Shameful hypocrisy by the Herald-Times

I have asked this before, but does the Herald-Times actually have content standards, or are those so-called “standards” simply the whims of the editors and comment moderators on any particular day?

On July 10, a guest column was published referring to health care legislation as “murderous” and “murder for hire.” Keep in mind that I have had comments deleted for referring to abortion as murder, and the H-T justified that deletion by saying murder is a felony and saying that abortion is murder is therefore defamatory. HeraldTimesOnline moderators have made it very clear that word is not allowed to be used to describe the actions of others, but the Herald-Times approved a guest column claiming that the United States Senate is considering legislation that will “murder” people.

Since the word “murder” is not permitted in HTO comments, it should not be in the print edition. Full stop.

Furthermore, referring to the health care bill as “murderous” is an absurd abuse of language. Murder is the unlawful, intentional termination of a human life. Not one single person who wrote the bill and not one single person who voted for it in the House intend on killing anyone.

Whatever side you are on, there are arguments about whether ObamaCare or the ACHA would be better overall for this nation and her people. Argue your point, but to accuse those who simply disagree with you of being “murderers” degrades the discourse. Even if the American Health Care Act causes people to lose access to health care and they die as a result, that is not “murder.” And it is highly debatable whether that will happen. It certainly is not a fact.

Shame on the Herald-Times for their hypocrisy in allowing Leftists to use much more harsh and extreme language than conservatives and in a much more visible format approved by the editor. Shame on the Herald-Times for degrading the dialogue by publishing that guest column. Shame on the Herald-Times for encouraging an uncivil environment by allowing a guest columnist to accuse members of the Bloomington community of “murder.” And yes, I mean “our community,” because Senator Todd Young lives in Bloomington.

The Herald-Times should do two things. First, they should apologize for poisoning the well. Second, they should stop being hypocrites and apply their so-called “standards” to everyone, not just conservatives.

How to harden and intensify opposition to Trump

Anti-Trump conservatives are a bunch of stuck-up elitists who cannot stand him because he talks like a “commoner.” They see themselves as the intellectual standard-bearers and rightful leaders of the conservative movement and they will never support someone who speaks like a “commoner,” even when he implementing public policy they agree with and would publicly praise any other Republican doing the same things.

And that is exactly the wrong way to convert “Never Trump” conservatives.

As a former “Never Trump” and current Trump supporter, this oversimplification is not only offensive, it is wrong. It does not convince anyone, it has never convinced anyone and it will never convince anyone. It is nothing more than arrogant virtue signaling by Trump supporters.

I support President Trump in his effort to “drain the swamp” and “make America great again,” because I mostly agree with the policies he has implemented as President. Obviously, there are places I disagree. There has never been and will never be a candidate or elected official I agree with 100%, unless I am voting for myself. But Trump has been far more right than wrong.

That said, I categorically reject arguments that Trump is the “only one” of the Republican candidates who could effectively advance the conservative agenda. I categorically reject arguments that Trump is the “only one” who could have defeated Hillary Clinton. That is a cult mentality and I have no patience or tolerance for it. Even as a Trump supporter, I will continue to damn the worship of him as a messiah.

I did not vote for Trump, and I do not regret that decision. I support Trump now because as President he has implemented solid conservative policy and realistically he is the only option we have right now to implement conservative policy at the federal level. If we want market-based health care reform, lower taxes, border security, less regulation, and protection for the unborn, that goes through President Trump.

That said, I absolutely do not dismiss all conservative opposition to Trump as illegitimate. Again, that is a cult mentality and I despise it. I support Trump. For those conservatives who do not I will make the case for why he deserves conservative support and allow people to follow their conscience. I refuse to cast conservative opposition to President Trump as illegitimate.

That is not how you convince “Never Trump” conservatives to support Trump. I know this because it failed to convince me. Not only did it fail, it hardened and intensified my opposition to Trump during the campaign. The way you convince “Never Trump” conservatives to support Trump is to make the policy and political case for supporting him, not by demonizing them.

I know this because that is what worked to convince me to support Trump. Attacking me only solidified and intensified my opposition to him, and increased the volume of that opposition. While I do not regret voting against Trump in 2016, I would vote for Trump if the 2020 election were held today.

That is not because I was attacked, called illegitimate or immoral, or told I was a liar, a traitor to my county and a danger to my family. Those attacks were lies and slander in 2016 and they are lies and slander today. I was convinced by solid arguments and good policy. That is the case Trump supporters need to make, instead of the divisive attacks on “Never Trump” conservatives.

