Thursday, October 06, 2022

The New Inquisition

America’s progressives, led by Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, have established an agenda and have sanctioned a strategy that harkens back to a much earlier day: the Inquisition that started in the 12th century.

The Inquisition was part of the Catholic church’s effort to identify and punish heresy. Heresy was any opinion contrary to the canons of the Church. Heretics were harshly punished, and their lives were often “cancelled” (terminated). The earliest prosecutions seem to have been against Catholic splinter groups and later spread to Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, although Catholics who dared to deviate from the Church’s dictates were also subject to persecution.

America’s progressives have their own “religion” and impose punishment on heretics as well. The progressives excommunicate, “cancel,” heretics, banning them from jobs and access to the media. The primary targets for the progressive inquisition are citizens who desire limiting government control over their lives; support the Constitution (to include freedom of religion); support law and order, want schools to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic; or, gasp! voted for Donald Trump. Dissenters from the progressive religion are not labeled heretics since the similarity to the Inquisition would become too obvious. Instead, they are labelled “deplorables,” “destroyers of democracy,” and “semi-fascists.”

Progressives eschew economics: cost-benefit analysis, supply and demand, and opportunity costs are irrelevant to their values and “logic.” Once they determine a policy they like, it matters not how much it costs or how wasteful it is. The Green New Deal and the tuition debt-forgiveness programs are cases in point. Asking if the money might be put to better use will mark the questioner as “selfish.” Progressives raise illogic to a new level.

Progressives are also destroyers of history that they do not like. They accept no “false gods.” Statues of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln are pulled down and their names excised from schools and other buildings. Joseph Stalin rewrote Russian history for political gain. Progressives are doing the same.

The catechism of the progressives includes Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and the indoctrination of pre-pubescent children into transgender ideas. Progressive teachers, we are told, know best how to educate our children.

Progressives have found their own official inquisitors: The FBI and Department of Justice seem to have become part of the progressives' religion. They have hidden Hunter Biden’s laptop and his crony capitalism, and Joe Biden’s nepotism. They have allowed Hillary Clinton to escape prosecution for mishandling sensitive government documents. Members of the “true faith” walk free while heretics are prosecuted.

Progressives, as true socialists, seize ownership of businesses in practice if not in name. They will regulate business to do their bidding by imposing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) scores, packing boards of directors with public representatives (i.e., progressive faithful), and banishing industries and oil pipelines not to their liking.

Progressives, in their intolerance of dissenting ideas and abhorrence of sharing political power, plan to make Washington, D.C., a state in order to add two new Democratic senators. They speak of packing the Supreme Court with progressive-friendly justices. For progressives, the end justifies the means. Progressives desire a one-party, one-religion state and will not stop until their mission is accomplished.

The original Inquisition lasted for several hundred years. The Enlightenment greatly helped to end the terror. Progressives now threaten these gains. They seek to banish competition and establish one-party (one-church) rule. Knowledge through reason, liberty, toleration, and constitutional government are all under threat. Progressives are dangerous to individual freedom, and they must be called out for what they are: intolerant religious zealots, fascist-socialists, and power-hungry anti-intellectuals.


No, Hurricane Ian will not 'fuel the economy'

THE DEVASTATION caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida and South Carolina was catastrophic. The storm left collapsed homes and businesses in its wake, along with demolished hotels, impassable roads, smashed boats, and upended citrus trees. The economic damage, ABC News reported, could climb as high as $75 billion. As for the human damage, more than 100 deaths have already been confirmed, to say nothing of the incalculable toll caused by injury, trauma, and suffering.

When all is said and done, Ian may rank among the five costliest storms in US history. Yet to hear some analysts tell it, all that carnage and lost wealth is actually — a windfall!

The Wall Street Journal this week blithely assured its readers that the hurricane, far from being a terrible blow, is actually a blessing in disguise, since it "will nudge up economic output over the coming years." The paper quoted University of Illinois economist Tatyana Deryugina, who had no trouble seeing the silver lining in other people's ruined livelihoods. Sure, "some businesses [will be] forced to close," she conceded. "On the other hand, there will be destroyed cars, destroyed housing that needs to be rebuilt, and people will go out and spend money and that will drive GDP up."

