Thursday, August 25, 2016

Does it matter what our kids learn about Islam in public schools?

Does it matter what our kids learn about Islam in public schools?
asks Benny Huang, a veteran who served in Iraq. (Related: An Australian School Allows Muslim Students to Walk Out On National Anthem.)
Jenny McKeigue of Olmsted Falls, Ohio thinks so. This small town mother has battled her local school board for about four years to get them to remove parts of the curriculum that seem to promote Islam.

In 2012, McKeigue learned that her son had been shown a video in his seventh grade social studies class that she considered to be blatant Muslim propaganda. The video, an episode of the discontinued “30 Days” reality TV series, featured a “regular American” (the host’s terminology, not mine) spending thirty days immersing himself in the culture and faith of America’s most Muslim city—Dearborn, Michigan. The regular American’s name is Dave Stacy and according to the host he’s “a husband and father, a practicing Christian, and a red-blooded, beer-drinking, pork-eating American.” He also hails from (surprise!) West Virginia and strikes me as southern in his manner. Though Dave is not an actor, he plays the “role” of the provincial hayseed in need of reform.

The episode’s central message is that Americans are uncomfortable with Islam because they know so little about it. This snub may be what perturbed Jenny McKeigue so much; it certainly angered me. Those Americans who will admit to being uncomfortable with the rising Islamic tide are neither irrational nor uninformed. Wherever large Muslim communities take root, non-Muslims end up dying or at least having their rights curtailed because Islam will settle for nothing less than dominance. Dearborn is no exception. That reality was not expressed in the video and if it had been it would not have been screened in a public school.

The race is on to educate your children about Islam and the result will have great implications for the future. My personal experience, I believe, offers some insight into how education prepares (or fails to prepare) young adults for the world they live in.

In the fall of 1995 I was a high school freshmen looking to fill a hole in my class schedule and I stumbled upon a world history course from a good teacher who happened to be a very opinionated liberal. I learned a lot that year but not all of it was actually true.

One unit concerned itself with major world religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and several eastern religions. I recall the portion on Christianity being the shortest and shallowest, which may have been because the teacher assumed we were already familiar with that religion—an unfounded assumption even twenty years ago. When the focus turned to Islam we learned about the five pillars of Islam, that Islam has two main denominations (Sunnis and Shiites), and that Islam considers Jesus to be a great prophet though not divine. The teacher taught us that Muslims invented algebra and the concept of zero, two “facts” that I later discovered to be falsehoods. Neither concept was truly “invented” and both pre-date Islam by centuries.

Then the teacher mentioned that Islam has a slight problem with radicalism. Although the vast majority of the world’s Muslims are peaceful, he explained, Islam has a few bad apples who give the religion a bad rap. He claimed that the bad apples are mostly Shiites and even within that subset they represent only a small minority. The lesson we were supposed to internalize is that every religion has its zealots. It hardly seemed fair that our society singled out one particular religion for scorn.

Three years later, al-Qaeda struck American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. I chalked it up to those few bad apples I’d heard about in class. In 2000, when I was a private in the Army, I learned that jihadists had blown a hole in the side of the USS Cole as it docked in Yemen. More bad apples.

Then came the mother of all terrorist attacks: 9/11. The only way I knew how to make sense of the slaughter was to refer to my ninth grade history course. I assumed that the attackers must have been Shiites (they weren’t) and that their cause and tactics were anathema to most Muslims. It took me years to discover just how wrong I was about this.

Unlike most Americans, I was not glued to my television in the hours and days after 9/11. The entire US military was on high alert and I had to stand guard in case of copycat attacks. Later on I heard that Muslims had been seen on television dancing in the streets. I hadn’t seen the revelry with my own eyes so I dismissed the story as a rumor. I found it difficult to accept that anyone would celebrate the attacks because it implied that the hijackers enjoyed at least some popular support, an idea that ran contrary to everything I had been told. But in fact it had happened—from East Jerusalem to New Jersey, Muslims rejoiced that the bully America had gotten her nose bloodied.
My “few bad apples” assumption also meant that I had no idea in the fall of 2001 just what a long and difficult struggle my country was undertaking. I believed that the vast majority of Muslims hated Osama bin Laden as much as I did and that most would gladly assist us in taking out their trash. I also assumed that the number of people we were going to war with was relatively small—perhaps a few hundred fighters holed up in the caves of Afghanistan. It wouldn’t take the world’s unchallenged superpower long to flush out a band of reprobates from Tora Bora, would it?

