Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Demands for minimum wage hike put jobs at risk

While many Americans spent Labor Day taking some well-deserved rest from their daily work duties, other workers across the country spent the day demanding an increase in the minimum wage. 

Dubbed “Fight for 15”, the rallies centered on raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. In Chicago, for instance, several thousand people rallied against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent veto of a bill to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15. The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.25 — except in Chicago, where it has been set at $11. 

“Hold the burgers hold the fries … make our wages supersized!” a crowd of fast-food workers chanted in Connecticut as they marched outside a McDonald’s in Hartford. Never mind that McDonald’s has recently raised wages and begun to offer paid vacations for its employees. 

“We hope to get the message that $10.10 an hour [Connecticut’s minimum wage] is not enough and we need more and we deserve more. That and union rights,” said Richard Grimes, who works at a Burger King in Hartford. 

Sounds good on the surface, but it seems that entry-level workers miss the mark in asking for this kind of pay raise. Don’t they realize that they could very well find themselves with lower wages when their hours are cut back because small business employers simply cannot afford them, or worse, their jobs are replaced by robots altogether? 

This is not to knock these types of jobs, but an entry level, fast-food type job was never meant to be a career in and of itself. Like anything, it’s meant as a starting point to build upon and excel, either within the original workplace, or by taking the knowledge learned there and applying it in other areas as a worker grows his professional experience, resulting in higher pay along the way. In other words, a worker should earn higher pay, not be handed it upon demand. 

If an existing job’s pay is not enough to meet financial obligations in the meantime, how about taking on a second job until things improve? I’ve had plenty of experience working a full day in an office and waiting tables at night back in the day. Nobody owes us anything, and demanding employers make things easier for us at the cost of reduced hours or the job itself is not the solution.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our diminishing safety in a leftist world

The anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the well-funded left-wing extremist group, has begun targeting Christian, pro-family, pro-traditional values organizations in earnest, especially since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and particularly since the violence in Charlottesville, VA.

Of note, in the aftermath of the Charlottesville, VA, tragedy, the SPLC's "fake hate" has targeted the pro-family group, Liberty Counsel, with vile lies that have spread far and wide through potentially thousands of news outlets, including CNN, which has joined forces in attacking Liberty Counsel. This defamatory attack equates Liberty Counsel with the most radical elements of society (including the person who drove the car into the crowd in Charlottesville) in a blatant attempt to link Liberty Counsel to violent, extremist radicals.

Unfortunately, major players are jumping on the bandwagon, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, who just announced he is donating $1 million to SPLC, and Amazon, which has just banned Liberty Counsel, along with other traditional organizations, from partaking in its Smile Amazon program, which allows consumers to choose a charity to receive a donation with every purchase. Liberty Counsel is now banned from being a potential charity to choose on Amazon's site.

Apparently, SPLC didn’t learn – or more likely simply doesn’t care – that its aggressive hatred of Christian groups has already led to at least one violent scene of attempted murder when, in August 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins walked into the lobby of Christian-based Family Research Council and began shooting.

Corkins later told police that he wanted to methodically kill as many people as possible because the FRC was listed as an SPLC “hate” group. Another victim, Dr. Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute scholar, was targeted in a violent outbreak earlier this year at Middlebury College after the AEI was identified as a “hate group” by the SPLC. In neither incident did the SPLC apologize or even acknowledge any regret.

It has become a common tactic of the Left to aggressively label groups that promote conservative and Judeo-Christian values as “hate groups” and “fringe” – rather than try to win in the court of public opinion. The goals are to demean religious belief and values and to shame and intimidate pro-family people into silence – and thus keep them out of the public forum.

The SPLC’s tactics against Christian and conservative groups is reminiscent of how Nazis worked to dehumanize Jews by producing movie clips showing Jews interspersed with rats and other vermin, to produce the message that they were all part of the same polluting society.

The SPLC employs a similar strategy using a series of “hate maps” for each state, interspersing Christian and conservative groups alongside neo-Nazi and KKK groups. They also use a lot of Nazi and KKK imagery on their website and list pro-family organizations and individual leaders among neo-Nazi and other white supremacy groups and leaders. Of course the goal is the same: to present these groups as all being equally vile. This fans the flames enough to assist them handily in raising huge amounts of money from gullible liberals to help fund their efforts to silence and sue anyone not in line with leftist thinking.

Not surprisingly, the SPLC fails to list actual hate groups – such as Black Lives Matter, which has advocated murdering police, and all leftist violence against Trump supporters, conservative speakers on college campuses and other hateful activities. And is it any surprise that since the SPLC started listing innocent, pro-Christian groups as hate groups that there have been numerous attacks on churches and gatherings of conservatives? 

The SPLC doesn’t just leave the furthering of its agenda in the hands of those activists who fund it. A major tool for pushing its message of hate against conservative and Christian values is its “Teaching Tolerance” magazine, a truly creepy publication that basically teaches that true “tolerance” demands the rejection of traditional religious and cultural values. Because thousands of copies of “Teaching Tolerance” are sent to schools across America, how frightening to think that children are being fed the type of propaganda that could one day turn them into advocates for “protecting society” from "hateful" conservatives by any means, at any cost - just like the many 1930s-era Germans who bought into believing that they should be afraid of Jews.

