Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Genocide

Please watch the above trailer for Maafa 21. The word Maafa comes from the Swahili word for "great disaster" and refers to the "African Holocaust" or the enslavement and suffering of blacks taken from Africa over the last 500 years. The point of the movie is that the black holocaust continues into the 21st century. Don't believe it?

Both Atlanta GA and Milwaukee WI have been selected for billboards depicting how the abortion industry has been targeting blacks (and now Hispanics too). Since the beginnings of the abortion movement, it's founders have written and spoken about how the goal of their crusade was to eliminate blacks in America. Margaret Sanger founded the organization we now call Planned Parenthood to promote "The Negro Project" to eliminate those "human weeds" in 1939.
Gamble, heir of Proctor and Gamble, wrote a memorandum in November, 1939 entitled: "Suggestions for the Negro Project." In the letter he suggested black leaders “be placed in positions where it would appear they were in charge."
This is a letter to Clarence Gamble, from Margaret Sanger, in which she wrote,
"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal.  We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Jill Stanek writes "Who's Targeting Whom?" about Gerard Nadal's recent head-butting with the NYC city council on laws restricting pregnancy centers in New York city. [FYI according to the 2000 census, New York City is 25% black]
Between 1999-2008 there were 922,272 abortions in New York City. Of these:
50,382 (5.5%) were Asian
101, 856 (11%) were White
296,330 (32.1%) were Hispanic
430,515 (46.7%) were Black
79% of all abortions in New York City in that 10-yr period – 726,845 babies – were Black and Hispanic.
Again, I asked, who is targeting whom?
I continued, telling them that according to New York State’s Vital Statistics (2008):
Whites have 512 induced abortions per 1,000 live births.
Hispanics have 686.9 abortions per 1,000 live births.
Blacks have 1,259.7 abortions per 1,000 live births.
I added:
  • According to Dr. La Verne Tolbert, former NYC Planned Parenthood board member, Planned Parenthood targets black babies, and there have been 20 million aborted Black babies in the U.S. since 1973.
Again, I asked, who is targeting whom?

Catholic Intellectual Property Rights

With the recent flap about the Feds seizing domains I've been thinking about intellectual property rights (IPR). As one acquaintance put it "when the Feds make a law that turns 90% of the world into criminals there is something wrong with the law." Now, I doubt that 90% of the population shares files illegally, but I do agree the law in this matter is ridiculous.

I discussed this before, in the post "Your Digital Rights". While there is a legitimate case for a content producer to be paid for his labor, I believe goods (including intellectual goods) should be priced in a way that respects the consumer, not gouges him. How many people would bother to illegally copy a movie if you could buy it for a dollar, and retain the right to watch it? Or perhaps rent it for $0.50? IP law is stifling innovation and economy rather than promoting it.

So I started to consider what the Church might have to say. I don't really have time to give this all the research it deserves, but I didn't want to let the topic go by. In "Ethics in Internet" the Pontifical Council for Social Communications writes:
It is imperative “that the gap between the beneficiaries of the new means of information and expression and those who do not have access to them...not become another intractable source of inequity and discrimination”. Ways need to be found to make the Internet accessible to less advantaged groups, either directly or at least by linking it with lower-cost traditional media. Cyberspace ought to be a resource of comprehensive information and services available without charge to all, and in a wide range of languages. Public institutions have a particular responsibility to establish and maintain sites of this kind.
As the new global economy takes shape, the Church is concerned “that the winner in this process will be humanity as a whole” and not just “a wealthy elite that controls science, technology and the planet's resources”; this is to say that the Church desires “a globalization which will be at the service of the whole person and of all people”.
At the 48th series of meetings of WIPO the Vatican issued the following declaration (apologies for the poor automated translation):
The ration d'être  of the system of intellectual property protection is the promotion of literary, scientific or artistic work and, in general, the creative for the "common good". Therefore, the protection provides a statutory right of the author or inventor's recognition of ownership of his work and to a certain degree of economic return. At the same time, it serves the material and cultural progress of society as a whole. According to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "Everyone has the right to protection of moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author." Ultimately, the protection of intellectual property recognizes the dignity of man and his work, which becomes an expression of the growth of individual personality and the common good and contributes to it.
Pope Benedict XVI writes, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate:
On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care.
Some may say that with all the problems of the economy we shouldn't make IPR a central issue. Yet it can be argued that at least some of our economic woes (if not many) are due to inequities arising from the application of improper or unjust intellectual property rights.