How wrong I was. Take Pakistan, for example, a country that almost certainly gave Osama bin Laden shelter. A 2007 poll found that 46% of Pakistanis had a favorable opinion of bin Laden and 43% had a favorable opinion of al-Qaeda. Almost half the population admires the late terror mastermind! Is it any wonder the country exploded with rage when we finally killed him? Osama bin Laden is very much a hero in the Muslim world, something like Nelson Mandela to black South Africans. Until we come to terms with this fact, we will never have a clear picture of the times we live in.

As the years went by I learned that this thing called the “War on Terror” was bigger than I could have imagined. It wasn’t just about hunting down a few guys in Afghan caves and we weren’t going to receive any assistance from that “vast majority” of Muslims I kept hearing about. Some Muslim countries offered their assistance, of course, though mostly because the US government has deep pockets. Some of those “allies” were also double-dealing, including Pakistan.

I’ve learned a lot in the fifteen years since 9/11. I was not surprised, for example, to learn that Belgian Muslims celebrated in the streets after last March’s terror attack in Brussels, or that Muslims refused to help Belgian police locate fugitive terrorists. It was like 9/11 all over again—many rejoiced in the carnage and none wanted to help the infidels root out the bad guys.

I have often wondered how my perceptions of the post-9/11 world might have been different if I had never taken that world history class. Might it have been better to be uninformed than partially misinformed? I don’t know. I do know, however, that the public schools could have better equipped me to understand the world that awaited me after graduation.

This is why it matters what we teach our children about Islam. A world religions unit in a high school history class might seem trivial but it’s all some people will ever learn about Islam. We’ve got to do better than we’ve been doing, with our ludicrous “bad apples” theory of Islamic terrorism and our constant drawing of false equivalences. Our lessons should not be polemical of course, because that would mean replacing pro-Islamic propaganda with anti-Islamic propaganda. But they should at least be honest. We’ve been lying to ourselves for at least twenty years about the extent of popular support that Muslim terrorists enjoy within their communities, and it’s time we stopped. We won’t stop telling that lie, of course, because without it we’d forced admit that there’s broader culpability for the scourge of Islamic terror.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tyrannies demand immense efforts of their populations to bring forth trifles, and there can be no trifle more trifling than an Olympic record, or even a victory without a record

Once again the only country of any size that, as far as I can see, emerges from the Olympic Games with any credit is India
opines Theodore Dalrymple in Taki's Magazine (thanks to Bojidar Marinov).
Accounting for something like a sixth of the world’s population, it had not—the last time I looked at the table—won a single medal in any event. This proves that, at least in this regard, it has its priorities right. It has steadfastly refused to measure itself by the number of medals it wins at the Olympics and does nothing whatever to encourage its citizens to devote their lives to trying to jump a quarter of a centimeter longer or higher than anyone else in human history.

This is the kind of goal that totalitarian regimes set for their citizens (or perhaps they should be called prisoners). The Marquis de Custine observed a long time ago, in his great book Russia in 1839, that tyrannies demand immense efforts of their populations to bring forth trifles, and there can be no trifle more trifling than an Olympic record, or even a victory without a record. To be the best in the world at something is no achievement unless what you are best at is in itself worthwhile. A man who throws the javelin farther than anyone else (I don’t even know whether the activity exists anymore) is not to be admired but pitied, at least if he has devoted many hours to it, which presumably he must have done to be the best at it in this world of fools.

A thing is not worth doing unless it is worth doing well, but a thing that is done well that is not worth doing is something very bad indeed—far worse, in fact, than a thing worth doing that is done badly. Among other things, it bespeaks a waste of ability, which would be an offense against God if abilities were God-given.

I first thought about the matter many years ago when my brother insisted on taking me to the cinema to see one of those technically sophisticated but in all other respects childish films that are often commercially very successful.

 … the deliberate production of intellectual, moral, and artistic dross—what Orwell called prolefeed in Nineteen Eighty-Four—is a peculiarly malign form of cynicism.

 … The games have long been a kind of window on political pathology, perhaps even before the Berlin Olympics of 1936. My mother saw Hitler at the Olympic Stadium, and I remember seeing the Olympic flame borne aloft past me in Amalfi on the way to Rome back in 1960, by which time the games had long been a deeply vicious spectacle.