The Left knows it can never win the war of public opinion using facts and reason, so the only choice is to lie about, shame, intimidate, and harass conservatives and people of faith who dare to speak out. It’s a classic bullying tactic. But like any bully, if you stand up to this boldly and aggressively, they will begin to back down. Bullies always do because deep down, they’re basically cowards. That’s why it’s so important to keeping fighting with the truth, because the truth eventually wins - and if we don't fight for it, conservatives will be facing, in fact already are, a very real and increasing threat to our safety.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Anti-monument thugs need history lesson

Takiyah Thompson, the 22-year-old college student who toppled a monument of a Confederate soldier in Durham, North Carolina, instantly became a hero of the liberal media. She became even more of a hero when she was arrested at a news conference in which she demanded amnesty for the protesters.

For instance, Huffington Post hailed her in its headline, saying, “Takiyah Thompson, Hailed As ‘Hero,’ Showered With Support For Toppling Confederate Statue.” The media hung on her every word at the news conference, an event put on by the Workers World Party, a group that Thompson belongs to.

Nothing, however, was said about the Workers World Party itslef, the Marxist-Leninist group that has taken credit for organizing the monument-toppling. There was a reason for that: the Workers World Party’s history needs to be hidden in order for Thompson to be hailed as a hero.

As The Daily Caller points out, “the WWP has some very dirty secrets. It’s a pro-North Korean, anti-American organization that often espouses violence and crime to get its way…founded in 1959, it’s a hardline offshoot of the more moderate Socialist Workers Party.”

But as the WWP put it, “Organizers and protesters in Durham sent a clear message: Love does not trump hate; only mobilized people’s power can tear down white supremacy.” So vandalizing of property is suddenly unlawful?

These WWP folks seem to assume that the monuments were originally meant to signify oppression or hate or approval of slavery. But could they possibly consider that monuments could have been meant as a sign of repatriation, bringing those that had set themselves apart from the Union back into the fold? At the very least, can they not see these monuments as a reminder of our shared history, good and bad, and what we can learn from it? What a concept to actually see these monuments as a sign of actual unity of past.

Unfortunately, corrupt, divisive and uninformed people have recently sought to muddy the waters and propose a different meaning for those monuments, while fanning the flames of real hate by their horrible, violent actions. Perhaps it’s time they be reminded of what the monuments’ original purpose was. And, while I'm at it, if they want to eradicate real hate, how about at the very least starting with a protest of organizations like Planned Parenthood, which aborts close to 300 black babies every single day?

But no matter. People like Thompson are protesting on false premises, committing crimes, and making demands as if they deserve it. They are what is wrong with this country. I hope Thompson does face consequences for her actions. I’d settle for her being sentenced to at least one year of authentic history study and a reality check on what real hatred is. In the meantime, the only statement she and her ilk are making is that “we are thugs and the laws don't apply to us." That's not exactly a recipe for peace.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Are people finally seeing through Gore's lies?

Why did Al Gore think he could delude the public again after his first effort, "An Inconvenient Truth," was debunked? After its first weekend in theaters, “An Inconvenient Sequel” came in a humiliating 15th place in the US box office. But rather than acknowledge that maybe people finally see through Gore's bold attempts to further pad his coffers by hocking lies, his supporters are simply blaming Paramount Pictures for sabotaging the movie. How it would be Paramount's fault I don't know, but that's who they're blaming.

But what do Gore and other leftists have to gain from pushing the global warming hoax? Power. As one reporter put it, “By attempting to unite the entire planet under the ruse of battling ‘climate change’, globalist billionaires can consolidate political power into the hands of a few international leaders. This, in turn, allows for a much simpler manipulation of currency and resources, allowing men like George Soros to garner an unacceptable amount of influence throughout the world…all at the expense of international sovereignty.”

This mindset has been in place for a while now, of course. In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong…we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

While US-taxpayers are saddled with about $25 billion a year in funding the hoax, climate “experts” can’t even agree on what the crisis is. Recall that in the 1970s the panic centered around an impending new Ice Age. The proposed remedy for that non-crisis was unilateral disarmament, a call to nationalize everything, and the desire for a UN-supervised world socialist government “to spread the wealth around”.

When the ice failed to form by the 1990s despite years of cooling trends, the climate alarmists needed a new scapegoat: heat (despite the aforementioned years of cooling trends). Not surprisingly, the Global Warming alarmists proposed the same remedy: taxes and consolidated control.

Carrying the climate crisis baton, our former (thankfully) Marxist president, Barack Obama, dutifully bestowed $50 million of our money to the UN Climate Change fund organized by the absurd Paris Climate Accord. Thankfully, President Trump put an end to that nonsense by pulling us out of that agreement.

Nonetheless, the left is still working hard to create their one world utopia complete with the UN as the world’s government. Sadly, many of these people actually believe they’re crusaders who are working to change the world into a better place. The truth of course is that those behind the curtain are working on a new and hideous form of feudalism where there is only a ruling class and serfs. That’s exactly what happens when you give the bulk of power to a few, while dominating the many.

As for Gore’s movie failure, the box office tanking of his on-screen falsehoods couldn't have happened to a more perverse, lying fraud. With his private jet and multiple homes using more energy than an entire small town, his is the biggest carbon footprint of all. Yet his hoax has made him a billionaire thanks to all the gullible people that supported him – and, in some cases, still do. But maybe the dismal performance of his sequel is a sign of hope that more eyes are finally opening? We'll see. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Our own permissiveness coming back to haunt us...

