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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Obamacare, Thanksgiving, and Indigestion

This is going to backfire, Mr. President.

The Obama campaign arm - the man is always campaigning instead of presiding - is apparently trying to persuade supporters of Obamacare to persuade their family members over Thanksgiving dinner.

Why will this backfire?  Three reasons:
  • There are way too few supporters of Obamacare--if anyone brings up the topic, you can be sure that about 70% of the people around the table will be hostile to it. Just think. Alcohol, football, overeating, normal family discussions and interpersonal fireworks, and relatives one can't stand anyway but is trying to get along with for the sake of the holiday -- and said relative mentions, "Hey, let me tell you why I think the ACA is great!" Might as well try and fix a heating oil leak while smoking.
  • People have way more important and interesting things to talk about.
  • Even if Obamacare supporters succeed in persuading their family members, the new converts will not be able to sign up! The call centers will be closed and the website is (still) not working. So they'll have the weekend, or at least until the tryptophan and alcohol wear off, to come to their senses.
Hey I think I figured out Team Obama's strategy! Get people while they're drowsy and tipsy!

Ha, ha. Won't work for me. Talking about Obamacare under such conditions is only likely to make me cranky.

Also, I'd like to make an observation. Team Obama is apprently telling people to "have the talk" -- in this case, meaning about Obamacare. But "to have the talk" is usually what happens between a parent and child when that child is maturing physically and needs to know the "facts of life." It's "the talk." THE talk.

After talking about voting for the first time for Obama being like losing one's virginity, after using blatant sex and the availability of free contraception to promote Obamacare, I am totally not surprised that Team Obama is talking about "having the talk." Ugh. Is that all they think about?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Are we sensing a pattern in Mideast violence yet?

A few months ago we saw how those brave warriors of Boko Haram faced a Christian elementary school in Nigeria and burned the students alive. I posited at the time that the unrest throughout the mid-east appears to be targeting Christians to drive out the remnant from what used to be Christian lands. I wondered whose side the US should be on in Syria. But the plight of Christians in Iraq and elsewhere is underreported in the mainstream media.

And then comes this: Syrian rebels are specifically targeting non-combatant Christian facilities, like schools, the Apostolic Nunciature, and churches. I find it funny how, now that the Russians are commanding the conversation instead of us on Syria, Syria is out of the mainstream news.

But at the same time, so are this attacks on defenseless Chrstians facilities.

Children. They are targeting and killing children. They are rebelling against Assad and they are killing Christian children.

No. These actions are not of God.

And yes. There is a pattern here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The beginning of the duty to die

Wesley Smith has often said that the mere legal availability of euthanasia (and with it assisted suicide) to respect the "right" to die with "dignity" will lead to a duty to die.

Only the selfish will choose life over death. Selfish because in dying slowly rather than quickly they:
  • Consume massive amounts of healthcare resources and medicines, depriving others more needing of it
  • Impose needless expenses on loved ones as well as the health system
  • Cause those loved ones needless suffering by having to watch the dying person deteriorate and making them make special trips to hospitals or other facilities
  • Only extend their own suffering with modest gains in life duration and no gain or even decrements of life quality
Therefore, people should just hurry up and die when they find themselves in difficult situations.

Here is an article complaining about how, in Australia, the slowly dying consume one-fourth of that country's entire health budget. It is titled, "Too much medicine wasted on the dying, end-of-life care report says." Doctors are "pleading" with patients to ensure that, when the time comes, they don't make the problem worse.

Now, it is undoubtedly true that at least some of the aged and the infirm receive inappropriate or futile care or even care they would otherwise refuse - but the dramatic cases they discuss are hardly typical. To get our imaginations going, the article cites the 70-something man with kidney failure and respiratory distress who needed emergency heart surgery that ended up taking 9 hours (very expensive), using 20 units of blood (excessive consumption), and displacing three other heart surgeries (presumably of people who were more deserving), only to die after 13 days in the (very expensive) ICU. First of all, I have a question - were his other difficulties a result of the heart condition? If so, then emergency heart surgery would probably seem like the right course. If the fellow had kidney and respiratory failure due to other reasons and an unrelated heart condition, then maybe the intervention for the heart condition would have been a little agressive. But it sounds like they went in and found something unexpected with the heart, so maybe the pre-op workup was faulty.

Yet, with this as the example, we are given to think that Australia is plagued by frail, dying elderly people getting massive, aggressive interventions that are basically pointless and deprive others of needed health resources.

It also mentions that 90% of people would prefer to die at home than in a hospital. I can buy that.

Yet, I believe that 100% of them would rather receive potentially life-saving care in the hospital rather than at home. To the moron who justified depriving people of potentially life-saving care because 90% of people don't want to die in a hospital: People don't go to a hospital when they are dying to die - they go when they are dying to stay alive. People who are dying stand a much better chance of living if they go to a hospital.

