Hatton on Abortion

[Jeff Hatton is a prolific letter writer to both the Kokomo Tribune and the Kokomo Perspective newspapers on the issue of abortion.]

Jeff Hatton of Greentown is a “Sound Off” regular on the issue of abortion with the latest being his Tribune June 15th column. His position is clear. He believes all abortion should be banned because he says the Bible says God says so. He states “that life begins where and when the Creator says it does, at conception”. His position is straight forward and clear with no flexibility.

What bothers me is that I am wondering if Mr. Hatton has considered several circumstances in taking such an absolute position. What about the case of the Marion 10 year old girl that was raped and impregnated by a Kokomo man in 2017. This was reported on May 18th, 2017, by both Indianapolis Channel 4 and 13. Should a 10 year old girl be required to be pregnant and possibly give birth to a baby? Required motherhood from rape at age 10? According to Hatton, yes.

And what about instances when doctors have concluded continuing a pregnancy is a threat to the life of the woman? Should a woman and her loved ones have nothing to say about this. Should a woman be required to carry on? According to Hatton, yes.

And what about the cases where gross genetic abnormalities are detected; abnormalities that would at some time during the gestation period lead to the death of the fetus? Should a woman be required to carry on? According to Hatton, yes.

We can agree that women’s bodies are the ones chosen by God to nurture, develop, and give birth to new life. Men were not chosen for this role. I would admonish men to tread lightly when making judgments about agreements between God and women. However, this is not to say men do not have an important, caring, and loving role to play in parenting.

Hatton claims the Bible is clear. However, there are many, many contradictions and complications in the Bible. What we do know with certainty though is Jesus taught love, grace, and forgiveness. He did not teach absolutes.

It is easy to speak absolutes. It is not so easy to deal with circumstances that actually exist in life.

The whole abortion issue has been made more poignant with the incredible images seen in sonograms. Very early in pregnancy a developing life can be seen to move, have a heartbeat, and have a reaction to pain. That life before our very eyes can be seen for the miracle it is.

I have yet to meet anyone who likes the idea of abortion. But life is complicated and sometimes messy. Absolutes against abortion or for abortion rights are troublesome. There just is no easy, simple answer.

 

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Paris Climate Accord & Krull

The director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, John Krull, has done it again in his Tribune column of June 7th about President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. He refers to Trump’s decision as “dumb, bigly, yugely, and dumb”, again. He writes more like I would expect from MSNBC’s hysterical Morning Joe Scarborough or Rachael Maddow than as a responsible, knowledgeable journalist.

The Paris Climate Accord was yet another example of poor judgment by former President Barack Hussein Obama. Obama did not even have the courage to bring this agreement to the United States Congress for debate and agreement before he committed the United States to its terms. The Agreement terms put the United States at great disadvantage and would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars without commensurate benefit. The worst of the Paris Climate Accord was that the two largest polluters on the planet, China and India, would not have been required to reduce emissions, but in fact could increase them, until 2030. In the meanwhile, the United States has in fact already voluntarily reduced emissions to levels of over 20 years ago.

President Trump put America first. He has stated publicly he intends to encourage the development of cleaner energy sources. In almost the same breath when he withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement, he stated he was more than willing to negotiate a new agreement not so punishing to our country. He reminded all the United States is 20 trillion dollars in debt. We can no longer be the money bank for other countries, whatever the cause. It is up to them to deal with their own problems. This is particularly true for India and China who stood to receive United States monetary support from the Paris agreement. They are the biggest problems and we are not their savior. We need to deal with our own country and our own problems.

The climate is changing. Contrary to some right wing conservatives, the evidence is clear. There are dozens of biological indicators of change. I know of none that support ‘no change’ or insignificant change. The temperature of the planet is increasing on average. Ice caps and glaciers are melting. The range of insects, plants, and animals is being modified. Permafrost areas are melting. Sea levels are rising. There is no doubt about these.

What there is doubt about is exactly why and how much of change is due to human activity…. and conversely, how much can be influenced by behavior change by humans. We suspect root causes to be too many people and too much polluting industry. No one wants to address the former.