If you look at some of the things happening today, it’s pretty clear that our world’s complacent permissiveness toward political correctness and increased government control is coming back to bite us.

In the UK, where socialized medicine is well-entrenched, Charlie Gard, the baby with the life-threatening medical condition, was held prisoner by the hospital. Despite private funds raised by Charlie’s parents to bring their son to the US for experimental treatment, the hospital and courts wouldn’t allow it. They wouldn’t even allow the parents to take their son home to die there.

If the parents had been abusing Charlie, the government would have been right to step in. But Charlie’s parents did all they were supposed to do as his parents: everything they could to save their child. They should have had the liberty to do so.

This is what happens though when you allow government to provide healthcare -- you get government making life and death decisions, even against our will. Under this control, all the private funds in the world cannot buy the freedom to decide for ourselves or our loved ones what is best. If we learn anything from this, it’s that the Charlie Gard case is a dangerous sign for all those who want the same single-payer government-controlled health system here in America.

Meanwhile, Canada’s government is taking its authority even further. It recently enacted a law that gives government the power to remove children from their homes if the parents disagree with the child’s chosen gender identity.

Prior to this law, parents were rightly free to direct their children’s education, religious and cultural upbringing. But this legislation says parents may only influence a child’s upbringing “in accordance with the child’s own creed, community identity and cultural identity.” If the thought of a child left to his own devices in a world all too eager to gobble him up makes you shudder, don’t worry. The government is there to take over if things go awry. Who needs a mom and dad to get in the way of that?

As for gender identity issues, someone suffering from that needs compassion, prayers and psychological help, not government-forced coddling. Over a dozen surveys worldwide have shown that transgender suicide rates remain astronomically high regardless of how accepting society is, and it remains high even after they “transition.”

In a National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41 percent of transgenders said they want to kill themselves not because of bullying, or because they’re being refused sex-change treatments, but because they’re confused, deluded, and they hate themselves. Encouraging hormonal and bodily mutilation as a solution is like prescribing liposuction to an anorexic. And forcing parents to accept their gender-confused child’s bewilderment and self-loathing, or risk losing them to the government, is simply insane. But it’s politically incorrect to question transgenderism, so parents better zip their lips if they want to keep their kids.

Here in America, when the US Supreme Court ruled that marriage was no longer between one man and one woman as God sees it, it was predicted immediately that this would usher in an aggressive transgender movement here as well, and has it ever.

In New York City, you can be fined up to $250,000 for refusing to use a transgender’s preferred pronouns. On college campuses, “No-Gender” t-shirts are trending as though it’s just the latest fad, while professors get terminated for failing to use the correct gender terminology. In Connecticut, a 15-year-old boy with a mustache is killing it on the girls’ track team because he “identifies” as a girl. How sad that all the training, commitment and effort put in by the actual girls on the team are for nothing because they simply cannot keep up with the physically superior boy claiming to be a girl.

In a telling interview following the recent track competition in which the mustached “girl” won first place, the “second” place actual girl said she could not share what she really thinks, but was able to express her disappointment at the loss. Of course she could not say what she really thought because it would likely have subjected her to the consequences of the hatred and intolerance of which she would’ve been accused.

It remains to be seen if the feminists who have championed political correctness and claimed for so long that girls can do anything boys can do, even physically, will be so willing to accept boys as being girls when those boys start getting the girls’ athletic scholarships. What a dilemma to have to choose between the politically correct tolerance they preach and the reality that such political correctness has wrought upon them.

This obsession with political correctness, the blind-eye toward government intrusion, and the demand that we embrace disorders as something good is to be expected. After all, our world has largely rejected natural order as designed by God. In doing so we’ve created a void being filled by bureaucrats who want to control us, while we promote feel-good emotions as our standard of what is right. Unfortunately, all this will deliver is more disorder, and if we persist in our own complacency rather than fight back, we’ll only continue to reap what we sow.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thanks for tightening the noose, traitor Republicans

A big thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  If not for them, we may have slipped free from the noose known as Obamacare. If not for them, we may have defunded Planned Parenthood, our country's largest abortion mill. If not for them, we might have a better hope that we won't become a single payer health system in America. Instead, because these three traitors voted against repealing Obamacare, we are stuck with it.
In the end, the final tally was 51-49 against the bill. Nobody expected Murkowski and Collins to vote yes, but had Senator McCain voted for the bill, the vote would have been 50-50, and Vice President Mike Pence who was present in the chamber would have cast the final vote breaking the tie, 51-50.
I realize Senator McCain is facing a terminal illness, so I will go try to go easy on him. But with that said, illness is no excuse for betraying the people you promised regarding efforts to repeal this monstrosity of a bill.
Just last year while running for re-election, Senator McCain ran ads excoriating the evils of Obamacare, promising that should he be re-elected, he would dedicate himself to repealing it. Of course, Americans want this law gone, so his constituents in Arizona gladly and trustingly gave him his vote.

So why did he renege on his promise?
According to the senator as reported by Life Site News, “'While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system.'
"The Senator also said that even though House Speaker Ryan had promised to take the bill to conference once it was passed back to the lower chamber, he worried that there was a chance it might be passed 'as is.'
"Most intriguingly, McCain said, 'We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.'"
I am not buying it. First, what Americans deserve is freedom. The freedom not to be forced into buying a product we don't want. The freedom to have choices about the products that we do want to purchase. The freedom to be catered to by insurance companies fighting for our business, not the other way around, where insurance companies know we are forced to come to them. 
I also can't help wondering if this is Senator McCain's payback to President Trump for questioning his war hero status. Who knows. All I know is if a vote makes Senator Chuck Schumer applaud, as McCain's no vote did, it must not be a good thing. 
It's stating the obvious to say that government is not the solution for healthcare. The solution is getting government out of healthcare - and out of everything but the limited functions allowed by the Constitution. This is what America needs. What we don't need is another politician shaping the country as he sees fit, at the expense of the rest of us. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Can feminists be on board with the transgender movement?

