About anthonyjsacco

Well, alright. So I live in Wyoming - the Cowboy state - but I'm not actually a cowboy. I'm a licensed and bonded Private Investigator with twenty-four years experience in the game. I'm also a published author and a writer of political, religious, and social commentary. I've been fortunate enough to have four books published - Little Sister Lost, The China Connection, Return to Darkness, and Echoes in the Wind. My fourth, Return to Darkness, was published in April 2012. (More about them later). My fifth, The Secret of Hagia Sophia, is coming onto the market after Christmas 2017. I've lived in many parts of this great country during my life - Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, Texas, and now Wyoming. In that order. And during the time I spent in each, I've learned a lot - about those places, and about the people who live there. Finally, I'm a husband, a father of four, a Roman Catholic, a Conservative, and a Republican. Mostly, I'm an American, and I'm proud of it.

What is Pascal’s Wager?

By: Anthony Joseph Sacco, Sr., JD
Cheyenne, WY 12/11/18
Pascal’s Wager is an argument for the existence of God developed by 17th-century
mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is the most famous part of
his collection of notes known as the Pensées. With the Wager, Pascal attempted to
provide a compelling reason to believe in God based upon happiness and possible o
outcomes. This is NOT my work. In posting it here, I’m simply trying to make HIS work,
whoever he is, better known to others. Enjoy and God bless.

“Understanding Pascal’s Wager is easiest when we first look at other Christian arguments. Almost all of the various arguments used by the Christian Religion can be divided into two categories.

The first category seeks to demonstrate that belief in the existence of God is reasonable, while the second provides reasons to accept specific beliefs of the Christian faith. Pascal explained that the Wager is designed to “incite to the search after God,” so the Wager belongs to the first group. However, Pascal’s Wager is different from nearly all the other arguments for God’s existence in one key respect. While most arguments for the existence of God use evidence and reason to prove the truth of God’s existence, Pascal believed that God’s existence can’t be known without Scripture. He wrote that “if there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible . . . . We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is,” and that “reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us . . . . According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.” Clearly, Pascal did not encourage belief based on evidence for the existence of God. Instead, he focused on the benefits of belief.

Pascal began his Wager by questioning the real existence of God. According to Pascal, if we don’t trust what the Bible says about God, then God’s existence is like a coin toss. There are only two possibilities: either God exists or He does not.

Next, Pascal noted that there were two personal beliefs we could have about God: We can believe that God exists, or that He does not. When Pascal combined the issues of God’s real existence and our personal belief, he determined that there were only four possible outcomes. We might believe that God exists, when in fact He does. We can believe that God exists, even though He does not. Or we could believe that God does not exist, and that belief may be either true or false. Pascal claimed that the choice is unavoidable. If we ignore the question, we essentially choose unbelief. So given these four possibilities, how should we decide what to believe?

Pascal wrote that we should choose according to our reason and our happiness. But as previously mentioned, reason cannot aid us in making this decision. This leads us to the heart of Pascal’s Wager: we must base our belief upon our happiness.

How will our happiness be affected if we wager that God exists? Pascal argued that we will either gain an unlimited amount of happiness or, at worse, lose nothing. “Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.” If we believe in God and God does exist, then the promise of Heaven and eternal life, the Good News of the Gospel, will really be given to us. Furthermore, nothing worthwhile is lost if our faith turns out to be false.

Pascal believed that the joy of living a life according to the Bible’s moral teachings was far greater than the pleasures that sin sometimes seems to provide. “You will be faithful, honest, humble, grateful, generous, a sincere friend, truthful. Certainly, you will not have those poisonous pleasures; glory and luxury; but will you not have others? I will tell you that you will thereby gain in this life . . . that you will, at last, recognize that you have wagered for something certain and infinite, for which you have given nothing.” If Pascal is right about this, then we gain more happiness (and therefore “win the bet”) by believing in God, even if He doesn’t actually exist!

On the other hand, if we wager that God does not exist, we gain nothing. Pascal did write about Hell (the punishment for unbelief) shortly after discussing the Wager, and it is easy to see how the threat of Hell could help convince someone to bet that God does exist. But Pascal’s Wager doesn’t consider the punishment for unbelief. Pascal was concerned only with happiness and the possible positive outcomes of the wager. Everyone has only one life – a limited amount of time in which we can gain a limited amount of happiness. If we believe in God, we’ll be happier, and there’s the chance that unlimited happiness will be gained. So it seems that the rational choice is to believe that God does exist.

