You know the cliché “power corrupts,” but what does corruption look like? Wherever people have a little bit of power over other people, at least some will misuse it. Most people are not evil or cruel, but if they think they’ll get away with it, they’ll game the system to get rich.
Each year, at least 5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) is wasted by corruption. Corruption makes everything cost more. You might be forced to pay bribes for a permit to build your house, pay police to use roads or bridges, pay kidnappers to avoid violence, to save your child’s life from disease. But corruption costs more than just money.
When the wealthy and well-connected get special access to power, we all suffer. Corruption threatens civic and human rights. Citizens lose autonomy over their bodies and their property, journalists lose their right to speak truth to power. Checks and balances get weaker: elections may be cancelled or rigged to protect the corrupt. Prosecutors and judges are bribed into silence. The rule of law begins to unravel.
Around the world and throughout the centuries, people with power have found ways to exploit others and enrich themselves. The costs—both economic and humanitarian—are devastating.
1. Russia: (Cost of Corruption: 30 Percent of GDP)
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians were pressured to pay for a “krysha” (literally “roof” but meaning “protection”), essentially safety from criminal gangs. Recently, extortion has become an accepted function of government. The government offices that control access to medical care, education, housing, and utilities are highly corrupt bureaucracies, and demand bribes just to do their jobs.
Officials who can hand out contracts or land triple their salaries in graft and kickbacks. Police can be bought off and judges bribed, so criminal extortion often goes unpunished. Organized crime syndicates conspire with government ministries to exploit average people and then evade justice.
2. China: (Cost of Corruption: 10 Percent of GDP)
Though growing wealthier by the day, China has lagged behind other developed economies due to corruption. Bribery of public officials is commonplace, with 35 percent of Chinese companies admitting to paying bribes for special licenses or to evade taxes.
Average citizens often must pay “facilitation payments” to access public services. An accepted system of favors, bribes, and gifts known as guanxi (literally: ‘relationship’) obscures the total cost of corruption, which may be 10 percent of China’s GDP.
Recent crackdowns that saw 58,0000 corrupt officials indicted were politically motivated and highly selective. The strict rule of the Communist Party in China, and its close ties to the military, perpetuates further enriching the wealthy through “public” power.
3. South Africa: (Cost of Corruption: 10 Percent of GDP)
South African police officers are among the most corrupt in the world. Women are particularly vulnerable, sometimes accused of being sex workers and then assaulted by officers as a “test.” Actual sex workers suffer abuse to avoid arrest. Police often accuse drivers of being under the influence, then demand money to release them.
Prison-building corporation Bosasa secured profitable deals by bribing individual cabinet ministers and the president’s close associates with cash, cars, vacations, and homes. Bosasa’s executives also bribed journalists and prosecutors, resulting in (according to Corruption Watch) “the near destruction of the law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of corruption.”
4. Somalia: (Cost of Corruption: Up to 20 Percent of GDP)
Somalians live with corruption in every aspect of civic life. 80% of state funds are withdrawn by individuals, and not spent on social services. Would-be voters meet with violence, threats, and harassment. Journalists—at least 30 since 2008—have been murdered for investigating corruption or human rights abuses.
Entrepreneurship is barely legal, and most transactions include bribes or violence. Trade is dominated by those with financial ties to the ruling elite. The embezzlement of public funds saps what little money Somalia has to invest in the welfare of its people. Courts lack authority to prosecute corruption.
5. India: (Cost of Corruption: 1.5 Percent of GDP)
As many as 90 percent of Indians work in semi-legal “gray” markets, so they live in constant fear and become easy to extort. Two-thirds of Indians report bribing an official at least once last year. The typical fee to obtain a driver’s license is more than doubled by bribes, and truckers are routinely stopped at makeshift highway checkpoints where regulators or police demand cash.
An exceptionally high tax rate is selectively applied; buying favorable rates or exemption from fines is an established part of the tax system. Few independent media sources exist, and investigative reporting on corruption, especially at high levels, is dangerous for journalists.
6. Venezuela: (Cost of Corruption: >50% of GDP)
The well-publicized devastation of the Venezuelan economy followed a decade of embezzlement and rampant theft at the highest levels of government. Customs officials sell illegal passports to non-citizens, often for the purposes of transporting weapons or drugs.
Government price controls encouraged officials to overstate the costs of basic goods, then sell subsidized goods on the black market for personal gain. Venezuela’s military was caught trafficking food rations. Shortages of medicine, electricity, and clean water are still widespread. Government officials went on printing (and then pocketing) money as inflation increased to nearly 1 million percent. Now 90 percent of the population of a once-wealthy nation lives in poverty.
To retain power while the country’s economy fell apart, President Maduro murdered journalists, attacked protesters, jailed opposition leaders, and terrorized their population.
Is Corruption Human Nature? Is There Hope?
US data is much harder to acquire. Trillions can get lost, $16 Billion missing here, $10 Billion overpaid there... a person could get suspicious. Likely, it’s 5-10 percent of government spending, or 3-5 percent of GDP.
In general, the wealthier and freer the people, the less corrupt and more transparent their government.
Independent courts, a free press, lower taxes, and less government spending all contribute to oversight of power and the ability of citizens to oust abusers.
Corruption is a constant, but strong civic institutions can help combat its worst effects.
Dr. Laura Williams teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and executives. She is a passionate advocate for critical thinking and individual liberties. Her opinions are her own. This article originally appeared on fee.org, then pennypress. This is an edited version, reprtinted with permission.
Let’s say that during a previous administration, this nation had a Vice President who is such a nebbish that he personifies what former Vice President John Nance Garner meant when he called the office a “warm bucket of spit.”
And, let’s say that when he was a sitting Vice President he took his son, a drug addict who was kicked out of the Navy, on Air Force Two to China and a Chinese bank “invested” a BILLION and a HALF dollars in his son’s “private equity” firm.
And, let’s say that the same son was given a board seat in a foreign oil firm, for which he was paid $50,000 a month in spite of the fact that the only fracking he had any experience in involved needles and opioid injections.
