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Texas Governor Abbott on “Suspicious Activity”

Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott ( @GovAbbott ) isn’t trying to change Texas law with last week’s Executive Order – in contrast to the claims I’ve seen on my Facebook news feed.

Instead, he called for law enforcement agencies under the executive branch to establish policies and training, and financial incentives to encourageimproving reporting channels and closing ‘information gaps’ when members of the public or law enforcement agencies worry that a person might be a threat to commit violence.

The last three mass shootings in Texas tell us that we need to improve how our law enforcement and agencies follow current law on following up on reports and investigations.

The Sutherland Springs Church shooter in South Texas should have been rejected at point of sale background check because of his prior conviction and incarceration for domestic violence crimes while in the military. Unfortunately, he was never reported to the Federal database. (And so, Texas law probably couldn’t have made any difference.)

However, the Odessa shooter threatened and brandished a weapon at his neighbor, but local Law Enforcement Officers didn’t follow up because his house wasn’t on their GPS maps and was difficult to find!

The El Paso shooter’s mother tried to report him, but the LEO who spoke to her on the phone dismissed her concerns. No record of the call was made, according to the Allen police department.

I’m not sure that current laws would have (or should have) allowed any action against the (future) shooter by authorities, but it looks like that question and reporting procedures are what Governor Abbott wants clarified. From the Executive Order:

“”Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law-enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.

Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.”‘

The question should be whether the “standardized questions” and reporting processes might have made a difference. Unfortunately, I’m not reading questions: I’m reading accusations that the Governor wants to impose “red flag laws” and confiscation of guns without due process of law.

The Governor previously directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to implement the “iWatch app” in June, 2018, allowing the public to report suspicious activity. There was no outcry then, and there doesn’t appear to be any “red flag” incidents because of this initiative.

Why do people think the Governor wants gun control now?

Heterosexuality: oppression or happiness

Raise your hand if you agree that “security comfort (sic), acceptance and success” are the opposite of “oppression.”

Yet, a recent NBC News claims that heterosexuality is a failure because it created the “patriarchy.” And,
Patriarchy is at its most potent when oppression doesn’t feel like oppression, or when it is packaged in terms of biology, religion or basic social needs like security comfort, acceptance and success.”
NBC News recently published an insane opinion piece by Marcie Bianco claiming that the divorce of a celebrity is a “blow to the patriarchy.”
It’s insane because Ms. Bianco expands her thesis to advocate the false premise that Miley Cyrus’ divorce and the unusual lifestyle choices of a very few other celebrity women prove that *heterosexuality* is failing.
Ms. Bianco asserts that heterosexuality – which is the norm for all but a small percentage of the world’s population – is the source of men’s domination over women. According to her, “the patriarchy” is the cause, beneficiary, and result of heterosexuality, allowing men to dominate women and avoid responsibility and consequences for their actions.
But there’s factual evidence that men do take responsibility for and live with the consequences of their actions. For instance, census data shows that a majority of children in the US live with both biological parents who are married to each other. These fathers (and mothers) are responsible and literally live with “consequences.”
No, the cause, beneficiary, and result are increased cohabitation without marriage, divorce, elective abortion and single motherhood. (See link above)

As these have become socially acceptable – and rants like Ms. Bianco’s are published – it’s possible that more and more men are *learning* not to see any benefit from taking responsibility or living with the consequences of sex or even any sort of commitment.

With money and celebrity, perhaps it’s possible for a time to openly flaunt “security comfort, acceptance, and success” and claim they are “oppression.” For most of us, however, those conditions are what we call “happiness.”

New Political Party?

Claiming that ” ‘conservative’ and ‘Republican’ are now mere team names that have lost all meaning,” pseudo-Conservatives are trying to start a new movement, possibly a new Party. However, their #PrinciplesFirst aren’t Conservative.

The Principles have at least two fatal flaws.

1. They’re based on man-made law & artificial designations of “persons”& “citizens,” not on inalienable rights endowed on “all men” (humans).

The Constitution of the United States is an unique, exemplary document. But its strength and legitimacy depends on the concept of inalienable rights of humans that are not endowed by laws, men or any powers that be of this world. The Constitution can be amended. Human rights can only be infringed.

2. The list also errs in supporting “Each and every family unit – regardless of its shape.”

Would these families include those shaped by polygamy? Why not?

The Republican Platform can be downloaded for reading, here.

The Platform confirms most of the items in the Principles First list. However, the Preamble of the Republican Platform is clear on its origin:

“”We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

And equally clear on the”shape” of the family:

“”It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of TT man and one woman.””

Correct these errors, and the “new” Principles would be indistinguishable from that of the Republican Party Platform. The effort should be to hold our elected officials to the Platform, to strengthen our Party, maintain and expand our Seniority in the Senate, win both back in the House. It’s certainly not Conservative to tear down. #FirstPrinciples

Texas’ reaction

At least 22 people are dead and another 20 to 40 wounded in El Paso, Texas, due to a planned, murderous rampageby a man who drove 650+ miles to reach the site. He carried a semi-automatic rifle and wore both eye and ear protection.

13 hours later, a second man also carried a long gun and put on eye and ear protection. He added a bullet proof vest and a huge ammunition magazine. When he attempted to enter a neighborhood bar, he was refused entry, was immediately surrounded by police, and yet managed to kill nine people and wound dozens of others.
These followed closely on the California Garlic Festival shooting that claimed three lives, including two children.

The killings alone are enough to prove the killers are evil and full of hate, but their history and social media portray individuals focused on hate, erasing all doubt. It appears that the Texas shooter identified with white supremacists white supremacists while also professing to be anti-government and anti-corporation, while concerned about the environment. The Ohio shooter was known to be obsessed with guns, had participated while armed in a counter-protest against white supremacists and was politically left-leaning. The motives of the California shooter aren’t clear at all.

Meanwhile, in Chicago,at least two mass shootings in public parks went nearly unnoticed, although seven people were killed by guns in the City and 52 were injured and treated at local hospitals.
Yet, Chicago and Illinois have some of the strictest gun control laws in the US:
“””The age to purchase a firearm is 21. The state requires gun owners to obtain licenses and face background checks as well as imposing waiting periods on firearms purchases. Judges can take guns away from owners who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. And recent legislation aims to begin a fingerprinting database of all gun owners in the state.””
However, as noted in that article,
“””Apparently it doesn’t work like that. (Someone should tell our elected leaders.)””
These are the same strict gun control measures that are now being demanded across the Nation. The contention is that strict gun laws will decrease gun violence.
The problem seems to be (both in Chicago and around the country) that legal gun owners are not the ones causing the issues, these gun control laws are also suspected of impacting poorer citizens disproportionately, and, in the recent cases, it’s unlikely that any of the often-proposed gun control laws would have prevented the murders: The murderers decided to kill people. Each went to extremes and broke laws already in place, in order to carry out their plans.

