Friday, November 30, 2012

“In effect, then, this effort to eliminate DDT pays Ethiopia about $10 for each dead Ethiopian.”

Commentor anonymous disagrees with me on many things, and calls me a "pathological liar".


Moi, your humble blogger, a compulsive perfidious scamp? How so?

Egnor asserted that there was a worldwide DDT ban. There wasn't. Egnor asserted that U.S. relief agencies wouldn't provide aid to countries that used DDT, that was a lie. Egnor's lies concerning science and policy are so common that it is harder to find the true statements than the lies.

Now of course DDT isn't banned by statute in every country on earth. Yet an effective ban for much of the developing world need not be statuatory. DDT is legally banned in much of the developed West, of course. Note that environmentalists only banned DDT in their own countries after malaria eradication.

There is intense Western pressure on Third World nations suffering from endemic malaria to ban DDT use, in some cases involving statutory bans enacted via environmentalist lobbying, in some cases imposed by funding agencies, in some cases involving heavy political and ideological pressure, and in some cases involving-- well-- blackmail ('You're still using DDT? That's a nice children's anti-hunger program ya' got there. Shame if something happened to it').

The DDT ban in some nations is de jure and in some nations is de facto. The ban has been remarkably effective, as the sharp rise in malaria mortality worldwide since 1970 will attest.

Malaria death rates worldwide in the 20th century. The top line includes sub-Saharan Africa. The bottom line excludes it.  Note that the sub-Saharan death rate alone is even higher than the top (worldwide) graph. DDT was first widely used in the 1940's. The highly successful campaign to ban DDT worldwide began in 1970.

Discover the Networks helps clear up any misunderstanding:

This is a story of triumph and tragedy. The triumph occurred in the middle part of the 20th century, when the larger part of mankind finally succeeded in overcoming the ravages of malaria, the deadly infectious disease that had afflicted the human race since the dawn of time (and which, by one estimate, had killed approximately half the people who had ever lived on earth). But within three decades, the triumph would give way to tragedy when leftist ideologues, professing concern for the integrity of the natural environment, collaborated to ban the use of the pesticide best known by the acronym DDT—the very substance that had made it possible to vanquish malaria from vast portions of the globe. By means of that ban, environmentalists effectively ensured that, over the course of the ensuing 30+ years, more than 50 million people would die needlessly of a disease that was entirely preventable...

Wherever DDT was used in significant quantities, the incidence of malaria declined precipitously. In South America, for example, malaria cases fell by 33 percent between 1942 and 1946. In 1948, there was not a single malaria-related death in all of Italy. After DDT was sprayed widely in India’s Kanara district (where some 50,000 people had typically contracted malaria in any given year during the pre-DDT era), the number of newly diagnosed malaria cases dwindled to about 1,500 per year by the late 1940s—a 97 percent decrease. Throughout the entire Indian nation, the number of malaria cases fell from about 75 million in 1951 to 50,000 in 1961. In Sri Lanka, DDT spraying was initiated in 1946, at which time approximately 3 million new cases of malaria were being diagnosed each year. By 1956, that figure had fallen to 7,300; eight years after that, in 1964, a mere 29 Sri Lankans contracted malaria.
Encouraged by DDT’s unmatched success in killing the carriers of infectious disease, in May 1955 the World Health Organization, at its Eighth World Health Assembly, initiated a Global Malaria Eradication Campaign (GMEC). Funded mostly by the U.S. government, the GMEC focused heavily on the use of DDT as a means of combating malaria in North America, southern Europe, the Caribbean, and much of eastern and southern Asia. By 1961, malaria had been nearly eliminated from each of those regions. In South Africa, malaria rates plummeted by 80 percent in just 18 months as a result of spraying small amounts of DDT on the walls and eaves of traditional mud and thatch huts twice a year. Similarly, the incidence of malaria declined by 60 percent in Ecuador and by 90 percent in Madagascar.
DDT use reached its zenith in 1962, when a total of 80 million kilograms of the pesticide were used around the world. The National Academy of Sciences summarized the efficacy of DDT as follows: 
“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It is estimated that, in little more than two decades DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that would otherwise have been inevitable.”...
Tragically, however, this confidence would be derailed by a series of events that were triggered initially by the September 1962 publication of biologist/zoologist Rachel Carson’s bestselling book, Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers that DDT allegedly posed to all manner of plant, animal, and human life. These threats were so great, said Carson, that on balance they more than negated whatever benefits were to be gained from using the pesticide to prevent malaria...
Also echoing Carson’s nightmarish prognostications was the biologist Paul Ehrlich, who wrote:
“The Department of Health, Education and Welfare announced studies which showed unequivocally that increasing death rates from hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and a series of other diseases has resulted from the chlorinated hydrocarbon load. They estimated that Americans born since 1946 [when DDT usage was becoming widespread] now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and predicted that if current patterns continued, this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.”...

Notwithstanding... DDT’s unparalleled effectiveness in combating malaria, the Green lobby—led by such stalwarts as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Physicians for Social Responsibility—waged a tireless campaign aimed at banning the pesticide not only in the U.S. but everywhere on earth, all in the professed interest of protecting the natural environment.