Who now remembers the Press sisters, who both won gold medals for the Soviet Union at the Rome Olympics, and who precipitately retired as athletes when obligatory sex tests were introduced? I suppose these days such tests would not put them off or be regarded as relevant; after all, you are now the sex—or gender, to use the correct terminology—that you think you are.
But at any rate, the success of the Press sisters (or brothers, as they were disparagingly called) was promoted in some quarters as evidence of the superiority of the Soviet social and political system, as if putting the shot, or throwing the discus, or jumping the hurdles (all activities in which the two Presses excelled, at least against feminine competition) were what Alexander Pope called the “proper study of Mankind.”

 … There was an article recently in The Guardian, the Izvestia of British liberals (liberals in the American sense, that is, not in the European economic sense), praising the glories of central planning, in witness whereof was the success—not to say, total world dominance—of the British cycling team. This was attributed to the government’s “investment,” in my view a criminal malversation of funds, in facilities for racing cyclists.

Let us admit for a moment what yet has to be proved, that the British success in this sphere was not the consequence of superior pharmacology: We may reasonably ask what kind of person would rejoice in such a victory for his country. Surely only a moron, though it must be admitted that such imbecility is pretty evenly spread around the globe, with the exception of India.

Truly, India is the last best hope of humanity. Long may it continue, to its eternal glory, to win no medals.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Despite his defeat, Cruz positioned himself perfectly to reassert his core argument in 2020

Ted Cruz Is Still Running for President, writes Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker:
Cruz is merely taking the next step toward the Presidency in a manner that he previewed when I profiled him for the magazine, in 2014. Cruz may be wrong about Republican and Presidential politics, but he’s consistent, and his rejection of Trump, when every other putative successor as Republican nominee has endorsed him, fits into his master plan. In simple terms, Cruz thinks that conservative Republicans win Presidential elections

 … despite his defeat, Cruz positioned himself perfectly to reassert his core argument in 2020. Assuming that Trump loses this year, Cruz can argue that Trump failed because he did not fully embrace conservative dogma. While Trump has taken conservative positions during the campaign, he has held a variety of less hard-line views over the years, including on such bedrock issues as abortion.
And Trump has, in any event, largely steered away from social issues during his campaign. In recent days, Trump even appears to be trying to moderate his views on illegal immigration, which had been the heart of his conservative appeal. The greater Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory turns out to be, the stronger Cruz’s claim will be. Without a political base of his own, a defeated Trump will be a deserted Trump; he will not be making a second run for President in his mid-seventies. Trump will be a scorned and discredited figure.

 … Cruz has built his career on repudiation of moderation—and on confrontation with his fellow-Republicans. On balance, it has worked out well for him. As a first-term senator, he nearly shut down the federal government single-handedly in a failed bid to end Obamacare. This kind of absolutism alienated his Senate colleagues, including Republicans, but it propelled him to a strong second-place finish in the Republican Presidential primaries—an extraordinary achievement for a politician who has won exactly one election in his life. For a party picking up the pieces after a catastrophic Presidential election (if that’s what it turns out to be), there will be great appeal in a politician, like Cruz, who can say, “I told you so.”

Friday, August 19, 2016

If Donald Trump is a courageous man who has the guts to say things that others won’t, why does he always backtrack what he said in the heat of the moment at his rallies?

I have a question for all the Donald Trump supporters who see him as a courageous man who has the guts to say things that others won’t
writes Jason Taylor in a Resurgent post entitled Hillary Clinton Ought To Be Eternally Grateful To Donald Trump:
Why does he always backtrack what he said in the heat of the moment at his rallies? And afterwards why does he send out his handlers to hit the airwaves to “explain” what he meant? Why doesn’t stand by the position he articulated in front of his adoring supporters? Where’s his courage when he’s questioned on his positions? Or does he only have “courage” when speaking in front of a like-minded crowd? That’s not courage, it’s pandering.
Trump’s most recent comments in re: the “very long vacation” indicates his resolve that his loss will be very large. Trump will then become the “biggest loser” in America which will haunt him and his family for a generation.
 … Here’s the bottom line: Trump has no interest in being president. He makes these constant ludicrous statements at his rallies because he’s all about the reaction he gets from his supporters. He says something, they go nuts, the media gets all riled up then he walks it back as a “joke” or “sarcasm”. He loves getting attention and that’s it. I’m sure when the election is over and he’s lost, he’ll say he never wanted to be president anyways and that it was all just a big joke. I would be very surprised if there will even be debates. Again, Donald doesn’t want to be president.