Girls can do anything boys can do, even physically, according to today’s feminists. But at what point will girls demand that actual biology should count after all?

At Cromwell High School in Connecticut, a 15-year-old boy – sporting a mustache – joined the girls’ track team because he has decided to call himself a girl. And in the politically correct, perverted, and more-and-more insane world of the left, the utterance, “I think, therefore I am” has become a literal mantra by which we’re all supposed to abide.

So what’s the problem that this boy who feels like a girl, and therefore should be considered a girl, has joined the track team? Because his male biology makes him superior to girls on the field, and he is crushing the competition. Too bad for the actual girls who put in all the tireless sweat and training. They can’t keep up with the boys. Who’d have ever thought it?

The question is, will feminists who have fought so hard for equality and recognition and acknowledgment speak up about this? Or have women been silenced and told to toe the line all in the name of the political correctness that they themselves so often embrace?

Then again, it may not be so simple. Speaking up these days comes with severe consequences, ranging from accusations of hatred, intolerance and bigotry, to the loss of jobs and the incursion of fines. But it will be interesting to see what women do when men pretending to be female start taking away the sports scholarships that female athletes work so hard for – will that be the straw that break’s the feminist’s back?

Friday, July 14, 2017

What military-funded 'gender transition' surgery really means...

In a disheartening move toward the complete breakdown of society and common sense, more than 20 Republicans have joined Democrats in voting to defeat an amendment that would have denied Pentagon funds to pay for "sex change" surgeries by US military personnel.

As reported by journalist Peter LaBera, “the amendment, introduced by Missouri Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, follows another one she withdrew last week that targets the Obama-imposed policy allowing gender-confused transgender individuals to serve openly in the US military. This policy, which was imposed without congressional legislation or debate, orders all military personnel to accept transsexuals in bathrooms, showers and other private areas, showing zero concern for the feelings of women exposed to ‘gender pretenders’ taking advantage of the situation.

“As. Rep. Hartzler said, ‘By recruiting and allowing transgender individuals to serve in our military, we are subjecting taxpayers to high medical costs, including up to $130,000 per transition surgery, lifetime hormone treatments, and additional surgeries to address the high percentage of individuals who experience complications,’ adding that “transgender” surgeries alone could cost US taxpayers $1.35 billion over the next 10 years.

“She went on to note that with that money the DoD could comparatively purchase, ‘13 F-35's, 14 Super Hornet F-18’s, 2 B-21 long-range strike bombers, 8 KC-46's, all A-10 wing replacements or increased end strength of our troops.’

“Journalist Susan Wright adds, ‘Our national security is too important to use our military as a lab of social justice experimentation. Transgenders got the green light to openly indulge in their alternate lifestyle on the government dime, thanks to the Obama administration’s push to destabilize American might.’

Is it far-fetched to wonder how many gender confused individuals would consider joining the military just to get the free surgery?

What’s most outlandish is that our government claims it doesn’t have the money to care for our veterans who have been injured in combat, but there's money for this.

As for the transgenders, with all of the pre-treatments, and then surgeries and post-op treatments, these “soldiers” will never be combat ready. They will use up their entire enlistment time just recuperating from their own mutilations. On top of that, they will need constant hormonal treatments because their natural bodies are opposite of what they've turned them into, further decreasing the likelihood of them ever being combat ready or deployable. The combat-ready responsibility will continue to lie on the shoulders of non-gender confused soldiers while “gender-transition patients” lie in the infirmary “getting well”. What also seems to be overlooked here are the studies that show those who undergo “gender transition” surgery (a concept that actually is impossible to achieve, by the way) are at high risk for suicide and other mental issues. This is hardly going to help in achieving combat readiness.

But the real outrage over this is that it has nothing to do with gender identity. It's about transforming our way of life, family, values, morality and marriage. Through radical LGBT railroading, we’re turning our laws upside down to overthrow traditional values. When that’s accomplished, one step at a time, we will have completely destroyed the common good, individual rights, the God-given dignity of the human body, and common sense.

I thought Republicans might be our last hope in going down the path toward destruction, but sadly, at least 20 have proven that’s not to be the case. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Update: 10-month old baby imprisoned & sentenced to death