Over on Fox Business, meanwhile, real estate executive Justin Greider was talking up all the funds that would be spent on recovery and rebuilding in Florida, telling anchor Maria Bartiromo that Ian's impact would be to "fuel the economy."

It never fails. Some disaster wreaks cataclysmic harm and experts pop up to label it an economic boon. After the biggest and deadliest hurricane of 2012, Business Insider published a story headlined "Now Get Ready For A Huge Economic Boost From Hurricane Sandy." The horrific California wildfires of 2007, which burned nearly a million acres and forced the largest evacuation in state history, inspired a University of San Diego economist to tell the Los Angeles Times that "this will probably be a stimulus" since "there will be a huge amount of rebuilding." Perhaps the most notorious recent example was Paul Krugman's take in The New York Times three days after 9/11. "It seems almost in bad taste to talk about dollars and cents after an act of mass murder," he wrote, but the terrorist attacks could be counted on to "do some economic good."

These are just a few examples of the popular fallacy that destruction is economically beneficial, since money must be spent to repair what was damaged. The 19th-century French thinker Frederic Bastiat exploded such reasoning in a famous 1850 essay, "That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen." The essay opens with a parable: A boy breaks a shop window. As the merchant sweeps up the shards of glass, dejected over his loss, onlookers attempt to console him by observing that the loss is actually a gain: The six francs it will cost him to restore his window, they point out, will benefit the glazier, who will then have more money to spend on something else. Those six francs will circulate, and the economy will grow.

The critical flaw in that thinking, explained Bastiat, is that it concentrates only on "what is seen" — the glazier who will be paid for a new window. What it ignores is "what is not seen" — everything that the shopkeeper will not be able to do with those six francs. Forced to spend the money on repairing his window, he will lose the opportunity to spend them on, say, a pair of shoes or a new book. The glazier gains, but the shopkeeper loses — and so does society as a whole. There is no financial upside to destruction.

No one commits the broken-window fallacy when it comes to their own personal losses. If your car is wrecked in a crash, you don't rejoice because an auto dealer will get to sell you another vehicle. The money you must spend to get a new car might otherwise have been devoted to enlarging your (and society's) stock of capital. All it will do now is restore what you already had.

Because billions of dollars will be spent to clean up, repair, or rebuild what Hurricane Ian obliterated, those billions will not be available for anything else. Whatever Florida gains from the resources committed to reconstruction can never outweigh what was lost through the storm's devastation. It may be heartening to think that economic loss makes us richer. Real life doesn't work that way.


Vice chair of Treasury Dept’s new racial equity committee wants to defund police, 'center race' in all policy

The vice chair of the Treasury Department’s newly-announced racial equity committee wants to defund the police and put racial justice at the center of all government policymaking.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday announced the formation of a 25-member committee called the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, which will identify, monitor, and review aspects of the domestic economy "that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions for communities of color," according to a press release.

In the latest iteration of the Biden administration’s inclusion of capitalism critics in federal governance, Felicia Wong, the president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, was announced to serve as the nascent racial equity committee’s vice chair.

Wong is a former executive at the Democracy Alliance, a network of liberal megadonors founded in part by billionaire George Soros. Since 2012, she has led the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank that wants to abolish for-profit prisons, reimagine capitalism, and put racial justice at the "center" of all government policymaking.

Last year, the Roosevelt Institute published a report co-authored by Wong, titled, "A New Paradigm for Justice and Democracy," which argued that "all policy, from vaccine distribution to higher education funding to tax reform, will have racialized effects. Recognizing this reality, and always considering race in policy design, is therefore vital."

Wong and the authors wrote that a "skills-based, opportunity-focused liberalism" is outdated and ignores systemic racism, and that "our mainstream politics has yet to recognize, prioritize, and make central the reckoning, race equity, and self-determination that a multiracial democracy would require."

The report praised the idea of wealth redistribution in the name of racial justice and argued that "equity" means equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.

"True equity means equity of outcome, and not accepting the promise of ‘opportunity’ within a system that continues to systematically exclude," Wong wrote. "It demands redistribution of resources—especially when wealth for some has been extracted from many—and a redistribution of decision-making power."

The same report co-authored by Wong also called for eliminating the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass major legislation, calling it a tool of white supremacy.