For more information check out Elèutheros, a Catholic Approach to Computer Science. Their manifesto declares:
On the basis of official Church documents like Encyclicals [Free Software's surprising sympathy with Catholic doctrine] and CEI directorates [Software Libero, Comunicazione e Missione], we are convinced that there are strong ideal affinities between Christianity, the philosophy of Free Software [The Free Software Definition] and the adoption of Open Formats and Protocols [The Frequently Asked Questions of the Eleutheros Project]. We believe it is evident that the usage of such instruments is much more in line with Catholic Doctrine than fully closed, non Free solutions.

Elèutheros is an association of Catholics whose mission is to serve the Catholic Church through promotion and development of an always increasing harmony between the doctrinal principles mentioned above and the concrete choices made in the Information Technology field at all levels in the ecclesiastical world: from Parishes to Dioceses, from School to Congregations, up to Bishop Conferences and the Vatican itself.
Pretty cool!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hate Speech

We got a rare (for my parish) "moralizing" homily this week, about the atheist billboard in northern NJ calling Christmas a myth. Although the billboard encourages celebrating "reason", the atheists who put it up are ignoring reason. Christ's existence is a historical fact, documented by historians of the time, such as Josephus. Unless the atheists want to believe that Jesus came down to Earth as an adult, by supernatural means (and I don't think they do), then he had to have been born. So I fail to see the "reason" in this call to deny Christ's birth.

If we are free to ignore historians and believe what we want, as the atheists are advocating, why not deny the holocaust? Oh but wait - that would be hate speech. I wonder what will happen when they deny that Mohammed was born?

Then again, perhaps we are getting close to just that sort of historical relativism, when 2/3 of Canadians believe that religion is a force for evil (granted they were Canadians who had come to see Christopher Hitchens).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making a list, checking it twice...

If you're coming to town this Christmas (or whenever), you'd better be nice to the TSA, because president Obama's taking names. According to an article in Canada Free Press (of course the American media wouldn't carry this). [italics are from the article, bold emphasis mine]
I was contacted by a source within the DHS who is troubled by the terminology and content of an internal memo reportedly issued yesterday at the hand of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Indeed, both the terminology and content contained in the document are troubling. The dissemination of the document itself is restricted by virtue of its classification, which prohibits any manner of public release. While the document cannot be posted or published, the more salient points are revealed here

The terminology contained within the reported memo is indeed troubling. It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures.
For individuals who engaged in such activity at screening points, it instructs TSA operations to obtain the identities of those individuals and other applicable information and submit the same electronically to the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, the Extremism and Radicalization branch of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (IA) division of the Department of Homeland Security.
So, for expressing an opinion about TSA policy in this blog post, I can be reported to the extremism and radicalism branch of Homeland Security to be tracked and analyzed. A wonderful use of my tax dollars. Of course I am already on president Obama's "extremist" list for being pro-life and for publicly opposing some of Obama's policies. And since Obama has given himself the right to assassinate Americans whom he accuses of being terrorists, with no trial or other process, perhaps I should be afraid.

But shouldn't we submit to a TSA scan to keep us safe? According to physics professor Peter Rez of Arizona State University in an MSNBC story (I guess he and MSNBC are on the extremist list with me), the probability of dying of cancer as a result of  TSA scan is about the same as that of dying in a terrorist attack on a plane. His research results are outlined here and available in full here. In other words, the scanners are as physically dangerous to the American public as the terrorists.

So we have a failed government policy instituting unconstitutional searches of American citizens, and the response of our president is to target Americans who point this out. I've in general been a skeptic of the "police state" alarmists, but this is troubling.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkeys and Pilgrims and Pie, oh my!

I confess I've never liked Thanksgiving much. My childhood memories are for the most part neutral to very bad, with long drives in traffic and family tragedies thrown in for good measure.

As an adult my love for the holiday has not increased. For one thing, it is billed as a celebration of religious freedom, when in fact, the puritans were about the most religiously intolerant group around at the time. My impressions of puritanism are more about scarlet letters and witch trials than of friendship and tolerance.

But last year I came across something interesting that I'd like to share with you. The first thanksgiving in the land that was to become the Unites States didn't happen in Plymouht, Massachusetts in 1621. There were at least two "First Thanksgivings" that preceded it. In 1598 a Thanksgiving celebration was held in Texas.
The American History books we studied as youth pretend that Colonial American History is exclusively what happened in the 13 New England colonies. This ignores an enormous part of reality - our Catholic History. Little attention is paid to the epic northward advance by Spanish pioneers into the southern tier of States reaching from Florida across Texas and New Mexico to California, today called the Spanish Borderlands.

