain to our non-conservative and non-Christian friends and family why we are pro-life. The pro-life movement may not have the political clout or generous financing of Planned Parenthood or George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. But we have a much more powerful weapon: the truth.

With advances in science, technology, and medicine, we know that the unborn child is not a clump of cells. The embryo’s brainwaves are detectable just six weeks after conception, which is when abortion is legal in almost all Western countries.

Intellectually honest people, who adhere to Socrates’ advice to follow the evidence wherever it leads, will be compelled by the irresistible logic that the unborn child is human and thus deserves legal protection, regardless of which side of the political aisle they are on, or what God or gods, if any, they believe in.

While Hinduism is not absolute in its opposition to abortion (as evidenced by India’s extremely permissive abortion legislation, allowing the procedure through twenty-four weeks in some circumstances), Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu turned off by the hypocrisy of the Christians who had colonized his country, said that to him it was “clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.”

The late Nat Hentoff, a music critic for the Village Voice, hardly a hotbed of social conservatism, was a libertarian Jewish atheist. Yet as someone intellectually honest, he saw the evil of abortion, which he actively opposed. There are many minds that, like Gandhi or Hentoff, are in other respects politically or religiously on different planets than Christians, yet they have the potential to see abortion for what it is – if we inform them.

The more such people there will be, the more pressure there will be on policymakers and on society to condemn abortion as a violation of basic human rights.

Imagine someone saying, “Personally, I’m opposed to human trafficking, but it’s better if it’s regulated instead of having it happen illegally and unsafely. And the government shouldn’t pry into the trafficker’s personal business. Instead, they should let him be an adult and make his own decisions.”

Chances are, you’ve never heard such silly sophistry from anyone’s mouth. Many people, however, make very similar statements about the killing of unborn humans – humans with brains, spinal cords, and fingerprints, who can feel pain and in some cases are capable of living outside their mothers’ wombs.

The recent Irish catastrophe and developing Argentinean tragedy show that we must work to create a society in which abortion is seen as being just as unacceptable as human trafficking, and we should preach not to the converted, but to those who, because of their ideas on politics or religion, are our strange bedfellows.

Filip Mazurczak

Filip Mazurczak

Filip Mazurczak is the assistant editor of the European Conservative. His writing has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Catholic Herald, Crisis Magazine, and many others.

RELATED ARTICLE: Francis Condemns ‘Eugenic’ Abortions and Fake Marriage

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of St. Paul Preaching at Athens by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino), c. 1515 [Ashmolean Museum of Art and Architecture, Oxford, England] © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Francis Condemns ‘Eugenic’ Abortions and Fake Marriage

Robert Royal praises recent pro-life words by Pope Francis. But why was the Holy Father all but silent about abortion votes in Ireland and Argentina? 

I’d been on the road for much of the past week and hadn’t been very carefully following the news. But I woke yesterday to the heartening news that Pope Francis had strongly condemned selective abortion and the various attempts to redefine marriage as something other than a life-long commitment between one man and one woman.

Even more, he did so off-the-cuff, departing from the text he had prepared to deliver to the Forum delle famiglie, an Italian family association. It’s usually been on just such occasions – when he speaks spontaneously and “from the heart” – that he’s delivered the most troubling remarks of his pontificate. It was largely because of those remarks and his early criticism of Catholics who are constantly “insisting” and “obsessing” on life issues and marriage that he alienated and, sad to say, even lost the confidence of many active Catholics – even before the ambiguities and implied infidelities of Amoris laetitia.

He has, of course, condemned abortion and gay “marriage” on multiple occasions. But the world, Catholic and not, seemed to sense that his heart wasn’t in it. The coverage of his recent remarks in the main secular outlets was very brief, usually just reproducing parts of an Associated Press story – quite a contrast to the extensive coverage when he seemed to be moving towards modern culture.

The Wall Street Journal made the obvious observation that the latest remarks were “unusually strong for a pope who has generally played down medical and sexual ethics and taken a strikingly conciliatory approach to gay people.”

The question arises: why now? There was the humiliating spectacle last month of the Irish overwhelmingly voting to rescind a law prohibiting abortion, after voting for gay marriage in 2015. Perhaps more to the point, just this past week, legislators in Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies approved a bill allowing abortion up to fourteen weeks by just four votes.

Pope Francis was silent about Ireland – a very odd reticence by a man who has no qualms about weighing in on public issues like climate change, fossil-fuel exploration, immigration, Middle Eastern politics, Hindu persecution of Muslim Rohingyas, international economics – the list goes on. All these have moral dimensions, of course, though it’s hard to see what expertise or insight the Vatican brings to such complex situations. By contrast, allowing abortion in Ireland means the direct and immediate killing of thousands of innocents.