Evil will find a way.

The UK has had 285 knife killings in the UK IN 12 months, 40K+ knife attacks and hundreds of homicides using knives or other sharp instruments in the last year. Twenty people were killedwith a knife attack in Japan in 2016. Three more were killed and in another knife attack this year. In 2015, a man attacked teachers and students with a sword, killing two.
And this week, four people were killed and others wounded by a man with a knife in California, a State with the most strict gun laws in the country.
The greatest risk is that an unarmed populace is vulnerable to domination by armed criminals. Gun control in Mexico is nominally very strict, yet the gun murder rate is five times that of the US and large parts of the country are oppressed by organized – and armed – criminal cartels.

What will Texas response be?

I doubt that any of the proposed gun control laws will ever be passed in Texas.
First, it’s important to realize that Texas’s Legislature only meets every two years. The next Regular Session won’t meet until January, 2021. The Governor is unlikely to call a Special Session to increase gun control.
Second, in spite of calls by President Trump and some Republicans, it’s highly unlikely that the Lone Star State will back (attractive, even to me) “Red Flag” laws because of these attacks. So called “Red Flag” laws are billed as attempts to make it easier to seize guns from current owners who may be dangerous, but are certain to result in armed resistance by owners and the refusal by law enforcement. In fact, nearly half of the Sheriffs in Washington State have made it known that they won’t enforce that State’s new law, I-1639.
Any move to prohibit classes of guns and ammunition will likely face a successful court challenge, at least until the more unlikely event that the Second Amendment is constitutionally repealed. Even if you see repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution as a remote possibility, how quickly do you think it could happen?

In Texas, the result will probably be more guns.

I won’t be surprised to see an increase in gun purchases, in Concealed Carry License (CCL) applications and to see more current CCL holders actually carry, rather than to decide to leave the gun at home.
I do hope that more people will sign up for CCL, safety and response classes.
But, if we learned anything from these recent shootings, it’s not that guns are dangerous: The gun needs a human to pull the trigger. But it’s more obvious than ever that even when the police are present or respond immediately, they can’t prevent a determined killer from the attempt.

Why does TRTL lie? (UPDATE)

I can’t tell you why, but it’s true: Well below their “Donate Now” banner, Texas Right to Life (TRTL) is shamefully spinning another one of their false stories.
Just as they lied on their website that Chris Dunn was “slain by his doctors,

they now post that a woman, Mrs. Carolyn Jones, had to be “rescued” from hers, “racing” to another facility “in the middle of the night.”

Okay, it’s night in that picture. That and the proper names are the only things they got right.
Mrs. Jones wasn’t “rescued” from the hospital that has been giving her excellent care for over 6 months. Nor were her doctors and nurses “surprised.” that she was able to breathe on her own. After all, they were the ones who weaned her from the ventilator over a month ago.
What was expected was that Mrs. Jones would be transferred out if the hospital where she’s been admitted since November, 2018 to a more appropriate, lower level of nursing care two months ago.
On April 10, Mr. Jones testified to the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee that, thanks to the hospital doctors, his wife now needed the ventilator only “occasionally at night.”

The family were given notice that they needed to transfer Mrs. Jones in March. They’ve had another doctor and three facilities capable of providing the treatments she needs waiting to accept Mrs. Jones.

When the family of a hospitalised patient refuses to allow her to be transferred to a more appropriate treatment facility, the attending doctor has no legal means other than the 166.046 process laid out in the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA). This is the legislation that has been called the “Futile Care Law” in the past, but TRTL likes to call it the” 10 Day Rule,” now, in spite of their rejection of effort after effort, etc., to expand the time frame and increase transparency and assistance. This is the issue that led to the rebuke (.PDF) of TRTL by the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and gleefully reported by the liberal press in Texas
The Jones family are real people, scared and hurting. Mr. Jones somehow was misled to believe the lie that “food and water” would be removed. I would have thought that at least one of the many, many lawyers at TRTL would have assured him that that is not legal under Texas law.
Instead, the Jones family’s fears – and your compassion – are being used as a means to TRTL’s political – and fundraising – ends.

And now, TRTL – in direct competition with – and with absolutely no mention of – Mrs. Jones’ family’s GoFundMe campaign – has been raising money in Mrs. Jones’ name. They state that the funds will be used for (TRTL) lawyer’s fees in addition to Mrs. Jones’ healthcare needs and that “excess” funds will go to help (TRTL’S) efforts for other patients.

I hope that TRTL’s money will also be used to pay for the very large hospital and doctor’s bills that the Jones family will receive. While there’s a chance that Texas Medicaid will pay for three months of medical bills, retroactively, Medicare doesn’t pay for hospitalizations over 90 days and has a 20% co-insurance (co-pay).

That’s bound to have added up in over 6 months.

We’ll just have to trust that TRTL won’t lie again.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Edit, Updated information:

One of the bloggers has told us more about that “rescue.” (Or today’s story, anyway.)

TRTL put her in a private ambulance and took her to *another ER,* one that couldn’t provide dialysis, so they then transferred her somewhere else.

There were comments about the first Hospital refusing transfer — no, refusing to be complicit with “dumping” a patient. Discharging to without ( or even with) acceptance of the transfer from the docs at the other facility is highly irregular and likely illegal.
Much has been said about funding. Yes. It appears that Medicare funding ran out, so no longer paying. 90 days per admission, with an extra 60 days over, under certain conditions.

About that Medicaid funding: I don’t know the limits of the mandatory asset tests, but the yearly income level is $60,000. One way to adapt is to spend money on medical costs.

Medicare makes it difficult to navigate the private pay process. When we had some question, we got informed consent, promise to pay, then performed the service, filed with Medicare, waited to be denied, then tried to Bill the patient. The risk is always a charge of “fraud and abuse.”

The same thing would have happened if the hospital had privately charged for Dialysis.

(5/20/19, BBN)

Alabama bans all elective abortions

There’s an exception for the life of the mother. Doctors can be prosecuted, but mothers can’t. (Similar to the way we treat assisted suicide: the one who assists can be prosecuted, the victim isn’t, if he survives.)

Twitter is filled today with outraged hashtags: #HumanRights #HumanRightsAreWomensRights and #RoevWade

(I’ve had to create #NoIDidNtSayThat )

Eggs stop being eggs, or part of the woman’s body, when fertilized.