Blockquotes

I realized yesterday that the new theme does not do a good job of differentiating text in a “blockquote” from the text of the blog post. That cannot be fixed without changing the theme. So I will do something different for future posts where I am quoting something.

Gluten is not bad for you.

Gluten is not bad for you. If your diet includes the naturally occurring proteins from wheat, you will not suffer harm from that diet. There is no need for the vast majority of people to eat a gluten-free diet. This foodie fad is not based on solid science.

What I posted above is a statement of general truth. Exceptions to the rule – specifically celiac disease – do not invalidate that general truth. A general truth and a universal truth are not the same thing, but a general truth is still generally true.

Is gluten bad for some people? Obviously, people who have celiac disease should avoid it. Peanuts are not bad for most people either. For those with a peanut allergy, they are very bad and can be fatal. There are always exceptions to general truths, because of the complexity of human biology. Everyone’s body is different and unique. But for most people, wheat protein (gluten) is not bad for you.

Obviously, we should be sensitive to those with food allergies. You will never find anything I have ever said or written where I argued otherwise. It has never happened, even one single time. Criticizing a foodie fad that is not based on facts or science in no way denies the fact that there are people with food allergies.

In fact, I would argue the anti-gluten fad actually harms people who legitimately have celiac disease. When tens of thousands of people are religiously (I use that word intentionally) avoiding gluten when they have no health need to do so, people who rightly see this as a fad then take real medical issues less seriously. The gluten-free fad is the classic “boy who cried wolf” scenario.

The arrogant, know-it-all federal bureaucracy

The following quote is typical of the arrogant, know-it-all federal bureaucracy. Rant to follow.

“We still have too many people getting medicine at too high a level and for too long.”

Right. You know this because you know every case intimately. Sure.

Look, are there serious problems with opioid prescriptions that have caused suffering and addictions? Are there doctors who have been sloppy in the way they prescribed opioid painkillers? Are there unethical “candyman” doctors who people go to in order to feed their addictions, instead of for legitimate chronic pain?

Yes!

Sloppy and negligent doctors should be disciplined by the appropriate medical boards. Unethical “candyman” doctors should be disciplined, and criminally prosecuted if that is necessary.

But the statement from the Centers for Disease Control that I quoted above is a political analysis, not a medical one. There is simply no way to know that without independent doctors (not politicians and bureaucrats) looking at each individual case and determining whether or not the prescriptions were necessary to control pain, or whether those prescriptions were sloppy or even reckless.

It is obvious (or should be obvious) that the best person to decide what pain medication is appropriate and what level is appropriate is the doctor who deals directly with the patient, not a federal government bureaucrat and certainly not a politician. This needs to be solved with a scalpel, not a sledge hammer.

The bottom line is this: I simply do not trust the federal government on this matter. I trust individual doctors. We should not make doctors terrified to treat people who are in agonizing pain.

Blind support of a political leader is wicked

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times, July 11, 2017

To the Editor:

It does not help President Donald Trump when sycophants mindlessly praise everything he does. If people want to support Trump, then they need to push him to be better, including calling him out when he is wrong. Those who never find fault in the President are not Trump supporters. They are cultists.

I did not vote for President Trump in the 2016 election. I do not regret that choice. However, Trump has successfully converted this former #NeverTrump voter. I am happy with his anti-abortion policies and his rollback of environmental regulations that have harmed our economy. I would vote for Trump if the 2020 general election was today.

But when Trump launches depraved personal attacks, like the one he spewed against Mika Brzezinski, Republicans must rebuke him for it. Many conservatives love that Trump is a fighter and a counter-puncher, but there are many ways to fight back that are within the realm of civil discourse. This was way out of bounds.

It is especially important for Christians to not support these attacks. Our loyalty is to be to Jesus Christ, not any politician or political party. Blind, unwavering support for a political leader is idolatry and is terribly wicked.

Responding to Trump vs. overreacting to Trump

President Donald Trump inspires a range of emotions. This is especially true when he is trolling his political opponents, who look silly when they overreact. In some cases, they look dangerous and deranged, harming themselves much more than they harm Trump with their criticisms. Let this be a political lesson: Responding in a reasonable manner is fine, but becoming unhinged is not fine.

When Trump tweeted an altered GIF of his appearance at WrestleMania a decade ago, the reaction was swift: Some people criticized Trump’s tweet as for being childish and for demeaning the office of the President. While I thought the reaction to a funny GIF was overblown, these criticisms do have merit. Had the criticisms stopped there, CNN and its defenders could have “won” the argument with the President. They did not.