"In this environment, a focus on democracy and racial justice means that filibuster reform or elimination must be on the table," it read. "The filibuster has been disproportionately used throughout history by segregationists and other white supremacists to slow or stop laws intended to promote racial equity. Today, it continues to stall progress on key democracy priorities: protecting voting rights; ending partisan gerrymandering; curbing the influence of corporate money and lobbying in our rulemaking process; and creating stronger ethics laws for federal officeholders."

"These all have racial justice implications, since the current system prioritizes a lobbying and corporate interest–driven system that is dominated by those who are wealthy and white, and whose interest is in preserving the status quo," it continued.

Another report authored by Wong in 2020 about "new progressivism" slammed the concept of "neoliberalism," which she defined as "a free-market capitalist ideology" that has devolved into "tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the most powerful and pervasive industries."

In 2016, years before the "Defund the Police" movement came to national prominence, Wong co-authored a report that argued that "police budgets should be reduced and for-profit prison systems must be done away with."

"A key lever for reform is removing the money that fuels a corrupt justice system," the report stated. "[W]e must make a concentrated effort to reduce our prison population, at least in part by decriminalizing drugs and also by bringing U.S. sentencing practices more in line with other nations."

The report also claimed there is a need for "more direct redistribution in the form of investments in asset-poor communities and transfers to asset-poor individuals," and it argued in favor of a "constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for all and implementing a fully national system of universal voter registration, which should no longer be left up to states."

Wong and the other authors also called for a "significant shift in the current state of constitutional jurisprudence on issues of racial inequality, discrimination, and affirmative action" in regard to the Equal Protection Clause.

"[C]urrent Supreme Court practice poses a problem, as it is focused predominantly on race neutrality," the report said. "Current constitutional doctrine thus makes impossible the kind of racially targeted policies that, as this report has suggested, are essential for undoing structural racial inequities."

On Tuesday, the Treasury Secretary Yellen announced the formation of the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity which will have 25 members from different colleges and universities, advocacy groups, and the business world.

When reached for comment, the Roosevelt Institute pointed Fox News Digital to Wong's statement in the Treasury Department's press release Tuesday, in which she said, "Any efforts to address inequality in the United States must account for the legacy of racial exclusion built into our economy."

Several Republican lawmakers reacted to the news of the Treasury Department creating its committee on racial equity.

Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., slammed President Biden for prioritizing the "wokeification" of the federal government over Americans' needs in a statement to Fox News Digital.

"Joe Biden has overseen historic inflation, historic gas prices, and historic supply shortages," Hawley said. "But while working Americans struggle to afford basic necessities, Joe Biden’s top priority isn’t bringing prices down, it’s the wokeification of the federal government."

"It’s time for this administration to stop pandering to their left-wing base and start working to put this country back on track," the Missouri senator continued.

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., a member of the House Select Committee on the Economy, told Fox News Digital if "Biden was serious about helping people struggling in today’s economy, he would stop inflation by ending reckless spending and unleashing American energy."

"Too many Americans are suffering under one party Democratic control that is wrecking our economy," Steil continued.


‘Doctors Never Warned Me of Side Effects’ With Hormone Therapy and Breast Implants, Detransitioner Says

Photographs show Abel Garcia after his transition to a woman, left, and then following his detransition. Garcia, who lives in Texas, underwent a final surgery this year to remove excess tissue from his “top surgery" for breast implants. (Photos courtesy of Abel Garcia)

Abel Garcia began transitioning from male to female at age 19 while living in Southern California. After attempting to live as a young woman for a few years, though, he decided to “detransition” to a man again—but not without resistance from those who readily had signed off on his hormone treatment and breast implant surgery in the first place.

Garcia’s story came to light amid a growing movement of detransitioners who have begun sharing their stories online and in documentaries. The Daily Signal recently interviewed Garcia and agreed not to use his real name.

In the interview, Garcia, now 25, told The Daily Signal that he didn’t feel “masculine enough” growing up. He didn’t have a strong male role model, because his father often was out of the home working, he says.

Garcia says he believed that “If I’m not good enough to be a man, I must be a woman.” He recalls coming across a YouTube video about transgenderism when he was in his early teens. “That planted a seed in my mind,” he says. “But I didn’t act on it until after I had left high school.”