On January 26, 1598, a Spanish expedition set out from Mexico with the aim of founding a new kingdom. Three months later, after a long, dangerous trek forging a new trail northward, the now famous El Camino Real [The Royal Road], it crossed the Rio Grande and set up camp south of present day El Paso, Texas. On April 30, a Mass of thanksgiving was said, and the valiant leader of the expedition. Don Juan de Oñate, took formal possession of the new land, called New Mexico, in the name of the Heavenly Lord, God Almighty, and the earthly lord King Philip II.

Then, after the Mass, the Franciscan priests blessed the food on tables abundant with fish, ducks and geese, and the 600-strong expedition of soldiers and colonists feasted. The celebration ended with a play enacting scenes of the native Indians hearing the first words of the Catholic Faith and receiving the Sacrament of Baptism.

I think that this celebration in El Paso has far more right to be called the first American Thanksgiving than the one celebrated by the Puritans in New England. Actually, the lands in both colonies – New England and New Mexico - were not American at that time. For a short while, New England could claim that theirs was our first thanksgiving feast, but the moment Texas entered the Union as a part of the American federation, this priority of the Puritan celebration can be contested.
But there is an even earlier contender. On September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida a Thanksgiving celebration was held and also included a Catholic mass.
This is where Spanish Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on Sept. 8, 1565. This is where he, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, 100 civilian families and artisans, and the Timucuan Indians who occupied the village of Seloy gathered at a makeshift altar and said the first Christian Mass. And afterward, this is where they held the first Thanksgiving feast.

The Timucuans brought oysters and giant clams. The Spaniards carried from their ships garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine.

Eric Johnson, director of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche -- the site at which Menendez landed -- doesn't expect Americans to change their Thanksgiving traditions that are shaped around the Pilgrims' feast. But he, like other Florida historians, would like folks to recognize that the stories they learned in grade school -- the stories presented in textbooks today -- are wrong.

It all happened in this bucolic 300-acre Catholic mission and shrine that offers a quiet respite amid the frenetic tourist activity of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. A replica of the Rustic Altar sits next to the shore in the general area where archaeologists believe the Mass took place.

Michael Gannon, former director of the mission and University of Florida distinguished service emeritus professor of history, presented the celebration in his meticulously researched book, "The Cross in the Sand," in 1965 and has argued that this feast should be recognized as the first Thanksgiving.
So perhaps Thanksgiving should be considered a Catholic holiday rather than the secular gorge-fest it has become. Another bit of trivia. Squanto, the Indian who helped the settlers at Plymouth survive, was a baptized Catholic. who knew? Certainly your history teacher won't tell you.

Also see "The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving" at the Canterbury Tales blog and "America's Real First Thanksgiving" by Robyn Gioia.

So Bah! Humbug! - er I mean have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Same sex marriage - why not?

I recently heard a story from a friend about a NJ man who was wearing a "wedding" ring on his right hand. When asked why, he said that only when the state recognized his marriage would he feel entitled to wear it on his left hand. Now, in case you don't know, the state of New Jersey accords all of the rights of spouses to same sex partners, just not the title. So what is he waiting for? He can't claim "discrimination" when he has all of the rights and benefits. It's not enough for him to be equal under the law. He insists that I must be discriminated against for holding a traditional view of marriage.

Just as pro-aborts will tell me "if you don't like abortion don't have one", same sex "marriage" proponents tell me if I don't like it I don't have to marry someone of the same sex (see the image above). The implication is that this is a private matter between them and their partner and should not concern me. But it does concern me. It concerns us all.

One of the difficulties in expressing this concern to the general public is that as soon as an appeal to morals and values is made, people (even quite religious people) bring up the non-establishment clause, as if that has some bearing, and say we have no right to dictate our religion on others. But the issue is not a religious one. That's one thing I like about the video below. Nowhere does the word "God" appear. The case against same sex "marriage" is quite clear based purely on science and legal principles. I know it's a long video, but it is not time wasted.

If you think same sex marriage doesn't affect you and you have an hour, please watch this video. If you think it doesn't affect you and you don't have an hour, make one. It took me several weeks to find time to watch it, and I have to say it was worthwhile and enlightening.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse addresses the often heated and emotionally charged topic of "Same Sex Marriage" with a reasoned analysis. Employing principles of law, biology, and sociology, Dr. Morse - a former Yale professor - rationally demonstrates the unseen harm this contemporary invention will impose upon society.

Same Sex Marriage: Why Not? from Carson Weber on Vimeo.

H/T Carson Weber via Aggie Catholics.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is the Pope a Leftie?

There were two stories about Pope Benedict XVI in the "news" this week that had my more liberal friends crowing over. Hey, the Pope finally got "with it" and admitted that we are right about condoms to fight AIDS and socialize medicine!

