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Health insurance choice is bad?

The San Antonio Express News picked up a Washington Post op ed on those big, bad Republican plans to repeal Obamacare. Originally titled, “The reason Republican Republican health-care plans are doomed to fail,” by the editorial board that declared, “There’s no way to replace Planned Parenthood.”

And it’s bunk, even as prudently renamed and appropriately filed in the Opinion section.

What we are *actually *seeing *today is that costs are rising and insurers are withdrawing from States. Choices are certainly limited if there’s only one insurance company on the exchange and routine screening costs are “free” — But the care for treatment discovered at screenings is subject to high deductibles.

Limited coverage plans with major medical for extraordinary costs – rather than a wish list covered with other people’s money from first dollar – encourages personal responsibility and will cut costs. It would also allow people to own their insurance, rather than have it controlled and limited by current employers.

Science vs. Philosophy

R(obin) Alta Charo has once again been given a platform in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Poor Robin. She conflates ethics and philosophy with science. Although observing what “is” can lead to insight about which actions and manipulation lead to harm and which improve individual and group well-being, Science cannot prove or disprove philosophy, or determine what we “ought” to do.

Ms. Charo continues her career-long advocacy for elective, interventional abortion and against the inalienable human right not to be killed – all in spite of her assertion that she has no conflicts of interest in this essay. By declaring that Trump Administration appointees “embrace alternative science,” Robin makes her own gross scientific error. In addition to confusing “science” and philosophy, she bases much of her objection on an emphasis on “established pregnancies” and ignores the existence of the human embryo after fertilization but before implantation.

The very odd complaint about definitions of gestational age assumes that time varies according to when we start counting days.

Some state legislatures have tried to redefine pregnancy dating, shifting from the standard measure of time since last menses to time since probable fertilization. Such a definition falsely enhances the viability statistics for lower gestational ages and helps to bolster arguments for 20-week limits on abortion rights.

Again: Science is about what 《is,》 while ethics ought to be, not about true  《oughts.》

Abortion, again

Every atrocity carried out by human governments has been enabled by the person or group with the biggest weapons – or the most votes – first declaring that some classification of humans is not human-enough, and has “never had rights.” 

(For instance, the monarchists’ determination that the people have no right to self governance which is not allowed by the king. Or the Dred Scot decision by the US Supreme Court, in which Taney declared that the founding fathers never meant for former slaves to become citizens. Or the fact that women have never had and do not currently have their rights protected in certain Islamic nations.)

The only reason to allow abortion is discrimination based on abilities, characteristics, or something besides the humanity of the human involved. Whether recognized in formal law or not, the right to life precedes all others and is inalienable from creation.

Again, whose life is being ended and why? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable, from creation. The hierarchy is intentional and purposeful: if the right to life denied by killing, then no other right has meaning beyond that allowed by the person or group with the biggest weapons.

“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. 

This is bananas!!! (Can I even say that, anymore?)

But according to the University newspaper, only people-of-color can use the restaurant called “The Bridge” on the American University campus in Washington, DC, as a sanctuary. (Whatever that means.) 

And only “people-of-color” get an extension for finals and other tests.

Segregation, with no separate but equal accommodation for non-people-of-color.

But no one – of color or without color – could come or go from parking. 

And we all get to read this:

“”“Do I not pay? Do I not pay for tuition?” junior Romayit Cherinet said to the crowd. “Do I come here and try as best as possible to ignore these racist ass white people? To ignore the microaggressions every single day?”””

If that’s not “hate speech,” what is? If nothing else, where’s the cultural sensitivity?

The American University Administration, the sorority, and the new Student Body President, Ms Dumpson should have treated the bananas on a string as satire, bad satire at that, since it’s pretty much an insider joke: Most people would not associate bananas with racism, but back in September, a Black student getting ready for a protest said a banana was thrown at her.  Another Black student found a banana outside her dorm room.

As to the FBI showing up (and the Administration live-streaming hints on cyber-security), when a tweet suggested that followers “troll” Ms. Dumpson… Where were they when people physically blocked access to the garage and trolled – and encouraged others to troll – the Provost by chanting, “Call Kerwin?”