I’ve always disliked it when someone would use the term “hater.” Understandably, for all of us there are people or things we just can’t stand. Yet to use hater seemed hyperbolic.

I have, however, come to the conclusion that Trump’s followers perfectly exemplify that word. They are haters. Their hate eats away at them and at the threads of unity that should bind us all together as Americans. Donald Trump is the worse candidate for office in the history of our republic because he exacerbates that hate on a daily basis for his own gain. It’s not enough that he just lose to Hillary; he has to lose so that the vast majority of Americans let the haters know that their kind of angry vitriol and intolerance of others will not rule the day. That is not who we are.

At the start of recess, when the bully trips one kid, a fair number of kids will laugh.

But as recess goes on, and all the bully does is keep bullying over and over, by the time recess is over, fewer and fewer kids are finding it funny. By the end of recess, there are only a handful of kids who still find the bully amusing.

Simple playground politics.

Trump said today republicans had a difficult path to the White House but stressed that wasn’t his fault. Does this man ever take responsibility for anything?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RIP Toughy the Cat

Today, my parents' cat died.
Toughy (or Tuffy) was 14 years old.

My parents thought he would grow to be at least 17 or 18, like most of their felines, or around 23, like their previous cat, Funny Face, who doubled as Toughy's friend — especially since Toughy fully deserved his name. (He loved nothing better than a being stroked fast'n'hard — back'n'forth, in both directions, the length of his body — like some kind of Oriental massage.)

My folks, who could be described as old-timers, have been having health problems for the past year.

My father went to a clinic last week and it was discovered that he thankfully had no (skin) cancer.

My mother also visited the doctor's this week and it was discovered that she had no (stomach) cancer either.

Toughy, who seemed in perfect health only two weeks ago, suddenly stopped eating, and would only lap up the juice of her cat food, incapable of swallowing the hard stuff.

Yesterday they took Toughy to the vet's where he spent the night.

After being scanned today, it was discovered that he had five tumors throughout his body, and there was nothing to be done.

And so he was put to sleep this morning.

Call me silly if you want, or superstitious, but doesn't it seem that, in some manner, deliberately or otherwise, consciously or not, Toughy took on the diseases of the masters whom he loved (and who loved him in return) and sacrificed his life for them?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Every 4 Years, Scandinavians are "scared shitless' by whoever is campaigning for the GOP

Reality sometimes gets distorted by distance, as when, eight years ago, several Danes informed me that the United States would never elect a black man as President
writes Jeffrey Frank in the New Yorker.
This year, the visit [to Denmark, the country into which I’ve married and where, over the years, I’ve often been asked to explain what’s happening back home] was a chance to express the belief that, though Americans may practice political brinksmanship, we are not about to let loose a bomb—or probably not.

I was uneasy about this trip, because I knew that I would hear a lot and be pushed to say a lot about our Presidential election and about the bomb in question: the inescapable Donald J. Trum …

 … Friends and relatives, though, would rather talk about Trump, and want assurance that he is an aberration, even more so when his words are translated without subtlety into Danish. (A headline in the widely distributed Metroxpress read “Trump: Gun owners Should Stop Hillary Clinton.”)

 … As for the view from Denmark, when I asked a favorite member of my extended family if she was really worried about the rise of Trump, she seemed uninterested in a possible Clinton landslide, or in Trump’s bad polls, but rather, with an alarmed look and speaking perfect Americanese, said, “I’m scared shitless.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Preparing for Elections and Examining the Issues: "Let us have both sides at the table" said Lincoln—"Each is entitled to his day in court"

Widespread voter ignorance is a serious problem in our democracy,
writes Ilya Somin in the Washington Post
including in the current election. Scientific American has a new article offering several helpful suggestions on how to be a better voter:
#1 Don’t just go with your gut. Voting well means making your choice from a standpoint of informed consideration and with an eye toward the common good, says Jason Brennan, a political philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting. “Suppose you go to a doctor and ask for advice about an illness—you’d expect the doctor to have your interests at heart and to think rationally about your symptoms,” he says. “Voters owe the same thing to each other and the electorate. Vote for everyone’s best interest, and when you’re forming your political beliefs, form them based on information and learning, not on the basis of quick thinking, anger or bias….”

