The Sentinel

August 25th, A.D. 79

The air was thick with ash. It came down like a heavy snow, shrouding everything in black and grey. The air itself felt heavy - heavy with the scent of smoke and sulfur and death. Gaius watched the streets through the open window for any signs of life, but his view was inexorably drawn to the massive column of smoke that towered above. It wasn’t long before he turned away from the window, coughed, and spat a mouthful of black on the floor.

“No use, young sir.” The gray-haired slave said. “Not even for a soldier such as you. The gods have come. Vulcanus has stoked the fires of his forge.”

Gaius ignored the slave and walked to the center of the small house. He looked around at the survivors huddled around his makeshift fire. The flames made their ash-smeared faces seem to float in the unnatural gloom. All eyes had turned to focus on him. He wondered if his own face looked as grim as theirs.

“No sign of others,” he said. “I think-” he began, then turned his head to cough again. “I think we should make for the harbor. There may still be ships that can take us to safety.”

None responded.

“Then it’s settled,” Gaius said after a long silence. He gestured to the other guards. “Pick up your load.”

The guards slowly rose to their feet and murmured amongst themselves as they sorted out their satchels. He turned and gestured to slaves who had huddled together at the opposite side of the chamber. “Rise. You must help to carry the young and the infirm,” he said.

They did not rise, but stared at him, sullenly.

“To leave here is death,” said the gray haired slave. “Who can resist the gods?”

Gaius spread his arms, “To stay here is death, cur.” He took up his satchel from the cracked mosaic floor. “I go to the harbor. Any who wish to go with me, take up your belongings.”

A moment of silence passed.

“We will go, soldier,” came a voice from out of the darkness. An older patrician man came forward, his arm protectively wrapped around a young woman. He was heavyset, but his arms and legs were corded with old muscle. She was small and pale, her yellow hair and blue gown dirty with soot.

Gaius looked to them and then to the rest of the huddled forms. “Come then, and stay close.” He turned and walked to the door only to stop short when he heard no clatter of boot-shod feet behind. The guardsmen remained where they were, casting furtive glances at one another.

“That was an order. Quickly, now!”

“Gaius, hold.” Quintipor, one of the older guards under his command, approached from the inner darkness. He drew Gaius out of earshot of the patrician man and woman. “I say we leave,” he said, “without the dead weight of an old man an’ his bitch.”

Gaius stared into the grizzled guard’s unblinking eyes. “We have a duty,” he said after a long silence.

“You think that lot would give a whore’s rag to save you?” Quintipor said, gesturing at the patricians. “No, sir, you’re filth to them. Better to run and save your skin.”

“That’s nothing to me, Quint. We do our duty.”

“That’s just it. There’s no ‘we’ sir,” said Quintipor. Me and the boys were talking. We decided. We leave the dead weight here or we go our own way.”

Gaius looked off into the smoky darkness of the streets, now empty, except for the gathering ash. His hand tightened on the grip of his sheathed sword. “You think I’ll just let you run off?”

The old guard flashed a mirthless smile. “Don’t see what you can do about it, sir. Me and the boys, we go our own way.”

“Then you go your own way, Quint- straight to hell.”

Quintipor spat and turned to the remaining guards. “We go boys. Leave the rabble.” The group of sullen men filed out of the darkness. None met Gauis’ eyes as they passed.

He watched them trod off into the gloom, and then turned and called back into the dark house, “Any who wish to go to the harbor, follow and stay close.”

Gauis set off, with the patrician, the young woman, and the gray-haired slave in tow. The rest of the huddled forms disappeared behind him, swallowed by the dark of the abandoned house.

...

They had not walked for long before they came upon a mass of ash-stained people shambling through the wide thoroughfare that ran down to the city’s harbor. They joined the sad procession, arms raised to shield from the occasional pumice stone that would fall from the sky. The ash now poured down like steady rain. The gloom of the day had darkened to the shade of deep night, and the only discernable light came from sputtering lamps and torches carried by those around them. Few of them spoke above a whisper. Children wept. Some called out for lost parents.

The young woman looked to the old patrician. “Is it true, pater?” she said in a small, raspy voice. “Have the gods come down? Will they devour us?”

The patrician man walked on, saying nothing.