As a follow-up to my post the other day about Charlie Gard, the 10-month old baby boy who suffers from an extremely rare and deadly genetic disorder called Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome, the world has taken notice of the outrageously unjust hospital and court actions refusing to let Charlie's parents seek additional treatment for him. The courts won't even let Charlie's parents take their baby home to let him die there.
It doesn't matter that Charlie's parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have raised over a million dollars in private donations to take Charlie to America for an experimental treatment. It doesn't matter that the Vatican hospital, Bambino Gesu, has offered to take Charlie. It doesn't matter that a US hospital has also offered to take Charlie in an attempt to help. It doesn't even matter that, as one official at the hospital where Charlie's being cared for admitted, doctors “don’t know whether he suffers pain.”
Instead, the doctors at Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital have decided that Charlie’s condition is hopeless, and that he should be left to die. Britain’s High Court agreed, and the European Court of Human rights refused to intervene after Charlie’s parents appealed. Disappointingly, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May also refused to intervene on Charlie's behalf. The doctors now have the legal go-ahead to take Charlie off life support.
While Charlie's parents know there is every chance the treatment won't work, don't they, as his parents, have the right to exhaust every possibility? Wouldn't you want to try if it were your loved one?
Regardless, what's most appalling and frightening about this is that the government and hospital employees are dictating when and where a person should die, and whether family members can seek additional treatment options. In other words, these strangers have taken ownership over this little boy and his life. This is unquestionably wrong.
Could this overreach have anything to do with the fact that the government has taken on a larger and larger role of authority over the family given the increase we've seen in broken, fatherless households? Have government officials become so accustomed to stepping in where parents aren't providing for their own children that they now don't recognize actively involved parents when it's right in front of them? Is this the power we've handed to government by allowing them to support able-bodied citizens at the expense of our own independence?
If so, where does it stop? This case is not just about Charlie Gard. It's about the alarming power of government to directly decide whether and where we live or die. That absolutely cannot be taken lightly by any of us.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Meaning of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”*

*I am off to celebrate Independence Day, but wanted to share this post with you, written entirely by James Jacobs in Crisis Magazine. It's a bit long, but it's worth the read, and the truth it contains is so needed in our world today, and especially in our country as we mark the birth of of our nation. Without a firm grasp and implementation of the truths outlined below, we can never be truly free, and the concept of independence remains just a concept. Happy 4th of July in all that it means!