In #RoevWade, Blackmun stated that science doesn’t say when life begins. Louise Brown, the first “test tube baby,” was born just five years later. Any employee of an in vitro fertilization clinic can tell you the difference between the flasks with gametes and the ones containing embryos.

The embryo conceived by human parents is no other species. I can show you proof that he or she is the same human organism from the time the human sperm penetrates the human zona pellucida and enters the oocyte. From that moment, meiosis begins and the embryo refuses all other sperm.

Elective abortion infringes – aggresses – against the human rights of the one killed – and the people who are defrauded into believing the lies.
Everyone’s Human Rights are stronger when we recognize that all are equal & weakened when we call anyone less than human-enough. Disaster always follows.

Our Declaration of Independence declared that all are created equal, and legitimate government is organized to protect our individual rights.

All humans, even new humans, are human-enough to possess human rights.

(Edited typos 5/15/19 9:29PM. BBN)

Life Ethics

Western classical liberal ethics has favored “deciding” that all humans are human-enough to possess human rights. 1.Are they human? 2.Can we kill them? The answers have been increasingly 1. Yes, & 2. No. That’s not #Patriarchy. It’s a good basis for a #sentient, civil society.

HatTip to a FB poster, Clint Stutts, for the questions.

Emergency: Liberty Right Infringement

Texas Right to Life General Counsel Emily Cook is attacking Texas Medical Association on Facebook, even though virtually every other pro-life, medical, nursing, hospital, and disability group in Texas oppose SB 2089 by Hughes, that would change the “Texas Advance Directive Act, “TADA” will harm patients and attack the right of doctors to refuse to act against our conscience.

Here’s a partial list of organizations opposing SB 2089: Texas Medical Association, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission Ethics, Texas Catholic Bishops, Texas Nurses Association, Texas Society for Anethesiology, Texas Osteopathic Association, Catholic Health Association, Texas Hospital Association, Baylor Scott and White, Texas Teaching Hospitals, Texas Alliance for Life, Coalition of Texans With Disabilities.
The central question isn’t “10 days” or the actions of a “Committee.” Doctors start the process, and under the law, the Committee can only affirm that his decision is medically appropriate or not.
The question is whether a patient can demand that a doctor be forced against her conscience to indefinitely write orders and provide treatment she believes is not in the best interest of the patient because the patient or family wants it?
The patient is near death and in the hospital, so the doctor can’t morally just “fire” him if there’s a disagreement. We all agree that 10 days isn’t enough time for families, and have tried since 2005 to add days to the process – we had a Bill that would expand the time to a month in 2007. (CSSB 439)
But Texas Right to Life would/will accept nothing but indefinite “treatment until transfer.” They keep demanding lawyers, courts and trials for medical decisions.
This is the issue that caused the break between TRTL and the Catholic Bishops.
It would force Drs to violate our conscience, without compromising with a set, limited time frame.

We’ve worked to fix other problems: Artificially administered food and water, even full IV feedings, can‘t be removed. Texas law didn’t even mention DNRs, but last session, we passed an amendment with explicit procedures and informed consent language.

SB 2089 ends the ability for a doctor to “refuse” medically inappropriate treatment, only allows “recommending,” (while being legally required to act against her conscience, harming the patient, prolonging death and increasing side effects, requiring more treatments.)

There’s no leeway, at all, in the new Bill.

SB 2089 specifically says anyone can file a lawsuit in any Court in the County, the Court can’t charge the patient (or surrogates) any fees, and the judge is required to rule in 5 days.

More doctors will limit the number of older or sicker patients to keep from falling under the dispute process and the Court battle.
Even tertiary hospitals – teaching hospitals and big City referral hospitals – will find that their doctors don’t want to accept patients from outlying hospitals.
It will kill tort reform, because it’s designed to get all these cases into Court.
It’s like the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, only bigger, in my opinion, because if doctors lose here, we lose the right to conscience in everything.

If you believe that even doctors have the right of Conscience, and that infringement of the right not to be forced to act against your will is wrong, please contact your Texas Senator and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and respectfully ask that SB2089 not be brought up.

You can let me know if you disagree on my Facebook page.

Immunologist denies Imunology (Vaccines)

Here’s a review and critique (with live links, by Skeptical Raptor) on one of the anti-vaxx advocates, an “immunologist” who exaggerated her credentials, makes her money through the big-money scam “Vaxxed,” and who wrote this ridiculous lie:

“”Immunology does not attempt to study and therefore cannot provide understanding of natural diseases and immunity that follows them.””

Banned by prolife website

I’ve sat on this for 4 days, hoping for a response to the questions I sent to 2 of the ‘co-founders” and an editor of the website. (They only use those online forms, so I can’t follow up by email.)

So far, no response from any of the 3.

I’m not going to link to the website, but the address is in the photo.

Unfortunately, the division in the Texas prolife community is deep. The article I attempted to comment on quotes – and disputes – an article I wrote for Texas Alliance for Life a few years ago.

All I wanted to say was that I hope the readers will read that article.

Praying for peace.

(BTW, that case ruling came down in favor of Houston’s Methodist Hospital and the Texas First Court of Appeals refused to declare the Texas Advance Directive Act unconstitutional.)

Educate and edify!

We need your “voice” on Facebook, Twitter, and on the comments pages of “news” sites.

WingRight.org’s motto is the subject of today’s post. I hope to convince you of the necessity of speaking up in order to “educate” and “edify” (build up and strengthen) our neighbors and fellow citizens. ( We won’t get into the “elect” or pure politics.)

We certainly shouldn’t be silent: the other side sure isn’t. And they won’t go away (or spontaneously come to their senses) if we ignore them.
When I read the mainstream headlines, it’s as though I visit an alternative universe where conservative views are at best misrepresented, and at worst, don’t exist. Conservatives are implicitly – or too often, explicitly – accused of being ill informed, delusional, a “bot,”or the tools of “Faux news” or Rush Limbaugh.
We know better. The opinion pages, supposedly straight new articles, and the comments on each aren’t truthful and certainly don’t reflect the views of the majority of the people I know. We are knowledgeable, do our research, and have drawn our conclusions from the facts and history.
Remember, when you post in public, you’re not just talking to the author of one article or the other commenters: you’re talking to the great majority of readers who *don’t* post. They too may feel alone and isolated, unprepared to advocate, or they are actually the ones who don’t know anything other than what the NYT, CNN, or Saturday Night Live told them. You will probably never know it, but your opinion or information may be the affirmation they needed.
Some practical (and arrogant) advice:

  1. Assume a pseudonym if you need to.
  2. Pick a subject or 2 that you feel comfortable “opining” about and act at least once a day.
  3. Pick just one website to influence, unless you have time to spread out.
  4. Ask advice from trusted sources when necessary.
  5. Be as accurate as you can be – at least, don’t lie or exaggerate for effect.
  6. You might come up with a stock statement that you copy and paste or modify where appropriate. Talking points are an effective tool.
  7. Ignore tacky responses and personal attacks – don’t be distracted or feel you are obligated to engage and argue if you don’t want to.
  8. Correct a mistatement, give a reference, or simply state your reasoned, opposing opinion.

