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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.

Arguing Abortion on YouTube

I usually agree with this doctor. But not about abortion. ZDoggMD, Zubin Damania, has a sense of humor and a sense of balance. But today, he demands that we to “come to the center” because 1 in 4 women in the US have an abortion by age 45. “It happens.”

Well, according to the 1860 US Census, approximately 25% of families owned slaves. “It happen(ed).” Common ground was hard to find there, too.

The question is whether or not abortion ends the life of a human that is human-enough to possess the Human Right not to be killed. Are they one of us and can we kill them if they don’t threaten our lives?

The first question has been definitively answered, at least scientifically. Louise Brown was born 5 years after Roe v Wade. Serial ultrasounds showing the progression of the egg to embryonic organism to fetus were possible soon after. (I’m tempted to echo the ZDogg, “Grow up and get into the 21st Century.” But of course, I won’t.)

Answering these questions according to ethics and law can’t be addressed by science and requires a bit more discussion. Nevertheless, the trend in Western societies has been toward including all humans as rights bearers endowed with at least the right not to be killed or treated as the property of another and preventing legally sanctioned killing and enslavement, regardless of characteristics, abilities, or background.

Beyond the life of the mother, the rest of ZDogg’s arguments are the usual justification for what I call, “I want” ethics, including arguments for the “control of the woman’s body,” the health of the woman, and exceptions for rape and incest.

Nik Hoot, a 20 year old young man from Indiana, lost his feet and part of his legs and fingers to an attempted abortion, but survived to be adopted, eventually a State Semi Finals high school wrestler, and a productive member of society. His mother’s body didn’t lose limbs; his did. As he says, he has to “live with someone else’s choice.”

As to the health of the mother, how could anyone know at 12 weeks that there will be sequelae at or after delivery?

The safety of abortion is most often reported using short term data. There’s support for increased mortality and morbidity in the long term, however.

Late discovery of fetal abnormalities isn’t a good argument in favor of induced abortion, either. After 15 weeks and definitely after 20, it’s statically safer for the mother to carry to term.

I won’t even entertain arguments that crime is down because the unwanted are killed. “Minority Report” has a double meaning, here.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic – not an “anti-choice” publication, by any standard – focusing on the rape exception.

Let’s face it: the wrong human is killed by abortion justified by reason of rape or incest. If you cringe at that statement, you might want to consider why.

Edit: Comments are closed. Please comment on my Facebook page.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Updated information on TRTL, end of life, and money

One Texas Right to Life (TRTL) lawyer has posted an update on Facebook about the “rescue” of Mrs Carolyn Jones. I’m afraid that, as with the declaration that another patient was “slain,” TRTL is gaming the Medicare funding and Texas medical systems for political purposes.

Emily Cook, General Council for TRTL, wrote that she worried that “funny business clinically would happen as we moved her” from the hospital where Mrs. Jones has been admitted for over 6 months, where the docs had weaned her off the ventilator and wanted her to transfer to a more appropriate level of care facility over 2 months ago.

Emily says TRTL spent their own money (*see my last paragraph) to put her in a private ambulance and take Mrs. Jones to another hospital ER. That hospital couldn’t provide dialysis, so they in turn transferred her via ambulance somewhere else, to yet another hospital until admission can be arranged at the nursing home.

Even Lawyer Cook admits that the first move wasn’t “legit.”

Cook-ing the system

There were comments on various sites that the original hospital had refused transfer. However, from what I’ve read, it’s likely the hospital was refusing to be complicit with “patient dumping.” For a hospital to knowingly discharge a patient for the purpose of transferring to the ER of another hospital without (or even with) the acceptance of the transfer from the docs at the other facility is highly irregular, and likely goes against Medicare regulations.

Mrs. Jones’ Medicare funding for the original hospitalization is bound to have run out some time ago. Normally, Medicare will allow 90 days per admission, with an extra 60 “reserve” days, once per person, per lifetime. The patient is responsible for part of the bill from the first day of admission, and for the total hospital costs after the eligible days.

But there are still Medicare regulations to deal with in the case of “Medicare eligible” patients, even when they aren’t paying.

As to the refusal of the original hospital to accept private payment for in-hospital dialysis, there were 2 issues: Medicare funding about privately payment for covered services and the probability that the physician-patiebt relationship would be reset, along with the 10 days in the statute.

Medicare makes it very difficult and risky for everyone to navigate the private pay process. When I had a question in my private medical office about whether Medicare would cover something, we had the patient sign an informed consent agreement and an acknowledgement that the patient might have to eventually pay if Medicare denied the service. Then we performed the service, filed the charge with Medicare, waited to be denied, and then tried to Bill the patient. I gave away a lot tetanus vaccines and removed a lot of moles and warts for free to avoid the risk of “fraud and abuse” from the likes of Janet Reno.

The same risk would have applied if the hospital had privately charged Mrs. Jones’ Dialysis.

I don’t believe the first new hospital is at risk for a charge of “dumping” if they documented a legitimate reason. However, both new hospitals will be able to charge the Jones copays and co-insurance. They may also find Medicare coverage limited because of the way Mrs. Jones left the original.

