Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

The Parkland Massacre and the Air We Breathe

February 16, 2018

What’s gone wrong with our culture that produces such atrocities? It’s a very long list.

A teacher hugs a student at a police checkpoint Thursday.
A teacher hugs a student at a police checkpoint Thursday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

We discuss motives, but isn’t it always the same motive? “I have murder in my heart.” Why do so many Americans have murder in their hearts?

That is my question after the St. Valentine’s Day shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. We all know it is part of a continuing cultural catastrophe. A terrible aspect of the catastrophe is that so many central thoughts about it, and questions, have been flattened by time into clichés. People stop hearing when you mention them. “We talked about that during Columbine, didn’t we? That couldn’t be it.”

So we immediately revert to discussions of gun law, and only gun law. There is much to be improved in that area—I offer a suggestion at the end—but it is not the only part of the story. The story is also who we are now and what shape we’re in.

A way to look at the question is: What has happened the past 40 years or so to produce a society so ill at ease with itself, so prone to violence?

We know. We all say it privately, but it’s so obvious it’s hardly worth saying. We have been swept by social, technological and cultural revolution. The family blew up—divorce, unwed childbearing. Fatherless sons. Fatherless daughters, too. Poor children with no one to love them. The internet flourished. Porn proliferated. Drugs, legal and illegal. Violent videogames, in which nameless people are eliminated and spattered all over the screen. (The Columbine shooters loved and might have been addicted to “Doom.”) The abortion regime settled in, with its fierce, endless yet somehow casual talk about the right to end a life. An increasingly violent entertainment culture—low, hypersexualized, full of anomie and weirdness, allergic to meaning and depth. The old longing for integration gave way to a culture of accusation—you are a supremacist, a misogynist, you are guilty of privilege and defined by your color and class, we don’t let your sort speak here.

So much change, so much of it un-gentle. Throughout, was anyone looking to children and what they need? That wasn’t really a salient aim or feature of all the revolutions, was it? The adults were seeing to what they believed were their rights. Kids were a side thought.

At this moment we are in the middle of a reckoning about how disturbed our sexual landscape has become. This past week we turned to violence within marriages. We recently looked at the international sex trade, a phrase that sounds so 18th-century but refers to a real and profitable business.

All this change, compressed into 40 years, has produced some good things, even miraculous ones. But it does not feel accidental that America is experiencing what appears to be a mental-health crisis, especially among the young. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported as many as 20% of children 3 to 17 have, in any given year, a mental or emotional illness. There is research indicating depression among teenagers is worsening. National Public Radio recently quoted a 2005 report asserting the percentage of prison inmates with serious mental illness rose from less than 1% in 1880 to 21% in 2005. Deinstitutionalization swept health care and the psychiatric profession starting in the 1960s, and has continued since. The sick now go to the emergency room or stay among us untreated. In the society we have created the past 40 years, you know we are not making fewer emotionally ill young people, but more.

And here, to me, is the problem. A nation has an atmosphere. It has air it breathes in each day. China has a famous pollution problem: You can see the dirt in the air. America’s air looks clean but there are toxins in it, and they’re making the least defended and protected of us sick.

Here is one breath of the air:

Two weeks ago the U.S. Senate blocked a bill that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks. Exceptions were made—the life of the mother, incest and rape. Twenty weeks—right up to the start of the sixth month—seemed reasonable. But Democrats said it was an assault on women’s rights. So as far as the Senate is concerned, you can end the life of a 6- to 9-month-old baby that can live outside the womb, that is not only human but recognizably and obviously human.

And even if you are 100% for full-term abortion—even if you think this right must be protected lest we go on a slippery slope and next thing you know they’ll outlaw contraceptives—your own language might have alerted you along the way to your radicalism.

Imagine you are pregnant, in the last trimester, and suddenly feel movement in your belly, a shift from here to there. You say, “Oh my God, feel,” and you take the hand of the father, or of another intimate, and you place it on your stomach. You don’t say, “The fetus lurched,” or “A conglomeration of cells is making itself manifest.” You say, “The baby moved. The baby’s moving.” You say this because it is a baby, and you know it. You say it because in your wonder at it, and at life, you tell the truth.

I should add who used that example with me. A great liberal journalist who sees right through his party’s dishonesty on this issue.

The failure to ban late-term abortion is one of those central things we rarely talk about.

And I’ll tell you what I think a teenager absorbs about it, unconsciously, in America. He sees a headline online, he passes a television in an airport, he hears the quick story and he thinks: “If the baby we don’t let live is unimportant, then I guess I am unimportant. And you’re unimportant too.” They don’t even know they’re breathing that in. But it’s there, in the atmosphere, and they’re breathing it in. And it doesn’t make you healthier.

The National Rifle Association too fears their slippery slope, and their fear means nothing common-sensical can be done regarding gun law. Concede anything and it will mean they’re coming for your hunting rifle.

Congress has been talking, at least recently and to some extent, of a trade on immigration. New protections for Dreamers on one hand versus increased border security on the other. This would be a good deal. Dreamers are integrated into American life, and a good many work in education and health care. And America is a great sovereign nation with not only a right but a responsibility to control its own borders.

Compromise is often good.

On gun law, Republicans oppose banning assault weapons such as the AR-15, the one the Parkland shooter used, because of the numbers, power and contributions of gun owners and the NRA. Democrats oppose banning late-term abortion because of the numbers, power and contributions of the rising left, feminists and Planned Parenthood.

The idea: Trade banning assault weapons for banning late-term abortion. Make illegal a killing machine and a killing procedure.

