Author archives: Chris Gacek

Another Maternal RU-486 Fatality - This Time in Ital

by Chris Gacek

April 21, 2014

The Family Research Council has tracked safety news about the abortion drug, mifepristone (RU-486; also, Mifeprex®), since its approval as an abortifacient in 2000 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is with sadness that we learned on April 11 of another fatality from the use of the RU-486 abortion regimen. (RU-486 is the first drug administered in a two-drug abortion-producing regimen in which the second drug is misoprostol (Cytotec®).)

An Italian news source (The Local) carried an online article about the death of a 37-year-old woman who was treated at theMartiniHospital inTurin. The woman had taken the mifepristone but only started to experience difficulties four hours after taking the misoprostol – which she did two days after taking the first pills. The misoprostol is needed to induce forceful uterine contractions to expel the dead baby (a human embryo at that point) and other tissue from the uterus.

After taking the misoprostol, she complained of not being able to breathe normally. Shortly, thereafter, she began to experience atrial fibrillation, an irregular, rapid heartbeat. Her heart then stopped and could not be revived. She was in good health and the mother of a four-year-old boy.

I believe there have been about 15 cases of death following the use of the mifepristone abortion regime of which we are aware. Nations likeChinaare not even on the adverse event reporting grid, and the drug is used heavily in the PRC. Hemorrhage, infection, and incomplete abortions are common failures of all chemical abortion regimens.

LifeNews has posted an excellent story on this Italian death that contains more information on the safety of RU-486. Also, in May 2012 the Family Research Council published a paper containing a safety profile for the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen from 2000-12.

Truth is the Greatest Weapon

by Chris Gacek

April 14, 2014

The Brendan Eich firing controversy at Mozilla has prompted a flurry of commentary. I would like to bring your attention to two excellent opinion pieces that place Eich’s firing in a larger context. The first article is a brilliant essay written by Mollie Hemingway (The Federalist) entitled “The Rise of the Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents.” The second is Daniel Greenfield’s piece, “The Left Isn’t Pro-Gay – It’s Pro-Power,” in Frontpage Magazine (online).

Hemingway understands something so few analysts grasp these days: the struggle over the definition of marriage is more deeply about how we are going to define reality and whether truth can exist in our society about anything having to do with “gender” and sex. First, Hemingway broadens the discussion about Eich’s firing to note that we should be defending him because his support for Prop 8 was correct – not just that Eich has the right to speak freely while being wrong. Second, she reminds us of one of the most impactful political essays of the 20th Century – Vaclev Havel’s “The Power of Powerlessness.” Havel argued in 1978 that “post-totalitarian” systems rest on a bed of ideological dishonesty and falsehood. The “powerless” can resist by defending the truth – the true description of reality – and by not acquiescing in the propagation of the regime’s falsehoods. Orwell recognized this too when he said: “During times of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” And, Solzhenitsyn suggested this in the title of his book, Live Not By Lies.

So, what is the Big Lie upon which the growing pan-sexual tyranny rests? It is the rejection of the reality that the male-female sexual act is the only one in which two individual humans are literally coordinated to a single bodily end. True marriage is “about the sexual union of men and women and the refusal to lie about what that union and that union alone produces: the propagation of humanity.” I would add that the sexual complementarity of male and female is physical, emotional, and psychological, and the male- female relationship cannot be duplicated by other forms of sexual relationships or behavior.

The sexual Big Lie demands that all recognition of sex differences be eradicated from public discourse. It is this foundational truth of male-female complementarity that modern feminism and all sexual revolutionary movements must reject. Unless the sexes are basically interchangeable, same-sex unions can never be considered comparable. As Hemingway notes, it was this fundamental truth that Eich refused to renounce and that refusal made Eich a dissident inHavel’s sense.

* * *

Greenfielduses the Eich firing to point out that moderate and liberal Republicans who propose a “truce” on social issues while desiring to focus on fiscal issues ignore the fact that “there is no such thing as a truce on any issue with the left.” Unlike Greenfield, I think that, on the whole, the modern Left in the West is deeply committed to sexual nihilism and the “Culture of Death.” If for no other reason, the Sexual Revolution provides a direct line of attack on the authority of orthodox religious institutions in our incredibly sexualized society. That said,Greenfieldcorrectly observes that “[t]he idea that any part of the left’s agenda can be delinked and ignored is wishful thinking.”