#2 Don’t get all your news from social media. Most of us have unfollowed, unfriended or muted contacts on Facebook, Twitter and other networks because their political views make us mad. Doing so can give rise to narrowed political views and groupthink…

Try broadening your news sources by tuning to channels or sites, papers or magazines that have a different slant than you do….

#3 Watch the next debate with your eyes closed. A recent study by Joan Y. Chiao, then at Northwestern University, a founder of the new field of cultural neuroscience, found that voters perceive male candidates as more competent and dominant than female ones, based on facial features alone. What’s more, voters of both genders tend to prefer physically attractive female candidates, whereas attractiveness doesn’t matter for male ones….
#4 Know when to abstain. I have a confession to make: I didn’t vote in the presidential primaries. I’m not used to the mail-in ballots in my adopted home state of Oregon, and I sent mine in too late to be counted. Looking back, I think perhaps it was for the best: I’d been waffling for months about which candidate to choose and hadn’t taken the time to firmly ground my choice in facts and information. “We’ve found that having more information changes people’s policy preferences,” Brennan says. “We can specifically predict what the American public likely would choose if it were better informed….” 
All four of these points are good advice. The real significance of No. 2 is not so much that social media is bad, but that most people make too little effort to consider views opposed to their own. Too often, voters act like “political fans” rather than truth-seekers, overvaluing any information that supports their preexisting views, while ignoring or dismissing anything that cuts the other way. A responsible truth-seeker would make a special effort to seek out information sources with views opposed to his or her own. They are the ones most likely to provide a counterweight to his own biases, and to present information and arguments he has not heard before.

Suggestion No. 4 is particularly well taken. If you know little or nothing about the issues at stake in an election or referendum, you can often serve the public interest best by abstaining. It isn’t necessarily wrong to be ignorant about politics. But it is wrong to inflict that ignorance on your fellow citizens. As John Stuart Mill put it, voting is not just an exercise of personal choice, but rather “the exercise of power over others.” The people elected by ignorant voters will rule over the entire society, not just those who cast ballots for them.

 … Even relatively conscientious voters will often find it difficult to effectively combat their biases, or to learn enough to understand more than a small fraction of the issues addressed by the large and complicated modern state. Also, because of the very low chance that any one vote will make a decisive difference in an election, it is often rational for individual voters to be ignorant, even though there is a terrible systemic effect if large numbers of voters behave that way. For those reasons, among others, I am not optimistic that we will overcome the problem of political ignorance any time soon. In the long run, the most effective potential solution is to reduce the size and complexity of government, and and make more of our decisions in settings where we have better incentives to seek out information and use it wisely. Nonetheless, the situation might improve at least somewhat if more voters follow Scientific American’s excellent advice.
While a lawyer in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln was asked by his partner why on Earth he subscribed to pro-slavery newspapers such as the Richmond Enquirer and Charleston Mercury
We must be tolerant of the Southerners, and learn to live with them…
the rail splitter answered William Herndon (as illustrated below by Dan Greenberg in his and my upcoming The Life & Times of Abraham Lincoln);
Let us have both sides at the table, Billie…
… Each is entitled to his day in court.
(Something the Democrat Party, then (150 years ago) or now, as well as the 20th/21st century MSM, are not too keen upon, if they can help it…)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Do both communism and liberal democracy call for people to become New Men by jettisoning their old faith, customs, arts, literature, and traditions?

Accuturated's Mark Judge. has been reading The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. The book,
by Polish scholar Ryszard Legutko …  is an intense read that argues that liberal democracies are succumbing to a utopian ideal where individuality and eccentricity might eventually be banned. As liberals push us towards a monoculture where there is no dissent, no gender, and no conflict, the unique and the great will eventually cease to exist. No more offbeat weirdoes, eccentric crazies, or cults. No more Nation of Islam there to call me a cracker. No more of the self-made and inspired figures of the past: Duke Ellington, Hunter Thompson, Annie Leibowitz.
Legutko’s thesis is that liberal democracies have something in common with communism: the sense that time is inexorably moving towards a kind of human utopia, and that progressive bureaucrats must make sure it succeeds. Legutko first observed this after the fall of communism. Thinking that communist bureaucrats would have difficulty adjusting to Western democracy, he was surprised when the former Marxists smoothly adapted—indeed, thrived—in a system of liberal democracy. It was the hard-core anti-communists who couldn’t quite fit into the new system. They were unable to untether themselves from their faith, culture, and traditions.