Pascal’s Wager
I Believe I Do Not Believe
God Exists Unlimited, Eternal Happiness No Happiness Gained
God Does Not Exist Limited Happiness Gained No Happiness Gained

While Pascal’s Wager is intriguing, there are serious difficulties with several key elements of the argument. For example, Scripture rejects Pascal’s claim that reason cannot help us decide the issue of God’s existence. Paul wrote in Rom. 1:19-20 that “what can be known about God is plain to [everyone], because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and Divine Nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

When medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas commented on this verse, he explained that “when an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause . . . . Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us.” In other words, the very world itself, which has been created by God, is full of evidence for God’s existence. We can use reason to examine the world around us and realize that it must have come from a Divine Creator. Furthermore, Jesus proclaimed Himself “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” (John 14:6) and His disciples argued for the Gospel with evidence and reason to demonstrate that it is true, not merely that it will be good if it is true (e.g., Acts 17:2-3, 1 Peter 3:15, Eph. 4:11-16). This suggests that evidence and reason are not only possible but critical, to argue for both God’s existence and the Christian religion [and the gift of Faith to which it leads].

Also, Pascal is wrong when he claims that once someone believes in God, they will have eternal life and unlimited happiness. James 2:19 explains that belief in God is not proof of salvation and a right relationship with Him. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” The “workers of lawlessness” in Matt. 7:7 and the Pharisees of Matt. 23:27 that “are like whitewashed tombs” believed in God, but they were condemned and rejected by Jesus. Many religions today accept the existence of God, and many otherwise irreligious people believe that God exists. But Scripture is clear that eternal life only comes by believing in Jesus Christ and accepting the free gift of salvation that comes from His death and resurrection (John 3:16, 11:25, Phil. 3:9-11). So according to the Bible, while we must accept that God exists in order to receive eternal life, it is not the only thing we need to believe.

However, the central idea of Pascal’s Wager is an important truth. Pascal is right to highlight the happiness that comes with a relationship with the one true God. Like Pascal, the Bible frequently proclaims the joy that comes with being a child of God. For example, Paul writes in Phil. 4:7 that “the peace of God, which passes all understanding” is a part of the believer’s life. Christians are promised eternal life (John 3:36, 1 John 5:11-13) and freedom from the penalty of sin (Col. 2:13, Rom. 8:1). 1 John 3:1 tells the Christian to “see what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Indeed, John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 explain that God’s love for us is so great that, regardless of our sin and failures, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on our behalf and provide us with the gift of eternal life. Unlimited happiness is assured to the Christian, who has come into a real relationship with this infinitely loving God.

Pascal’s Wager helps reveal to us that the path to true, fulfilling happiness starts by recognizing the existence of this loving God. However, we cannot stop where Pascal’s Wager does. We must move beyond the mere existence of God. We must uncover the nature of God and the saving acts of God, both of which come together in the person of Jesus Christ.

 

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Transgenderism; A Disorder of Assumption That Requires Treatment.