Another, discussion has concerned the delay in funding from Medicaid:

“Medicaid limits 2019” (a .PDF)

I certainly don’t know the Jones’ financial circumstances, and I may have over estimated the maximum income in early speculation. However, there are strict maximum Medicaid income and asset levels. These vary according to age, disability, and marital status. (Even the government bureaucratic Leviathan doesn’t want the spouse if a nursing home patient to end up indigent.)

In my experience, the social workers and benefits experts at hospitals and nursing homes are experts at negotiating and translating the bureaucracy. In addition, the disabled Medicare eligible person will have access to a benefits specialist. I’ve never had a hospital discharge and nursing home admission blocked by this “paperwork.” Certainly not for months at a time.

*TRTL hasn’t updated their Carolyn Jones fundraising numbers since last week. That “Family Assistance Fund,” part of their 403(c) PAC, (AKA the Educational fund”), has been posted as a little over $33,000, since last Friday.

I hope TRTL assists the Jones family with what is certain to be several enormous hospital bills. As long as they pay the bills directly, the funds won’t be counted as income to Mrs. Jones.

End of life or end of hospital stay?

What a tragic story!

While I only know what I’ve seen online, in my experience, it appears that the dispute about Mrs. Carolyn Jones is over continued hospitalization at this hospital, versus transfer to care at another facility.

(See this television news report.)

I’m the first to say that hospitals are scary places and to sympathize with families struggling to cope with the bureaucracy and protocols. However the current news, press releases, and pro-life blogs are reporting several errors and omissions about Texas’s law and legislation up for consideration in Austin.

The obvious errors in this report include:
1. First. It’s not correct that Mrs Jones will die on Monday, even if the ventilator is turned off at the hospital. She’s not intubated through the mouth or nose. Instead, there’s a tracheostomy and a feeding tube in place. Supplemental oxygen could be provided many different ways, at home or in a nursing home.
2. Mr. Jones has testified at the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting (EDIT: the video is here, at 52 minutes in) on 4/10/19 and elsewhere that Mrs Jones had been weaned off the ventilator, needing it only occasionally, at night.
2. She should be able to speak and swallow with training.
3. Texas Advance Directives Act doesn’t require that the doctor declare the treatment be “futile.” Instead, the doctor must declare that he refuses to follow a certain treatment decision that the patient or family demands .
4. Kidney dialysis is paid for by the Federal government, so the problem isn’t only funding.

In my admittedly limited knowledge about this particular case – it appears that Mr. Jones disagrees that it’s time to move from the hospital to home or nursing home, even after 5 months (not 10 days).

At least since 2005, legislation has been introduced at the State to increase the timeframe to as long as a month. Texas Right to Life refuses to agree to anything other than indefinite treatment, with the doctor forced to act against his will, violating his conscience and ignoring his medical judgement.

TRTL has even clashed with other pro-life organizations and Texas’s Catholic Bishops and “primaried” several conservative Legislators, although they are the only Texas pro-life group that opposes the law.

It would be good to add more time – I don’t know of anyone who disagrees. But there needs to be a limit to how long a doctor is forced to act against his conscience. One Bill that was rumored this year would change the “10 days” to 21 days and add a week to the notification period before the Ethics committee meets. Unfortunately, it never got past the Powers That Be.

For more on the ethics of the Texas Advance Directives Act, see this WingRight post.

The most urgent need is communication with families, correcting misunderstandings like those outlined here.

(Edited May 10, 2019 at 12:22 AST, to correct the Link to the testimony of Mr. Jones. BBN)

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.

Another kind of lawyer joke

“[T]he doctor/bioethics committee thinks the patient should die.” Wesley J. Smith, Esq., Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee, 4/10/2019 LifeNews.com

Wesley Smith is a rarity among the many lawyers who chased bioethics to the bedside late in the last century: he actually believes in the sanctity of human life and in the right of conscience. I’ve attended and reported on his debates and encounters with proponents of intentional euthanasia. And even happily defended him.

Unfortunately, Lawyer Smith was not above spinning the truth this month when he came from California to once again misrepresent the Texas Advance Directive Act (“TADA,” “the Act,” or “166.___”), an attempt to balance conflicting rights when doctors disagree with a patient or his surrogates about actual medical procedures and treatments that the doctor believes harms the patient.

On April 10, 2019 Mr. Smith gave invited testimony to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in favor of SB 2089 (Hughes) and
SB 2129 (Creighton). LifeNews.com published part of his testimony online, under the title, “Texas Rule Allows Hospitals to Essentially Euthananize Patients After a 10-Day Notification.”

Mr. Smith doesn’t just contradict multiple Supreme Court rulings since Cruzan (1990) affirming that withholding or withdrawing treatment is not equivalent to euthanasia. Paradoxically, he echoes arguments that anti-conscience activists use to justify abortion on demand, Physician Assisted Suicide and intentional euthanasia by a third party by claiming that the principle of autonomy supercedes “First, do no harm,” or non-malevelence, and the right to conscience.