“Of course, young mistress,” said the old slave. “The gods are wroth and they walk the streets, even now. Vulcanus has opened his forge, and earth shall be consumed.”

“Silence!” hissed Gaius.

...

Gaius choked on ashen fumes and bent double with a racking cough. He could not tell how long they had been trodding down the avenue. The half-light under the unnatural clouds hid the time of day. The old patrician moved along with a grim, set face. The young woman fared less well, mostly carried by the patrician at this point. The stream of refugees had reduced down to a trickle, with many of them pulling away into narrow alleys or empty buildings. Others simply stopped, huddling against walls for the relative shelter they offered. Some called out from the ground, their minds taken by lunacy, crying for an end to the night. The pumice stone came down more thickly now. Roofs collapsed under the weight of it all. Still, Gaius led on.

“There is no way forward, young sir,” said the ash-stained slave in a hoarse whisper. “The gods have abandoned us. It is the end of all things. We must take shelter.”

Gaius pressed on. “And if it is the end, what will shelter avail you, fool?” he said, his dry voice breaking. “We move on.”

“Perhaps, soldier,” said the patrician, “It would be best to rest.”

Then the sky broke. It started as a rumble and grew to a roar. Gaius turned to look back at the terrifying sound, but could see nothing. The ground began to rumble beneath his feet.

“Vulcanus walks among us!” screamed the old slave. He fell to his knees and tried to hide himself in the knee deep ash. “Vulcanus has come! He will devour all!”

Gaius turned to the patrician and the girl. “Run to the harbor!” The old patrician obeyed, scooping up the woman into his arms and running from the oncoming roar. Gaius drew his blade and hefted his shield.

The slave looked up from his cowering. “None can stand against the gods!”

Gaius kicked the slave out of the way and moved toward the sound - the sound of a world’s ending. He raised his blade, and screamed in defiance.

August 25, A.D. 2019

“Papa,” said the young girl, “You have to see this!”

Professor Giacomo Accardi followed his daughter as she darted between crates and statuary in the cataloging warehouse.

“Teresa,” he said, trying to keep up, “slow down, girl.”

She stopped and waited near the entrance to the newly discovered harbor district of Pompeii, arms crossed and foot tapping as he slowly limped over. When he had caught up she continued down the walkway at a more manageable pace for him.

“What have you found?”

“An ash man!”

“What is so new to you, little girl, about an ash man? You see them all day.”

She grabbed him by the hand and pulled him along more quickly. “You’ll see!”

They descended into the excavation pits, turned into a newly dug trench, and came to an abrupt stop.

“Shit!” Giacomo said under his breath.

“It’s a sight to see, Professor,” said one of the workmen who had been excavating the area. “I thought my eyes were deceiving me as we dug the old boy out.”

Teresa led her father by the hand close to the ash man, a corpse that was mummified in its death throes by ash and heat. “All I ever see are ash people lying down,” said Teresa. “But this one-”

“He’s standing,” Giacomo said.

Rage of the Jilted Palooka

We now have running for Presidential office a Mr. Donald Trump, a political oddity who has rubbed elbows with both Republicans and Democrats and supported candidates as diverse as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. In my opinion, he is a political opportunist who, unlike the elites of either the Republican or Democrat parties, has sensed the incredible levels of angst and distrust fomenting in the population, and now sees it as an opportunity to gain clout and power. There may be some genuine love for the United States there. There may not. In spite of the spectacle that he has made of American politics, what I find most funny in all of this is the behavior of Conservatives.

Conservatives have, for decades now, nominated and elected authoritarians, bullies, liars, and candidates that are far more socialist than libertarian. Some of the most far reaching socialist measures in the United States have been campaigned-for and signed into law, not by Democrats, but by Republicans. This is understandable, as when a Democrat pushes socialism he will be fought tooth and nail, but when a Republican pushes socialism, it is quickly excused and forgotten if it was even noticed in the first place. Now, when there is one candidate who is just as much an opportunist as all the rest they have voted for previously, these same Conservatives and Republicans scoff and chafe.