Both communism and liberal democracy call for people to become New Men by jettisoning their old faith, customs, arts, literature, and traditions. Thus a Polish anti-communist goes from being told by communists that he has to abandon his old concepts of faith and family to become a member of the larger State, only to come to America after the fall of the Berlin Wall and be told he has to forego those same beliefs for the sake of the sexual revolution and the bureaucratic welfare state. Both systems believe that societies are moving towards a certain ideal state, and to stand against that is to violate not just the law but human happiness itself.

… Legutko argues that, of course, there are huge differences between communism and liberal democracy—liberal democracy is obviously a system that allows for greater freedom. He appreciates that in a free society people are able to enjoy the arts, books, and pop culture that they want. Our medical system is superior. We don’t suffer from famines. Yet Legutko argues that with so much freedom has come a kind of flattening of taste and the hard work of creating original art.

We’ve witnessed the a slow and steady debasement of our politics and popular culture—see, for example, those “man on the street” interviews where Americans can’t name who won the Revolutionary War. Enter the unelected bureaucrats who appoint themselves to steer the ship; in other words, we’re liberals and we’re here to help. Inspired by the idea that to be against them is to be “on the wrong wide of history,” both communism and contemporary liberalism demand absolute submission to the progressive plan. All resistance, no matter how grounded in genuine belief or natural law, must be quashed.

Thus in America came the monochromatic washing of a country that once could boast not only crazies like Scientologists and Louis Farrakhan, but creative and unusual icons like Norman Mailer, Georgia O’Keefe, Baptists, Hindus, dry counties, John Courtney Murray, Christian bakers, orthodox Jews, accents, and punk rockers. The eccentric and the oddball, as well as the truly great, are increasingly less able to thrive. As Legutko observes, we have a monoculture filled with people whose “loutish manners and coarse language did not have their origin in communism, but, as many found astonishing, in the patterns, or rather anti-patterns that developed in Western liberal democracies.” The revolution didn’t devour its children; progressive-minded bureaucrats did.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dogs don’t make cats (??) — French Expressions Even The French Don't Understand

French is not just the language of France, 
writes Marion Maurin,
but of 29 countries around the world. Check out these French expressions from all over Europe, Africa and the Americas that even the French would struggle to understand.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Waiting 3 to 4 Years for Surgery: The UK's State "Rationing Will Cripple Patients"

Leading surgeon warns that waiting times [in the UK] may swell to years, leaving many people in agony
summarizes Laura Donnelly about the main story on The Daily Telegraph's front page, which, with a tongue in cheek, could be called Bravely Taking Health Care Towards a Glorious Future in the Path of Venezuela.
Growing numbers of patients will be left to endure "crippling pain" as rationing spreads across the [National Health Service], one of Britain's most senior surgeons has warned.

Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that bans on all but the most urgent treatment would become "commonplace" without major changes to the funding of the health service.

The NHS is in the grip of the worst financial crisis of its history, with rising restrictions on cataract surgery and growing waiting times for hip and knee operations in most areas.

St Helens clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Merseyside took the unprecedented step on Monday of suspending all non-urgent treatment for four months, in an attempt to tackle overspend.
 … Mr Cannon, an orthopaedic surgeon, said such bans would become widespread without a "realistic" increase in funding.  He also called for changes in the way existing funds are spent, to divert more money away from bureaucracy towards front-line care.
Reminder: Barack Obama does not read The Daily Telegraph, in fact the most intelligent and the most outstanding and the most visionary president in modern times reads nothing but the New York Times.
"This is not a one-off, this is a growing problem across the NHS," [Stephen Cannon] said.
"We are deeply concerned, it is bad enough having to put up with crippling arthritis as waiting times get longer, but these sorts of delays can mean the hip crumbling away so the patient can't even take a step. It also means that when patients do have surgery, it is infinitely more complex."

He said: "We could end up going back to the days when patients waited three or four years for operations."
Reminder: Barack Obama does not read The Daily Telegraph, in fact the most intelligent and the most outstanding and the most visionary president in modern times reads nothing but the New York Times.
Three in four CCGs are now imposing restrictions on cataract surgery, limiting it to those in most desperate need, using criteria such as whether the patient has suffered falls as a result of their vision loss.