The World Wildlife Fund, for instance, identified DDT as part of a “cocktail of highly toxic chemicals” by which animals and people could become “contaminated.” Greenpeace warned that “measurable quantities” of DDT and its metabolite DDE “are present” in human fatty tissue, blood and breast milk, and that “[r]esearchers think DDE could be inhibiting lactation because of its estrogen-like effects and may therefore be contributing to lactation failure throughout the world”. Physicians for Social Responsibility, urging “holistic” alternatives to DDT, announced that studies “suggest that DDE and possibly other organochlorines can weaken the immune systems of children, increasing their risk of developing asthma and certain infections.
Insisting that DDT could be replaced by alternative pesticides and by procedures such as “integrated vector management” (treating, with “environmentally sensitive” pesticides, the water sources where mosquitoes breed), environmentalists pressured countries around the globe to discontinue their use of DDT and to cut off government funding for DDT projects.
The environmentalists were joined in this effort by such entities as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Program, and UNICEF. These aid bureaucrats warned impoverished countries whose populations were at high risk of contracting malaria, that if they continued to use DDT as the lynchpin of their anti-malaria programs, grants to their governments would be withheld.
Additional support for the environmentalist crusade against DDT came from a coterie of powerful and immensely wealthy leftist foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Turner Foundation, and the Heinz family philanthropies. Like the aid bureaucrats listed in the preceding paragraph, these foundations threatened to withdraw their grants to impoverished nations if their governments were unwilling to forego the use of DDT.
Only a few nations—among them Ecuador, Mexico, and South Africa—possessed the financial resources necessary to fund their own DDT programs without the help of the aforementioned foundations and organizations. And for as long as they continued to use DDT, they remained malaria-free.
Eventually, however, a number of these nations bowed to pressures from the environmental lobby. In the 1990s, for instance, the Clinton Administration stipulated that the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement would be contingent upon Mexico’s willingness to stop its production of DDT. When Mexico ultimately agreed to abandon its DDT programs, its malaria rates increased exponentially.
South Africa, like Mexico, was able to resist the mounting pressures of the environmental lobby until 1996, at which time its Department of Health (DOH) finally relented; this DOH decision to comply with environmentalist demands was greatly influenced by the United Nations, which was threatening to cut off funding for the country’s public-health programs.
Shortly after South Africa had discontinued its use of DDT and replaced it with synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, a highly efficient malaria vector, Anopheles funestus (which had been completely eradicated from the country in the 1970s), reappeared. Within just a few years, the incidence of malaria nationwide increased more than tenfold (from 6,000 cases in 1995, to 62,000 cases in 2000). Desperate to scale back this re-emerging crisis, the South African government resumed its use of DDT in 2001 (disregarding UN warnings against such a course of action), and within months the malaria rate dropped by four-fifths.
In other nations, too, mosquitoes that previously had been vanquished by DDT quickly developed resistance to alternative pesticides; vector-management efforts failed dismally wherever they were tried. When Bolivia, for instance, yielded to international pressure and banned the use of DDT in favor of bed nets and other measures, its infection rate soared by 80 percent between 1993 and 2005. Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and other countries had similar experiences. 
Notwithstanding the mountains of evidence demonstrating that there were no effective alternatives to DDT for controlling the spread of malaria, the environmental lobby continued to call for the pesticide to be outlawed everywhere in the world. UNICEF and USAID, for instance, made their loans to Eritrea—where malaria was responsible for 50 percent of all deaths—contingent upon that nation's pledge to use the money not for DDT projects but rather for insecticide-treated bed nets, “environmental assessments,” and other “effective alternative[s]” to DDT that “could be used safely” under strict World Health Organization protocols.
Supporting this approach, the World Bank likewise demanded that Eritrea discontinue its use of DDT entirely, in favor of “chemicals or techniques that are safer for the environment and human health.” As a result of these restrictions, malaria retained its status as Eritrea's leading cause of death.
Similarly, the Canadian government gave Ethiopia (where nearly 150,000 people were dying of malaria each year) $1.5 million to fund a “national implementation plan” compliant with the International Stockholm Convention resolution to eliminate “persistent organic pollutants” such as DDT. But this plan proved to be entirely ineffective, and Ethiopians continued to die of malaria in enormous numbers. As journalist Paul Driessen aptly put it: “In effect, then, this effort to eliminate DDT pays Ethiopia about $10 for each dead Ethiopian.”
In February 2005 the European Union (EU) warned Uganda (where up to 100,000 people were dying of malaria each year) that EU member nations would stop importing Ugandan fish, flowers and cereals if that African country were to implement a DDT program to combat the disease.
Citing environmental concerns, USAID announced that it would only promote DDT as a “measure of last resort”—a position that, according to Roger Bate (co-founder of Africa Fighting Malaria), gave the agency “carte blanche never to support” the pesticide, since it could “always claim that other methods of malaria control [had] not yet been tried.” Bate elaborated:
“While some misplaced concern for the environment and human health may be part of USAID’s reasons for refusal to fund IRS, the more significant reason is likely to be the vested interests that influence its spending plans. In 2004, USAID’s budget for malaria control stood at around ... $80 million. However, the agency provides no documentation that it spends a single cent buying either insecticides or effective artemsinin drugs for malaria control. The vast majority of the agency’s budget is directed towards US-based consultants who ‘advise’ malaria control programs and conduct nebulous projects that have no clear deliverables. USAID, like most other donor agencies, is far more comfortable directing its funding to its own consultants, rather than the departments of health in the countries they are supposed to be assisting.”

The history of the fanatical environmentalist campaign to ban DDT reads like a criminal indictment.

The DDT ban--- de jure and de facto-- is the holy grail of the environmental movement. Yet when environmentalists who have been legislating, bullying, bribing, coercing, deceiving, threatening and blackmailing any poor country that dares use DDT to protect its citizens from insect-borne diseases are called out on their remarkably successful half-century crusade to ban DDT-- a ban they feverishly continue to pursue...

(Reuters) - The United Nations announced a plan Wednesday to rid the world by around 2020 of DDT, an outlawed toxic crop pesticide still used to spray homes to fight malaria-spreading mosquitoes.

 ... environmentalists scream 'Ban? What ban? You're a pathological liar!'

Decide for yourself who is the liar.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

'How about demonstrating some non-naturalistic way of doing science'

Commentor Boo on my post on Nagel's critique of Darwinism and materialism, with my commentary.

"Darwinist Materialism" makes as much sense as "Einsteinist Materialism" or "Cell Theory Materialism."
Materialism as practiced today depends critically on Darwinism, in a way that it doesn't on Einstein's theory or cell theory. Darwinism is materialism's creation myth. Without Darwin's theory, materialism collapses for biology, which is so obviously teleological that even atheists stammered until the mid-nineteenth century. Darwinism rescued atheist materialism, and materialism's intellectual respectability is predicated on it.  "Darwinist materialist" is merely the acknowledgement that materialism historically is dependent on Darwinism for its public credibility.

Darwinism allows materialists to be intellectually fulfilled, and insulates them from the ridicule that their metaphysics actually deserves.
All science deals with the material. If you know of a way for science to deal with the non-material, publish it and collect your Nobel Prize. 
Four Nobel Prizes have already been awarded for science that explicitly deals with the non-material-- to Penzias and Wilson and Smoot and Mather, who studied the Big Bang. The Big Bang is predicated on a non-material event: creation ex nihilo. It is non-material because matter and nature began to exist with the Big Bang, and thus the Big Bang itself does not have a material cause. 

Black holes are inherently non-material processes, in the sense that the physics in the black hole is naturally undefined-- a singularity. 

In fact, all science that uses mathematics to model nature is inherently immaterial to that extent, in that mathematics is not a material science. Numbers and their relations are concepts, and are neither material nor parts of nature. 

Furthermore, all science that invokes teleological concepts is inherently immaterial as well, because teleology-- the directedness of change in nature-- is not of nature. See Aquinas' Fifth Way for an explanation. 

Boo's use of "material" is characteristic of the sloppy amateur metaphysics so characteristic of materialists and atheists. Science properly studies the natural world, which is a composite of material, efficient, formal, and final causes. Methodological naturalism, which is the process by which science proceeds, is the study of natural effects. Science is not restricted to the study of natural causes. Science can properly study any natural effect, even if it does not have a natural cause (e.g the Big Bang)

Again: the causes invoked by methodological naturalism need not be material-- in fact, natural causes are material, efficient, formal and final. 

Succinctly, methodological naturalism, which is a valid method of study, has nothing to do with philosophical naturalism, which is a crude mistake. 

... How about instead of arguing with scientists that they're doing it wrong, go out and demonstrate some "non-naturalistic" way to do science?
To the extent that science invokes creation ex nihilo in the Big Bang, it is non-naturalistic. To the extent that science studies black holes and events associated with singularities, it is non-naturalistic. To the extent that science invokes mathematics, it is non-naturalistic (numbers and their relations are not material/natural objects). To the extent that science invokes teleology (all science does), it is not naturalistic, because goal-oriented change in nature cannot arise from nature (see Aquinas, proof from final causation).

To answer Boo: all science is a "non-naturalistic", in that all science invokes teleological causes that are inherently not material nor part of nature itself.
Why do you suppose the ID movement always argues that they know how to do it better than the "Darwinists" but they never actually do anything?
We ID folks predicted decades ago that junk DNA wasn't junk. Darwinists predicted the opposite, and in fact used junk DNA as prima facie for Darwinism and for atheism.

Darwinists were catastrophically wrong about junk DNA. ID scientists were clearly right. The damage done to molecular genetics by the Darwinian denial of the functionality of junk DNA is incalculable-- the impedance of decades of research and billions of dollars in science funding misdirected away from the critical study of most of the genome. Darwinist orthodoxy has given us one of the great scandals of modern science.