And then, let’s say that the currently sitting President asked a favor of the leader of the nation which domiciled the company which hired the young drug addict.
Should this President be impeached?
Well, since all of the above happens to be true, apparently only if you’re a Democrat who is fixated on overthrowing a duly elected President who you hate.
It follows, then, that Nancy Pelosi and her buddies, apparently have read a little history of Nazi Germany (or, in the case of Adam Schiff have had it read to them) and think that Joseph Goebbels’ and Adolph Hitler’s Big Lie Theory will still work right here in the USofA.
Goebbels theorized that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
That was based on a line from Hitler’s Mein Kampf , “The great masses of the people... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”
But back in those days, the population of Germany was only around 69-million and the state controlled all the media, which consisted of a few newspapers and a few radio stations. And those were not people accustomed to having any freedom.
Can the Big Lie Theory work in 2019 in the United States?
Well, the left sure thinks it can.
Here’s what the left does not understand:
This could be ugly.
But the big question is how hard will anybody fight for Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff?
My neighbors mostly say it won’t even be a fight. That the Democrats will fold like the cheap suits they are.
AOC was holding a town hall meeting in Queens, when a woman stood up and … well … ranted crazy person stuff. The video (linked on the front page) captures the entire thing. The woman acts agitated because no one is taking climate control seriously but then she quickly switches gears to throw out these oddities:
“I’m happy that you are really supporting a Green New Deal, but it’s not enough … we don’t have enough time … we have to get rid of the babies … even if we were to bomb Russia, we still have too many people, too much pollution. So we have to get rid of the babies. That’s a big problem. Just stopping having babies is not enough. We need to eat the babies.”
She even had a t-shirt that said, “Save the Planet. Eat the Children.” At first it appears the woman is mentally ill and you feel kind of sorry for her. AOC keeps her cool through the rant, ignoring the crazy stuff and repeats to the woman a few times, “it’s okay,” in an effort to try and calm her down. AOC clearly assumed what we all did - this woman is ill! Alas, by the end of the crazy rant you can tell she’s trolling AOC.
I mean, “eat the babies?” My spider sense exploded. There is no way this woman is legit.
Turns out, she isn’t! The woman was posing as an AOC supporter but was actually a member of LaRouchePAC, a far right climate change denying group that supports Donald Trump. Thursday evening they posted the video on Twitter and wrote “It was us. Malthusianism isn’t new, Jonathan Swift knew that. Sometimes, only satire works.” (Editor’s note: Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply is linear and in theory cause massive food shortages and starvation.)
Lyndon Larouche Jr, who died in February, co-founded the LaRouche group sometime in the mid 70’s so he could, well - troll politicians. He was kind of a kooky guy who was a cult leader and convicted fraudster, and filled to the brim with conspiracy theories and shady connections. He was paranoid and was super convinced that everyone from the CIA, the FBI, the KBG up to and including the Queen of England wanted to have him killed. Despite that, he was a fringe political activist for many decades and died at the age of 96.
I give the LaRouche team points for the trolling effort but AOC was unflappable during the event so I’m calling this one a tie.
"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
Quite often, you will find with live feeds on social media memes or posts of Americans declaring their professed love for their freedoms by honoring the fallen soldiers (Or Christ) with their lips (Matthew 15:8).
You will also notice other posts on the same feeds magnifying the crimes of the corrupt that they tolerate both in the Church and in government (Jeremiah 17:19). These are crimes that the soldiers in the natural and Christ in the spiritual have fought against by magnifying the law that exposes sin and these tyrants (Isaiah 42:21; Psalm 40:8; John 3:16; Hebrews 8:10; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2).
Additionally, when looking further into the person’s profile page, you will find more often than not, that to which their hearts are really attached (Matthew 6:21) and what it is that they really love the most. You will find their page filled up and down with their favorite sports teams, etc.
One guy's profile will help serve the point: On one half of his meme is a picture of wounded soldiers where it states that “These guys get paid less than $35,000 a year and risk their lives." On the other side, it states, “So these guys (kneeling football players) can get paid $11 million a year and protest our national anthem…because they feel oppressed.”
So what I did, in turn, was post a meme of a filled stadium of football fans, the headstones of our fallen at Arlington cemetery and the front of a state capital with no one to be found in protest.
Hold that thought.
So, one must ask the question, how much do you Americans truly love their blood bought freedoms (Revelation 1:5)? Are Americans out protesting corruption within the American Church for which Christ died (1 Timothy 4:1, 5:20)?
In the natural (1 Corinthians 2:14), are these those who love their blood-bought freedoms protesting corruption in their government? Hardly, which only shows a lack of love (1 John 3:18).
Last week, my family and I were out on the road again “seeking and saving that which is lost” (Luke 19:10) in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.
While going through the state, we stopped by a local restaurant and sat down to get some lunch. As you know, restaurants today are filling up wall space with television sets to keep patrons in their booths as long as possible while entertaining guests in hopes that they will continue to spend more on eating and drinking at their establishments, all the while ignoring one's family (1 John 2:15).
One of my children said to me, “Dad, look at all those people in that stadium (average seating per stadium 69,444 seats x 32 teams) watching a football game (Jeremiah 11:13).”
This is every Sunday, all across the country.
I said back to him, “It merely shows you where their hearts are (Exodus 20:4).” To prove the point I must ask why do we have babies being illegally murdered in the womb (Proverbs 6:17)?
Why do we have sodomites illegally targeting America’s children through forced, sexually immoral indoctrination in public schools (Luke 17:2)?
Why do we have transgender felons targeting pre-kindergarten children in American libraries (Deuteronomy 22:15)?
Why do we have foreigners being allured by representatives and Churches into America who mean to conquer us (Deuteronomy 28:43)?
Why do we tolerate a government that runs counter to its purpose while they attempt to strip us of the right to bear arms (2nd Amendment)?
Why do we have a government that is attacking our freedom of speech (1st Amendment)?
Why do we have Churches filled with hirelings who refuse to preach out against and stand in protest concerning the issues above? After all, Churches are to be the barracks in which the soldiers are raised up (Ephesians 6:12).
