Monday, December 05, 2005

Arbiters of Rights

Nobody knows when a fetus attains the status of personhood.

It's possible that the pro-choice community has drawn the line appropriately, at the end of the first trimester.

It's also possible that they have drawn it too late, and are killing persons.

If fetuses are persons, they have a right to life.

There is no right to choose to kill a person for their burdensome presence.

The right does not materialize, just because someone is willing to risk life and limb to make it happen (as in the case of the "back-alley" abortions.

It's possible that I draw the line too early (conception). I only do this out of ethical and intellectual humility, the admission that I know that I do not know. I can't say when it's okay to kill a fetus because I don't know when it attains personhood.

Those who support abortion laws based on developmental stages as determinants of personhood have assumed an arrogant role as arbiters of inalienable rights. Developmental stages are not proof of personhood, or the lack thereof. If you say that a woman has the inalienable right to choose what she does with her body, why should that be any different after 12 weeks. There's no proof personhood begins then. Either she has the right or she does not. If you draw the line, you are assuming you have enough knowledge of fetal personhood to revoke a woman's right to choose, or sentence a fetus to death, as you see fit. If medical science gave us the ability to fully gestate a baby independent of a woman's body, then what? No longer a burden to women, would it then have the right to life? Who would decide, and how?

You don't have to believe personhood or moral value begins at conception. The fact that you don't know should be enough reason to oppose abortion on demand. But to support abortion on demand, you must be willing to say to yourself,"It's okay to take the chance that persons are being murdered, so that women have the right to choose not to be burdened with them in their bodies".

Once you're willing to take that step, I don't see how you can limit or qualify that right. Why do women have to carry a 20 week pregnancy any further, if they don't want to? There's no proof a 20 week fetus has personhood, and people vary in their opinions. If some think 20 weeks is too late to have an abortion, why do they have the right to dictate that to any one else? For that matter, why should viability matter? Is that proof of personhood? Is it enough to revoke that inalienable right to choose to have an abortion?

I know a lot of people think my position is extreme. That doesn't bother me because I think most people put more careful thought into their cell phone plans than they do ethics. The right to life is for all men. That right does not hang on opinion, though obviously, its protection does.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Finally, My response to Burnyourtires Last Comments

"you'll have to show me what you mean because I made a point in my post not to change the subject from Dems are the party of abortion. I don't believe this is a valid statement Latebloomer.
You're taking up "the fetus is a life" argument. It is you who is changing the subject.

Fair enough. I went back and reread my Party of Abortion post, and I can see that it was more about me being perplexed about your reaction to the label than it was about how the label fits. Furthermore, I never made my arguments as to how Democrats are the party of abortion. As for taking up "the fetus is a life" argument, I did that because it's the only reason I can think of to regret the pro-abortion label. If it's a life, then abortion might be murder. If it's not a life, then it's no big deal. You've never told me why you bristle at the label.

When I said you changed the terms of the argument, it's because you chose the label you preferred rather than show that Dems are not the party of abortion. Also, you didn't address my argument that it's irrational for you to bristle at the label. Also, "The party for keeping government out of our lives" is extremely vague, and not well applied to the Democrats or the Republicans. If Democrats are not the party of abortion, it's not enough to just reject the label, or blow it off as pandering. You need to support your argument.

It doesn't matter what you or I . . .[say]. The courts (at this point) say abortion is legal, and therefore, rebutting any argument you have as meaningless.

I hope you don't really mean this, that one's ideas are meaningless if the courts have already handed down a decision. My arguments are not given meaning by other peoples decisions, nor are yours or any one else's. Arguments are valid, or not. Besides, courts decisions are made by people. They are neither infallible, nor above criticism; Nor are they unchangeable. Why would anything ever change if no one discussed their ideas? Galileo argued that the earth is not the center of the universe. His arguments were not rendered meaningless by the Church who opposed him, nor meaningful because he believed them. His arguments were valid and supportable. Also, they were important to the future of mankind, though that would have been difficult to see at the time.

Furthermore, this isn't about just my arguments. Anyone who participates in this discussion has the opportunity to change my mind.

If the Neo-Cons and their big donors (churchs) . . .

You should check into the history of Neo-Cons, and the Religious Right. They are two very distinct groups among conservatives. (Actually, the Religious Right are conservative in demeanor, but arguably conservative in political philosophy). They both vote Republican by and large, but that doesn't mean they have the same agenda. It just means that neither are liberal. Besides, one doesn't have to be part of the Religious Right or beholden to them to be pro-life. I am agnostic, and have no stake in the Religious Right's agendas. I, and others like me, have given the issue deep and rigorous consideration, and have come to our own conclusions. Your insinuation, that a politician who promotes pro-life must be either a zealous religiofacsist, or in their pockets, is beneath you and this conversation. The are a handful of pro-life Democrats, given 100% voting records by the NRLC. Do you also accuse them of pandering?

. . .have their own way, they will rewrite one's right to have an abortion.

No news flash there; that's the whole point of the pro-life movement, just as the point of the pro-choice movement is to preserve abortion on demand. Does that mean they're not playing by the rules? I get the feeling you think Reps have some sinister and insidious plot in the works. The pro-life agenda is quite out in the open.

Dems . . .do believe in one's freedom to choose to have an abortion. Right or wrong, it doesn't matter. What matters is not letting government decide for us what one does with their body.

