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News: “U.K. Scientists Given Green Light To Edit Human Embryos” | IFLScience

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/uk-scientists-given-green-light-edit-human-embryos

Cute. We’re assured that it’s still illegal to implant these “edited,” engineered embryos – but until now, it wasn’t legal to edit them! See the pattern?

The experiments are only supposed to only  use “surplus” embryos conceived by in vitro fertilization. Next will come the argument that embryos should by designed “from scratch” as a couple’s right (or group marriage partner’s rights.

The only embryos that will be helped as a result of this line of experimentation wold be extracorporeal embryos that are to be edited, themselves! Job security for the experimenters, perhaps.

We can be sure implantation will happen, moving closer to “designer babies.” Lots of science fiction has often dealt with the good and bad, the intended and unintended consequences of “editing” the humans or transhumans we conceive.

The unintended consequences can’t be known, but we can know that they will occur. And yet, that child of tomorrow can’t consent, his or her contemporaries can’t consent and their off spring certainly can’t consent.

The nascent  human once again unquestionably becomes the means to another’s end, rather than an end in himself.

Yes, someone will point out that  many or even most parents may have children for their own purposes other than to truly become one with their spouse or to reproduce and pass on their genes. The mere fact that anyone can contemplate “spare” or “excess” human beings is proof of that. (And don’t forget the “unwanted” child the abortion advocates constantly remind us of.)

Will there be a money-back guarantee for the “failed” comodified child?  Will those future generations think better of us than we regard past efforts at breeding a better human? Let’s hope that if we live among them, they tolerate us!

Lies, Damned Lies and “ScoreCards”

It takes a long time to write the hard posts, so I’ve been putting this one off for a while. But with Primary season off and running, conservative groups are turning on conservative legislators and using political “score cards” to attack.

Let’s start with the most manipulated “scorecard” of all, especially now that someone else has stepped up to explain so much better than I ever could.

Texas Right to Life, the organization which was criticized by the Texas Catholic Conference for their “misstatements and fabrications” concerning HB303 and HB 1444, continues to make up whatever they wish, this time with their arbitrary  “Legislative Scores.” Their scorecard is so “Unconventional” and “perplexing” that it prompted the following letter, signed by all the Texas Catholic Bishops:

December 9, 2013

The Honorable Dan Huberty Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78768

Dear Representative Huberty:

I am writing at the behest of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas to share their concerns about a recent “pro-life scorecard” released by Texas Right to Life (TRTL). This “scorecard” purports to declare which Texas legislators are “pro-life” based on a selective number of votes during the 83rd Legislative Session.

Unfortunately, the unconventional methodology and subjective scoring of the TRTL scorecard produced a number of perplexing results–including assigning low scores to pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.

As you know, the Texas Catholic Conference does not use scorecards. Instead, our bishops encourage parishioners to fully form their consciences through prayer and education about issues. Scorecards are a poor substitute for that level of thoughtful policy engagement. Perhaps the most faulty implication of the scorecard is that, in its current form, it casts the tradition of Catholic teaching as being insufficiently pro-life–which is a patently absurd notion. TRTL does not have license to publicly define who is sufficiently pro-life or not.

Some legislative scorecards, when created objectively and appropriately, can be informative. If not, they stop being about informing the public and become more about advancing political agendas, with the unfortunate result that some citizens end up being misled about the issues and misinformed about the voting records of their legislators.

The recent TRTL scorecard selected only three bills (and assorted amendments) to calculate the scores out of the thousands of bills considered during the 83 rd Legislative Session. Several pro-life bills were excluded from consideration. For example, the TRTL scorecard did not include or minimized support for bills that would have prohibited abortion coverage from insurance plans provided in the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges (HB 997); prohibited sex selection abortions (HB 309); strengthened parental rights to reduce judicial bypass for teen abortions (HB 3243); or criminalized coerced abortions (HB 3247). All these proposals were unquestionably pro-life, yet were not scored equitably on the TRTL scorecard.

As a result of this selective vote counting, several legislators, who have spent their careerscommitted to pro-life issues, were said to “reject opportunities to protect the sanctity of innocent human life” when that is clearly not the case. For example, Senator Bob Deuell was responsible for requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (SB 537)—a key provision of the landmark prolife legislation that ultimately passed during the Special Session. However, the TRTL political action committee gave him no credit for authoring this pro-life bill. In another instance, State Rep. Bill Callegari was given no credit for his authorship of the parental rights bill (HB 3243).