He continues this analysis as follows:

The left doesn’t do truces. If the right cedes gay marriage, all it will have won is the right to be called homophobes for the next hundred years. And the culture war will move on to the next issue and the one after that. The purges will continue and more criminals guilty of thought crimes will be paraded for the virtual cameras. Yesterday’s commonplace idea will be tomorrow’s act of unspeakable bigotry that prevents you from being employed, opening a business or even staying out of prison.

You may be in the clear today, but you won’t be tomorrow.

Wars aren’t won by constantly retreating. They’re won by taking a stand for what you believe in.

Greenfieldis absolutely correct. There is no political benefit in allowing ourselves to be confined to intellectual and political ghettos created by the Left. Over time they will just be eliminated or reduced to irrelevance.

Surrender comes by accepting the Left’s premises, and this we cannot do. Hemingway reminds us that tyranny is overthrown by not accepting the web of falsehoods that the Left has advanced regarding sex. Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, Havel, and Pope John Paul II knew that the Truth is the greatest weapon we possess in fighting totalitarian thought control. And, the fundamental truths supporting natural marriage, including those related to sex differences, cannot be suppressed forever. Being on the wrong side of the natural law is never being on the right side of history.

America’s Amateur Hour on Foreign Policy

by Chris Gacek

March 31, 2014

The disaster that is the Obama foreign policy continues to unfold week by week. While engaging in unilateral military disarmament, our president imitates a wrecking ball destroying decades of American alliances, relationships, and strengths. It is difficult to recall any significant Obama accomplishments, but, at the least, one could hope that he might have a “minimize the harm” operational code. Not a chance.

On March 25th in a speech at the Hague (Netherlands), President Obama made this statement: “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors — not out of strength but out of weakness.” What a ludicrously provocative statement.

Right, Mr.President, Russiais a regional power. Unfortunately, it is a region that extends from the Bering Strait to the Baltic Sea while bordering on the Arctic Ocean, Mongolia, China, and many numerous Eurasian nations. It has a population of 142 million. Finally, thanks to you, Russia has 500 more nuclear warheads than the United States — at about 8,500. Russia is an ancient civilization noted for great scientific and artistic achievement that is anchored by a state church that traces its roots to the Byzantine Empire. Russia is no run-of-the-mill “regional power” under any serious analysis. Russia has been a major world actor for centuries, and it remains so even after 1990.

I have no sympathy for a crypto-communist sociopath like Putin, but Obama’s statement was needlessly insulting and demeaning to Putin and Russia itself. If we were trying to alienate the Russian people, could this statement have been any more effective? Probably not. It is the mark of an amateur — someone who is not a serious analyst of history and foreign policy. Underestimating an enemy is never wise.

And, this leads to Obama’s comically liberal and obtuse crack about the conquest of Crimea being the accomplishment of a weak power. The president appears to be patterning his opposition to Russia on the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. As the Black Knight has his limbs hacked off by King Arthur, he refuses to admit that he is being seriously injured. However, the Black Knight talks a good game, and in Obama’s world that’s all that really matters, isn’t it.

Crowding Out by Obamacare

by Chris Gacek

March 24, 2014

Recently, a local talk radio program here in D.C. had a caller who described his before and after insurance costs for his family of four. Before Obamacare: $3,500; after Obamacare: $10,500. His family’s disposable income has decreased by $7,000. He asserted that his family was middle class, so for someone who is not wealthy an income loss of $7,000 per annum is enormous. (And, substantial premium increases are expected in some regions of the country.)

Think of the businesses and organizations that may be hurt or “crowded out” by the implementation of this new tax: restaurants, auto companies, appliance makers, home improvement firms, decorators, book sellers, home sellers, educational programs, and charities. The list is long. One also has to have sympathy for young adults who may have substantial college debt along with this healthcare burden. Will people delay marriage and have fewer children? Probably so.

If we wish to restore economic growth and family formation and prosperity, it just seems obvious that the Affordable Care Act has to be repealed and replaced. The numbers are just too brutal.

