Pro-Abortion Snobbery

David Carlin: What factors divide pro-life from pro-choice Americans? Mostly, it’s the difference between humility and arrogance.


This column is about abortion, but it will take a moment or two to get to the point.  Please bear with me.

If ever there was an obvious example of fallacious reasoning, it’s this: “I am rich, and you are not.  Therefore I’m right, and you’re wrong.”

What could be more stupid than an argument along these lines?  And yet this is precisely the reasoning that has been used, century after century, by those in the higher classes to dismiss complaints made by persons from the lower classes.  This is the reasoning that permitted lords of the manor to dismiss complaints by serfs, slaveholders to dismiss complaints by slaves, mill-owners to dismiss complaints by factory hands, etc.

In a society that places great value on wealth (and what society does not place great value on wealth?), rich people cannot help but feel that they are superior people: not just superior in wealth, but superior in almost every way.  And if you are superior in almost every way, then you must be superior in judgment.

If it happens, then, that a person from the lower classes disagrees with you, it becomes obvious – does it not? – that you must be right and the other must be wrong.

Your rightness and his wrongness are so obvious, in fact, that there really is no need for you (the rich person) to examine the other fellow’s case.  Save yourself time and trouble by dismissing it from the get-go as unworthy of consideration.

And don’t waste a lot of time trying to explain to the other fellow why he’s wrong. Out of a noblesse oblige kind of courtesy, you might offer him a brief explanation; but when you see (as you soon will) that he doesn’t buy it, move on to something else.

And now to abortion.  Considered on purely intellectual merits, the anti-abortion argument is vastly superior to the pro-abortion argument.  The anti-abortion or pro-life side argues that the entity that gets killed in an abortion is a human being, a tiny human being that grows less tiny every day.

And what else could it be if not a human being?  It is not a dog or a monkey or a fish or an elm tree.  The pro-abortion side has no counter-argument that comes even close to refuting the anti-abortion case.  The best the pro-abortion side can come up with are mindless slogans like “a woman’s right to choose” or “a woman’s right to control her own body” or “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.”

*

This last is my favorite stupid argument.  It is strictly parallel to, “If you don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave.”

And yet, despite the obvious superiority of the anti-abortion argument, hardly ever is a pro-abortion person persuaded.  Why is this?

The answer, I think, can be found in the social class differences between pro-life and pro-abortion people.  The heart of the pro-abortion movement is found among men and women of the upper-middle classes: people who have (or soon will have when they finish college and get a few years older) good educations, good jobs, good cars, good houses, good food, good wine, high incomes, millions in assets, many important social and political connections, a cosmopolitan outlook, etc.

Given contemporary American standards, they are superior people.  They may not be superior according to the standards that prevailed in Plato’s Academy, or in ancient Sparta, or in the monasteries of St. Benedict, or in the Shaker communities. But they are without question “superior” according to present-day American standards.

By contrast, the heart of the pro-life movement is found among women from the lower-middle classes: persons with educations and incomes that are barely adequate in today’s high-price society; persons who lack the millions, the high culture, the good connections, etc.

These women tend to be religious; they tend to have more children than does the average American woman (and certainly more than does the typical pro-abortion activist); they tend to be sexually un-liberated – so much so that many of them (and this is truly shocking from a contemporary point of view) have had sexual relations with only one man, their husband.  According to present-day standards, these women are definitely inferior.

It will be pointed out that my ideas of the typical pro-life and pro-abortion person are stereotypes.  Of course. But stereotypes are often enough more or less accurate.

In any case, the typical pro-abortion activist, instead of taking seriously the arguments presented by the pro-life movement, says to herself or himself: “I am rich and well-educated, I own a handsome house or condo and a fine automobile, I am thin and athletic, and I am blessed with excellent taste when it comes to coffee, wine, food, furniture, music, movies, works of art, etc.  In short, I am a superior person.  The world is fortunate to have people like me in it.”

“And so, that anti-choice woman standing over there – whose education is limited, whose income is modest, whose house is small and unattractive and in the wrong neighborhood, whose body is unshapely and somewhat overweight, whose taste is appallingly vulgar – when she tells me that I am wrong about abortion, I would laugh at her if I didn’t pity her.  What could be more preposterous than to think that an inferior person like her might be right and a superior person like myself might be wrong?”

These “superior” people, let us remember, are the people who control the “command posts” of American culture. Which is to say that they are dominant in a number of our leading institutions: the mainstream journalistic media, the entertainment industry, our best colleges and universities, and one of our two great political parties.

They shape the public mind, especially the mind of younger generations.  If they won’t listen to reason (which they won’t), do we have any grounds to be hopeful for the long-run success of the pro-life movement?

Yes.  But I’ve run out of time (and space) today. More to come next time.

COLUMN BY

David Carlin

David Carlin is a professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

RELATED ARTICLE: How State ‘Birthday Abortions’ Bills Stack Up to Federal Restrictions

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Kids Aren’t Born Transgender, So Don’t Let Advocates Bamboozle You

People who pursue a cross-sex identity aren’t born that way, and children should not be encouraged to “transition” to the opposite sex, according to a reference work endorsed by the American Psychological Association.

Yet every day I hear from another parent who tells me that a child’s therapist, after an appointment or two, strongly recommends that the parent allow the child to change his or her name and personal pronouns, live as the opposite sex, and get on the track toward irreversible medical interventions.

Laura Haynes, a licensed psychologist in California, recently reviewed the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology and highlighted its research findings about transgender children.

Among those findings, cited on page 744 of Volume 1:

  • “In no more than about one in four children does gender dysphoria persist from childhood to adolescence or adulthood,” with the majority of affected boys later identifying as gay, not transgender, and up to half of affected girls identifying as lesbian, not transgender.
  • “Early social transition (i.e., change of gender role, such as registering a birth-assigned boy in school as a girl) should be approached with caution to avoid foreclosing this stage of gender identity development.”
  • “Early social transition may be necessary for some; however, the stress associated with possible reversal of this decision has been shown to be substantial.”

Yet we all have been bamboozled by distorted claims to the contrary from sex-change advocates, who insist the science is settled.

They say people who identify as the opposite sex will never change their mind, the cross-sex identity is fixed and the earlier the child, teen, or adult is affirmed as the opposite sex and makes the transition, the better off he or she will be.

In fact, however, the American Psychological Association and the weight of historical evidence both challenge society’s affirmation of cross-sex identities.

The preface to the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, published in 2014, says it is endorsed and approved by the American Psychological Association, which describes itself as “the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and the largest association of psychologists in the world.”

underwent my own “sex change” in April 1983. I had no idea then that I would be here today talking about the subject, or that the evidence against “born that way” had started oozing out as early as 1979, four years before I was mutilated.

In 1979 an endocrinologist, Dr. Charles L. Ihlenfeld, sounded a warning on using hormones and surgery on the transgender population in remarks to a group of clinicians. Ihlenfeld had administered hormone therapy for six years to a large sample of 500 trans-identified adults.