Reps also do believe in personal freedoms, but not the freedom to take some one else's life just because it causes you a great degree of difficulty. It's easy to say it's all about the woman's body if you dismiss the possibility that a fetus is a person with a body of its own. You have yet to address the question of person hood within these posts. Do you think personating is a matter of personal opinion, or that even if it is a person, it has no right to live within someone else's body? Have you thought about whether it's a person?

Also, I'm going to need you to explain how right and wrong don't matter. Do you believe that right and wrong are not relevant to the recognition of one's rights?

It is the Right Wing that has labeled the Dems the party of abortion.

The legitimacy of a label is not determined by who issued it, or whether you like it. It's accurate, or it's not. I say there's no effective difference between being pro-choice, or pro-abortion. I see leading Democrats pushing to extend abortion rights even further by seeking tax payer funding of abortion, seeking to grant the right to minors to have an abortion without their parents knowledge, and supporting partial birth abortions. More Democratic politicians support such measures than not.

This is as fair as labeling Reporklicans deficit spenders.

Republicans are deficit spenders. I guess you mean that pejoratively, but that doesn't make it untrue. I don't reject the label, nor do I reword it to in a way I think sounds better.

I can't say it any clearer than this. It doesn't matter what you or I think about abortion. It is the inalienable right of a woman to do with her body what ever she pleases. It's not our right or the court's right, or the church's right to take that away from her.

You don't have to say it any clearer. My disagreement is not due to a lack of comprehending your point. But again, you do not address the possibility of there being another person's body to consider. By the way, no one has an unlimited right to do with their body as they please. It may please me to get plastered and drive a car, but I don't have a right to do it. It may please me to light up a cigarette in a school bus, but I don't have the right to do it. One's rights do not extend past the point that they infringe on the rights of others.

Reporklicans want to dictate to a person many things.

I bet I could make at least as good a list of Democrats doing this as you can Republicans. The philosophy of the modern Left is heavily influenced by the tenants of Karl Marx, not John Locke. If you're so for personal liberty, are you sure you're not a Libertarian?

Does that mean Reps are the party of Fascists and Dictators, deciding for Americans what laws will be enforced without acknowledging the wishes of the people?

Whoa, whoa! Be reasonable. The pro-life movement, and its support by Republicans (or Reporklicans, as you please) works within the system of our democratic republic. This is neither fascist nor dictative. Laws are written and passed by the legislature. Their constitutionality, if challenged by the people, is determined by the supreme court. Those in power to pass laws and choose the Supreme Court judges, are elected by the people. The people elected Bill Clinton and in doing so, entrusted him with the supreme court nominations. By electing a pro-choice president, they expressed the collective willingness for a pro-choice judge to be placed to the Supreme Court. The same goes for pro-life president, George W Bush. That's how the system works. (By the way, only three Republican senators voted againts the confirmation of openly pro-choice Ginsberg. So much for the litmus test).

If you want to label the Democrats the party of abortion, then so be it.

You use the word "label" as if it is a bad thing. All words are labels for the things to which they refer. Some Republicans find pro-abortion more descriptive than pro-choice. I happen to think pro-choice is adequate, since every body knows what it means. When people hear either labels, they can decide for themselves which are more accurate. If the label doesn't fit, tell me how.

Just like you chose to think you made a good argument in your last post...

I do not choose what I think. I examine the evidence before me, and accept the conclusion that seems truthful and real. If I could choose what I think, I would choose to think I am the talented and beautiful, Gwen Stephani. But given the evidence, it seems that I am actually a short, cute-ish, red-head of modest income and prone to sing off key.

Seriously, if you want to persuade me to your point of view, you'll have to provide me with evidence that you're right.

Don't you see? This is the real world, not some sterile think tank.

What do you think think tanks do? Do you think they occupy their time with trivia, making no contributions to the lives of real people, in the real world?

Women are gonna have abortions whether they're legal or not, and regardless of what you or I think.

I don't think laws should be determined by whether people abide by them . . .

Another reason for legalized abortion is to have a clean, safe place for a woman to have one.

. . . If I did, I'd say we need to create a safe transport system from Mexico to the USA, so that illegal immigrants don't get hurt or killed on their way here. Maybe we could give long range missiles to Jihadists, so they won't get hurt when they're killing infidels. People break all the laws we have, and enforcing them can be dangerous, even to innocent bystanders; maybe we should eliminate laws, to reduce the risk of high speed car chases and gun fights.

Surely you don't think I was unaware that women risked their lives getting back alley abortions. I used to find that argument compelling until I thought about it in more depth. The life of an innocent person is not forfeited just because another person is desperate to eliminate it, even if their willing to risk their own life.

Of course, if it is your opinion that a fetus does not qualify as an innocent life, with moral value, you probably find my argument non compelling. You appear to believe we have the right determine the moral value of a fetus and kill it, because its existence is a burden.

So much is vague . . .I believe a person has the inalienable right to choose whether or not to have [an abortion].

Exactly! So much is vague! I couldn't have said it better. But I'm only betting against 9 months in a woman's life; you're willing to bet some one's entire existence.

Before RvW became law, abortion was illegal in all states. What makes you think this won't happen again?

It's a chance I'm willing to take as long as no woman is forced to maintain a life-threatening pregnancy. Besides, do you think it's likely? People have gotten pretty accustomed to abortion on demand. Many people vote pro-choice. There's a large scale public voice in defense of choice (much of it by celebs). Our democratic republic will bear out the will of the people. Check out this fresh perspective on RvW. It's pretty interesting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This is Gonna Take A While

I want to respond to all the comments you guys left on the last post, but it's going to be rather time consuming. I'll take it in installments, starting with Stephen's comments. Please wait to comment further until I have responded to all the comments. That way, I hope to avoid some insane, unworkable cascade of undressed points.