The bigger story, of course, was Pope approves of condom use. As usual, all the mainstream media attempts to spin this don't consider the context or the actual words spoken. Jeff Miller has a better examination of what really was said. My $0.02 analogy of his position is if an arsonist decides to only torch unoccupied buildings, he is behaving more responsibly than one who torches anything. The pope is not condoning torching of buildings, occupied or not, he is merely confirming that even in performing immoral acts there are degrees of immorality. He is not condoning the use of condoms, but saying that for people who are already in an immoral situation, every aspect that increases potential harm to others compounds the situation.

The other story is Pope says health care is a right. Some people are taking this as a papal endorsement of Obamacare, and a change the Church's teaching on the subject.

There are three things wrong with these arguments. First off, assuming that every word out of the Pope's mouth is related to an American point of view. There are 68 million Catholics in America, which makes us a minority here. Compare that to the 1.2 billion Catholics our Holy Father shepherds and it is silly to think that everything is about American politics.

Secondly, nothing in the letter was out of line with established Church teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says
2288 Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.

Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.
Finally, if you read the actual text of the letter in question, the actual thrust of the letter is an appeal to put moral considerations first in providing health care, which is pretty much the antithesis of Obamacare. [translation by google, so excuse the occasional odd wording]
Justice must be among the health agenda of governments and international institutions. Unfortunately, alongside positive and encouraging results, there are opinions and ways of thinking that the wound: I am referring to issues such as those related to the so-called "health reproductive, with the use of artificial breeding techniques involving embryo destruction, or euthanasia legalized. The love of justice, the protection of life from conception to natural death, respect for the dignity of every human being should be sustained and witnessed, even against the tide: the core ethical values are the common heritage of universal morality and the basis of democratic society.
So calm down people. If there's anything to be learned from these stories, it's that you should not trust secular news sources to get such stories right.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unity, Diversity, Charity

OK, most of the Catholic blogosphere is pondering Archbishop Dolan's election (I think h is a good man) or Domini Verbum (which I haven't finished reading yet). So I thought I'd write about...Mark Shea.

Disclaimer: I don't agree with many of the things Mark says, and I think he is naive about his world view on some issues. Mark trends to demonize "the right" and forgive "the left" (although since I consider myself neither it is of no consequence to me). However, he is spot-on on many issues and is probably sharper than me on some issues. If we ever meet, perhaps we'll have a spirited discussion. I had considered commenting on his blog, but there's so much noise and heat there I thought I'd think about it, hence this post.

Mark is a convert and Catholic blogger and has recently come under fire for his stance on torture and war, as described in "Obedience, Orthodoxy and Torture". No, he's not too lax on torture. Apparently he's too strict on torture.

It always amazes me when someone denounces something and people jump in and say "because you do not denounce 'X' you may not denounce 'Y'". In a blinding flash of tu quoque "reasoning" Mark is a communist and water boarding is A-OK.

And so,  ad hominem and tu quoque responses aside, there seem to be two main points of contention. The first is that the hings Mark condemns, like waterboarding, are not, in fact torture. The second is that torture, although it is generally bad, can be justified in some sort of double effect scenario.

To put it quite simply, both of these arguments are answered quite effectively in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.
2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.
I have emboldened the definition of torture and the prescribed stance on it above. Could anybody say with a straight face that they follow what the Catechism teaches, but that water boarding does not fit the definition, or that the use of torture can be justified by legitimate government? Could the refutation be any more obvious?

Yet people who are otherwise much wiser, better Catholics than I sometimes turn a blind eye. Even Jimmy Akin disappoints (me) on this issue
In the same way, there may be things that would count as torture under the popular understanding and yet be justified, leading an ordinary person to want to say "Sometimes torture is okay." But the Church will not want to say that and so--if my thesis is correct--it will instead define torture such that those things which are potentially justifiable do not count as torture.
I don't think it is necessary to weasel word a definition of torture to allow some forms of what would popularly be considered torture, and I find it repugnant that Jimmy would think the Church would seek to narrow the definition of torture to allow some forms of it. Then again, I'm don't have a degree in theology. In my book, the definition of torture is simple. If you would betray your country, your family, your beliefs to make something stop, that thing is probably torture.

I would like to propose a litmus test for issues like this, based on Cardinal Arinze's beautiful response when asked about whether pro-abortion politicians should receive Holy Communion.