Ihlenfeld, who is gay, told the clinicians that “80 percent of the people who want to change their sex shouldn’t do it.” Desires to change sex, he said, “most likely stem from powerful psychological factors—likely from the experiences of the first 18 months of life.”

Ihlenfeld’s comments 40 years ago foreshadowed the evidence provided in the APA Handbook, where page 743 of Volume 1 says that identifying as the opposite sex is “most likely the result of a complex interaction between biological and environmental factors.”

“Research on the influence of family of origin dynamics,” it adds, “has found some support for separation anxiety among gender-nonconforming boys and psychopathology among mothers.”

Ihlenfeld and the APA, generations apart in time, came to a similar conclusion: The desire to change sex most likely stems from early life experiences and psychological factors.

As to the wisdom and effectiveness of using cross-sex hormones and sex-change surgery to treat gender dysphoria, the evidence does not exist.

Above:  The author, Walt Heyer, takes part in a related panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation. His remarks begin at 47:30 in the video.

In the United Kingdom, the University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility conducted a review in 2004 of 100 international medical studies of “post-operative transsexuals.” It found “no conclusive evidence [that] sex-change operations improve the lives of transsexuals.”

Additionally, the evidence showed that the transsexual person, after undergoing reassignment surgery, “remains severely distressed to the point of suicide.”

A professor at Oxford University, Carl Heneghan, is one recent voice questioning cross-sex hormone use in children and adolescents. Heneghan is editor-in-chief of a respected British medical journal, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.

On Feb. 25, Heneghan and a fellow researcher reported significant problemswith how evidence is collected and analyzed, concluding:

Treatments for under 18 gender dysphoric children and adolescents remain largely experimental. There are a large number of unanswered questions that include the age at start, reversibility, adverse events, long-term effects on mental health, quality of life, bone mineral density, osteoporosis in later life and cognition.

So the negative findings stack up, and alarms are raised about the lack of proof concerning effectiveness and safety. But administering unnecessary hormones and rearranging healthy body parts with sex-change surgeries continue undaunted by a deaf medical community.

I feel like I’m standing alongside the road shouting to warn approaching drivers: “The bridge is out! The bridge is out!”

Because I know—I drove off that cliff, and I’m still affected 35 years later.

The APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, again, says that transgender people are not born that way, that cross-sex identification can change, and that the majority of children grow out of a desire to change sex if they don’t engage in social transition.

Strangely, the medical and psychological community doesn’t follow its own evidence and seems oblivious to the experiment they’re conducting on real lives, especially those of children.

The sex-change cheerleaders falsely claim, “Affirmation is the only solution.” They use distorted doctrine to lobby for laws that punish counselors and parents who say otherwise, laws that take away the rights of patients to choose their own therapy goals.

Organizations such as The Trevor Project are lobbying in all 50 states to outlaw any therapy that suggests interest in cross-sex transition can change.

Meanwhile, accounts such as these of families and lives being ripped to shreds by sex change appear in my inbox daily. I have compiled 30 of the stories I’ve received, along with recent research, in my own book “Trans Life Survivors.”

We must wake up and use the evidence provided in the APA Handbook to counter those who say transgender people are born that way.

Instead, we must fight loudly for the rights of patients to choose their counseling goals and against laws that legislate affirmation as the only therapy allowed.

COMMENTARY BY

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.

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


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

The Abby Johnson Story

One day, about a decade ago, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director saw something at her own clinic—and it made her instantly pro-life.

Her name is Abby Johnson, and she was the director of the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood clinic, which was affiliated with the greater Houston area Planned Parenthood—one of the largest markets for America’s largest abortion-provider. In 2008, Abby had been voted as Planned Parenthood’s Employee of the Year. She was on a fast-track for further promotion within Planned Parenthood.

I interviewed Abby Johnson on the radio a few years ago. She told me about something that happened that made her question how good Planned Parenthood really was: “I had been instructed to increase the abortion quota at our facility, which was strange to me because I really got involved with Planned Parenthood, believing that abortion was something we were trying to eradicate, [to] make unnecessary through various education programs.”

I said, “Safe, legal, and rare?” She said, “Sure, that’s what we said to the media, and that’s what I believed.” She naively thought abortion (as a last resort) was helpful to women.

Abby said in a television interview for D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM):

“Planned Parenthood says that they offer options counseling, but that’s not true….they don’t really know how to effectively counsel on anything but abortion. I was great at selling abortion. I was a very, very good salesperson. I could sell an abortion to anybody. It’s so easy when you get a woman into your office, and she is vulnerable and she’s unsure.”

But on September 26, 2009, at the request of a visiting doctor who insisted on sonogram-assisted abortions, Abby ran the sonogram machine and saw from a different perspective what her life’s work (up to that time) was really all about.

In her book, The Walls Are Talking (with Kristin Detrow, 2016), Abby writes, “As I stood watching, a thirteen-week-old unborn child struggled and lost its life within its mother’s womb, finally crumpling and disappearing into the cannula, a hollow plastic tube attached to the suction machine by a flexible hose.”

She described it this way in the DJKM television interview,

“I was just in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And the baby was actually making some progress. It was moving further and further away from the instrument, so much so the doctor had to reposition the cannula. And he finally got everything in place, and he asked the technician to turn on the suction, and she did.”

Abby continues, “In just, a few moments, I saw the child’s body begin to go through that tube.

For those few moments I was watching this child fight hard for its life. It didn’t have a chance. We had all those instruments and all that technology, and that little baby didn’t have a fighting change, and it did fight.”

Abby adds: “I walked out of the room that day just realizing, ‘I’ve got to make a change. Never again. I’m never going to participate in this again.’”

Today, Abby’s story can be seen on the big screen. Unplanned, based on her best-selling book of the same title (with Cindy Lambert, 2010), opened this past weekend and was a surprise hit. It came in number five at the box office, which is quite an accomplishment for an independent pro-life movie that virtually all of Hollywood does not want you to see. I saw it on its opening weekend and highly recommend it.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told me:

“The depiction of abortion in Unplanned is something that every pro-life person should see—and every pro-choice person.”

Today, one of Abby Johnson’s central goals is to assist abortion clinic workers who want to leave the abortion industry. Her organization, And Then There Were None, is directly geared toward this.

In an online video for that outreach, Abby says,

“Our vision statement for And Then There Were None is ‘No abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions’—it starts with the workers. We see ourselves as being part of a pro-love movement…we want to love these workers out of the clinics. We want to love them to a path of healing, and we want to love them…into a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

So far, they have been able to help 500 people leave the abortion clinics.

In her book, The Walls Are Talking, Abby says she relates to Mary Magdalene:

“I have also done my fair share of sinning. And I have also been forgiven much more than I deserve. I abused and betrayed women in the worst possible way. I convinced them to kill their children….It was Christ who changed me.”