I am probably one of the strongest environmentalists around. I have demonstrated this beginning as long ago as the 1970’s when in top management of the Kokomo Tribune. I directed a survey of the Wildcat Creek water quality and helped to initiate the first Creek cleanup effort which continues today. The Tribune encouraged the improvement of the waste sanitation plant for better water quality discharge. The Tribune successfully opposed the creation of the Lafayette Reservoir which would have flooded over 4,000 acres of prime farmland. The Tribune was the recipient of the Izaak Walton League media award for conservation. There was more.

I believe the decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord was the right decision for the United States. It appeared too much to be a scheme for redistribution of wealth across the globe. Its terms were voluntary and not enforceable. We need to lead by example in all areas of conservation of natural resources, not be the suckers again to finance the rest of the world. Director John Krull is wrong again. One must question his qualifications to lead a university Department of Journalism.

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Jarrett on Mueller

[The following is a piece by Jarrett. I had to reprint it because it clearly paints the picture of the witch hunt again President Donald Trump]

GREGG JARRETT, ATTORNEY
FOX NEWS OPINION PIECE
May 23rd, 2017

What is Robert Mueller Investigating (since collusion is not a crime)?

Robert Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility.

As special counsel, Mueller can engage in all manner of spectacular jurisprudence gymnastics. However, it will not change the fact that colluding with Russia is not, under America’s criminal codes, a crime. It’s just not there.

Maybe it should be. Perhaps someday Congress will pass a law criminalizing such conduct in political campaigns. But for now, there’s not a single statute outlawing collaboration with a foreign government in a US presidential election. Or any election, for that matter.

Why, then, are so many people who are following the Trump-Russia saga under the mistaken impression that collusion is a crime? Principally, because it is a loaded word with an historic criminal connotation.

“Collusion” became a prominent part of the legal lexicon when Benjamin Harrison occupied the White House and Congress passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890 outlawing collusion in some business practices. Specifically, price fixing and other anti-competitive activities became a criminal offense under Section 1 of the Act. Almost overnight, the word “collusion”was converted into a legal pejorative.

But collusion is only criminal in an anti-trust setting. It has nothing whatsoever to do with elections. Yet that has not stopped the politicians, pundits, and journalists from either misunderstanding the concept and/or mis-construing its application to the Trump-Russia hysteria and has reached a deafening pitch.

Both the Department of Justice and the FBI seem equally oblivious.

Mueller’s marching orders: Under the law granting him legal authority (28 CFR 600), a special counsel is charged with investigating crimes. Only crimes. Nothing else. He has limited jurisdiction. Any other wrong doing uncovered in the investigation which does not rise to the level of a criminal offense cannot even be made public by the special counsel. That is the law.

So, what crime is Mueller instructed to investigate? Let’s take a look.

In his order appointing Mueller as special counsel (Order No. 3915-2017), acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein directed him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”.

But wait. If Mueller is supposed to look for evidence of a crime that is not, by legal definition, a crime … then isn’t the special counsel being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable? Doesn’t the impossibility of his assignment render the exercise futile? The answer is yes.

The only conceivable crime is a tangential one. If it could somehow be shown that someone in the Trump campaign aided and abetted the hacking of the National Democratic Committee or the campaign of Hillary Clinton, then perhaps a criminal charge might be made. But as Harvard law professor Allen Dershowitz told Fox News, “I’m sure that didn’t happen”.

How can he be so sure? Common sense. There’s no evidence the Trump campaign had the technical expertise to hack anything. Knowing about a computer theft or even verbally encouraging it is not enough under the law. It requires an overt act that assists in the commission of the crime. It appears that no one, including the Trump campaign, even knew about Russia’s hacking efforts until after they were accomplished and made public.

Any related matters.

Rosenstein order to the special counsel authorizes him to investigate “any other matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” This is the usual all encompassing phrase which allows a special counsel to run rampant in an almost limitless direction to dig up dirt on potential targets.