Look at the bulk of comments out there, these tactics are the norm, not the exception.

Think of your efforts as a pebble in a pond that creates a series of rings moving out from the center. The rings will expand, affect and intersect with other people’s little waves. You don’t have to make a big splash: even the tiniest pebble will change the surface.

(Comments are closed on the blog. You can respond on my Beverly Nuckols Facebook page.)

Real-World Consequences of Inappropriate Behavior

The new “normal” of bullying in the name of gender-fluidity and transgendered activists in various stages of transition reminds me of the old days when we women were helpless against aggressive men and were told that we would have to change what we do, how we dress, and where we go.

(Or, just like Europe today and the sometimes official reaction to raping immigrants.)

In a column in the National Review today, “The Real-World Consequences of Submitting to the Transgender Zeitgeist,” Ben Shapiro writes about a man who effectively ran off a group of religious, conservative women who cancelled their membership at a “women only” gym after a transgendered MtF (a man who claims to be a woman) began using the gym and dressing room.

The women had frequented the gym out of modesty: they didn’t want to see half-baked men or be seen by men in their workout clothes.

The man not only came to the gym, he undressed in the dressing room, where it evidently became obvious that he was “all man.”

He refused the offer of a private dressing room (most women wouldn’t, I certainly wouldn’t!) and declared that since he is a woman he can undress with all the other women.

If he wants. That’s what it’s all about, right? His wants vs. age old cultural norms and thousands of years of religious modesty practice.

As time went on, he evidently continued to do the same. The gym manager was told by his bosses that the company couldn’t risk a lawsuit or boycott. So, the modest women left the gym and cancelled their memberships.

How I wish women would join together to confront men like this. We should legally use his own strategy of social pressure. Politely but firmly tell him he’s acting inappropriately. Attempt to have him arrested for indecent exposure and voyeurism – and act every time a man comes into a “women’s” dressing room or bathroom.
Seriously, talking and writing, as I did today, won’t work anymore.

It’s not easy, and it would be vital to work together as a group. This isn’t a call for harassment. But, we each have the same right as this person to express our individual disapproval and to do it with our philisophical sisters, as others have done.

(And in reality, our brothers can’t act with the same righteousness as we can. A group of men objecting to a transgender woman in the same way would risk false harassment and assault charges.)

In a way, I’m writing this as my own protest. The social media Powers-That-Be are blocking people who object to the “new normal.”

Take our dressing rooms back! Restore modesty – and common sense.

Transgender First Principles

This weekend, the debate concerning the ethics of medical and surgical intervention for transgendered men and women, more properly called “gender dysphoria,” heated up again. The New York Times published an essay by a man who wishes to become a woman so much that he is about to undergo a 6 hour surgical procedure to fashion an artificial vagina, although the author admits that the surgery may not produce happiness and, indeed, will most certainly cause lifelong pain and the necessity of further intermittent, painful procedures.

In answer to my assertion (in an online private group) that transgender ideation is a pathology, a pediatrician said that I might as well claim that being black is a pathology.
While I’ve never heard of a black person seeking medical or psychological treatment to make his body more or less in concert with his race or body image ( or maybe I have..), there has to be some perception of a problem on the part of the transgendered person who seeks intervention.
Back in the’90’s, when I was in medical school, the definition included a lack of pleasure from the “wrong” genitalia. While it appears that this requirement for intervention has gone by the wayside, at the least, gender dysphoria makes leading their lives difficult. This seems to be a fair, if simplified, definition for “disorder.”

In addition, one of the early leaders in the development of surgical procedures for trans persons, Dr. Phil McHugh, agrees that transgender ideation is a “Pathogenic meme.”

The fact is that the treatments sought or offered are based on biologic sex and are essentially bimorphic: MtF (Male to Female), FtM (Female to Male). The treatments themselves are described as “feminizing” or ” masculinizing” – one or the other.
The incidence of transgender ideation in the US is less than 1% (probably about 0.5%), with as many as 80% of those who claim to be transgendered in childhood “desisted,” changing their minds at a later date, usually around puberty.
The known association with autism
and schizophrenia, along with the “clusters” of peer-group rapid and late onset, as well as the rate of reversals, suggest caution when it comes to treatment that might later be considered disfiguring and permanent.
The author of the NYT piece states that the traditional “First Principle” of medical ethics, “First, do no harm,” is only a way for doctors to be “little kings” who deny what patients “want,”
“”Nonmaleficence is a principle violated in its very observation. Its true purpose is not to shield patients from injury but to install the medical professional as a little kings of someone else’s body.””

If doctors truly forget the First Principle, what’s to stop us from “First, doing harm?” Who decides the “harm” in that case? Better hope we don’t give up our consciences.

Certainly, in this case, I would be one of those “little king” doctors who would not carry through on surgery, based on what appears to be atypical reaction to the cross-sex hormones.
Just as it’s malpractice to affirm the anorexic girl’s body image as correct and help her avoid food, it’s unethical to pretend that transgender ideation is normal or even something we can “affirm.”

Please comment on my Facebook page, Beverly Nuckols.

More on poor vs. wealthy

In their statements about income inequality, most people ignore what I covered yesterday: the measurements of poverty almost invariably are based on income, not true poverty as measured by actual resources and consumption.

They appear to be stating that the only reason the wealthy have money is because they steal from the poor. That’s not born out by the evidence on upward mobility.

Our analysis of new administrative records on income shows that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution relative to their parents as children born in the 1970s. Putting together our results with evidence from Hertz (2007) and Lee and Solon (2009) that intergenerational elasticities of income did not change significantly between the 1950 and 1970 birth cohorts, we conclude that rank-based measures of social mobility have remained remarkably stable over the second half of the twentieth century in the United States. In light of the findings in our companion paper on the geography of mobility (CHKS), the key issue is not that prospects for upward mobility are declining but rather that some regions of the U.S. persistently offer less mobility than most other developed countries.”