by James Jacobs:
As we celebrate once again the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, we can rightfully take pride in its recognition that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words remind those in government, not just in this country but in all nations, of the limits of their power, a moral boundary that must never be violated if the government is to retain its legitimacy.
Yet it is crucial for us to revisit this patrimony. I have no doubt most Americans can recite these words from memory; but I have great doubts that Americans interpret them in the same way. This is why these words should not merely be a text displayed in the museum of national memory. Rather, they need to be the principles that illuminate public debate and guide public reason. John Courtney Murray, SJ, reflected on the American political tradition in his book We Hold These Truths. He begins his analysis by reminding the reader that civilization is formed by men who create a community through deliberation. Thus, at the heart of every civilization, there must be an ongoing argument concerning the values that hold the people together. This argument must be made continually, for the people must be convinced that these values are true, and that there is in fact agreement about their meaning. Murray recognizes that without this argument, society would lack a stable foundation: “In the public argument there must consequently be a continued recurrence to first principles. Otherwise the consensus may come to seem simply a projection of ephemeral experience, a passing shadow on the vanishing backdrop of some given historical scene, without the permanence proper to truths that are ‘held.’”
It has become a cliché that America is a divided country. It is clear there is little agreement about the meaning of even these most basic principles. The right to life is questioned, especially for those at the beginning of life and those near its end; the idea of liberty has come to be understood as a libertine autonomy which pursues unfettered individual expression as the sole goal of life; and the pursuit of happiness is no longer seen to be the common good pursued by men together, but is now taken to license radical anti-social individualism. Each of these trends erode society, for if we lack agreement on these basic principles, we cannot hope to attain agreement on more controversial issues. If America is to survive as a civilization, we need to engage the public argument in order to rediscover the real meaning of these rights; we must agree on them as the common principles that constitute our moral union as a nation.
Our Rights Grounded in Human NatureI would suggest that the founding principles of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” can only be properly understood from the perspective of natural law. The natural law insists that rights are grounded in the reality of human nature. Human nature is a universal and unchanging reality which remains the same all over the world and throughout history. It is therefore an objective referent that can be discovered by reason anytime and anywhere. Only if we define rights as they are understood by the natural law can we be confident that there is reasoned agreement between citizens. Furthermore, we can also know that we are in agreement with the Founders who wrote the Declaration as well as all those generations who will inherit this nation from us. Thus, only through a natural law argument can an objective notion of rights be delineated. One may object that the founders were not directly influenced by St. Thomas and the Catholic natural law tradition; nevertheless, it is clear that the natural law permeated their thinking indirectly through the shared Christian culture and the heritage of British common law.
If it is true that we are a divided nation, I would suggest that the ultimate source of our divisions today lies in our radically divergent understanding of rights. In recent decades, the concept of a “right” has been separated from its objective grounding in human nature, and so it has become a purely theoretical reality which is infinitely malleable. Traditionally, the idea of right (ius) implied an objectively correct state of affairs wherein a human being behaves and is treated in a manner befitting that human nature. In contrast to this, modern philosophy has abolished the idea of a universal human nature. Thus, rights can no longer be defined according to these objective moral relations. In place of this objective foundation, rights now arise from mere subjective preferences which are to be protected from any interference by others. The sanctity of individual preference soon balloons to include the idea of entitlements, preferences that should be supplied for by others. A brief consideration of the public debates will amply demonstrate how there is no limit to what some will now claim in the name of rights: homosexual “marriage,” euthanasia, free health care, and even a universal minimum income. Thus, without human nature as an objective reference to determine what constitutes a right, the idea becomes an empty variable upon which individuals project the most arbitrary of preferences.
Against this modern notion of rights, let us consider what the natural law tradition says. In his seminal study The State in Catholic Thought, Heinrich Rommen defines a right as “that conformity to human social nature of social acts and relations between persons and between persons and things.” It is human nature itself, and in particular his social nature which implies necessary relations with other men, which determines what sorts of acts and relations are correct. Because they are grounded in human nature, these rights are not given by the state, much less dreamt up according to individual preference. Rather, they reflect what is necessary if a man is to realize everything of which human nature is capable, that is, to attain a correct relation with human nature itself. It is here in particular that I think some basic concepts from St. Thomas Aquinas can help to elucidate the meaning of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as they relate to the reality of human nature.
Thomistic Explanation of the DeclarationA fundamental doctrine of Thomas’s account of the natural world is that there is an essential relation between what something is and what that thing does. If we see a tree with apples, we know it must be an apple tree since no other tree is capable of growing apples. In the same way, I would plant an apple tree in the hope to harvest apples, knowing that the nature of the tree is oriented to the act of growing apples. Thomas refers to this as a relation between “first act” and “second act,” with each “act” being a mode of reality. What something really or actually is (first act) determines what something really or actually does (second act). So, for example, he says, “There are two kinds of perfection, first and second. First perfection is the form of each thing, and that by which it has its act of existing…. Second perfection is operation, which is the end of a thing or the means by which a thing reaches its end.” Notice that there is an important difference between these two kinds of reality. What a thing is, its first act, remains constant and unchanging as long as the thing continues to exist. But what a thing does is constantly changing: in a few minutes I might be sitting, walking, thinking, and sleeping. Moreover, what a thing “does” also includes attaining properties, like weight, complexion, and location, which are also changing. Thus, all natural beings are in a constant state of development and change with respect to their properties, but the thing itself remains stable as the underlying cause of these changing properties.
But this fact of changing properties also reveals another important truth. The changes that occur are not normally capricious, but manifest a systematic order: all the activities and properties are directed to one activity that is the ultimate goal for which nature exists. For example, all the changes an apple tree goes through, from germination to growing flowers, are ordered to the growing of fruit. In fact Thomas says that God creates natures for the sake of the activity, for that activity is essential for the perfection of the universe as a dynamic whole. Thus, he says, “Indeed, all things created would seem, in a way, to be purposeless, if they lacked an operation proper to them; since the purpose of everything is its operation. For the less perfect is always for the sake of the more perfect: …so the form which is the first act, is for the sake of its operation, which is the second act; and thus operation is the end of the creature.”
And what is the activity to which human nature is directed? It is happiness. But happiness is the goal of human nature, common to all people, and so is an objective truth. Happiness most emphatically is not something that each person is free to define for himself. Just as an apple tree finds its perfection in growing apples, happiness as the perfection of human nature must be defined in terms of the distinctive powers that set humans apart from other natures: reason and free will. Accordingly, happiness is the activity of growing in wisdom and love, an activity that can only find completion in the Beatific Vision in which we know the Truth itself and love God who is goodness itself. Nevertheless, in this world man is called on to attain a limited happiness; and this fact is the source of human rights. Rights are derived from whatever is necessary for man to attain happiness in terms of wisdom and love.
Correctly Understanding Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of HappinessLet us apply this back to the Declaration. The natural law can reveal a very specific meaning to our right to life and the pursuit of happiness. Aristotle argues that life is the being of living things; that is, the very existence of animate beings is tied up with life. The powers of life, which in man includes the powers of reason and will, are caused by the presence of a soul, which is, as Aristotle says, the form of the body. So we can see that the right to life relates to our first act as an individual entity, for as long as we exist as a living human being, we have the ability to grow in wisdom and love. Therefore, from the moment of conception to natural death, as long as a soul is present, a human being has a right to exist.
But humans live so that they may attain happiness. Thus, humans have a right to act in that most human way, to grow in wisdom and love. That is, since the goal of human existence lies in the exercise of reason and will, we have a right to be able to develop our intellect by growing in knowledge of truth and to perfect the will’s love of the good by delighting in the goodness of creation. It is clear, though, that for man to flourish in this way there needs to be more specific rights enabling the use of reason and will. Since knowledge grows through conversing with others, and love grows through friendship, these other rights focus on the necessary relations man has to others. Unlike so many of our contemporaries, however, who demand rights that reflect our random preferences, we can look to the Decalogue for guidance to know what humans really need. So, for example, there is a right to freedom of religion so we can know that God is in whom our ultimate happiness lies. Also, one needs a stable society in which peace is secured and justice protected, so there are authorities who have the right to be obeyed when deciding for the common good. In addition, a person has a right to a private family life as the first school of virtue, and so the sanctity of marriage must be protected. There are also rights to private property, so that one can attain maturity and independence by exercising stewardship. And if we are to grow in wisdom, there is a right to truthful communication with other people. In this way, as St. John Paul argued in Veritatis Splendor, the Decalogue indicates those rules that must be observed if we are to gain the happiness we all desire.
This leaves the Declaration’s right to Liberty. Again, Thomas’s philosophy can shed great light. In Thomas’s philosophy, “act” is always correlated with “potency.” While act is what something really is, potency indicates the ability to be other or change. The reason why our actions and properties are changing is that the nature has the potency to do something else: I am sitting, but can stand; I am heavy, but can lose weight; I am pale, but can tan. So, even though natures exist for the sake of their activity, it is also obvious that not all natures actually reach that activity: not all apple trees bear fruit, and not all humans grow in wisdom and love. However, each entity certainly has the power or inclination to attain its end. This is the potency inherent in any human being, whether or not he ever gets to happiness.
As mentioned earlier, the peculiar power by which a human being attains his end is through proper use of his reason and free will; it is through this potential that we achieve happiness. But reason and will are the source of human freedom, because we can know reality objectively and judge what ought to be done. So, while animals act on instinct alone, human beings have to exercise deliberative judgment. This choice is “right” if it conforms to the reality of human nature by maximizing wisdom and love, and wrong inasmuch as it departs from attaining wisdom and love. Liberty, then, is an ordered freedom, an exercise of choice for the sake of an objective notion of happiness. This is in stark contrast to how the right to Liberty has been interpreted in recent decades as an utterly unrestricted power. This is best exemplified in the notorious “mystery clause” from the Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey decision: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If this were the liberty defended by the Declaration, we could never have formed a society at all. Correctly interpreted, liberty does not mean we can do anything at all; it means that we can work toward happiness in a multiplicity of ways. Pace Justice Kennedy’s remarkable notion of liberty, man is not free to determine the nature of reality, especially the reality of human nature and the happiness that flows from it. Nevertheless, we do have freedom, for God has given different gifts to different people, and each must realize the vocation to which God has called him; our liberty lies in the ability to realize that for which we were created.
Our nation has prospered by protecting the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. However, in recent decades, as we have forgotten both human nature and the God who created it, these principles have been interpreted in fanciful and destructive ways, causing seemingly insuperable divisions in society. If we take up the public argument required of every civilized people, we can restore the true meaning of these rights. To do so, we need only remember the most basic axiom of Thomistic philosophy: action follows from being. By attending to this, we can protect life in its entirety, and define liberty and happiness according to the truth of human nature, thereby securing the common good longed for by those who first founded the United States in the name of universal human rights.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Compassion? Court denies parents' right to try to save son