Oh, yeah. They were caving.

FBI response to bananas on a string and encouraging others to “troll”?  Grow up people!

http://www.theeagleonline.com/article/2017/05/american-university-student-protesters-block-traffic-in-bender-tunnel

End of the world as Christian effort?

Photoshopping Stephen Hawking into the Apocalypse

Salon.com has an article, “The End of the World as We Know It,” on the possibility/probability that the world will experience an apocalypse causing the extinction of humans in the very near future.  They quote and photoshop Stephen Hawking into the apocalypse which may/might/could be due to either climate change, the shrinking biosphere, “superbugs,” out of control technology or the deliberate efforts of the “religious.” Lots of data, little that’s truly on point. A lot of speculation and more than a bit of projection – the psychiatry kind, not the scientific kind.

The author, while naming groups that might deliberately cause human extinction,  equates the Christian belief  that Jesus will return at the end of time and the Muslim belief that the 12th Iman will soon return, leaving the reader — and far too many of those commenting on the article —  to the belief that Christians, like many main-stream Muslims, believe that we can hasten the end times by causing the end of the world (“as we know it”).

These guys are much more pessimistic than I am. The reason may be, as the comments reveal, far too many non-believers think Christians believe that we can bring on the end times by hastening an apocalypse.

However, when Jesus spoke of the end of the age and the time of His return to the world (possibly two separate events), He never said anything to imply that we can even know, much less effect that time.

“No man knows.” “Only the Father.”

And what are Christians to do? “Watch.” “Do not be deceived.” “Preach the Gospel in all nations.” and “Pray that it doesn’t happen in winter or on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.)

And there’s no mention of humans causing or precipitating the Apocalypse in John’s Revelation.

Unfortunately, many of the comments in response to the article are from non-believers who ascribe world-ending motives to Christians. (There are few if any that refer to the real beliefs of some Muslims that the end times can be brought on by human actions.)

Do you know of a scripture or a Christian teaching that we can gain heaven by acting to end the world?

“Ethically Problematic” Gender Roles and Support for Breastfeeding as “Natural”

​This tops every gender protectionist rant I’ve seen.

The April, 2016, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published a “Pediatrics Perspective titled “The Unintended Consequences of Invoking the ‘Natural’ in Breastfeeding Promotion.” The authors invoked a concern that promoting “natural” as superior might enforce objections to vaccines. But then, they call the promotion of breastfeeding “ethically problematic” to “support biologically deterministic arguments about the roles of men and women in the family.”

I’ll say it again, biology isn’t destiny, but it does have consequences. Besides, men can lactate, too. Under certain circumstances.

Equal, but special

A Facebook friend, Michael Smith, made an excellent comment about the contrast between “separate but equal,” and “equal, but special.”

I spent some time yesterday at the Texas State Capitol Reagan Building discussing House Bill 2899 by Simmons, which would prohibit local governments and other regulatory authorities from creating a new “order, ordinance, or other measure to protect a class of persons from discrimination; to reduce or expand a class of persons protected under state law from discrimination.”

The consensus of a group of people waiting for the House State Affairs Committee to begin was that the Bill is a thinly veiled “attack” on the LGBT community and transgender persons in particular. The comment that made me go into my Don Quixote tilting windmills mode was about just wanting to “peeing in peace” and the false claims of fears for safety of women and children.

I pointed out that that it is reasonable for women to have fear when confronting a man in a closed space and that we all expected privacy and security in bathrooms, locker rooms and other public places where people disrobe. (Yes, I used the term “disrobe.” And “intimate spaces.” I’m a nerd.)

I was told that I was speaking from “privilege” (!) for my example of caution when entering an elevator with a strange man and objecting to the stereotype that the brains of men and women are different and the assertion that men and women simply think differently. I heard that segregation of the sexes in public bathrooms is a new phenomenon and that the Roman baths, such as those in Pompeii were completely different matters, mainly due to the religion of the time.  And of course, several of the group told of the danger of violence against gays or trans but that there has never been any crime against other people by transgender person

Two of the people claimed to be transitioned from male to female. While demanding “respect,” they told stories of having coworkers fired for refusing to use their preferred pronouns. and engaged in very real “hate speech,” mocking and assigning hateful motives and emotions to me. The same person who pointed out that little boys can be molested in men’s bathrooms then said that *I* was the one who must obviously consider anyone with a penis a predator.

