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According to the senator as reported by Life Site News, “'While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system.'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.