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make your plans to go see Unplanned.

RELATED ARTICLE: How the Left Keeps Me Religious

RELATED VIDEO: ‘Unplanned’: How Twitter Promoted a Pro-Life Film.

Plastic Bag Bans Won’t Help the Environment, But They’ll Cause More Foodborne Illnesses

Plastic bags are less than one percent of all litter.


New York lawmakers have followed California’s lead and decided to ban grocery stores from giving customers plastic bags. They hope shoppers will use their own cloth bags instead. This ban on plastic bags will harm shoppers in multiple ways.

As Daniel Frank sarcastically notes, “Reusable tote bags” can “cause food poisoning but at least they’re worse for the environment than plastic bags.” He cites Jon Passantino of BuzzFeed News, who observes, “Those cotton tote bags that are so trendy right now have to be used *131 times* before it has a smaller climate impact than a plastic bag used only once.” Yet, there are progressives who want to ban plastic grocery bags in favor of reusable cloth bags.

Plastic bags are less than one percent of all litter. Moreover, alternatives like cloth and paper bags are in many cases worse for the environment than plastic bags, and far worse for public health. That was illustrated by a 2011 legal settlement between plastic bag makers and an importer of reusable bags, ChicoBag. The plastic bag makers sued ChicoBag for its use of false claims about the recycling rate and environmental impacts of plastic grocery bags in its promotional materials. (Those false claims are also the basis for municipal bans and taxes on plastic bags.)

Under that settlement, ChicoBag was required to discontinue its use of its counterfeit EPA website and make corrections to its deceptive marketing claims, which had included sharing falsified government documents with schoolchildren. It was also required to disclose to consumers on its website that reusable bags, in fact, need to be washed.

Reusable bags “are a breeding ground for bacteria and pose public health risks — food poisoning, skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections,” noted a 2009 report.  Harmful bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and fecal coliform thrive in reusable bags unless they are washed after each use, according to an August 2011 peer-reviewed study, “Assessment of the Potential for Cross-contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags.”

Among the inaccurate claims that ChicoBag could no longer make after the settlement is one that contrasted the environmental impact of plastic versus reusable bags. Contrary to ChicoBag’s previous claims, a study done for the U.K. Environmental Agency showed it would take 7.5 years of using the same cloth bag (393 uses, assuming one grocery trip per week) to make it a better option than a plastic bag reused three times. See “Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags,” Executive Summary, 2nd page.

As an earlier report on the subject noted (see p. 60):

[A]ny decision to ban traditional polyethylene plastic grocery bags in favor of bags made from alternative materials (compostable plastic or recycled paper) will be counterproductive and result in a significant increase in environmental impacts across a number of categories from global warming effects to the use of precious potable water resources. … [T]he standard polyethylene grocery bag has significantly lower environmental impacts than a 30% recycled content paper bag and a compostable plastic bag.

cotton bag has a greater [harmful environmental] impact than the conventional [plastic] bag in seven of the nine impact categories even when used 173 times. … The impact was considerably larger in categories such as acidification and aquatic & terrestrial ecotoxicity due to the energy used to produce cotton yarn and the fertilisers used during the growth of the cotton (see p. 60).

Similarly,

Starch-polyester blend bags have a higher global warming potential and abiotic depletion than conventional polymer bags, due both to the increased weight of material in a bag and higher material production impacts (see Executive Summary).

As Environmental Protection noted in 2010:

Reusable grocery bags can serve as a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria and pose a serious risk to public health, according to a joint food safety research report issued by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University. The study — which randomly tested reusable grocery bags carried by shoppers in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco, and Tucson, Ariz. — also found consumers were almost completely unaware of the need to regularly wash their bags.

“Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half the bags sampled,” said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a University of Arizona environmental microbiology professor and co-author of the study. “Furthermore, consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitize their bags after every use.” The bacteria levels found in reusable bags were significant enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even lead to death — a particular danger for young children, who are especially vulnerable to food-borne illnesses, he said.

The study also found that awareness of potential risks was very low. A full 97 percent of those interviewed have never washed or bleached their reusable bags, said Gerba, who added that thorough washing kills nearly all bacteria that accumulate in reusable bags.

Plastic bags are “less than 0.5% of the litter stream,” according to the head of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. That low percentage is confirmed by EPA data. (See, e.g., EPA, Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2009 Facts and Figures, p. 53, showing that the entire category of plastic sacks, wraps, and bags—including trash bags as well as grocery bags—together account for only a little over one percent of all municipal solid waste, and only a small fraction of overall plastics.)

This article is republished with permission from Liberty Unyielding. 

COLUMN BY

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission.

Who Is Your Doctor?

In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office.


People used to know who their doctor was. His name and phone number were on the wall or the refrigerator next to the telephone. He was there for you and could manage most of your problems.

When I was about 13, my mom took me to our pediatrician for belly pain. He was on his way out the door, but he stopped to take care of me. He diagnosed appendicitis based on history and physical examination. He called his favorite surgeon (“Billy,” a Tucson legend), who came from the golf course to meet me in the emergency room. Within hours, my red-hot appendix was in a jar. My parents paid the hospital bill ($150—10 days’ pay for a construction laborer) as I was discharged a few days later.

Today, the patient with abdominal pain could wait for hours to see the ER provider—possibly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who had never seen a case of acute appendicitis. She’ll probably get a CT scan, after another wait. Eventually, Dr. On-call may take her to the operating room, hopefully before the appendix ruptures. And the bill will be beyond the means of ordinary people.

I used to be able to direct-admit patients from my office and send them with a set of orders to the hospital admitting office. For years, this has been impossible. The hospital is decidedly unfriendly to independent doctors. There’s now a gatekeeper in the emergency room, and most patients are under the control of a hospitalist.

This hospital, still Catholic at least in name, is now owned by a huge national conglomerate. Recently, it thwarted all efforts to keep it from dehydrating a patient to death despite lack of an advance directive or permission from next of kin. The patient’s mother disputed the diagnosis of brain death. The gastroenterologist of her choice was willing and able to place a feeding tube, needed in order to transfer the patient to a skilled nursing facility, but the hospital would not permit it. An outside physician whom the mother had called on was removed from the patient’s room by security, when she was merely praying with the mother. The mother could not get a phone call returned from an attending physician. Who was the doctor? Apparently, the hospital system.

Recently, a physician called me about her mother, who was seemingly a captive in a world-renowned hospital. She was concerned about her mother’s nutritional status and falling oxygen level. She could not speak to the attending physician. “They play musical doctors.”

Largely driven by government policy, the System is increasingly in control. A new level of intrusion is being proposed in California in a bill (SB 276) that would outlaw all medical exemptions for vaccines, unless a public health officer approves each one, based on the very narrow list of contraindications accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Doctors traditionally swore an oath not to harm patients, and are liable if they do. But government officials are immune from liability, even if they overrule a physician’s judgment that a particular patient faces an unacceptable risk of harm from a vaccine.