First you start off by confusing moral agency with human life

Actually, I don't. To be fair, you may have thought that by "moral agent" I meant to imply that a fetus could act with moral consequences. That would be stupid. You're right that I used that term incorrectly, but I have to say, it didn't occur to me that anyone would think that's what I meant. What I meant is that there is moral relationship that exists between a fetus and the rest of us, or that a fetus has moral value. I mean this in the same way that mentally disabled people are not moral agents, but they have moral value; we have a moral relationship with them. A six month old baby is the same; it is not a moral agent, but it has moral value, we have a moral relationship.

More importantly, I recognize that moral relationships or value are a matter of philosophical and/or religious point of view. Really though, I believe that a fetus is a human life, and that it has moral value, but it isn't my intention to convince you of that. However, you don't know, anymore than I do, at what point a human begins to possess moral value. I only hope to convince you that it is arrogant to draw that line based on opinion. It's possible I'm wrong, and if one day that is proved, I'll have no regrets. It's possible that you're wrong, and if you are, then you and our government have endorsed murder on an epic scale.

Inalienable rights are not opinion based. They are assumed for all humans.

There was a time in recorded history when slavery was not even considered a moral dilemma; in which it sucked to be a slave, but no one questioned whether it was right or wrong. Now we look back upon that history with shame and disgust.

Second, the projection of yourself onto a zygote or fetus is irrelevant.

I did not project myself onto a zygote or a fetus. It was an illustration of how one glosses over the argument by exclusively considering a woman's right to choose. It completely glosses over even the possibility of the fetus (or zygote) having any right to life. It presupposes that a zygote or fetus is equivalent to a woman's appendix, or ovaries. A fetus or zygote would be better described as a parasite. A parasite is not part of one's body. A fetus has its own DNA. It is not its mother's body part; it it's own body which is dependent on hers. I conferred a voice upon the fetus, not out of some cartoonish delusion that a fetus experiences it's loss, but as a simple means of making this point.

Third, the desire to overlook developmental stages doesn't change the fact that they occur. If potentiality is equivalent to actuality, then your argument becomes pointless.

Developmental stages occur, it's true. I don't desire to over look this fact; I looked at it, and found that it does not answer the question of when life or moral value is present. No one can deny there is a lot of difference between a clump of cells not even visible to the naked eye, and a 12 week gestation fetus. Again, that would be stupid. This is the second reference overall that you've made to developmental stages. I assume that you have come to a conclusion regarding fetal life/ moral value based on criteria drawn from the stages of development. I would be interested in knowing what criteria you used, and when you think a fetus should be considered to be a life or to have moral value.

As to the question of potentiality, and actuality, I'm guessing you mean that a zygote or fetus is a potential, not actual person. What I know is that it is a physical being with its own DNA. The potentiality or actuality of its personhood is a matter of one's philosophical or religious point of view. It is a matter of opinion. I have decided to assume actual personhood because I can't know for sure. Neither does the government know, and therefore should err on the side of the superior right to life over the right to privacy on which Roe v Wade is based.

Or perhaps you are referring to the potential right of a fetus to live vs the actual right of a woman to choose. That presupposes that a fetus' or zygote's rights are only potential. If a fetus or zygote has personhood, then its right to life is actual and cancels any right to choose to kill it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Inalienable Right or Right Wing Bias?

Thanks, guys for the comments on my last post. As usual, they were very helpful. I am once again using a post to respond to the comments of the previous post (particularly Burnyourtires). I like this style of response, as it keeps the ongoing conversation very visible. Also, I'd like to define a term I'll be using for the sake of this discussion. I'll use "Human life" to include moral agency, though I recognize that these are not interchangeable. That is a deeper discussion beyond the scope of this post.

In my last post, I stated as a point of common ground that Americans believe life to be foremost among human rights, regardless of their political party. Burnyourtires wants to know "Where did [I] get this"? I get this from the the Declaration of independencee (Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), and the UN Charter . What rights do we have if not the right to life? If you don't think life is the foremost among human rights, Burnyourtires, then I suggest you are not as mainstream as you think. Are there any moderated Democrats or human rights organizations out there that don't prioritize life over other rights? In the aftermath of genocides in Rwanda, did human rights groups lament the loss of religious freedom, free speech, or same sex marriage? No, the outrage was that these humans were robbed of their most precious right. For without the right to live, there are no other rights. Try practicing free speech after rigor mortis sets in, it's a bitch!

What are inalienable human rights? Let's start with the word " inalienable": incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another. Okay now,the word "right": something to which one has a just claim. Life is an inalienable human right. Without inalienablility, our rights are granted at the whims of people, which would be okay if good people always had the power. As we know, that is seldom the case. Without inalienability of rights, even democratic forms of government are nothing more than mob rule.

a fetus is a human life, then it's rights are inalienable as are the rest of ours. This is not rationalization or speculation, it is simple logic. A plus B equals C. If (A) a fetus is a human life , plus (B), life is an inalienable human right, then that equals (C) a fetus has the inalienable right to life. If a fetus is not a human life, then this exercise of logic no longer applies to a fetus. Therefore, I must restate that the question comes down to whether or not a fetus is a human life with the status of moral agency.