"He's a secret Democrat!" I hear. "He's an authoritarian!" I read. Why has this suddenly started to bother you now, Conservatives? When we were all caught up in the furor of patriotism after 9/11, I didn't see many Conservatives cry foul at the draconian assaults on our liberties enacted by the Bush administration. When George H. W. Bush prostituted the country by singing NAFTA, I didn't see you cry out in defense of American interests. I see no evidence, then or now, of Conservatives crying foul when Ronald Reagan pushed for globalism. From whence this sudden passion regarding liberty, Republicans? Why all the concern over authoritarians, Conservatives?

This new-found vigilance astounds me. You strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. You think Trump can establish a dictatorship in a single term? You have been building, brick by filthy brick, a tyrannical edifice that will dwarf anything we have seen before. I had thought, as Trump demonstrated that he knew how to play the game and play it well, that the established Republican politicians would be humiliated. I now see that it is not only the elected officials, but the electorate that has been caught with its pants down.

In your rhetoric, you name yourselves as the ideological heirs of the Founding Fathers. If you were truly anything like them, you would have revolted against your government long ago. Conservatives and Republicans have more in common with early 20th Century socialists than with the Founders. It is time to end this ridiculous charade. We are entering into a new political era, one that you have birthed through your complicity and ignorance. I suspect that this era will be known, not for the proposed Conservative Renaissance, but for the intense discord arising from racial and regional upheaval.

I have no idea if any of Trump's rhetoric is sincere. I have no idea what he will actually do if he is elected President. What I do know is that it can't be any worse than what Conservatives have inflicted on us over the past 50 years.

The Good

The old man slowly made his way through the crowds, face upturned to feel the hot Mediterranean sun on his aged skin. The journey to Olympia had been long. Longer than he remembered. But missing the Games was unthinkable for a true-blooded Athenian.

As he approached the Stadium his senses were swept up in a wave of memory. His nostrils caught a hint of celery wine, and he saw the warm day in his youth when he had coaxed a lithe Elean girl away from the festivities with a jug of the herbal draught. His skin felt the shaded cool beneath the vaulted stones, and he saw himself as a small boy, led by the hand and gaping in awe at the colorful procession of competitors. His ears took in the din and roar of the crowd and he saw the day his young cousin had earned the Victor’s Crown after running the stadia. He walked on, lost in his thoughts.

“You ol’ sot, get out o’ the damn way!”

The old man turned, startled to see a stout, red-faced man angrily gesturing for him to move. He stammered an apology. “Pardon me, friend, I—”

His voice was drowned out by a swell of profanity and screaming from the seated crowd. He limped forward, trying to get out of the way of the angry spectators.

“By the gods! Someone throw the codger off the ramparts!” yelled a young Corinthian.

At this, the old man started to hobble along faster. The crowds found his panic to be funny, and they erupted into peals of laughter. They began to hurl fruit, rocks, and the occasional empty wine jug at him. He stumbled forward, feet bloodied from the broken pottery strewn across the floor. They eventually lost interest and directed their attention back to the young men running the stadia.

Moments later, the old man came upon the area of the stadium where the men of Sparta sat. Fearing more of the same treatment, he kept his head low and pressed forward quickly. A young Spartan sitting in the front row, upon seeing the old man, immediately stood and offered him his seat. This drew the attention of the other Spartan men seated around him. As each Spartan saw the old man, he rose and offered his own seat as well.

The old man gratefully accepted the seat of the young Spartan who had first offered.

“I see,” the old man said, “all Greeks know the good, but only the Spartans do it.”

Photo by slava296/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by slava296/iStock / Getty Images


Internal Dialogue

“So, I see you’re pretty resistant to the idea of bringing these Syrian refugees to the United States.”

“Yeah. So?”

"Jesus told us to take in the refugees because it is the right thing to do!"

"Wow, Jesus told you that?"

"...It's implied."

"Nothing is implied. What is commanded is to love your enemies."

"Exactly! You seem to think of these people as your enemies.”

“Not exactly. I think enemies are amongst them. And I think much about their culture is antithetical to ours.”

“The point stands. Love your enemies. Even the enemies of your culture."

"That doesn't automatically translate to, 'Bring your enemy into your house and let him room with your teenage daughter.'"

"Don't be crass."

"C. S. Lewis talked about loving others as we love ourselves, but how he elaborated was interesting. We love ourselves in the basic sense, even if, as Christians, we hate the evil that we do. Our love is represented by the hope that we aren't too far gone; that the Grace of God extends further still."