If you disagree with your private doctor, you can fire him or simply decline to follow his advice. But what if the government is your doctor?

In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office. The main concern seemed to be that the child was not vaccinated.

Americans need to defend their right to have an independent physician, to choose their physician and type of care, and to give or withhold informed consent to medical treatments. Otherwise, their “doctor” will be a protocol in a system staffed by interchangeable automatons. Treatments will be inaccessible or required, tailored to meet the needs and beliefs of the system.

If the government is the ultimate authority on your “health care,” remember that its tools for checking whether a child has a life-threatening disease such as meningitis include battering rams and assault rifles.

Trump Really Does Have a Plan That’s Better Than Obamacare

“If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out,” President Donald Trump said last week, “we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare.”

Democrats couldn’t believe their luck. They still were reeling from special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that the Trump campaign neither conspired nor coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Now the president was changing the subject from collusion (a suddenly awkward topic for Democrats) to health care (which helped them capture dozens of House seats last November).

Besides, the president really doesn’t have a plan that is far better than Obamacare, or any plan at all. Right?

Wrong.

A look at his fiscal year 2020 budget shows that the president has a plan to reduce costs and increase health care choices. His plan would achieve this by redirecting federal premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion money into grants to states. States would be required to use the money to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.

The president’s proposal is buttressed by a growing body of evidence that relaxing federal regulations and freeing the states to innovate makes health care more affordable for families and small businesses.

Ed Haislmaier and I last year published an analysis of waivers that have so far enabled seven states to significantly reduce individual health insurance premiums. These states fund “invisible high risk pools” and reinsurance arrangements largely by repurposing federal money that would otherwise have been spent on Obamacare premium subsidies, directing them instead to those in greatest medical need.

By financing care for those with the biggest medical bills, these states have substantially reduced premiums for individual policies. Before Maryland obtained its waiver, insurers in the state filed requests for 2019 premium hikes averaging 30 percent. After the federal government approved the waiver, final 2019 premiums averaged 13 percent lower than in 2018—a 43 percent swing.

Best of all, Maryland and the other waiver states have achieved these results without increasing federal spending or creating a new federally funded reinsurance program, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has proposed to do.

State innovation also extends to Medicaid. Some states have sought waivers permitting them to establish work requirements designed to help Medicaid recipients escape poverty.

Arkansas, for example, last June began requiring nondisabled, childless, working-age adults to engage in 80 hours of work activity per month. The program defined “work activity” broadly to include seeking a job, training for work, studying for a GED, engaging in community service, and learning English.

More than 18,000 people—all nondisabled and aged 30-49—were dropped from the rolls between September and December for failing to meet these requirements. The overwhelming majority did not report any work-related activity. All became eligible to re-enroll in Medicaid on Jan. 1. Fewer than 2,000 have done so, suggesting that most either don’t value the benefit or now earn enough to render them ineligible for Medicaid.

Nonetheless, last week a federal judge ordered Arkansas to drop its Medicaid work requirement, a requirement that would likely improve lifetime earnings of Medicaid recipients.

Administration efforts to relax federal rules to benefit employees of small businesses also were nullified last week by a federal judge.

Most uninsured workers are employed by small firms, many of which can’t afford Obamacare coverage for their employees. The Labor Department rule allowed small firms to band together, including across state lines, giving them purchasing power comparable to that of big businesses.

study of association health plans that formed after the new rule took effect last September found that they offered comprehensive coverage at premium savings averaging 23%. The court ruling stopped that progress in its tracks.

Waivers and regulations that benefit consumers are susceptible to the whim of judges and bureaucrats, which is why Congress should act on the president’s proposal.

It closely parallels the Health Care Choices Proposal, the product of ongoing work by national and state think tanks, grassroots organizations, policy analysts, and others in the conservative community. A study by the Center for Health and the Economy, commissioned by The Heritage Foundation, found that the proposal would reduce premiums for individual health insurance by up to 32 percent and cover virtually the same number of people as under Obamacare.

It also would give consumers more freedom to choose the coverage they think best for themselves and their families. Unlike current law, states could include direct primary care; health-sharing ministries; short-term, limited-duration plans; and other arrangements among the options available through their programs.

Those expanded choices would extend to low-income people. The proposal would require states to let those receiving assistance through the block grants, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs apply the value of their subsidy to the plan of their choice, instead of being herded into government-contracted health maintenance organizations.

Outside groups that helped develop the proposal, which is similar to the president’s, are looking to refine it by incorporating other Trump administration ideas like expansion of health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and association health plans. They’re also reviewing various administration ideas to reduce health care costs through choice and competition.

The president really does have “a plan that is far better than Obamacare.” Congress should get on board.

COMMENTARY BY

Doug Badger is a former White House and Senate policy adviser and is currently a senior fellow at the Galen Institute and a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

Dems’ POW Flags Still AWOL

If Friday was National Vietnam Veterans Day, Democrats had a funny way of celebrating it. While the Defense Department and other agencies stopped to honor the nine million Americans who served, liberal congressmen, apparently, couldn’t be bothered. They were too busy pulling the POW/MIA flags out of their stands to make room for the baby blue and pink banner of the transgender movement. It’s “Transgender Visibility Week,” some tried to explain. But when it comes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) party, isn’t every week?

Thanks to the Washington Free Beacon, who first noticed the swap, Americans got another good look at the Democrats’ utter disregard for our troops. When FRC’s government affairs team was on the Hill for meetings last week, they were astounded at just how many hallways were littered with the pastel-colored displays. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the flags were delivered to “EVERY member of the Congress, from every party.” Some members, like California’s Linda Sanchez (D), tacked them over the doorways, so that visitors almost had to duck to miss them. But now that the media is running with the story, ducking the message liberals are sending will be even harder.

When word leaked out that everyone from Pelosi to Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) were more concerned about showing pride in a radical sexual fringe than our missing men and women, the American Legion didn’t pull any punches. In a blistering statement, Commander Brett Reistad had this to say about LGBT fanaticism replacing the sacrifice of our troops.

“According to several media reports, some members of Congress replaced POW/MIA flags that were displayed outside their Capitol Hill offices with Transgender Equality banners. We take no issue with members of Congress honoring additional groups, but it should be in addition to rather than instead of our heroes, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. These servicemen and servicewomen went missing while defending all Americans. Their flags should not go missing as well. The American Legion urges that every member of Congress honor these heroes by ensuring the POW/MIA flag is properly and permanently displayed outside their offices.”

The message from the Democratic Party is even more offensive when you consider that taxpayers have already wasted almost $8 million dollars “treating” troops who identify as transgender — while our veterans die waiting for something as simple as a colonoscopy. While we prioritize the care of the military’s tiny LGBT population, America’s heroes still face “months-long delays” to see a doctor. If they wanted faster care, I suppose they should have identified as transgender. After all, that demographic has had no trouble getting the government to finance 161 surgical procedures, 9,321 prescriptions for hormones, and 22,992 psychotherapy visits since 2016.