Physician-assisted suicide is being packaged as a “dignified”, “self-affirming” choice for people to end their suffering by ending their lives. In some cases, like the book/movie, “Me Before You,” choosing death is even glamorized and romanticized. But what about court-ordered death? Such is the case of Charlie Gard, the 10-month-old baby in the United Kingdom who has a rare mitochondrial disease, and who is having his life support withdrawn today after his parents lost their appeal to transport him to America for an experimental treatment. 

Due to his condition, Charlie cannot breathe on his own, has seizures, and suffered severe brain damage as a result of his disease. Doctors told Charlie's parents earlier this year that they felt they could do no more to treat him, and recommended they withdraw life support. 

But Charlie’s parents wanted to try to save him. They heard about an experimental treatment in America that could possibly help. Apparently a lot of people supported them in this hope because they helped Charlie's parents raise over $1 million to move him to the US for treatment.

Well, too bad, according to the European Court of Human Rights: it ruled against Charlie’s parents earlier this week, denying them the right to seek the treatment they want to try for their son. The reason? The court said that they did not believe the experimental treatment would benefit Charlie, and that it would cause him "significant harm." So they ordered Charlie's ventilator be removed instead.

It’s bad enough that a court is tetlling Charlie’s parents they cannot try at least one more time to help their son, but worse, the court won’t even let the parents take their son home to die there. They are being denied even this dignity, while the hospital is rushing to remove the ventilator.

There are few words to describe the barbaric nature of this cruelty. While the court takes it upon itself to decide that a baby should die on the court's terms, couldn’t the court at least allow the parents to decide the location of their son's death on their own terms?

Hi guys 

This whole situation is a frightening commentary on how bureaucrats are increasingly taking it upon themselves to decide who gets to live and die, while trying to cloak it as compassion for the suffering. But is it compassion or simply a court-sanctioned co-opting of human life?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Republicans: Yes, please "take away" my health insurance

I'm not sure what's holding up ObamaCare repeal - whether it's because of spineless RINOs afraid to take on the Democrats' or media's attacks, or zealous conservatives waiting for a better deal, but I am hoping and praying that we can still get rid of at least key parts of this monstrosity of a law. 

At this point, I don't actually care if the Senate's version has every component I would wish for, but from what I can see, it has at least the basics. For starters, it removes the individual mandate. Of course, Senator Chuck Schumer warned us all that if the penalty for not having health insurance were to be removed, about 22 million people would be without health insurance. So you mean if we remove the gun from people's heads regarding forced health insurance, they might just say "see ya"? Does this mean Americans don't actually like to be forced to buy products? That's quite a revelation. Thanks, Chuck.

What I still don't hear enough about though is it's not just the rising premiums that are an issue, but the outrageous deductibles. I know I've said this many times before, but I pay a few hundred dollars every month for my health "insurance" premium just so Nancy Pelosi can brag about giving the masses health insurance. But Nancy is mute about the fact that the premium I pay every month doesn't actually cover any health services - at least not for the first $6,000 in medical services that I have to pay for out of my own pocket before my "health insurance" company will pay even a part of my bills. And this is only for the year. Come January, it all goes back to zero and I have to pay the next $6,000 again - plus the hundreds of dollars a month just to satisfy Nancy and Chuck.

But Nancy warns us that if we repeal ObamaCare, "hundreds of thousands of people will die." She doesn't say how not being forced to buy a bad product will actually cause people to die, but I love how she and the other abortion-supporting Democrats suddenly are concerned about human life, despite promoting and financially supporting the killing of 55 million Americans through abortion since 1973's passage of Roe v. Wade. Sorry, Nancy. Not buying it.