By: Anthony J. Sacco, Sr.,
CHEYENNE, WY – 12/15/18.
              In the field of Psychiatry, much of the literature and many studies report that biology doesn’t always align with hormones and neurological experience; so that a person might have male features but a brain scan might show his internal experience matches closer to a female brain.”
          Well, I’d just like to point out that there is other literature on the subject of transgenderism, and the studies from that end of the field continue to “explore” how transgender is a mental disorder that requires treatment, understanding, and prevention, and that sex change is biologically impossible.
          It would be nice if all “the literature and studies” actually do what some suggest they do. Unfortunately, they do not. There is much literature that flatly states that from a medical and scientific perspective, there is no such thing as a transgendered person.
          This stems from the simple fact that a person’s sex or gender is determined by our DNA, specifically our chromosomes, not our feelings or our thinking, or our intensely felt experiences, such as cross-dressing. Females have XX chromosomes; males have XY chromosomes. What THAT means is that no amount of surgical mutilation or hormone therapy can transform a man into a woman or a woman into a man. A doctor can fill a man full of female hormones, but what he’ll get is a feminine man. He may fill a woman with male hormones and what he’ll get is a masculine woman.
          A lot has been written by psychiatrists about this subject, and their studies and conclusions disagree with what has been promoted as a majority view. But well-rounded psychiatrists and psychologists understand it would be best to become familiar with the majority view AND any minority view on many of the issues which society and our culture are dealing with today, because in Psychiatry, as in Law, majority views often change with the advent of more study and experience, so that a minority view will often become a majority view months or years later.
          If anyone wants to read up on this issue, I’d recommend books and articles by Psychiatrist Dr. Paul R. McHugh, Psychiatrist/Psychoanalist Dr. Jon Meyer,
Psychiatrist and Pediatric Urologist Dr. William G. Reiner,  and Psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Berger, M.D., to name just four prominent people working on and studying in this field.
          “The idea that maleness or femaleness is different than what nature has assigned to them biologically is a ‘disorder of assumption,’ similar to that of dangerously thin people suffering anorexia, looking in a mirror and thinking they are overweight,” says Dr. McHugh, formerly Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, until his retirement a couple of years ago.
          And when dealing with this problem, do not make the mistake of thinking you know what others think about this issue. If they simply describe the existence of differing points of view on it, both of which are supported by the literature and studies, it may simply mean that they, as informed people, are aware of both points of view.

What’s Holding Up the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal Fom the European Union?

By: Anthony J. Sacco, Sr., JD

CHEYENNE, WY. 11/25/18- Since the UK announced it would withdraw from the European Union, many have wondered what has been taking it so long. Why don’t they get on with it?

Well, https://www.myturntosoundoff.wordpress.com has learned that there have been many details to work out. And at least one of the reasons for the delay had to do with relations between the UK and Spain.

What? Why those two countries could not be having problems. They are many miles apart geographically, separated by the entire cadre of European nations.

Yes. Well, we’re dealing here with Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km and it’s bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of which is a densely populated city area, home to over 30,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians. It shares a maritime border with Morocco.

Under the Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar is self-governing but some responsibilities, such as defense and foreign relations, remain with the British government. These have been the subject of disputes between the two nations for a long time.

Not to worry. An agreement was reached between the EU and BREXIT this past week which states that the two countries – the United Kingdom and Spain – can negotiate with each other directly, rather than through the EU.

THAT was the hang-up. With that problem resolved, look for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU soon.

Book Review: A Matt Dawson Thriller. The Secret of Hagia Sophia: the Thrilling Story of the Discovery of an Important Piece of Byzantine Christian Art, Lost for Over Four Hundred Years.

 

11/18/18 – This is a short review of my latest fact-based fiction novel, published by WestBow Press, a Division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. It hit the bookstores in October 2018.

Private Investigator Matt Dawson is enjoying a quiet breakfast at his home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.A., when a ringing landline shatters his morning tranquility. The Dean of the Archeology Department at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. is calling with a job proposal that will transport Matt to the Southern European city of Istanbul and immerse him in the deadly secret of Hagia Sophia; the lost Deesis, an important piece of Byzantine Christian art, which has been missing for over four-hundred years.

Warren Curtis, the Dean of that Archeology Department, will not take “no” for an answer. His enticing proposal is enough to interest Matt and it causes him to set aside his workload and travel to the Islamic country of Turkey, one of only two Democratic countries in that part of the world, for a six-week sojourn that brings him in contact with a Mafia drug lord, Muslims who do not want the Deesis image made public, and the murders of several innocent persons who find themselves in the way.

NOTE:

Anthony Joseph Sacco, Sr., JD, holds a bachelor of science (BS) degree from Loyola University Maryland, and a doctorate of law (JD) degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Sacco, a practicing lawyer for twenty-four years and a licensed and bonded private investigator for twenty-five, is the author of three other fact-based fiction novels – Little Sister Lost, The China Connection, and Return to Darkness. He has also penned a biography, Echoes in the Wind, the life story of Guy Vitale, the best athlete to ever graduate from East Boston High School, and Sacco’s uncle.