"You're just proving my point."

"Not really. You see I can love my enemy in that sense - hoping that he isn't too far gone, praying that he comes to salvation, and helping him with worldly needs. At no point does that automatically become, 'Love your enemy and trust him completely.' We can reasonably help those genuine Syrian refugees as well as the non-Syrian 'refugees' without giving them the figurative key to the city."

"How else would you help? Giving them food when they're running for their lives isn't helpful."

"True. But that's where simple facts come in. Not many of these people entering Europe as refugees are refugees at all. They are coming from Turkey and Eastern Europe. They are trying to get into the countries with the best welfare. They are mostly young men coming as anchors in order to bring the rest of their family in eventually."

"You know all this for certain?"

"Well, I'm reading frontline reports from people actually dealing with the crisis. That's all I can go on because the most of the European media is prevented from reporting honestly about this."

"Well, even if what you're saying is true, we are called to love our enemies, do good to those who curse us, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us."

“Indeed, but does that automatically translate to bringing people in en masse? Aren’t there alternatives? Many of the true Syrian refugees are escaping to refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Why not send support there? Why must our only choice be to let a massive amount of people from parts unknown into our countries? How is this responsible?”

“It’s all fine for you to say that, but I know your heart. There’s no small amount of hate there. You are contemptuous of these people and of those Christians that are encouraging their migration.”

“Sure. Yeah. That piece is there. I’m angry about the situation. I’m angry specifically with those Christians that are so often coopted by those in power. They push for things that are positive on their face, but are really ways for power brokers to accomplish ungodly things. They won’t lift a finger to help the community around them, but they wax poetic about the needs of people half a world away.”

“That could easily describe you.”

“Yeah. Yeah, it could. But does that invalidate my point?”

“We are to be, ‘Harmless as doves.’”

“And before that, ‘Cunning as serpents.’”

"And you are being cunning this way? Can you ignore their suffering?"

"I don't want to ignore it. I want to help these people. But I don't want to be manipulated by my emotions into a course of action that is ultimately damaging to all involved."

"So what will you do?"

"I don't know... Pray."

"Is that enough?"

"He'll let me know."

 

Blood Money

Quelle surprise! but it would seem that Planned Parenthood's assertion that there is no profit being made on "donated" body parts may be a half-truth.

And by "half-truth," I mean "lie."


In other words, the organs, arms, legs, muscle, etc, cannot be ‘sold.’ Only fees related to processing and transportation can be charged. This is what Planned Parenthood alleges, but is it true?

Almost certainly not.

ABC’s 20/20 reported the use of ‘middle men’ who created a facade of profit-free transactions (see transcript in the amicus brief above). The Anatomic Gift Foundation, Inc, and Opening Lines (Illinois, now defunct) were reported as two such middle-men. If the fetus or fetal tissue were ‘donated’ by the patient, then the middle man ‘sold’ the tissue to a lab for someone approximating cost recovery, no ‘valuable consideration’ was paid. Middle-man pays the Planned Parenthood clinic (and other clinics) a transportation, process, quality control fee. The lab on the other end pays the middle man for the same process.

But no one does anything for free. This includes the middle-man, and it includes Planned Parenthood.
...
One of the modern, fast-growing ‘middle-man’ companies is StemExpress. This California based ‘bio-medical company…provides qualified research laboratories with human cells, fluids, blood and tissue products [including fetal tissue and organs].’ StemExpress is involved with Planned Parenthood as a purchaser of these materials.

Last week, Ed Stetzer’s Exchange blog posted a copy of the brochure StemExpress uses to promote itself. On the front page they assert using their service is ‘financially profitable’ to clinics. The second page includes a glowing recommendation from Dr. Dorothy Furgerson, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. The third page encourages joining ‘the StemExpress partner program that fiscally rewards clinics.’ A sub-head in the brochure brags of ‘Financial Profits’ followed by ‘providing a financial benefit to your clinic’ and ‘contributing to the fiscal growth of your own clinic.’ It’s a sales pitch to increase revenue. Reimbursed shipping and processing costs are not fiscal rewards. Those things do not add to a clinic’s profitability.

