Narcissism amok: Do sexual predators ever sleep?

Vancouver Sun

From a report that appeared in World Magazine, January 2020: In multiplayer games such as Fortnite or Call of Duty, players compete or collaborate with strangers over the internet. Estimates vary widely, but in the United States, about 28 percent of the 211 million gamers are 17 years old or younger. Most girls (83 percent) and nearly all boys (97 percent) play video games at least occasionally, the Pew Research Center reported. Child predators use these multiplayer systems to befriend, groom, lure, and assault young players. Last year, police arrested a 41-year-old Floridian for allegedly abusing more than 20 children whom he met and targeted online. “These virtual spaces are essentially hunting grounds,” cyberpredation expert Mary Anne Franks told The New York Times.

Xbox maker Microsoft on Jan. 10 launched Project Artemis software that monitors all conversations within games that use it and recognizes those consistent with an adult grooming a child. Once it flags a danger, the program alerts a human who then reviews the conversation to determine whether to alert authorities. Microsoft is leasing the patented technology to Thorn—a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting online sex predators—which is making it available to online service companies at no expense. The FBI labels as “sextortion” the exploitation of others online for sexual purposes. It’s so common that no software can be a panacea. While the tool alone can’t make multiplayer gaming safe, parents hope it can at least make it safer.

Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” But behind their frequently worn mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. According to Susan Heitler, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, narcissistic folks who are fun, good at things, and appear in public to be compassionate and generous often look like they would be desirable as friends and even as marriage partners; they can be very enjoyable to hang out with. At the same time, are they also good partners when it comes to talking through differences of opinion?  Have you ever tried to be friends or a love partner with someone who is all about me? Someone who only listens to him or herself? A partner who changes the topic, gets defensive or mad at you when you try to talk about difficulties you’ve been experiencing? Narcissistic functioning, at its core, is a disorder of listening. Think of it as one-sided listening, with multiple features that emerge as a result. The desire to sustain a friendship—never mind a love relationship—can quickly fade with someone who does not seem to see or hear you, who dismissively pushes away what you say, and who may be quick to anger if you nonetheless attempt to express your viewpoint.  

I’m not up on the latest memes, but “Karen” is a meme for a particular kind of self-entitled person, who dresses professionally, values their time over yours, and feels entitled to be treated like royalty. If you are in retail, customer service, or any job interacting with the public and you encounter a “Karen”, you will know what narcissism really feels like. Don’t bother citing company policy, your supervisors’ instructions, or common sense, let alone consideration for others. There is no authority on earth high enough or powerful enough for a “Karen” unless that authority agrees with them. If you are the unlucky employee who has to tell them “no,” you will suffer the wrath of hell unleashed upon you, and then spread to the Internet like a plague via Yelp, Nextdoor, or whatever app is appropriate to bear the weight of your trashing. (Hide your nametag)

Offend a narcissist today (don’t ask me what doesn’t offend them, I couldn’t guess), and you could be bombed with exaggeration, untruths, and outright falsehoods on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Casual interactions with narcissists are bad enough, and there’s a reason I segued from sexual predators to narcissism. It takes someone who values ONLY themselves and their own feelings to prey, especially sexually, on the young and vulnerable. When there is no room in their emotional repertoire to care about or empathize with someone other than ME, they will be ruled by their basest and most insatiable impulses. Last year I wrote a post called Lust Rules the World. Specifically, my post was about why violent Islamic extremists, like ISIS or the 9/11 suicide highjackers, simultaneously condemn the West for sexual freedom (or licentiousness) while they often indulge in pornography, and routinely sexually assault of their captives. Instead of admitting and repenting of their lust and the ways they satisfy it, they project their guilt onto others by creating an entire theology of revenge—“Allah tells me to kill all infidels” (those who practice their lusts openly). The same Quran which says to make war on unbelievers also counsels mercy for the innocent and praises acts of charity. Note to narcissists: Who decided to emphasize the killing part and ignore the mercy part? You did!

Not all narcissists become sexual predators….but all sexual predators are narcissists. Those who want to suppress freedom of speech in the guise of protecting sensitive feelings are narcissists also. While their behavior is more benign than sexual predation, the ego behind the behavior is similar. My emotions and desires are more important than those of anyone else; therefore, whatever I do to satisfy MY desires and uphold MY ideology is justified, regardless of the cost to others.”

Is your social network or peer group elite?

You probably don’t think of your social network, or peer group, in such terms. Let me rephrase then. “Do you think your group has the obligation, right or authority to inform others how to think, or what thoughts and speech are acceptable?” No? Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine you are the chairperson for a campus speakers’ bureau, and you and your cohorts vote on whom to invite for guest lectures, but your group also has “right of refusal” or “approval” of speakers invited by other campus organizations. Are you getting an inkling of where I’m headed?