A prolific writer of political, religious and social commentary, his articles have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Times, The Catholic Review, Voices for the Unborn, the Wyoming Catholic Register, and the Wren Magazine.

Dr. Sacco presently lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with his wife, Carol, and their dog, Axl. He often quips: “I wasn’t born in Wyoming but I got here as soon as I could.”

Purchase copies of his books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the publisher, WestBow Press at 1-866-928-1240. Any bookstore in your hometown can order a copy for you.

You can also order a signed copy by calling the author directly, at 1-307-638-9338.

 

 

 

There Are Two Major Causes for the Increased Intensity of Fires in our Nation’s Forests: This Article Explains What They Are.

Featured

By: Anthony J (Tony) Sacco, Sr., JD

11/16/18 – On Tuesday, 11/12/18, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle published an article on its Opinion Page quoting the L. A. Times. The Times article, a misleading account of the causes of the California fires, seeks to deflect the blame for this sad state of affairs away from radical environmentalist and erroneous liberal federal forest management policies.

AND, the article contains the liberal’s ignorant, mandatory criticism of President Trump’s excellent tweet, wherein he pointed to one of the main causes, as I have: “gross mismanagement” of forests generally and California’s forests specifically.

          The L.A. Times article headline says, in an amazing example of a do-nothing approach to their problem, “California fires will happen again. Let’s Be Ready.” And it seeks to gain sympathy with this: “The scope of human suffering is beyond ready comprehension.” Well, maybe it is – at least to the Editors of the L.A. Times – and instead of seeking knowledge and understanding, as President Trump’s tweets suggest.

          As for me? I have been describing and stating for years two major causes for the increased intensity of fires in our nation’s forests: the opposition by environmentalists to the cutting (culling) of dead trees, and the clearing of downed timber once the trees have fallen. When dead trees are not cut and removed, and downed timber is not removed, fires have huge sources of fuel to feed them. The cost to our nation is enormous, especially in terms of lost lumber for the construction of homes, and in terms of wildlife, which must seek to avoid death by attempting to outrun the flames. 

Photo of California Fire          Just these two failed policies provide fuel for fires caused by everything from lightning strikes to unattended campfires. In pointing to these, I am NOT referring to clearcutting. AND both the President and I are NOT addressing fires on grasslands, which can be spread quickly by proximity to forest fires, by drought, and other causes.

          Until these forestry problems are addressed and changed, forest fires will continue to intensify, not just in California but in other states as well.

 

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is Disliked by Democrats and So-Called Progressives; his Appointment Should Be Made Permanent.

BY: Anthony J. Sacco, Sr., JD

CHEYENNE, WY: 11/13/18 – Well, The Democrats and Progressives, encouraged by their take-over of the House, are applying pressure to Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, a Republican and formerly Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice, elevated by Mr. Trump last week to temporarily run the Justice Department.

Mr. Trump finally removed Jeff Sessions, a  former Senator from Alabama, who was in over his head in that position, but the Democrats erroneously believe his removal is unconstitutional. Guess they haven’t read Article Two of the Constitution in a while. The opposition Party has nothing to do with presidential appointments.

However, in a gesture of good will, Mr. Whitaker said today he will consult with Justice Department ethics officials about “matters that may warrant recusal.” Democrats are worried that he will shut down Mueller’s witch hunt after overseeing the special counsel’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, for a brief period of time. Whitaker’s move today will not placate them. 

Mr. Whitaker is “fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures, including consulting with senior ethics officials about his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement Monday.

Since his appointment last week, Mr. Whitaker has faced mounting pressure to step aside from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, due to critical comments Whitaker made about the investigation before joining the Justice Department last year. In an interview with CNN, no less, back in July 2017, Whitaker suggested the Mueller probe could be starved of its resources by cutting the budget “so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.” An obvious attempt by Democrats to stifle Whitaker’s freedom of speech rights?  Yes. I do not believe remarks made by a nominee long before his nomination have any bearing upon that nomination. But, this is a great idea by Whitaker, I think, to end this expensive taxpayer scam.

Since Mueller has been running an investigation costing millions, at taxpayer expense, which has produced some collateral indictments but no evidence connecting Mr. Trump to Mr. Putin or any Russian collusion, the Democrats are fearful that it will finally be terminated, removing some of the pressure and stress they have been unconstitutionally applying to our president.