Furthermore, all science that invokes teleological explanations inherently uses design inferences, even if the design inferences are implicit rather than explicit (explicit design inferences can be hazardous to a scientist's employment health). Without continuous invocation of purpose in biology (ribosomes are for making proteins, the heart is for circulation, insulin is for regulation of glucose metabolism, etc), scientists couldn't even do their daily work.

Teleology is the ground of scientific understanding and discourse, and it is a design concept. Darwinism is specifically the denial of teleology in biology, and is a crude philosophical error masquerading as science. Random variation and survival of survivors explains nothing.
The entire point of this post seems to be to conflate methodological naturalism with philosophical materialism. They are not the same thing.

Pot, meet kettle. Darwinist materialists continuously conflate methodological naturalism (the study of natural effects) with philosophical naturalism (the denial of extra-natural causes). Darwinists confuse science with their ideology, and do violence to both.

Scientists who work from the design/teleology perspective keep their philosophy and theology in their proper place, and don't impose ideological orthodoxy (such as atheism) on methodological naturalism-- which is the proper study of natural effects that result from both natural and extra-natural causes. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Why Darwinist Materialism is Wrong"

Oh, where to start.

Alvin Plantinga starts with his review of Thomas Nagel's new book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.

A couple of things are noteworthy: Nagel, a leading analytic philosopher, is an atheist. And Plantinga's laudatory review is published in New Republic, an organ of the Left. The commonsense inference is that even leftie atheists are getting tired of materialist-Darwinist gibberish. 

ACCORDING TO a semi-established consensus among the intellectual elite in the West, there is no such person as God or any other supernatural being. Life on our planet arose by way of ill-understood but completely naturalistic processes involving only the working of natural law. Given life, natural selection has taken over, and produced all the enormous variety that we find in the living world. Human beings, like the rest of the world, are material objects through and through; they have no soul or ego or self of any immaterial sort. At bottom, what there is in our world are the elementary particles described in physics, together with things composed of these particles. 
I say that this is a semi-established consensus, but of course there are some people, scientists and others, who disagree. There are also agnostics, who hold no opinion one way or the other on one or another of the above theses. And there are variations on the above themes, and also halfway houses of one sort or another. Still, by and large those are the views of academics and intellectuals in America now. Call this constellation of views scientific naturalism—or don’t call it that, since there is nothing particularly scientific about it, except that those who champion it tend to wrap themselves in science like a politician in the flag. By any name, however, we could call it the orthodoxy of the academy—or if not the orthodoxy, certainly the majority opinion. 
The eminent philosopher Thomas Nagel would call it something else: an idol of the academic tribe, perhaps, or a sacred cow: “I find this view antecedently unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense. ... I would be willing to bet that the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two.” Nagel is an atheist; even so, however, he does not accept the above consensus, which he calls materialist naturalism; far from it. His important new book is a brief but powerful assault on materialist naturalism.
Nagel is not afraid to take unpopular positions, and he does not seem to mind the obloquy that goes with that territory. “In the present climate of a dominant scientific naturalism,” he writes, “heavily dependent on speculative Darwinian explanations of practically everything, and armed to the teeth against attacks from religion, I have thought it useful to speculate about possible alternatives. Above all, I would like to extend the boundaries of what is not regarded as unthinkable, in light of how little we really understand about the world.” Nagel has endorsed the negative conclusions of the much-maligned Intelligent Design movement, and he has defended it from the charge that it is inherently unscientific. In 2009 he even went so far as to recommend Stephen Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, a flagship declaration of Intelligent Design, as a book of the year. For that piece of blasphemy Nagel paid the predictable price; he was said to be arrogant, dangerous to children, a disgrace, hypocritical, ignorant, mind-polluting, reprehensible, stupid, unscientific, and in general a less than wholly upstanding citizen of the republic of letters.

I'm reading Nagel's book, and it is a superb (if somewhat technical) dissection of the inanities of Darwinism and materialism. Nagel joins other leading philosophers (Fodor and Flew, among others) in exposing the logical and empirical errors that beset materialist pseudoscience.

I'll try to post soon on the rest of Plantinga's keen review.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Are we living in the Hunger Games?"

Glen Reynolds:

D.C. has power and wealth while the rest of the country suffers. It's not a question of who the odds favor. Washington, DC is doing a lot better than the rest of the country. Washington is rich not because it makes valuable things, but because it is powerful. That's where we are now, with a Capital City that looks more and more like the capital city of an imperial power.
You know the story: While the provinces starve, the Capital City lives it up, its wheeler-dealer bigshots growing fat on the tribute extracted from the rest of the country.
We don't live in The Hunger Games yet, but I'm not the first to notice that Washington, D.C., is doing a lot better than the rest of the country. Even in upscale parts of L.A. or New York, you see boarded up storefronts and other signs that the economy isn't what it used to be. But not so much in the Washington area, where housing prices are going up, fancy restaurants advertise $92 Wagyu steaks, and the Tyson's Corner mall outshines -- as I can attest from firsthand experience -- even Beverly Hills' famed Rodeo Drive.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the contrast is even starker. As Adam Davidson recently wrote in The New York Times, riding the Amtrak between New York and D.C. exposes stark contrasts between the "haves" of the capital and the have-nots outside the Beltway. And he correctly assigns this to the importance of power.
Washington is rich not because it makes valuable things, but because it is powerful. With virtually everything subject to regulation, it pays to spend money influencing the regulators. As P.J. O'Rourke famously observed: "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."
In our last election, a majority of Americans broke for the Capitol. The districts be damned. Television host Caesar Flickerman revved up the crowds. Perpetually-reelected President Coriolanus Snow gave the cooperative districts some extra rations, taken from less cooperative districts. And free condoms to boot-- paid for by the least cooperative district of all

Allied with the Mainstream Media, the Capitol is getting damn good at bread and circuses. Food Stamps and Reality T.V. 

Classical stratagems to suppress rebellion against elites. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

"The Characteristics of Population Control Programs"

Several of our erstwhile commentors have recently argued that population control programs in the Third World have been voluntary to a substantial extent.

This installment of Robert Zubrin's extraordinary essay on the population control holocaust should help clear up that misunderstanding:

