Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A real Dr Strangelove

A doctor at the renowned Children's Hospital Boston has launched a new program to drug children to delay puberty so they can decide whether they want a male or a female body, according to a report today in the Boston Globe. Pediatric endocrinologist Norman Spack, 64, says he started the Gender Management Service Clinic because he found himself encountering 20-somethings who were "transgendered" and in good shape socially, "but they were having trouble getting their physique to conform to their identity. "I knew the 20-somethings could have better chances of passing if they were treated earlier," he said.

"We don't think that demonic is too strong a word to describe this," said a statement from the pro-family Mass Resistance organization. "It brings us thoughts of the Nazi doctors who thought they were doing good things."

WND has reported previously on some of the controversies prompted by the belief that a man can be born in a woman's body, or vice versa, including in Montgomery County, Md., where county officials have adopted a law that precludes those who provide public accommodations from discriminating based on that "gender identity." Voters there have petitioned to have a vote on that law because they fear men who "decide" they are female walking into women's restrooms and locker rooms.

"Is this our future?" asked Mass Resistance in a commentary. "Dr. Norman Spack runs a clinic for young children who've 'decided' they are transgendered. Among other things, the clinic administers powerful hormones to delay (or even stop) puberty in order that the children more easily undergo operations that mutilate their bodies to 'change' them to the opposite sex." "This is going on at the world-renowned Children's Hospital in Boston - not some backwater clinic. This is the elite of the medical profession," the organization said.

In a question-and-answer session with Globe columnist Pagan Kennedy, she starts the apologetic for doing surgery on children by saying, "Little boys sob unless they're allowed to wear dresses. The girls want to be called Luke, Ted, or James." "Until recently, children with cross-gender feelings rarely received modern medical care - and certainly not hormone shots. After all, who would allow a child to redesign his or her body?" she asks. But Spack, she wrote, has started a clinic that "is one of the few in the world to give children treatments that change their bodies."

She reports he uses drugs to delay puberty, "granting them a few more years before they develop bodies that are decidedly male or female." Spack tells the interviewer he's seen "preadolescents" who have been dressing in underwear of the opposite sex "for years." "The puberty-blocking drugs work best at the beginning of the pubital process, typically age 10 to 12 for a girl and 12 to 14 for a boy," he said. He's based some of his work on a Dutch model for sex-change, and said the recommendations there are age 16 for hormones that forever change a child's body.

But "for others," he wrote, "you lose opportunities if you wait. [One of my patients, a] transgendered girl from the UK, was destined to be a 6-foot-4 male. With treatment, she's going to end up 5-foot-10." He said such treatments not only change the physical characteristics of the growing children, but also could leave them sterile for life. "You have to explain to the patients that if they go ahead, they may not be able to have children. . But if you don't start treatment, they will always have trouble fitting in," he said.

"This isn't conjecture," Mass Resistance' commentary said. "It's happening now. And 'transgenderism' is being promoted to kids by homosexual/transgender activists in the public schools." Children as young as 12 already have been given the treatment.

Meanwhile, LifeSiteNews has reported that Spack previously acknowledged that only about 20 percent of children who claim to have a confusion over their gender hold those feelings in adulthood. The hospital itself calls the program "unique in the Western hemisphere." "This will be the first major program in the country that . [is] also welcoming young people who appear to be transgendered and are considering medical protocols that might help them," Spack said.



By Barry Rubin

The Middle East today is driven by five big conflicts: Among states for power; the Iran-Syria alliance's war on everyone else; the struggle between Arab nationalists and Islamists to control each country, and the Sunni-Shia and the Arab-Israeli conflicts. No wonder there's so much turmoil.

To many in the West, this seems a time-wasting matter of "false consciousness." One need merely explain their true interests to the Iranian and Syrian governments, to Hamas or Hizballah, to Arabs and Muslims, so they can rise to moderation. Western sins will be atoned by throwing out Israelis, Lebanese, and Iraqis with the bath water.

How can the doctrine now dominating Western discourse possibly understand these issues, especially when the song of the siren is heard in the land? Call it Lennonism, not the Leninism of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known as Lenin, but of former Beatles' member, John Lennon. His blueprint for utopia would be a better theme song for the European Union than its current anthem: "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace...." One can only refer here to George Gershwin's earlier lyrics: "It ain't necessarily so."

There are several problems with Lennonism. First, contrary to current wisdom, love of country and belief in religion can be a very productive thing, although of course that depends on specifics.

Second, despite the misdeeds committed in the name of deity and country, those doing them today are rarely from Western democracies. Ironically, those in Western societies, who are most likely to use them to good purpose are also those most eager to abandon them. After centuries, the West developed a tolerant form of patriotism and religion. Why abandon what you've already tuned properly? Having transcended the problems associated with religion and nationalism, the democratic world doesn't need to discard them.

Third, it's quite true that some use God to justify their own will and terrible deeds but, as Fyodor Dostoevsky reminded us in 1880, if God doesn't exist morality is on a weak basis. Consider the case of Phil Spector, who produced the record of "Imagine." While he beat the charge of first-degree murder of a woman who resisted his advances, the trial brought out his likely guilt, madness, violent propensity, and massive drug and alcohol abuse. What Lennon glorified as "Living for today," usually means mindless consumerism.