“Disinvitations” of previously invited speakers: The following graphs are self-explanatory. They are all indications of my definition of elitism: The belief that you possess superior wisdom and ethics, and therefore have the right, the obligation and the authority to control what others get to see or hear!

This kind of elitism–close-minded, egotistical, self-righteous- is anti-freedom, anti-truth, anti-choice, and has no place on campus nor anywhere that promotes the idea of a “free interchange of views.”

Abortion sacramental: cliches and slogans

I have inadvertently started a “dialogue” on abortion on Medium.com, by responding to a post by one of the writers. He hasn’t replied, but another male reader did.If you look at history, it is clear that women can never become equal citizens so long as they are denied control over their own reproduction. It is a pragmatic position that is absolutely fundamental to achieving true equality. So long as a man can simply walk away a woman MUST have equal rights. These are not rights by law btw, but by virtue of reality. Men DO just walk away, therefore they can. There is no way of forcing a man to take responsibility. We’ve tried. We’ve failed. The position we are in now, where woman’s choice is given primacy, is entirely due to men’s shitty behavior over the entire course of history. It’s way too late to claim that men take responsibility so a woman must to. Boodin is clearly an extremist and as such his opinion is worth very little. Some people believe that a bunch of cells should have the same rights as a living breathing human. Crazy right?”

In response to him, I cited the following instances of local and state governments enacting recent “abortion is a sacrament” legislation, in my post “The Contrarian Curmudgeon”, as follows: New York started last year with a euphemistically named Reproductive Health Act. The act effectively denies the personhood of the unborn, creates loopholes for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and loosens the qualifications for medical practitioners who can perform the procedure. The legislation cements the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law. San Francisco blacklisted 22 states with pro-life laws and announced the city would not do business with them. Illinois’ state government followed in New York’s footsteps and passed its own version of the Reproductive Health Act, effectively undoing all previous pro-life legislation in Illinois and establishing it as a destination for abortion seekers. Vermont’s law prevents the state government from putting any restrictions on abortion, and Maine’s law allows physician assistants and some nurses to perform the procedure.

If I call abortion a “sacrament”, doesn’t that statement have religious overtones? Consider this: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio passed “heartbeat” bills—laws to ban abortion after the baby has a detectable heartbeat. Before Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia “heartbeat” bill in May 2019, a group of Hollywood actors signed a joint letter and sent it to the governor, promising to boycott Georgia should the heartbeat bill pass: We can’t imagine being elected officials who had to say to their constituents ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars out of our state’s economy.’ It’s not the most effective campaign slogan, but rest assured we’ll make it yours should it come to pass’.” Yes, to a certain segment of society, aborting the baby IS a sacrament, if allowing a baby with a heartbeat to live is evil to them. What, then, is the likely and logical conclusion of this journey? Consider University of Colorado philosopher David Boonin writing in Beyond Roe: Why abortion should be legal—Even If The Fetus Is A Person. His argument is “laws that protect the unborn involve letting a person who ‘Has no right to use it’, use another person’s body.”

Keep digesting that last sentence! Laws that protect the not-yet-born are in direct opposition to the worship of “choice”–I can do what I want whenever I want as often as I want. That’s radical choice. Consequences? I can offload those to all the other taxpayers. Abortion as a sacrament is the worship of choice, but guess what? Radical choice is a cuckoo egg. Cuckoos are “brood parasites”, master deceivers – hiding their eggs in other species’ nests. To avoid detection, cuckoos have evolved to mimic color and pattern of their favored host-birds’ eggs. If host-birds do not reject cuckoo eggs, the newly hatched cuckoo chick ejects other eggs from the nest by hoisting them onto its back and dumping them over the edge. Then the poor beleaguered host mother ends up with a horribly demanding interloper chick that has just killed her own brood, and now requires and demands more food than the host’s own young. That’s what radical choice is.

After the triumph, the humbling.

“Lord, save me

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men…….And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? Judges 15:14 and 18. Samson, the super strong indefatigable judge chosen by God to save Israel from the philistines, just killed 1,000 enemy with the jawbone—triumph. Then he got so thirsty that he whined about “dying of thirst—the humbling.

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 1 Kings 19: 1-3. Elijah, with God’s help, had just vanquished 400 prophets of the false idol of Baal, and then outran the evil king Ahab’s chariot—triumph. But once Ahab’s even more evil wife Jezebel threatened him, he cowered and split town —the humbling.

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. The triumph. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” The humbling. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:26-31.

Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. – Matthew 26:33-35. As we know, Peter’s declaration of triumph didn’t survive the first punch in the face (thanks, Mike Tyson), he denied Jesus three times, but after the resurrection came the true triumph, which Jesus previewed when testing the apostles about his true identity. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:15-19.