The method by which the scores were assigned was haphazard and confusing. Some legislators were awarded more points than others for the same legislative action, while other legislators’ contributions were completely ignored. For example, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Rep. John Smithee both authored pro-life bills during the session, but Laubenberg was awarded 25 points for authorship of HB 2, while, Smithee was awarded only six points for authoring another pro-life bill that sought to remove abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges. In another example, Rep. Tracey King, who voted against both pro-life omnibus bills (HB 2 and SB 5) received a higher pro-life score than Rep. J. D. Sheffield, who voted FOR both HB 2 and SB 5.

Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. was not scored as pro-life, despite his co-sponsoring and voting for HB 2 and SB 5 and twice crossing party lines to be the final necessary vote to suspend Senate rules and debate on these bills.

What was most troubling to the Texas Catholic Bishops was that the scorecard appears to attack those legislators who supported perhaps one of the most pro-life bills during the 83rd session: protecting individuals and families at the end of life by reforming the Texas Advance Directives Act. Advance directives reform not only would have given families more tools to protect their loved ones at the end of life, but would have provided conscience protections to medical providers to refuse inflicting burdensome and unnecessary procedures on patients. The advance directives law would have changed current law to:

 prohibit the involuntary denial of care to critically ill patients, including food and water;

 prevent doctors from making unilateral “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders without consulting families; and,

 require treating all patients “equally without regard to permanent physical or mental disabilities, age, gender, ethnic background, or financial or insurance status.”

The advance directives reform bill was a moral and compassionate approach to end-of-life care that was opposed by TRTL, but supported by a broad coalition of groups, including the Texas Catholic Conference, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, the Texas Alliance for Life, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the AARP, the Texas Pro-Life Action Team, the Texas Conservative Coalition, and the Catholic Hospital Association of Texas. Advance directives reform was important to the Catholic Church–and to many legislators–because we recognize human life as a gift from God that is innately sacred–from conception to natural death. We have taken this position after much reflection to ensure that the law respects the natural dying process.

The implication to be drawn from this scorecard is that TRTL opposed the advance directives reform bill, and appears to have taken to punishing those pro-life legislators who disagreed with them by inaccurately casting them as not being sufficiently pro-life. That is plainly inaccurate.

In the case of the advance directives reform bill, legislators who supported the law were strongly pro-life; they merely opposed the TRTL’s position. These are not necessarily the same thing. It is unfortunate that so many members who continue to fully stand for life are being attacked for doing just that. We hope that this letter has clarified what would otherwise have remained an unfair and confusing characterization.

Sincerely,

Jeffery R. Patterson Executive Director

A cold, dark winter

Perhaps we could convince the Powers That Be that recovery from Hurricane Sandy calls for emergency measures and a kinder EPA?

Take a look at this New York Times article on energy regulations from yesterday.  I fear that due to the Obama re-election, the limits on US Energy source production, the restrictions on new refineries and plants, the mandates that choke current mining, drilling, manufacturing and processing will get worse through regulations from the Executive Branch, especially the Environmental Protection Agency.

Believe it or not, there are supposedly educated people convinced that “fracking” contaminates our water sources, ignoring the fact that the gas is 8000 to 10,000 feet under ground and water aquifers are much more shallow, at an average of around 500 feet below the surface. Even that Scientific American article admits that it’s highly unlikely that fracking is the cause of any contamination, given the relative depths. Note that the testing was near “natural gas wells,” and the authors blamed leaky pipes for the presence of gas in water, not the fracking. However, they apparently did not test near other well types or near gas pockets that weren’t tapped by humans.

And finally, perhaps it’s time for We The People to convince our Governors, State Attorneys General, and both State and Federal Legislators to invoke the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Possible deal struck on Rule 15 (delegate) changes, no word on Rule 12 @GOPconvention #TxGOP #RNC

 

The Hill is reporting that there may be a compromise that “allows” State GOPs to continue to chose their delegates to the National GOP convention. There is no mention about killing the proposed rule allowing the Rebublican National Committeetoo change the rules – with a 3/4 majority vote – once we all go home.

Unfortunately, the controversy is being cast as Mitt Romney vs Ron Paul, rather than Grassroots vs PTB (Powers That Be):

“We are currently reviewing and getting feedback from our delegates. While we are not sure how this will ultimately be received, [it] is very positive that the Romney campaign is listening to feedback from the grassroots and looking to find common ground,” said Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager.