(You can watch all of Part I and Part II of the April 10, 2019 Health and Human Services Committee meeting addressing SB 2089 by Senator Bryan Hughes and SB 2129 by Senator Brandon Creighton online. Part I includes Mr. Smith’s testimony beginning at 33:00/1:01:10.)

We’ll skip Mr. Smith’s assertion that there is a right to force others to provide everyone medical care in general, not just in emergencies or at the end of life. I’ve covered these assertions and his attacks on the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops I’m, back in 2007.

Today, let’s just look at his spin on the current version of TADA.

Lawyer Smith uses emotionally weighted terms that aren’t in TADA, such as, “life-extending,” “futile care,” “permitting the institution to force its will on patients and families,” “invidious discrimination,” and “inappropriate care.” He contrasts patient’s “rights” with doctor’s “values,” and is the first that day to raise the specter of doctors willing to kill when patients are “expensive.” And, reflected in the LifeNews.com headline, Mr. Smith flatly says that TADA allows euthanasia – intentional acts to kill patients – equivalent to the administration of injections or medications that he wrote about this week.

As I’ve stated so many times in past WingRight.org and LifeEthics.org posts, TADA doesn’t allow us to remove or withhold care for patients, only treatments that are “medically inappropriate.” There are no futile patients, only futile treatments that cause harm to the patient over and over, without any expectation of reversing organ failure after organ failure.

Mr. Smith also ignores the multiple attempts by the medical and pro-life community and Legislature to improve the law’s timeframe and communication, much as Senator Creighton’s Bill. One example from 2007, SB 439 by Senator Bob Deuell, would have required written notice and an offer of a private ethics consult to take place at least seven days before the hospital committee meeting. That Bill had a schedule for giving the patient or surrogates written information about the dispute process, copies of medical records, and lists of resources. The family would have been given access to the committee meeting, with their own advocates. When the committee agreed that the treatment requested was inappropriate, the family would have receive assistance in searching for7⅞ another doctor or facility for at least another 21 days. I believe that the Bill bogged down in the House because of opposition from Texas Right to Life to any Bill that did not include liability for doctors and the indefinite “treatment until transfer” in this year’s SB 2089.

In the last five minutes of the Part I video, another lawyer, Texas Right to Life General Council Emily Cook, gave us the best clue about the ultimate goal of her organization: “judicial review.

Ms. Cook and Mr. Smith would have every one of these disputes settled by a Court. This is the Texas trial lawyers’ dream: a huge weapon against our State’s tort reform.

Today, the law specifically allows an appeal to a County probate judge when the Committee agrees with the doctor’s decision. SB 2129 allows a request for an injunction in any Court in the County, enabling “judge shopping.” Since it also prohibits the County from charging the patient or his surrogates any fees, the costs would fall solely on the County.

Ultimately, SB 2129 would make it much, much easier to sue the doctor and the hospital, moving Medical decision-making into the courtroom.

Most of the “stakeholders” for patient rights in Texas (including Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, Coalition of Texans With Disabilities, Texas Medical Association, Texas Hospital Association, Catholic Hospital Association, Texas Nurses Association, and the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and many others) oppose both of the Bills that Mr. Smith favored. Since SB 2129 would mandate that the County pick up any Court costs and that the judge make his ruling within five days, don’t be surprised if we hear objections from representatives of these parties, too.

So what’s the “joke?”

It could be the ridiculous notion that Lawyer Smith is a mind reader, able to discern the “invidious” motives for the “discrimination” he feels doctors and hospitals routinely practice:

“To fully comprehend the unjust nature of Texas law in this regard, realize that these “futile care” or “inappropriate care” decisions do not terminate treatment because it won’t work, but because it does. It is keeping the patient alive when the doctor/bioethics committee thinks the patient should die.” (Emphasis from LifeNews.com’s transcript.)

He repeatedly comments that physician’s decisions about medically appropriate treatment are subjective and that they (we) might “project their fears and their desires onto the patient” based on our “values,” rather than medical judgement based on repeated, at least once a day examination of the patient, reports by the nurses and staff and our education and experience.

The joke might be that Lawyer Smith volunteered that the indefinite, repeated evaluation and medical decision-making against the medical judgement of doctors would not be “slavery.” I would like to know what Lawyer Smith calls the legal requirement to use one’s body and brain to carry out actions, including writing orders for nurses and other medical staff, against your will.

It might be tragically funny to watch “judicial review” end up with the two sides hiring expert witnesses – doctors – to give the judge opposing views. There’s dark humor in the realization that ultimately the judge would order the original doctor to use her medical judgement to provide treatment – against her best medical judgement.

But the real joke is that “judicial review” risks the unintended consequence of decisions made by judges like the late t Judge George Greer, who Mr. Smith wrote about in this article.