Charles Spurgeon writes, “Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route.” God alone is sovereign over your triumphs and trials, and when you might be puffed up over a triumph, God will humble you, so that you know whose victory it really is. The victory is always the Lord’s. The consequences of giving yourself the glory instead of God are not trifling. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to the people (of Tyre and Sidon). And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. Acts 12:21-23.

Or what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Daniel 4:28-32.

GIVE GOD THE GLORY FOR YOUR TRIUMPHS AND YOUR HUMBLING!

Stick it to white supremacists with my melanin content detection app.

Melanin: Any of various black, dark brown, reddish-brown, or yellow pigments of animal or plant structures (such as skin or hair). Black: scientifically, the combination of equal amounts of all colors in the spectrum. White: Scientifically, the absence of color.

White Supremacist: A person who believes that the “white” race is inherently superior to other races and that “white” people should have control over people of other races. Caucasian: Of, constituting, or characteristic of a race of humankind native to Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia and classified according to physical features —used especially in referring to persons of European descent having usually light skin pigmentation. The objection to using Caucasian to refer to a white person is that many whites do not actually come from the Caucasus region. Be this as it may, there is no rule in language stipulating that the formation of a word must be based on logic; were this the case we would not call members of this racial group either Caucasian or white, since no one’s skin color is truly white, and we have no way of knowing who originally came from the Caucasus mountains.

How many shades of human skin color are there? I suppose it depends on how precise you want to be, or alternatively, how many your agenda dictates. I vote for precision, that’s why I don’t use the term “people of color”, because no color is specified, and I think too highly of human beings, made in God’s image, to reduce them to their melanin content. However, that seems to be the minority view these days. Why is that? Money honey! The POC thing, which is also the marginalized thing, and the underrepresented thing, all have this one thing in common, according to that fount of wisdom called Critical theory: A smaller slice of the wealth pie than their advocates think they should. They are marginalized at the lower end of the wealth bell curve, or underrepresented at the higher end of same. Compared to what, or whom? “Whites” of course. Ignoring the fact that marginalized non-whites in the United States are much better off than most people of any color (or lack of same), in most countries of the world, who are these people complaining about being marginalized, that is, not as well off as some theoretical average or median “white” person??

Since people don’t tend to walk around with a sign around their necks or a sandwich board advertising their net worth or their income, and since credit cards and debt in general can purchase a fake lifestyle, how do we know who is marginalized and therefore believes they should receive transfer goodies courtesy of the government taxpayers? Glad you asked. May I put in a shameless plug for my new melanin content detection app. The concept is simple: If people of color, which is none other than melanin content of the skin, are the marginalized i.e. less wealthy, then doesn’t it follow that the darker they are, the poorer they are….more or less? My app will allow you to measure the melanin content of anyone who you point the camera at and will assign each person a relative marginalization score. If a Democrat gets elected President, he or she, by executive order, could set up reparations redemption offices, preferably re-purposing unused church buildings. You bring your phone with the app showing your relative marginalization score, and sign up for benefits, the Relative Marginalization Credit (RMC). If this concept really catches on, there will be a line item in everyone’s tax return for their relative marginalization score. Those who already qualify for the earned income credit, or EIC (a tax credit for those who don’t even pay taxes), can probably get their reparations credit along with their EIC. Best of all, I get a royalty of 10% for every RMC calculated using my app, with the built-in royalty generator. Reparations anyone??? Let’s show those white supremacists who’s really the boss….using my app, of course.

This concept may appear to have a fatal flaw. What if someone were to try to hack my app by disabling the automatic built in royalty generator? Could they cut me out of the process? Nope. If someone tries to hack my app, it blows up their phone, which might either prove fatal, or might disable them enough to qualify for yet another government taxpayer benefit! Me being a baby boomer I still remember that rallying cry of the 1960’s radicals, “stick it to the man!” Most of those radicals became taxpayers, but their stupid ideas somehow survived reality. With my app they can stick it to themselves.

The Contrarian Curmudgeon.

A blessing for the gene pool?

My contrarian commentary is in bold. The following table levels are from the announcement, on Planned Infanticide Parenthood’s website, of the 2020 Roe v. Wade Luncheon, which celebrates the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court finding a right of privacy, which immediately mutated to the right of infanticide, in the Constitution. The decision was better known as the Roe vs. Wade.

TABLE SPONSORSHIP LEVELS:

Roe v. Wade Visionary, celebrating the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision: $47,000. Gee, I would rather buy a Hummer H3, and drive it over the table! Legacy Sponsor: $30,000. Movement Maker: $15,000. Advocate: $3,000. Fierce Friend: $1500. Underwriter Ticket: $500. Since I won’t be attending, I am sending my contributions, my contrarian opinions, via this post.