Yet, we see today that they have become mere buildings where congregants are taught to stand down against the evils of the day which they are commanded to preach out against (Deuteronomy 4:6; Matthew 16:15-20).
These pastors are fearful cowards, who are not appointed nor ordained by the Living God (Revelation 21:8) and their congregants are taught to follow in close pursuit.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7
I say that it is a good thing our forefathers in the faith (Hebrews 11) didn’t think and act in such a deceived and impotent fashion (James 2:14-26).
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." -Accredited to President Abraham Lincoln
Apparently, according to the new translation of the heresies of change (Proverbs 24:21) and that among the American hirelings (John 10:12), who are the greatest advocates of the crimes above, the crosses that adorn their buildings have no relevance in today’s society (Philippians 3:18).
According to George Barna, the reasons that the Church in America refuses to address the issues above to their congregants is because they are afraid it would affect attendance and offerings (Proverbs 29:25).
Why do Americans, of which 86% profess to be Christians (1 John 2:4), say that they love their country, but go no further than to tolerate, by their inaction and idolatry, corrupt politicians, lawlessness, the indoctrination of their own children and more.
Americans are dishonoring and trampling under foot that which our veterans and the Christ died (Hebrews 10:28-30) fighting against (1 John 3:8) and are allowing tyranny to flourish in their own country through their complacency. Is this how you honor the fallen-sacrifice? Absolutely not! Is this love? Absolutely not! But one thing that we know for sure, this is where the people's hearts are which explains the state of America today.
Celebrities such as Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Olivia Newton-John, Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon have revealed their breast cancer diagnoses, helping raise awareness for the most common cancer to affect women. It’s the second most common cause of cancer death in females.
1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 268,000 cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US with 63,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer, a rise from last year. 41,700 women and 500 men are expected to die this year of breast cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
Breast cancer is staged based on the size of the tumor, if lymph nodes are affected and whether the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body. Prognosis varies greatly on the stage.
85% of breast cancer cases occur in women with NO family history.
Mammograms are the first line screening tool for breast cancer and are currently recommended biennial for women aged 50-74. However for those at higher risk, mammogram screening should start earlier, with possible follow-up ultrasound, and be performed more regularly.
3-D MAMMOGRAM IMAGE
Well, we know how most of this story plays out in the media. Liberals laugh at anything conservatives say. Conservatives laugh at anything liberals say. And none of that gets us closer to the truth. So, I thought I would try and round up simple facts. The who, what, when and where. As to the “why,” well - we don’t know exactly why some of these things happened. I’ll let you speculate.
More than a week before the infamous Trump / Ukraine phone call in question, the U.S. President froze almost $400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine. The reason? The White House claims they were reviewing where the military aid goes, as there have been concerns about corruption within the Ukraine government; and questioning the level of support from other countries. As in, “If no one else is giving Ukraine military aid, why should we?”
Okay. Fair enough. The problem is that, despite pressure from the Ukraine asking the reasonable, “Why are you delaying military aid? We seriously need it,” the WH did not respond to Ukraine.
Which leads to the phone call. At this point, Trump has cut off military aid to Ukraine and has not given the Ukrainian government an explanation for doing so. This is the first time the two Presidents have spoken and the first time the President, or any from the State Department, has discussed military aid with Ukraine - since the freeze.
In an unclassified rough transcript of the call, the two Presidents, on speaker phone with approx. 30 other people in the oval office listening in, exchange pleasantries for a while. Then President Trump says:
“... I will say that we do ·a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it's something that you should ·really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks (about?) Ukraine, but she doesn't do anything. A lot of the European countries are the. same way, so I think it's something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”
Then Zelensky says:
“I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to cooperate for the next steps … ready to buy more Javelin (missiles) from the United States for defense purposes.”
And Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor, though …”
At that point President Trump asks Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of his chief political rival, Joe Biden. You see, Biden’s son, Hunter, was on the board of directors for Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company while the company was under investigation for some undisclosed reason.
Trump says about that:
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the persecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. ... It sounds horrible to me."
So, to be clear and from my understanding of “the investigation,” it seems as if there was an investigation into Burisma for - something. And the prosecutor in charge of the investigation was removed and replaced with another prosecutor. Which is what President Trump is referring to when he says, “Biden (Joe) stopped the persecution…” Implying the first prosecutor was on to something ... and Joe Biden used his power and influence and had him removed in order to protect his son, Hunter.
The phone call ends with the President of Ukraine basically saying that yes, we’ll help you in any way we can.
Then, according to multiple White House aids, and per the Whistleblowers allegations, WH lawyers “directed” aids to remove the transcript from the computer system and place it into a separate system designed for “sensitive intelligence.” This would seal the transcript and prevent it from getting out to the public.
Enter the Whistleblower. After hearing about the phone call from multiple sources the Whistleblower wrote to the chairman of Senate Committees on August 12th, expressing “concern over Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President,” calling it an abuse of power and broke down a detailed analysis of the subsequent cover up / lock down of phone call / transcripts because - everyone in the room knew what the President of the U.S. had just said and done was illegal.
President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani at first denied the story, but then confessed on camera that both did indeed pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate the son of Trump’s chief political rival. So, it’s clearly a true story.
Then, the transcript of the phone call in question was released confirming the vast majority of the Whistleblower's initial testimony.
Then, Nancy Pelosi said, “We’re moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
Then, no one has been able to find any wrong doing with Hunter Biden during his tenure with the gas company in question and even the Ukrainian prosecutor himself, the one who was investigating Hunter Biden’s gas company came out and said, “We investigated Hunter Biden and he didn’t violate any laws.”
And now we’re finding out that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President which is not exactly what WH officials have told the media. Pompeo is now being subpoenaed for not turning over information and documents pertaining to the call. As are many, many others including AG William Barr and Rudy Guilianni.
Okay. So what does this all mean?
Well, first of all, if you’re the President of the U.S. and you withhold aid to a foreign power and use those frozen assets as leverage to pressure said foreign power to investigate a political rival of yours then … you’ve probably just broken multiple federal law. Which would make it an impeachable offence.