In both cases the lives of children would be saved.

Wouldn’t this clean some of the air? Wouldn’t we all breathe a little easier?

Roy Moore’s Liberal Enablers

December 5, 2017

If he wins, he can thank Al Franken and Jimmy Kimmel among others.

Bill Clinton and Al Franken during a rally at the University of Minnesota, Oct. 10, 2014.
Bill Clinton and Al Franken during a rally at the University of Minnesota, Oct. 10, 2014. PHOTO: JEAN PIERI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

When Alabamans go to the polls a week from now in a special election to choose their next senator, not even Mrs. Roy Moore will be rooting as hard for her Republican husband as the junior senator from Minnesota, Al Franken.

The reason is simple. Mr. Franken knows that if Mr. Moore takes his Senate seat, it becomes less likely the former “Saturday Night Live” comic will have to relinquish his. And therein lies a larger tale about how the liberal opposition to Mr. Moore may be backfiring.

Until this race, plausible accusations that a candidate had engaged in sexual conduct with girls as young as 14 would be enough to sink most any man. Coming as these charges do amid a national sexual reckoning that has already brought down many powerful men hitherto thought untouchable, they ought to be even more potent.

But Mr. Moore is not sinking. To the contrary, at last check the Real Clear Politics polling average gives him a 2.6-point lead. A CBS News poll released this past weekend has him up by 6 points.

If Mr. Moore does win, it will be despite calls by Republicans and conservatives for him to step aside. The calls have come from Republican leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others.

Then again, the remaining GOP support, including that of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and now President Donald Trump, may carry more pull. Mr. Moore further benefits from the backing of the evangelical community, many of whose pastors have stuck with him.

But there’s another potent force in this race, which gets little media attention. These are the liberals who are enabling him. Let’s run through a short list:

• Bill Clinton . Remember the argument “It was only sex”? Or reporter Nina Burleigh saying she’d be happy to give then-President Clinton oral sex “just to thank him for keeping abortion legal”?

Some who backed Mr. Clinton now recognize that their unqualified support through all his lies and bad behavior leaves them in a poor position to lecture others about how to treat women, or why policy should not trump character. Now they are throwing Mr. Clinton under the bus to try to regain the moral high ground. How persuasive must Alabamans find this?

• Doug Jones. He is the Democrat in the race. When your rival is credibly accused of sexual misbehavior with underage girls, the race is yours to lose. And yet Mr. Jones is doing his best to do just that, over a classic Democratic blind spot: abortion.

Alabama is one of America’s most pro-life states. Mr. Jones might have expanded his appeal by opting for the Bill Clinton formula of “safe, legal and rare,” or supporting popular restrictions such as the ban after 20 weeks. Instead, Mr. Jones has opted for the Hillary Clinton view that abortion must be sacrosanct. If he ends up losing, abortion will be a big reason.

• Al Franken. On the hypocrisy front there’s plenty on all sides to go around. Still, it has to be hard for Alabama Republicans not to notice that they are being called on to reject their guy at a time when Democrats are keeping theirs.

• Jimmy Kimmel. Mr. Kimmel recently dispatched a comedian to heckle Mr. Moore at a rally at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church. He succeeded in disrupting the event. Mr. Kimmel and Mr. Moore then got into a Twitter tiff after Mr. Moore suggested Mr. Kimmel put up his dukes, and Mr. Kimmel accepted.

Mr. Kimmel and his audience have had some good yucks at the expense of the local yokels. But again, just a guess that this may not be playing as well in Alabama.

• The national press corps. When Donald Trump tweets about “fake news,” the smart set groans. But just this weekend, ABC News suspended Brian Ross for reporting, falsely, that retired general Mike Flynn would testify Mr. Trump asked him to reach out to the Russians during the campaign, when it was in fact after he’d been elected president. At nearly the same time America learned that the top FBI agent on Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election had exchanged pro-Hillary/anti-Trump texts with an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

And then liberals wonder at a CBS poll finding that 71% of Alabama Republicans don’t believe the allegations against their candidate. They may well be wrong about Mr. Moore and his accusers, but is their skepticism really that difficult to understand?

Now we are entering the final week of the race. Perhaps sensing a Moore victory, President Trump Monday morning offered an unconditional endorsement, tweeting that “we need Roy Moore to win.” But Mr. Trump’s endorsement hasn’t always been dispositive: Remember, Mr. Moore is the GOP’s candidate because Alabama Republicans in the primaries rejected the man the president endorsed.

So if Mr. Moore does find himself Alabama’s newest senator next Tuesday night, it may be as much the fault of those who opposed him as those who supported him.

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The abortion lobby is delighted with Twitter’s censorship of Marsha Blackburn

October 11, 2017
According to the abortion lobby, the right to choose and the right to free speech are mutually exclusive. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights League made that clear Tuesday when they cheered Twitter’s censorship of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.The Tennessee Republican ran afoul of Twitter with a campaign video promoting her fight against “the sale of baby body parts.”
That claim refers to the Stem Express scandal and the subsequent congressional investigation which found that Planned Parenthood was making money by either hustling the remains of unborn children or serving as the Amazon Prime for the little arms and legs of aborted babies.
No automatic alt text available.

Instead of questioning the veracity of Blackburn’s statement, Twitter attacked its “inflammatory” sentiment, pulling the video from its website and, in the process, siding with the abortion lobby. This makes absolutely no sense.