New York started last year with a euphemistically named Reproductive Health Act, which is Newspeak for “Destroying As Many Babies and Mothers’ Mental Health As Possible Act.The act effectively denies the personhood of the unborn, creates loopholes for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and loosens the qualifications for medical practitioners who can perform the procedure. The legislation cements the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act on Jan. 22, 2019, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, setting the tone for a year of polarizing abortion legislation. The city celebrated by lighting up One World Trade Center in pink. Radical Islamists cheered the symbolism, Allah Akbar, that New York condones killing many more Americans than any amount of W.T.C. suicide planes, and is repurposing the monument erected to commemorate the brave first responders who risked their lives so that others could live, to celebrate societal suicide as a right.

Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio passed “heartbeat” bills—laws to ban abortion after the baby has a detectable heartbeat. Before Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia “heartbeat” bill in May, a group of Hollywood actors signed a joint letter and sent it to the governor, promising to boycott Georgia should the heartbeat bill pass: “We can’t imagine being elected officials who had to say to their constituents ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars out of our state’s economy.’ It’s not the most effective campaign slogan, but rest assured we’ll make it yours should it come to pass.As this letter plainly demonstrates, Hollywood actors’ imagination stops once there’s no teleprompter or script to follow, so they default to the lowest common denominator position. As for a law declaring that a baby with a heartbeat deserves to live being evil, these actors must be living in one of their own snuff films. If protecting babies with a heartbeat is evil, how do you define good?

San Francisco blacklisted 22 states with pro-life laws and announced the city would not do business with them. That was actually in response to most other states blacklisting San Francisco from the First World due to the city being a public health hazard and the “lifestyle crimescapitol of the United States. Illinois’ state government followed in New York’s footsteps and passed its own version of the Reproductive Health Act, effectively undoing all previous pro-life legislation in Illinois and establishing it as a destination for abortion seekers. Recognizing that Chicago is one of the most unsafe cities in the country for anyone not wearing body armor, Illinois now extends Chicago-level murder to the rest of the state. Vermont’s law prevents the state government from putting any restrictions on abortion, and Maine’s law allows physician assistants and some nurses to perform the procedure. Here I thought Vermont’s and Maine’s population problem was too few people. Would Bernie Sanders’ mother have aborted him if Vermont had such a law in 1941? If so, that’s one argument in favor.

You might say, at this point, Uncle Curmudgeon, I thought you were a Christian, how can you be so mean? Try this idea on: While every human being is created in God’s image, He does periodically purge the most corrupt and blasphemous specimens from the land of the living. Who’s to say that the people killing their own babies, as well as their enablers, aren’t the present day Canaanites, sacrificing their children to Moloch? Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not, Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people. Leviticus 20:2-5.

If pro aborts and their allies are the modern children of Moloch, perhaps we should bless their efforts to kill their own. They can’t even complain about what I just wrote, because it’s what they are campaigning for. Neither my wife nor I, nor anyone we consider friends, would ever kill their own babies, and we have supported efforts to discourage the Moloch worshipers from killing their own. Might that effort be futile? Consider University of Colorado philosopher David Boonin writing in Beyond Roe: Why abortion should be legalEven If The Fetus Is A Person. His argument is “laws that protect the unborn involve letting a person who ‘Has no right to use it’, use another person’s body.” Let that “philosophy” sink in. Mothers, didn’t you realize that your children were misappropriating your bodies? Boonin is tacitly approving of murder, since his statement, taken literally, admits the “fetus” is a person. Why should Christians be fined or go to jail for trying to save others’ babies? Maybe it’s time to reconsider.

An ethical dilemma, a last second miracle.

Every so often, I base a blog post on a TV show. Not just any show, not merely for entertainment, but mostly when the show presents an ethical dilemma with universal implications. The latest installment of Chicago Med had quite a few ethical dilemmas, but the one that stood out for me was: A plane crash and cabin fire at O’Hare airport sent lots of victims to hospitals. One such was burned so badly that he wasn’t recognizable, but the manifest from the flight showed that the guy sitting in his seat was Sam Abrams, the chief neurosurgeon of Gaffney Chicago Med, the hospital the series is named after. The trauma surgeons assigned to him are Drs. Ethan Choi and Crockett Marcel, who have personally clashed in the past due to very different personalities. Choi is a second generation Naval veteran, superficially quick to judge and condemn, traits which cover his PTSD and deep compassion. Despite his cool and collected demeanor, it is apparent that he has been deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed overseas as well as in the Emergency department (ED). He has a notebook in which he writes down the name, date and time of death and description of every patient who has died on his watch.