To paraphrase him, you don't need to ask a cardinal whether water boarding is immoral. Go to the little children receiving Communion for the first time and say to them "I will put them under the water until they cannot hold their breath. I will do this again and again until they give me what I want." Then ask them if that is right or not.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soylent Green

If you're like me you're a fan of classic Sci-Fi (aka SF for the younger generation) movies. Movies like "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" have been long time favorites. Both were great movies with horrible remakes. Another classic movie is due to be destroyed in a remake in 2012, "Soylent Green".

"Soylent Green" is a 1973 movie about a future New York beset by overpopulation. There is a tremendous food shortage. Each day garbage trucks come around and collect the dead from the previous day, and also distribute the government-provided food, the eponymous soylent green. We are told that soylent green is the answer to the world's hunger problem, that it contains everything a body needs. But where does it come from? One man finds out, at the spine chilling conclusion of the movie. I'd like not to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but since from the rest of this article, you will probably figure it out.

I recently read what may be the most horrible thing I have ever read. It was on a natural foods blog. I couldn't find the original article at first, but google turned up not only it, but dozens like it. It seems there is a company, Senomyx, that is manufacturing a new type of artificial flavor. The flavoring technique is so unique it is the subject of a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, "Small Molecule Activator of the Human Epithelial Sodium Channel". It seems that, rather than provide a chemical that your taste buds sense, it provides a chemical that makes your taste buds think they're tasting something that isn't actually there.

Very interesting, but what's the horrible thing? The horrible thing, and the connection with soylent green is what this new flavoring agent is developed using - aborted fetuses. I thought this was too horrible to be real, but it seems to be. Where can this stuff be found? According to the articles, Nestle is already selling this in other countries. From "Is it real or is it Semonyx?" (emphasis mine in the following):
The company notes on its website that they have entered into "exclusive or co-exclusive product discovery and development collaborations" with Ajinomoto, Cadbury, Campbell Soup Company, Firmenich, Nestle, Pepsi, and Solae.

Solae? No, I had never heard of them either. But that company's website tells us "Solae was formed in 2003 as a joint venture between DuPont and Bunge." DuPont, yeah, I've heard of them. Solae provides soy protein ingredients, but interestingly, their website specifically doesn't mention product names, although they do say their products are in a host of items easily found in any store: meat alternatives, soy milk, energy bars, edamame, soups, chili, the list is impressive, and frightening for most of us who use soy for vegetarian reasons. 
...There's more, unfortunately. I left out part of the earlier quote from Senomyx about their goals; here's the missing piece: "The goals of our high potency sweetener program are to allow for the reduction of calories in packaged foods and beverages and to enable our collaborators to use product labeling referencing "natural flavors." Senomyx is currently permitted by the FDA (gotta love 'em because, well, we don't actually have any choice) to list their products as "artificial flavors," even though they're not technically flavors at all. But their goal, as they say, is to be able to call them "natural flavors," as well. Let me ask you a question: How many times have you seen the words 'natural flavors' on a label and thought, whew, good. Nothing bad there! Yeah, me too.
To recap, a fast-growing company developing flavor "technologies" is collaborating with the world's largest food and drink producers, which will then (now?) add those (human embryo-derived) substances to pretty much anything and we'll think it tastes just dandy.
To be fair, it is unclear from Senomyx' published information whether the final product contains human remains (as the articles about it state) or is "merely" made using human remains, but either way it is scary. So what can we do? We could try contacting the FDA. Dr. Margaret Hamburg is the Commissioner. Of course, the FDA is part of Health and Human Services which is run by Kathleen Sebelius, who is an avid fan of the abortion industry. As governor of Kansas, Ms. Sebelius was known for "fixing" criminal charges for late late term abortionist George Tiller, while receiving massive campaign donations from him.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

IVF is...

Sometimes I'm slow. A friend sent me a link to a CNN report on military wives supplementing their income by becoming surrogate mothers for couples using IVF. It suddenly struck me. That's prostitution! Think about it. I'll let a stranger have the use of my reproductive organs for money.  What's the difference between that and prostitution? The ends? The intention? Haven't you heard that "the end does not justify the means"? Ever wonder where that came from? The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
1750 The morality of human acts depends on:
- the object chosen;
- the end in view or the intention;
- the circumstances of the action.
The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the "sources," or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.
1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation.
Of course, I'm going to hear the usual flak about how the Catholic church doesn't know everything (or anything) and that I am a mindless robot to read this crap. Thank you. Now open your eyes and your mind and consider the rest of this post.

My realization of this aspect of IVF isn't new or original, nor is it the only problem with IVF. A recent interview with a doctor I heard mentioned that including pre-implantation "selection" and post-implantation "selection" (aka eugenic abortion) ten babies are killed for every one delivered using IVF. So we have parents who want a baby so badly they will kill ten of their own children to have one. As a society we are shifting to a mentality where a baby is not a person for whose life you are responsible, but a possession whose purpose is to give you pleasure. IVF is slavery.