And that is precisely the problem, isn't it?

So if I were pro-euthanasia, I'd keep up this rhetoric for a while. Maybe float a mandatory "living will" law, knowing it will fail. Then keep at it. Sooner or later, we'll have a country that passes not just a "right to die" law, but a "duty to die" law.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That ridiculous contraception ad for Obamacare

I object to this ad on numerous levels.

You have heard of this ad, featuring a young lady on oral contraceptives oh so happy she can have sex safely with that.... I-guess-he's-attractive-but-he-looks-slimy-to-me.... "guy" - I hesitate to use the word "man"... because she is sooooo smart and signed up for health insurance that lets her pay $300 a month (or whatever) to someone to pay for her $30 a month contraceptives.

First, let me object on professional grounds. I am a creative director in healthcare advertising, and this ad is, what we say in the business, "sh*t." Yes, that is the technical term for it.
  • It is creatively bankrupt. It is a lampoon of the iconic and ingenious "Got milk?" campaign, which just turned 20. Gotta hand it to the dairy folks' ad agency for coming up with that one. It was brilliant. (I especially loved the commercial that revealed the origin of the name, Oreo.) But an agency that spins a 20-year-old milk adverstising campaign for health insurance is just lazy and stupid. It might be funny, if you're, like, OMG! 12.
  • And using "OMG!" OMG, really? That is supposed to be hip and sexy and smart and all that? C'mon, Yahoo uses it for its silly entertainment gossip "news," even my wife's gym uses it (but spins it to "Our Monthly Guarantee" which is what you gotta do if you're gonna use a cliche). Again, maybe it's ok if the audience is, like, 12 or 13. And OMG! what kind of slimy "guy" likes a girl who talks like that? LOL! WT*! Man.
  • And "let's get physical" -- what, from an Olivia Newton John song from 1981?? Anyway, this makes three - count them, three -- overplayed, trite, and inept cliches in the first 6 words of the ad. If my copywriter came to me with this, I'd be really ticked.
  • Regarding the graphics, it looks composed in Photoshop of two separate people. It is an unreal composition. She is too small, her hips are too high in relation to his for their relative heights. Her expression is over the top too happy about having birth control. And, the birth control was probably PhotoShopped into her hand. She is more likely (this is just a guess) in the original photo to have been holding something like, say, an iPhone than birth control.
I will tell you who the hip, young advertising pros are who did this ad. They're people who were irresponsible hippy teeanagers in the 1970s, aging 30-something teenagers when "Physical" came out, jealous that someone else younger and smarter than them came up with the Got Milk? campaign in their 40s, and who are now in their 60s. Aging hippies who think they think young and who wished they had "free" birth control back in the day. There is no other way to explain it.

Now I will object to it on a bioethical level.
  • It proves that Obamacare health insurance isn't about taking care of your health, but about facilitating your indulgent pleasures -- at taxpayer expense. The ad is very explicit about having insurance coverage so she doesn't have to worry about having sex.
  • Birth control pills are not medicines. They are drugs, but not medicines. They alter the body's normal, healthy functioning and make it function abnormally. They neither treate nor prevent any disease but regard health and pregnancy as diseases. For these reasons, they are unethical on the face of it.
  • Their mode of action may include abortifacient effects
  • They are not a legitimate part of health care, but a lifestyle choice; although it is understandable that people who want them would rationalize it as "health care" since they are drugs and require a doctor's prescription. Yet they address no health issue and such people should, like people who want cosmetic surgery, just pay for it themselves
  • Birth control should not be covered by health insurance, or if it is, the customer should pay for that coverage separately
  • That the government is focusing on this issue to drive up enrollment is telling
  • It demeans women and exploits them, it reduces them to making major life decisions based on the effect of those decisions on their sex life - most importantly, it comes off to me as a ludicrous and weak attempt to rally the liberal, self-indulgent Obamacare base
Now I will object to it as a theologian.
  • "OMG!" means "Oh my God!" Actually, it probably should be "O my God!" In many cases, it is indeed a prayer and not always taking the name of God in vain. But here, it is sacreligious.
  • It is insidious that it uses this phrase in this context of sexual promiscuity and immorality
  • It says "all she has to worry about" in having sex with the "guy" is actually convincing him to have sex with her. There is a little disclaimer about sexually transmitted diseases, so she still has to worry about that, too. But what about if the guy turns out to be a jerk? What if he turns out to be an abuser? What if she falls in love with him and he turns out to just want her for sex, since that was the whole purpose of them hooking up? What about her immortal soul? She has a lot to worry about actually.
Now I will object to it as a man.
  • If the male human being in this ad is supposed to be a "hot" guy, ok, well, look, I am not a young woman so I have no idea what they think of as a hot guy. I think he looks slimy.
  • Men are only as slimy as women let us get away with. Now, I'm not blaming women - men should find it in themselves to be decent men. But, if women are "easy" then men are going to resist commitment and will act like immature brats and dump them when the relationship gets too difficult or requires too much sacrifice. The guy in the add seems like such a guy, because he's hooking up with a chemically sterilized airhead floozy who thinks he's hot
  • I object to the notion that such a man is a desirable man, or that getting "between the sheets" with such a man is WHY someone should buy for health insurance
But, in the last presidential election, Mr Obama ran an ad about the "first time" someone voted, making it sound like it was losing one's virginity - to Obama. So, I am totally not surprised.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The days of natural child conception are over