Under the assumption that this unconscious, badly burned, paralyzed victim is their own Sam Abrams, the hospital contacts his wife Michelle, who is so much younger than Abrams that Choi mistakes her for his daughter, Lucy. With as much certainty as they could, they proceeded to perform life-saving measures on Dr. Abrams. While Sam was not brain dead, he would be dependent on others for the rest of his life. Dr. Marcel and Dr. Choi were optimistic that he would wake up once the swelling in his brain went down. Imagine that you are recently married, and one day you find your spouse in the emergency room, informed that they are likely to wake up horribly disfigured, unable to ever walk, or use their hands, and will be totally dependent on you for dressing, eating, toileting and every other function of daily living. This is not what you signed up for, despite the marriage vows “in sickness and in health, for better or worse, as long as you both shall live.” Abrams’ wife even repeats those vows, before declaring that she wants Sam taken off life support. Ethan was hesitant, but she insisted, not for herself, she emphatically declared, but for him, as he would not want to live that way. Ethan thought that Sam’s daughter Lucy should be the one to make the call, but she was backpacking in the Andes, and Michelle insisted that Sam would not want Lucy to see him like this, but rather to remember him as he was.

Ethan also found out about Sam’s huge life insurance policy, and was suspicious of Michelle, who stood to gain millions in life insurance if Sam were to die. She was the one who had rushed into marriage, and Ethan wasn’t comfortable not giving Lucy a chance to speak for her father. Dr. Marcel said that they should rule in favor of Michelle, because legally, she was next of kin. Ethan took it to the ethics committee, who also ruled in Michelle’s favor. Before I go on, I want to ask you: Would you want your spouse or children to be in this position, making a life or death decision for you, in the absence of your direction for post trauma medical care? There’s really no excuse for not having the proper documents on file and available to your loved ones. My daughters are very reluctant to discuss these matters with me, but I have let them all know where the documents are. Those are: healthcare directive/living will; physicians orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST); durable power of attorney for healthcare. Get it done people!

As the ED staff was getting ready to turn off life support, Choi was too upset to watch, and took a minute outside, just as Sam Abrams was getting out of a taxi. Yes, that’s right. Dr. Abrams was alive and well, having taken a later flight after ceding his seat to another conference participant. Choi raced back in, hoping it wasn’t too late to revive the ill fated John Doe. You can imagine the shock, the consternation, and the relief as Sam shows up in the room where Choi is frantically trying to revive the John Doe, over the shouted objections of Michelle, Dr. Marcel and the hospital administrator (representing the ethics committee). After considerable hugging, tears and explanations, Michelle leaves as Sam prepares for work. What was the obvious ethical dilemma? It was not, “who should decide about life support” since Michelle was legal next of kin. Was it “the greater vested interest” that Michelle was facing? Whose true interests was she representing? The decision to let him die, so soon after the disaster, rather than to maintain life support until he could wake up, was in whose best interests? Was it really true, that he would not want to live, dependent on others, or was it that she, faced with the choice to be a young, attractive, rich widow or a lifetime caregiver, chose the former? Or was she fooling herself in insisting that Sam would not want to live that way nor would want Lucy to see him helpless and disfigured?

There was yet another ethical dilemma. Ethan and Sam were friends and colleagues, and Ethan was under the impression that Sam’s wife was choosing to end his life for her own selfish reasons. Dr. Marcel’s previous conflicts with Dr. Choi were almost all about how emotionally involved to get with a patient. Choi erred on the side of too much, overstepping his boundaries to interfere in the choices the patients and their families made. Marcel was perhaps too much the other extreme, so emotionally nonchalant that he could seem insensitive. Now that Sam was alive and well, Choi decided he needed to inform Sam “of the kind of woman he married”, by discussing with him the decisions that Michelle made. Would you have done that? Could anything good come of it? Self righteousness can be a poison. My perspective on telling Sam would be: “Even if he believes what I tell him about Michelle, he’s not likely to divorce her; it’s more likely that he will be angry at me, and I will have sown the seeds of suspicion, destroyed trust between them, and their marriage would eventually suffer. Is it really my responsibility? Aren’t there some decisions that shouldn’t be disclosed if they were made under great duress?” What would your perspective be?

Ethan did tell Sam, and was surprised to find that Sam agreed with all of Michelle’s decisions. Apparently they had discussed such eventualities proactively. An even bigger surprise was in store for Ethan regarding the financial implications. Michelle held a patent on a longevity formula that was immensely popular, and she was considerably wealthier than Sam. Maybe she didn’t marry for money after all. But could Ethan’s disclosures have sown seeds of suspicion anyway? All people harbor secrets, and spouses, who should have no secrets from each other, probably harbor more secrets than they should. If Sam and Michelle are wise, they will thoroughly discuss the decisions at the hospital and not withhold any suspicions, lest distrust undermine their marriage. What will be their fate?

In 13 states, it’s legal for governments to steal your home equity.