Twitter feeds are veritable tinderboxes when it comes to unpopular and fiery opinions. Numerous writers have already noted what’s immediately apparent when opening up the website: Twitter gives the same voice to white supremacists as humanitarian organizations, equal footing to the reprehensible and the commendable. Until now, the relative flammability of any sentiment was entirely subjective.

Image result for Planned Parenthood, photos, offices

Since creating their account in 2008, NARAL has posted hundreds of tweets and photos that some would find not only false but also extremely inflammatory. The social media goliath never pulled their posts, but has suddenly decided to start policing the other side of the debate.

Worse than the censor, Twitter has embraced the role of a nanny. They’re not bothering to evaluate facts. They’re judging posts based on feelings. And all of this is just fine with the abortion lobby, so long as democracy’s digital forum continues to elevate the right to abort babies over the right to free speech.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Killing of the Innocents — Many have lost sight of “moral obligations”

October 5, 2017

By Charles Gardner

Israel Today

As the earth is ravaged by an unprecedented series of natural disasters, accompanied with threats of war and terror, world leaders have been presented with a heavenly vision.

In challenging the “fake history” of those who deny Jewish links with Israel’s holiest sites, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu has sounded a clarion call for the United Nations to acknowledge the divine authority of the world’s greatest book – the Bible.

Three times he referenced the Bible in a powerful speech to the UN in which he claimed that Israel’s right to exist and prosper as a nation rooted in God’s Word.

Referring to July’s declaration of Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage site, he said you won’t read the true facts of its history in the latest UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report.

“But you can read about it in a somewhat weightier publication – it’s called the Bible,” he mocked, adding that it was “a great read”, that he read it every week, and that they could purchase it from Amazon.

How refreshing that at least one nation’s leader takes his stand on the Bible, though it is entirely appropriate as Bibi leads the people who gave it to us! As well as a sacred book written by divine authority, it is also an historical record which validates Israel’s claim to the Promised Land they now occupy.

But in making such a divine claim for the territory, Bibi must also seek to apply the Law – that is, the Lord’s teaching on ethical matters – to his domain.

He is right in saying that the words of the prophet Isaiah – that God called Israel to be a light to the nations – is being fulfilled as the tiny Jewish state becomes a rising power. But their call “to bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49.6) must mean more than hi-tech innovation and being good neighbours through their search-and-rescue teams sent to disaster areas and medics tending to wounded Syrians on their northern border, though we praise God for all that.

Israel is nevertheless rife with immorality – and I am thinking particularly about abortion, a killing of innocents that echoes previous turning points in Israel’s (and the world’s) history at the time of Moses and of Jesus. I appreciate that its practice in modern Israel is less prevalent than in most parts of the West, but some 650,000 children have nevertheless been denied life in a country that gave God’s law to the world, including the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’.

In the UK, shockingly, nine million babies have been murdered in the 50 years since the passing of the Abortion Act, originally designed to prevent backstreet abortions and meant to apply only where a mother’s life was threatened. Now it is virtually a case of abortion on demand as further calls are made for relaxing the law. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Lesley Regan believes terminations should be the same as any other medical procedure, requiring consent from only one doctor, just as if they were having a bunion removed. But the fact that 650 doctors have signed a petition against it is very encouraging.

Paradoxically, the killing of innocents has accompanied the greatest rescues mankind has witnessed. Moses survived the edict of the Egyptian Pharaoh calling for the slaughter of all Hebrew babies to lead his people out of slavery to the Promised Land. Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, survived King Herod’s massacre of infants – ironically by fleeing with his family to Egypt in response to God’s warning – to bring salvation to the world through his sacrificial death on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem.

Moses also received the Law of God; now Jesus writes the Law on our hearts (Ezekiel 36.26, Jeremiah 31.33). Moses was hidden among the bulrushes of the Nile and became the saviour of his people; Jesus was raised in the backwaters of Nazareth but became the Saviour of the world as he brought true freedom to all who would trust in his redeeming blood (John 8.36).

My colleague, Clifford Denton, tells me of a conference held in Israel in 1996 at which Messianic leaders gathered to discuss the Jewish roots of Christianity. “Unknown to me until afterwards,” he said, “it turned out that the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) was voting on an abortion law at the very same time that we were discussing Torah (the Law of Moses). In fact the Knesset was struck by lightning at that very time.”

With innocents around the world being butchered as never before, the Messiah is about to be revealed to the nations. Jesus indicated that his coming again would be as in the days of Noah (Luke 17.26) when the world was full of violence (Genesis 6.13). Terrorism stalks the planet as unbelievable cruelty mars even supposedly enlightened societies while nuclear holocausts have become a distinct possibility, with both North Korea and Iran making ominous noises. And all this while nations reel under the ferocious effects of earthquakes and hurricanes – also spoken of as signs of the Messiah’s imminent return (Luke 21.25-28), especially when they follow in rapid succession and increasing severity, as on a woman with labour pains. (Matthew 24.8)

Of the three major Jewish feasts, Jesus has fulfilled both Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost). Many Bible commentators believe he will soon fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles (shortly to be celebrated throughout the Jewish world) when he returns to reign from Jerusalem. The One who protects his people, and provides for them, as he did in the wilderness so long ago, will finally bring in the harvest of those who believe in him as he comes to ‘tabernacle’ (or live/make his dwelling) among us. (See John 1.14)

The day is coming – very soon, it seems – when the killing of the innocents will give way to the glorious return of the Son of Man “coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21.27) to avenge every wrong as he passes judgment on a cruel world.