Burnyourtires said that the point of this argument is "keeping the government out of our lives". First of all, the point of the last post was whether Democrats are the party of abortion. That's the only topic I took up in that post, and I think I made a pretty good argument as to how they are. You can't refute an argument by changing the terms of the argument. Burnyourtires still has not made an argument that the Democrats are not the party of abortion. If he means to use the words "keeping government out of our lives" to stand in for being pro choice, I think that's pretty misleading. The government interferes in our lives in a number of ways, some of which come from the Left. Let's try to be specific.

Besides, when you say "Keep the government out of our lives" whose lives do you mean? Here is your bias. You mean keep the govn't out of some of our lives, the lives you choose, which are non-fetus. You ask that the government find that others have the right to kill a fetus. If I were a fetus, and I could talk, I'd call that a pretty big interference in my life! The only way that is not a bias is if a fetus is not a human life. So which is it, burnyourtires, life or not life?

This brings us to another facet of our discussion. Who gets to decide whether a fetus is a life? Who gets to decide what a human life is? Should the government interfere in one's right to determine who has the status of a human life? Do you think you have the right to make the determination? I think government rightly interfered when slavers and bigots determined that other races were not human, as a rationale to deny them their rights. I say rationale, because they rationalized rather than use reason to determine the personhood of, for example, Blacks and Jews, in order to satisfy their own needs. They started with the outcome they needed, then picked the facts they needed to support it. I don't do that. I start with facts and reason, and let them determine the outcome. I don't start with the outcome that abortion on demand needs to exist or not exist. I used reason to guide me and have ended with this conclusion: a fetus appears to be a human life. It has its own human DNA. It's level of development or ablilty are irrelevant to me, because those are not factors I would use to judge someone outside the womb. It's capacity for thought or the experience of pain also are irrelevant to me for the same reason.

Since I believe life to be the greatest of our inalienable rights (for which I'd gladly accept the usually pejorative term "radical right winger"), and I have found no reasonable exclusion for fetal humans, I must protect their right to life.

If all humans don't have inalienable rights, then no humans do. Rights that are given by humans can be revoked by humans.

P.S. Overturning Roe v Wade wouldn't outlaw abortion. Abortion would revert back to being a state decision.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Party of Abortion

My Democrat friend wants to assure me that his party is not the party of abortion.

This post is an exploration of his statement and what he means by it. I think he means to say that Liberals want abortion to be available as an option, but are not hoping for the opportunity to abort fetuses.

DUH! I don't think conservatives generally regard Liberals as having a blood lust for non-viable babies. I do think, however, that Liberals generally perceive Conservatives as overly interested in the reproductive rights of women. What conservatives actually are interested in, is protecting the lives of those they believe deserve protection. I'll address the legitimacy of that position in another post. Right now, let's stick with the issue of the characterization of parties if regard to abortion rights.

First, let me say that the two sides of the issue are aptly named. The pro-life movement is about protecting lives of fetuses. The pro-choice movement is about protecting the right to choose to abort fetuses. And let's agree for the sake of this discussion to lable each party as such, since generally that's how the voters allign themselves. We know that pro choicers and pro lifers cross party lines, but that's not helpful to this discussion. Each party represents one side of the issue, and the agendas will follow.

I like to think that regardless of party lines, Americans believe that the right to life is the greatest of human rights.

If you accept that a fetus is a human life, then you must treat it as such. For you, abortion on demand is not negotiable. Notice I wrote abortion on demand. Most pro-lifers do not demand a woman face death to protect her pregnancy, they just don't tolerate it as a form of birth control. The republican party represents this platform, regardless of the fact that not all Republicans are pro-life, and not all pro-lifers are Republican.

If you do not accept that a fetus is a life, then you must consider that abortion is an acceptable escape route for those with unwanted pregnancies. The Democratic party represents this platform regardless of the fact that not all Democrats are not pro-choice , and not all pro-choicers are not Democrats.

The democratic party may not be the party of abortion, but it is the party of abortion on demand. Now I ask you, what is the difference?

If you accept that a fetus is a human life, but you are pro choice, then you must accept that you have placed a greater value on the desires of the born than on the life of the unborn.

If you do not accept that a fetus is a human life, then you should have no qualms with abortion. In fact, it seems irrational for you to feel badly that abortion occurs. Therefore, it is irrational for you to object to the term "the party of abortion". Indeed, it makes more sense for you to convince others that abortion is not wrong.

I know it feels good to empathise with those who face unwanted pregnancies. An unwanted pregnancy is a heavy burden, and not always the result of irresponsibility. Regardless, it is not my position that the right to not be pregnant trumps the right to live? Is it yours? Have you rigorously examined your decision to be pro-choice? If you are troubled with the title "the party of abortion", then I suspect you have not.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank you, Burnyourtires . . .And Now My Response

Good comments, and very helpful. You see, I regard this site as a practice medium for what I hope will be my future career. Your comments , particularly expose the lack of clarity in my writing. My criticism is not that Democrats require investigation into Bush et al.'’s treatment of intelligence regarding Saddam'’s weapons programs. You were right to point out that the only investigation specific to that subject is still in progress.

However, can you explain why Reid called for a closed session of congress to demand what is already ongoing? That was the bee in my bonnet that day. It has resulted in yet another bipartisan commission, this one apparently to investigate the (bipartisan) investigation. Surely you understand that costs tax dollars.