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Texas Advance Directive Act 2019 Legislature

The Texas Advance Directive Act is being attacked in the State Legislature, again, as it has just about every Session for the last 10+ years. In my opinion, one group is doing the bidding of the trial lawyers to destroy Texas’s tort reform by attempting to force every end of life treatment disagreement into the Courts.
Here’s my explanation of the Act, written in 2016, as an “effort to balance” patients’ rights and the rights of doctors to practice Medicine according to their consciences, using our best medical judgement. And here is an example of a previous attempt to truly improve the Act.
The opponents of TADA would force doctors to ignore their consciences to continue performing procedures and writing orders – for nurses and staff to carry out – against our best medical judgement, while faced with the moral distress of continuing acts that hurt our patient, as organ system after organ system fails, faster than we can compensate, prolonging and increasing his suffering and death.
For example, yesterday, the House passed a useless Amendment to a useless amendment to HB 1504, the Sunset review and reauthorization of the Texas Medical Board.
(22) in complying with the procedures outlined in Sections 166.045iand 166.046, Health and Safety Code, fails to make a reasonable effort to transfer a patient to a physician who is willing to comply with a directive.
Amendment No. 5
Representative Toth offered the following amendment to Amendment No. 4:
Amend Amendment No.4 by Toth to CSHB 1504 on page 3, line 25, between “Code,” and “fails”, insert “willfully”.””
The amendment is useless because doctors don’t handle or arrange transfers between facilities; the hospital social services staff and nurses do. The only possible exceptions might be ER docs in outlying areas, transferring to a larger medical center or a rare phone discussion between doctors about the patient’s course after the two separate staffs have worked out the logistics. Neither of these would apply in the TADA cases.
Importantly, how would the accusation of “willfully fails to make a reasonable effort” be made? Could there be more vague terms in that sentence than “willfully” or “reasonable?” (Especially in light of TRTL’s claim that 60 attempts weren’t reasonable in the tragic case recently ruled moot and dismissed by Texas 1st Court of Appeals, covered here and here.) Is this an attempt to criminalize the actions of doctors, an excuse to sue in a Court of law?
After the amendment passed, one of the lawyer lobbyists paid by Texas Right to Life tweeted a mean little remark:
The lawyer said that doctors who begin the process in TADA “set the 10 day count and sit on their hands.”
I understand that he never had to ask (to order) a nurse to cause pain to a dying patient, but he should understand that doctors don’t “sit on their hands” during the waiting period. We still perform those life sustaining procedures, write orders, and interact with the patient and family.
In order to push their view point they oppose not only other pro-life organizations, but the Texas Catholic Bishops, the Texas Baptists, and Texas Medical Association. Bills such as SB 2129 or SB 2089 would destroy TADA and undermine Texas’ tort reform.
Of course, once in the Courts, the lawyers would have to hire doctors to testify and the judges would decide between the two sides and order doctors to act against their consciences.
That, or lawyers and judges would be placed in the position of practicing medicine: writing medical orders for nurses and staff to carry out.
In the long run, the risk of civil and even criminal liability of caring for patients at the end of life would drive most doctors away from not only intensive end of life care, but increase the risk for any of us who care for trauma, oncology or geriatric patients.

Edit 19 April 2019 BBN: Comments are disabled here. Please comment at my Facebook page, “Beverly Nuckols.” https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10218835564657861&id=1163711361&refid=52&_ft_=mf_story_key.10218835564657861%3Atop_level_post_id.10218835564657861%3Atl_objid.10218835564657861%3Acontent_owner_id_new.1163711361%3Aoriginal_content_id.2226941544065344%3Aoriginal_content_owner_id.110756395683880%3Athrowback_story_fbid.10218835564657861%3Apage_id.110756395683880%3Astory_location.4%3Astory_attachment_style.share%3Apage_insights.%7B%22110756395683880%22%3A%7B%22role%22%3A1%2C%22page_id%22%3A110756395683880%2C%22post_context%22%3A%7B%22story_fbid%22%3A2226941550732010%2C%22publish_time%22%3A1555527649%2C%22object_fbtype%22%3A32%7D%2C%22actor_id%22%3A1163711361%2C%22psn%22%3A%22EntStatusCreationStory%22%2C%22sl%22%3A4%2C%22dm%22%3A%7B%22isShare%22%3A0%2C%22originalPostOwnerID%22%3A0%7D%2C%22targets%22%3A%5B%7B%22page_id%22%3A110756395683880%2C%22actor_id%22%3A1163711361%2C%22role%22%3A1%2C%22post_id%22%3A2226941550732010%2C%22share_id%22%3A0%7D%5D%7D%7D%3Athid.1163711361&__tn__=-R

Prenatal manslaughter?

Something to consider, from a question on Facebook about abolishing abortion and my discussionof the human rights of prenatal human beings:

I read the article. It seems filled with potholes to extend personhood to an embryo. Would then a mother who, through negligence, caused death or damage to the embryo, say [by] falling down the stairs or drinking alcohol, be guilty of manslaughter?

My answer:

The prenatal human is undoubtedly a member of our species, correct?

The risk of abusive prosecuters doesn’t negate the human right not to be killed or justify two classes of human beings, some with human rights, some not human-enough. It certainly doesn’t justify the current abortion on demand: New York’s abortion until birth or Vermont’s proposedconstitutional amendment that prenatal humans “shall not have independent rights under law.”