Israel – you are truly called to be a light to the nations, and indeed you have impressed so far with many marvellous inventions. But the brightest light is the fulfillment of the Law through Yeshua HaMashiach, who brings hope, not despair; and life, not death.

Boris Johnson tells Theresa May’s critics to ‘get a grip’ — May to carry on with “humility and contrition” — Post-election reshuffle points to soft Brexit — Plus links to the latest from London

June 12, 2017


Live: Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary CREDIT: FRANCOIS LENOIR/REUTERS


  • Theresa May to address Tory backbench 1922 committee
  • PM’s newly appointed Cabinet to meet for first time
  • Boris Johnson tells PM’s critics to ‘get a grip’
  • Foreign Secretary warns Mrs May on Brexit ‘backsliding’
  • Nicola Sturgeon to greet new SNP MPs in Westminster

Boris Johnson has told people calling for Theresa May to resign to “get a grip” ahead of the Prime Minister’s crunch meeting with Tory backbenchers.

Mrs May is set to appear in front of the influential 1922 committee at 5pm where she will be grilled about the party’s disastrous general election campaign and urged to adopt a more collegiate approach to government.

She is expected to be met with silence rather than the traditional banging of desks by Tory MPs as she is told to show “humility and contrition” in the wake of the party’s election performance.

Mr Johnson has called for calm within the Conservative Party after a number…

Read the rest:


From The Times:  Michael Gove returns to cabinet as Theresa May’s post-election reshuffle points to soft Brexit


Boris Johnson calls on mutinous fellow Tory MPs to stop plotting to dump Theresa May

Foreign Secretary pledges his own loyalty to the beleaguered PM telling ministers to ‘get a grip’

BORIS Johnson today calls for an end to Tory plotting to oust rocking Theresa May, telling mutinous MPs to “get a grip”.

Writing for The Sun, the Foreign Secretary pledges his own loyalty to the beleaguered PM, for now.

Boris Johnson has pledged his loyalty to beleaguered Theresa May

Boris Johnson has pledged his loyalty to beleaguered Theresa May. PA photo

The mop-haired senior Tory also insists there shouldn’t be another general election this year after last week’s calamitous result for the Tories — as voters are “fed up to the back teeth” with politicians and politics.

But Boris also lays down strong terms for Mrs May to keep his backing.

In a carefully worded article, he also insists there must be “no backsliding” on the Brexit deal terms that he PM set out in January.

The Prime Minister has come under fire after disastrous election campaign

The Prime Minister has come under fire after disastrous election campaign. PA photo

And Mrs May must deliver for angry voters on the NHS, schools and housing.

Boris writes: “The people of Britain have had a bellyful of promises and politicking.

“Now is the time for delivery — and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work.”

Boris Johnson insists he is backing Theresa May as Conservative leader

As her most popular heir apparent, Boris’s powerful intervention will draw an end to the frenzied leadership speculation sparked by the disastrous election result three days ago – at least for the summer.

In his article, Boris reveals his message to Tory plotters trying to immediately oust her is: “Come off it. Get a grip, everyone”.

He also heaps praise on the PM for pushing the party’s share of the vote above 42 per cent “for the first time in decades”, as well as “inspiring” 13.7m people to vote Conservative – dubbing it “the biggest total tally since Margaret Thatcher”.

There are Tory fears Jeremy Corbyn could win the next election should one be called

There are Tory fears Jeremy Corbyn could win the next election should one be called. Reuters photo

Branding it “a stunning achievement”, Boris adds: “She deserves the support of her party. And she will certainly get it from me”.

Laying down his terms for his continuing support for the PM, Boris puts the Brexit package drawn up before the election as top of his list.

As other Cabinet figures demand Mrs May softens her demands, Mr Johnson insists: “There can be no backsliding from the objectives the PM set out in the campaign — taking back control of our laws, our borders, our cash”.

He also lays out three demands on domestic policy, in a bitter implicit criticism of the PM’s woeful election campaign.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is one of those expected to make a leadership bid

Brexit Secretary David Davis is one of those expected to make a leadership bid. PA Photo

Boris adds: “If the election taught us one thing it is that it was not just about Brexit.

“We all heard the same anxieties during the campaign; about the NHS, about funding for schools, about the cost and shortage of housing”.

A new Tory leader would want to go back to the country to get a majority to govern with.

But as The Sun revealed on Saturday, Tory grandees are desperate not to have another general election soon as they fear jubilant Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn would win it.

It was rumoured that five Cabinet members have urged Boris to topple Mrs May.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is also expected to make a leadership bid when time is eventually called on Mrs May – likely to be at some stage next year.

Home secretary Amber Rudd will also be pushed to run to represent Tory moderates’ Remainer wing.

Britain’s Brexit Minister Says Theresa May Not a ‘Dead Woman Walking’ — But for DUP “We don’t adopt their views, we don’t adopt their policies.”

June 12, 2017

LONDON — Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis backed Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday, saying claims made by former finance minister George Osborne that she was a “dead woman walking” were wrong and self-indulgent.

“I find it incredibly self indulgent for the Tory party to be going for this sort of stuff,” he said on ITV television, using an alternative name for the Conservative Party.

“It is our job to get on with running the country.”

Image result for David Davis, photos

May’s Conservatives failed to win a parliamentary majority in an election last week, meaning it will need the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to govern.

Davis said however the Conservatives would not adopt the views of its intended partner on matters such as abortion and gay marriage.

“We don’t adopt their views, we don’t adopt their policies,” he said.

“We’ve just been returned to government with a minority government in effect, it’s our duty to make it work, it’s our duty to make it deliver for the British people.”