The Characteristics of Population Control Programs
Of the billions of taxpayer dollars that the U.S. government has expended on population control abroad, a portion has been directly spent by USAID on its own field activities, but the majority has been laundered through a variety of international agencies. As a result of this indirect funding scheme, all attempts to compel the population control empire to conform its activities to accepted medical, ethical, safety, or human rights norms have proven futile. Rather, in direct defiance of laws enacted by Congress to try to correct the situation, what has been and continues to be perpetrated at public expense is an atrocity on a scale so vast and varied as to almost defy description. Nevertheless, it is worth attempting to convey to readers some sense of the evil that is being done with their money. Before describing some case studies, let us consider the primary characteristics manifested by nearly all the campaigns.
First, they are top-down dictatorial. In selling the effort to Americans, USAID and its beneficiaries claim that they are providing Third World women with “choice” regarding childbirth. There is no truth to this claim. As Betsy Hartmann, a liberal feminist critic of these programs, trenchantly pointed out in her 1995 book Reproductive Rights and Wrongs, “a woman’s right to choose” must necessarily include the option of having children — precisely what the population control campaigns deny her. Rather than providing “choice” to individuals, the purpose of the campaigns is to strip entire populations of their ability to reproduce. This is done by national governments, themselves under USAID or World Bank pressure, setting quotas for sterilizations, IUD insertions, or similar procedures to be imposed by their own civil service upon the subject population. Those government employees who meet or exceed their quotas of “acceptors” are rewarded; those who fail to do so are disciplined.
Second, the programs are dishonest. It is a regular practice for government civil servants employed in population control programs to lie to their prospective targets for quota-meeting about the consequences of the operations that will be performed upon them. For example, Third World peasants are frequently told by government population control personnel that sterilization operations are reversible, when in fact they are not.
Third, the programs are coercive. As a regular practice, population control programs provide “incentives” and/or “disincentives” to compel “acceptors” into accepting their “assistance.” Among the “incentives” frequently employed is the provision or denial of cash or food aid to starving people or their children. Among the “disincentives” employed are personal harassment, dismissal from employment, destruction of homes, and denial of schooling, public housing, or medical assistance to the recalcitrant.
Fourth, the programs are medically irresponsible and negligent. As a regular practice, the programs use defective, unproven, unsafe, experimental, or unapproved gear, including equipment whose use has been banned outright in the United States. They also employ large numbers of inadequately trained personnel to perform potentially life-endangering operations, or to maintain medical equipment in a supposedly sterile or otherwise safe condition. In consequence, millions of people subjected to the ministrations of such irresponsibly run population control operations have been killed. This is particularly true in Africa, where improper reuse of hypodermic needles without sterilization in population control clinics has contributed to the rapid spread of deadly infectious diseases, including AIDS.
Fifth, the programs are cruel, callous, and abusive of human dignity and human rights. A frequent practice is the sterilization of women without their knowledge or consent, typically while they are weakened in the aftermath of childbirth. This is tantamount to government-organized rape. Forced abortions are also typical. These and other human rights abuses of the population control campaign have been widely documented, with subject populations victimized in Australia, Bangladesh, China, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, the United States, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Sixth, the programs are racist. Just as the global population control program itself represents an attempt by the (white-led) governments of the United States and the former imperial powers of Europe to cut nonwhite populations in the Third World, so, within each targeted nation, the local ruling group has typically made use of the population control program to attempt to eliminate the people they despise. In India, for example, the ruling upper-caste Hindus have focused the population control effort on getting rid of lower-caste untouchables and Muslims. In Sri Lanka, the ruling Singhalese have targeted the Hindu Tamils for extermination. In Peru, the Spanish-speaking descendants of the conquistadors have directed the country’s population control program toward the goal of stemming the reproduction of the darker non-Hispanic natives. In Kosovo, the Serbs used population control against the Albanians, while in Vietnam the Communist government has targeted the population control effort against the Hmong ethnic minority, America’s former wartime allies. In China, the Tibetan and Uyghur minorities have become special targets of the government’s population control effort, with multitudes of the latter rounded up for forced abortions and sterilizations. In South Africa under apartheid, the purpose of the government-run population control program went without saying. In various black African states, whichever tribe holds the reins of power regularly directs the population campaign towards the elimination of their traditional tribal rivals. There should be nothing surprising in any of this. Malthusianism has always been closely linked to racism, because the desire for population control has as its foundation the hatred of others.
[emphasis in original] 

Zubin nails it. Population control is dictatorial, dishonest, coercive, medically irresponsible and negligent, cruel, callous, abusive of human dignity and human rights, and racist.

Population control is the succession of anti-human pseudoscience that began with Darwinian eugenics, the Nazi programs of racial cleansing and elimination of the weak, the radical environmentalist war on DDT and on measures to prevent disease among the poor, and with the present day crusade to yoke the world's economy and governance to a Luddite movement posing as climate science that is working feverishly to deprive mankind of carbon-based energy sources.

The pagan de-Christianization of the West continues apace. Population control is merely the latest working out of the reduction of man to animal-- the  governance of humanity as if we were pestilence.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bizarrely charming...

I don't know why I like this. Perhaps it reminds me of my nights on call in the E.R. I could add a few-- doing your own roof work, looking down the barrel of a rocket launcher that didn't fire on the 4th of July, riding on the hood of your buddy's car...

HT Anchoress


I saw Steven Spielberg's Lincoln last night with my son.

One of the best films I've seen in years. The cinematography and screenwriting are exceptional, and the acting is magnificent. Daniel Day-Lewis is astonishingly believable. I really felt as if I were watching and listening to Lincoln. I have long loved the 16th president-- he was a man of remarkable grace, intelligence and integrity-- and the movie makes him real. An amazing accomplishment.

It is not an action movie-- it is nearly all political dialogue, centered on the struggle to ratify the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives. But despite the lack of car-chase scenes and explosions, even my 12 year old enjoyed it (he's a history buff).

There's much to like if you're a Christian conservative-- Lincoln's profound spirituality is displayed, and the term "Democrat" is an expletive. There is even an emphatic reference by the Great Emancipator to the rights of the unborn-- he was referring to unborn black Americans, who he hoped to save from enslavement. The reference was striking-- "unborn" was sharply emphasized. Could it be that Spielberg (a liberal Democrat) understands that the battle for innocent life is the modern battle against slavery? Slavery and abortion are predicated on the same execrable moral assertion-- that there are some human beings who are not persons. The moral assertion that slavery and abortion share is that the weak may be used and disposed of according to the interests of the strong. It is an assertion that Lincoln fought with his whole being. He died fighting it.

Whatever your political leanings, Lincoln is a movie that must be seen. Oscar subito!

‘... a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’”

An atheist group at Dartmouth College is planning an event aimed at skewering the reputation of the late Mother Teresa. 
The Atheists Humanists Agnostics (AHA) club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing the program on Tuesday and promising a “full-out romp against why one of the most beloved people of the century, Mother Teresa, is as Hitchens put it… ‘a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’”

Mother Teresa is widely known for her life’s work of aiding the poor and comforting the sick. 
The e-mail says the group plans to screen an anti-Mother Teresa film, discuss Hitchens’ book, Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, and question how the public has been “conned into thinking this woman [Teresa] was good.” 
The e-mail states Teresa, who is on her way to sainthood in the Catholic church, “was not a friend of the poor,” but “was a friend of poverty.” 
The email links to a now infamous article by the late Christopher Hitchens which attempts to debunk much of the lore that surrounds Teresa...

I always feel a twinge of nausea at the title of Hitchen's book-- Missionary Position-- to describe this good and holy woman. Atheists are always trying to win hearts and minds.

Blessed Theresa devoted her life to caring for the poor and dying of Calcutta-- the least of our brothers. She was a tireless defender of innocent human life and of people who were cast aside, walked over, abandoned. Her moniker was "the Saint of the Gutters".

Santo subito, please, Holy Father.

The hard work associated with Mother Theresa-bashing leaves no doubt that the Atheists Humanists Agnostics Club will now have to postpone indefinitely their planned events skewering fellow atheists V.I. Lenin, J. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and the entire North Korean Kim family.  

When the final history of atheism's contribution to humanity is written, its title, pace Hitchens, will be Doggy Style.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm afraid to ask about the pharmaceutical ads...

Ohhh.. wait...that's voluntary genocide!

Several commentors have taken me to task because I pointed out in a recent post that population control programs in poor Third World countries meet the criteria for genocide as defined by the United Nations:
...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Of course, the UN definition of genocide didn't distinguish between voluntary and coercive measures. Two features were sufficient to genocide-- 1) Intent to destroy a group, even in part 2) imposing measures intended to prevent birth.