This is where there is a clear physiologic and philosophic difference between negligence after birth and before. There is no other human relationship equivalent to pregnancy and gestation. Before birth, she’s harming herself first, the child secondarily.

Just as some people had to learn to accept the full humanity of emancipated slaves, there will be a learning curve for the full humanity of the prenatal human. We can do better than Reconstruction and much better than Jim Crow.

There’s previous experience taking the unique relationship into consideration. We already deal with children harmed by alcohol abuse or born addicted to illegal drugs every day.

While there have been abuses, like the drug testing of mothers in South Carolina, it has been more productive to treat addiction than to prosecute as crimes.

*********

Please comment at my Beverly Nuckols Facebook page.

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.)

Human rights =/= “Nature’s rights”

Humans are the only species having this conversation. That, at least, makes us special.
Science, one of the premier journals covering scientific research, has an article on giving “rights” to “Nature,” titled “A rights revolution for nature.”

The “revolution” would be based on human rights, based on previous ethics discourse:

For example, the 1776 American Declaration of Independence held that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were self-evident. The 1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen announced that the purpose “of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man,” such as the right to liberty. These expressions of natural human rights provided a vocabulary for arguing that slavery and other rights violations were wrong. Following the devastating human rights violations of World War II, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizing the inherent dignity of all humans and a broad array of rights. Many of these rights are not yet a reality for many people, but the Declaration provides a moral blueprint for more-just societies.
Rights-of-nature advocates posit that environmental devastation is a moral wrong that ought to be stopped. This claim is not grounded in scientific evidence but is no less valid than the assertion that harming humans is a moral wrong. Neither human rights nor nature rights can be demonstrated through a scientific process, but we can make inferences about what justice requires on the basis of what we know to be necessary for the flourishing of humans or of nature.”
Please notice that these are *human* rights. While they don’t give us the “right ” to abuse other species or neligently destroy the environment, the main duty imposed on us by these rights is to each other and our children of tomorrow. That is the very definition of a “more-just society.”
And just how would these rights be protected?

Guardians with appropriate expertise could be appointed as representatives.

And when the “guardians” see Nature’s rights as conflicting with our children’s, how well will that work out?

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

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.)

Bashing Trump: Victim shaming, victim denying

Toxic Fact checking!

Toronto Star Washington, DC reporter Daniel Dale (@ddale8) joins in the media’s Trump bashing, with some old fashioned victim shaming: foolish women are deceived into prostitution by “promises of a hopeful future,” not violently kidnapped, gagged and bound.

Well, not often enough for Mr. Dale.

Focusing on the type of tape that President Trump says was used to gag the women, Dale claims that he sought out “experts” who told him that physical, violent kidnapping of women in Mexico in order to traffic them – force them into prostitution – in the US “rarely if ever happens.

Dale quotes a San Antonio “anti-trafficking activist” who woman who has helped 12 such women whose mouths were covered when they were kidnapped. Unfortunately, she didn’t record what was used to cover their mouths.

Oh, and the wall won’t change anything except that it “would merely cause certain traffickers to take more risks and impose higher debts.

After all, less than 2% of women who are trafficked press kidnapping charges.

Dale might put too much weight in the fact that “less than 2%” of women who are trafficked press kidnapping charges. He should listen to the women of Jalisco who tell a story similar to the one the President relates. They then face the resistance of police and authorities with attitudes like Dale’s.

Just how many violent kidnappings across the border would be enough for Mr. Dale and his experts to report the stories of trafficked women instead of a story to prove President Trump wrong?

Cashless Society, Internet to Dystopia?

The dystopias of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Orwell’s 1984, or Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 had nothing available to monitor and police behavior and thought nearly as powerful as the Internet.

Oh, my readers probably were relieved when the powers-that-be halted the Obama Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” pressure on banks to shut down gun manufacturers, buyers and sellers. At one point,the New York State Department of Financial Services was enforcing similar pressure and, in Florida, second-hand sellers like pawn shops were targeted.

But that was *government* acting outside of Constitutional guidelines, not private business. . .

Facebook puts you in “jail?” Twitter suspends or bans you? Just a matter of private companies exercising property rights!

Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube ban and erase/delete Alex Jones on* the* same* day*? Only conspiracy nuts would see a conspiracy in the timing!

How do you feel about your credit card company conspiring and colluding with Internet platforms to monitor – and “de-monitize” – your actions and speech: “sins,” as arbitrarily determined by the arbitrary ethics or whims of a 3rd or 4th party?