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)

Some Chinese Worried About Their Own Cultural Sense of Right and Wrong

June 11, 2017

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In this Saturday, June 10, 2017 photo, a website shows a frame from a video of a woman as she is run over by a car at a traffic junction displayed on a computer in Beijing, China. The grainy video of a traffic accident in the city of Zhumadian surfaced on Chinese social media this week, the initial reaction was one of outrage directed at the more than 40 pedestrians and drivers who passed within meters of the woman, all failing to offer help. Chinese character at bottom reads “Tragedy” Women hit and unassisted gets run over, what kind of accident is this?” (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

June 10 at 9:56 PM
BEIJING — A speeding taxi knocks the pedestrian off her feet, sending her hurtling through the air. Dozens of people stand gawking or walk past, as if the young woman sprawled in the busy intersection simply doesn’t exist. A full minute passes, and another speeding vehicle, this time an SUV, tramples the prone woman. Her unconscious body churns under its large wheels like a lumpen sack.After a grainy video of a traffic accident in the city of Zhumadian surfaced on Chinese social media this past week, the initial reaction was one of outrage directed at the more than 40 pedestrians and drivers who passed within meters of the woman, all failing to offer help.But for many Chinese, the video was something more: a 94-second reminder of their society’s deep rot.Even as China presents itself outwardly as a prosperous rising power, around kitchen tables and in private WeChat groups, Chinese citizens routinely grumble about a nation that’s gone bankrupt when it comes to two qualities: “suzhi,” or “personal character,” and “dixian,” literally “bottom line” — or a basic, inviolable sense of right and wrong.Here, the common refrain goes, is an unmoored country where manufacturers knowingly sell toxic baby formula and fraudulent children’s vaccines. Restaurants cook with recycled “gutter oil” and grocery stores peddle fake eggs, fake fruit, even fake rice. Many Chinese say they avoid helping people on the street because of widespread stories about extortionists who seek help from passers-by and then feign injuries and demand compensation — perhaps explaining the Zhumadian incident.

“It’s a problem with the entire country: our moral bottom line has fallen so low,” Tian You, a novelist based in the southeastern city of Shenzhen, said by phone. “If I’m truly honest, I wonder, would I myself have dared to help the woman?”

After the Zhumadian video surfaced this week, garnering more than 5 million views in its first 24 hours before being censored, local police were forced to disclose that the accident took place weeks earlier, on April 21. The woman, surnamed Ma, died, while the two drivers who hit her were held under investigation, police said, without giving further details.

The news swept through social media and even state media outlets. The Communist Youth League, an influential party organization, circulated the video on its Weibo account, urging its 5 million followers to “reject indifference.” An opinion column on, a state media organ, asked citizens to “reflect” on the tragedy. Others used the episode as a starting point to vent about social ills.

“Like the polluted haze facing our country, we see boundless corruption, left-behind children, medical disputes and so forth,” a columnist in the Chengdu Economic Daily wrote. “Have our society’s morals gotten better or worse in the last 10 years? What about our future, are you confident about that? Don’t ask me, because I’m not.”

Public concern about China’s morals has reached back decades and across age groups. Ever since China began its free market reforms in the 1980s, older citizens have frequently griped about its moral decay and profess nostalgia about a more innocent socialist era, while younger, worldly Chinese wonder why fraud and fake products aren’t as rampant in other countries.

Chinese scholars say that many issues that leave the middle class disillusioned are a result of lagging government regulation and the dislocating forces of swift development.

“In the West, law, faith and morality are a three-legged stool,” said Ma Ai, a sociologist at the China University of Political Science and Law. “Our legal system is catching up, but we don’t have religion and a new moral system has not established after China transformed away from a traditional, collectivist society.”

A national debate flared up following a similar case in 2011, when an unattended 2-year old was hit by a truck on a busy street in Guangdong province and laid in a pool of blood without any help from bystanders for seven minutes. She died later. In the following years, several cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, enacted Good Samaritan laws.

To be sure, examples of bystander apathy are ubiquitous, from the case of Kitty Genovese, the woman stabbed to death in daylight in a Queens apartment complex in 1964, to last year in Chicago, where a man who was knocked unconscious in an assault was run over and killed by a taxi after a group of bystanders walked away from him.

In India, a video showed a man unsuccessfully pleading for help following a road accident that killed his wife and child in 2013. That same year, passers-by refused to stop to help a naked, bleeding gang-rape victim after she was dumped from a bus onto a New Delhi street. The 23-year-old student died of her injuries.

But the Chinese have been particularly self-critical on the matter.

In 2009, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, ran a provocative story with a picture of a dog standing by another injured dog in a busy street and pondered whether humans would do the same. The report was headlined, “Do Chinese people lack compassion?”

A 2014 state media poll found that Chinese thought “lacking faith and ethics” was the No. 1 social problem, followed by “being a bystander or being selfish.”

Many in China’s intelligentsia reject the idea that an ancient strain of Chinese culture that focuses on the immediate family explains modern tragedies like Zhumadian. Confucius, after all, taught the Golden Rule. And Mencius, another revered philosopher, urged his disciples to love others’ children and respect others’ parents as one would their own.

More frequently heard are indictments of the Communist regime that has suppressed religion and traditional values and emphasized stability over justice.

Tian, the Shenzhen writer, cited the Cultural Revolution unleashed by Mao Zedong in the 1960s, which turned families and neighbors against each other in a battle for survival. Hyper-capitalistic, no-holds-barred competition consumed the reform era that followed Mao’s death.