What makes genocide is the intent of the actors. Imposed "measures" need not be explicitly forceful. One can impose measures that use rewards, appeals to patriotism or shame, etc. 

Even ostensibly 'voluntary' programs of population control nearly always involve real coercion-- payment for being sterilized, lying to people about the reversibility of sterilization, civil or criminal punishments for non-participation, substantial official pressure to conform, etc . The most "successful" population control programs-- in China, India, and Peru-- have been horrendously coercive and overt crimes against humanity. 

But my dear commentors insist that I answer their question. Bachfiend insists that I address voluntary government programs of population controls. How could they be genocide?
Commentor Boo:
Answer the question Mr. Egnor: how can it be imposed if it is voluntary?

Don't worry, we all know you will just try to weasel out of it as usual.

Of course, as I noted above, the definition of genocide used by the UN does not mention coercion. It refers only to the intent to selectively depopulate by imposed measures. "Imposed" simply means that it is government policy-- a government program. It does not distinguish between imposed coercive measures and imposed voluntary measures. If the US government opened thousands of "voluntary" sterilization clinics only in black neighborhoods, it would still be properly understood as genocide.

But heck, let's say that the UN definition doesn't really mean what it says, and that voluntary participation in government population control schemes-- even schemes that because of intent would otherwise be classified as genocide-- is not inherently a violation of human rights.

Let's presume for argument's sake that if government-led contraception, sterilization and abortion is voluntary, then it is not a violation of rights.

Which raises this question: if voluntary participation in government-led sterilization/contraception/abortion programs is not a violation of rights, then what is wrong with voluntary participation in government-led prayer in schools? 

"A Declaration of War" from the Youth of France

A video from the French youth group Generation Identitaire that occupied a Mosque in Poiters in October. The location of the Mosque was not a coincidence. A banner unfurled during the occupation referred to Charles Martel.

The young people make some perfectly valid points. The unfettered immigration of Muslims into France and the pervasive socialist mismanagement of the French government is a catastrophe that these young people will have to pay for, personally.

Yet there is a thread of violence that runs through this that is very disturbing. Fervent European nationalism-- worship of blood and soil-- is a sanguinary business, and the rise of Islam in Europe combined with socialist economic madness and enraged soil-and-blood-worshiping nationalists bodes very badly. The most likely outcome of this pressure-cooker is the balkanization of Western Europe, in the next century or so. Fascist enclaves and Muslim enclaves, at perpetual war.

The de-Christianization of Europe continues apace.

To the last few generations of secular European decision-makers, who gave Europe socialism and massive Muslim immigration: thanks, a**holes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What if that "basic right to contraception" is... genocide?

Ed Brayton on the "right" to contraception:

UN Group Calls Contraception a Basic Right

The UN Population Fund has issued a new report that calls access to contraception and family planning services a “universal human right” because it is so crucial to empowering women and making it possible for them to have anything like equality and justice.

“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the fund, said in a written statement. “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labor-force participation boosts nations’ economies.” 
The report effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.
Hear, hear. This report doesn’t change the law at all, or even any international standards. But it’s absolutely true and it can’t be said often enough. Without access to contraception, equality for women is virtually non-existent.

Here's the UN definition of genocide, Article 2, from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted on 9 December 1948:

...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: 
(a) Killing members of the group; 
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; 
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
[Emphasis mine] 

The UN Population Fund has played a central role in crimes against humanity in China's One-Child Policy and in sterilization programs in many Third-World nations. Population control policies have led directly to the largest femicide in human history-- 100 million missing girls in Asia, aborted or killed after birth simply because they were girls.

What has traditionally been properly understood as genocide-- targeting nations or groups with measures to prevent births-- is now hailed as "a basic right".

Pure evil. These bastards have no shame.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”

One of the funniest sitcom episodes ever-- from WKRP in Cincinnati in the 1970's. The fledgling radio station hosts a Thanksgiving Day promo, dropping live turkeys from a helicopter over a crowd in a supermarket parking lot.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

October 3, 1863 
By the President of the United States of America. 
A Proclamation. 
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. 
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. 
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth. 
By the President: Abraham Lincoln 
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Note that Lincoln dates the founding of our nation to the Declaration of Independence, not to the Constitution, just as he did in the Gettysburg Address ("four score and seven years ago" was 1776, not 1787) , as does the Constitution itself (following Article VII, introducing the Signatories).

The Declaration is the founding document of our nation, and the foundation for our law and for our rights.

"We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights..."

We have much to be thankful for.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Marco Rubio and...Ummm... Oh... Wait!

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say? 
A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

That quote is not from Senator Marco Rubio, who was recently criticized and called "anti-science" for equivocating on the age of the earth. I made a little boo-boo in this morning's post.

That quote is from Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill, speaking at the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. on April 13, 2008.

KW: will you now demand that President Obama be kept off all science committees? First Time Caller: how do you feel about President Obama pandering to "scientifically illiterate evangelicals"?

Do you all remember the outrage it caused from the Left against Obama, just like the outrage now against Rubio? The plethora of stories in the mainstream media? The accusations that the Illinois senator was "anti-science"?

Me neither.

Marco Rubio and "Did god really create the world in 6 days?"

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say? 
A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

I think it's a reasonable answer. How about you? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Along comes Hamas"

Andrew McCarthy gets it right.

"It has been only eleven days, but we’re already seeing the wages of November 6. The world has become a much more dangerous place, and not just for Israelis."

P.Z. Myers: "Shut 'em down... It's time to abort the Catholic Church"

P.Z. Myers on the tragic deaths of Savita Halappanavar and her child in Ireland:

Bloody butchers and pious toads who mask their medieval ignorance with a pretense of charity and care; it’s long past time to end the illusion and recognize the barbarism of the church. Shut ‘em down.
The latest victim in over a millennium of Catholic abuse is Savita Halappanavar, a young woman who was 17 weeks pregnant when her condition began to deteriorate. She went to a Catholic hospital, a fatal mistake.
…she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
She was clearly miscarrying, she was fully dilated and leaking amniotic fluid, and it was obvious to all, including the doctors at the hospital, that this pregnancy was doomed — there was no hope for the fetus at all. Yet they refused to do the one simple, ethical procedure that would have saved Halappanavar’s life.
...Because it was a fucking Catholic hospital in a Catholic country.
Because doctors had been indoctrinated since childhood in lies that were shown to be false during their medical training, but which they could not overcome; because hospital administrators put their faith above their obligation to serve patients; because lawmakers in that country shied away from learning how their policies killed women; because a mob of celibate old puppetmasters don’t give a damn about anything other than their theology and will happily sacrifice human beings on the altar of their vile and backward religion.
The end result: a septicemic infection swept through the gaping wound of Halappanavar’s cervix, killing her, after days of agony. The pope and his bishops, and the faithful Catholics in that hospital, killed her as surely as if they’d taken a scalpel to her throat — which would have been a more merciful death than the misery they put her through.
Monsters, every one of them.
Seriously, shut them down. There is no acceptable reason that any hospital in anycountry should be shackled by the antiquated beliefs of Catholicism. Catholics should no more be permitted to manage hospitals than Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to regulate blood transfusions. We are talking about simple, routine procedures that could save lives that are disallowed by a church. What are they doing in the surgery in the first place?
... Fuck the Catholic church. Empty every pew, loot every coffer, disband every level of the hierarchy, take all their property and turn it over to secular authorities to be managed ethically and rationally.
And if you’re still attending church…what the hell is wrong with you?

