24 August 2014

Cultural Catalysts Clash on Social Media Debating the Disposition of Down's Syndrome Children

Richard Dawkins, the acclaimed atheist ethologist from Oxford University stirred up a cyclone of controversy on social media with a Twitter posting on the morality of aborting a Down's Syndrome child in-utero.  When someone commented that she would not know what she would do if she were pregnant with a child having an extra chromosome, Dawkins doubled down on his "progressive position".  Dawkins answering like "Dear Abby (the atheist edition)" wrote: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”  So abortion was not only an option for "The God Delusion" author, Dawkins demands that it is immoral for women to deliver a child afflicted with Down's Syndrome.

Reading Dawkins declarations closely, it is quite revealing of his weltanschauung.  As an atheist, Dawkins does not draw  from any moral compass. So it is not surprising that he liberally latches unto "an individual woman's right to choose. Later referring to a fetus as "it", Dawkins detaches personhood from an unborn child. Dawkins pontificating that the only moral choice is to kill a defective child ought to please both Social Darwinists (survival of the fittest) and the ironically named humanists (the banner which binds British atheists activists).

Two things should trouble the intelligentsia from Dawkins Down's Syndrome declarations. Firstly, Dawkins prefaced the right of women for early abortions, not abortion on demand until childbirth. So it seems at some point personhood is bestowed on an unborn fetus.  Or is abortion just less mentally messy when the victim does not look like an unborn child.  The other aspect which can be inferred from "Abort it and try again" aspires for a utopian perfection in offspring.  Such a callous attitude can easily devolve into getting rid of undesirable elements in society, be it physically deformed, mentally challenged or part of an undesirable group.

Sadly, Dawkins Social Darwinism for Down's Syndrome children seems prevalent in the United Kingdom.  Currently, 92% of pregnant women diagnosed with Down's Syndrome children aborted their unborn children. Moreover, half of all such cases go unreported. There are concerns that if the National Health System (NHS) expands the super accurate Ariosa Harmony testing, this figure will become nearly total, especially if NHS threatens to withhold special care for Down's Syndrome children.

It did not take long for former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) to respond to Dawkin's dialectic. Palin famously campaigned for Vice President in 2008 with her young son Trig, who has Down's Syndrome. Palin took her seven years of experience being a mother of a Down's Syndrome Child when she reached out to Richard Dawkins via Facebook. 

. Palin's folksy riposte to Dawkins displays a positive sense of humanity that the learned professor lacks.  In addition, Ms. Palin's Facebook posting alludes to her Down's Syndrome child as having a unique kind of absolute beauty.  This echos Governor Palin's peroration when speaking before a Right to Life Conference.

Many will dismiss the message as it came from Sarah Palin, who our "intellectual betters" from academia and the media deemed as dumb "Caribou Barbie". Yet Palin's testimony rings true and advocates valuing the individual  whereas Dawkin's tweets sound abstract and collectivist.

Even though Dawkins may have coined the concept of memes, however Sarah Palin has perfected the social media tactic. Palin dubbed Obamacare IPABs as Death Panels to deftly defending Down's Syndrome children.

So as these cultural catalysts clash on social media, perhaps it can bring us to understand how we approach ourselves and society.  Our we driven by the selfish gene as Dawkins theorized in genetics or can we inculcate altruism? Palin preaches that mothers should be open to Downs Syndrome children, but is that openness a moral imperative?

05 August 2014

A Momma Grizzly, a Lone Survivor and Even a Self-Proclaimed Rodeo Clown Take Aim at Jesse Ventura's Defamation Victory

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (Reform-MN), who also can boast that he was once a Navy SEAL, won a defamation civil lawsuit against the estate of American Sniper author Chris Kyle.  In  American Sniper (2012), Kyle's best selling book about being a Navy SEAL and who  credited as the most lethal sniper in American history, he alluded to a bar brawl with "Scruff Face".  This unnamed individual who was bad mouthing America military involvement at the wake for a fellow SEAL.  During the publicity tour for the book, Kyle was asked by Opie and Anthony if the boisterous attendee was Jesse Ventura and Kyle answered honesty.