As I pointed out in a recent column, Mueller’s probe will inevitably morph into an investigation of President Trump’s meeting with James Comey and his subsequent firing of the FBI director. Amid partisan accusations of obstruction of justice the special counsel will surely examine whether the President corruptly attempted to influence, obstruct, or imped the due administration of the law, as the law defines it. (18 USC 1501)

If the President told Comey he hopes former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could be cleared because “he’s a good guy”, it is not enough to sustain an objection charge. Hoping or wishing for an outcome is not the same as influencing, obstructing or impeding. Nor is firing the FBI director. As Comey himself admitted, the President has the Constitutional authority to fire him for any reason or no reason at all.

Furthermore, the term “corruptly” is specifically defined under {18 USC 1515)(B) as “acting with an improper purpose, including making a false or misleading statement, or withholding, concealing, altering, or destroying a document or other information.” The President’s actions do not come close to satisfying the requirements of acting corruptly.

The most recent accusation is President Trump asked two of his top intelligent officials, Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael Rogers, to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. If Rogers and Coats had no such evidence of collusion, then asking them to tell the truth is not illegal. But at this point, we do not know what exactly occurred during those alleged conversations.

What we do know is that collusion in a political campaign is not, by itself, a crime.

How then, is it possible to obstruct the investigation of a crime…. which is not a crime?

-30-

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Dying 4th Estate

[This is very long and is Version I. It is being revised, but I wanted to get this posted. Version 2 will follow.]

The founders of our Constitution laid the bedrocks of our nation in the three branches of government: Congress, the Executive branch, and the Judiciary. They built in many checks and balances to prevent any one branch of government from becoming all powerful. Following ratification by the states, the government under the U.S. Constitution began on March 4th, 1789. Congress then did one more thing. In September 1789, they adopted the Bill of Rights and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of the 12 amendments were ratified by December 1791. The United States of America began its journey.

The first of the amendments to the Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The founders knew government by the people could not continue without the free flow of information, news, and opinion. They knew people must be free to worship as they might choose. They knew people must be able to “peaceably” gather together to discuss and express individual and collective thought. They knew there must be a press — in those days only the printed press — that is free to bring facts, news, and opinion to the people. They knew. The “Fourth Estate” was born.

Two quotes are attributed to President Thomas Jefferson. The first is, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”. The second: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.

What has happened to the Fourth Estate, the press? The Fourth Estate is no longer only the printed press but includes the electronic press. It has for decades. The so-called “national press” (the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC) have become weaponized. They spew gossip and propaganda every day in a steady stream. They hide behind anonymous sources and deep state leakers. They consistently violate about every principle of true journalism. They can no longer be called journalists but rather have become more like the Nazi propagandists of days of old. They cannot be trusted.

In the decades before the consolidation of ownership of the media — print and electronic — there were hundreds and hundreds of independently owned newspapers and radio stations in this country. This was true until about the 1980’s when consolidation accelerated. Before then, the hundreds went together to support the Associated Press and United Press International reporters who covered events in the nation and around the world in honorable, forthright, and truthful ways. The hundreds demanded that the highest principles of journalism be followed. In those days, radio and early television stations relied largely upon the stories printed in local newspapers as their news source. They rewrote what they read for their newscasts.

Fast forward to today. The Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, in 2013 for $250 million. The story goes that he never looked at the accounting records of the Post. Bezos has political ambitions. He abhors President Donald Trump. He wants to be President himself. Most recently, he purchased the biggest home in Washington DC for $23 million. That should tell you something about his future ambitions. And do you think he might have something to say about what appears daily in the Post? The Post qualifies as an example of modern day Yellow Journalism; more fiction and propaganda than truth. Former Publisher Katherine Graham and Editor Ben Bradlee, both deceased, would be appalled at what has become of the Post.

And what about the New York Times? The New York Times has long been regarded within the newspaper industry as a national “newspaper of record”. Nearly 20% of the NYT Company is owned by Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim. The Times has historically been regarded as editorially a liberal newspaper. The last time it endorsed a Republican for President was for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, over 50 years ago. The Times has been used as a teaching tool in university level history and government classes for decades. The issue today is its editorial posture has spilled over into its “news” stories. Like the Post: more fiction and propaganda than truth and more hiding behind anonymous sources.