In the same month that Jones was kicked off multiple Internet sites, AmazonSmile kicked the Alliance Defending Freedom off its charity donation program because of pressure from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC deems ADF a “hate” organization because it defends people like that Colorado baker.
In the last month, one Internet “platform” (not only a host for writing and videos, but a way to collect subscription fees using credit cards and PayPal – think of a bank alternative), Patreon, removed the account of anti-PC blogger/YouTuber “Sargon of Akkad,” Carl Benjamin, even though the behavior they claim as justificationwas not on their site, and he definitely did not violate Patreon’s Community Guidelines. He was responding in a sarcastic manner to attacks by white supremacists!
In December, 2018, Patreon suspended the owner of “Jihad Watch,” Robert Spencer, without reason or notice. When Spencer asked why, he was told that, “unfortunately,” the credit card company, MasterCard had forced the ban.
At what point does the use of currency to arbitrarily impose decisions on what is right or wrong become a Federal issue? If two or more supposedly unrelated companies or organizations interfere to limit commerce, is it delusional to see a conspiracy?

Even if you don’t read Revelation as the prediction of the ultimate dystopia, you might agree that there’s a move to force political – ethical – correctness on the public by monitoring and restricting how you spend and receive money. You might even see the possibility that in order to spend and earn money, we could soon need the approval – the “Mark” if not of *the* “Beast, “of some lesser beast, composed of powerful organizations.

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.

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!

Federal vs. State (FGM) Updated

Update from the Detroit News:
“[T]he judge left intact conspiracy and obstruction charges that could send Nagarwala and three others to federal prison for decades.”

This story has me thinking about the powers of the State vs. the Federal government.

I am a firm believer that the individual States should regulate and enforce both criminal law and the practice of medicine.

States may make what I might consider errors in their specific codes and punishments. However, the 50 States act as individual laboratories for laws and law enforcement. As long as the States rather than the Federal government regulate these areas, citizens have a better access to the Legislators who make the laws and the bureaucracy that implement and enforce them. The voters can speak directly to their legislators in person and at the ballot box and, if truly unhappy or unwilling to wait for often slow legal changes, they can move to a State with laws they like.

These cases involve two doctors and multiple accomplices who conspired to bring girls across State lines in order to carry out Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The procedure is described in words and pictures at the link above and at the World Health Organization report(in .pdf), but here’s the short, least-horrifying-I-could-come-up-with version:

Pre-pubertal girls (two of the girls in this case were 7 years old at the time) are subjected to some degree of cutting in their genital area. The procedure may be anywhere between a minor cutting sufficient to cause bleeding without permanent structural or functional change, to removal of the entire labia majora and minora, along with the entire clitoris, with the vaginal opening sewn almost completely closed, only to be opened (obviously, traumatically) at marriage to allow vaginal intercourse and at childbirth.

The clitoris is a sensitive organ and very much an important part of the sexual function of the female body. The cutting site, the scarring, and the consequences of obstructed urine and menstrual flow can be life long. The actual reported goal is to make the girl chaste and impair her ability to engage in illicit sex and blunt her sexual pleasure.

FGM is a criminal act and should most certainly be malpractice under State’s medical codes. These sorts of cases would normally best be brought before the State courts.

The reason that these particular cases should be prosecuted (also prosecuted?) in Federal Court is that the girls were transported across State lines. In addition, they were irreversibly mutilated solely because they are females. If this latter doesn’t come under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause, I need a lawyer to explain that protection. In slow, simple language, please.

Now, I know some people will ask how I can oppose what is most likely a religious act and one that seems to come under both parental rights protection and the penumbra of “right to privacy.” And what about male circumcision?

The right to freedom of religion. Parental rights, and privacy do not have precedence over the rights not to be permanently harmed. Unlike male circumcision, there’s no medical reason to perform FGM, FGM directly impairs multiple bodily functions, and carries a significant risk of life long pain, repetitive infections, and even death.

It’s the legitimate function of government under our US Constitution and supported by the Declaration of Independence to protect the rights of individuals from being placed in harm’s way. These cases of mutilation are nothing but harmful for life, were performed on minors who are too young to consent, and were accomplished by conspiracy, using federally regulated telecommunications to make appointments, taking the girls across State lines, and utilized State licensed personnel, equipment, and medications.

I hope the Federal appeals overturn this ruling. Quickly!

“Illegal alien” ban?

I keep seeing reports that Twitter is blocking posts that contain the phrase, “illegal alien.” Obviously, not true.

How do memes like this get a hold? (Please comment on Facebook, not here or Twitter. I’m not omni-social-media.)

NYT “Had to try.”

As the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” suggests, “Use the Reader Comments to Learn More About the Times” and how the public views the journalistic abuse.

It seems that the NYT (and other media) decided to investigate the wife of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavenaugh, Ashley. The NYT readers point out the lack of similar”vetting” of Obama’s judicial nominees.

Fake news, indeed. 85 emails from Mrs. Kavenaugh’s position as town manager of Chevy Chase, Maryland revealed nothing of interest – except exposure of the NYT bias, perhaps.

But the Op Ed says, ” We had to try.” Just what were they trying?

How the magic happens (Bret Weinstein)

Are there university meetings where white people are refused access to the provided food, drinks, and chairs? Do some professors refuse to teach “privileged” students?

Watch this evolutionary biologist  talk about the tactics and consequences of the “social justice” movement, especially as it’s playing out in universities. (Former) Professor Bret Weinstein, Ph.D., was forced out of a tenured position at Evergreen State University in Washington State because he ran afoul of the activists behind the College’s “equity” policies.