It turns out that research indicates that conservative cities not only grow faster than liberal cities, but have better chances of upward mobility.

That same Brookings Institute referred to yesterday has reported what it takes to become middle class by US standards: graduate high school, get married before having children, and get a job..

We know what encourages learning and successful education. It’s not only money, although the bulk of education dollars should go to the classroom rather than the administration. The extent of parental involvement and prioritizing education is number one, along with a belief in the importance of attendance.

I hope this information helps you the next time someone implies that the income inequality in the US is caused by the aggression of the wealthy.

American poor are middle class in world standards

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, there are people who think I should be ashamed instead.

So, in my geeky way, I did some research and found some information to have on hand the next time someone talks about the poor in the US.

Those poverty rates are based on income. SNAP, TANF, Section 8 vouchers,etc., aren’t counted as income. (You could add in our public education system, as well. If you believe it’s adequate.)

According to a report (in .pdf) by the Brookings Institute, using poverty measurements based on consumption or expenditures, those living under the poverty rate in the US would be considered middle class in the rest of the world.

“Even those reporting no income at all in the US have consumption possibilities roughly equal to those reporting incomes of $20 a day.”

Thankful for my wonderful husband, our shared faith in the Lord, our material blessings, and the Internet that enables my geekiness!

Is there a solution to the current immigration emergency?

I’m following and responding to the news reports and conversations on Twitter and Facebook about the arrests and separations of alien families because I’m looking for a solution that will work and have fewest unintended consequences.

We can spend all day screaming our objections or justifications and playing political games based on what should have been done and when, in the past and present. Or, we can tell our legislators that we recognize the reality of the circumstances, today, and that we need to make immediate changes, followed by more measured steps.

We urgently need to:

1. Ensure that the very young are safe and nurtured. This is an emergency, because of the damage that we know tactile deprivation has on small children. No more claims that some institutional rule prohibits holding a toddler;

2. Make sure that no more children are “lost” and that even those who are separated can communicate with their parents.

(Hospital arm bands? Schlitterbahn and the Toob renters in my home town use similar bands. The tracking numbers could follow numbers on the bands and would not only work better with digitizing information

Would it be possible/permissible to use RFID and/or GPS?

Delta uses bar codes attached to each suitcase and can text me when my suitcase is loaded or unloaded on the plane. Last month, when I was on a cruise, ATT texted me that I wasn’t covered by their international plan as soon as I stepped on the ship, before the ship left the dock.);

3. Speed up the process of reuniting the families;
(This last will be enabled by the above, but will also require resources for the rapid setting up of family shelters for those awaiting hearings, and hiring personnel for those shelters and judges to hear the cases and lawyers to represent the asylum seekers.);

4. Streamline the process for approving or rejecting application for asylum at the ports of entry. (See above. This may be a useful job for civilians -paif or volunteer – and the National Guard after apprehension and/or initial evaluation by Border Patrol);

5. Fix the laws concerning detention of children separated from their parents, the right of application for asylum for anyone who manages to step on US soil, temporary worker permits that do not allow family to immigrate, and for immigration in general;

6. Continue to identify, arrest, and prosecute people who willfully violate our immigration laws;

7. None of this is dependent upon or contradictory to securing the Border. All of them are enhanced by increased security, however;

8. Stop the partisan game playing!

It should be made clear that our government will follow the law as written. Perhaps we can continue the ads Obama’s Administration is said to have used in Central America.

None of these should be done so that more people show up expecting immediate visas, green cards, or even healthcare and food stamps. They certainly shouldn’t believe that they have a right to immigration or to burden our social infrastructure and taxpayers.

Please comment on my Facebook page.

Edited numbering, BBN

Open letter to RPT Convention delegates on censure

I am writing to ask you to vote against censure by the Convention of named Republican, elected, officials.

How often have we complained about the elites who get in power only to ignore us to follow their own agenda? How many of you are at the Convention because you got tired of the establishment working against you?

Well, guess what? If you make it to the State Convention, you’re the elite establishment! Don’t be that kind of elite establishment.

For the first time in years, I couldn’t participate in the 2018 Republican Party of Texas Convention process. I still follow your efforts and have read the resolutions submitted to the Platform Committee. One Senate District has submitted resolutions demanding that the RPT State Convention censure specific legislators.

I appreciate the work you’re doing this not just this week, but over the last few months. Having served as a Delegate to the Republican Party of Texas State Convention and on both the Platform and the Rules Committees, I know you have a week of long walks to simply get to your meeting rooms, heated discussions, long waits, and many re-votes, one after another. The Committees and sessions start early and go late. (Wear comfortable shoes and take snacks!)

Through all of this, please don’t forget that you are in San Antonio as the grass roots embodiment of our Nation’s representative democracy, our Republic. You are not simply individuals expressing your own will and opinion. You are there as representatives of your constituents: the Republican voters from your Counties, Congressional Districts, and Senate Districts.

In the same way that you expect legislators to represent their voters, your voters expect you to represent us.

While it may be appropriate for the local SD Convention to censure their own legislators, especially before the Primary or run-off, many people in our Party disagree. But now, these are elected candidates. I don’t believe that it’s appropriate for the State Convention to censure them in opposition to the local electorate’s wishes.

When the votes on censure of any Republican elected official comes up, please take a look at their constituents’ votes, especially in the last Primary. Did he or she win? Was it by a substantial margin? Was he or she unopposed in the Primary because no one even challenged them?

These men and women deserve your respect, just as President Donald Trump should be given the respect he deserves after being elected President. In the same way that it was wrong for Hillary to deride Republican women as voting the way their husbands told them to, it’s wrong to dismiss these voters as illegitimate.

In addition, as this is an election year, you are writing the campaign ads for the Democrats.

Please do not oppose the voters you represent by voting in favor of public censure of Republicans.

Beverly B. Nuckols, MD

Comal County, SD 25 and CD 21

(Edited because some of the formatting got lost.)

The Day That Justice Died

Where is the freedom or justice in raiding the attorney/client privilege? Not just the offices and homes of a lawyer, but documents that most of us thought were protected by an all-but-inviolable privilege?

 

Supposedly, Cohen lied to his bankers about why he wanted a loan. Was it by comission or omission???Is it a Federal offence to not fully disclose why you want to go into debt?

 

Stormy Daniels threatened (black-mailed) to make accusations about Trump immediately before the 2016 election, got money and signed a contract, now wants to reneg (she pretty much has) on her contract, but the one who paid the money is the one who is being investigated/harrassed.

 

Why aren’t the Trump people demanding the same deals Hillary’s people got: immunity and non-disclosure agreements before sitting down with the FBI?