Some other things I found out about IVF. Outsourcing Baby-making in India (HT SHS) speaks of the suffering caused by "biological colonialism" or "reproductive tourism".  Another term for that is human trafficking.

There are also numerous IVF "errors", the worst of which we sometimes hear of in the media. In the case mentioned the couple decided to keep the baby (possibly because the only known difference was the blood type). Many do not, adding to the killing. IVF is eugenics.

Finally, I came across this article on research demonstrating that IVF is a factor in cerebral palsy (not associated with, but a cause). From the article:

IVF could more than double the rate of cerebral palsy, according to research from Denmark. In an article in the journal Human Reproduction, epidemiologist Jin Lieang Zhu says that the association between IVF and the disorder is well-known. But it was not clear whether the real cause was the underlying infertility or IVF procedures. His research, based on 90,000 children born between 1997 and 2003, demonstrates that something about IVF itself must be the reason. [emphasis mine]
IVF is dangerous.

I would hope that if you are considering IVF or know someone who is and you got this far you will actually read the articles above first, and consider whether it is worth so many lives and risks to have a baby that's (partly) "yours" instead of adopting a baby that needs them. For that matter, if you do not want to try adoption, consider NFP fertility methods rather than IVF. NFP is 100% natural (no drugs or surgery), can be extremely effective and has no side effects. Why doesn't your doctor suggest it? Why does she disparage it when it can help you? Because she doesn't make any money from it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Science Fair

I can add little to what is written in Forbes' article "Saving NASA from the Obama Science Fair." According to the article Obama's legacy will be his rearrangement of NASA's priorities. Says the article:
The reason why, unfortunately, is that it may signal the end of the road for one of the greatest technological achievements of modern times, the U.S. human spaceflight program. In place of a plan crafted by his predecessor which might have one day carried astronauts to Mars, Mr. Obama has proposed a science fair that literally goes nowhere. The thousands of workers in NASA’s human spaceflight program now in danger of losing their jobs should have seen this coming.
I've written before about the cancellation of the manned space program in "No Americans in Space Anymore". That included NASA's new mission, ordered by president Obama to "reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

The Forbes article does not mention the Muslim thing, but does critique his proposed schedule for "researching" lifting vehicles (like the vehicles that were being built by the Constellation program he just canceled). The author refers to it as
a stretched-out schedule that would likely produce little new technology but deprive engineering teams and production workers of anything to do for the better part of a decade. Since I’m not a conspiracy theorist I won’t suggest that this element of the plan seems well-crafted to eliminate any political constituency for future deep space missions, but it sure takes a long time to make key decisions.
And perhaps that's the key to this decision. Or perhaps it's just the misguided notion that it is more important to fund entitlements and special interests than to promote economic growth and technological advancement. The same can be said of Obama's stem cell research policies. He took money away from adult stem cell programs that were already producing cures for diseases and spent the money on embryonic stem cell research that is not likely to work, but favors industries that heavily supported his candidacy.

Of course, there are other players in the space game. DARPA is looking into a "100 year starship". If you're curious, that's 100 years to design it, not 100 years for it to get to a star. The Tau Zero Foundation thinks it'll take more like 200 years. Of course, most of what's being proposed in this area today as "new ideas" are actually based on research done in the 1960s as offshoot of the Apollo program. Frankly, I can't get excited about the project. Not because it will be after I am dead, but because it is becoming yet another excuse for a eugenics program. I remember reading a good science fiction story about this in high school, but the title eludes me. If humans are "modified" to go to another star, have "humans" colonized space, or have we created aliens?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making 2 of 1

A friend once gave me a copy of a CD by Fr. Richard Rohr, "Making One of Two". For those who don't know, Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who has a whole bunch of crazy ideas (which is to say, heretical). Many of his ideas seem to me to be tied in to homosexuality being "natural". Anyway, I can sum up the CD's philosophy and you can see for yourself:
  1. There are two kinds of people - those who divide people into categories and those who don't.
  2. Jesus loves everybody. Therefore, people who divide people into two categories are bad.
  3. I love Jesus, therefore I would never divide people into two categories, like the people in the category that do.
Yes, that's honestly what he seems to be saying. I'd say listen to the CD yourself, but it would be at best a waste of time and at worst would put your soul in jeopardy.