Of course, it's not clear at all that the tragic deaths of Ms. Halappanavar and her child are the result of a hesitation to abort her child. The most likely source of the infection is chorioamnionitis, which is traditionally treated by antibiotics, and not necessarily by abortion or delivery of the child.

Delivery of the child may be indicated, but delivery of the fetus-- even a pre-viable fetus- in order to save the mother is licit by Catholic ethical teaching:

"… if, for example, the saving of the life of the future mother, independently of her pregnant condition, should urgently require a surgical act or other therapeutic treatment which would have as an accessory consequence, in no way desired nor intended, but inevitable, the death of the fetus, such an act could no longer be called a direct attempt on an innocent life. Under these conditions the operation can be lawful, like other similar medical interventions – granted always that a good of high worth is concerned, such as life, and that it is not possible to postpone the operation until after the birth of the child, nor to have recourse to other efficacious remedies.”

Myers of course won't let his ignorance of the medical issues and his ignorance of Catholic moral teaching get in the way of his incitement to an anti-Catholic pogram.

The irony in Myers' manipulation of this tragedy is that there are reports that Ms. Halappanavar did not recieve antibiotics for several days, which, if true, would be a serious deviation from good medical care and would have contributed in a major way to her death.

If one is to attribute these tragic deaths to systematic poor medical care, the Irish socialized medical system would seem to be a more likely suspect than the Catholic Church.

Myers, of course, is a vehement proponent of socialized medicine.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Was Hitler a socialist?

It seems obvious that National Socialists ("National Socialist German Workers' Party") were...  socialists.

However, their modern socialist spawn squirm and huff when this simple fact is mentioned.

Historian Paul Johnson (*) sets things straight:

Hitler had no economic policy. But he had avery specific national policy. He wanted to rearm as fast as possible... There was no evidence whatever that Hitler was, even to the smallest degree, influenced by big business philosophy. He bowed to business advice only when convinced that taking it would forward his military and external aims. He regraded himself as a socialist and the essence of his socialism was that every individual or group in the state shold unhesitatingly work for national policy. So it did not matter who opened the actual factory so long as those managing it did what they were told. German socialism, he told Hermann Rauschning, was not about nationalization:
"Our socialism reaches much deeper. It does not change the external order of things, it orders solely the relationship of man to the state... Then what does property and income count for? Why should we need to socialize the banks and the factories? We are socializing the people."

National Socialism was socialist.

One of the chief lies of the Left is that National Socialism was the opposite of communism. The truth is that Nazis and communists were enemies, not opposites. They fought for the same turf, like fratricidal twins.

Nazism might in fact have succeeded, from an economic standpoint, because the socialization of the people, without nationalization of industry, was a much more effective economic strategy. Bureaucrats are better employed to tell industry what to do, rather than to run industry. Some high level bureaucrats have never even run an lemonade stand.

Is National Socialism dead? It's worth asking whether China may pursue a National Socialist course in the decades to come. Perhaps communist regimes must become National Socialist, if they are to survive in the long run.

Where are we Americans in all of this? We are certainly not totalitarian, although there are currents of totalitarian thought in the American Left. If you doubt that, try putting an intelligent design book in your school library, or saying a prayer at your high school graduation, or telling the federal government that you have moral objections to buying contraception for your employees.

From an economic standpoint, note that our American descent to socialism bears a closer resemblance to the National Socialist variety than to the International Socialist variety, on which our President cut his teeth.

Our socialist leaders understand that we need not nationalize our industries to bring socialism to our country. We can yoke our producers to state purposes, while we socialize the people.

It's not a new strategy.

* Modern Times: the World from the Twenties to the Nineties. Kindle location 6420

Why did Savita die?

You probably have read of the furor over the tragic deaths of Savita Halappanavar and her child. Ms. Halappanavar was a 31 year old woman who died recently in Ireland from a blood infection associated with premature labor (she was 17 weeks pregnant). The story is complex, and official investigations are underway, but there are reports that she and her husband requested that delivery of her pre-viability child be induced. Her husband reported:

“They said unfortunately she can’t because it’s a Catholic country,” Mr Halappanavar said.  
“Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her. 
“But she said ‘I’m sorry, unfortunately it’s a Catholic country’ and it’s the law that they can’t abort when the foetus is live.”

There have been several thoughtful analyses of this tragedy. A commentor on Elizabeth Scalia's blog provides a professional view:

I am a critical care physician and have a great deal of experience treating septic shock as well as a fair amount of experience treating critically ill pregnant woman. Much of this story sounds incomplete and wrong. We of course do not have the clinical details so some of what is being said is no doubt speculation. That said however it it is difficult for me to imagine a situation where the was a medical indication to abort the pregnancy, if of course the unborn child is already dead, then there is no ethical issue. Lets start with the first scenario. It sounds like most likely that patient has Chorioamnionitis, which is a common infection in pregnant women, often associated with miscarriage but rarely not commonly bacteremia. The treatment is antibiotics, and in the case of sepsis organ support. Termination of the pregnancy is not a routine part of the treatment and in fact since most cases occur in the last trimester, even in the abortion mad culture we live in, this is not typically done. In fact the baby may be delivered to prevent neonatal harm.
Another possibility would be a septic abortion, or an infection in the uterine cavity because part of the dead unborn child is retained. This is possible and is treated with antibiotics, support and removal of any retained parts of the unborn child that remain in the uterus. Surgically the procedure is identical to an abortion, but obviously morally it is not an abortion at all since the child is dead. Other causes of sepsis are possible in a pregnant woman, as they are in any adult, including a perforated bowel, pneumonia, pyelonephritis (an infection of the kidney) and these may be associated with spontaneous abortion, but none of them are treated with induced abortion. In fact since this woman had her uterus evacuated 4 days before death, then to the extent that the uterine contents had anything to do with sepsis it was treated. She died 4 days later.
As it stands we do not know the details but I do not believe this woman died because she was not given an abortion. It is quite possible that her sepsis and medical management were suboptimal, or it might just be that she died in spite of optimal treatment. I think what is obviously going on is that the political left ( and it is the political left Ms. Scalia much as you like to wink and nod at them) is on a Jihad to make pro-life sentiment seem extreme by distorting the facts to a public that is clueless when it comes to most things but especially science in general and medicine in particular. We saw a similar drill in the Arizona abortion case involving the woman with pulmonary hypertension. Left out of all of the coverage was the fact that the modern management of PAH allows for therapies that make delivery of the baby possible, ( although with increased risk) but that the pregnancy was terminated when the baby was in the first trimester and significant risk does not acrue until much later in pregnancy and which would allow for time to treat the PAH. None of this was discussed, not even in the Catholic press or Catholic blogosphere ( one would think some Catholic blogger would have found a doctor and asked does this make sense to you? Well this is the same thing. This story sounds to me like it is being manipulated as pro-abortion propaganda. Finally Abortion is legal to save the life of the Mother in Ireland. ( leaving aside for the moment the moral distinction between direct abortion which is never morally acceptable and indirect abortion which can be in cases in which the mother’s life is threatened) In Ireland they already allow for abortion if they think it necessary to save the life of the Mother, so.. I think what is going on here is that the left wing pro-abortion media is distorting the facts of this case to make pro-lifers seem extreme. They are trying to do what the gay lobby has done, made opposition seem immoral in itself. We should resist this.
I don't have any inside knowledge of the facts of the case, and I am not an obstetrician nor a critical care specialist, but as a physician I can make some general points.