I have a number of other responses to your comments;

Republicans spent more money chasing Clinton than Democrats have on Libby . Yes, I admit that Republicans were out to get Clinton. It cost a lot of money. However, it'’s unfair to compare the cost of a completed investigation with one that is ongoing; or a campaign against one man with many. While Libby's expenses are unlikely to exceed Clinton'’s, remember that there seems to be a campaign to indict Republicans wherever possible (how many grand juries did it take to indict Lott, four, or five?). This link regarding process in grand jury hearings is the most important one in this post).

For the 10 millionth time, the Clinton thing was not all about sex. In fact, Starr's investigation started with Whitewater which followed travelgate. There was good reason to investigate too, lest you feel inclined to just blow off these scandals. Don'’t forget that two of Clinton's Ark. pals died during the course of the investigation (one in prison just when he was announcing a willingness to talk). A third also spent time in jail rather than speak. At the time, Starr was convinced Clinton was committing perjury, but he had insufficient evidence of it. When Paula Jones brought her suit against Clinton, Starr extended his investigation into Jones' allegations, at which time Clinton proved himself a perjurer. He was censured, fined, and impeached in the House for that, not for sticking cigars up a subordinate's ying yang (it should be noted that while not all Republican senators voted "guilty" on Clinton's charge, all Democratic Senators voted "not guilty").

It is not my position that intelligence regarding the war should not be investigated. It is my opinion that the investigation is a red herring to avoid responsibility for giving the President authorization for use of force against Iraq. I think the Democrats saw that the outrage expressed by public officials against Clinton hurt the Democratic party. They have internalized that lesson and are using it now against the Republicans. But adding committees and calling for investigations are not without cost. So without letting Republicans off the hook for going after the Clintons, I think we can still examine the Libby and Lott issues.

First Libby: It is unclear that Libby broke the protection of identities law. First, Plame'’s status for protection under that law is unclear. Second, one would have to prove intent which is very hard to do. Considering the odds in grand jury hearings are so stacked against the defendant, I think if there was a chance of convicting Libby for outing Plame, the grand jury would have found it. As for the indictment for obstruction of justice, etc., it could be real; or Libby could have been tripped up. After all, the defendant does not have his lawyer present to defend him against badgering, or other tactics. I think that's something to consider. It's a far cry from a rehearsed lie stated on television and in a trial with defense representation present.

Now let'’s consider Tom Delay. There'’s no denying the Democrats have been after Delay for some time. Some of the allegations against Delay are ones that could be applied to the likes of that paragon of partisan Democrats, Nancy Pelosi. By the way how many grand juries did it take to finally come up with an indictment against Delay, four, or five? (And don'’t forget that indictments seem incredibly easy to get, and that grand jury shopping is extremely unusual). What do you think that'’s costing tax payers in Texas?

Regarding your comment that democrats are not the party of abortion. I no more consider Democrats the party of abortion than I do Republicans the party of anti-choice. But the result of one's actions are as important as one's intent. This is a topic for another post which will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Misled into Iraq War

Bush lied to trick us into his illegal war with Iraq. That's what Demo-rat-tic leadership wants you to accept without proof. They don't need proof. By merely perpetuating conspiracy theories, they are off the hook for their own votes in favor of the " illegal" war.

They had to vote for the war. No reasonable leader would have continued to take the risk of letting Hussein defy the UN resolutions against him. The stakes were too high, and the evidence against Hussein substantial if circumstantial.

But Demo-rats can't take responsibility for that because they believe the anti-war moonbats speak for their party (maybe they do, I personally don't know any moderate Demo-rats). They need a defense for when their constituents threaten to take their votes to someone truly anti-war. (Note war-protestor Cindy Sheehan's speaking out against H. Clinton). There's nothing like the prospect of splitting votes with a third party candidate to make you listen to your base.

But if you think indictments and commissions are news in themselves, you are allowing yourself to be manipulated. They're just noise (expensive noise). The Wilson-Plame business has accounted to next to nothing, certainly no charges of conspiracy or treason. The 911 commission found no evidence that Bush's administration lied or exaggerated intelligence. It's all just noise to keep the myth alive.

I have a suggestion to reduce government spending. I call upon the Demo-rat-tic leadership to stop these government sponsored investigations that are nothing more than campaign projects. Instead, proudly proclaim what you've always stood for: socialism, condescending to minorities, protecting abortion, and yes, the occasional war.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What I've learned About Diversity

This month I got some good diversity training. I learned the difference between an efficiently run corporation, and a system mired in government bureaucracy. I work for the former, my husband for the latter.

I will receive my first pay check within 2 weeks of my hire date.
Nick will receive his almost 2 months from his hire date.

I have the option of declining benefits in return for a higher wage (Which I will use to buy the insurance I prefer).
Nick has no options; just a use it or lose it benefits package which includes an FSA. (No one likes FSA's; HSA's were created because FSA's are stupid.)

My diversity training acknowleged that prejudice is a natural feeling, but we individuals can and must behave appropriately at work. It made clear that intent is an important component in determining where harassment exists.
Nick watched this laughable scenario in a training video:
Man and pregnant co-worker accidentally back into each other:
Man: "Whoa! We should attach warning lights to you ! 'Wide load'. My wife couldn't wait to spit our baby out. Maybe we should put you on the fork lifts to shake that little tyke loose. Hang in there!"
Woman: uncomfortableble smile
Narrator: " That may seem to you like friendly banter, but that kind of banter could invite a law suit."

COME ON! A civil trial because some dork is tact-impaired? I wanted to sue over the film's implication that women are gutless and thin skinned to the point of incompetence.