Now, you can say, “But what the President did wasn’t THAT big of a deal - so I don’t care if it’s illegal.”
Fair enough. You are entitled to that opinion.
But … despite that opinion, it very well might be illegal and it might be a gross misuse of power. Either way, an investigation into the matter is - a totally reasonable way to handle this!
Remember, “impeachment” does not mean “remove from office.” Impeachment means, “put the President on trial.” Perhaps the President will be removed from office, perhaps not. Bill Clinton was impeached, as in - he was put on trial. As you know, he was not removed from office despite Ken Starr running the most costly federal trial in history costing American taxpayers $70 million.
So, the impeachment inquiry is moving forward.
A new poll from CNN shows Republican support for Impeachment Inquiry is climbing. Even Hilary Clinton weighed in. (Which, please, Hilary - for the love of God - please shut up and go away before you lose the Democrats another election that you won’t even be in!).
Like it or hate it, the impeachment inquiry is rapidly moving forward for legitimate reasons. But, that doesn’t really mean that anything will come of it. Or, even if it does go to an impeachment trial, that doesn’t mean much will come of that, either.
It’s only just the beginning.
“When government takes away it’s citizens right to bear arms it becomes the citizens duty to take away the government's right to govern." -Accredited to President George Washington
It is interesting how this is playing out in front of the people in this country when it comes to more illegal encroachments or infringements on law-abiding gun owners. Remember, they accuse the law-abiders of the crimes of the law-breakers (1 John 3:12).
Here is how it is played out: On one side of the divide and conquer aisle (Mark 3:25) we have Donald Trump, sold to you as the Republican, who calls for illegal “red flag laws,” which are not law. In the end, they will be aimed at their political opposition.
On the other hand, we have those who are sold to you as the Democrats, who are calling for the removal of AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons.
Which do you prefer? Do you prefer small infringements through Donald Trump, or complete disarmament by Democrats? Either way, you are being disarmed and tyranny wins out.
I would advise everyone to take heed to President George Washington, who is responsible for arming the citizenry that we are to “guard ourselves against the impostures of pretended patriotism” (Matthew 24:5-8; 2 Corinthians 11:14).
If you are paying attention, this is not only leading through “created” opposition, but it's also happening through what is called the Hegelian dialectic (John 8:44).
The Hegelian dialectic is defined as "a framework for guiding thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead to synthetic solutions (of a proposition- having truth or falsity determinable by recourse to experience) which can only be introduced once those being manipulated take a side that will produce the predetermined agenda (Outcome)."
Recently, the mainstream media’s push of un-constitutional debates and their Communist candidates included Beto O’Rourke and his gun confiscation plan.
'No, it’s not voluntary 'It is mandatory,'" O'Rourke said of his proposal. "It will be the law. You will be required to comply with the law." He then went on to say:
"We expect people to comply with the law."
The problem that Mr. O’Rourke is having here is that it is not law nor will it ever be law regardless of what he or any other Communist candidate wants you to believe.
“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788
Americans, where have these anti-gunners received delegated authority to advance their agenda? They did not receive it from “We the People.”
Have Americans really become this dumbed down as to believe that representatives change laws that counter our rights? Our rights didn’t come from the state's generosity. They came from the hand of God, period!
“The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” -President John F. Kennedy
Representatives of government in this country have, in fact, sworn to uphold the laws found in the US Constitution, not to tear it down and recreate it into the ungodly image of the United Nations.
Friends, look to history. George Mason warned us that those who mean to disarm, mean to enslave. They mean to be your masters while you become their slaves, and the best way to enslave people is to disarm them (Hosea 4:6).
Look to the example, which our forefathers exhibited not just in writing, mind you, but also in action. Our forefathers armed the people for the very purpose of what is happening in America today.
Americans must come to terms that corrupt politicians are not the type that you can help or rehabilitate. They are the type that you must lawfully remove, or you will lose your God-given right! (Article 2, Section 4, US Constitution)
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – President Thomas Jefferson
You must fight for your God-given rights! (Deuteronomy 1:8; James 2:14-26)
It is the difference between a free people and an enslaved people. There is no in-between (Luke 11:2).
Firearms are second to the Constitution in importance; they are the people’s liberty’s teeth.
Therefore, Americans, it is time to grin (Romans 12:21) in the face of tyranny.
To dislike a person because of the color of his skin is racism. To scorn someone because of her same-sex preference is homophobia. To disdain for reasons of gender is sexism. To frown upon people because of their foreign origins is xenophobia. Such manifestations of bigotry, to a person of peace, tolerance, and logic, are shameful and indefensible.
Color, sex, sexual orientation, and national origin have nothing to do with the content of one’s character. That’s one reason.
Another is that humans are not a blob; each human is a unique individual. If one is to be judged, he should be judged by his choices and behavior—that is, by his own sins and virtues and not by the sins and virtues of others who simply share some accidental resemblance to him.
A third reason is that finger-pointing takes the spotlight off self-improvement. Scapegoating is not a pathway to achievement for either persons or nations. It’s what losers do.
A Politically Acceptable Scapegoat
But suppose you despise and seek to punish an entire class of people because they’re rich or successful. Is that bigotry, or is that the foundation of a political campaign? Sadly, it’s both. Frequently.
Second only to Donald Trump—a specific individual whose sins and virtues we can largely identify and hold him responsible for—the number one punching bag every political season is “the rich.” They are monotonously demonized by candidates who vie for your vote and affection and count on your ignorance and myopia.
It would be both unpopular and stupid to express a dislike for “the poor” as an income group. We all know that among the poor there are both good and bad people. Some are poor through little fault of their own and possess strong personal character. Others are poor because of bad choices and lousy behavior rooted in rotten character. We surely want to determine the difference and render our judgments and reactions accordingly.