“Our political system doesn’t regulate the things it should and it manages things it shouldn’t,” said Zhang Wen, a well-known Beijing commentator who pointed out that many charitable organizations have disbanded due to government pressure, resulting in a decline of “charity spirit.”

In his own middle-class circle, Zhang said, many friends speak about feeling “emotionally withdrawn” in the pressure-cooker economy.

“We’ve become individuals, alienated and doing whatever we can to get ahead,” he said. “There is no space left to care for others.”


Follow Gerry Shih at

Donald Trump, Democrats Dig In for Fight

February 1, 2017

Senate Democrats threaten to delay and block legislation they find objectionable

Sen.Orrin Hatch, surrounded by empty seats, confers with an aide during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee to vote on cabinet nominees on Tuesday. Senate Democrats boycotted committee votes on cabinet nominees and delayed at least for a day a committee vote on Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general.

Sen.Orrin Hatch, surrounded by empty seats, confers with an aide during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee to vote on cabinet nominees on Tuesday. Senate Democrats boycotted committee votes on cabinet nominees and delayed at least for a day a committee vote on Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general. PHOTO: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

Updated Feb. 1, 2017 2:47 a.m. ET


WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s aggressive White House debut is stoking a war with Democrats and creating unease with fellow Republicans, dimming chances for cross-party compromise and potentially limiting the scope of what he can get done while in office.

Democrats, pushed by their base, are under pressure to not cooperate with the new president—on anything. On Tuesday Senate Democrats boycotted committee votes on cabinet nominees and delayed at least for a day a committee vote on Mr. Trump’s choice for attorney general.

The battle is now poised to move to the most hard-fought political arena in Washington: the appointment of a U.S. Supreme Court justice who will get a lifetime job judging policy on immigration, taxes, abortion and a host of issues that evoke partisan passions.

Some Democrats are pledging to block the nomination, quickly injecting politics into the debate after Republicans spent much of last year blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland.

Many Republicans, rattled by some of Mr. Trump’s early moves, remain in the shadow of his high popularity with the GOP base. They have for the most part rallied behind the president and his agenda—even on trade policies many shunned before his election.

The result is that Mr. Trump faces more immediate obstacles to realizing goals that can’t be achieved through the stroke of an executive pen.

While the president is expected to win confirmation of most of his cabinet nominees and Republicans have said they are confident the Senate will confirm his Supreme Court choice, the Democrats have the power to delay and potentially block legislation they find objectionable.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, and most bills need 60 votes to pass. Alienating Democrats would doom most legislative efforts, including a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act after Republicans repeal it with a party-line maneuver tied to the budget.

Senate Republicans will need to persuade a handful of Democrats to allow legislation to move forward or take extraordinary measures to change the chamber’s rules to permit measures to advance with a majority vote.

Leadership from both parties have resisted changing the vote rules because the Senate, unlike the House, is more prone to flipping between Republican and Democratic control. The Senate also has a longstanding tradition of seeking bipartisan solutions.

“We Democrats need to be very forceful,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in an interview.He was among the first wave of protesters, joining about 175,000 people in Seattle for the post-inauguration Women’s March, which drew far larger crowds than organizers expected. “The goal of those who value liberty is to fight back whenever, wherever and however,” he said.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer rebuffed suggestions that Mr. Trump’s first weeks in office have been divisive, noting that he has met with Democrats as well as Republicans, union members as well as businesses.

“The president has done a tremendous amount through both what he has said and done, more importantly, to start to bring this country together,” Mr. Spicer said Tuesday. “And his policies, frankly, are focused on keeping every American safe.”

Far from Washington, Mr. Trump’s breakneck style of governing has thrown many Republicans for a loop, even though he is doing what he promised during his campaign.

“It’s reassuring to have a candidate who is now president actually doing what he said he would do—that’s a breath of fresh air,” said Robert Graham, Arizona’s GOP chairman. “But he’s moving so quickly, it does put you back on your heels a little bit.’’

Political observers believe Mr. Trump bears some responsibility for the absence of a honeymoon.

He has led off with contentious issues—most notably immigration—that delight his followers and alienate Democrats, and he has used his Twitter feed to call his adversaries names, including “clowns.” Even some Republicans have said Mr. Trump has made little effort in his opening days to appeal to Democrats to work with him.

“I don’t think that’s his goal right now,” Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said. “It’s definitely a very strident tone that’s being set.”

That has complicated Democrats’ hopes to work with Mr. Trump on issues like an infrastructure bill. He also inflamed liberal activists and the Democratic base, who have poured into the nation’s streets, airports and public squares across the country to protest his policies.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, helped fan the flames this week. He said in a statement that he was “heartened” by the protests, marking his first public comment since leaving the White House.

Democratic activists are marshaling their supporters to counter Mr. Trump at every turn.

“Until and unless Donald Trump decides to operate within the Constitution, Democrats should be shutting the process down,” said Ben Wikler, Washington director of, a liberal activist group.

On Monday afternoon, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s political arm, Our Revolution, asked the five million people on the Vermont independent’s email list to demand Democratic senators resist Mr. Trump’s agenda by delaying votes on cabinet appointees as long as possible.

A link in the email routed 10,000 calls to Senate Democrats between 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday morning before the Senate committee walkout, said Larry Cohen, chairman of Our Revolution. MoveOn also says it routed another 10,000 calls to Democratic senators.

Those calls are getting through to lawmakers like Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

“There certainly are many—and we’re hearing from them—who want me to vote against anything and everything” proposed by Mr. Trump, Mr. King said.