Wahlburgers — An Appetizing New Show about a Devoted Family

by Chris Gacek

March 17, 2014

I have been pleasantly surprised by a cable show on A&E that celebrates family and follows the activities of a large American family that runs a business. I am not talking about Duck Dynasty. Rather, it is the show that follows DD: Wahlburgers about which I write. Wahlburgers tells about the efforts of Mark, Donnie, Paul, and Alma (their mother) Wahlberg to start a restaurant franchise (Wahlburgers) that specializes in hamburgers and sandwiches. The first restaurant is located near Boston in Hingham, Mass.

Of course, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg are the actor/singer/entertainers of various art forms. Paul is the chef who produces the recipes and food. Paul also manages the restaurant(s) and lives near Boston — as does his mother. Mark lives in Los Angeles; Donnie is a New Yorker these days. All of the family members are hard-working and entrepreneurial.

It turns out that the Alma Wahlberg raised something like nine children in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Apparently, the family grew up living around or below the poverty line. That may be due to the divorce of the parents in 1982, but Alma did raise the family on a shoestring. Alma is the peacemaker and mediator who keeps the brothers working together. As one would expect from someone who raised so many children, she is practical and she knows their personalities. Her kids mind her when she tells them to get in line. Alma is definitely the Alpha Wahlberg. That said, her sons absolutely adore her and the childhood she gave them.

A&E was insightful when it placed Wahlburgers after Duck Dynasty each Wednesday evening. While the families themselves and the programs are quite different, the centrality of family lies at the core of each series. Fewer than ten Wahlburgers have been produced, so the show could go completely off the rails. I hope future episodes focus more on Alma, Paul, and the business’s development with less time on the oddball family friends. We shall see, but it is worth a look via DVR sans commercials.

Is this the Sort of Person You Want to Run the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice?

by Chris Gacek

February 6, 2014

The radicalism of the Obama Administration never ceases to amaze us, does it? This was brought home this week by Mark Levin’s extended discussion of “President Obama personally nominating a former cop killer’s lawyer, Debo Adegbile, to head up the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.” Please listen to the introduction Mark gives to his February 4, 2014 program by discussing this horrifying potential appointment.  Follow this link.

Remember also that Mark Levin was the chief of staff at the Department of Justice to a United States Attorney General, Ed Meese. He knows a great deal about the Department of Justice.

Brandon Darby has written a succinct background article on Adegbile who, as an attorney, fought to save Mumia Abu-Jamal from the death sentence and continued imprisonment. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, on December 9, 1981. This was a completely cold-blooded killing.  But, later, “Free Abu-Jamal” was the cry of the Left and Hollywood for years and years. It worked. His death sentence was made impossible.

Even the worst criminals are entitled to a defense under our legal system. However, that does not mean that the lawyers who choose to do that work are worthy of holding highly trusted positions of authority in our government. Do we want this man reviewing the policing activities of law enforcement agencies across America for violations of federal civil rights laws? Do you want him overseeing discipline policies in local schools? Clearly not.

Chuck Canterbury, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing 330,000 police members, wrote this scathing letter of protest to the President on January 6th expressing his organization’s outrage about the nomination. If you want to learn a more about the case go to the website created and maintained by Officer Faulkner’s loving widow, Maureen.

Folks, this nomination does not have to succeed. Spend an hour or two learning about the case, and consider calling the offices of your two United States Senators. Hopefully, this nomination will fail demonstrably, but we can’t be passive and assume it will happen.

Obamacare: America’s Personal, Political, and Economic Wrecking Ball

by Chris Gacek

February 3, 2014

The Weekly Standard links to a revealing local TV story on the reactions of employees at a Pittsburgh-area auto body shop to the health care coverage they will be receiving under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If anyone thinks we have seen the worst of the personal, political, and economic effects of Obamacare, they are kidding themselves. For viewers who have been following the ACA’s implementation, the most salient issues were present cognitively, but to see these devastating forces at work in real lives in a brief video is powerful.

The employees at this small business agreed that they cannot afford the new coverage. Most harmful will be the substantial increases in deductibles and co-pays. Most people are aware of the substantial increases in deductibles, but the co-pays (including “co-insurance”) are another major problem. The substantial increases in the mere price of a visit to a doctor would be uncomfortable but tolerable. But as one website notes regarding the cheapest plan, “Bronze Plans are designed so that insurance companies will pay 60% of covered healthcare expenses with the remaining 40% to be paid by consumers.” There is an annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses set at $6,350, and it seems clear that many people will be paying that maximum amount annually. That will be something new to them.