 

When were any of the Clinton lawyers or aides’ homes or offices raided?

 

 

Trump wasn’t my first, second or third choice in the Republican Primary of 2016.  And I’ve already mourned the death of the rule of law, back when Comey killed it.  But I agree with the President: this looks like a witch hunt.

Rough pro-life waters (#weshootourown)

Calling allies “cancer” and divisive is about as malignant and divisive as it gets!

Mark Crutcher and Troy Newman have co-authored a blog piece over at Life Dynamics that does exactly what they accuse others of doing. They manage to insult sidewalk counselors and Crisis Pregnancy Centers and groups like New Wave Feminists and And Then There Were None. Add in the dark graphics and the sanctimonious, unyielding tone to the accusations, and it’s no wonder our movement hits wall after wall.

What differentiates these two from their designation of “Grandstanders?” Talk about your purity test! 

My instinct as a proponent of “Can’t we all just get along?” was to remember my Mama’s advice: if you haven’t done the bad things they talk about, the scolders aren’t talking about or chastising you. 

And let’s face it, there’s a kernal of truth there: some people are all about power and fundraising and we’ve got to continually educate both new and old activists to focus on our goal of ending abortion.

However, Crutcher and Newman go too far to be too specific and don’t give any consideration – much less kudos – for the possibility that there are effective exceptions within the groups.  While I could point out examples of each of the people they describe, I can easily name more exceptions.

Instead of the negative analogy to cancerous growths, I prefer the picture drawn by my friend, Joe Pojman, PhD., of Texas Alliance for Life

Think of our pro-life efforts as attempts to rescue the unborn and their mothers from the sinking ship that is legalized elective abortion. We each have a boat which we use to make trips to bring as many to safety as we can. Every boat is different: Some boats are old and leaky, some are a bit nicer or newer,more or less efficient or are captained by people who wander around a lot and keep making detours, but none of the boats that we have today is big enough or fast enough to save everyone, so we make trip after trip as fast and efficiently as we can. If some of our sympathisers spend time on the shore shooting holes in everyone else’s boat – or anyone else’s boat – fewer lives will be saved. That’s real “mission drift.”

But we can bail water and plug those holes if they’ll just give us a chance.

Clichés are repeated because they prove true, time after time.  Remember this one: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But do we really “educate” with wide condemnation of the efforts of others who approach our goal from a different angle or do we create more of the very harm we are warning about?

Keep building those coalitions, looking for common ground, and plugging along!

Taxes aren’t charity (SNAP and “government interference.)

Okay, old lady rant here, from someone who once qualified for WIC, but did what we had to* to refuse it. I’m seeing complaints about a proposal to change the SNAP (food stamp) program from money/cards/vouchers for dollars to a mix of money and commodities.

Most people complain that it would be a big government boondoggle. And I’m sure it would be bloated and subject to all sorts of agendas and unintended consequences. I’m not sold on a change.

However, I’m also seeing comments that SNAP should be “supplemental,” rather than basic. That rather than interfering and deciding to only provide nutritional foods, we should trust recipients to know and meet their own needs. And kids on SNAP should be allowed the “dignity” of having Cheetos and a birthday cake.

I started this post because I have a real problem with measuring a child’s dignity by whether their parents can use some one else’s money to buy Cheetos or other junk food. (And, come on! A birthday cake is flour, sugar, milk, and eggs and time.)

Taxes aren’t charity. And I know I’ve seen abuses at the grocery store and with Medicaid in my practice.

Charity is giving someone a ride to the store or offering to shop when you go. It’s giving whatever without government force and, sometimes, when it hurts in the long run. But tell me, who among us would be happy to see even a freely given gift abused by the recipient?

SNAP, WIC, etc., are helping hands, a bridge over hard times. it’s hard work – nearly a time-consuming job – to meet the requirements to access government assistance, I know. And I know there are gaps. I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t be something that is comfortable.

*(Came within minutes of getting utilities turned off several times, nursed those babies until they could reason, baked my own bread with wheat I bought by the big bag and ground myself, joined a cheese and vegetable coop, bought in quantity and learned to store it in smaller portions, made do with one car and shared rides with neighbors, and taught my kids to eat what they were given – when their cousins lived on French fries, Dairy Queen and cookies. Eventually, I was lucky enough to enroll in the local Junior College and then on to medical school and Larry worked harder and harder. I know we’ve been lucky, but…)

Divide and Conquer: Dems vs. Republicans

January, 1973 marked the big divide, with Roe v. Wade forever separating those of us who believe in the inalienable human right not to be killed from those who separate our species into two big classes: the ones who are human-enough and the ones that aren’t.

That was the ugly beginning of even further class divisions, with some groups of people given power to claim more “rights” than other groups. The concept of individual inalienable rights endowed by Nature of being human dissolved in the class warfare that resulted.

Don’t forget the 60’s, when the Dems opposed Civil Rights legislation while spending – redistributing- every penny of Social Security and Medicare taxes to engineer a society based on the power of the greatest number.

For me, though, the Dems proved themselves liars and undependable in 1968, when I was 12. Watching the national political Parties and the Presidential Primaries, I saw not only the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. My natural inclination would have been sympathy toward the Party that claimed them.

However, I also became aware that it was the Dems who were rioting, calling policemen “pigs,” and soldiers “baby killers,” supporting the Black Panther and Weathermen, and telling us to “never trust anyone over 30,” to justify their violence.

I knew policemen and soldiers – and lots if people who were over 30 and deserving of my trust – so I knew these were false accusations. Even then, I could tell that they were dehumanizing entire groups, refining the old myth that some humans aren’t human-enough to possess inalienable rights in order to gain power.

Graffiti philosophy

I visited the “dames” (ladies’ room) at the Sorbonne, and closed the door to find the Rosetta Stone for liberal causes.  The back was covered in hand written graffiti and pre-printed stickers: “My body , my choice, etc.,” “Feminist,  and “solidarité” Sharpied in both French and English, and “Antifasciste” and something about student power (it’s my first day) in printed stickers. There were several calls for “Justice” for different causes and individuals.
My first thought was to write a rebuttal to the “My body” claim, then realized that I didn’t have a Sharpie or regular pen and that I’m still a “good girl” who can’t bear to deface someone else’s property.

Besides that, the inalienable right not to be killed isn’t enshrined in the French founding documents as it is in the Declaration of Independence. And the pro-life community doesn’t have ready little bumper sticker phrases that are well known and convey more than the surface meaning.

Why don’t we? If you could, what would you have printed on a 3×5 sticker to win hearts and influence young minds?