Garcia says he told his mother in late 2015, when he was about 18, that he believed he was transgender. He sought help from a gender clinic in Southern California, where a therapist told him he was transgender in the first session.

“We never got into any actual reason [for] why I thought I was trans,” Garcia recalls, and the therapist said that “she did not want to gatekeep him.”

Traumatizing Incident

In 2016, Garcia’s father learned that he was seeking gender transition treatment. In an effort to “fix his son,” as Garcia wrote in a recent blog post, his father took him to a brothel in Mexico.

Garcia recalls that his father stood by his side while he picked a woman out of a line. “Take good care of him. It’s his first time,” his father told the prostitute as she led Garcia away.

Nothing happened with her, Garcia told The Daily Signal. “I knew my dad probably spent a decent amount of money,” he says, so he asked the prostitute to tell his father that it went well. “She covered for me. I’ll give her that.”

But looking back, Garcia says, the incident traumatized him. It wasn’t until years later, after seeking more traditional therapy, that he realized this incident was the tipping point in his male-to-female transition.

He continued seeing his therapist in Southern California for five more months and eventually moved away from his parents’ home. Shortly after, Garcia began hormone treatment and changed his name and sex on legal documents.

‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ Surgeries OK’d

A year later, two therapists gave Garcia permission for “top surgery,” which, he noted, “is a euphemism for breast implants for boys or young men like myself.”

“During that same session with this therapist … who signed off on [the surgery], he gave me both letters [giving approval] for breast implants and penile inversion, even though I had only requested breast implants,” he told The Daily Signal.

A few weeks later, Garcia says, he received a letter from his insurance company stating that he was approved for both “top” and “bottom” surgeries.

Garcia initially had planned to wait five years for breast implants and 10 for penile inversion. He wanted to take the transition slowly, he told The Daily Signal.

Garcia didn’t move forward with “bottom” surgery, though he decided to receive breast implants in 2018.

“I thought this was going to be good for me and this is what’s going to be the rest of my life,” he says.

His doctors didn’t warn him of the potential side effects of his surgery and hormone treatment, Garcia recalls. He described the symptoms that developed since his transition treatment—including numbness in his chest, genital atrophy, and a tremor on the left side of his body.

Doctors also didn’t mention the effects of cross-sex hormones and surgeries on his fertility, he says.

‘Always Going to Be a Man’

Around the time Garcia began transitioning to a female, he joined an LGBT support group in California. He told The Daily Signal that the group initially showered him with affection.

Now, Garcia says, he believes the group was using “love-bombing” tactics—a recruitment technique used by cult-like groups to lure new members through praise and affection.

Shortly after his surgery to create breasts, Garcia says, he had a falling out with a member of the group. The group’s “love-bombing” suddenly vanished, he recalls, and some members began dragging his name through the mud.

Then he hit rock bottom, he told The Daily Signal.

“I realized that I was always going to be a man. I was just a man who mutilated his body to make what I believe[d] was a woman [but was] just a caricature of a woman.”

Just three to four months after receiving breast implants, he says, “I admitted defeat and tried my best to reverse everything.”

He sought guidance from the same therapist who first signed off on top and bottom surgery for him. The therapist said that Garcia hadn’t made a mistake. Rather, it was “just childhood trauma” returning while he was “still recovering from surgery.”

Garcia went to see a different therapist, who said he shouldn’t be too “cavalier” with his detransition, since he “didn’t know the full extent of the damages” reversing his transition would cause.

Garcia says he discovered that nobody wanted to take him on as a patient. Detransitioning poses a risk to therapists who didn’t want to be accused of so-called conversion therapy, which is banned in California.

Hoping to Help Others

Eventually, with the help of Walt Heyer, a Daily Signal contributor who also used to live as a woman, Garcia began to reverse direction.

Despite initial pushback, the same surgeon who gave Garcia breast implants removed them. The social detransition process in California took longer, he says.

Garcia says he recently had one final surgery to remove excess breast tissue and skin from his implantation surgery. He now considers his detransition complete.

The experience was eye-opening, he says.

“Medical professionals don’t really know what they’re doing, and the world is more cruel than I expected,” Garcia says.

Doctors are “willingly allowing children and young adults who are confused to harm their bodies in the name of acceptance and being tolerant,” he says. “I do hope the harm that I’ve been put through is able to help others.”




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