I compiled this post from a variety of sources: Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org), Pacific Legal Foundation (Pacificlegal.org), Greatfallstribune.com (Mt.), Detroitnews.com and SSRN.COM.

Uri Rafaeli’s story is heartbreaking to read: Uri is a retired 83-year-old Michigan engineer, and in 2014 he accidentally underpaid, by $8.41, the property taxes on a home he rented out. But instead of notifying him of the issue and helping him, his county government seized the home and sold it at auction for $24,500. The county (Wayne) then kept all the proceeds—leaving Rafaeli with nothing.

There is a word for this practice: theft. And Wayne County is not the only one winning big on the minuscule mistakes of the little guy: it’s every county in Michigan and in a dozen other states, as well. In the case of Erica Perez, whose home was taken and sold for $108,000 to satisfy a debt of $144, the notice was mailed to the wrong address—even though the county had the correct address on file.

In Alabama, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin, governments not only keep the value of unpaid property taxes and interest from the sale of a seized home—they also keep the surplus value rather than returning it to the property owner. In Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, private investors often reap the gains of home equity theft.

The situation in Michigan, where Uri Rafaeli lost his property, illustrates the scope of the abuse. Between 2013 and 2018, local government entities in Michigan foreclosed on more than 150,000 properties for unpaid taxes. In Massachusetts, municipalities took more than $56 million in home equity from property owners in a single year, according to a study by University of Massachusetts School of Law Professor Ralph D. Clifford, which is summarized here:

The predominant method for collecting delinquent real estate taxes in Massachusetts is the use of the “tax deed” as authorized by Chapter 60, Sections 53-54. Under the authorized procedures, each municipality’s tax collector can execute and record a deed that transfers fee simple title to the real estate to the municipality subject to the taxpayer’s statutorily created redemption right. If the redemption right is or cannot be exercised, all of the taxpayer’s rights in the property, as well as other’s rights created by encumbrances such as mortgages, are terminated by the foreclosure process provided for in the statute. Importantly, the municipality does not obtain title to the taxpayer’s land by foreclosure; instead, it merely frees itself of any remaining claim by the taxpayer.

The problem with the tax deed procedure is that it fails to provide both procedural and substantive due process to the taxpayer. Procedurally, although adequate notice is given, title to the taxpayer’s real estate is taken by the government without a hearing. Based on an unreviewed decision by a municipal tax collector, the taxpayer immediately loses title to the land. Substantively, by using a tax deed, the municipality engages in the taking of property without providing reasonable compensation. The value of the land taken for payment of the tax debt is not evaluated in the context of the debt owed. Empirical evidence shows that the property’s value significantly exceeds the debt owed, giving the municipality the ability to collect almost fifty dollars for every dollar of delinquent real estate tax owed, on average. Each year, approximately $56,000,000 is unconstitutionally appropriated from taxpayers. 

Why would governments do this? Pacific Legal Foundation found two reasons:

  • Local governments can pad their budgets with stolen equity. In Detroit, there’s a budget line every year for expected windfalls from home foreclosures.
  • Some politicians use the system to reward their friends and family with homes priced below market. In Michigan, local officials funnel auctioned properties to their family and connected businesses at a discount.

Thousands of bargain hunters who register to buy foreclosed homes from the Wayne County Treasurer each year recently have been competing against family members of the official who runs the auction, in violation of county rules. As chief tax collector, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree leads one of the largest government foreclosure auctions in the nation. It has transferred ownership of more than a quarter of Detroit properties since Sabree started as deputy treasurer in 2011. Treasurer’s office rules ban family members from participating in the auction, which seizes properties from homeowners with late taxes and sells them to the highest bidder.  

  • In Montana, before the practice was banned, local treasurers sold foreclosed homes to preferred private investors.

In Montana, property tax lien assignments become available after the taxes have gone delinquent for no fewer than two months. At that point, anyone with an interest in the property; be it a neighbor, rival or property investment company, can come in, pay the back taxes and obtain a lien on the property attached to them.

Once a tax lien has been sold, state law guarantees the holder of that lien a 10 percent annual return on their investment – plus an additional two-percent per annum that goes to the county to cover administrative costs. If the owner of the property does not reimburse the lien holder for the entire amount of the accumulating debt within three years, then a tax deed is issued turning ownership of the property over to the lien holder. Property tax collection in Montana is unique in that it relies upon the profit motive of private individuals to enforce compliance.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, every state in the country has laws authorizing the creation of a lien against residential property when the taxes don’t get paid. The laws are not uniform, but their most punitive outcomes can be devastating. We can hardly blame President Trump for these thefts, though I imagine the mediated reality establishment will find a way. But all the guilty states, with the exception of North Dakota, are very blue, having gone for the Democrat presidential candidate in 3 (3 states) or 4 (the rest) elections since 2000. Shocking!