 

The wrong abstinence lesson

About that private Christian high school that refused to allow a girl to walk at graduation. Okay, I get it: you have rules and worry about the influence on younger students.

Yeah, ’cause if your teaching about sin doesn’t prevent other students from premarital sex, not getting to walk at graduation will! Or at least not to let you know about it.

Well, for one thing, this girl has already proven that actions have consequences!

How about the one without sin casting the first stone? Is there no place in your world view for, “Go, and sin no more?”

You’re not celebrating her pregnancy. You’re celebrating her fulfilment of the requirements for graduation. And demonstrating what it means to follow Christ.

 Why not turn this into a lesson on loving the sinner, on promoting life, on the fact that her life isn’t over and even though it will be harder, she can achieve, even without killing her child by intentional interventional elective abortion?

“Different” (Transgender at 4?)

The TexasGOPVote website chronicles the complaint by a “Conservative, Christian” mom  that her male to female (supposedly) transgender 6 year old shouldn’t be treated differently. I agree with the underlying sentiment that it is not the child’s fault.

The child is treated differently – by parents, peers, school nurses, and any educator, doctor or other professional or official who is complicit with this abuse of a 6 year old child – because the child *is* different. Medicine, physics, and the rest of the observable, measurable and verifiable universe don’t change because a child declares that cold is hot, up is down or boys don’t feel like “she” feels (at the highly experienced age of 6). 

It is disturbing to read about the apparent mistreatment of depression that this mother describes in her earlier blog. So disturbing that I’m inclined to ignore – or at least put off to another post – commenting on the stereotype in the description of “girly girl, Kai, in pink and sparkles” or of  the suggestion in mom’s earlier blog about Joseph as “gay” (at 2!)  for displaying supposedly “flamboyantly feminine mannerisms and love for all things girly.” 

How could anyone so misinterpret the repeatedly voiced desire of a 4 year old to be taken away to heaven because another 4 year old said her father called him a freak as equivalent to hating hair cuts ( or more “feminine mannerisms“)? How can she compare her “secret” research with the proper treatment her son needed?

Unfortunately, a 6 year old claiming to be transgender is different because he or she has had his or her perceptions of the world colored by the same adults who would not allow a child they loved to play with fire or jump off the highest point of the school building. 

The fact is that genetic and phenotypically female girls will always be “different” from Joseph. From the first penetration of the zona pellucida by a sperm bearing a Y chromosome, to the differentiation of the Wolffian duct, to the first time he urinated over someone’s shoulder into the air after birth, Joseph has been a male. Stereotypes aside, he will remain a male, however he acts or is medically or surgically manipulated. The genetic and phenotypical reality of his body will always affect any future medical or surgical treatment.

Hopefully, no one will be complicit with medical or surgical castration or other mutilation until this child is legally competent to consent. In that case,  his body will still be phenotypically male, entering puberty, when he enters middle school, whether as as Joseph or Kai. Now, that will be a  “difference” evident to all the girls, including the ones who have never seen male genitals. 

It will be very evident to the survivors ​of sexual abuse. Hopefully, they called the police after they were abused.

Contrary to the claim in the blog,  Lt. Governor Patrick and the “Bathroom Bill” didn’t start the trans debate.  School districts in Texas were changing policies, entire cities have passed ordinances, and the last President issued an Executive Order that threatened Federal education dollars. 

And preditors are taking advantage of the increased access available due to the transgender debate: men like Paul Witherspoon, Levandus Gacutan, Christopher Hambrook, Richard Rodriquez, Jason Pomare, Sean Patrick Smith, or the many unnamed men who have been not reported to the police when they enter previously gender-segregated areas like poolside changing rooms, shower rooms or gym locker rooms. (I’ll let you research those names.)

Thanks to “Conservative, Christian” mom, the world is being misrepresented to other children who are encouraged to consider pathological behavior as not “different.” Because of “feelings” the rest of us are repeatedly told to ignore the difference –  and observable,  measurable, and verifiable facts. 

And this specific child is being abused. 

Beverly B Nuckols, MD. 

Law makers to doctors: “Keep the patient alive” 

If only we doctors – or legislators, lawyers and probate judges – really had the power to “keep the patient alive” as this article claims two new Bills  (  HB 4090 & SB 1213) in front of the Texas Legislature will (force doctors to) do. 

The article is misleading in its claim that a committee or a hospital decides whether or not a therapy is given: Texas doctors practice medicine in Texas. Even the Bills make it clear that the “attending physician” makes the decision whether or not to follow the patient’s (or more likely, the surrogates’) medical request.

We – Texas doctors, hospitals, and legislators – have tried repeatedly over the last decade to amend the law, Texas’ Advance Directive Act,   to increase the time frame. Last Session, we helped to ensure that food and water can’t be withheld. The lawyers and those who would have Estate (probate) judges involved in every dispute – even at the bedside of the dying – have blocked effort after effort because the Bills did not include liability for the doctor. 
These Bills are just the camel’s nose under the tent of Texas’s tort reform. Worse yet, we’d end up with medical expert testifying against medical expert in court, with the judge eventually telling the doctor how to practice medicine. It would also severe the “ethicists” who actively seek to undermine conscience protections for health care professionals.
If you’ll notice, the Bills also remove the requirement for the patient to pay for any transfer, too. I don’t suppose that the tort lawyers ​will pay for the ambulance or plane ride.

Do you want Texas law to force doctors to practice against our consciences​? 

How long and how far should any man or woman be forced by law to act against his or her will?

Texas “Bathroom Bill”

(Photo of the men’s bathhouse at Pompeii, in contradiction to the claim that gender-segregated facilities are a modern concept.)

The Texas Senate State Affairs has another long day ahead, as testimony will be heard today on SB6, the so-called “Bathroom Bill.”

Here’s a rebuttal that I wrote in response to a facetious op-ed that appeared in the Austin American Statesman last month. The Opinion editor told me a shorter version would be published, but I haven’t seen it. 

Obviously, John Kelso isn’t a survivor of male on female sexual abuse or harassment. 

Many survivors (like me, at 3 years old) have strong reactions to the idea – the threat – of a man in the enclosed space of even a “public” bathroom. Just as as I worry about the safety of children, I also want a “safe space,” where I am not likely to be confronted by a male. 

If the transgendered individual doesn’t trigger that fear – and I have no doubt that I’ve shared bathrooms with some who didn’t –  then no problem. However, their ability to do so is no justification to engage in sweeping social experiments.

Representative Schaefer and Lieutenant Governor Patrick didn’t start this controversy. Individuals making policy decisions  in cities, school districts and the Federal government did, sometimes with the weight, fines, and penalties of law.