The group was secure in the belief that the fears of violence and abuse of the LGBT community outweigh not only the fears of victims of sexual abuse or parents of children and thousands of years of social norms.

Cities, but claiming to write non-discrimination ordinances create environments where some people are “equal, but special” – or a specially protected class of persons. George Orwell put it another way: “Some animals are more equal than others.”

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?

​Would you like to refuse?

Shocking Bill from Texas’ Jason Villaba, Republican State Representative from Dallas’ District 114 :  HB 1938 would make organ donation after death “opt out” for anyone applying for a driver’s license in Texas.

Texas would be the first State to pass such a law.

Organ donation is a public good for those who wish to do so. However, there is no ethical or legal precedent for treating human bodies – living or dead – as public property or commodities.

From the Bill as introduced:

 (2)  for an applicant who is 18 years of age or older:
                     (A)  specifically ask each applicant the
  question, “Would you like to refuse to join the organ donor
  registry?” and state, “If you answer ‘no’ to the previous question
  or do not answer the previous question, you consent to join the
  organ donor registry by performing either of those actions.”; and
                     (B)  if the applicant does not affirmatively
  refuse to be included in the registry under Paragraph (A), provide
  the person’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, most
  recent address, and other information needed for identification
  purposes at the time of donation to the nonprofit organization
  contracted to maintain the statewide donor registry under Section
  692A.020, Health and Safety Code, for inclusion in the registry.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB01938I.htm

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.”

You go first

​To all those claiming that America must”share the wealth,” invite the world into our homes without limits: you go first.
However, you *first* need to research exactly how generous we Americans are. We accept more legal immigrants than any other country. We give more for charity and government aide than others.
You might also take a look at the limits to altruism resulting from inalienable rights:

1. It’s not legitimate to give at the risk of your life or liberty.

2. To the extent that one chooses to sacrifice for the sake of another, it’s not ethical to put other’s inalienable rights at risk in doing so.
Worst case, if you deny the existence of”inalienable rights,” at least read Rand on altruism. I’d rather my neighbors were selfish than willing to sacrifice me for their goals.

More Fake News (5 year old handcuffed – NOT)

The Baltimore Sun is one of the online news sites I read because it’s more reliable than others. Usually.
Now, they’ve published an opinion piece with a falsehood about “inhumane acts” that were supposedly the result of President Trump’s Executive Order on travel to the United States from certai countries. At less one of those stories was easily debunked with a quick news search.

The story that a 5 year old boy was handcuffed is at false, according to a news report by WUSA9, from Washington, DC:

We tracked down the actual photo to a controversy in Kentucky involving sheriff’s deputies handcuffing young students with learning disabilities, back in 2015.

Another story going around is that a 5 year old Syrian girl was hand-cuffed by Immigration, also at Dulles. 

The anything-but-right-wing Snopes has already published a denial about the little girl. (Of course, the verdict is, “Mixture,” rather than,”False.” Can’t go risk validating anything that might have resulted from the Trump EO, I guess.)

In this case, the father even said the airport officials were kind to the family.

All of which confirms that we need to do our own research and seek out”alternative” sources to confirm or deny “facts” reported in the news.

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.

Call them Disruptors

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/92484292-132.html

ungovernableThe events at the University of California at Berkeley on February 1st weren’t “protests” against the appearance of Breitbart Senior Editor, Milo Yiannopoulos. (Live updates, here.  Language and violence alert.)

Trust me, it doesn’t matter who Yiannopoulos is. Forget that his “inflammatory statements” run along the line of

“They’re called microaggressions because you can’t even see them,” Yiannopoulos, a pundit at the conservative website Breitbart.com, told the crowd. “And the reason you can’t see them is because they’re not there. Nothing happens.”