The pope was (perhaps) not entirely silent on this question in his native country. Back in March, he sent a letter to Argentina. It was only five paragraphs in length and mostly a thank-you for a letter he had received congratulating him on completing five years as pope. It was quite mild and, even when he turned to the question of abortion, mixed together multiple issues:

I ask you all that you be channels of the Good and the Beautiful, that you lend your support in defense of life and justice, so that peace and fraternity may appear, so that you make the world better by your work, so that you care for the weakest, and share with full hands all that God has given you.

You would have to be an Argentinean to know for certain whether this was read as strong opposition to impending abortion changes, or whether this was the right tone given the way particular nations respond to papal comments – but the official Vatican News account didn’t even mention abortion.

Perhaps that was one reason why the latest comment was not at all subtle, more in keeping with what many Catholics expect from the occupant of the Chair of Peter. Pope Francis went to the modern touchstone of evil, comparing “selective” abortions (usually because of fetal abnormalities, sex, etc.) with the Nazi eugenics program of race purification. This time, he says, we are doing the very same thing “with white gloves,” as if it’s just a medical procedure. (If you read Italian, there’s a transcript of the spontaneous remarks as well as the prepared speech here.)

Though it comes too late for the millions of innocents who will die now in Ireland and Argentina, still, it’s good that Francis gave this full-throated affirmation. We might add it wasn’t only the Nazis who practiced eugenics in the named of racism: Margaret Sanger, hero to so many American abortion advocates and founder of Planned Parenthood, took the same view – though maybe she wore lace-gloves.

It’s interesting that Francis was also so vocal about marriage. The off-the-cuff remarks refer a lot to Amoris laetitia, the very text that many of us feel both seeks answers to current troubles with marriages and – despite the announced intention of pursuing a path of mercy and discernment – weakens, perhaps implicitly contradicts, Our Lord’s strong words about the indissolubility of marriage. And will likely lead to even further confusion and breakdown.

Still, there are very good things in the recent remarks: “Life in a family: it’s a sacrifice, but a beautiful sacrifice. Love is like making pasta: you do it every day. Love within matrimony is a challenge, for the man and the woman. What’s the biggest challenge for a man? To make his wife more a woman. More woman. That she grow as a woman. And what is the challenge for a woman? To make her husband more of a man. And thus they go forward, both of them.”

This insistence on growing into being men and women will not win the Holy Father any awards at the U.N., or the E.U., or the various gender activist groups that have half-welcomed the tone he adopted from the first days of his papacy. There are other things in these off-the-cuff remarks less straightforward. But he’s affirmed “male and female He created them” and supported traditional marriage.

Where would the Church be now if only, as pope, he had stayed close to these sorts of peasant insights and not been drawn into the swamps of modernist German theology?

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall on Saturday receiving and addressing the members and children of the Forum delle famiglie [Photo credit: ANSA]. © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Climate models that can’t predict climate

Last week we learned that the greenhouse effect is a diminishing effect. Why, then, do we hear all these catastrophic predictions?

Climate models

These claims of CO2 leading to runaway warming and catastrophic climate change are based on speculative climate models that include additional drivers of warming to the greenhouse effect.

It’s important to keep in mind that these models often contradict each other, both in their assumptions about key elements of climate like cloud formation and the role of aerosols, and in their predictions.

Even more important, though, is that the models that include these speculative drivers of warming have a terrible track record when it comes to predicting actual climate trends.

These charts show models that are trying to predict the future. We can see that in the past these have invariably dramatically over-predicted the amount of warming that would occur as more CO2 entered the atmosphere.

image

image

Why is this? Because these aren’t just based on the greenhouse effect. They’re based on other effects that putting more CO2 might have on climate, but these are unproven and the predictions based on this understanding of climate have not come true. Predictions based on the idea that CO2 has a much bigger effect in the atmosphere than it does in the laboratory have been systematically wrong.

The temperature record

What’s actually happening? The amount of warming we have experienced is mild by historical standards and it’s manageable.

Here’s another graph of the amount of warming since 1850.

image

What we see is what is at least in part a natural warming trend with no dramatic temperature increase. It’s tiny compared to what we deal with on a day-to-day, location-to-location, season-to-season basis. The warming isn’t significant and it doesn’t correlate very strongly with CO2.

