Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Abortion Kills! Oh, wait...

Okay, so today I read several friends' facebook postings on how a cosmetics firm was using "dead babies" in their wrinkle cream, in the most horrible of hack-jobs by an anti-abortion group.

Anyhow, a product called "Neocutis" is now on the market, and an anti-abortionist group has been propagandizing them as a corporation of people who profit from "killing babies". Well, not really. I'm not saying that's not the way the "Children of God for Life" are making it out to be, I'm just saying it's not really true. They really aren't throwing dead babies into a blender to make grandma's wrinkles go away!

Let's go over some facts here:

1) The CoG website states that Neocutis is "exploiting the remains of a slaughtered baby for nothing more than pure vanity and financial gain".

2) The manufacturers of Neocutis (henceforth referred to as "Neocutis") had NOTHING to do with the termination of the life of that fetus. You'll notice I said "fetus", and not "baby", because that's what it was. The choice to abort was not made by Neocutis, but by the potential mother of that fetus. That choice was between herself, God, and her own conscience...and absolutely no one else.

3) The hospital that performed the abortion willingly donated the fetal remains to an institution of research, for the purposes of producing a line of fetal cells. That research institution IS NOT affiliated with Neocutis.

4) The purpose of the creation of that cell bank was to research and create new treatments for burn victims.

5) The chances of a miscarriage actually occurring naturally, in a sterile hospital environment, are so rare it's not even funny. You don't make an appointment and have a natural miscarriage.

6) Absolutely none of the original fetal tissue has ever been used to manufacture any medical or cosmetic product, only the offspring of these cells have been used.

Without fetal tissue, thousands of lives would now be gone. This wasn't fetal tissue that was "commandeered" for the purposes of setting up a skin cell bank, this was fetal tissue bound for the dumpster. Good or bad, it is what it is.

Medical researchers recognized the potential of fetal tissue, because God gave them a functioning mind, allowing them to see this. As a result, modern medicine will now be using this technology to save countless lives. If you don't think so-called "dead babies" should be used for such things, I challenge you to step inside the Shriner's Hospital for Burned Children in Galveston, TX and tell that to those kids. You know, actual children, who are suffering through a hell on earth that you'll never experience if you're lucky.

In the grand scheme of things, burn victims are among the hardest patients to treat, but the skin cells from that one aborted fetus has provided more than enough of its offspring to handle the needs of research and production, with plenty to spare. As a result, this cell bank has found a way to increase its financial income by selling off the byproducts of its cell line.

I don't know about you, but I can't possibly see how using the byproducts of something that has been destroyed by someone else as "sacrilegious".

Think about it like have something that was once a wonderful thing. In its current state, it will never achieve the greatness that was once possible. Instead of being discarded, it is donated to someone else, to produce something that will be used to save lives. So much product is produced, in fact, that overstock is sold off to others for uses other than those deemed "philanthropic". The new product works, but is definitely not considered "essential" or "useful" for anything other than providing for human vanity.

By purchasing this original raw product, the producer of the new product provides financial compensation to the producer of the original product...which allows this producer to have more funding for research, which will in turn save more lives.

At the same time, those willing to purchase this product have something they want, by paying the people who pay the original producer for something they need to produce the second-hand product....which is how the free market works.

By casting a cloud of infamy over those who produce wrinkle cream by using cells created by the byproducts of a dead fetus destined for a landfill, what you are really doing is telling an untold number of actual suffering people they don't deserve to live because a dead and otherwise discarded fetus was used to create the medicines and techniques necessary to save their lives.

That's something to think about, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An open letter to the Police Department of Clute, Texas

To Chief Mark Wicker, Det. Scotty Harris, and the rest of the Clute PD:

I am writing this because I am a concerned citizen. No, I am not a citizen of Clute, TX, I merely work there. I work for a privately-owned corporation located just a few blocks from your station. In addition to providing goods and services to the rest of the Clute and its surrounding communities, the company I work for also provides many of these same goods and services to your department (at discount prices, I might add, for both police AND private vehicles). Also, I have personally generated thousands of dollars worth of sales tax in the past two and a half years I've been working in Clute, on top of the many more thousands of dollars generated by my coworkers every year. It is your patrol cars I see on my way in and out of work every morning and evening, not the cars of the Angleton PD.