It is most likely that Ms. Halappanavar's blood infection was caused by infection of the amniotic fluid (chorioamnionitis), which may have been the cause or the result of the premature labor. The child was alive when she was initially evaluated, so the child was not the source of the infection. There are reports that antibiotic therapy was delayed by several days, which almost certainly is relevant to her subsequent death from overwhelming infection.

Was the delivery of the child delayed because of Catholic moral teaching? Abortion proponents misrepresent the Catholic Church's position on delivery of the fetus to save the life of the mother.

Pope Pius XII in 1951:

… if, for example, the saving of the life of the future mother, independently of her pregnant condition, should urgently require a surgical act or other therapeutic treatment which would have as an accessory consequence, in no way desired or intended, but inevitable, the death of the foetus, such an act could no longer be called a direct attempt on an innocent life. Under these conditions the operation can be lawful, like other similar medical interventions …
Delivery of Ms. Halappanavar's pre-viability child is licit under Catholic moral teaching, because the direct intent is to save her life, and the death of the child is not intended and is not a prerequisite to saving her life.

But is is quite possible that the delay in delivery of her child was not the central issue in her death anyway. The alleged delay in administration of antibiotics-- by several days-- if true, probably plays a much larger role in her death.

It's worth noting that Catholic Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to be a pregnant mother.  Maternal mortality rates are lower in abortion-free Ireland (6 per 100,000) than they are in the abortion-infested United States (8 per 100,000). It's hard to argue that Catholicism makes Ireland a dangerous place to be pregnant.

And if one insists on attributing Ms. Halappanavar's and her child's death to a systematic problem in Irish medical care, wouldn't the fact that Ireland has socialized medicine, rather than the fact that Ireland is Catholic, be more relevant to poor medical care?

None of these facts will matter. Abortion-mongers see an opportunity to exploit the deaths of this woman and her child, and they'll never pass up an opportunity to profit from the death of innocents.

May God bless Ms. Halappanavar, her child, and her family, and may the truth not also be a victim of this tragedy. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Hey... that Jew is fightin' back!"

Steven Crowder has a fine three-minute synopsis of the history of Israel.

Things are getting uglier there by the minute. Please pray for the Israelis, and for the innocent Palestinians, who are all victims of the anti-semitic thugs who run things in the Arab Muslim world. 

"Believers who feel defeated by this election have actually been given a great gift"

Elizabeth Scalia on Obama's re-election:

Our job at this point is not to save the nation. The nation is tumbling precisely the way the philosophers said it would when it became over-reliant on government. Our job, now is to save each other; to help spiritually strengthen each other for all that is yet to come.
Believers who feel defeated by this election have actually been given a great gift; they’ve been given the opportunity to divest themselves of the sin of idolatry and pride. The battle is not between parties; it is between things seen and unseen. It is between light and dark. The stuff before our eyes, all these earthly concerns, earthly governance—it plays out ultimately for the profit of our souls, not our retirement accounts. If we are professing Christians then we understand the narrative is moving forward to a certain conclusion; the pageant of salvation leads, always, to a complete divesting of everything that has come before. The only way to victory, now is to put the Gipper to rest, and play strictly for God. And God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts not our thoughts, his “shining city on a hill” like nothing in our imagining.

She has a good point. We must not worship at the altar of politics (a weakness of mine). But we must keep telling the truth, about profound things like God's sovereignty and the sanctity of life as well as mundane things like not spending money we don't have.

We are to be a lamp to the world. That undoubtedly involves political action. But this is a spiritual battle at its root, and we must, as Scalia wisely observes, "play strictly for God".

If we succeed politically, that's good, but if not...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving is family time

Seems that Wal-Mart and Target are opening on Thanksgiving Day, which of course screws the folks who work there and want to be with their families.

I'm normally a defender of businesses and I'm no fan of unions, but this is a really bad thing to do to workers.

Do we really need to shop for cheap sh*t on Thanksgiving Day?

Advice to Wal-Mart and Target management: give the workers the whole day off. There are things that are more important than the bottom line.

Commentor KW on physician-assisted suicide

A comment by KW on my opposition to physician-assisted suicide warrants a post in reply.


You want to force people to suffer the indignity of a painful withering death, and then pat yourself on the back for cherishing life. You can’t stand the thought of people living, dying, and behaving other than the way you think they should, and will do whatever you can to control them. You think the pinnacle of morality is contained in a two thousand year old fairytale. You are sick. Your religion warps your mind.

Understand, KW, that on a daily basis I relieve the suffering of people facing death. The idea of you lecturing me on relief of suffering is obscene.

Killing in not medical care. If you are terminally ill and suffering, you can kill yourself and no one can stop you. There are bridges and ropes and guns and closed garages and running cars everywhere.

Suicides have never anywhere been hampered by lack of opportunity.

What I won't let you do is turn my profession into killers.

Bill Bennett: 'We lost the culture war'


This was the drumbeat of the Obama campaign. To women they said: Republicans are waging a "war on women," trying to outlaw abortion and contraception and would take them back to their rights in the 1950s. To minorities they said: Republicans are anti-government services, cold-blooded individualists, and cannot represent minority communities. To middle and low income Americans they said: Republicans are the party of the rich, who will slash taxes for only the richest Americans and cut social safety nets for the poor.
Rather than offer a broad sweeping vision for the country, Democrats played identity politics. Republicans were the culprits, and women, young adults, black, Latinos, etc... were the victims. And voters believed it. Why? For the same reason this litany -- gender, race, ethnicity, class -- sound so familiar. 
Voters believed it, not because it was something new or groundbreaking, but because this has been the template of many of our character-building institutions -- our public schools, our colleges, and public universities -- for the past 50 years. Go to any major university in America and this is the mindset that is taught, preached, and ingested. It also gets an assist from television drama, from the movies, and from much of the mainstream media. 
For decades liberals have succeeded in defining the national discourse, the terms of discussion, and, therefore, the election, in these terms. They have successfully set the parameters and focus of the national and political dialogue as predominantly about gender, race, ethnicity, and class. This is the paradigm, the template through which many Americans, probably a majority, more or less view the world, our country, and the election. It is a divisive strategy and Democrats have targeted and exploited those divides.

Pretty much right.  Dems won by race-baiting and class-baiting. By leveraging envy and fear and hate.

This is less a political battle than a cultural and spiritual battle.

The Left is marching through the institutions, and now we are paying for it. We will pay for it in a much bigger way in the generation or two to come. We have let them do it

At least there is some justice in it all. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Massachusetts voters give Question Two a bottle of pills

Fortunately, on November 6 Massachusetts voters put Physician-Assisted Suicide out of its misery:

Massachusetts Voters Reject Physician-Assisted Suicide Initiative

I was traveling in Boston a couple of weeks ago, and in Sunday Mass the priest read a letter from Cardinal O'Malley explaining Catholic teaching on assisted suicide and the sanctity of life. The firm opposition of the Church probably defeated the initiative.

Interestingly, Ted Kennedy's widow campaigned to oppose the initiative as well.

Mrs. Kennedy:

Question 2 turns [the] vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line.

I wonder how she squares this act of mercy and wisdom with her late husband's execrable championing of abortion. There are few people in the U.S. who bear a more direct responsibility for protecting Roe v. Wade than Senator Kennedy. Yet his wife stands up for life-- courageously, I might add. Strange bedfellows.