Listen to presidential “debates” carefully, and you’ll easily see a very different perspective with regard to the rich. Income bigotry is on full and proud display. Candidates don’t define “the rich” precisely, but they do hope that you’ll think you’re not among them. You’re supposed to be the victim of the rich so the politician can be your savior. The demagogue doesn’t say he wants to sift the good rich from the bad rich and treat them accordingly. He wants to go after them all, just for their richness.
You can be rich because you stole something or used your political connections to get special favors, or you could be rich like most of the rich, that is, because you created and built something; worked long, hard, and smart for what you have; added enormous value to society; invested resources wisely; or just entertained 50,000 happy, paying customers many times at concerts. Doesn’t matter which.
When New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declares with fire in his eyes that he will “tax the hell out of the rich,” he means all of them. His competitors, as well as large swaths of their audiences, cheer because of the perverse satisfaction they derive from just thinking about the punishment. Suggest that “taxing the hell” out of anybody might be counter-productive to philanthropy, job creation, or economic growth, and you’ll quickly be the skunk at the garden party because it’s the punishment that matters, not outcomes.
Envy Is the Root
Welcome to the ugly world of envy, defined by philosopher Immanuel Kant as
“…a propensity to view the well-being of others with distress, even though it does not detract from one’s own. [It is] a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others. [It] aims, at least in terms of one’s wishes, at destroying other’s good fortune.”
Envy is almost as old as the world itself. It was Cain’s motive for killing Abel. Professor Paul Fairfield of Queen’s University in Ontario describes it as an animosity “that eats away at you from the inside out and that hides itself behind a dubious morality.” It comes in several shades.
The less harmful version, for example, is when you count the other guy’s blessings instead of your own but try to attain them for yourself peacefully—by trade or by emulating the decisions of the successful. A more malicious type takes this form: You despise someone for who he is or what he has and take personal delight in punishing him for it in the hope that you’ll benefit in one way or another. Maybe you’ll get some of his stuff or attain power by vilifying him.
The worst kind of envy shows up when you take action to make sure no one can ever possess what the successful person has because you believe equality in misery is more virtuous than inequality, period.
Perhaps the 20th century’s best book on the subject was the Austrian-German sociologist Helmut Schoeck’s Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior, which appeared in the late ‘60s. Schoeck noted that “to claim ‘humanitarian motives’ when the motive is envy and its supposed appeasement, is a favorite rhetorical device of politicians.”
It’s a tactic that politicians have been using for ages—profoundly evidenced at least as far back as the sad, final decades of the old Roman Republic. I know of no moment in history in which the encouragement or practice of widespread envy produced anything but a bad outcome.
For good reasons, it’s counted as one of the seven deadly sins. It builds nothing up but concentrated state power; it tears everything down from the object of the envy (e.g., the rich) to the very souls of the envious themselves.
Envy Rots the Bones
You don’t have to take my word for it. Several thousand years ago, the tenth of the Ten Commandments warned of envy’s close relative, “coveting.” Many Biblical passages from both Old and New Testaments caution against it, including Proverbs 14:30 (“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”) and Ecclesiastes 30:24 (“Envy and wrath shorten the life”).
What follows is a representative sampling of historical wisdom on the matter from across the centuries since.
The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Democritus noted that a free and peaceful society would actively seek to discourage envy.
The laws would not prevent each man from living according to his inclination, unless individuals harmed each other; for envy creates the beginning of strife.
Seneca the Younger was a prominent Roman Stoic thinker and statesman of the 1st century AD. He was well aware that envy played a key role in the demise of the Republic in the previous century:
It is the practice of the multitude to bark at eminent men, as little dogs do at strangers.
Envy generates an internal struggle in three stages, according to the 13th century’s St. Thomas Aquinas. In the first stage, the envious person attempts to defame another’s reputation; in the second stage, the envious person receives either “joy at another’s misfortune” (if his defamation succeeds) or “grief at another’s prosperity” (if it fails); the final stage sees envy turned into hatred because “sorrow causes hatred.”
Italian poet and author of The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri saw envy as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs.” In his Purgatory, the envious are punished by having their eyes sewn shut with wire “because they gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low.”
Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance Man, wrote:
“Envy wounds with false accusations, that is with detraction, a thing which scares virtue.”
In the 17th century, the English essayist Francis Bacon condemned envy as an enervating attitude that leads directly to deplorable actions:
“A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others. For men’s minds, will either feed upon their own good, or upon others’ evil; and who wanteth the one, will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope, to attain to another’s virtue, will seek to come at even hand, by depressing another’s fortune.”
A hundred years later, the English theologian Robert South echoed Bacon.
“Of covetousness, we may truly say that it makes both the Alpha and Omega in the devil’s alphabet, and that it is the first vice in corrupt nature which moves, and the last which dies.”
At about the same time, the famous playwright Joseph Addison observed that envious people are usually unhappy people.
“The condition of the envious man is the most emphatically miserable; he is not only incapable of rejoicing in another’s merit or success, but lives in a world wherein all mankind are in a plot against [him].”
When the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the early 1830s, he found that one of the country’s strengths was that we were focused on building things and people up instead of tearing either down. Prophetically, he predicted that if envy took root, the result would be suicide.
“I have a passionate love for liberty, law, and respect for rights. Liberty is my foremost passion. But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.”
Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every republican: “Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I.”
Theodore Roosevelt regarded himself as a “progressive” of his day (late 19th and early 20th century), but he understood then what most “progressives” today do not: namely, that envy is the root of much evil.
“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.”
Philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand was an avowed atheist who would never argue that envy is evil because God says so. But she certainly regarded envy as evil and destructive. She equated it with “hatred of the good,” by which she meant “hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable.”
“If a child wants to get good grades in school, but is unable or unwilling to achieve them and begins to hate the children who do, that is hatred of the good. If a man regards intelligence as a value, but is troubled by self-doubt and begins to hate the men he judges to be intelligent, that is hatred of the good.”
Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of the popular Catholic ministerial organization Word on Fire. In his view:
“Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin: St. Augustine saw envy as “diabolical sin.” [In Augustine’s words,] “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.”