First, they overreacted rhetorically, with laughable claims that Trump “endorses violence against journalists” and that Trump ” is going to get somebody killed”. Now you have just made fools of yourselves by overreacting to a silly GIF from a decade-old professional wrestling event.

But CNN did not stop there. They made it much, much worse.

CNN actually blackmailed the anonymous Reddit user who created the meme by threatening to “out” his real name, exposing him to threats, harassment and maybe even violence. By engaging in that bullying – which is far worse than Trump’s silly WrestleMania post – CNN permanently lost all credibility to whine about Trump or anyone else “bullying” them.

Think about this for a minute. A multinational corporation actually threatened, blackmailed and bullied a private citizen because he posted a silly GIF on Reddit. That is astonishing. This is not the President feuding with the media. This is a power imbalance between bully and victim so extreme it should be appalling to all good and decent people. How can anyone defend this depraved and perverted behavior by CNN? They have completely humiliated and degraded themselves with this unconscionable cyberstalking.

It is reasonable to criticize the President, both on his policies and on his childish personal behavior. It is not reasonable for a huge multinational corporation to blackmail, threaten and intimidate a private citizen for posting a meme. What about this very simple concept is so difficult for CNN to comprehend?

Please do not murder little Charlie Gard

Note: I sent this open letter to Great Ormond Street Hospital last week.

I am both angry and deeply grieved by your treatment of the Charlie Gard case.I am writing you to beg you to reconsider your decision to condemn this baby to death and your decision to steal the authority rightly given to his parents by Almighty God.

I could understand if you refused to continue caring for Charlie, but for you to refuse to release him to his parents is unconscionable. All you have to do is allow his parents to use the $1.5 million they have collected to seek treatment elsewhere. Perhaps you are right, and Charlie is going to die no matter what is done. Only God knows what would happen. But this is not your decision to make. You do not have the right to decide that this baby will not be allowed to receive medical care elsewhere.

That authority rightly belongs to the parents. In kidnapping Charlie (and that is exactly what you are doing) you are in direct rebellion against the order established by God. Recall in Romans 13 that “the powers that be are ordained of God” and that rebellion against the authority God has established brings damnation. In a sane world, the civil magistrate would take the child by force and return him to the custody of his parents, but the civil magistrate in the United Kingdom is wicked and bloodthirsty.

I would urge you to pray and repent, because the wrath of God is a terrible and frightening thing. As caretakers of sick children made in God’s image, you will be held accountable by God for how you handle this and other cases. You will stand before God and answer for what you do here. I remind you that God’s Holy Word describes the murder of babies as so terribly wicked that it never even entered into the mind of God. (See Jeremiah 7:31, Jeremiah 19:5 and Jeremiah 32:35.)

Please repent of this terrible sin. Please do not murder Charlie Gard.

What about this issue over here, huh?

A favorite tactic of the Left is to distract from abortion by bringing up other issues, in an attempt to “prove” that abortion opponents are “hypocrites” for their stance on other issues. But none of these issues come close to the sheer brutality of abortion, with a staggering sixty million unborn babies murdered since 1973. Every year, over a million babies are murdered in America’s abortion clinics, and several hundred babies die every year right here in Bloomington. Abortion is the biggest moral issue of our time.

With that said, I will answer some questions that were posed to me in the Herald-Times comments about issues that can be seen as “pro-life” issues.

“Are you against the death penalty?”

No, and that is because I value human life. Some crimes are so heinous that the criminal has forfeited his right to life. It is illogical to equate the murder of an innocent baby in the womb to the lawful execution of a murderer. With that said, we must be absolutely uncompromising on due process for accused murderers.

“Are you against the many useless wars that we have fought for years?”

What is a “useless” war? Obviously, people have different opinions on what is justifiable and what is not. I have been critical of military action in the past, specifically against Syria. That is far too broad of a question.

“Are you against the unfair jailing of millions of people for minor crimes?”

What is a “minor crime,” in this context? Again, that is far too broad. Again, I am on record as being very critical of the over-criminalization of so much of life.

“Are you against the shooting of innocent black people by the police?”

This is a silly question. Nobody is in favor of shooting innocent people of any race. But sometimes tragic mistakes are made that where a shooting is a legally justifiable use of force, even if it turns out that the person shot was not a threat. It is not enough to say we are “against” such things happening, because everyone is against that. Every case is unique and must be judged on its own merits.

Considering I was the only candidate to oppose police militarization in the 2015 city election, and considering how many letters to the editor I have had on excessive force by police (see here and here and here and here and here and here and here) I do not need to establish my credibility on this issue.