The reason I write this letter is because I am losing faith in your city's ability to properly protect and serve the residents and "non-resident visitors" (such as myself), after hearing of the events of the past few weeks.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am very much concerned with the actions of those elected, appointed, and paid by the people to serve the people. Where the police are involved, the Clute PD appears to be doing just fine apprehending criminals, and I have no complaints there, seeing as how I am not a criminal. My biggest issue with the Clute PD, as with just about every other police department I've ever encountered, is the willingness of certain officers to violate the basic and essential civil liberties given by God Himself and protected by the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Please pay attention to the bolded sections of the first and fourth amendments:

Amendment 1: 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.

Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, , papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

To Chief Mark Wicker...when you were instructed to search and seize the papers of Facts reporter Katlynn Lanham, it was not upon reasonable suspicion that the papers were evidence of a crime having been committed. This is, quite simply, because a report compiled with the use of taxpayer money is not "privileged information". Furthermore, it is certainly no excuse to say that you only did what you were "told to do". If you need further information on that subject, I would gladly refer you to a few hundred Nazis...except that we've already hanged them, for "just following orders".

The fact of the matter is, quite simply, that you did what those in a position to terminate your employment were telling you to do, with complete and utter contempt for the highest law of this land. Not only did you attempt to obstruct the operation of a free and open press in violation of the first amendment, you also violated the Fourth Amendment's protection against an unlawful search and seizure. As Clute's highest-ranking law enforcement officer, I think you owe an apology to that reporter for violating her right to be secure in her person, papers, and effects...and you owe every single person that would ever travel through the city of Clute for any reason whatsoever an assurance that the officers of the Clute Police Department will not be permitted to unlawfully search and seize the property of private citizens. We all make mistakes. Being a man does not mean you're perfect; but rather, admitting when you have acted imperfectly.

To Detective Scotty Harris...while I only know Chief Wicker from what little professional interaction I have had with him (so little I doubt he would even remember me), I do remember sitting through an entire semester of sociology with you. We shared quite a few differing opinions, but I think your heart and mind are in the right place.

I do, however, have a few issues with the way you publicly insulted many people in this county with the remarks you made concerning the issue at hand, myself included.

First and foremost, let us not forget that a person need not be a resident of Clute, TX to help put food on your table. As I stated above, I personally gathered enough money for the city of Clute to pay about a month of your salary last year. Regardless of that fact, it is your job to serve every person who happens to be in the city of Clute, TX for whatever reason, and I am one of those people at least five days a week. Essentially, what I am getting at is quite are employed to serve me, from the time I enter the city of Clute until the time I leave it. I didn't force you to become a policeman, this is a job you willfully accepted of your own volition, no different than my own job in that respect. Since I DO contribute to your salary, I would appreciate it if, in the future, you would not tell me and others like me to "get a life" and "become a productive member of society", because we are the ones who allow you to do what you do for a living.

Second, I am quite concerned over your publicly-expressed opinion that it is legal for an officer to perform an action that is so blatantly illegal, because this can result from only one of two causes. Either A) you are uneducated, concerning the protections of the first and fourth amendments of our constitution, or B) you are fully aware that your chief's actions were unethical and unlawful, and you are choosing to put your superior before the citizens you are paid by and sworn to serve.

If we are speaking of the former, this is a problem easily remedied. I know you are an intelligent individual, and you should have no problem with being able to study up on constitutional law and how it concerns the actions of law enforcement. If our problem is of the latter sort, it is a very serious problem, because it means you cannot be trusted to fulfill your duties as a law enforcement officer without being willing to break the very laws you are sworn to uphold. I seriously hope our problem resides solely with a misunderstanding of the fourth amendment.