Mr. Whitaker also wrote an article last year saying he believed Mueller would be straying outside his mandate if he investigated the Trump family finances. Of course, Democrats don’t want to hear anything like that. In an interview with a talk-radio host, Whitaker correctly maintained there was no evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign at that time, and none has been forthcoming since. 

Mr. Whitaker, chief of staff to just-ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was elevated last week. Mueller’s investigation had been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, despite that gentleman’s problems with the FISA Court warrants and other matters, which themselves merit his removal by the President.

My thought: Since the Democrats and so-called Progressives do not like this man, Mr. Trump has appointed the right guy to the job and probably should make his appointment permanent.

Parents overwhelmingly vote for school trustee opposed to ‘LGBT’ curriculum

October 22, 2018.

As I wrote last year, Neufeld has found himself smeared by all sorts of different people,

each tripping over themselves in their haste to display their full support for those

attempting to implement the SOGI [Sexual orientation and gender identity] 123

curriculum in BC schools. Three days before the election, Neufeld revealed that he has

filed a civil suit for defamation against Glen Hansman, the president of the BC Teachers’

Federation. Hansman has spent much time speaking to the media and accusing Neufeld

of being transphobic, hateful, and even that he “shouldn’t be allowed near students.”

Hansman, meanwhile, has been promoting a curriculum that according to the SOGI

promo video, wants to ensure that students are thoroughly indoctrinated during their

time in government schools:

  • They are reading books on “transgender crayons,” who came from the factory with the wrong labels, to primary children.
  • One educator explains that introducing transgender characters in the “everyday curriculum” is important “so that it becomes normalized.”
  • It is stated outright that, “It is appropriate at all age levels to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity.”
  • Another teacher explained how to teach children to ask about the pronouns of other children, so that the newly invented transgender pronouns (which includes terms like “ze” and “zir”) can be used and normalized. It was suggested that these be implemented in English grammar lessons, which could also lead to discussions about “non-binary” people who claim to be neither male nor female.
  • One teacher urges educators “not to be afraid to start with the younger grades” in explaining that families don’t necessarily have to have a mom and a dad, but can come with two moms or two dads. Children are open when they are younger, she explained, and more susceptible to internalizing these things.
  • It highlights one teacher explaining to a classroom full of little children how some people are boys, some people are girls, some people are “a bit of both, and some people are neither.”
  • It shows a teacher singing a “The Rainbow Song” about being LGBT “allies” with the children.

Many Chilliwack residents have been pushing back and voicing support for

Neufeld—several of them have told me over the past year that they view Neufeld as a

canary in the coal mine, and that he is attracting the support of thousands of parents

who oppose the introduction of radical sex education into the public school system.

Neufeld led an anti-SOGI 123 slate that included candidates Darrell Furgason, Erma

Vietorisz, and Kaethe Jones. The four even distributed fliers featuring their four faces

and a promise to “protect [the] innocence” of children if elected. Candidate Heather

Maahs also indicated support for Neufeld and expressed many points of contention with

the SOGI 123 curriculum.

The election on October 20 revealed an overwhelming win for Barry Neufeld, who

accrued the second-largest number of votes at 8,993 (following Dan Coulter at 10,550.)

Darrell Furgason also won a school trustee seat with 6,920 votes, and Heather Maahs

secured her seat with 8,944 votes. Of the seven school trustee seats, three of them are

now held by opponents of the SOGI 123 curriculum, despite a months-long smear

campaign attempting to paint the representatives of thousands of Chilliwack parents as

hateful bigots. It is a loud and clear repudiation of progressive attempts to force their

views on local communities by smearing those who disagree with them.

Neufeld’s victory is extremely encouraging because it proves once again that the vast

majority of Canadians do not find his views to be extreme. Quite the opposite—when

actually introduced to the curriculum that men like Hansman want taught to their

children, men like Neufeld actually gain support. Progressives may believe in the

ideology of gender fluidity with all the fervor of religious faith, but most Canadians still

find these things to be dubious, unproven, and dangerous. And as a result, Barry Neufeld

has successfully weathered a firestorm of slander and been given a position as school

trustee by Chilliwack parents.