Happy New Year. It’s so
nice to have a greeting that isn’t controversial, like Merry
Christmas/happy holiday. Except of course, for those who think those
of us who are happy should be busy deploring “the globalization of
indifference” to the poor, refugees and other victims of “throw-away
culture.” I am quoting Pope Francis here.
Now I’ll quote Jesus, from
Mark 14, as this woman anointed him with precious oils, to the
indignation of some of his disciples, who thought the oils should
have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus said, and I
quote from the King James Bible, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her?
She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you
always, and whensoever ye will, ye may do them good.”
In case anyone doesn’t
know about the globalized misery, just follow the news about ongoing
war in the Middle East, connected to news about the misery of
refugees, which will get worse as overwhelmed European countries
begin to close their borders: women refugees being raped, even
enslaved by the refugee males they travel with; radical Muslim
terrorists beheading Christians; Burundi in Africa on the verge of a
civil war that some fear could become a genocide like Rwanda; women
and gays mistreated, even killed in some Muslim countries; women
assaulted in supposedly modernized India. This along with the usual
extreme poverty, ongoing hunger, disease…
As Jesus asked, when we
can, we should do them good: America does more good than any other
country in the history of the world, both as a generous nation and
with individuals who send donations, even go to danger spots as
volunteers, though I wouldn’t recommend it. This was the point of
America: Create a country where people can be happy in each new
Here’s a resolution for
us: Don’t let any religious or political leader make us feel guilty
about our good fortune, to have had ancestors who got out of those
hellholes and found us a free country in which to live.
I’m not one of those who
make fun of New Year’s resolutions, not that I’ve ever kept one.
Mine this year was to take “the news” with equanimity, not get angry
... Wait! Watching the news Monday night on PBS, feature story about
veterans who, because of war injuries, cannot father children. In
order to create a normal life after serving their country, they and
their wives are using in-vitro fertilization, which is very
expensive, especially when the process has to be repeated several
times before it takes.
A pending bill to cover
this procedure has not been passed by Congress: There seems to be
two reasons. One, the cost is too much. Two, there is resistance
from anti-abortion groups, which oppose in-vitro fertilization
because when too many fertilized eggs are created, some are
OK, resolution fails,
fourth day. Is my Congressman Seth Moulton and/or his staff reading
this column? Though I didn’t vote for him, I liked the idea of
having a veteran who pledged to make it a priority to address the
problems at the Veterans Administration.
Yes, the federal budget,
and the national debt, is too large. However, the main reason we
have a federal government is national defense, which certainly
should include taking care of our veterans when they return injured
from war. So drop some welfare programs for able-bodied non-veterans
and pay for the in-vitro programs.
Veterans who agree with
the anti-abortion groups don’t have to participate; they could be
helped to adopt some of those poor, “throw-away” children who have
been abused, abandoned or orphaned. But why should other veterans
have their happiness held hostage to radicals in the abortion lobby?
Please fix this, Congressman Moulton.
Deep breath, back to
resolution, might be easier with commonwealth news. The
Massachusetts House has passed the bill to outlaw hand-held phones;
the Senate is expected to debate it later this month. As a
libertarian who believes both in personal freedom and personal
responsibility, I ask: Could we please use some common sense for a
change? Two hands, one brain: focus on driving, use one hand to
steer the car, the other to flick your turn signal which seems to
have become a lost art.
concentration it takes many of us to hold a phone conversation, I’d
outlaw all but emergency phone calls while driving, but one step at
a time. Of course the one-step, slippery slope argument is used on
other issues. This week President Obama is once again bypassing
Congress to pass a law/regulation on “gun control,” i.e., closing
the gun show loophole and requiring more background checks.
This entry-level gun
control has already been accomplished by many states, including
Massachusetts; has the president ever read the Constitution, not
just the Second Amendment but the Tenth about states’ rights? Not to
mention the separation of powers? Do we even need Congress as long
as we have a self-imposed monarch? Who would fix the VA? Not an
Obama priority, I’m sure, deploring as he does our country’s
Not complaining, though;
every time the federal government goes after guns, more Americans
run out and buy them, while stocking up on ammunition. One thing I
know: the Second Amendment will never be repealed. Americans won’t
be defenseless as are the people in some of those other countries,
with strict gun control, when terrorists show up, or the government
The government also goes
stupid -- the best movie so far this year, “The Big Short,” playing
now at the Liberty Tree Mall. You may need to have followed the
2007-08 almost-worldwide economic meltdown to really appreciate it.
I laughed out loud at the absurdity of what happened; one friend
hated it because he “couldn’t follow the plot.”
Of course the best movie
of 2015, “Spotlight,” is still available. “Downton Abbey” is back on
public television; I sent an appreciation check. Also sent
end-of-year checks to various charities, without prompting from the
pope. Paid for calendars, one from Boys Town, one from Mothers
Against Drunk Driving. Followed Salem News request to support the
Salvation Army and the USO. Usual checks to Northeast Animal Shelter
and Animal Rescue League of Boston; I do appreciate Pope Francis’
choosing the name of the patron saint of animals.
See, I’m not indifferent
to suffering; I just express gratitude for my good fortune first.
Happy, happy New Year.
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and
Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.
U.S. Rep. Seth
Barbara's reply to
The Salem News
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Columnist's call for
IVF for vets attracts congressional support
By Ethan Forman
MARBLEHEAD — They may not agree on everything, but Salem Congressman
Seth Moulton and anti-tax crusader Barbara Anderson see eye-to-eye
when it comes to having the Department of Veterans Affairs pay for
expensive in vitro fertilization (IVF) for veterans wounded in
combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to help them start new families.
A bill to do just that has been stuck in Congress due to concerns
about cost and opposition from pro-life advocates to the treatments.
Anderson wrote a column on Thursday, Jan. 7, calling on Congress to
pass a bill allowing the VA to pay for IVF treatments for wounded
"Is my Congressman Seth Moulton and/or his staff reading this
column," wrote Anderson, who, while she didn't vote for Moulton,
nevertheless likes that he has made it his priority to focus on
veterans' care in Congress.
Anderson's column indeed caught the eye of Moulton, a Marine Corps
veteran who served four tours in Iraq.
"I read your column, B.A., and am now a co-sponsor of a bill to
provide our wounded warriors access to IVF," Moulton, a native of
Marblehead, replied via his Twitter account on Friday. He also
included a link to Anderson's column that appeared in The Salem
"It's a great issue," Moulton said in an interview. "It's a great
point. I am glad she raised it."
While he does not know anyone personally seeking IVF treatments,
Moulton said, he knows veterans who lost legs or suffered lower
extremity injuries in Iraq.
"I am delighted," said Anderson, who has yet to take to Twitter. "I
would respond with a tweet thanking him."