To the other officers of the Clute Police Department...I have never had anything but positive interaction with any of you, while you were in uniform or out of it. It is my sincere hope that this situation does not change, because I do spend such a great deal of time in the city of Clute. I am trusting that the countless hours of training and education each and every one of you has been through will not be wasted on the idea that some "code of honor" within your department will require or even allow you to turn a blind eye, if one of your fellow officers should ever break the law, even if ordered to do so from his or her superiors. You not only have a professional obligation to enforce the laws of this land, but you also have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure that yourself and your fellow officers are following those same laws.

In closing, I would hope that anyone who reads this letter takes it to heart, and sees it for what it is. I have no ill will toward any member of law enforcement (Clute PD or any other agency), except those who would use their badge to justify an illegal, immoral, or unethical action. Call it like you see it, because the truth will set you free.

-Barry H. Rhodes

Friday, October 2, 2009

More about the FLDS raid...

The very first post of this blog was in regard to the awesomely ass-backward and unlawful manner in which the Texas Children's Protective Services went about carrying out a raid upon the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, after CPS received reports of ALLEGED abuse by a habitual liar claiming to be an "escaped 16 year old sexual abuse victim". Turns out, she was actually a 30-something woman in Colorado.

CPS, with the help of the local county sheriff and his tank named "Bubba" (yes, they actually brought a real-deal armored personnel carrier to the scene, in hopes of getting into a Waco-style shootout), executed warrants signed by judges that were based solely upon unsubstantiated (read: TOTAL BULLSHIT) reports of abuse by this woman. One of two things happened here...either those responsible for obtaining the warrants lied to the judge in their legally-required sworn affidavits of probable cause, or the judge unlawfully signed warrants without the necessary probable cause. Either way it went down, the FLDS "compound" was raided illegally.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's kinda creepy to be doing the doggy-style with a 16 year old girl if you're old enough to buy your own cigarettes, and I very clearly stated that in the previous posting. However, that doesn't change the fact that these people were raided by the police, in violation of the law.

Are they guilty of the charges presented? In all likelihood, probably so. That doesn't change the most important fact of this case, however. First and foremost, the law was violated in order to raid the compound, seize more than 400 "children" (I put it in quotes, because several of these "children" were, in fact, legal adults at the time of their kidnapping). To date, all but one of these "children" have been returned to their parents...even though their parents have been forced to submit to all manner of intrusive and rigorous scrutiny by local authorities, without so much as the slightest bit of proof of any wrongdoing.

Moreover, any evidence of wrongdoing by FLDS members at their Texas "Compound" will result in ONLY ONE OF TWO POSSIBILITIES...and neither of them are really good.

1) All evidence obtained in this raid will eventually be thrown out on appeal, which will result in the overturned convictions of probable child molestors. This is good for America in general, but bad for the probable victims of molestation.

2) The evidence obtained in this raid WILL NOT be thrown out on appeal, which is good for the probable victims of abuse...but happens to be very bad for those who value their constitutional rights.

If a judge can say "yes, I know your rights were violated, but it was a means to an end!", what does that say when your neighbor doesn't like what you've done with your lawn and decides to call the police and say you're making child porn in the garage? What about when your ex-girlfriend gets pissed off at you, and tells the cops you're growing pot in your living room?

Are you willing to let police go through your personal and private belongings, merely because someone claims over the telephone that they saw something, just because "the children" might be protected?

Do you see what I'm getting at? If we are willing to allow the essential constitutional rights of even the worst of humanity to be violated, we are merely setting ourselves up to have our own rights be violated. Remember when everyone you knew was more than willing to allow warrantless wiretaps to protect us from "terrorists", because the president said we needed it? Well, how do you people feel now that the NEW president has declared you and me to be "terrorists"? Still feeling willing to allow warrantless wiretaps?

Remember the words of Jesus..."Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you also do to me." Well, the same holds true of American citizens...whatever rights of the most sick and depraved amongst us you have violated, those same rights of mine have also been violated. Either you believe in the constitution, or you don't.