The idea that minority students are considered a traitor to their cause (equity for people of color,etc.) for studying science is alarming.

Here’s a link to Weinstein’s recommended political survey, “Political Compass.” Some other forms I’ve seen in the past (especially those published by Ron Paul libertarians) are more biased, in my opinion. On those, I’ve scored slightly authoritarian because I believe in National borders, the science about human embryonic development and prefer not to redefine marriage (at the level of social experiment on future generations of children who can’t consent).

Edit: Here is another discussion about the events leading up to Weinstein’s talk. BBN

Sanctuary City Swimming in Other People’s Taxes

From the Mayor of the home town of La Joya Independent School District, the “independent” school system in Hildalgo County, Texas with the water park, a 22K sq ft natatorium, tennis courts, a planetarium, and a golf course,enabled with money from Texas taxpayers:

My position was why should the city of La Joya, or any city in the Valley, detain any ICE illegals when ICE already has cages for them?”Salinas said Sunday. “Maybe they have a better place for them than we do and, of course, we’re totally against what they’re doing; I think we should unite the families, not divide them.”

“If it hadn’t been for that I would not have reacted this way,” he said, “but I’m a Mexican-American and I support my people.”

It’s not just “that.”

Last year, Mayor Salinas led La Joya to join the lawsuit against Texas’ Senate Bill 4, that penalizes cities that refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration laws and authorities. So far, that lawsuit has been upheld in Court.
Yet, the Mayor has no problem with the budget of his school district accepting accepting over $51M from the Federal Government.
Of course, that’s only 15% of the “Independent” school district’s funding. Texas Taxpayers pay 75% or $251,737,388.

The City also receives Federal funding through the Operation Stonegarden Program from the Department of Homeland Security, but the Mayor says they don’t use those funds to detain anyone for ICE.
I wish the Mayor respected non-hyphenated Americans and Texans, even if he doesn’t count us as his

people.

Edited to correct spelling. BBN

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

Happy Birth Parent Day

screenshot_20180616-075345_chrome5005037694364168408-e1529155414475.jpg
Google Images for “Baby Daddy” card

That lawsuit I wrote about yesterday would not only would put an end to Texas’ Medical and legal regulations on abortion – including informed consent, waiting periods, and sonograms – the plaintiffs go out of their way to redefine mother and father, too.

From Footnote 1, page 2:
“”1 Most people with the capacity to become pregnant identify as women. Historically, both jurisprudence and public health data have focused on women when addressing reproductive rights and health. But there is an emerging recognition in the law and society more generally that not all people who may become pregnant identify as women. See generally Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312, 1316-19 (11th Cir. 2011)
(holding, consistent with the weight of authority, that the Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender nonconformity”) (collecting cases); Robin Marantz Henig, How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender, National Geographic (2017), https://www.nationalgeographic.com/
of all individuals to end an unwanted pregnancy, regardless of gender identity.”
 (I’m sorry, but can’t find a link to the lawsuit on line. It’s “Whole Woman’s Health Alliance et al v Paxton et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, No. 18-00500.)

From the UK, we see the inevitable results in a time of identity and personal choice :

Lawyers have told a judge that he had been biologically able to become pregnant but had legally become a man when the child was born.

“They say the transgender man wants to be identified as the child’s “father” or “parent” on a birth certificate.”

And, in Ohio:

“Explaining their unusual parenting arrangements, Amy said: “We went through a lot of fertility treatments, until we finally reached a point where we needed to make a decision as to whether we were going to do more medical intervention or if we were going to switch bodies. (emphasis mine)

“We were fortunate enough to have two uteruses. So, after a lot of thought and emotion and difficulties we switched to Chris.

“And while Chris lived as a man and didn’t feel female, he was willing to use his womb for the good of their family.”

Of course, neither Chris nor Amy could donate sperm. So, who is really — is there even — a father?

Or a parent, of either gender or any identity, who sees the child as his own person, human-enough to possess inalienable rights, rather than a political statement and a means to an end?

Existing tariffs, duty, and barriers to trade in Canadian law.

Current barriers on imports into Canada from the US affect dairy, wine, telecommunications like TV, cable, and broadcasting, and even software and “cloud” data storage.

The CRTC also requires that 35 percent of popular musical selections broadcast on the radio qualify as “Canadian” under a Canadian government-determined point system.”
This requirement precludes U.S.-based “cloud” computing suppliers from participating in the procurement process, unless they replicate data storage and processing facilities in Canada.”

https://www.export.gov/article?id=Canada-Import-Tariffs

In contrast, there are very few barriers to trade with Mexico.

(Edited to add the link to information on Mexico.)

Some words @ #MeToo

I know, there’s been lots of words already. However, a recent comment about the #MeToo crowd trading “sex for profit” points out a basic misunderstanding about sexual exploitation and abuse: the victims are victims.

Child actor Todd Bridges gives the most common reason for keeping quiet: “[T]hey say you’re lying.”