But the future is grim. The assisted suicide vote was close-- 51%-49%, so in our rapidly paganizing society it is only a matter of time before killing sick and depressed and terminally ill people becomes an accepted part of medical practice, as killing children in the womb is accepted practice now.

Physicians as killers. What about this don't we understand by now?

May God help us. 

"... he apparently looked on pregnancy as a disease, to be eradicated in the same way one eliminates smallpox or yellow fever..."

Dr. Reimert Thorolf Ravenholt 

Robert Zubrin at The New Atlantis tells the story of Dr. Reimert Thorolf Ravenholt, the first director of the Office of Population in the United States Agency for International Development:

During the Cold War, anything from the Apollo program to public-education funding could be sold to the federal government if it could be justified as part of the global struggle against communism. Accordingly, ideologues at some of the highest levels of power and influence formulated a party line that the population of the world’s poor nations needed to be drastically cut in order to reduce the potential recruitment pool available to the communist cause. President Lyndon Johnson was provided a fraudulent study by a RAND Corporation economist that used cooked calculations to “prove” that Third World children actually had negative economic value. Thus, by allowing excessive numbers of children to be born, Asian, African, and Latin American governments were deepening the poverty of their populations, while multiplying the masses of angry proletarians ready to be led against America by the organizers of the coming World Revolution.
President Johnson bought the claptrap, including the phony math. Two months later, he declared to the United Nations that “five dollars invested in population control is worth a hundred dollars invested in economic growth.” With the Johnson administration now backing population control, Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act in 1966, including a provision earmarking funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for population control programs to be implemented abroad. The legislation further directed that all U.S. economic aid to foreign nations be made contingent upon their governments’ willingness to cooperate with State Department desires for the establishment of such initiatives within their own borders. In other words, for those Third World rulers willing to help sterilize their poorer subjects, there would be carrots. For the uncooperative types, there would be the stick. Given the nature of most Third World governments, such elegant simplicity of approach practically guaranteed success. The population control establishment was delighted.
An Office of Population was set up within USAID, and Dr. Reimert Thorolf Ravenholt was appointed its first director in 1966. He would hold the post until 1979, using it to create a global empire of interlocking population control organizations operating with billion-dollar budgets to suppress the existence of people considered undesirable by the U.S. Department of State.
In his devastating 2008 book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits, author Steven Mosher provides a colorful description of Ravenholt:
Who was Dr. Ravenholt? An epidemiologist by training, he apparently looked on pregnancy as a disease, to be eradicated in the same way one eliminates smallpox or yellow fever. He was also, as it happened, a bellicose misanthrope.
He took to his work of contracepting, sterilizing, and aborting the women of the world with an aggressiveness that caused his younger colleagues to shrink back in disgust. His business cards were printed on condoms, and he delighted in handing them out to all comers. He talked incessantly about how to distribute greater quantities of birth control pills, and ensure that they were used. He advocated mass sterilization campaigns, once telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that one-quarter of all the fertile women in the world must be sterilized in order to meet the U.S. goals of population control and to maintain “the normal operation of U.S. commercial interests around the world.” Such rigorous measures were required, Ravenholt explained, to contain the “population explosion” which would, if left unchecked, so reduce living standards abroad that revolutions would break out “against the strong U.S. commercial presence.”...
Charming he was not. To commemorate the bicentennial of the United States in 1976, he came up with the idea of producing “stars and stripes” condoms in red, white, and blue colors for distribution around the world.... Another time, at a dinner for population researchers, Ravenholt strolled around the room making pumping motions with his fist as if he were operating a manual vacuum aspirator — a hand-held vacuum pump for performing abortions — to the horror of the other guests.

Ravenholt’s view of nonwhite people is expressed well enough in a comment he made in 2000 about slavery: “American blacks should thank their lucky stars that the institution of slavery did exist in earlier centuries; if not, these American blacks would not exist: their ancestors would have been killed by their black enemies, instead of being sold as slaves.
As his method of operation, Ravenholt adopted the practice of distributing his funds aggressively to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, and numerous other privately run organizations of the population control movement, enabling them to implement mass sterilization and abortion campaigns worldwide without U.S. government regulatory interference, and allowing their budgets to balloon — first tenfold, then a hundredfold, then even more. This delighted the leaders and staff of the population control establishment, who were able to embrace a luxurious lifestyle, staying in the best hotels, eating the best food, and flying first class as they jetted around the world to set up programs to eliminate the poor.

Ravenholt also had no compunction about buying up huge quantities of unproven, unapproved, defective, or banned contraceptive drugs and intrauterine devices (IUDs) and distributing them for use by his population control movement subcontractors on millions of unsuspecting Third World women, many of whom suffered or died in consequence. These included drugs and devices which had been declared unsafe by the FDA for use in America, and had faced successful lawsuits in the U.S. for their damaging results. These practices delighted the manufacturers of such equipment.
Having thus secured the unqualified support of both the population control establishment and several major pharmaceutical companies, Ravenholt was able to lobby Congress to secure ever-increasing appropriations to further expand his growing empire.
His success was remarkable. Before Ravenholt took over, USAID expenditures on population control amounted to less than 3 percent of what the agency spent on health programs in Third World nations. By 1968, Ravenholt had a budget of $36 million, compared to the USAID health programs budget of $130 million. By 1972, Ravenholt’s population control funding had grown to $120 million per year, with funds taken directly at the expense of USAID’s disease prevention and other health care initiatives, which shrank to $38 million in consequence. In just five short years, the U.S. non-military foreign aid program was transformed from a mission of mercy to an agency for human elimination. 
In 1968, Robert McNamara, a staunch believer in population control, resigned his post as Secretary of Defense to assume the presidency of the World Bank. From this position he was able to dictate a new policy, making World Bank loans to Third World countries contingent upon their governments’ submission to population control, with yearly sterilization quotas set by World Bank experts. Cash-short and heavily in debt, many poor nations found this pressure very difficult to withstand. This strengthened Ravenholt’s hand immeasurably.

Ravenholt was a monster, and the Office of Population in the USAID was engaged in frankly genocidal policy-- using coercive birth control with the specific aim of depopulating the Third World. Aside from the fact that population control aimed at the poor is a crime against humanity, is manifestly junk science. Population control predictions have been astonishingly wrong-- 'tens of millions will starve in the US in the 1980's', 'England will cease to exist by 2000 due to starvation', yada yada.

As you know there were massive programs instituted based on this crap-- totalitarian population control schemes in China and India and Peru-- with hundreds of millions of lives destroyed. It is still going on, most prominently in China.

So what's become of Ravenholt, you ask? Did he live his life in seclusion, evading accountability for rather overt crimes against humanity?

Hardly. He is currently president of Population Health Imperatives in Seattle. He is described as "USAID's Population Program Stalwart." He has a website of his own, in which he extols his achievements.

There needs to be a Simon Wiesenthal Center for these bastards. They should be called out. There should be accountability-- if not legal, then moral and rhetorical. They instituted programs that killed hundreds of millions by forced abortions and female infanticide. And they obviously knew what they were doing-- they explicitly funded and partnered with organizations like Planned Parenthood to fund totalitarian population control programs in poor nations, with the explicit intention of radically culling the population of poor non-white people.

Why is it that the ideologues who push this monstrous stuff aren't treated as we treated Nazi's after WWII, who did similar things, on a considerably smaller scale?