Mr Cannon … said too much money was being spent on bureaucracy, including on wrangles over which patients would be funded.
Reminder: Barack Obama does not read The Daily Telegraph, in fact the most intelligent and the most outstanding and the most visionary president in modern times reads nothing but the New York Times.
"We are seeing decisions being made purely on a financial basis, when these should be clinical judgments, made in the interest of patients," he said.

"These rationing processes are often adding in an extra layer of bureaucracy, which is using up more resources."

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee, said blanket suspensions of "non-urgent" treatment risked lives.  Diseases such as cancer were often only detected when doctors investigated ailments that had not been identified as urgent, he said.
Reminder: Barack Obama does not read The Daily Telegraph, in fact the most intelligent and the most outstanding and the most visionary president in modern times reads nothing but the New York Times.

But as we can see, the good thing about all the above is that it leads to drama and to crises, which is of course what, in this era of the drama queen, keep the said drama queens alive, and (constantly) at the front of the scene, in the first place, as call multiply for more intervention from said drama queens, and their bureaucrats.

Addendum: In another article, The Daily Telegraph reports British hospitals as saying the NHS needs to “take a reality check” and limit what it funds, in view of the fact that almost 10% of patients who go to the emergency are seen after four (!) hours (an NHS goal was for 95% of emergency patients to be seen within four hours).
"We need a systematic and planned approach to this and we need to build a national consensus about what the priorities are,” he said.

“We can no longer do everything with the money that we have. We have to look at all the options – whether it’s restricting access to some treatments, changing the [waiting] targets, reducing the workforce, letting the deficits slide or deciding that we can no longer keep an Accident & Emergency department open, or that we can’t run two hospitals 20 miles away from each other,” he said.

The senior figure said most hospital chief executives opposed NHS charges for treatment, but many felt that greater rationing of free treatment was required, to prioritise the most essential care.
The data from NHS England shows a near doubling in the numbers of elderly patients stuck in hospital, for want of care at home, or help to get them discharged, in the past five years.
Overall, 115,425 bed days were lost to delayed discharges in June – almost 80 per cent more than the same month five years ago.

Just 90.5 per cent of patients who went to Accident & Emergency departments were seen within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent – the worst June figures on record.

Ambulance response times were also a record low for the time of year, with just 69.2 per cent of the most urgent calls receiving a response within eight minutes, against a target of 75 per cent.

Charities said a funding crisis in social care meant thousands of vulnerable people were being left in hospital, when they should have been cared for in their homes.
Update: cheers to Harrison for pointing out a recurring typo (now fixed)…

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

It’s always “mammograms this” and “back-alley that,” but never do the pro-abortion activists talk about that thing they’re sucking out of the womb with a shop vac

National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terri O’Neill doesn’t care when life begins
writes Benny Huang on Freedom Daily.
As someone who speaks, writes, and advocates incessantly on the abortion issue you’d think she would have given it more thought; but you would be wrong. Professor O’Neill, who is rabidly “pro-choice” (on abortion at least), is blithely unconcerned with when a developing fetus is actually a person deserving of protection from lethal violence.

O’Neill sat for an interview at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia with Jason Rantz, a radio host from Seattle’s KIRO. When the topic turned to abortion she became belligerent, calling out Republicans for being “viciously anti-women” because of their stance on abortion. When Rantz asked her a hypothetical question—whether she would oppose abortion if it could be proven scientifically that a fetus is a human life—she replied: “I don’t care. Of course I would support abortion.”

Yes, that’s pretty much the same attitude I have encountered over and over again among the stridently pro-abortion. They generally refuse to ponder when life begins, a question that isn’t difficult to answer and doesn’t have anything to do with religion. It’s always “mammograms this” and “back-alley that,” but never do they talk about that thing they’re sucking out of the womb with a shop vac.

When I heard Terri O’Neill’s “I don’t care” remark I was reminded of Planned Parenthood’s yearly advice to its fan club about how to discuss abortion over Thanksgiving dinner. For several years in a row the abortion giant has warned that “Debating when life begins…may get you nowhere.”

Yes, that’s true. Once the pro-abortion fanatics concede that there is no meaningful difference between a child five minutes before birth and a child five minutes after birth, the debate is basically over and they lose. They prefer to steer the conversation elsewhere, usually toward non-sequiturs and straw man arguments.