What matters is that the organizers claim to be anti-fascist, yet use increasingly familiar fascist tactics.

Criminals burned a generator, shot fireworks and flares at buildings and police, broke windows, beat and pepper-sprayed people and moved into the surrounding area to vandalize businesses and banks, smashing more windows and ATMs.

uc-kill-graphitiAnd they threatened not only the President, but the lives of everyone they encountered, causing the University of California system to shut down First Amendment rights of Mr. Yannopoulos and the UC Republican club; not only for the 500 who bought tickets for that night, but another appearance scheduled for UC Davis the next night was cancelled, too. (A replay of last month’s violent disruption against Milo.)

Starting with Code Pink against President Bush, the disruption from the Left has escalated significantly in the last 8 years, at the Wisconsin and Texas State Capitols, and at most pro-life rallies & on to political events.

Speakers as wide ranged as Ann Coulter,  US Representative Tom Tancredo and Bernie Sanders have had their speeches cancelled and disrupted.

The violence and vandalism in Ferguson, Missouri and some Black Lives Matter protests were destructive of entire neighborhoods, but were reactionary, targeted and at least had a local, identifiable grievances and demands.

But then, BLM went on to stage disruptions at restaurants, aimed at private individuals with absolutely no connection to any sort of authority to make changes. The only “crimes” the people in those restaurants were accused of committing was being white – or not-Black – and eating in a restaurant. A restaurant where the disruptors would have been welcomed as customers, BTW.

If those weren’t an example of hate crimes, what is? And yet, the local authorities and Obama’s Administration during the tenures of both Attorneys General Holder and Lynch, never effectively prosecuted any of the people involved. Charges were dropped in places like Portland and Boston, 5 day sentences for blocking traffic on an interstate highway in Virginia.

And so, we had the violence after the election and on Inauguration Day, leading to the latest violence at Berkley.

This isn’t just noise and obstruction. This is nihilistic disruption and destructive violence meant to prevent free speech, free association, and stir up more violence.  I’m sick of the violence, destruction, threats, and censorship, claiming to be in advocacy for our rights. I’m concerned about what is happening and what could happen when the rest of the Nation reacts.

Yes, but…War!Hate!Immigration! Politics?

It’s not just the Left/Progressives/SJWs, up in arms about the Trump Executive Orders. No, as has been noted by others, the Right/Republicans/NeverEvers are at it, too.

I’m tired of the shifting complaints from non-debaters who won’t acknowledge my last reply, full of facts and references in response to their accusations. The answers skip from “it’s unConstitutional!,” to “he’s making Law!” then, when shown the basis for Trump’s EO in each case, there’s the emotional charges of either “Trump is hater” or “we can’t just let the refugees die!”

While one young (draft age) man went so far as to advocate waging war against ISIS, Assad, AND Russia(!) in order to save the Syrian refugees, the usual declaration is that Trump is aiding the bigots. The latest meme is that the Quebec mosque shooting proved that there is a”dark side” of Islamophobia, fed by Trump’s nationalism.

What we must do is choose our battles, how we divide our resources. If we do not somehow control who enters our country, we put our neighbors in danger.

Yes, there is a “dark side” to supporters of a travel ban, just as John Brown represented the dark side of the abolition movement. It is possible to condemn the dark side, while still working for the good.
The truth is that the “dark side” has warned us and given real life examples of its intention to terrorize US citizens, activating refugees and asylum seekers, as well as”home grown” aggressors.  The simplest and least disruptive way our government has to seek out the foreign aggressors  is by vetting those on the way into the country.

The “ban” is a temporary suspension, to give the new Administration a chance to review and strengthen the processes in place for that vetting. It isn’t a “Muslim ban” or a “travel ban.” It’s good policy.


It’s a “March for Life”

powerofone

2017 Theme March for Life

But if you want information about the (correction,  it’s Friday,  not Thursday,  repeat as necessary  ) Friday , January 27, 2017 March, you probably should search for “Anti-abortion March.”