The intersection of envy and injustice.

Used to be sins, now just another viewpoint

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, un-spiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3

James, the apostle who wrote those passages, was the brother of John, another apostle. Jesus called them the “sons of thunder”, because in the early days of following Jesus Christ, they were intolerant of anyone who did not follow Jesus, or who was not a Jew. They were quick to criticize and threaten, even to destroy a Samaritan village. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Luke 9:53-55.

One day James and John asked Jesus for favoritism in the kingdom of heaven, and this did not go down well with the other apostles. And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:41-45.

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.This concept, taught by the Master, matured all the apostles. Maturity is only achieved by stewardship of people and property. Greatness, according to the Lord, is measured by servanthood, not striving to be in charge. As you can see from those first two passages from the book of James, he grew up, as did his brother John. James was eventually executed by Herod, and John was exiled to the barren island of Patmos, where he was inspired to write the final book of the Bible, Revelation. James and John were simple but emotional fishermen, as was Peter. All three confounded the wise, the pundits and sages of their day, as the Lord gave them an eloquence well beyond their lowly status and lack of education. They were lowly: Jews, fishermen, poor, uneducated, intemperate, emotional, looked down upon by the conquerors and occupiers of their land—the Romans. So they developed the first known example of intersectionality theory to explain away their status and to guilt Rome into sharing the empire’s goodies with them. As a result, the Roman Empire got woke and became a beacon of social justice…. Nope, as a result, the notoriously unsympathetic Romans crucified the lot of them… More likely, but still not accurate.

Peter, James, John, and all the apostles and followers of Jesus, all of Judea, the Roman Empire, and the entire known world of that day didn’t, and would not have, developed intersectionality theory, simply because everyone lived at the intersection of envy and injustice, even the Roman emperors, who had absolute power but were more likely to be assassinated for their position than die of old age. Freedom, “consent of the governed”, equality, fairness, “social justice” and other artifacts of a Judeo-Christian worldview and the principles embraced by our nation’s founders, which we moderns take for granted….did not exist. Kings and emperors ruled, succession by battle or assassination was the norm, ruthless conquest and subjugation was the fate of weaker nations. In that world, prior to the ascendancy of Judeo-Christian ideals (the foundation of the Declaration of Independence and many principles of the U.S. Constitution), military power was strictly for conquest and empire building of the most powerful, NOT for defending other nations from aggression nor promulgating the idea of freedom.

I have previously written about Critical theory and it’s handmaiden, Intersectionality theory. Look them up if you want to know about them. Such foolish and inane ideas could only flourish in a world where freedom and justice is taken for granted, and emotion rules reason and truth, and where the “seven deadly sins”, pride atop the list, reign. In the USA, our former ideals have been thoroughly corrupted by mutating Biblical justice into “social justice”, which is the suicide bomb of Critical/Intersectional theories. Academia has been the main culprit in this mutation, spreading the virus of “social justice” through the media and politics. The result politically has been replacing the Constitutional responsibilities of the federal (central) government-defense of our homeland, protection of our currency and international trade-with transferism, the ceaseless efforts to transfer government power and tax revenue to politically favored groups (i.e. “under-represented minorities”as defined by intersectionality theory).

True justice considers the consequences of freely chosen individual acts, but “social justice” tries to align the distribution of economic and social benefits among social groups according to critical theory, justifying the exercise of the state’s coercive power to distribute “fairly” goods that include education, employment, housing, income, health care, leisure, a pleasant environment, political power, property, social recognition, and wealth. According to a recent report by the National Association of Scholars, NAS.org, called Social Justice Education in America: What we may call radical social justice theory, which dominates higher education, adds to broader social justice theory the belief that society is divided into social identity groups defined by categories such as class, race, and gender; that any “unfair distribution” of goods among these groups is oppression; and that oppression can only—and must—be removed by a coalition of “marginalized” identity groups working to radically. This is how envy works to create true injustice–theft, transfer by government coercion. It looks like the whiners are winning, but God is sovereign.

Some super sappy ideas to begin 2020.

It’s January 12, 2020, and with only 353 days left until 2021, we have to cram as much sappiness as we can into every day to make 2020 as sappy as 2019. So let’s kick off the New Year with some super sappy snippets of secular silliness.

Reminding us why it was fortunate our founding fathers threw off the yoke of “Great” Britain, lecturers in the journalism department at Leeds Trinity University in the United Kingdom were warned not to use ALL CAPS when communicating with students because it might make them too scared to do the assignment. “Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all,” states a memo that the lecturers received, according to The Express. “Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and the overuse of ‘do’, and, especially, ‘DON’T.’”