For Karl Marx, religion was merely the masses' "opiate," a drug keeping them from realizing they should instead be overthrowing the ruling class and installing a socialist utopia. Marx was disagreeing with the proto-Zionist Moses Hess who called religion an opiate in the sense that it was a healing balm that reduced life's pain.

Finally, patriotism might be the scoundrels' last refuge, as Samuel Johnson said in 1775, but hating one's country and religion is the first.

At any rate, the Middle East is not ready for this Lennonist vision. For those confronting the real threat of radical Arab nationalism and Islamism, Lennonism is unilateral disarmament. The more Lennonist the West, the more contemptuous and certain of victory are its enemies. To make matters worse, Lennonists give the Middle East a free pass, arguing that Arabs and Muslims have such compelling grievances that they cannot be expected to indulge in this elevated philosophy. In effect, the Lennonists accept the notion that Western civilization is an empty cart which must give way at the bridge to the full cart of those who really believe in nationalism and religion.

According to this view, those who want to kill you are reacting to past oppression and so that makes it okay. The West must destroy its own patriotism and religion while appeasing that of those who "really mean it." And let's not forget that if you ridicule Christianity and Judaism or slander America or other democratic states no one will cut off your head. Instead, you will become a hero to the intellectual and cultural elite. Thus, those who worship diversity define it at home as a situation in which no one dares disagree with them, and define it abroad as supporting quaint customs like dictatorship, lies, and oppression.

In Barack Obama, America now has its first Lennonist presidential candidate. He recently accused average small-town Americans of being bitter over economic problems so that "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." This is a version of the Marxist concept that anything other than determination to pursue economic well-being through a leftist utopian solution is "false consciousness." Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini explained thirty years ago that anyone thinking Islamist revolution's purpose was "to lower the price of housing or watermelons" was a fool.

Of course, Obama didn't mind listening for 20 years to anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-middle class, and anti-white rants from his minister-mentor, who played on his congregation's bitterness quite effectively to explain their frustrations in other terms. Poor Lennon himself was murdered by a deranged fan who listened to all the talk of peace and love, then responded in his own way.

The real world is tough. Conflict is real, hate effective, and there are people out there trying to kill you. Better hope there are some on your own side motivated enough by patriotism, religion, and love of liberty that they'll put their bodies between you and the bullets because they think there is something worth killing and dying for. Lennonism is intoxicating: believe in change; all can be okay if we just keep apologizing and don't offend anyone. Unfortunately, though, nowadays there are many who, to quote Lennon, "dream the world will be one." And the world they envision as one would be living under a caliphate.


Selective Leftist attention to the truth

By Bob Parks

I touched on this over the weekend, but the more I think about it, the more I feel the need to expend a long-simmering rant. I saw this op/ed in the Burlington Free Press by a now-enlightened Hector J. Vila, assistant professor in writing at Middlebury College . "I have entered into an agreement with my mother and one of her friends: If Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party we won't vote in the national election."

The writer then goes on to enumerate the many things the Clintons have done during and after their presidency. What really gets me is his tone, which gives readers the impression that he's tipping us off to things we did not know. For example, he talks about Hillary's now-laughable story of her serpentine under enemy sniper fire in Bosnia: "Sidestepping the truth is in the Clintons' DNA. Continuing down this road will drain us emotionally and spiritually. My mother, her friends and I are exhausted."

Over the years, I've been called a "sell out" and "Uncle Tom" for being a Republican, but it was precisely my intellectually honest fatigue of blindly defending the Clinton escapades of the 90's that prompted me to change my party affiliation in 1995. I too was tired of lying for them. Thirteen years later I am, all of a sudden, not alone.?

As I peruse the Daily Kos and Huffington Post prop up all things Obama, they now lecture us about Hillary and the Clinton family trait of dishonesty. What galls me is that these were the very people who called people like me a "Clinton hater" for simply doing what they are doing now. These Democrats act like we should have known this about the Clintons long ago. Many of us did.

As I am not officially a betting man, I can't come right out and say that Obama WILL be the Democrat presidential nominee, because I know the Clintons won't take defeat lying down. If I may bring up a talking point of the recent past, when people dared expose a Clinton malfeasance, they where subject to the three D's: deny, delay, and destroy. Barack Obama is only in the "delay" phase right now.

"Hillary is asking voters to take a look at her baggage because the Republicans have attacked it and she has come through this test victorious. Indeed -- there is Whitewater and Travelgate and Filegate, and the circumstances around Vince Foster's death. A cloud hangs over Hillary. Old news, perhaps, but if we stop and take a closer look, we see a couple that has miraculously escaped condemnation, legal or otherwise."

The only reason that Bill and Hillary came through the test victorious was because so many Democrats were willing to have a suspension of belief when it came to the many scandals that popped up, one after another after another, during the Clinton administration. There was Cattlefuturegate, Indonesiagate, Pardongate, and maybe this fall we'll hear from all the people who fled the country to avoid testifying against them.