The New York Times managed to “report” that Kellyanne Conway will speak at the 2017 National March for Life in Washington, DC on Friday , without once calling the March by its proper name. The only time the organization responsible for 44 years of the “Anti-abortion March” is named, is when giving the job title of the president of March for Life, Jeanne Mancini.

march-for-life-cropped-white-coat-january-22-2009-016

2009 National Rally for Life

This year’s March wasn’t held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as it has been in the past, due to the inauguration events on Friday and, I suspect, the Women’s March on Saturday. The inauguration events didn’t prevent us from attending the 2009 March the day after Barack Obama was sworn in, but I imagine the concern about the two opposing groups clashing in front of the Supreme Court was just too much this year.

Friday  is probably not the best day for families, school groups and people who have regular jobs, but I expect it will be well attended, since we’ve been promised a “heavy administration presence.” There have been related Marches for Life all over the country all week (Idaho, San Francisco, Tulsa and Raleigh, where it was noted that both the Women’s March and the March for Life were held at the same time – but across town from one another.)

mygenerationYou might also search for “Rally for Life,” as the Texas Rally for Life will be held in Austin on Saturday, January 29.  Beginning at 12:00 – 1:00 PM, marchers will gather at 18th & N. Congress Ave. and then begin the short march to the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol.

(Edited to correct the day of the week of the March for Life in Washington,  DC.  BBN) 

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.

​”Na-na Naa-na, Hey Hey, Good-bye!”

#NeverTrump -ers & inauguration protestors claim the Right protested Obama from day 1. No, the protest rallies began in February, 2009, with the Tea Party actions against the “Stimulus.” 

According to the New York Times,at the time, the few protestors were against outgoing President Bush and there were the members of Code Pink and Amnesty International, etc., who wanted O to move farther to the Left.

But let’s don’t forget that chant, okay?

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.”

Honk if you love pizza and abortion!

​Perfect pro-abortion slogan: “Honk if you love pizza and abortion!”


Because, equivalent, yes? And illogically proud of it – see the young woman in the left lower quadrant. That sign certainly is evidence that “reproductive rights” advocates are, indeed, “pro-abortion.” 

The Texas Tribune is providing its usual biased coverage of the Texas Legislature. The editors allowed the banality of a pro-abortion sign equating the love of abortion and pizza to creep into their report on the fears of the groups who make a profit from ending the lives of the most vulnerable humans and their advocates. 

There’s no logic in claiming that an abortion doesn’t end the life of a human. With current science and technology, it’s anti-science to make such a claim. Proponents of elective abortion deny that every human is endowed with inalienable rights. Instead, they defend the falsehoods that embryos and fetuses are less than human and definitely not human-enough to possess inalienable human rights. 

As to the complaints about insurance coverage for abortion? It’s called, “Elective abortion.” Insurance shouldn’t pay for “elective” procedures. And seriously: “a rider” to pay for elective abortion?  How fiscally responsible is that?  

“Heart” if you (heart) graphic proof of illogic and irresponsibility

Command and Control . Documentary Film

Might want to watch this, remembering that it’s a combination of history and speculation.

http://www.commandandcontrolfilm.com/

Narcissist or “Professorial?”

​Dinner party with new acquaintances: one more lesson about bias on the Left.

 After we all agreed that Trump is a narcissist, I  reminded the group about Obama’s “Office of the President Elect,” with the signs and logo that appeared on every podiun, every time he spoke after first elected. Then I told them about the drinking games based on 44’s use of the words “I” and “me.”

One dinner companion laughed and said, “Yes, he can certainly be professorial!”

Okay, I  admit that I sort of lost it!

Gene editing human trials begin (CRISPR)

Bioethics news, from Nature.com

“A Chinese group has become the first to inject a person with cells that contain genes edited using the revolutionary CRISPR–Cas9 technique.

“On 28 October, a team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu delivered the modified cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital, also in Chengdu.”

The focus of the article seems to be a possible competition between scientists in China and the US for locking down the therapies for lung, prostate, and other cancers.