It’s a sad commentary on our country when gender confusion entitles you to better care than most of the people who served. But then, that’s the preference of most progressives these days. Look at the 2020 Democratic candidates. Four of them lined up to publicly salute “Transgender Visibility Day,” proving to everyone where their true allegiance lies. “Being yourself takes bravery,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted. Then in a gratuitous swipe at the president’s transgender military policy (which the majority of troops happen to support), she went on, “Serving your country takes bravery. Demeaning and discriminating against trans Americans — including service members and students — is just cowardice. Trans rights are human rights. We will defend them as such.”

Fellow hopefuls Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) laid it on just as thick. Yet not one of them could spare 240 characters on Friday for a tweet about Vietnam Veterans Day. (Although Harris did make time to lobby for a ban on talk therapy for people struggling with their sexuality and Gillibrand found room for a post about the ridiculousness of protecting unborn life.)

If you want a snapshot of the Democrats’ priorities, there isn’t a better one. By June’s LGBT Pride Month, who knows? They might just take down Old Glory altogether.

For more on the rationale behind the president’s transgender policy, check out Peter Sprigg’s detailed papers: “Should Individuals Who Serve as Transgender Be Permitted to Serve in the Military?” and an in-depth look at the Pentagon’s research, “Department of Defense on Why Those with Gender Dysphoria’ Are Disqualified from Military Service.”


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Marijuana-Related ER Visits Triple During Legalization in Colorado

A toxicology specialist has found a connection between legalized marijuana and a threefold increase in related visits to emergency rooms in Colorado for heart and other issues, confirming that cannabis poses health risks.

Marijuana may be a recreational activity for many, but marijuana-infused “edibles” in particular have been subject to scrutiny because of their ties to a jump in patients seeking medical treatment.

The new study from researchers with the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that marijuana-related ER visits tripled between 2012 and 2016.

The study also found that people consuming marijuana edibles suffer from toxic reactions at higher rates than those who simply smoke the drug. These edibles typically include brownies and other baked goods.

Dr. Andrew Monte, an associate professor at the medical school’s Anschutz campus, was lead author of the research paper published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, touted as the first study to show an increased rate of adverse health events linked to marijuana edibles.

“Some patients will have psychosis, hallucinations, or they will hear things,” Monte, also an emergency medicine and toxicology specialist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, told the website UCHealth. “The more common thing is acute anxiety, panic attacks, and very high heart rates.”

“There’s a much higher risk with taking edible agents,” he added. “It’s so unpredictable in terms of the effects.”

Colorado legalized medical marijuana shops in 2009, then legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014. Since the legalization of marijuana in some jurisdictions across the U.S., public health experts have called for better quality control of marijuana.

ER visits by those consuming marijuana edibles have risen since Colorado legalized marijuana use, for both cardiac and psychiatric problems, the study found.

From 2012 to 2016, the study found, a total of 10,000 ER visits were tied to patients who previously smoked marijuana or used edibles.

More than 25 percent of the ER visits involved symptoms related to marijuana use. Visits related to toxic reactions from marijuana edibles were 33 times higher than expected, the study found.

Another finding: Marijuana users often suffered from nausea and vomiting, a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis.

Although sales of edibles make up a small share of Colorado’s marijuana market, the number of patients suffering from toxic side effects was found to be 11 percent.

Edible marijuana products also were tied to unpleasant psychiatric symptoms and, though rarely, death, according to the study. It also found that marijuana users who sought treatment generally were younger and male.

“When people take something to get high, they generally don’t want to get high three hours later and be high for 12 hours,” Monte told UCHealth, referring to the potency of some edibles.

Edibles containing greater concentrations may produce cyclic vomiting syndrome, he warned.

Enjoying pot-infused edibles “isn’t completely safe,” Monte said, but it’s hard to pinpoint all the side effects because of a lack of clinical trials.

COLUMN BY

Joshua Nelson

Joshua Nelson is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

How Border Security Failures Make US Sick: The Hypocrisy in our Immigration Debate.

Several weeks ago I wrote about how Open Borders Are Dangerous To Our (Public) Health and noted that Ellis Island was a quarantine station.

In the weeks that followed, attention has greatly increased over the growing measles epidemic that is infecting increasing numbers of children particularly in New York State.

On March 26, 2019 the headline of a Newsday report blared: “State of emergency declared in Rockland County because of measles outbreak”.  The subtitle of that article stated, At least 153 people, mostly children, have been affected in the county. And nearly 200 cases have been counted in recent months in Brooklyn and Queens.”

News coverage of the worrying outbreak have focused on the orthodox Jewish community blaming their supposed religious beliefs and practices for not permitting their children to be vaccinated.

This raises the disquieting question if health concerns are being used as a way of demonizing members of the religious Jewish community by blaming them for the measles outbreak.

However the Newsday report provided this important quote:

“I am an Orthodox rabbi, and there is absolutely no religious authority that forbids one from getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, and a specialist in infectious diseases.

“Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population that has fallen under the influence of the anti-vaxxers,” Glatt said of people who espouse anti-vaccine beliefs. “You see this among Jewish and non-Jewish parents. There is a strong contingent of anti-vaxxers who have ulterior motives, but most are decent parents who are just misinformed.”

The Newsday article went on to report:

Earlier this month a federal judge barred 50 students from attending a Rockland school because they were unvaccinated. Health officials believe the outbreak was ignited in September by an international traveler who arrived in the area with measles. The situation worsened when six additional international travelers with measles arrived in Rockland, further spreading measles to vulnerable children.

The issue has a clear nexus to international travel yet most news outlets refuse to focus on this significant aspect of the health crisis.

Having used the term crisis we cannot ignore the headline of a March 26, 2019 report published by WAMC Northeastern Public Radio, Rockland County Exec Declares State Of Emergency For Measles Outbreak.

Under the terms of the declaration of the State of Emergency children under the age of 18 years of age who have not been vaccinated against measles must not enter any public place until April 27 or until they are vaccinated to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.  The penalty for violation of this order is a maximum fine of $500 dollars and/or six months in prison for committing a Class “B” Misdemeanor.

Before we go any further, we must consider what this really means.

Out of a concern for the health of the general population of the residents of Rockland County, a country that lies north of New York City, the fact that several hundred children have contracted the measles prompted swift and decisive action to safeguard the lives of children and others who might be vulnerable to a dangerous disease.

However, under the premise of “Sanctuary Policies” illegal aliens who enter the United States without inspection are shielded from detection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaving them free to wander about those communities with impunity.