Rooting out Envy
It would be easy to supply the reader with a thousand more quotes on the subject of envy. The difficult thing would be to find one that defends it. The irony is this: Universally condemned, envy is nonetheless widely practiced. Ayn Rand christened our times as an “Age of Envy.”
Search your conscience. If you find envy within it, expunge it before it does its awful work.
Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. His opinions are his own. The article originally appeared on fee.org reprinted with permission.
Let me put it plainly:
Joe Biden is a liar, his son is a bumbling crook and any member of our so-called national security team who somehow has access to a Presidential phone call with the leader of another nation and files a whistleblower complaint should be in prison for the rest of his or her life.
That clear enough for you?
Joe Biden told a reporter that he has not discussed his son’s off shore investments. When was that? On Air Force Two when Sonny Boy hitched a ride? Bullcrap.
I don’t care what Andrew Napolitano said on Fox. The Judge is losing his fastball just like Biden. What’s happening here is that the Mueller investigation turned out to be a nothingburger as opposed to the smoking gun Democrat like Adam Schiffhead were assuming it would be.
And later, the news is that in this case the so-called whistleblower may not even have sat in on the call but heard about it second hand.
Did any of that end it?
This President had the discourtesy to beat Saint Hillary in 2016 and the swampmonsters are not going to stop trying to eject him from Washington like a heart transplant which won’t take.
The problem they are having is that the American public has wised up to these clowns and no longer accepts the CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC version of things.
Democrats want to impeach the President? Please. Stop hinting. Do it. American voters will make the final decision on the first Tuesday after the first Sunday in November of 2020 because—pure and simple—anything the House does do is merely mental masturbation. They, quite simply, don’t have enough votes or support to do anything else.
Never Trumper Bill Weld (Mitt Romney lite) wants Trump executed for treason? Honest. Saw his rant on TV.
When pink pigs fly from his butt.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen the tape of Joe Biden bragging in 2018 about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Sonny Boy’s company fired or he was going to withhold a BILLION DOLLARS in United States foreign aid,
Talk about your quid pro quo.
And, by the way, this is what some woman at the Wall Street Journal named Rebecca Ballhaus called “widely discredited” in her story about this set of facts. The Wall Street Journal! For comparison purposes, I happen to be the CEO of the USA Radio Networks in real life and if any of my news anchors used that phrase, they would be fired before their next newscast. This bundle of genius is a 28 year old millennial who has already won a Pulitzer prize. Not exactly Brit Hume.
The fact is that these people are unhinged. This is Trump Derangement Syndrome on steroids.
Forget the opioid crisis. This is a crisis of stupidity involving people who are so busy throwing a tantrum they have no idea how entirely moronic they look.
Worse, it’s as big an indication that there IS a deep state which needs to be excised.
And the only way to solve the issue may well be arrests—a lot of them—and jail terms.
They could load up a whole wing of a Federal Prison with these people—starting with the first batch, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and the FBI lovers, Peter Strozk and Lisa Page.
Last week parent company Helios and Matheson hammered the final nails into the MoviePass coffin. For those who do not know, briefly - MoviePass was a monthly subscription plan that offered users to see one movie per day for approx. $10 per month. That means you could see up to 31 movies per month - for $10. Now, it was like a Mastercard backed debit card with MoviePass loading money onto your card in order to pay full price for your ticket. But since you’ve already paid the monthly or yearly subscription cost - you don’t owe any more money. You pay approx. $10 per month to see, let’s say - six movies. But MoviePass loaded FULL PRICE cost on your card to cover the ticket. So, while MoviePass paid approx. $70+ to cover the cost of your six movies, it only recouped $10 from you. Which, as we all like to say, “Sounds too good to be true.”
But, it wasn’t. It wasn’t sustainable … but it was true! I bought the yearly MoviePass subscription for about $85 plus a one time sign up free for $20. And in the year I used Movie Pass I saw forty two movies. Which means I paid about $2.5 per movie. So, I happen to know that MoviePass was legit.
That being said, the deal was too good to be sustainable without additional revenue support because, as you can see, MoviePass lost a lot of money on me alone. You multiply that by the 3 million subscribers they had and you can understand why MoviePass was posting $170 million losses per quarter.
But they had a plan to make money - try to get the theater chains to give them a very, very small percentage of the box office but mainly - the concessions. Theater chains make the majority of their money selling you popcorn and soda. MoviePass was trying to show the chains, “Look, about ten percent of moviegoers come to your theater chain and use MoviePass. Don’t you see how important that is? We could just tell them to take their business to another chain. Don’t you think you should give us say, 1% of your concession sales?”
It was a fine plan. But all the theater chains said, “Nope.”
But MoviePass had more plans. Produce their own movies and profit off them. But they disastrously chose Gotti, a John Travolta nightmare of a film which has, um - a 0% rating on rotten tomatoes. I’ve never seen a movie get worse ratings. MoviePass lost a ton of money on that film.
So that plan didn’t work for MoviePass either. But hey, they still had three million subscribers - they must be able to do something with them, right?
Well, MoviePass made wrong choice after wrong choice when, in an attempt to lower the amount of money they were burning each month put all sorts of minor restrictions on subscribers - restricting repeat views, ticket verification, blocking out some new blockbusters, then only offering a few movies to choose from each week. Then reverting all of those changes and going back to “See whatever movie you want whenever you want” but … we’re raising the price.
Basically, their subscribers lost all faith in MoviePass and bailed en’ mass. I stayed until the end of my one year contract but, to be honest, I was only able to see a single movie in the last two months of my subscription because of the restrictions MoviePass put on accounts.
So, I didn’t renew. And they didn’t ask me to. We parted company about six months ago. And now they’re gone. MoviePass certainly was a bold plan and people certainly liked their initial idea so much that lots of other folks noticed and now there are all sorts of rival plans out there, but they are usually restricted to a specific theater chain. So, for example: the AMC card only works at … well, AMC chains. And that’s what made MoviePass unique. It was a Mastercard that you could use anywhere that accepted Mastercard which means it was highly accessible.