Under the agreement, a bound delegate must vote for the presidential candidate that they are required to vote for under state law or state party rules, leaving the actual selection of delegates up to the states.

Previously, a proposal would have given presidential candidates the power to veto delegates sent by the states — a change that had Paul supporters crying foul, seeing it as an establishment attempt to stifle the upstart contingent.

The deal strikes a middle ground between establishment Republican leaders and conservative delegates, but is likely to infuriate some Paul backers who had spent much of the last year gaming the system to their benefit and who virulently opposed compromise on the issue.

“We were able to achieve an agreement that accomplished what everyone wanted to accomplish,” Bopp told The Hill. “The Romney campaign wanted to make sure the delegates pledged to support him will actually vote for him … and at the same time the concern we had was addressed so that state parties have complete control of the delegates.”

Bopp had blasted the Romney campaign’s original rule when it was approved, calling it “the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party.” He said Monday he did not know if the Paul camp would be satisfied by the changes — and didn’t care much, accusing them of “causing chaos for chaos’s sake in order to achieve their agenda.

How to make mainstream Republicans sympathetic to Ron Paul followers @GOP2012 #RNC #tcpt #TxGOP

And guarantee a third party (or 4th and 5th) push.

Propose a GOP rules change that appears designed to squelch any National delegates that might not be loyal to the favored Candidate and add a new rule that would allow the Powers That Be – the Republican National Committee – to make even more rules changes between the National Conventions!

Here are the controversial new additions to the Rules of the Republican Party:

“The Republican National Committee may, by three fourths (3/4) vote of its entire membership, amend Rules 1-11 and 13-24. Any such amendment shall be considered by the Republican National Committee only if it was passed by by a majority vote of the Standing Committee on Rules after having been submitted in writing at least ten (10) days in advance of its consideration by the Republican National Committee and shall take effect thirty (30) days after adoption. No such amendment shall be adopted after September 30, 2014.”

New rule inserted as number 15(a):

15(a)(1) Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in a primary, caucus, or state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the National Convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.

15(a)(2) For any manner of binding or allocating delegates permitted by these Rules, no delegate or alternate who is bound or allocated to a particular presidential candidate may be certified under Rule 19 if the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has, in consultation with the State Party, disavowed the delegate or alternate delegate.

15(e)(3) The Republican National Committee may grant a waiver to a state Republican Party from the provisions of 15(a) and (b) where compliance is impossible, and the Republican National Committee determines that granting such a waiver is in the best interests of the Republican Party.

Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/08/liberty-fairness-implode-as-rnc-rules-committee-wields-iron-fist/#ixzz24oIFLoFN

Texas’ delegation will push to get rid of these changes. From their reaction in a meeting this morning, Governor Sununu might not be able to make the transition from Temporary Chair to Permanent Chair of the Rules Committee and the Convention will most likely scrap the whole 2012 Rules and revert to the 2008 Rules.

Michelle Malkin has a great review, along with copies of several letters from delegates and links to even more, including a possible “deal”, here.

Susurrus – Or, “How to divide a Party”

Okay, I’ll admit it: I like the word, “susurrus,” and look for excuses to use it. A better term would be “whispers from the crowd that are going around” or . . .

There are rumblings that the 2012 Republican Party of Texas Platform is “pro-amnesty.”  the ones saying this have a history of assuming the worst and getting attention because they accuse.

The wording in the RPT 2012 platform (on page 21)  titled, “The Texas Solution” plank isn’t “pro-amnesty.” It is a little wimpy and *too easily interpreted* to allow amnesty –  especially if someone  or some group chooses to interpret it that way.

I, too, wanted to see changes in the wording of “The Texas Solution” that would ensure that no one claimed that we in the RPT approve amnesty of any kind.  The term “illegal alien” should have been used instead of “undocumented individuals” and the plan should specifically require guest workers to return to their country of legal residence to apply for guest worker visa.

However, the most important fact is that the Platform was passed after the Delegates had plenty of time and warning to read the planks and even some advance warning about what to read and why. The amendments failed in Sub-Committee, in the larger Platform Committee (on both Wednesday and on Thursday) and then, at the General Session when voted on by the Delegation.

The good news is that the Platform isn’t law. It is a list of those things we in the RPT believe. We do believe in “solutions,” not just complaints and criticisms. We will insist that our elected officials not –  in any way, shape or form –  promote “amnesty.”

spelling change 6/10/12 “Susurrus”

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