Planned Parenthood had yet more advice for your dinner table. “Instead focus on your shared values and the big picture; for instance, talk about how you believe everyone should be able to afford to go to the doctor, or how the decision about when and whether to become a parent is a personal one.”

Look! Squirrel! Of course procreative decisions are personal but the fact remains that if you’re pregnant that ship has already sailed. The kid already exists and you’re already a parent. The question is whether you and your doctor may legally conspire to snuff out the child’s life.

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, doesn’t want to talk about when life begins either. Despite overseeing the world’s largest abortion provider she seems to have given the question very little thought. In the wake of last year’s Center for Medical Progress (CMP) undercover videos she appeared on “America with Jose Ramos” to engage in a little damage control. Ramos posed what he erroneously called a “philosophical” question: “For you, when does life start? When does a human being become a human being?”

Richards talked around in circles for about a minute without giving a straight answer so Ramos pressed a little harder. “But why would it be so controversial to say…when do you think life starts?” he asked. “Yeah. Well, I don’t know if it’s controversial,” she replied. “I don’t know that it’s really relevant to the conversation.”

Not relevant to the conversation! Yes, she really said that. The central question of the abortion issue is completely irrelevant to Cecile Richards. I don’t think it would be unfair to summarize her position as “I don’t care”—just like Terri O’Neill’s.
“For me, I’m the mother of three children,” Richards continued. “For me, life began when I delivered them. They’ve been probably the most important thing in my life ever since. But that’s my own personal decision.”

Her children’s lives began for her at birth. For some other woman life may begin at another time, earlier or later, but for Cecile Richards her children only became children when they ventured down the birth canal. Before that they were goo or an invasive parasite or something; anything but children. The reality of another person’s humanity is apparently a big mystery which we must all figure out for ourselves—or, more accurately, for other people who happen to be our offspring.

For people who say they want to keep religion out of the debate they sure seem to be stuck on the metaphysical. Their approach is at least “philosophical,” to borrow a word from Jorge Ramos, if not downright religious. They speak as if the genesis of life is a profound mystery, as if no one’s answer is wrong as long as it is sincerely felt and never pushed upon another woman. That’s quite simply insane. Other than the unborn, no one else’s humanity is discerned through the personal feelings of another person.

Most people, I believe, know in their heart of hearts that abortion is killing. Not all people, of course. There are a few people who don’t know much about biology or haven’t given the issue much thought. These people are easily swayed through relentless propaganda that a fetus is just two microscopic cells and remains in exactly that state until birth when it magically sprouts into a baby.

… But plenty of other people know better—particularly people who are intimately involved in the macabre procedure. These people have no illusions about the humanity of their victims but, like Terri O’Neill and Cecile Richards, they just don’t care. For example, two abortion industry figures seen in last summer’s CMP videos discussed children being born alive before an abortion could be performed. (See the third and sixth videos featuring Savita Ginde and Perrin Larton respectively.) That’s a good thing from their perspective because whole babies are very saleable.

In the third video, “Dr.” Ginde is seen parsing through baby parts in a petri dish. “Was that just the little bits of the skull?” asked the undercover videographer David Daleiden. “Mmm-hmm,” says Ginde. “I only see one leg. Here’s a foot. It’s a baby.”

It’s. A. Baby. She said the word that no Planned Parenthood shill would ever use in a public forum.

For those who insist on denying the humanity of the unborn I would ask that you defer to the experts—namely the people who kill them for a living. Don’t ask them the question on a talking heads show, of course, because they’ll lie. Ask them in the comfort of their own death chambers. When their guard is down, when they think they can trust you, they will drop all pretenses and tell it like it is.

A Planned Parenthood employee in Freehold, New Jersey spilled the beans in 2008 to a young female activist who was conducting an undercover video sting. “Is the baby born alive?” asked the young woman who was pretending to be 22 weeks pregnant. “Usually, for the most part no,” the nurse replied. “But it does happen where it’s still alive.” The young woman asked if such a procedure is really an abortion, to which the employee responded, “No, it’s an actual delivery. But it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own. So eventually the baby does die.”

This is the way people really talk inside abortion clinics. “Fetuses” are suddenly referred to as babies and “tissue” becomes feet and legs.

Abortion is a gruesome procedure that kills the most innocent among us. Most people instinctively know this and none more than the contract killers who perform abortions for a living. Yet the killing goes on and on with no end in sight.