At Leeds Trinity University we support our students to be the very best they can be,” Professor Margaret A. House OBE, vice chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, told Mirror Online. “We’re proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives every student the support to realize their potential. We follow national best practice teaching guidelines, and the memo cited in the press is guidance from a course leader to academic staff, sharing best practice from the latest teaching research to inform their teaching,” (someone give this woman a course in plain speaking) she continued. I want to know, what’s so great about “inclusive”? I also wonder how does avoiding CAPITALIZED LETTERS support students to be the “very best” they can be? If students are awash in bad habits, how does “overuse of ‘do’ and eliminating ‘DON’T’ make them better?

A new survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that economic inequality is a big issue with voters, and not just liberals. Some 61% of adult Americans told Pew that there is “too much” income inequality in the U.S., and 42% said reducing income inequality should be a “major priority” for the federal government — three percentage points more than those who said the same thing about reducing illegal immigration. (The figure rose to 78% when only accounting for those who lean politically to the left.) How, pray tell, can the federal government “reduce income inequality?” How about a campaign “just say no to income inequality”? Even better “just say no to envy”.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, says, “income inequality, and wealth inequality, is most pronounced when the stock market is doing well.” “Life Experiences and Income Inequality in the United States,” a report from Harvard’s Chan school, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio, is based on a survey of 1,885 adults in July and August of last year. It found that households in the top 1% of the income distribution— essentially, those earning more than $500,000—are leading completely different lives than the other 99%. This entire paragraph can go in the round file labeled “no shit Sherlock”! Gee, since “wealth inequality” is primarily the result of stock prices rising or stock splits, might it be that those who own more stock will get wealthier when the stock market is doing well? As for the top 1% of earners living “different lives”, well duhhhh! And so what? Your income reflects the cost to replace you, more than anything else. Want more income? Make yourself harder to replace, or as Booker T. Washington put it, “make yourself indispensable.”

On par with income inequality in buzzword brouhaha land is climate change. As we all know, Australia is experiencing wide ranging, but nowhere near the worst they’ve ever had, wildfires. The actual causes are too much dead brush on the ground (mainly due to protests against controlled burns), the Indian Ocean dipole (raising temperatures and wind velocity), and arson (yeah, actually), but that reality, and the fact that the government has no control over wind and temperatures, has no effect on protests. Teacher Denise Lavell said she attended the protests in Sydney because “Our country is burning, our planet is dying and we need to show up,” she told Reuters.

In Melbourne, huge crowds braved heavy rain and a sharp drop in temperature to come out with placards, shouting “Phase Out Fossil Fools”, “Fire ScoMo” and “Make Fossil Fuels History.” Climate scientists have warned the frequency and intensity of the fires will surge as Australia becomes hotter and drier. Australia has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since records began in 1910, NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel said this week. “This makes heat waves and fires more likely,” she said on Twitter. “There is no explanation for this – none – that makes sense, besides emissions of heat-trapping gases.” There’s no better venue for knowledgeable, scientific debate than Twitter!

It isn’t just emotionally overwrought adults who are panicking over wildfires, which in fact are not the worst ever, neither in Australia nor California. Kids will be at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, protesting en masse. Young climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, will be attending Davos this year to put pressure on world leaders to end the fossil fuel economy. “Anything less than immediately ceasing these investments in the fossil fuel industry would be a betrayal of life itself,” writes Greta. climate activists and school strikers from around the world will be present to put pressure on these leaders. “We demand that at this year’s Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now – as in right now.” So say the sad young sages, but that’s kids for you, everything must be done right now, as in immediately, and no one gets to argue, because kids know best. At the end of the WEForum credits appear, as if it were a movie.

Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old environmental campaigner from Stockholm, Sweden. This article was co-written with youth climate activists Jean Hinchliffe, Australia; Danielle Ferreira de Assis, Brazil; Joel Enrique Peña Panichine, Chile; Robin Jullian, France; Luisa Neubauer, Germany; Licipriya Kangujam, India; David Wicker, Italy; Julia Haddad, Lebanon; Oladosu Adenike, Nigeria; Iqbal Badruddin, Pakistan; Arshak Makichyan, Russia; Holly Gillibrand, Scotland; Alejandro Martínez, Spain; Isabelle Axelsson, Sweden; Sophia Axelsson, Sweden; Ell Jarl, Sweden; Mina Pohankova, Sweden; Linus Dolder, Switzerland; Vanessa Nakate, Uganda; Tokata Iron Eyes, USA.

Bottom line here: Roll up every environmental fear and scary phenomena into a single buzz phrase—climate change—which they don’t even understand, and use this magnified fear to justify measures which would destroy modern economies, undermine the very technological progress most capable of fortifying the environment. Such measures as they “demand” will have unintended consequences that they will be even angrier about if they get their way. Honestly, some people, you just can’t please’em!