We can also see that the temperature today is very cold on average in terms of the history of the earth. We’re not at all in unprecedented territory temperature-wise or CO2-wise. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution has risen from .03% of the atmosphere to .04%. Historically it was 20 times that and these were very fertile periods of the earth.

That’s going to bring us to the fertilizer effect, which we’ll discuss next week.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pope Francis’s Crusade Against Fossil Fuels Hurts The Poor Most Of All

Film ‘Upgrade’ — The Deadly Dark Side of the coming A.I. Apocalypse

I went to see the new film “Upgrade” and came away convinced that artificial intelligence (A.I.) is both deadly and has a very dark side. Here is the official “Upgrade” trailer:

Elon Musk. Photo: Pinerest.

Three years ago Elon Musk began warning about the possibility of technology, like A.I., running amok stating,

I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this.

After watching the film, I think the creators of “Upgrade” based their script on Elon’s vision of technology, specifically A.I.

In a CNBC article titled “The ‘father of A.I’ urges humans not to fear the technology” Andrew Wong wrote:

Artificial intelligence will one day be smarter than humans, but there’s no reason to fear the technology, according to a pioneer in AI technologies.

Jurgen Schmidhuber

“I’ve been working on [AI] for several decades, since the eighties basically, and I still believe it will be possible to witness that AIs are going to be much smarter than myself, such that I can retire,” Jurgen Schmidhuber, who is now co-founder and chief scientist of AI startup NNAISENSE.

He has been dubbed as the person that robots will most likely call “father.”

But dire warnings about AI have been repeatedly sounded by Tesla’s Elon Musk, who went as far as to claim that the danger of AI far surpasses that of nuclear warheads at a conference this year.

“I’ve talked to him for hours and I’ve tried to allay his fears on that, pointing out that even once AIs are smarter than we are, at some point they are just going to lose interest (in humans),” Schmidhuber told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford, on his conversations with Musk.

Read more.,

So who is right, Elon Musk or Jurgen Schmidhuber?

Both are correct. Jurgen’s idea that A.I.s “are going to be much smarter than myself” and Elon’s claim that the danger of A.I. far surpasses that of nuclear warheads.

In the film A.I. does replace Gray Trace (played by Logan Marshall-Green) but in a horrible way. You see Trace’s brain and his soul gradually be taken over by an implant named Stem. Stem is A.I. taken to the ultimate logical end. Implanting chips into humans in the name of progress but when the chip takes over the end comes quickly.

Stem has no moral compass, no human qualities, but Stem is on a mission. A mission to become human. To make the human smarter but to eliminate what is truly human about each and everyone of us.

The question that those involved in technology must ask themselves is not can we do it but should we do it.

The film reminded me of this Steven Spielberg quote:

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.”

I highly recommend seeing “Upgrade.” You will learn much about where A.I. is heading.

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Meet the Arnolds: Planned Parenthood’s Billionaire Benefactors

With Starbucks in hot water over its donations to Planned Parenthood, 2ndVote decided to look into other major donors to the abortionist the general public might night be aware of.

John and Laura Arnold

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has donated almost one billion dollars to research since 2011. The organization is renowned for its focus on evidence-based solutions to public policy problems. Its grants fund projects have funded research on those suffering from mental healthbetter understanding of gun violence, and bail reform.

What’s less known is that behind the Foundation’s “evidence-based” efforts is frequently distinctly left-wing, anti-life advocacy.

For example, while the Arnolds give to both parties, John Arnold was a bundler for the 2008 Obama campaign. According to Huffington Post in 2012:

Billionaire John Arnold, a former Enron trader and his wife Laura, were slated to host in their Houston home a $10,000-ticket Obama fundraiser to feature Michelle Obama last October (the event was postponed). Arnold describes himself as a libertarian, and his wife Laura identifies as a Democrat. Still, Arnold was one of Obama’s top 2008 donors, a bundler who gave the campaign between $50,000 and $100,000. According to Huffington Post’s FundRace, he has given $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012.

Both Arnolds have also contributed a few thousand each to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and hundreds of thousands to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The Arnolds have also personally donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood’s powerful political arm. In the past two years alone, the Arnolds contributed to the following pro-abortion entities:

Also, their foundation gave nearly $1.5 million in 2015 and 2016 to Improving Contraceptive Options Now (ICON), a research project of MRDC which explicitly focuses on funding abortion-inducing drugs and devices like the Intra-Uterine Device for teenagers.