The electronic cable and television media: they still today rely on what is printed in the Post and the Times as news sources. Every broadcast begins with what headlines and stories are in two newspapers that have become corrupt and instruments of the Democrat Party and extreme liberals. People have become as sick of them as of the Washington DC swamp dwellers.

This nation deserves a free and independent press. It deserves a press that adheres to the highest principles of journalism. Part of these principles include never deliberately distort facts or context. They include identification of sources clearly so the public can judge the reliability and motivations of sources. Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere and explain why anonymity was granted.

We do not today have a “free and independent press” in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the many electronic repeats. We have propagandists. Don’t trust them.

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The Dark Side

Do you remember Star Wars? It had the “Dark Side”. One does not need to look to Star Wars now to find the Dark Side. Those representing it are like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Moore, and George Soros. And we have propagandists from the Dark Side like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC. We must not forget the “never Trumpers”, RINOs, and commentators like Charles Krauthammer, Bob Beckel, Geraldo Rivera, and Juan Williams on Fox News. All have turned from being the loyal opposition to being loyal seditionists.

The people of the United States of America elected Donald J. Trump to be the President of the United States. They elected Republicans for the House of Representatives and captured Senatorial seats to give the Republicans a majority in both Houses of Congress. The Democrats were sent packing from elected positions all over the country. A major reason was that Donald J Trump lead the ticket at the polls. The people were sick of the status quo and the swamp of Washington, DC.

Our President faces fierce, vitriolic opposition from the “national” media, the Democrats, the globalists, and too many so-called Republicans. The opposition has not been constructive as historically expected from the party out of power. It has been destructive. It is designed to take down this Presidency and the country with it. Additionally, Republicans in Congress have been so weak-kneed that little major legislation has been effectively addressed. It is looking more and more like health care and tax reform will be delayed and delayed. Limbaugh said it right when he said Congressional Republicans have “b—s so small, they don’t need a jock-strap when out for a run!”.

Where the hell are they? Republicans should be circling the wagons around President Donald Trump. They should be defending him from Dark Side seditionists. They should be boldly moving ahead on the national agenda to bring back jobs, secure the border, build the wall, do tax reform, and deal with the crisis in health care. Instead they and the Dark Side have become enmeshed in bogus stories about Russians and alleged hacked elections. Bull!

The firing of James Comey created a storm when it was the best thing that could have happened to the FBI. Comey was either incompetent or shot with his own importance. He totally botched the investigations of all of the alleged criminal activity of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, Fast ‘n Furious, Lynch and Clinton on the tarmac, Benghazi, the Clinton-Russian uranium deal, the IRS and Lois Learner, and on and on. These were way beyond anything rational. Trump did not fire Comey from day one (probably should have) because the Trump administration simply did not have enough loyalists in place in the administration.

Even now we hear that of the approximate 1200 political appointee positions that need filling, only 500 or so have gotten through Senate approval. And who the hell is running the Senate: Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell. It sure looks like Schumer, the Democrat. No excuse for spineless Republicans.

It goes on. The Republicans must get their act together or they will lose the patience of the people who voted them into office. The country will suffer more than it has already. The Dark Side will win.

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Abortion

There is likely no subject more touchy or contentious today than abortion. Those who oppose abortion under any circumstance are passionate and zealous in their religious beliefs. Those who believe it a woman’s right to end a pregnancy even to the point of partial birth abortion near or at the end of nine months are just as passionate about preserving a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, regardless.

The truth: no one likes abortion. One would have to be a little crazy to do so. What the issue comes down to is who is in charge. Is the state or a religion in charge or is a woman in charge. Can she decide what she will do with her body or is that choice to be one made by a law or religious beliefs of others.

Then we have complicating circumstances. What should be the case if a young girl is raped and becomes pregnant? I have read cases of girls as young as 12 being raped and becoming pregnant. Should she be forced to carry a pregnancy to term if that is not what she wants to do? Should she be forced to be an unwilling incubator? Oh, I know, many will not like that language, but that is the medical fact. And what about a 13, 14, or 15 year old or failed contraception or a time of temporary bad judgment?