The clinics make a profit off ‘donated’ tissue. Does the middle-man? You bet.

In the video with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, StemExpress is specifically mentioned as a partner. Numbers like $50 and $100 for various organs are mentioned in both videos. That represents the amount paid by the middle-men to the clinics. But, what kind of ‘reimbursement and transportation’ costs are made by companies like StemExpress? It can be substantial: up to $2,945 for fetal bone marrow. That is, if you still believe no ‘valuable consideration’ is involved.

It looks like StemExpress could, in theory, pay a hundred or so bucks for a whole organ, then mete it out by cells for thousands of dollars per sale.

Not a bad haul for donations.

Check out the full post at Marty Duren's Kingdom in the Midst blog. I don't know anything else about the man, but this blog post is solid.

Two days ago, the Center for Medical Progress released a second video of their actors posing as "Specimen Procurement" and discussing a potential business relationship with Planned Parenthood. This time the meeting was with Dr. Mary Gatter, the Medical Directors' Council President for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Is that a hint of disgust I see in Dr. Gatter's responses? Could some human part of her, deep down, be communicating her latent distaste for those who traffic in mulched humans? Or, more likely, is it simply the contempt she feels for those who aren't initiate in her damned cult of death?

All this talk of whether PPFA is profiting or not is, to me, not the real crux of the issue. PPFA and their supporters are attempting to reframe and take back the narrative before it's too late. Too late for what? They know that the American people are still not truly aware of the extent to which fetal tissues are used in their research, in their cosmetics, in their vaccines, and in their food. PPFA and their affiliated tissue peddlers are afraid that so much light will shine on the issue of fetal harvesting that even those Americans that make maintaining ignorance an art form will not be able to continue with their heads in the sand. They'll see the bloody machine for what it is.

The Horns of Elfland

I go through life with a firm resolve to see what is and react to it. I endeavor to see no more, and no less, than what is there, in order to ensure that I am never caught out in any whim or fancy that leaves me feeling ridiculous. "I am a man now," I say to myself, "and so I must never feel ridiculous." Though I would never consciously hold to the philosophical position, I often enough find myself playing the Materialist as I move through life. "Deal with what is observed in the physical. Not with what you wish to be."

This translates into different conceptions I hold. "Strike at them before they can strike you. Expect the worst from people, because that's often all they're capable of. Don't lift your head above the trench, just stay down in the mud where it's safe."

But there are some days when the mask slips. Some days, I encounter the most sinister evil within others (or myself); I am overwhelmed by the size and strength of the enemy; or I am transported by something so beautiful and lovely that I am left drunk with awe. On those days, I can hear the call through the material noise. I hear the sound of silver horns. The sound cuts through my consciousness and into the core of my being. My mind doffs its drab, utilitarian garb and I am again made aware of things at once nobler, more beautiful, and more dreadful than seems at all possible.

Copyright (C) 2015 Kings Kaleidoscope under exclusive license to BEC Recordings.

I now see justice, when once I could see only lawlessness. I now see mercy, when I expect wanton cruelty. I now see hope, when all I had seen before was cause for despair.

In this provoked state of transformation, I am no longer the coward who hides behind the worst-case scenario. I do not look exclusively for the evil in others. I expect Good to come. I anticipate it. I know it is there. I go out into the world around me expecting to find blind men with sight restored, marriages repaired, enemies reconciled, kingdoms crushed, and dead men made alive. To those who stand in the safety of the mundane dark, I am the fool who goes over the top of the trench and into the sunlight, into the range of enemy fire.

"Stop!" I say to myself, "That way lies pain and loss and foolishness. That way lies death."

Sometimes, I listen to myself. I scramble back behind cover and breath a sigh of contented relief. But other times, the call is too strong. It overcomes my doubts and fears.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

’For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— http://www.esvbible.org/Romans+8:37/

When I hear that call, I see myself standing before a King. He looks at me with a gleam in His eye, and with a commanding invitation says, "Follow me, to death and life."

And then I am the fool, riding off in search of the Good.

Soylent Green is...

There are some things that chill me to my core. There are some things that fill me with a bright, seething anger. Very few things, ever, induce those same effects, simultaneously.

This. This does.