The fact is that at least 1 in 5 women have been sexually abused before the age of 18. (In my experience as a Family Physician, I would have expected the percentages to be higher.) More than 90% of those assaults are committed by males who prey on females. While “only” 20% or so are perpetrated by strangers, isn’t that enough?

And yes, some of us do consider innocence a value to be protected and wish to protect girls from involuntary exposure to the physical characteristics of anatomical males. Thus, our objection to co-ed bathrooms and the Obama Administration’s Department of Education guide lines that included locker rooms and overnight accommodations on school trips.

Significantly, Kelso claims to be ignorant of multiple abuses of by straight males, dressed as females or otherwise, who take advantage of the opportunity to exploit newly accessible, formerly same-sex, hygiene facilities. I suggest at least a bit of online research.

How dare commenters mock women’s “worry” and “FEAR(sic)?” Isn’t fear of assault the reason most often given to justify “gender neutral” policies?

Autonomy and aiding self-harm

​It’s very rarely good medicine to encourage a symptom of disease, especially one that leads to harm. I don’t help raise a patient’s temperature when they have a fever. I treat the infection and to keep the temperature from going up to dangerous levels.
In every case of cutting and self harm that I saw in my practice, the several girls and one boy had already been the victim of sexual abuse and were also abusing alcohol or drugs. The cutting was a symptom of depression, post-traumatic stress and the victimization that started the cascade.

And yet, the Journal of Medical Ethics has published an article arguing that since cutters are going to cut, doctors should aide them by providing sterile knives or razors. 

The Journal  is actually a forum for public arguments on controversial topics in bioethics, rather than a policy manual or review of facts and best practices. However, far too often the subjects are treated with respect and support those same controversial ideas. 

The online bioethics newsletter, Mercatornet, disputes this normalization of pathology and outlines the history of support and opposition to the concept of “safe” self harm.

Indeed, the argument for limiting harm is often given as the reason for elective abortion, physician assisted death and other forms of euthanasia.

Please, apply the suicide or cutting to illegal drug use. Does the rationale follow through? If a person is only happy after heroin, should we assist him by allowing and providing a cleaner, more pure product – as well as the needles so many State laws have made possible?

Cook sarcastically sums up with an imaginary Tweet:

“Bioethics is broken. Doctors respecting patients who make really BAD decisions. All because of AUTONOMY. DUMB!!! Back to human dignity!!!” 

I have long described Bioethics as “the formal study of who we can kill.” Now, we can add, “and aid in harming.”

National Security Letters

​While we were distracted by whether Kellyanne Conway was “lying” about “alternative facts” and how mean Bannon and Spicer are, the FBI quietly lifted the gag order on National Security Letters issued by them during the previous Administration.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, so the following is a lay explanation.

These “Letters” are in fact, subpoenas issued by a government agency. They don’t require a judge or FISA Court review or warrant. 

Get this: the laws authorizing the NSLs are called “Patriot” and ” Privacy” Acts and the gag order provisions have been vetted by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals:

However, the government appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which vacated her ruling and sent the case back to the district court. Last month that court ruled that the gag order challenge was no longer relevant because the USA Freedom Act had successfully addressed the issue of gag orders

GoogleTwitterFacebook, and others reported the release from the gag order during the last couple of months. Yahoo, along with the others, has been fighting in court and some of the Letters have been disclosed to the targets:

Over the past several years, Google challenged 19 NSLs in court and last year won the right to tell WikiLeaks employees that their data had been requested.

I sincerely thought that all of these sorts of subpoenas were required to eventually go through approval of a FISA Court judge. Hopefully, the Trump Administration will not continue the Obama Administration’s abuse of these Letters and that Congress will correct the law.

New York Governor: “Free” Abortions 

Cuomo wants no co-pays,   no deductibles,  and abortion business doctors to decide whether the abortion is “medically necessary.” And there are lots of taxes on the poor,  as well as the rich, to pay for it. 

What a perfect example to give as a rebuttal to those who tell me that as a Christian,  I have to support every social spending plan by government. 

That duty to help the poor is my personal duty to Christ. I don’t see any command to turn it over to someone else. 

The US Government spends and taxes –  doesn’t even dedicate  Medicare and Social Security taxes for the supposed purposes –  and hasn’t proven a trustworthy steward for my duty to Christ.  In fact,  Jesus said to give Caesar what is Caesar’s.  He didn’t tell us to take from our neighbors to give to Caesar!

But there are many scriptures addressing our duty to use well what we are given and to give credit to the One Who blessed us. And many more admonishing us to protect our fellow humans. 

Proverbs 24:11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.

Don’t regulate plants!

​Ridiculous! It’s a plant. Which literally grows like a weed – or house plant – and doesn’t require manufacturing or processing to use. What business does government have in outlawing a plant?

Marijuana laws are in the news in Texas, once again. I hear and read plans to make money from taxes and autocratic demands to”protect” people from the plants. The same Republicans who demand legalization of the sale of raw milk and think gambling dollars should stay in the State argue against any decriminalization of marijuana.

Even if you don’t have sympathy for the thousands  jailed for use while the plant is illegal, the raids on gardensseizures of farms or the arrests of people because owners are suspected of growing illegal *plants* should make you consider the harm from draconian narcotics laws. 

In fact, my trouble getting poppy seeds for the hard, back in the’90’s is what changed my mind about these laws. The Clinton Administration was arresting people for selling seeds and dried pods used in crafts:

Somniferum is the only poppy species mentioned in the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, where it is listed as a Schedule II drug, the same as cocaine. The entire poppy plant, not just the opium that oozes from its green seedpod, is considered contraband.

“But the law specifically exempts somniferum seeds, those blue-gray dots you find on your bagel. So chew on this: Seed companies can legally sell opium-poppy seeds, but gardeners who buy those seeds break the law by planting them.

Republicans are advocates of personal responsibility and remind others about the words in the Declaration of Independence. We should know that legitimate laws are intended to protect us from the infringement of inalienable rights by third parties — and the government. Laws are not meant to protect us from ourselves.

In a liberty-minded, Republican-controlled State and Nation, there shouldn’t be any laws against growing seeds from your grandmother’s heritage poppies or your new neighbors’ marijuana plants.

Addendum: a 1992 article about poppies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello:

Thomas Jefferson planted white opium poppies at Monticello. They grew in the historic garden near Charlottesville, Va., until last June, when they were yanked up.

****

“The center even sold the seeds. Until its governing board — “which has a mania for being legal,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said — decided to press the issue.”

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