Activists still face reluctance from senators who shy from unalloyed obstructionism.

“If he’s right, I’m with him. If he’s wrong I’m going to oppose him,” Mr. King said.

President Donald Trump arrives for a reception with congressional leaders at the White House last week.

President Donald Trump arrives for a reception with congressional leaders at the White House last week. PHOTO: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

The pressure is especially intense on Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who before the inauguration spoke often of cooperating with Mr. Trump when the new president’s priorities aligned with what Democrats have sought.

At a rally with more than 100 Democratic members of Congress in front of the Supreme Court on Monday, protesters shouted “do your job” at Mr. Schumer to encourage him to try to block Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointees.

“I’d like to think Democrats’ hearts are in a good place,” said protester Jacob Weisman, a cook from Greenbelt, Md.

“But apart from a few—Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren—I wonder how willing they are to take action,” she said, referring to Ms. Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

The message is getting through: Mr. Schumer said Monday he would oppose five of Mr. Trump’s cabinet nominees. On Tuesday he also voted against a sixth, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).

Ms. Chao was considered a relatively uncontroversial nominee whom the Senate approved Tuesday by a 93-6 vote. Mr. Schumer also orchestrated a delay in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to approve the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, to be attorney general.

“We have said all along we will be guided by our values,” Mr. Schumer told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. Yet Mr. Schumer reiterated that Democrats would work with Mr. Trump to advance their own priorities.

House Republicans said the slow-walking of Senate confirmation votes could also delay some of their legislative goals.

For instance, Republicans had hoped to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act in February, but now are expecting to get there in April, in part, because of his pending cabinet nominees, including Health and Human Services designee Tom Price. The delay also stems from the fact that Republicans are divided over how to repeal and replace the 2010 health law.

Republicans are operating under a very different set of political pressures: Mr. Trump remains very popular among GOP voters, and many lawmakers feel they criticize him at their peril.

The confusing implementation of an executive order suspending entry of refugees and others travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations because of terrorism concerns became an early test of their maneuvering room.

Some Republicans stepped out to criticize the rollout, but only gingerly because the underlying policy is popular with many of their voters who view the president’s order as delivering on a campaign promise.

“The response I get is: ‘Oh my gosh, not only did he say it, he meant it!’” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) “If he continues at this pace, he will be president for the next eight years.”

Republicans are generally thrilled to have a GOP president: For about 70% of House Republicans and 42% of GOP senators, it is the first time since they came to Congress that Mr. Obama isn’t sitting in the Oval Office.

But Mr. Trump is leading their party in an unorthodox direction, forcing them to rally behind trade and budget policies many have long opposed, by stirring talk of tariffs and big spending on roads and bridges.

That could lead to conflict down the road, said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a Republican. For now, though, “Trump has positioned himself on the popular side of those issues,” he said.

Write to Janet Hook at, Kristina Peterson at and Reid J. Epstein at

Mike Pence addresses March for Life

January 27, 2017

Mike Pence addresses March for Life 

Posted at 12:15 p.m. – Dwight Adams

Vice President Mike Pence is speaking now at the March for Life.

“Because of you … life is winning again in America.

“It is not more evident…than in the historic election of a president who … stands for the right to life, President Donald Trump.”

President asked me to be here today. He asked me to ask you for your support.”

Pence said that the Trump administration will fight to stop taxpayer funding for abortions and abortion providers.

But he said it will also continue to provide funding for women’s health.

“Life is winning in America because of you, so I urge you to press on,” he said.

“Let this movement be known for love not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion not confrontation.

“When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness.”

Crowds gathering for the March

Posted at 11:00 a.m. – Dwight Adams

Crowds are gathering in Washington, D.C., on Friday to take part in the 44th annual March for Life.

And a Hoosier will be one of the prime attention-getters.

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed via Twitter on Thursday night that he will speak in person at the event, becoming the highest-ranking government official to do so.

March for Life events will begin with a time of musical reflection at 11:45 a.m., followed by a rally at noon. The march itself is set to begin at 1 p.m.

Pence, who was an early congressional leader of efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, also was a regular speaker at the March for Life during the 12 years he served in Congress.

But he will be the highest-ranking White House official to ever speak in person there. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush spoke to marchers via remote audio hookup.

Indiana Right to Life officials also said on Thursday that 40 chartered buses filled with Hoosiers were on their way to Washington for the march.

Pence has promised social conservatives during the campaign that he would be their champion in the White House, particularly in fighting abortion and Planned Parenthood. He has been involved in the past in efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, when he was Indiana’s governor.

The theme of this year’s march is “The Power of One” — with the belief that one person can make a difference in the world.

Planned Parenthood received $553.7 million in government funding in 2014. The majority of the money comes by way of reimbursement for services the centers provide to Medicaid patients. While Planned Parenthood does perform abortions, government funds can only be used to pay for them in cases of rape or incest or when a woman’s life is in danger.

What happens behind our doors isn’t a mystery. It’s quality health care. 

@PPFA PP saw me when no dr. would give me an appt.becuz I had NO insurance. Lump in my breast led to CANCER diagnosis. They are Life Savers.

Planned Parenthood has planned at least 300 events nationwide over the next three months as well as an advocacy campaign in Washington.

But Pence’s high position in the Trump administration gives optimism to lawmakers and anti-abortion groups, especially those from Indiana.