My employer is providing aid to the victims of hurricane Katrina.
Nick's customers are providing aid to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

I am a registered nurse in the labor and delivery unit at Covenant Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.
Nick is a Latin teacher for the Knox County school system.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blame Anyone But New Orleans

I have long labored under the apparently mistaken notion that the president is not omnipotent. According to the numerous babble holes lapping up their 15 minutes of opportunism, it is President Bush who is responsible for the suffering in New Orleans. Not Mother Nature. Not the New Orleans city officials. Not the Louisiana state government. And most assuredly, not the able-bodied looters who continue to impair the rescue process.

Here's the thing. Not every problem can be laid at the door step of one man. This F"d-up dialogue convinces the ignorant masses that they have one central figure to blame, and that if they could just get the right guy, this sort of thing wouldn't happen. It is this kind of sophomoric thinking and scapegoating that has allowed New Orleans to become what it is. The remains of a community that placed its trust in parasitic bureaucracy.

P.S. While Bush was ruthlessly criticized for a 3 Minute pause after the 9-11 attacks, few remember that Kerry admitted that he was unable to even think for 35 minutes. If you work that out proportionately to the Katrina crisis, would there yet be a rescue in progress?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Politicized of New Orleans tragedy

Hey everybody, remember me? I haven't felt like blogging for a long time; I've hardly even watched the news for the past two months. The news coverage in general is too shallow and biased; it always leaves me with questions they don't even ask . But today, I heard something that shook me out of my political catatonia, and back into blogging.

Live, from New Orleans, an ABC news correspondent took his opportunity to play Left against Right, to thumb his nose at conservatives as hurricane victims suffered around him. He commented on the Sean Hannity show this afternoon that Liberal radio talk show hosts had been very generous in fund raising/ relief efforts. He jibed, [I don't know what conservative radio hosts have contributed, but I'd like to start a competition . . .]. (Brackets indicate the slightest paraphrase).

Now wait just one minute! I wasn't born yesterday! I'm sure he would have kept his innuendo to himself if he new that statistically, Red states contribute more money to charities than Blue states. He didn't bother to find out what Conservative hosts were up to, but he was confident that we Hannity listeners would be impressed that Lib radio hosts gave to charity at a time of great media coverage.

This guy is supposed to report the news, not try to persuade us to like Liberals (few of which are passing up this opportunity to begin campaigning).

Welcome back, me! Thanks!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Reading Liberal blogs is a waste of time

Atrios at Eschaton is one of the most widely read Liberal bloggers and reading him is like sitting on top of a shit heap during a tornado. Here is his post on Time's article on Ann Coulter. Read the comments. They are largely crazed, ugly and stupid and these are the so-called informed Liberals. I looked at the Ann Coulter criticism when I read Slander. I checked up on the original sources and the claims made by her critics. I did it again when I read Treason. They are simply wrong. The criticisms are not valid.

Liberals are Liberals because they have not developed the skill of critical thinking. They can not seem to make good judgments about evidence and argument. They are often very good and complex thinking which sounds critical and they are always impressed by it, but it rarely comport with reality. Compare the weak charges they have made against Tom Delay to the charges against Clinton. Delay seems to have been doing business as usual, the same things Barbara Boxer has done, whereas Clinton actually did commit perjury and sexual harassments. Somehow, Liberal make excuses and obfuscate the facts surrounding the myriad Clinton problems, but can see very clearly the crimes of Tom Delay (not Boxer, though). They, of course, have it backwards.

I think that this is only possible because they approach the debate with a preconceived world-view which informs them about reality. The problem is that this world-view is wrong. That is why they are so willing to believe weak, faulty arguments which happen to agree with the Liberal world-view and ignore the obvious problems with it.

I am not saying that Ann's arguments are always right nor that Conservatives are always right. Indeed, here I show that a Conservative was wrong about Ann Coulter. What I am saying is that reading Liberal blogs is a waste of time. We do it, of course, but it rarely yields anything of value. On the other hand, Libertarians, Neo-Libertarians, religious conservatives and non-religious conservatives, et alia, debate current issues with an openness and rigor that puts the left to shame. It is very rewarding and fruitful. Remember, Clinton's greatest achievements were conservative ideas. Right now, there is more debate about SS reform and real tax reform than ever before -- and it is all coming from the right.

Since Liberals do wield political power (demagogery always does), we have to spend alot of time refuting them and therefore explaining the positions to which we object. So if you read good rightish blogs you will inform yourself of both sides. It is truly laughable to read a Liberal who tries to explain the conservative position on anything. They have no idea how we think - how many times have you heard that Conservatives don't care about the environment?. On the other hand, we know very well how they think. Many of us used to be Liberals and nearly all of us were educated in Liberal thinking.

Whether you think Liberalism is a religion, a mental disorder, or, like me, an immature state of personal development, reading their blogs is mainly a waste of time.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Hypocrites Attack Bolton

The Democrats are throwing the word "abuse" around like monkeys fling crap. It's effective, stinky, and won't come back to stain them. It's a vague, risk free accusation that truly can be leveled against any one who's ever had any authority.

It's the primary indictment against John Bolton, and honestly, I'm extremely comfortable with that. I mean really, is that the best ya got, Biden? You're concerned that he doesn't work well with others? 'Pot calling the kettle black, much?

I might be compelled by the "abuse" complaint if I'd never seen a senate hearing, or any news debate show ever. Our leaders and experts yell over and at each other all the time. Or if Id never had a job ...