An organization called the Center for Medical Progress recently made waves when it released a video of two of their actors, posing as buyers for a tissue procurement company, as they ate lunch with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In a casual tone, Dr. Nucatola discussed the common practice of crushing unborn fetuses in just such a way as to better preserve the valuable tissue and organs inside the child. In between bites of salad and sips of wine, she described the procedure and the varying demand for certain organs in clinical detail.  Dr. Nucatola spoke as if she were describing a simple service she provided. In this case, the service of harvesting tissue and organs from a human fetus, and reserving those items to later sell to various procurement companies. She also lobbied for her own organization, saying that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America will simply provide more of what the buyers want than smaller, less active clinics. I feel the compulsion to repeat the following fact, as it manages to strain against my already jaded expectations - the buyers in this instance want to purchase tissue and organs harvested from the dismembered bodies of humans in utero.

Here's an excerpt from the transcript:

Dr. Nucatola: You know, I would throw a number out, I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100 [per specimen], depending on the facility and what’s involved. It just has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there who’s going to be doing everything, is there shipping involved, is somebody gonna have to take it out. You know, I think everybody just wants, it’s really just about if anyone were ever to ask them, “What do you do for this $60? How can you justify that? Or are you basically just doing something completely egregious, that you should be doing for free.” So it just needs to be justifiable.
...
Buyer: “We need liver and we prefer, you know, an actual liver, not a bunch of shredded up—”

Dr. Nucatola: “Piece of liver.”

Buyer: “Yeah. Or especially brain is where it’s actually a big issue, hemispheres need to be intact, it’s a big deal with neural tissue and the progenitors, because those are particularly fragile. If you’ve got that in the back of your mind, if you’re aware of that, technically, how much of a difference can that actually make if you know kind of what’s expected or what we need, versus—”

Dr. Nucatola: “It makes a huge difference. I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is the calvarium, the head is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact. It’s very rare to have a patient that doesn’t have enough dilation to evacuate all the other parts intact.

Buyer: “To bring the body cavity out intact and all that?”

Dr. Nucatola: “Exactly. So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact. And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end. So I mean there are certainly steps that can be taken to try to ensure—”

Buyer: “So they can convert to breach, for example, at the start of the—”

Dr. Nucatola: “Exactly, exactly. Under ultrasound guidance, they can just change the
presentation.”

If you have the stomach, I’d suggest you review the video and the transcript yourself.

Already, the search engines are littered with attempts to explain, justify, and dissemble the facts that were revealed in the video.

“The video is a lie. The perpetrators acted in bad faith,” says the New York Times, editorial board.

We do not care. Are they harvesting the tissue and organs or are they not?

“But they’re wrong,” says NPR, “Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything illegal. Those were donations!”

We do not care. Are they harvesting the tissue and organs or are they not?

The Washington Post chimes in, “But all this talk of Planned Parenthood is hurting our veterans and their children!”

We do not care. Are they harvesting the tissue and organs (of children) or are they not?

“Ah, but you see,” says Planned Parenthood, “We always obey the law. Each and every sumptuous morsel that we harvest is signed over to us by the willing mothers. We don’t even make money on it. It’s all just a public service.”

Let’s make something clear, because the media and Planned Parenthood seem to misunderstand.

We do not care if it is legal.

We do not care if it is non-profit.

We do not care if you wear pink while you do it.

We do not care.

Are you harvesting the tissue and organs or are you not?

Those who produced the video released both an edited version and the full, uncut video, so any claims that the group is simply trying to hide the truth are unfounded. Anyone with the inclination can watch or read the transcript themselves. This has nothing to do with some fine points of law or protocol being violated. For us, this has everything to do with the use of human tissue which has been harvested from victims who have no ability to give consent, resist, or protest. These victims are killed during the process which yields these precious commodities of flesh. These victims are, simply, murdered. That is what we are concerned with. They can keep their rationalizations.


No kidding.

Disclosure: I am a "Millennial," a homeowner, and have worked in real estate for the past six* years. 

In our modern era, one can usually expect the enlightened Fourth Estate to come to the party late, drunk, and utterly confused. True to form, they are only now just starting to display the slightest tinge of apprehension regarding our "Reluctant Recovery."