“Pence’s strong pro-life commitment will become readily apparent to those in our nation’s capital,” Mike Fichter, the head of Indiana Right to Life said in a statement congratulating Pence last week. “Pence understands that the right to life is foundational to who we are as Americans.”

Interest in today’s march against abortion from individuals and groups like Little Sisters of the Poor and National Vigil 4 Life is already trending on social media, especially under the hashtag #March_for_Life:

We’ve been marching 43 yrs. We would’ve been back no matter election rslt, but we’re now esp energized w/ @realDonaldTrump prolife advances

Contact Maureen Groppe at Follow her on Twitter: @mgroppe.

USA TODAY contributed to this story.


Pence at anti-abortion rally: ‘Life is winning again in America’

January 27, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence assured anti-abortion protestors Friday that their cause has friends in the new administration, vowing that it “will not rest” until the “pro-life” culture is restored in the U.S.

Speaking at the annual “March for Life” event in Washington DC, Pence proclaimed that “life is winning again in America” and outlined how the Trump administration would advance anti-abortion policies.

“Be assured, along with you, we will not grow weary. We will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America, for ourselves and for our posterity,” he said at the event, the first sitting vice president ever to attend the March for Life.

He vowed the administration would work with Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

“We will devote those resources to healthcare services across America,” he said.

Trump will also announce next week a justice to the Supreme Court who will “uphold the god-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution,” Pence said.

Pence also praised Trump’s signing of an executive order than bands U.S. aid to international healthcare organizations that provide or promote abortions.

“Life is winning again in America. Today is a celebration of that progress…That is evident in the presence of pro-life majorities in the Congress of the United States of America,” Pence said.

“But it is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a president who stands for a strong America, a more prosperous America and a president who I proudly stands for a right to life.”




DC’s ‘March for Life’ to Highlight Gains by Abortion Opponents

WASHINGTON — For the first time in years, abortion opponents will have all the political momentum when they hold their annual rally Friday on the National Mall.

The March for Life, held each year in Washington to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, said it will have one of its biggest-name speakers in years: Vice President Mike Pence.

The March for Life said that neither a president nor a vice president has ever addressed the event now in its 44th year. And one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, is also on the speakers’ list.

Organizers told the National Park Service in their permit application they expect 50,000 participants. Yet Trump insisted on the eve of the rally that the crowd would be far larger, saying “a lot of people are gonna be showing up.”

Anti-abortion activists gather at the Washington Monument to hear Vice President Mike Pence speak at the March for Life rally on Jan. 27 in WashingtonTasos Katopodis / AFP – Getty Images

“You know, the press never gives them the credit that they deserve,” Trump told Republicans gathered in Philadelphia. “They’ll have 300, 400, 500, 600 thousand people. You won’t even read about it. When other people show up, you read big-time about it. Right? So, it’s not fair, but nothing fair about the media.”

A senior administration official told NBC News Friday morning that President Trump planned to call in remarks to the rally. Vice President Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were expected to attend and speak as well.

One of Trump’s first official acts after taking office a week ago was to sign an executive order banning U.S. aid to foreign groups that provide abortions.

In Congress, Republican majorities in both chambers are vowing to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provided more than a third of the nation’s abortions in 2014. They also hope to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Trump has pledged to sign both measures if they reach his desk.

Less than a year ago, with Barack Obama’s second term winding down, things were markedly different. The Supreme Court struck down Texas’ strict regulations on abortion clinics as interfering with a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. And with polls at the time suggesting Hillary Clinton would likely defeat Trump, abortion opponents worried about an era of liberal majorities on the court.

Image: People participate in an anti-abortion rally in Olympia, Wash.
Carole Seymour, right, of Shelton, Wash., carries a sign that reads “No More Killing” and features a sticker from the campaign of President Donald Trump as she takes part in an anti-abortion march and rally on Jan. 23, 2017, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Ted S. Warren / AP

“The horizon looked bleak for the pro-life movement,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life.

Mancini suggested that many voters chose Trump largely because he pledged to appoint a Supreme Court justice who shared their views on abortion, even if they disagreed with him on other issues.

“I don’t identify as a Republican or a Democrat but I do vote pro-life,” Mancini said.

Abortion opponents also were heartened by a recent study that found the number of abortions in the United States dropped under 1 million in 2014, the lowest total in 40 years. The report by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, credited increased access to birth control but also a surge in abortion restrictions in many states.

Americans remain deeply divided on abortion.

The latest Gallup survey, released last spring, found that 47 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-choice and 46 percent as pro-life. It also found that 79 percent believed abortion should be legal in either some or all circumstances.

Image: Pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters rally gather at the Supreme Court
Pro-choice advocates (left) and anti-abortion advocates (right) rally outside of the Supreme Court on March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer / Getty Images, file

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that poll shows why abortion-rights supporters shouldn’t despair. She also said Republicans were taking actions that would result in more illegal abortions and deaths of pregnant women.

“The vast majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade and support the legal right to abortion,” Hogue said.

Friday’s march comes less than a week after one of the largest mass demonstrations in the city’s history, the Women’s March on Washington, which drew more than half a million people opposed to Trump on issues including abortion.

Although the landmark Supreme Court decision was Jan. 22, 1973, organizers of the march noted on their website that Trump was sworn in Jan. 20 and the National Park Service assigned Jan. 27 as the next available date for their event.

Mancini said she had planned to participate in the women’s march until organizers dropped an anti-abortion group as an official partner. She said its failure to embrace different views on abortion was a missed opportunity.

The March for Life routinely draws thousands, even in harsh weather. Last year’s was held in a blizzard that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the nation’s capital..