Taya Kyle at her husband's funeral Feb.2013
Ventura's suit alleged emotional distress and defamation of character seeking a $15 million in damages.  Since Chris Kyle had been killed in Feburary 2013 as he helped a fellow veteran deal with PTSD, so that meant that defending the defamation suit fell upon Kyle's widow and single mother Taya Kyle. Ventura's lawyers argued  that: “it would be unjust to permit the estate to continue to profit from Kyle’s wrongful conduct and to leave Governor Ventura without redress for ongoing damage to his reputation.”

 Jurors were initially deadlocked as the eleven defense witnesses had slightly different recollections of "the punch".  The defense consented to allowing for a split verdict.  When the judge sent them back for further deliberations, the jury rendered an 8-2 verdict awarding Ventura $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for "unjust enrichment". Mrs. Kyle's lawyers are considering an appeal of the federal civil case.

While the jurors rendered their verdict, the public relations appeal certainly was not favorable.  Ventura claimed that he initiate the defamation suit to clear his name in the prospect of a 2016 Presidential run  as an Independent.  Ventura better not expect any support from reform minded conservatives, based on the reaction to the Ventura verdict.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) used her presence on social media and her new SarahPalinchannel.com streaming network to go Mamma Grizzly on ex-SEAL and WWF wrestler sometimes known as "The Governor".

Palin's point about  the irony when a supposedly strong public figure like former Governor Ventura running to lawyers when words get rough and tumble in the public arena is made more poignant because of "Sarahcuda's" savaging in the media.

Marcus Luttrell, the now medically retired Navy SEAL who wrote the book Lone Survivor (2007) about his ordeal in Afghanistan in Operation Red Wing, was not as subtle as Sarah Palin in her criticism of the Ventura verdict. Luttrell used social media to post several memes which reminded the world that Ventura was picking on a widow.

Aside from the bad optics of battling against a widow, Ventura violated a key precept of SEAL culture, namely having your brothers-in-arms' backs.  No wonder why Jesse joked that he would be unwelcome at future SEALs reunions.

Glenn Beck has facetiously referred to himself as a "rodeo clown"  closely identifies with the honor of military men and women.  In fact, the impetus to hold Restoring Honor in 2010 was to both restore honor in  America but as a fund raiser for the non-profit Special Operations Warriors Foundation, a charity providing college scholarships to children of KIA special force personnel. So Ventura's victory in court in a defamation suit against Special Operator's widow prompted an unusual answer.

Beck is all about honor and pro arguendo could appreciate Ventura trying to recover his good name.  But Beck suggests that after winning the case Ventura should forgo collecting the cash from a widow.  It is a common sense solution which would restore his honor and burnish his brief for future public service.  But I'll bet that is as likely as Jesse Ventura scoring Howard Stern for his VICE Presidential running mate in 2016.

Now that the courts has restored Jesse Ventura's good name, as it is, it is appropriate for the court of public opinion to judge Jesse Ventura's character.  After all, Ventura claims: "I would rather be uncomfortable with the truth than be lied to in comfort. That's my nature."

Do remember that Jesse Ventura has advanced 9/11 conspiracy theories when peddling his book "American Conspiracies" (2010) which were so far out that the HUFFINGTON POST deleted the piece.

Jesse Ventura was so incensed at airport security by the TSA that he blustered: "I've had enough of the Fascist States of America" and threatened to obtain dual citizenship with Mexico.

Ventura's television venture on the Ora TV "Jesse Ventura: Conspiracy Theories" has evolved to "Jesse Ventura: Off the Grid", as the 62 year old pro wrestler turned politician is hiding from drones and broadcasting someplace in Mexico Ventura claims that he will continue to broadcast as long as his solar panels and satellite connection holds up.

Still feeling comfortable with this body of truth?