What it comes down to is that people like me are devoting a good portion of our resources to our monthly premiums to keep Nancy and Chuck happy, but since carrying this "insurance" is required by the government thanks to them, we possibly have to choose between paying the premium or receiving actual medical services. Here's hoping I stay healthy. Maybe if we got rid of this horrible bill, people could actually afford healthcare again, if Nancy and Chuck really are interested in affordable healthcare, that is. Better yet, aside from the truly down and out who do need assistance, how about removing the government altogether from our healthcare?

In the meantime, while Nancy, Chuck and friends go around warning people that the mean, old Republicans are trying to take away my health insurance, all I can say is, yes, please take it away. Let's start over. I know we can do better and it would be nice to no longer have to choose between satisfying the government and seeking any medical services I may actually one day need.

But for that to happen, the spineless RINOs need to realize why Republicans were given control of the government in November. Living in fear of Democrats or what the media might say is hardly the way to go about achieving the change we are all craving.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Left's evil rhetoric vs. the real thing

I just have a simple question: With American kids enacting mock assassinations of President Donald Trump in school, “entertainers” like Kathy Griffin holding a decapitated “head” depicting Trump, Snoop Dog shooting Trump in the head in a video, Robert De Niro saying he wants to punch Trump in the face, Madonna saying she has thoughts of blowing up the White House, the New York City Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar showing a vicious stabbing of Trump, complete with a grieving “Melania Trump” at his dying side, Marilyn Manson depicting the killing of Trump in a video, and on and on…I am just wondering: do you think this disgusting, deadly, violent mindset of the Left helped motivate the real-life attempt to murder Republicans yesterday in Virginia as they practiced for a charity baseball game?

The shooter was careful to identify his victims as the “Republican baseball team”. He has in the recent past made public comments about hating and wanting to kill Republicans, and while Democrats try to portray Republicans as wanting to kill people because they want to repeal the brutal Obamacare, actual Republicans are being targeted in lethal ways. Of course no amount of rhetoric can be blamed exclusively for someone's actions, but to what extent is the unprecedented hatred we are seeing toward President Trump and Republicans in general creating an atmosphere of anything goes?

I don’t see any conservatives calling for the death of liberals as a form of so-called entertainment, or celebrating when someone makes an attempt on their lives, do you? Did you ever see or hear this kind of behavior directed at Barack Obama in such a public, constant, vicious way?  And what are the haters on the Left saying about the incident today? They're celebrating it, for starters. Vicious posts on Twitter and other venues express downright glee that it was Republicans who got shot, or remorse that more Republicans weren't shot. And of course, the Left can't resist taking a page right out of Obama's playbook and calling the crime nothing more than another example of the need for more gun control. 

So let’s get this straight. The Left’s diabolical rhetoric toward Trump and Republicans in general is nothing less than the potential inciting of violence, yet their only response is to celebrate the attempted murder of Republicans and then recommend taking away our means to protect ourselves from the violence they encourage with their own words and actions.

Once again, the Left shows its true colors. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Happy Flag Day!

Hi Everybody - I hope you have all been doing well. Long time, no speak! I won't insult or bore you with excuses as to why it's been so long since I've posted here, but I wanted to make sure to carve out some time today because the day means a lot to me. Today is Flag Day! On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14 to commemorate the flag's adoption on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. 

The flag is so much more than three colors, stripes and stars. It stands for our country, in particular the freedom we all enjoy. Our flag is the symbol of the things we as Americans hold in our hearts and minds. It stands for our right to hold and express our beliefs and our values, to protect our homes and our loved ones, and to enjoy general safety and the abundance of God's bounty in our land. To think of all that has been given over the years - the sacrifices, the suffering, the lives, so that our flag can fly freely as a symbol of America is truly humbling. 

It's sad how many people have been conditioned to think of America as evil, exclusive, and prejudiced, and therefore, see the flag as a symbol of dark things, something that should be disdained, and in some cases, even banned -- instead of being seen as the most visible symbol of the country that has been the greatest force for good the world has ever known.

If you have a US Flag, I hope you're displaying it proudly today. And if you get the chance, take a moment to teach a young person about how blessed they are to live in the greatest nation on earth! 

Happy Flag Day! (and Happy Birthday to President Trump!!) 


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Assisted suicide more acceptable than a chicken sandwich?

A petition mission making the rounds addresses the fact that "Chick-fil-A was banned recently at Fordham University -- a Catholic institution. Why? Because leftist students don't like the restaurant owner's biblical view on natural marriage. So Chick-fil-A is not welcome on campus. 

However, a pro assisted suicide group called End of Life Choices New York has been invited to freely lecture on campus. In fact, the next pro assisted suicide lecture will be held on June 7 at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus.

Still, no matter how its advocates try to package it (e.g. death with dignity, compassion, etc.) assisted suicide or euthanasia is nothing more than another part of the Culture of Death. 

Despite the oath all doctors take to "do no harm", euthanasia turns doctors into killers - and it treats the elderly and infirm like "inconveniences" whose lives are cut short. 

But the Church is so clear on the issue. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that: 'Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.'

So, should Catholic universities host advocacy groups that publicly support assisted suicide?

If you think not, feel free to add your name to the petition to make your voice heard. Enough voices could result in the cancellation of this pro-death lecture at a university that should be promoting life instead."