In the end though, MoviePass was just managed poorly. Too many poor choices, too many subscription changes, too many partnerships with other companies that always felt more like a “get rich quick with this partnership” scheme and not an actual legitimate partnership that was going to help MoviePass in the long run. I’ve also recently found out that the guy who took over Helios and Matheson, and therefore MoviePass, was a man named Ted Farnsworth. And, Mr. Farnsworth has lawsuits and failed companies trailing behind him a mile long.
“Mr. Farnsworth … been sued numerous times, according to the Miami Herald, and he found his way into a chief executive role after years spent racking up legal disputes in Florida, related in some cases to real estate investments and other inscrutable financial dealings. The Herald reports that Farnsworth has registered more than 50 companies over the last 30 years, a majority of which have shuttered.”
MoviePass may have been doomed before it even had a chance to thrive. But still, it was a great nine month run for MoviePass ... and then it wasn't.
Although flu season officially starts in October, public health officials in Riverside, California have already reported the first “flu-related” death this year, a 4 year-old child.
And being that Australia’s flu season began a couple of weeks early, US health experts are bracing for the start of ours this month.
We still, however, cannot predict how “severe” this year’s flu season will be, but here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the flu.
Flu season has begun already. It typically starts in the Fall, and ends late Spring. So the range is described as October to May with it peaking December to March.
It is difficult to predict, but already this early in the season we’ve had a flu-related death. As the season unfolds, more cases will be reported by the CDC’s Flu View.
The flu is caused by a virus. Multiple strains of virus’ can cause the flu. The virus itself can be lethal, however the greatest risk comes with what it does to your immune system, thereby putting one at risk of secondary infections. Pneumonia is the number one cause of flu-related deaths. Secondly, it can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, seizures, even promote preterm birth, hence those who are pregnant or have preexisting medical conditions are urged to get vaccinated against the flu. Moreover those who qualify should get the pneumonia vaccine as well.
According to the CDC, the trivalent vaccine covers for these three strains of the flu virus:
Quadrivalent influenza vaccines will contain these three viruses and an additional influenza B vaccine virus, a B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).
These vaccines are aimed at providing protection against the Swine flu, and some influenza A and B strains.
This year, those over 65 will have three options for their flu vaccine.
Fluzone High-Dose – a higher dose flu vaccine that will hopefully allow their immunity to protect against the flu longer
FLUAD – the trivalent flu vaccine with an adjuvant to stimulate more of an immune response.
Flublock Quadrivalent – provides protection against 4 strains.
This year, the CDC allows use of the nasal spray vaccine as it has shown to have improved efficacy from prior years. However, it is only recommended for those who are between the ages of 2 and 49 and cannot be given to those who are pregnant or who have compromising medical conditions as outlined by the CDC.
All individuals 6 months old and older unless specified by their medical provider.
The average immune system takes a couple weeks of to prime, so we suggest getting the flu shot before the season starts…or peaks. However, experts recommend to still get the flu vaccine to anyone who missed early vaccination.
Most individuals allergic to eggs can still get the flu vaccine, but if the allergy to eggs is severe (anaphylaxis, angioedema, difficulty breathing), the CDC recommends notifying your medical provider and being in a facility to monitor you if you do get the flu vaccine.
No. The flu vaccine has a “killed” version of the virus meaning it’s not an active virus (as opposed to a live attenuated vaccine, a weakened down version of it). A “killed” or “inactivated” vaccine merely has the pathogen particles to induce an immune response. Additionally, when one states they got the flu despite the flu shot it could be that the flu shot only protects against 3 – 4 strains and they were infected with a rare strain not covered by the vaccine.
The average effectiveness each year hovers around 60%. Last year’s efficacy was much lower and this year’s has not been predicted as of yet. Australia is still reporting active cases on their Department of Health website.
For some, the immune response that ensues can make one feel mildly ill, but should not resemble the flu. Those who state they got the flu “immediately” after receiving the shot, might have already been exposed and had not had a chance to produce immunity prior to their exposure.
A cold comes on slower and less severe. Flu symptoms are more abrupt and can include:
There are antiviral medications available, such as Tamiflu, to treat the flu. Antibiotics, however, will not work since the flu is not caused by a bacteria but rather a virus. However, if a secondary bacterial infection takes over, antibiotics may be used.
Besides vaccination, avoid being around those who are sick, thorough hand washing, and take good care of yourself. A balanced diet, exercise and sleep regimen can help boost your immune system.
Wishing you health this season!!
South Tower: “I guess about three minutes later you just heard explosions coming from building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were about ten explosions. At the time I didn’t realize what it was. We realized later after talking and finding out that it was the floors collapsing to where the plane had hit. We then realized the building started to come down.” -Carlsen, Craig (9110505)
Just today, while taking my son to the dentist, I scrolled through my media feed and I started to notice post after post with first responders and firefighters telling us of their accounts as to what was happening inside of the Twin Towers on the lower floors after explosions took place on the upper floors.
Here are three firefighters countering mainstream media’s narrative talking to the media (Vulgar Language).
I also noticed that there was post after post of the American people questioning the mainstream media’s narrative, and rightly so (Isaiah 5:20).
Learning from history, as well as to how the American mainstream media’s sick and evil game is played out today, let us remember that history is repeating itself in the present (Jeremiah 11:9).
Does this look and sound familiar?
Propaganda Minister under Adolph Hitler Joseph Goebells said,
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Without further ado, click on this link and read what it was that 156 eyewitnesses accounted for concerning what actually took place on September 11, 2001, and decide for yourselves as to whether or not you have been told the whole truth and nothing but the truth (John 8:36).
In Plane site Documentary:
In college 50 years ago, I took Introduction to Political Science from Stephan A. Douglas. Not the short, fat Little Giant who debated Abe Lincoln. But a very good tall and angular professor at Illinois.
The main thing I remember from his class is his explanation about a compelling revolution in political science and economics that began a decade earlier. Traditionally, he said, political scientists sought to explain how institutions, practices and people in political and economic processes worked to promote the public interest and the common good. It was Pollyanna-ish: All for the better.