Aliens who enter the United States are illegally present and, as I have noted in ever so many of my articles and Congressional testimony, pose a threat to public safety and national security.  They also may well pose a threat to public health.  Under a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (Inadmissible Aliens), aliens may not be granted visas or admitted into the United States if they have a communicable disease or cannot provide proof that they have been vaccinated against at least the following: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B and hepatitis B, and any other vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.

Aliens without inspection are not vetted and their very presence in the United States is not known by our government.

Now let’s consider how frequently advocates for sanctuary policies justify their outrageous policies by claiming that many businesses depend on what they refer to as “undocumented immigrants” (Orwellian Newspeak for aliens who are illegally present in the United States and may have entered the United States illegally and without inspection).

Among the businesses that eagerly hire these aliens who evaded the vetting process at ports of entry are restaurants and food processing plants.

So, while unvaccinated children are to be kept away from public events under the threat of having their parents or legal guardians arrested and imprisoned for up to six months, potentially separating the American parents from their American children, illegal aliens whose medical backgrounds are unknown along with the potential public health risks that they pose are free to go where they wish in those “Sanctuary” jurisdictions and may even help to prepare your next meal.

Bon appetite!

To further support my concerns about health issues that relate to aliens who seek entry into the United States consider on January 15, 2019 Newsweek published a report, “Anti-Vax Movement Listed By World Health Organization As One Of The Top 10 Health Threats For 2019.”

Here a few excerpts from the Newsweek report to help keep you awake at night:

Fragile and vulnerable settings

Crises—such as drought, famine, conflict and population displacement—and poor health services have left more than 1.6 billion people around the world, or 22 percent of the planet’s population, without access to basic care.

Ebola and other high-threat pathogens

Two outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo occurred last year, causing the deaths of nearly 400 people. This highlights the danger of known high-threat pathogens with the potential to cause epidemics—like Ebola, Zika, Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)—as well as those that have yet to be discovered.

Weak primary health care

People in many countries around the world lack access to adequate primary health care services. This is a significant problem because they are the first point of contact that an individual has with a health care system. Often, service is of poor quality or is simply unaffordable

Dengue

Every year, about 390 million people around the world are infected with dengue fever and about 40 percent of the global population lives in regions where it risks contracting the disease. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the flu-like fever has a mortality rate of below 1 percent when it is detected early and the patient receives medical care. However, this figure can rise significantly if the disease is left untreated.

Finally, on March 11, 2019 CNN reported, More than 2,000 people in ICE custody quarantined for contagious diseases.

It is more than a bit ironic and hypocritical that while Congress collectively voted against President Trump’s declaration of an emergency at our porous and dangerous southern border that the local government of Rockland County in New York State have declared a “State of Emergency” over health concerns that may well have a nexus to border security, or lack thereof.

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission.

Science and God

An award-winning scientist recently told the world that science and religion are not incompatible.

The Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports (3/19/19), “The annual Templeton Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to ‘affirming life’s spiritual dimension,’ was awarded Tuesday to Brazilian Marcelo Gleiser—a theoretical physicist dedicated to demonstrating science and religion are not enemies.”

Gleiser, a professor at Dartmouth College since 1991, said, “Science does not kill God.”

Although he is described as an agnostic, the AFP reports that Gleiser “refuses to write off the possibility of God’s existence completely.” He said, “Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method…Atheism is a belief in non-belief. So you categorically deny something you have no evidence against…I’ll keep an open mind because I understand that human knowledge is limited.”

I agree with this man’s sentiments. How is it that science and God are somehow viewed as enemies?

The great British jurist, Sir William Blackstone, whose four-volume set of Commentaries on the Laws of England were of great value to our founding fathers, put it this way: “Thus, when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, He impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. When He put that matter into motion, He established certain laws of motion, to which all moveable bodies must conform.”

I think it is fascinating that virtually all the early scientists historically were professing Christians. They were, in the words of Johannes Kepler, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” in their scientific explorations. Modern science arose near the end of the medieval period. The early scientists believed that a rational God had made a rational universe, and it was their job—using the words of Kepler, “as priests of the highest God”—to try and catalogue what laws of the universe He had created.

Consider some of the thoughts of scientists who were Christians through the ages.

Blaise Pascal was a brilliant mathematician in 17th century France. He is credited with discovering principles that would ultimately lead to the creation of the computer.

Pascal said, “Faith tells us what senses cannot, but it is not contrary to their findings. It simply transcends, without contradicting them.” Pascal also said, “Jesus Christ is the only proof of the living God. We only know God through Jesus Christ.”

Isaac Newton, the discoverer of gravity and one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, wrote more about the Bible and about Christian theology than he did science. Said the great Newton: “I have a foundational belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”

The father of modern chemistry was Oxford professor Robert Boyle, born in 1627. Boyle was not only a diligent student of chemistry, but a diligent student of the Bible. In his will he left a large sum of money to found the “Boyle lectures” for proving the Christian religion.

19th century American Matthew Fontaine Maury is credited as the father of oceanography. He got his idea that the sea has “lanes” and currents from a verse in the Bible. Psalm 8:8 speaks of “the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.”

One time Maury gave a speech at the inauguration for a college in which he said, “I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore of no authority in matters of science. I beg your pardon: the Bible is authority for everything it touches.” That includes, he said, “physical geography, the earth, the sea and the air.”

Maury added, “[W]hen, after patient research, I am led to the discovery of any one of [the physical laws the Creator has built into His creation], I feel with the astronomer of old [i.e., Kepler], as though I had ‘thought one of God’s thoughts,’— and tremble. Thus as we progress with our science we are permitted now and then to point out here and there in the physical machinery of the earth a design of the Great Architect when He planned it all.”

Indeed, as science professor Marcelo Gleiser points out, “science does not kill God.” Far from it.

The late Dr. Robert Jastrow was an astronomer and a planetary physicist with NASA, and he wrote a book called, God and the Astronomers.

Jastrow noted, “The scientist has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Parents Cannot Opt Out Of California’s New Transgender Cram Down

California may not be able to build basic 19th century technology like a railroad, but boy they know how to cram down indoctrination in a fashion that would make gulag guards proud.

The California Department of Education is working on new “health guidelines” — which are neither healthy nor mere guidelines — in a proposed Health Education Framework. This framework covers new educational resources that teach children to reject the old-fashion two-gender stereotype and instead embrace a plethora of ever-expanding gender options.

One recommended resource is a booklet entitled  “Who Are You?” This lovely teaching tool explains to students that there are at least 15 genders from which they can choose, depending on how they feel about themselves at the time. The booklet helpfully teaches children — who, let us remember, are sent to the schools specifically to learn what they are taught — that it is impossible for anyone to determine whether a baby is a boy, a girl or something else.

As one excerpt in the guidelines states: “Babies can’t talk, so grown-ups make a guess by looking at their bodies.”