Earlier reports describe the technique used in the Chinese experiments:

“Lu’s team will extract immune cells called T cells from the blood of the enrolled patients, and then use CRISPR–Cas9 technology — which pairs a molecular guide able to identify specific genetic sequences on a chromosome with an enzyme that can snip the chromosome at that spot — to knock out a gene in the cells. The gene encodes a protein called PD-1 that normally acts as a check on the cell’s capacity to launch an immune response, to prevent it from attacking healthy cells.

“The gene-edited cells will then be multiplied in the lab and re-introduced into the patient’s bloodstream. The engineered cells will circulate and, the team hopes, home in on the cancer, says Lu. The planned US trial similarly intends to knock out the gene for PD-1, and it will also knock out a second gene and insert a third before the cells are re-introduced into the patient.””

 

The CRISPR gene editing experiments have been on going for a while, in research on fighting bacteria and viruses, attempts to study specific gene function, and even experiments with pluripotent cell lines. And this is not the first time cells that have been manipulated with the CRISPR technique have been used. Here is a report about successful use in the United States to treat a little girl with leukemia.

As it’s being used, it appears to be ethical. Like any tool, CRISPR could be used unethically.  Scientists in the UK have gotten permission from their government regulators to conduct unethical experiments on human embryos using the techniques.

“Niakan’s team is interested in early development, and it plans to alter genes that are active in the first few days after fertilization. The researchers will stop the experiments after seven days, after which the embryos will be destroyed.

“The genetic modifications could help researchers to develop treatments for infertility, but will not themselves form the basis of a therapy.”

Besides the concern about killing human embryos in research, many scientists and ethicists are concerned about the consequences of the potential misuse of human embryos in experiments with gene therapy in general and CRISPR, specifically:

“Guoping Feng, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, hopes that with improvement, the technique could eventually be used to prevent genetic disease. But he argues that it is much too soon to be trying it in the clinic. ‘Now is not the time to do human-embryo manipulation,’  he says. ‘If we do the wrong thing, we can send the wrong message to the public — and then the public will not support scientific research anymore.'”

 

 

Nature.com has produced a graphic outlining the laws that regulate human embryo experimentation across the world.

My immediate fear is we don’t know enough about the long term effects of the therapy. Will new disorders be created or unmasked accidentally? Will the genes in the gametes (sperm and egg) be changed, affecting the future children of recipients?  Even the discovery of penicillin had its side effects, after all.

One frequently mentioned concern is the possible use of gene modification to produce designer babies, including designing *down* for workers or slaves. These would be expensive and far in the future – since we still need mothers to gestate those babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxpayers voted Republican

Here’s the New York Times graphic description of voters by income. Clearly, voters who pay income tax were more likely to vote Republican. This explains the support for T’s down ballot from the vote for President.


 

Pay attention: it’s policy, not bias

screenshot_20161109-175849The consensus of media pundits and bloggers, as well as quite a few liberal and even Conservative op-ed authors, is that Donald J.Trump was elected President out of some misguided national populism and anger at Congress, fueled with a lot of racism, misogyny and hate. The fact that those same voters elected a Republican majority in the House and Senate  – sending virtually every eligible Republican incumbent back to DC – is glossed over.

The idea that Conservatives really believe in small government and equal opportunity supported by personal responsibility is rarely voiced. That we might actually vote, not only for President but consistently down ballot, in order to defend the Bill of Rights and the right to life is ignored while we are accused of xeno-, homo-, and poly-whatever-phobia. I read that I am “afraid” of other lifestyles, religions, and losing my “privilege” based on being a White Christian.

Personally, I approve of most of the Republican Platform, especially where it addresses core Conservative issues, such as low taxes and equal treatment under the law. I want a Legislature that will uphold the Constitution as it’s written and defend against the infringement of inalienable rights. I don’t want activist judges nominated or confirmed at any level of the Federal Court system, especially the Supreme Court. I hope President Trump and the Republican Congress majority will decrease the hassle factors and threats placed on the practice of medicine and business in general by an overreaching Federal bureaucracy.

And, yes, my sense of fairness hopes that our existing immigration laws will finally be enforced, as an outcome of the”equal treatment under the law.”