Then we have the case of fertility clinics where hundreds of thousands of fertilized eggs, now embryos, are held in suspended animation in liquid nitrogen containers. They are frozen solid awaiting only implantation into the womb of a willing woman. What about these embryos that are each the size of a grain of sand? Conception has taken place, so how are these to be regarded? Does incinerating or otherwise disposing of these embryos when a couple does not want them constitute abortion? Seems it would if “life begins at conception”, as many contend.

And what about the 2/3rds to 3/4ths of all conceptions that are spontaneously aborted due to some genetic mishap? Who is responsible for these: God? What about the case of a major genetic mistake that does continue in the womb? What to do about that? These are circumstances people do not want to think about, but should.

There are no absolutes. The current law of the land says women have the right to make the decisions. Some of the most vocal of those who oppose this and say women do not have this right are, ironically, men. I wonder about that. They have absolutely no risk. I would be more inclined to listen to men if they, at the same time, would sign up to be responsible for the care of an unwanted baby from birth to adulthood. I don’t see that happening. It is all mouth.

I believe the anti-abortion and pro-choice sides could find common ground if they would. I believe agreement could be reached on legally allowing an abortion choice up to a limited time from conception; say a matter of days or weeks, not months, unless the life of the woman is at risk. This would be a position not liked by either side but one that moves from the absolutes than now exist and one I believe many would accept. Think about it.

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Failing ACA

We hear the whaling and gnashing of teeth over what the Republicans are doing about health care insurance. The Democrats, liberal pundits, and liberal media are having a field day. What you do not hear is that Obamacare, Affordable Care Act (ACA) , was on a death spiral from the moment it was passed only by Congressional Democrats some seven years ago. We were told by the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Polosi, the bill had to pass before we could “see what was in it!”. What soon became crystal clear was the ACA was on a suicide mission.

From the very beginning, funding for the ACA was “funny money”. The insurance companies were assured not to lose money by the infusion of federal dollars through the back door. Premiums in the front door were not enough. Never were.

The solution: steal money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage backers in the United States. Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) had ongoing profits after recovery from the housing crisis around 2006-2008. The federal government had bailed Fannie and Freddie out from collapse with temporary loans of $187.5B in 2008 in the form of senior preferred stock with a 10% dividend designed to repay the US Treasury over a long period of time using that dividend. The “loans” to Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with funding the ACA.

Both Fannie and Freddie are “Government Sponsored Entities” BUT are private corporations, not government corporations. Stock and bonds issued by both are sold into the private financial markets. Investors purchase these for private portfolios. Stock and bond values depend upon profits. The US Treasury became a temporary prop up much as was done in earlier years for the automobile industry.

But something happened in 2012. The Obama administration concocted a way to confiscate all profits from Fannie and Freddie indefinitely. The plan was to divert billions of dollars to pay essential Obamacare insurance subsidies that Congress had refused to permanently fund. The ACA has two pertinent sections: Sections 1401 and 1402. Section 1401 provided tax credits to make insurance premiums more affordable. This section was as added to a preexisting list of permanently-appropriated tax credits and refunds. Section 1402 reduced deductibles, co-pays, and other means of “cost sharing” by insurers. This section was not permanently appropriated and was to be funded annually by Congress. Remember, Congress is the only government entity that can authorize appropriations and that through the House of Representatives. They never funded Section 1402 (known as the “unfunded mandate”). Congress refused.

President Obama, through the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services, funded the ACA anyway by confiscating profits from Freddie and FNMA who earlier had been placed into a conservatorship in 2008 under the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This allowed taxpayer support for the bail out of Fannie and Freddie.

The problem: what Obama had initiated was un-Constitutional. Obama confiscated Fannie and Freddie profits without Constitutional authority. This was the finding of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Civil Action No 14-1967 (RMC). Without the hidden Fannie and Freddie profits in the back door, the ACA would collapse. Obama tried to skirt the Constitution.

He was caught.

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