Have you ever worked under a manager who shied away from conflict with their subordinates? Sure, you have. It's hell, isn't it? Bad workers get away with being bad, while good workers pick up the slack. And the reward for picking up the slack, is more slack to pick up.

But I digress. The point is, leaders sometimes have to yell, or threaten. Some people need to be yelled at and threatened because they do crappy work or are inappropriate. Why would you want a leader who never yelled at any one? Are we to assume that no one at the state department has ever done crappy work?

At least Bolton tries to get rid of people he thinks are bad. I watched Joe Biden call Condi Rice a liar even while telling her he planned to vote for her confirmation. What is that?

P.S. The word "abuse" has a serious context to any one who has ever actually been abused. How very sensitive of the Democrats to use the same word to describe Bolton that we use for adults who beat their kids.

P.P.S. Is it abusive to go around calling some one abusive? And what's the difference between Bolton trying get rid of people, and people trying to get rid of Bolton?

John Bolton's Bedside Manner

Imagine you're quite ill, and you need to choose a physician. When the shit hits the fan, and your life is on the line, what are the criteria you would use?

Would you eliminate an M.D. from your list if he said uncomplimentary things about the hospital administration or other doctors? What if yelled at nurses, or intimidated them? What if he occaisionally insulted patients or hurt their feelings?

I can tell you I have worked closely with three doctors who've done all those things, and they're the best three doctors I've ever worked with. When I had a patient in crisis, they're the doctors I wanted around.

I don't like their nasty attitudes, but these three doctors can be depended upon to get the job done, and do it well. I believe they save people where other doctors would have failed. But if their presence depended upon their popularity with the nurses, they might have a hard time finding work.

Now, a good bed side manner is important and helpful, but it's not the end all. In the end, you want to be healthy. You want to live.

It's the same with John Bolton.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wu Li Blogging and Joe Jackson

We took a 2:00 AM drive tonight under a crystal clear night sky, listening to Joe Jackson's haunting and lovely Steppin' Out. When we got back home, I googled "joe jackson stepping out lyrics." The first response was a post from Right Thinking Girl dated April 3rd which was also the date of our last post. Coincidence? I prefer to think like a Dancing Wu Li Master. There is some mysterious mist hiding the lines which connect our minds with electricity so fine.

We are always very happy when people we like like the same stuff as we do. We have always been huge fans of Orson Scott Cards' Ender's Game, one of the best SciFi books ever. We could barley contain our joy when we found out that he is not a moonbat. There are others too, like Alton Brown who appreciates the beauty of (the old) Junkyard Wars and does not sound like a Liberal to us either. The list, thankfully, goes on.

I am tempted to attribute these connections we share to "spooky actions at a distance" especially now. Better, though, is the simple truth. It is not surprising that people who think clearly often agree. The real world has honed our minds in a similar manner. Ender's Game is great because Card is true to human nature.

Well, I could go on, but my comfy bed beckons and I absolutley must have an Ouzo.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Zogby Schiavo poll makes me sick

Michelle discusses the new Zogby poll on the Schiavo matter. Zogby's poll suggest that a plurality of Americans in fact agree with us:
43 percent say "the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube" while just 30 percent disagree.
I argue that the numbers are actually higher and are artificially low due to the massively biased and shoddy, but overwhelming media coverage.

A perhaps more important consideration is what this means for our court system. Judges are now being told that an "evolving national consensus" is the guide by which they are to rule. That is offensive enough anyway, but what about the dangers of divining this "consensus?" This poll certainly suggests that may be very tricky indeed. Yes, I know that is why the Court appealed to an "evolving" consensus, one that has developed over time so as to even out these kinds of things.

But, really, do you think that works? First, think about how much time went by concerning McCarthy. Certainly any judge would have been on safe ground assuming that the national consensus was that he was a raving lunatic who falsely accused people of conspiring with Communists. How about Julius Rosenberg? I was taught as a fact that he was falsely executed by our government. Surprise! Along came VENONA proving that Julius was a spy and that McCarthy was right; there were spies in the State department. Many people still think McCarthy was wrong (and basically evil.)

"National consensus" has nothing to do with truth or justice. Terri may very well have been killed because the judges who had the chance to stop this travesty felt that they were carrying out the national consensus. Surprise! There was no consensus.

This poll did not make me feel justified. It made me feel sick.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bill Press is an idiot

Now, we are not religious, but we can recognize atheistic bias when we here it. Judge Roy Moore was on After Words with Bill Press. Moore explained his position that the U.S. is a Christian nation. He explained how this does not in anyway mean that it is so by "establishment." Press simply would not here it and kept on complaining that to say that was in contradiction of the establishment clause.

This, of course, is dumb. Press has an anti-religion bias that prevents him from hearing anything which to him suggests that America was and is a Christian nation. Moore was very reasonable and appealed to the actual words of our various founding documents and early Supreme Court texts which all prove to any reasonable person that the Christian faith was taken as granted among all citizens and even in our documents like the Declaration. The genius of the founders was that despite this, they prohibited the governments from actually establishing any particular sect or religion by law. Somehow, Press takes this to mean that the founders were describing a nation without any religious character, a nation whose laws and institutions must not contain anything remotely religious.

What infuriates me about this is the bigotry. We just saw it in the Schiavo case where people who themselves do not want to live like that were biased against any arguments from the other side. Here we are again. Press does like religion and thus he can not allow any argument which favors it to have merit.