Then some iconoclasts said that’s not how things work at all. Most folks in the political and economic spheres aren’t trying to promote the public interest. To the extent they can, they use institutions and practices to promote their own special interests. This insight, which today seems obvious, changed political science and helped foster a branch of economics known as public choice theory – which has produced a number of Nobel Prizes in economics.
Against the background of the Viet Nam war and the turmoil in American politics in the 1960s, it was a bracing idea, and it quickly became a formative part of my intellectual make-up. It has served me well in politics and public service.
Now come our corporate leaders with a perfect example of how political and economic behavior masquerades as public-spirited when it’s really completely self-serving. The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s largest companies, issued a new “Statement of the Purpose of a Corporation,” signed by 181 CEOs.
“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” reads the key sentence. It names those stakeholders: customers, employees, diversity and inclusion, suppliers, the communities where they work, the environment and sustainability. Oh, yes, also “effective engagement with” company stockholders.
Since 1997, their periodic “Principles of Corporate Governance” statements have endorsed the notion of shareholder primacy: that corporations exist primarily to serve stockholders. In the New York Times Magazine on September 13, 1970, economist Milton Friedman, one of the intellectual giants of the 20th Century, said business executives who pursue a goal other than making money for their equity investors are wrong.
They are, he said, “unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” They become “unelected government officials” who essentially tax employees and customers. They violate their legal and ethical fiduciary duties.
But the new diktat declares all “stakeholders” equal – leaving corporate moguls, our enlightened visionary betters, to decide how to balance their interests via corporate actions.
The concept of corporate stakeholders arose soon after the public choice revolution. Originally, it was descriptive: It described the groups that were affected by actions of corporations. But once the term was invented, it morphed into a normative concept suggesting the stakeholders have some kinds of claims on the actions of companies and their decision-makers that legitimately compete with the fiduciary duties owed to those who put their capital at risk by investing in the firm.
Now the CEOs have thrown in the towel and joined these predatory special-interest claimants. Why?
It’s something I’ve observed the last 40 years in regulation, politics and business. Essentially, executives are – surprise! – pursuing their own self-serving interests. They want to be lionized everywhere as great leaders, compassionate souls, visionary intellectuals. They want to use the resources their stockholders have entrusted to them to buy off everyone – unions, politicians, predatory special interests such as environmentalists, and the lamestream press.
Maximizing long-term discounted stockholder value within ethical norms crimps those aspirations.
This rot is clearest with regulated utilities, where executives can cut implicit (sometimes explicit) deals with regulators: We’ll do almost any foolish thing you want us to, as long as we can pass on the costs to ratepayers.
The problem started a century ago when large corporations were no longer managed by their primary owners, but instead by hired professional managers with their own self-serving agendas. Ironically, consumers, employees and the real public interest in economic growth and fairness suffer with stockholders in this scheme. Friedman was more right than he knew.
“Baby shots” used to be a boring subject, and taken for granted. As the number of vaccines grew from seven in the 1980s to 16 requiring 70 doses now, most parents obediently brought their children to the doctor when shots were “due.” The compliance rate was more than 90 percent. Parents who objected for one reason or another just got an exemption from school-attendance mandates and kept quiet. Every state had a medical exemption, most had a religious exemption, and many had easily obtained philosophical or personal-belief exemptions.
Now that states are repealing exemptions, parents are descending on state capitals en masse, many with severely injured children in tow. Thousands rallied outside an Albany courthouse as a lawsuit challenging an end to religious exemptions was heard.
Despite vociferous objections and attempts to disrupt hearings, the California legislature passed a law (SB 276) severely limiting medical exemptions, the only kind available. “Rogue doctors” were allegedly selling exemptions.
The bill’s author, Sen. Richard Pan, M.D., said that everybody who really needed an exemption would get one. However, 882 out of 882 pediatric practices told a mother that they would not write an exemption for a child who had had anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening allergic reaction, which kills rapidly by closing off the airway, is one of the few allowable indications for an exemption. But now, a parent not willing to risk recurrence cannot send her child to school.
Doctors are no doubt afraid of being targeted by the medical licensure board. SB 276 mandates scrutiny of doctors who have issued more than five exemptions, including exemptions made before the bill takes effect.
Parents are besieging legislators with reports of children who died or experienced devastating illnesses or disability after getting their shots. Interchanges on Twitter are passionate. One juxtaposed a sign saying “Vaccinate your f****** children” with a photograph of a gravestone and the message “We did.”
Whatever happened to hundreds of once-healthy children—it’s impossible to prove that the shot did it—the public-health dogma is: “Vaccines are safe and effective.” So safe and so effective that vaccines should be the exception to the rule that medical interventions are illegal and unethical without informed consent?
Two articles in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons challenge the orthodoxy that vaccines should be mandated, overriding patients’ liberties in an effort to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases.
How much risk can a person be compelled to take, even to save the life of another? In other contexts, such as exposure to radiation or lead, a risk of 1 in 10,000 or even less is considered unacceptable. Yet a much higher risk from vaccines cannot be ruled out. According to the most current information available, only 1 percent of serious side effects (such as death or permanent disability) are likely reported to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
The 1905 Supreme Court precedent for upholding mandates, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, concerned a raging, deadly smallpox epidemic. Later courts have ignored warnings about the potential abuse of state police power, and permitted mandates to prevent possible future epidemics of much milder diseases. Now, a measles outbreak of some 1,200 cases—thankfully no deaths so far—has triggered the demand for stricter laws, suppression of “anti-vaxxer” information, and harsh measures including $1,000 fines for refusing vaccination in Brooklyn.
Even if at least a few of the tragedies are caused by a vaccine, isn’t it worth it to wipe out dread diseases?
In the 20th century, mankind seemed to be winning the war on microbes. Smallpox was eradicated, and antibiotics were vanquishing infectious diseases. The growing threat of microbial resistance has caused senior public health officials in the UK and the U.S. to be concerned about the “post-antibiotic apocalypse” and the “end of modern medicine."
Parental outrage might cause reexamination of vaccine orthodoxy. It also raises the question of where to draw the line against encroachment of our freedom.