See more of 2nd Vote’s research on which companies and non-profits are funding Planned Parenthood here.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Child Abuse Cover-Ups Haven’t Stopped Starbucks’ Funding of Planned Parenthood

New Delaware School Rule on Gender: Reg-rettable

If there’s one thing the extreme Left is afraid of, it’s engaged parents. On everything from graphic sex ed to genderless bathrooms, moms and dads are becoming a force to reckon with in cities across the country. When school districts try to slip more indoctrination into the class day, parents have been up to the challenge.

In Delaware, locals could have given lessons on holding politicians accountable when the Department of Education tried to pass a regulation that would’ve let students choose their race and gender — without ever telling parents! The idea was so outrageous that complaints poured into state offices. “Literally,” Delaware Family Policy Council President Nicole Theis told Todd Starnes last year, “if a parent affirms their child’s biological sex, and now race, they are [considered] discriminatory through policies like Regulation 225. These policies are setting parents up as… unsupportive, even abusive, if they affirm their child’s biological realities…”

By state law, Delawareans had 30 days to comment on the proposal – and more than 11,000 did! Together with the more than 8,000 petitions collected by Theis, the governor got the message. To the cheers of parents, the governor backed off in December and asked the team to reconvene in January with new recommendations. This week, almost six months later, Delaware released the fruits of those meetings, a revised Regulation 225. Unfortunately, though, it’s only mildly better.

Delaware officials have made a better effort to include parents in the gender and race changes of their kids, but it doesn’t do nearly enough to involve moms and dads. Even in this version, employees of the school or state can still have secret conversations about a student’s gender without ever calling home. The rewrite also doesn’t do a thing to address the privacy concerns of so many parents. Under this latest draft, Regulation 225 doesn’t provide any relief for kids who feel pressured to undress, shower, or share an overnight room with students of the opposite sex.

Parents in the area have done an incredible job making their voices heard — and it looks like they’ll have to keep speaking up until Delaware gets it right. The public will have another 30 days to comment on the changes, so it will be up to the state to keep the pressure on about privacy and parental rights. Based on what they’ve accomplished already, there’s plenty of reason to hope! Although the fight isn’t over (yet!), be encouraged. Your involvement does make a difference!


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


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Speculative climate chaos v. indisputable fossil fuel benefits

By Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek.

Judge William Alsup has a BS in engineering, has written computer programs for his ham radio hobby, delves deeply into the technical aspects of numerous cases before him, and even studied other programming languages for a complex Oracle v. Google lawsuit.

As presiding judge in People of the State of California v. BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, he insisted that the litigants present their best scientific evidence for and against the state’s assertion that fossil fuel emissions are causing dangerous climate change. Now he wants to see, not just the alleged damages from burning oil, natural gas and coal – but also the immense benefits to humanity and the people of California from using those fuels for the past 150 years and more.

Environmental and climate activists, including cities pursuing climate lawsuits against oil companies, almost never acknowledge those benefits, which are far-reaching and indisputable. We can only hope attorneys Anne Champion, Philip Curtis, Diehl Kemper, et al. and friends of the court will do justice to the many blessings attributable to our use of these once unimaginable energy resources.

For countless millennia, our ancestors struggled to survive amid deprivation and backbreaking dusk-to-dawn labor, often on the brink of starvation – with the bulk of humanity living little better than their domesticated animals. Average nasty, brutish and short life expectancy hovered in the low thirties.

But then, suddenly and miraculously, in barely two centuries, health, prosperity and longevity began to climb. First coal, then oil, then natural gas paved the way, providing the fuels for transportation, communication, refrigeration, electricity and other incredible technologies that improve, enhance, safeguard and save lives. Incomes increased eleven-fold. Mass die-offs so confidently predicted by Malthus and Ehrlich never materialized. In fact, global life spans more than doubled, and today billions of people enjoy living standards that even kings and queens could not dream of 120 years ago.

Sadly, equal numbers of people still struggle on the edge of survival. A billion and a half are still without electricity, two billion still exist on a few dollars a day, and millions still die every year from insect-borne, lung and intestinal diseases – largely because they still burn wood and dung, instead of fossil fuels.

In 1900, New York City’s 3.4 million people relied on 100,000 horses whose “tailpipes” emitted 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine every day. Sanitation crews cleaned it up, dumped it mostly in local rivers, and hauled dead horses to rendering plants. Farmers devoted thousands of acres just to growing horse feed. Imagine what today’s 8.6 million NYC residents would require and emit.

Today, far more powerful, far less polluting, trucks, cars, buses, trains, subways and airplanes move people, food and products far more quickly and efficiently. They take us to work, school and worship services; to the grocery, bank, drug store, doctor and restaurant; to movies, picnics and sporting events. Fire trucks help us battle devastating conflagrations, and ambulances take our injured to hospitals.