That is not the way the old plans worked in terms of total exposure for employees. As this becomes clearer, it is hard for me to see how the ACA will survive unless the GOP saves it.

Gordon Chang Gives Details of China’s Paltry One-Child Policy Changes

by Chris Gacek

November 19, 2013

Go to this article in Forbes by Gordon Chang who reports on China’s coming demographic cratering.  China’s fertility rate has declined from 5.9 under Deng to 1.4 presently with the advent of the brutal one-child policy.  As Chang explains, the recently announced population-control policy changes will allow a modest number more urban dwellers to have two children.  However, this minor adjustment is not going to be rolled out quickly.  Perhaps, the greatest resistance to population policy change lies in the fact that the family planning police represent the Communist Party’s strongest control over the populace.  Thus, the Party will be deeply reluctant to relax its grip on that nation even though population decline is rapidly approaching.  You can also listen to this excellent interview of Chang by John Batchelor.  Go to the player and start at 31:00.  

Obamacare Comes into Sharper Focus

by Chris Gacek

November 1, 2013

If you want to know at the human level why Obamacare is going to be a huge problem for the O-care supporters, watch this interview from Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program.  The guest is a nurse, Joan Carrico, who lives in Michigan and has been fighting cancer for six years.  She’s being dumped from her Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy – which she desperately wants to keep.  (The details of her insurance struggle are infuriating. E.g., she can’t even get on the Obamacare website.)  She is only one of many real people who are going to be suffering real injury after 12/31.  The casualty lists may total in the millions.

The website Red State borrowed a phrase from Stalin on Thursday to make a point.  Stalin said the death of one man is a tragedy, but the death of millions is a statistic.  So, if we have 10 million or 93 million victims of Obamacare, does statism win?  In this case, I don’t think so.  Already Kudlow, Megyn Kelly, and Hannity are really focusing on these personal stories of loss.  Other news outlets are being forced to as well.  The Left knows the “optics” of this; this is how it pushes all its various agendas.  Now, the tables are turned.  That is why politicians like Senator Mary Landrieu are running for the hills.

Kudlow’s guests were: Robert Laszewski, Health Policy & Strategy Associates; Avik Roy, Manhattan Institute senior fellow; and, Scott Gottlieb, M.D. of American Enterprise Institute.  Laszewski raises the possibility of using an “early renewal” for Mrs. Carrico – a little known insurance option that might allow her current policy to be extended into 2014.  Health care bureaucrats hate this “loophole” because the cattle aren’t forced into Obamcare fast enough.  So, many states have made it impossible to do this.  Check with your insurance agent to see if it is possible for you.

Millennials Have a Tough Economic Row to Hoe

by Chris Gacek

October 21, 2013

Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, recently had an insightful article in Forbes, “Heavily in Debt Millennials Now Must Foot the Federal Deficit Bill, Too.” Feinberg focuses on the difficult economic times facing Millennials. His observations rest on some pretty basic facts. First, the typical college graduate is trying to pay down about $32,500 in student loan debt. Then, the unemployment rate for those ages 18-29 is a near-record 16%. Feinberg proceeds to note that the burdens of the massive, growing federal debt are going to fall most heavily on those who are just starting their careers. That will be painful for decades as the entitlement state implodes but will probably entail decreased benefits and higher taxes.

I would add that Obamacare is going to be an immense, crushing burden unless it is repealed. We already see companies not hiring to avoid having fifty employees and triggering Obamacare requirements. There is also the trend to hire only part-time workers. It is hard to pay off college loans when you don’t have a full-time job.

Needless to say these trends are devastating to the formation of families and having children. Even worse, may be the impact of Obamacare’s pricing structure. It will take some time to see how this all sorts out, but it appears that young families will have much higher premiums, very high deductibles, and co-pays on the order of 40% … for a “bronze” or lowest-quality plan. If this is true, middle-class families will be devastated as they have to cut back on necessary expenditures like child-care to pay for the insurance. Many industries like the vacation and leisure industries, for example, should take note. There won’t be any money for that stuff and other disposable goods.

This could get ugly quickly.

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