"As Home Ownership Lags, Young Renters Left Behind in Wealth-Building"
Dana Bergman signs over a third of her take-home pay to a landlord in Los Angeles. Jonathan Karadimas just hopes he can pay off his student loans before he retires — a date the 26-year-old New York resident won't hit for nearly four decades.
These young adults are a continent apart, but they share a troubling condition with many other 20- and 30-somethings: They're renters, tenants in their own lives. Weighed down by high student loans and low credit scores, squeezed by rising rents and required down payments, homeownership is a distant goal, and economists worry that these millennials are missing out on a crucial opportunity to build wealth.

I'd worry too if every econometric shenanigan I'd ever been taught left me unable to foresee even the smallest economic development. They'd probably have better luck forecasting the market by gutting a hare and reading its entrails.

Bergman, who works in her family's construction business, has resigned herself to looking for a home somewhere with cheaper prices, like Texas or Arizona. "I would love to buy a house, and that's pretty much why I'll probably be leaving L.A.," she said. "It's not feasible."
Bergman splits her $2,200 monthly rent with a roommate, and previously rented a single 10-by-12-foot room for $900 a month. "The cost of living is ridiculous out here," she said.
... 
A lot of other millennials are coming to the same conclusion. Harvard University's Joint Center on Housing Studies finds that homeownership is at a two-decade low. Household formation is also down, according to research from the Urban Institute. By 2030, only 38 percent of millennials will own homes, compared to 46 percent of baby boomers at that stage of their lives, the group predicts.

This last prediction may be overly-optimistic.

In 2014, 46 percent of renters between 25 and 34 years old spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent; nearly 20 percent paid more than half of what they made, according to Harvard.
 With so much money going to rent, these young adults have little left to put toward a down payment, which is a problem since homes are typically Americans' largest assets, and a key way families pass on wealth through the generations.

This touches on one of the key oversights in the general housing market outlook. We are not seeing the growth in personal equity and investment capital among the Millennials that economists were relying on in their predictive models. What we are seeing is a partial transfer of wealth from the Boomer/Early-X generations to their kids, and even that looks to be an underwhelming market force. So the few Boomers that did not experience wealth destruction in the "Great Recession" might pass on their wealth to their children, but the rest? They'll be relying on Social Security, of course! To reiterate, fewer Boomers than expected will be able to pass wealth on to their children/grandchildren (or even take care of themselves), and those who are passing on wealth are only counting for one of the two late-in-life transactions that economists have been counting on. Essentially, we've gone "all-in" on a weak hand.

"I think the biggest problem is the down payment, and I think that's the big divider that's going to bifurcate the market among millennials," said Selma Hepp, chief economist at real estate site Trulia. "That may lead to further inequality among that group."

And for the low, low price of $600,000, you too can become an Ivy League PhD and state the obvious. Quick rule of thumb: any chief economist that uses buzzwords like "inequality" will probably be more surprised by economic developments than the average homeowner.

But even young adults who manage to save enough for a down payment may find that they're shut out of the housing market because they can't qualify for a mortgage in the post-real estate crash market. A study by credit bureau TransUnion finds that fewer than 20 percent of the 7 million people whose credit was damaged by the mortgage meltdown could qualify for a mortgage today.

How about that recovery, boys?

Unfortunately, the window of opportunity may be closing for many would-be homeowners. Rock-bottom interest rates are a huge benefit for people buying real estate today, but those rates will inevitably rise, and lock out a significant number of prospective buyers.

There's your shot...

The only answer she can see is to leave a city she has called home for the past six years. "My plan is pretty much to take my network, take my education ... and go somewhere where the cost of living is less." 

 ...and the chaser.

What this all amounts to is that we are seeing a fundamental change in the makeup of the American economy, by which I mean a fundamental change in the American people - their wealth and general inclinations. One could say that the "Great Recession" of 2008 functionally destroyed much of the economic growth we'd achieved over the last fifteen** years or so, but that wouldn't be quite right. It would be more true to say that it revealed how little of that perceived wealth was grounded in genuine wealth accumulation, and how much of it was based on the illusory growth caused by the nigh-unrestricted flow of easy credit.

 

**These fifteen years represent the most recent flow of investment, but one could argue that the "economic growth" of the last 40+ years has been based less in sound business, and more in socio-political fiat.