While progressives demand we give women the respect and honor they deserve, Bill Clinton was defended by his minions as the many women who gave uniform descriptions of his boorish tendencies were discredited, attacked, and accused of being lying, Republican operatives. One Hollywood actress who claimed to be a victim of Bill's "touch" left the country instead of subjecting herself to the liberal love. By the way, I wonder if Juanita Broaddrick will soon become an honored speaker at the next Yearly Kos Convention?

"Hillary claims that Obama is out of touch, an elite. But the Clintons have skirted reality -- our mounting debt and the fear that we are transitioning into a new age where America is no longer "top gun" but something else, lagging behind China and India. Neither Clinton nor Obama are addressing this reality. This and the war plague the American consciousness."

Alas, the fear in which America is no longer "top gun" lagging behind China. We "Clinton haters" were accused of gross exaggeration while we were screaming about the possible treason that was "Chinagate". Maybe now, Assistant Professor Vila will newsflash the details behind that little gem, details that he probably dismissed as Republican fantasy and hate.

It's sad that Democrats, who are now suddenly defenders of all things proper, now want to warn us about the very Clinton past they vilified us for while they were happening. I guess better late than never.


Canada: "Human Rights" update

"Everybody favours free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground," 20th-century American journalist Heywood Broun once wrote. The real test of mettle is allowing free speech to thrive while axes aggressively grind. Just ask Canadian publisher Ezra Levant and author Mark Steyn. In February 2006, Levant's conservative magazine, the now-online-only Western Standard, reprinted the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Shortly thereafter, Syed Soharwardy, the national president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, filed a Koranic-verse laden complaint against Mr. Levant with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, claiming discrimination.

Canada's Human Rights Commissions (HRC) are government agencies, not courts. They were set up, starting in the 1960s, to fight job and housing discrimination - offensive acts, not words. Borne of good intention, some argue they have paved a path to politically correct hell. Those behind the creation of the commissions maintain they were never meant to impede free speech - a right guaranteed under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms - and that "thought crime" cases represent a fraction of the commissions' work. As many of those complaints were brought against crackpot anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, or Christian fundamentalists expressing extreme antigay views, few Canadians wasted a moment worrying about them. Therein lies the cautionary tale. The odious have to be free to speak - provided they are not inciting violence - or none of us are.

With limited exceptions, the aforementioned cases received little attention. Then along came Levant. Even those to whom he is not beloved are waking up to the dangers of a lumbering system in which there are no real rules of procedure, the accused must pay their own way and could ultimately be compelled to pay a fine and apologize, while the complainant relies on taxpayers to protect his or her "human right" to not feel offended.

Levant is preternaturally media savvy, and when he made his appearance before the Alberta commission - this January - he had it videotaped, promptly posting the recordings on YouTube. Some 400,000 people have watched his bristly exchanges with the hapless commission representative. Levant, a lawyer, peppered her with questions of his own and reminded her of the freedoms that the HRC was trampling upon: "For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights, and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values."

The resulting publicity proved too much for Imam Soharwardy. He dropped his complaint after two years and much public money spent, stating his newfound appreciation for the values of his adopted country: "I understand that most Canadians see this as an issue of freedom of speech, that that principle is sacred and holy in our society." Levant still faces a similar complaint from the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities.

This, in turn, has brought unprecedented scrutiny to complaints against Maclean's, a mainstream magazine that's a mix of Time and US Weekly. Though some call it right-of-center, its main agenda appears to be getting attention. (Last fall, Maclean's ran a cover story critical of the war in Iraq featuring President Bush made to appear as Saddam Hussein.) In October 2006, Maclean's ran an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It." (Mr. Steyn is a Maclean's columnist.) Bothered by the Steyn reprints, four law students (since joined by a fifth) asserted that Maclean's presented an inflammatory view of Islam. The students met with Maclean's editor Kenneth Whyte, and asked him to publish a lengthy response, as though a magazine editor were required to cater content to indignant readers.

Mr. Whyte, quite rightly, refused - 27 letters to the editor regarding Steyn's story had already been published. So the students, with the backing of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), filed complaints against the magazine. If the HRC found Levant's YouTube clips formidable, it won't know what hit it when media mogul Ted Rogers, the owner of Maclean's, fights back - if the case gets that far.

Since January, op-eds supportive of Maclean's and Levant's positions from even left-leaning newspapers have abounded. A motion has been put forth in Canada's parliament to remove the section of the Human Rights Act that prescribes speech. Organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and PEN Canada (some of whose members can't abide Levant's and Steyn's politics) have called for similar amendments and for the complaints against Maclean's and Levant to be dropped.

The reverberations don't end there. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently did something it was too craven to do two years ago. During a news segment regarding the HRC, Canada's public broadcaster aired - briefly, fleetingly - the Danish cartoons. This is heartening. Much of the Canadian - and Western - left has seemed far too eager in recent years to buckle in the face of, and even sympathize with, Islamist extremism. Let's hope these cases bring about an understanding of what's at stake.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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