Guess? This teaching material is as anti-science as it it comes. Of course genitals are a pretty strong indicator of a baby’s sex. Hormones, also. But the undeniable, unchangeable, scientific home-run is chromosomal structure. Genetics cannot be altered as the rest eventually can be. This means that, with a few extraordinarily rare conditions, there are only two genders: XX and XY.

Not surprisingly, California’s planned guidelines — in schools of instruction for students, remember — do not discuss such facts, data or science. So if you dismiss all of reality, then it stands to reason you are left with a “guess.” This is public education in California. But lest we dismiss this cancerous approach being relegated to the wacky coast, there are plenty of frightening examples from around the country.

Such as in Florida, a reddish-purple state. In two school districts in the Tampa Bay region — Sarasota County and Pasco County, both of which are actually red counties politically — officials set out guidelines dealing with transgender children that include keeping their transgenderism secret from their parents and forcing male PE teachers to observe transgender boys (that is, physical girls) change in locker rooms.

But remember, when school leaders say “guidelines,” they mean our way or the highway. Teachers can be transferred, demoted or even fired if they don’t follow the “guidelines,” which is why I often put them in quotes. Really, these are policies. Teach these or else.

Here’s how California teachers will be told to explain the new departure from reality to five-year-olds.

“Discuss gender with kindergartners by exploring gender stereotypes and asking open-ended questions, such as what are preferred colors, toys, and activities for boys/girls, and then challenging stereotypes if presented.” So if a boy acts like a boy, “educators” (have to use quotes in this context) should actually push back against that, directing them to act like girls. And vice-versa for little girls. This is not open-minded. It’s child abuse.

Because of course most of the children cannot read yet, pictures help with the indoctrination into self-destructive behavior on a large scale: “…show images of children around the same age who do not conform to typical gender stereotypes. Examples do not have to be exaggerated or overt. Simple differences, such as colors or toy preferences, can demonstrate acceptance of gender nonconformity.”

And like all good re-education camps, there is no opting out. Brenda Lebsack at EdSource.org, who has gone through the 1,000-page guidelines that almost no parent will read and, interestingly are only in English, explains:

“Instruction about gender or sexual orientations that is implemented through the adoption of the framework is exempted from parent notification and opt out requirements (California Education Code 51932b). According to The California Safe School Coalition, state law provides that ‘instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family life and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions’ are not subject to parental notice and opt-out laws.”

The only real alternative for parents who are Christian or most any religion, or who believe in science and reality, or who are moderate to conservative, is to not send their children to their local public school. They send them off automatically, even in “good” school districts, at great peril. That sounds extreme, but clearly based on this newest proposal, if you send your child to California’s public schools, and increasing numbers of other schools, you are sending your child to learn and believe a provable lie that could psychologically damage them for life.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

Cyber Security: Your Business May Be Under Attack

With the cost of cybercrimes reaching as much as $2.2 trillion a year, it’s clear that we are in a pitched battle when it comes to protecting our data against cybercriminals. And before you write yourself off as a target unworthy of a hacker’s attention, the statistics paint a very different picture.

We tend to think of cybercrime in terms of big breaches that are splashed across the media. However, it’s not these big breaches that actually make the most money for criminals.

Research suggests that the average cost of ransomware attacks is around $679. This, admittedly, seems quite low. But if you think about it, keeping the ransoms low makes good financial sense for the criminals.

If their demands were too high, people would be more likely to write off the infected computer as a lost cause and replace it with a new machine. By keeping the ransom affordable, it’s easier for the person just to pay it to regain access.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not profitable for the hacker, though. In the first quarter of 2016 only, criminals earned $209 million from these kinds of attacks. It’s estimated that the average ransomware attacker will earn around $90,000 per annum, which is nothing to sniff at, especially since there is very little work involved here.

We’ve gotten to a point where companies can now take out insurance to cover them in the event of a cyber attack.
What is a Business’s Highest Area of Risk?

When it comes to cybersecurity, your staff pose the highest risk for any organization, whether through plain carelessness, design, or malice.

Careless Employees

If your employees are careless with security aspects, you are heading for trouble. This is where regular security training will pay dividends.

Few people realize how simple it is for an experienced hacker to glean enough information about a person online and make an educated guess about the passwords she may be using.

Also, 70% of people use the same passwords on social media as they do for their corporate logins. And while your company’s servers might be secure, social media is certainly not.

Employees need to be educated about choosing a good password, keeping it safe, and how to recognize a potential threat or suspicious request.

Employees With a Design to Make Extra Money

Criminal syndicates will often look for a way to get someone on the inside. This might mean planting someone in the organization if it is large enough, but it can also mean turning someone who is already working there.

As a result, employees’ actions on the computer system should be monitored to ensure that they’re not accessing systems they shouldn’t.

Malicious Employees

These are more difficult, because you may not know that they have a grudge against the company straight away. It’s good practice to revoke access to the systems as soon as an employee leaves.

Overall, the key to guarding your data against criminals is always to be mindful of security and ensuring that it is well-maintained.

Infographic URL: https://techjury.net/blog/cyber-security-statistics/

The Sinister Side of the Gender War

“But it’s just a phase!” How many parents have made that same desperate plea to a teacher, a counselor, or doctor? Deep down, they know their children weren’t born in the wrong body. They know the confusion about their teenager’s identity is coming from somewhere else — a struggle that doesn’t have to be permanent. But in a culture that’s determined to indulge these fantasy, at any cost, who will believe them?

The stories from parents are real-life nightmares. On a panel about gender ideology at the Heritage Foundation, attorneys shared one heart-wrenching testimony after another. Jennifer Chavez, a liberal with liberal clients, explained that she may disagree with conservatives on abortion or taxes, but the transgender movement is a place where every Americans can come together. Why? Because this ideology is no respecter of persons. It will haunt families — and rob futures — on both sides.

Chavez told the story of a 13-year-old girl, who came home and told her parents she was “transgender” after watching a presentation about it at school. “Without evaluation or therapy, the mother was told by a ‘gender therapist’ to buy her child a breast binder and put her on puberty-blocking drugs. If she didn’t comply, she was told, her child would face a high risk of suicide. She only realized later how inaccurate and baseless this clinical advice had been.” Furious, the liberal mom wrote, “Why are physicians medicalizing children in the name of an unproven, malleable gender identity? Why are lawmakers enshrining gender identity into state and federal laws?”

National Review’s Madeleine Kearns horrified people with the testimony of a family, whose 14-year-old girl accused her parents of “child abuse” because they wouldn’t use her male name. “Without my knowledge, a pediatric endocrinologist taught my daughter, a minor, to inject herself with testosterone. She then ran away to Oregon where state law at the age of 17 allowed her… to undergo a double mastectomy and radical hysterectomy… The level of outrage and rage I’m experiencing as a mother is indescribable. Why does Oregon law allow children to make life-altering medical decisions? …Why are doctors who took an oath to first do no harm allowed to sterilize and surgically mutilate mentally ill, delusional children?”