Yet the secular media is as full of this nonsense as Richard Rohr is. Today I read this article in the Daily Mail. It's the same logic:
  1. There are two kinds of people - those  who divide "people" (actually actions, but they can't distinguish people from actions, or indeed form objects) into categories ("good" and "evil") and those who don't.
  2. We must accept everybody. Therefore people who divide "people" into categories are bad.
  3. We are accepting of everybody. We would never divide people into "good" and "bad".
AKA a secular "religion" of false tolerance (and true intolerance). But of course, when you stop distinguishing between good and bad, you still distinguish between good and bad, you just pick a new yardstick. In this case, the yardstick for good becomes how much other people share your views.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who Won? Life!

As predicted, there are already stories of voting machine "irregularities" especially in Pennsylvania. Nothing about Internet voting, although it's hard to say there are irregularities when there is nothing you can check to tell if it worked properly.

But that's not what I wanted to blog about. Yesterday's election was a big win for Republicans, who now control the house, and have close to an even footing in the senate. The very same Democrats (the ones who are left) who pushed through bill after bill on a handful of votes (sometimes by a single vote), who used every trick in the book to forbid debate on bills, who railroaded appointees through approvals are now calling for "bi-partisan cooperation."

But that's not what I wanted to blog about either. The biggest winners in the election are the little people. Babies, that is. The Susan B Anthony List tracked 90 races that would have an impact on pro-life issues. Some were pro-life candidates running against pro-abortion candidates. Others were rabidly pro-abortion candidates that were running against more moderate candidates. Still others were "pro-life" democrats who had caved in on their principles and voted against life.

Of those 90 races, 60 were "wins" (went the right way for the pro-life cause), 20 were "losses" (went the other way and 10 were "too close to call" (results not in or the change is inconclusive). 60 - 20 means 40 more pro-life politicians than we had on November 1. That's a good thing!

And while I'm mentioning the Susan B Anthony List, why not click on over there and sign a petition to tell our congressmen-elect to Stop Abortion Funding by supporting Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski’s (D-IL) “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and Mike Pence’s (R-IN) “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who won? I dunno

Today is election day in the US. The polls predict a huge swing against the democratic party, for reasons the democrats don't seem to understand. I can tell them what it is, at least according to everyone I know. They have taken their majority as a mandate to push a social agenda, rather than what it was, a dissatisfaction with the previous administration. The mandatory insurance law they call health care "reform" was wildly unpopular, yet it was pushed through despite the will of the people. Likewise for appointments to offices, such as supreme court justices and federal judges. Likewise for economic policies which, rather than checking the spending of the previous administration, greatly expanded spending and taxation. My hope is that whoever gets elected today doesn't take their election as a mandate to follow their own agenda, but to bring America back to economic sanity, and to restore individual freedoms that have been trampled on in the last 10 (or 50) years.

But I digress. There is a bigger problem with this year's vote. I don't have confidence we'll know who won. Yet another victory for inappropriate technology!

Remember hanging chad? Imagine that times a million. Because this year 33 states will allow "Internet voting". What the perceived need for this is I can't imagine. But I do know it's a bad idea. From "Is it Secret? Is it Safe?":
...Washington, D.C., conducted a pilot project to test its new electronic voting system for the collection of overseas and military absentee ballots. The system was opened to the public to test how secure and usable it was.

Within 36 hours, a team of University of Michigan computer students and teachers had taken it over. They changed votes, "elected" a Star wars robot chairman of the City Council, and installed the school’s fight song, “Hail to the Victors,” which would play 15 seconds after someone voted.
“Without the hacking of the District of Columbia system we would never have known how vulnerable Internet voting systems are,” said John Bonifaz, legal director of Voter Action. 
“It showed that it wasn’t just a domestic problem of vote security but a matter of national security,” he said, referring to a second problem the U. of Michigan hackers discovered as they took over the system.
According to J. Alex Halderman, the professor of electrical engineering and computer science who led the hacking effort, they weren’t alone inside the system. They tracked two other computers trying to hack in -- one that originated in China and another in Iran.
Internet voting is a crazily insecure and unreliable system that most rational computer scientists think is an absurd way to vote,” Boniface [sic] said. [emphasis mine]
I have to disagree with the statement "...we would never have known how vulnerable Internet voting systems are" however. A quick search of just one site yielded dozens of articles, like this one from 2006 "How to Steal and Election by Hacking the Vote". Of course, this article deals with hacking a voting machine at a polling place, but think for a minute. If we can't guarantee the integrity of a vote on a machine that is in a physically secure location, with monitored access and physical human verification of each voter who enters the voting booth, what chance do we have with a machine that is open to the Internet, with no human able to monitor who is doing what to it?