Oh, I do want to know where the “Women’s March” was before January 20, 2017! And I’d like to ask Ashley Judd and Madonna, two of the “nasty women” who claim victimhood while wearing pink “pussy hats,” reciting obscene poetry, and cussing from the podium on the National Mall why they blame Conservatives and the current US Administration – for the culture that exploits girls and women (and boys) sexually. In response, it’s easy to point to the fact that Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are anything but “Conservative.” Even if we skip right over the abusive history of Democrats Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner, you would think that the Grammy Awards would have included some condemnation against politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for accepting financial support from Weinstein, rather than show casing Hillary to take a shot at President Trump. (Or concern that Obama allowed one of his daughters to work for Weinstein’s company as an intern)

Yes, there’s a long list of women who are now making claims about past sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood. It’s easy to simply say that they remained silent to protect their careers or in exchange for money after lawsuits. However, read a few histories and you’ll see that some of the victims were children, others reported crimes but prosecutors failed to press charges, and for many young men and women that it’s much more complicated than that.

First, sexual abuse is furtive and involves manipulation, lies and even force. Child victims are innocent and don’t understand the grooming and abuse until older unless they are hurt. More mature victims are trapped, tricked or physically forced into vulnerable situations. Loved ones may be threatened.

Second, there’s guilt. By the time the children realize that the abuse is wrong, they feel guilty and blame themselves. I’m sure that even more mature victims feel some guilt for their vulnerability.

Then, as Mr. Bridges said, “When you realise it’s wrong, they say you’re lying.” Ashley Judd also reports that no one believed her outcry when she was a child. And the comment that spurred me to write this essay is very common: the victim profited somehow, but now claims to be a victim.

Finally, there’s lots of reasons to cover up, drop charges or settle legal procedings and lots of people have something to lose if the perpetrator is prosecuted or even reported. Perhaps the environment is one of “everybody knew” what was going on, so everybody who knew was complicit. Family members and victims may not want to risk the humiliation and victim-blaming/shaming that always seems to accompany sexual abuse and the resultant accusations of “it’s just about sex,” and “he/she was complicit.” All of the above, as well as the police and prosecutors, might not want to risk counter suits.

Often, the victims are ignored and the abuser(s) suffer little or no consequences and successfully block the victim’s story from being told. See the story of Corey Feldman or the documentary, “An Open Secret.” Then, there are the threats,as Harvey Weinstein has shown.

I hope that we’re seeing a change in our response to sexual assault and harassment. I hope that the demand for transparency like “street artist,” Sabo’s billboards will be heeded.I hope I don’t blame the victim myself and never hear unsubstantiated claims that sexual assault are simply prostitutes, in the past and present.

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…)

Office of President Acting Director

Remember this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, get ready for this:

 

Not through inventing new roles, former President Barak Obama is going to Asia to meet with heads of State, including the President of China.

In an article  titled, “Barack is back,” the hopes of many are made clear:

“Although Obama has failed to remain completely out of the public eye following his departure from the White House—with his Obama Foundation work and friendship with recently engaged Prince Harry keeping him in the headlines—the trip marks a clear return to global issues for the former leader.”

Is he promoting the Resistance, taking a lesson from his protegé’, Cordray or simply continuing the work of his Administration’s “Shadow Government?”

 

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.

Personhood “TBD” 

“To Be Determined,” or the Schrodingder’s cat* version of human rights.

Does the possession of inalienable human rights depend on unknown future facts? Can the moral worth of a human being be determined by the actions of another human being – or by fate, the available and utilized medical technology?

Sherif Girgis discusses the theory of Princeton philosopher, Elizabeth Harman, in today’s Public Discourse. The professor’s view that abortion is – or may be – a neutral act has been the subject of discussion since she appeared in the YouTube video, Philosophy Time, produced by actor James Franco and Eliot Michaelson.

Besides the obvious problems pointed out by Girgis of defining “consciousness” and the TBD “kind” of a human fetus, there are other problems.

First, any concept of “inalienable” human rights would need to be discarded. There goes the Declaration of Independence and the basis of the United States Constitution.

In addition, Professor Harman’s theory would presumably allow the use of bodies of the human species for the benefit of humans with “moral worth,” as long as those bodies are never allowed to become conscious. This is the current practice of researchers using embryos, including those created for the purpose of manipulation and destruction.

But there’s nothing in this philosophy to prevent the intentional manipulation of a human body for research or to benefit others, as long as the body is never allowed to develop consciousness. Continual sedation or mutilation of the brain from the beginning – before consciousness – would prevent the development or acquisition of moral worth and rights.

In the process, “human” rights would cease to exist. The actions of others, laws and location and the potential use of technology would finally determine who is human enough to possess the right not to be killed. (Forget the right not to be “enslaved.”

What happens if (as Girgis proposes) the abortion itself is aborted or fails? Or if the brain isn’t damaged sufficiently to prevent consciousness?

Forget about opening the box: don’t put humans in there in the first place.

*I saw this analogy on a Facebook thread, but thought the same thought before I stole it.

Edited to correct my misspelling of Dr. Harman’s name.

Health Insurance Choice Is Bad?

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.

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