Why? Because America is being hijacked by an aggressive, take-no-prisoners LGBT agenda that doesn’t care about your rights as parents — or your children’s wellbeing. If they did, they’d know that “98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls accept their biological sex after puberty.” Suggesting that these kids are anything other than their biological gender, the American College of Pediatricians argues, is “child abuse” that will scar them for life.

Fortunately, a brave group of young adults is coming forward to make that case themselves. As teenagers, they identified as transgender. Now, they want the world to know what a mistake that was. The founders of the Pique Resilience Project talk about their journeys in an interview with NRO, each drawing the same conclusion: transgenderism is a false and dangerous ideology.

“Helena had a history of not fitting in and feeling uncomfortable with her body. She had been badly bullied and was feeling very low when she turned to transgenderism. She took high doses of testosterone, which has altered her voice. At the age of 18, she wasn’t thinking about her long-term future. She wasn’t thinking about the serious risks and possible infertility. Now, she has some advice for other young people who think they might be transgender:

‘Step back from the activism, the ideology, the community — think about the reasons why you might feel this way about your body. Because there’s just a lot of people with just glaringly obvious reasons why they don’t like their body…'”

Read Helena’s story and powerful testimonies at National Review. Then, make sure you download FRC’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Virginia Raises Smoking Age to 21—as Congressional Members Seek to Lower Voting Age to 16

It’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and other nicotine products to 21. The move isn’t just a misguided nanny-state intervention into the decisions of adults, but it also spells disaster for public health.

By the age of 18, Americans can sign contracts, vote, and even (theoretically) get drafted into the army. They are also tried as adults and, at times, face life prison sentences for crimes. There is even talk now about lowering the voting age to 16, with 14 states and Washington DC already allowing teenagers to pre-register to vote.

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”

Earlier this month, freshman Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley filed legislation that would require states to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections.

Voting matters aside, it’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals and exposed to an American prison’s brutality—but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.

There are effective deterrents in tobacco control policy, like cigarette tax hikes. But the same can’t be said for new age restrictions. Longstanding bans on cigarette sales to those under 18 have done nothing to prevent over 8.1 percent of American high schoolers and 1.8 percent of middle schoolers from taking up smoking. It’s not hard to see why: It’s fairly easy for youngsters to borrow cigarettes off adults or to ask adults to purchase cigarettes for them. There’s no reason to think things will play out differently if the legal age is raised to 21.

Proponents of the law might argue that raising the age requirement does have precedent. After all, the legal drinking age is 21. But that’s not even a good example. Indeed, many developed, western nations maintain a legal drinking age that is far lower than 21—sometimes as low as 16—and have lower rates of alcohol-fueled violence and binge drinking.

Indeed, more than 120 college presidents have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative, which notes the negative consequences of America’s late legal drinking age, like higher rates of binge drinking, the proliferation of fake IDs, and the impracticality of enforcement.

The age requirement also moves drinkers from open, social environments that are easier to regulate—like bars—to locked dorm rooms, apartments, or other discrete locations where irresponsible behavior is easier to hide and more likely to occur.Raising the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and nicotine products will also play into the hands of the tobacco black market—already a multi-billion dollar global industry known to fund other illicit enterprises like human trafficking and terrorism. Aside from impinging on individual liberty, this also means less tax revenue for the government since the black market will grow to accommodate new demand.

But the worst consequence of Northam’s law will be making it harder for current smokers to access life-saving vaping technology. Receiving nicotine from a vape rather than a cigarette allows smokers to satiate their cravings without exposure to the tar, toxins, and carcinogens produced by burning tobacco. Denying legal access to vaping will either remove incentives for young smokers to quit or push smokers and vapers onto potentially dangerous, unregulated products sold online.

Vaping isn’t completely safe, but compared to smoking, it’s a much better option. The UK Royal College of Physicians conservatively estimates that it is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking—and likely to be even less harmful.

Medical authoritiesaround the world recognize vaping’s value as a quit-smoking strategy that adds decades to the lives of smokers who transition.It makes no sense, then, to restrict the sale of nicotine vapes or juices to adult smokers trying to make responsible decisions about their own health when other nicotine-infused, less effective quitting aids like patches and gums are available to adults.

Dire implications aside, raising the legal smoking age amounts to little more than a condescending excuse to intrude into the decisions of adults that primarily affect just themselves. But that won’t stop politicians like Northam from finding any excuse to pat themselves on the back for appearing to be tough on smoking.

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Global Warming — Science vs Political Science

Since you have an interest in the Global Warming issue, I’m sending along a current public exchange I’m having with a well-known climatologist. As he publicly disparaged my qualifications to even discuss the AGW matter (!), it should be no problem for a person of such elevated expertise, to win this debate. You decide…

[FYI, if you’re pressed for time, or only have a passing interest in the Global Warming issue, then just look at #7 and #8.]

Here’s a brief chronological history:

1) the Adirondack Park (in upstate NY) is the largest park on the continental US (6 million acres). It is an extraordinary place that has unparalleled natural beauty. I’ve been a lifetime resident of the Park, so I have plenty of first-hand experiences with most of it. As an environmentalist, I’m a Park protector.

2) The Park is overseen by a powerful NYS agency, called the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). They establish a wide assortment of zoning rules, etc. that cover the entire Park. In general these are beneficial. For example, to date, industrial wind energy and solar are both prohibited. Excellent!

3) Political activists are pushing the APA to change their renewable energy restrictions. Their ultimate goal is to get industrial wind energy into the Park. As a feeler, in November the APA proposed this Renewable Energy Policy.

4) I then immediately sent the APA a 12-point objection to their proposal. (I have yet to hear any response back from them.)

5) In addition, to make citizens aware of this profoundly anti-environmental plan, I wrote a layman overview of the situation, which was published in some Adirondack newspapers.

6) After that was seen, I was asked by the editor of the well-respected bi-monthly Adirondack Explorer magazine to submit commentary for a feature they have, where major issues are debated. I submitted the con-piece about the APA’s proposed renewable energy policy. It came out a few weeks ago.

7) A NYS paleoclimatologist, Dr. Curt Stager, took issue with my Adirondack Explorer commentary, and last week got a lengthy op-ed published (attacking my competence, etc.).

8) I just finished a response to Curt’s polemic— and submitted it for publication, today. I’m sharing a slightly longer version with you, as I thought you might like to see a rather impassioned exchange between scientists about some of the key Global Warming issues.

There are multiple things to learn from this exchange. Although this is a moderate amount of reading, it’s an interesting, informative discussion of the Global Warming matter — making some points rarely seen.

Global Warming is THE issue of our times. After reading this you’ll have a much better understanding of this whole matter, and what’s really going on.

Let me know any questions.

As usual, please forward this information to any other open-minded parties you think might profit from it.

RELATED ARTICLE: Media Touts ‘Clear Sign of Human-Caused Climate Change.’ Here Are the Facts.