The general public is led to believe that their Internet transactions are secure for purchasing and for banking (they are not), so why not voting? Voting is a much more difficult problem, because not only  must the transaction be secure, it must be secret and tamper proof. If somebody purchases a TV with my credit card online it is detectable and correctable, and in the worst case, I dispute the bill at the end of the month and the credit card company "eats" the cost (e.g. takes it our of profits and adjusts rates accordingly). Similarly for my bank. This is not possible with my vote, however, because (in theory) nobody know which vote is mine, or who it was for. Nobody is going to call me and say "we got a suspicious looking vote from you for the communist party - can you verify it please?"

As the aforementioned article says "I've yet to find a good way to convey to the non-technical public how well and truly screwed up we presently are". I will predict in advance that controversy will ensue from anomalies in this election, and further predict that they will ultimately be ignored.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Human Extinction!!!

Nothing like an eye catching headline to catch eyes, and um, sell books. Rebecca Costa writes a blurb in the Huffington Post to push her new book, "The Watchman's Rattle." Yawn. Anyway, I perused her list of 12 things we must do Now! to prevent human extinction. Here's my take on her 12 things:
  1. We need clean air, potable water, and untainted nutrition

    Duh! How would I implement this? Reduce regulation and let the market handle it. As I showed in my earlier post on CF light bulbs, they are bad for the environment. Why do we use them? Government regulations and incentives. "The pill" is polluting our water supplies, and destroying our wildlife and fish. And our government wants to make it free?

  2. Follow facts, not beliefs

    More excellent advice. On many fronts today, from abortion to global warming, people believe what the government or media tell us instead of finding out the facts. Sadly, finding the facts is not always easy, because lots of people claim things as fact that are actually beliefs. Things like "if abortion weren't legal tens of thousands of women would die each year." That is, in fact, a false statement made up by NARAL co-founder Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Dr. Nathanson confesses in his book, Aborting America "I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful [Nathanson’s italics] figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?"

  3. Try more solutions simultaneouly

    A capital idea! Educational problems? Stop legislating "solutions" at the federal level and let states and even local communities try different solutions. Likewise economic issues, social issues, etc. The Catholic church proposes the concept of subsidiarity which states that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done by a smaller and simpler organization. The Catechism states:
    1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."
  4. Incentives for the good/disincentives for the bad

    Interesting idea, if we acknowledge the existence of "good" and "bad". Too often I hear the people proposing government incentives for [their favorite thing] also tell me that "good" and "bad" are relative, and therefore up to the individual. Well, then how can you say you are promoting the good? You are only trying to force your opinion on others.

    What "good" are we trying to promote by overturning the definition of marriage? By overturning the definition of human life? By persecuting or forbidding religious expression?

  5. Make brain fitness mandatory

    I though that was called education and it was mandatory.

  6. Give NASA another mission

    Here I agree 100%. From an economic viewpoint, every $1 spent on NASA results in $7 funneled into the US economy. Form a "green" standpoint, most of the energy saving or alternate energy technology we have today, from solar panels to hybrid cars, are either directly from or spinoffs of NASA technology.

  7. Work in groups of three to nine

    Although this is great in principle, what does this mean? Most of the decision makers are already in small groups, with the notable exception of our federal government. Elect "triumvirates"? Perhaps it's worth a try, but can you get anyone to go along with it?

  8. Get moving

    Another good idea, but why isn't this "mandatory" like the "brain fitness" (or would that be an incentive)?

  9. Separate correlations from causations

    A corollary of "follow fact, not belief." Of course, correlation can be faked, and it's not always easy to determine causality.

  10. Don't blame people for systemic problems

    ...and it's corollary, don't absolve people of personal responsibility for their choices. Again I would point to subsidiarity. Were society to not infringe on personal freedom, "systemic problems" would become personal problems, and could be dealt with by individuals.

  11. Get biologists on board

    Amen sistah! Despite the testimony before Congress of numerous scientists and physicians that human life begins at conception, we continue to have politicians saying things like "that's above my pay grade."
    Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School: “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive.... It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.... Our laws, one function of which is to help preserve the lives of our people, should be based on accurate scientific data.”
  12. Just say yes

    As Ms. Costa says "Even if solutions are flawed, we need to support those we feel have the potential to do more good than harm." Of course, the flip side of that is we need to oppose solutions which do more harm than good.

    So here's my proposal, and I can honestly say there is objective scientific evidence that it does more good than harm. Abolish abortion, reduce centralized government, reduce regulation and stop trampling on personal freedom and the essential structure of the family. I expect Ms. Costa to jump on board with a resounding "Yes!"
Oh and by the way, if you agree with me, please vote tomorrow. If not, never mind.