Call me an alarmist, but a new gene splitting, repairing, and reattaching technique has been developed. Now it is possible to take an early embryo, test one of its cells for genetic disorders, cut out the defective genetic sequence, replace it with a normal bit, and reassert it in the cell to let the baby develop without that genetic disease.

But this is only possible with IVF.

Already proponents of the technology are saying how unethical it would be to allow a child to live with a disease that could be repaired with this genetic technique.

And that means a couple conceiving in the natural way are doing something unethical if there is any chance that their child could have a genetic disorder.

Call me an alarmist, but some day, you will see natural conception occuring only in places in the world where the technology is not available. Maybe not next year. Maybe not in 10 years. But it will happen.

Of course, with all bioethical issues, the proponents of the practice emphasize the ability to treat diseases and reduce suffering, which are in themselves noble goals.

But the technique can also be used to "fix" perfectly normal but in some way undesired traits. Such as hair color. Sex. Physical stature. Intelligence, insofar as this is genetic. Looks. Possibly talents and athletic abilities. Or traits of animals, such as the ability to glow in the dark.

Or vice-versa. Making super-intelligent animals, or other human-animal hybrids of some kind. Monsters from Greek mythology will be walking the earth.

The transhumanists are gonna love this. And they WILL be making genetically modified humans to server their vanity, er, I mean, progress. No, I really mean vanity.

Call me an alarmist, but normal, natural being-a-human-being is gonna change forever.

Monday, November 4, 2013

But he didn't think it was a person!

Here's a story about a guy and his friend out hunting Bigfoot in Oklahoma.

OK, that's already a comical combination of words, I know.

So what happened is this. They were out hunting, and were apparently not very close to each other. The one guy hears barking noises, turns around, and fires -- and shoots his buddy in the back. The buddy survived but clearly when a hunter shoots at his prey, his intention is to kill the thing he's shooting at.

I am not saying he wanted to kill his friend. I am just saying that shooting is an act ordered to killing, and he shot at something that happened to be his friend.

He has been arrested and charged with reckless conduct with a firearm for the shooting. It seems he should have known that what he was trying to kill was a human being.

It seems to me, though, that being out in the woods of Oklahoma, that it could have been many, many things bedsides a human. It could have been a deer, or a bear, or a wolf, a bush, or even maybe Bigfoot. Still, I happen to agree, he should have positively ruled out that it was a human being before shooting. In fact, he should have also ruled out that it was any out-of-season animal. But primarily, he needed to be certain it was not a human being. And he wasn't certain -- because it was a human being.

An argument in support of abortion is that what is growing and living inside a woman's uterus is not a human being. Or, that we can't know for sure that it is.

We can know for sure what it isn't. It isn't Bigfoot. It definitely isn't a bear or wolf or deer or shrub. We know that for certain.

And yet, do we not have the same moral obligation as the hunter? To rule out with certainty that it isn't a human being?

Now, the shooter could claim that HE was certain it wasn't his friend or any other person when he fired. But we know from later on that it was, and he knows now he was mistaken. Therefore, he didn't know well enough and his certitude was based on insufficient evidence. Had he waited for more evidence, he would have gotten the certitude that he needed.

Yet with abortion, the standard of evidence is all topsy-turvy. The less we know, the more certain we are it's not a human being, the more we can do the procedure without any moral difficulty.

We know, if we doubt it to be a member of the human species, that it certainly cannot be a member of any other species, either. We know it has some relation to the human species in some way, because of the way it came into existence. We know it is alive, or else an abortion would not be necessary. We know if an abortion is not performed, and everything goes normally, a human baby will be born, or else there would be no need for abortion.

That is the whole point of abortion - to prevent the last thing said - the eventual birth of a human baby - from happening. Say what you want about abortion, that is what it boils down to: An abortion is "necessary" because without one a human baby will be born. The object of destruction is that future human baby, as much as the undeveloped contents of the woman's uterus.

And yet, "we don't know when personhood occurs" is a defense of abortion. Ignorance justifies the procedure.

But ignorance is precisely the crime that the hunter who shot his friend is guilty of.

That's the world we live in.