Instead of facile clichés fed by cherry-picked sound bites and the latest talking points from the Left, try looking at and listening to the 59 Million voters across the country who elected a Republican candidate for President, and ensured a Republican majority including all those “establishment” candidates in both the House and Senate. 

It’s the Republican platform and Conservative policy that we Conservatives voted for, not one man.

The day the Rule of Law died 

November 6, 2016 – a Sunday afternoon – FBI Director Comey announced that his agency’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s selfie-server is closed, still without recommendation to charge the former Secretary of State. He destroyed any confidence that the United States is a nation of laws.

From the New York Post:

” From within the SCIF, Santos — who had no clearance — “collected documents from the secure facsimile machine for Clinton,” the FBI notes revealed.:

“Just how sensitive were the papers Santos presumably handled? The FBI noted Clinton periodically received the Presidential Daily Brief — a top-secret document prepared by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies — via the secure fax.”

Among the FBI notes on their investigation into those once-deleted emails from Clinton’s selfie-server were some indicating that Clinton regularly required her Washington, DC maid to print out official State Department documents, including classified information.

That’s right: her maid, a woman without any security clearance at all.

Again, while these emails and the access by the maid present new information to most of us, the FBI knew that they existed and that they were among the 30,000+ emails that were deleted *after* Congress had served Clinton with a subpoena.

We can assume that the emails had been marked as personal by the (again, no-security-clearance-) lawyers to whom Clinton delegated the task of dividing the contents of the selfie-server into those that were not and those that were State Department business.  Clinton claimed that neither group of emails contained classified documents, so she saw nothing wrong with turning over a memory stick containing the emails to the lawyers.

Media Matters covered the maid stories. The point that they made was strictly on Conservative bias and the timing of when the classified emails became classified. There was no coverage about the President’s morning briefing from intelligence sources or on the illegality of giving access to the SCIF. There was certainly no insight into the fact that the documents could later be determined to be classified is the EXACT reason that a person without the appropriate clearance should not be given access!

I’m disgusted. I’m angry. I want to commit felonies of my own – felonies yet to be determined, but of my choice and according to my own schedule.

But since I do believe in the Rule of Law and its benefits, I want to know what my Senators Cruz and Cornyn and my Congressman Lamar Smith intend to do clean house in the Federal  government.

And I don’t mean, “with, like a cloth.”

 

(Edited @ 7:05 PM on November 7, to add comments on Media Matters and to correct the cloth comment. BBN)

I hope you can recall this

The future includes so much more than a 10 year old video, for people who don’t have memory problems.

Forget the Clinton’s sale of nights in the Lincoln Bedroom and misplaced furnishings from the White House and, later, the State Department offices. Go ahead, laugh at the “Reset button.”

But don’t forget the pay-for-access that continues to this day. Please don’t dismiss Clinton’s complicity with the sale of US uranium and her own dismissal of the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi or of “our posterity” in the case of the unborn children whose lives are ended by elective, intentional abortion.

These recollections make a difference today and for the future.

What place will there be in a Clinton II Administration for people who oppose abortion or who prefer to continue to include “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Can we tolerate another 4 years of IRS discrimination against conservative non-profits? Do we need to have more lawsuits against nuns or regulations forbidding Christians from praying in the name of Jesus?

We certainly won’t be invited to any closed door meetings on HillaryCare. And there’s no telling how many boxes of FBI files and billing records will disappear never to be “recalled” if Clinton gets another shot at the White House.

I would much rather hold Donald Trump to his promises than watch Hillary Clinton keep hers.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Speculation, accusation, and hypocrisy

Trump’s leaked tax forms (3 pages?) apparently report on *New York State* income taxes and all the comments about tax avoidance are pure speculation: the reports all say that Trump “may” have legally avoided income taxes (Federal or State?), *then *proceed *as *though *he *did.

In the meantime, we have proof that Clinton declared a $700M loss in 2015 & took multi-year deductions on Federal taxes. We also know that NYT, who published those 1995 tax pages, takes deductions, paid no Federal income tax in 2014, received refund.

http://spectator.org/hypocrisy-alert-hillary-new-york-times-caught-avoiding-taxes/

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