All these vehicles (internal combustion and electric) exist because of, are fueled by – and travel on roadways made with fossil fuels: asphalt from oil, metal and concrete manufactured using fossil fuels.

Even electric cars require oil, gas and coal for manufacturing and recharging. Indeed, the earth-moving machines, drilling rigs and production platforms, pipelines, foundries, factories and other technologies needed to extract, process and fabricate raw materials into the world around us exist because of fossil fuels. Every bit of metal, plastic, concrete, wood, fabric and food we see results from fossil fuels. Even wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels are impossible without the fuels that California so loves to hate.

Medical devices, computers, cell phones, radios and televisions, kitchen appliances, household and office heating and air conditioning, millions of other products of every description require fossil fuels for their components, manufacturing and daily operation. The schools and research laboratories that made our amazing technologies and other advancements possible are themselves made possible by fossil fuels.

The modern agricultural equipment and practices that feed the world share the same ancestry: tractor and harvester fuel, ammonia fertilizer from natural gas, pesticides and herbicides from petrochemicals. Carbon dioxide from burning these fuels helps crop, forage, forest and grassland plants grow faster and better, with less water and better resistance to droughts and diseases. Our bounteous grain and other crops mean fewer famines, except where forced starvation is used to subdue and eliminate enemies.

Indeed, between 1961 and 2011, the total monetary value of CO2 enhancement for 45 crops reached an estimated cumulative value of $3.2 trillion! Carbon dioxide’s annual enrichment value rose from $19 billion in 1961 to $140 billion in 2010. Between 2012 and 2050, these benefits will total $9.8 trillion!

Pharmaceutical and cosmetic products all have their roots in petrochemicals – as do paints, synthetic fibers and plastics. Hockey and football players are dressed head to toe in fossil-fuel-sourced materials.

High-rise office and residential buildings made possible by steel and concrete allow our cities to grow upward, instead of just outward, preserving millions of acres of wildlife habitats and scenic areas.

Then there’s electricity. Look around you, and try to imagine your life without this wondrous, pervasive energy source. Electricity was properly ranked humanity’s second most significant innovation of the past 6,000 years, after the printing press! It has created, shaped, defined and powered the modern world, and facilitated virtually every technological achievement of the past century. Electrification of nations is undeniably the world’s most significant engineering and life-enhancing achievement of the past century.

Economic growth, quality of life and longevity are directly correlated to sufficient, reliable, affordable electricity. In today’s world, nothing happens without it: communication, transportation and research; the operation of every home, office, hospital, factory and airport; refrigeration to preserve food and medicine; heating and air conditioning to save lives and enable people to survive and prosper in any climate.

Electrification will be increasingly important in the 21st century, and world electricity consumption is forecast to double within four decades, as electricity supplies an increasing share of the world’s ever-increasing energy demand. Fossil fuels will continue generating at least 75% of electricity, even in 2050.

Hydroelectric and nuclear (which radical environmentalists also despise and oppose), a bit of geothermal, and a smattering of unreliable, weather-determined wind and solar power will supply the rest. The land, resource and environmental impacts of building and operating wind and solar must also be considered.

Social media and internet search engines (to run biased searches for alarmist climate news) also depend on electricity – 91.4% of which was generated by fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro in 2016 in the USA.

Increased productivity generated by all these technologies creates the leisure time and wealth that enable everyone to enjoy evenings, weekends and holidays – and the fossil fuel transportation to go places (including to faraway, exotic locales and 5-star hotels for IPCC climate change confabs).

Finally, aside from nuclear-powered ships, our highly mechanized military gets there “the fastest with the mostest” thanks to fossil fuels, to combat terrorism and provide for our national defense.

Judge Alsup’s case is thus really about highly speculative manmade climate disasters versus indisputable fossil fuel benefits – as further documented herehereherehereherehereherehere and elsewhere. Indeed, today’s undeniable fossil fuel benefits outweigh any hypothesized climate, sea level and other costs by literally orders of magnitude: at least 50:1 to more than 200:1.

Barring major efficiency, battery storage and other technology improvements, renewable energy cannot possibly replace fossil fuels. Judge Alsup has no choice but to rule in favor of the oil company defendants … and all who rely on oil, gas and coal for the countless, life-enhancing benefits barely touched on here.

About the Authors: 

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

Roger Bezdek

Dr. Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and President of Management Information Services, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Hong Kong is by Arisa Chattasa@golfarisa.