America is a free country and that means we are free to exercise our religion. The only limitation to that exercise is that such may not hinder another's religious exercise. That is the point of prohibiting the Federal government from establishing one religion in law. (Of course, states should be free to do just that, but let's not go there.) There is nothing in our Constitution which says you are protected from hearing or being near another citizen while he or she is engaged in religious exercise. Indeed, as we often say, the cure to odious speech is laudable speech, not a restriction of speech. The same must apply to religious exercise.

It is stupid and dangerous to think that federal institutions must be cleansed of religion. They must allow for free religious expression; that is the point of the establishment clause. Just because Bill Press is offended by silent school prayers does not mean that the school has established Christianity as the official state religion. It is absurd to think that a Jewish or Muslim student's right to free exercise of religion is in any real way diminished by this. Also, school prayer is not the law and no school has ever attempted to enforce any sort of conformity of school prayer. As usual, the religious right is far more tolerant than the Left.

Atheism, Leftism and Liberalism are, in fact, religious in nature. It's not that they have moral value like many religions, but that they appeal to man's religious nature. (Need proof? Just talk to them. Why do you think they all act like they are in a cult? It's because they are.) Anyway, I think that it is man's natural religious tendency which is to blame for Liberalism surviving despite it very obvious corruption. (This is not to say why Liberals themselves adopt Liberalism. On that issue I still like my earlier explanation: immaturity.) Naturally, Press and other Left cultists are perfectly happy to enforce their own religious views on others.

Just to be clear, this is not the first time I've examined Bill Press. He debated somebody on C-Span just before the election making arguments from his book. I took notes and began to analyze them. I gave up because it was not even worth my time. It was another example of the above. He refused to accept the validity of arguments which proved him wrong.

Liberals do this sort of thing all the time for the same reason that they hypocritically impose restriction on others they would never accept on themselves. They believe that they have special insight, gained by their "education" (read indoctrination), as to the future. They believe in a political heaven. Yes, it is the old utopia which the rest of us have left behind along with our blanky and teddy bears. They may not call themselves Marxists or Communists any more, though some still do, but they are the same. They have seen the light and they will bring you with them whether you like it or not. In fact, they have to bring you, because they need your labor to make their paradise work. All is in the service of Progress. History and human nature be damned -- full speed ahead!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Have I Been Self-Righteous About Terri?

First, my condolences to all those who loved Terri Schiavo.

My self-riteous attitude in the Schiavo case got taken down two notches when I read this article by Cathy Young at Reason H & R. I learned a lot about the case that I didn't know before. Hat Tip Damnum Absque Injuria 3/29/05.

Then I read the comments on her article, and found myself partially vindicated.

Read the article, and this is very important, read all the comments. That's the only way to get the full flavor of the kind of people who sided with euthanasia. If you decide to skip any, don't skip the comments by Xrlq and CodeBlueBlogMD. They quite effectively discredit much of C. Young's arguments.

I'm no lawyer (like Xrlq), or doctor (like CodeBlueBlogMD), but I know enough to make what I still believe to be the most important argument.

We don't know what Terri wanted. That's it. Some claim to know, but evidence is not very reliable.

It is reasonable to suspect Michael Schiavo's motives. Thinking up possible explanations for his behavior shouldn't be a substitute for reasonable judgment. It's more than possible that he has ulterior motives. As for the sanctity of marriage, I'll just say I'm glad my ex-husband was never given unquestioned authority over my fate. And lest you think it unfair not to be as skeptical toward the Schindlers, they're not the ones erring on the side of death.

Furthermore, I find in the article and among the comments, people who give MS a pass are quite willing to ascribe sinister motives to the Schindlers.

Further-furthermore, I think people are being pretty flippant about end-of-life decisions. It's very problematic to apply context to Terri's alleged words, then hold her to them with the ultimate penalty. Also, some people think they know how they couldn't bear to live, only to change their minds when the time comes. Take, for example, people dying of lung disease. As a nurse, I've known of people who've reversed their formal wishes when death was imminent. They'd been on a ventilator before, and swore they'd never do it again. They knew they could never be cured, and that even the ventilator might not even save them. But when the shit hit the fan, they fought to live.

As for myself, I can honestly say that I am not appalled at the prospect of living in the state of consciousness in which Terri did for 15 years. Nor would I expect anyone to agree with me. For Libertarians, C. Young and her readers seem to lack true respect for an individual's choice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Left Knows What You Want

What do Terri Schiavo, U.S. soldiers, and the people of Iraq have in common? The Left knows what's good for them, and wants to speak for them.

Corporal Michael Oreskovic of the US army lost his left arm in combat, and he wants to go back. He says there's a lot of amputees who want to go back.

He also says that soldiers who go home to the US on leave often are anxious to get back to their unit in combat. He says there are two reasons. One is out of guilt and loyalty to the men who are not on leave. The other reason is that they get tired of people expressing their disapproval of the war.

Now that's quite a statement. Many soldiers would rather return to war than be subjected to the naysayers who don't respect a soldier's job.

You see, the Left knows the soldiers feel betrayed and want to come home, because that's how the Left feels. (Link to this Not in Our Name pdf and start at page 14. Compare this to Oreskovic's own words at cspan.)

The Left knows Terri wouldn't have wanted live like she does, because they wouldn't want it.

The Left knows that the Iraqi people wish we hadn't come to fight for their freedom, because the Left hates war.

The Left knows what you want, because they know what they want. And if you don't want what they want, well you should, and they'll demand it for you because they know better than you.

Thanks, Instapundit!

Link here for spring photos from my hometown, Knoxville, TN.

Meanwhile, I languish in winter's cruel, icy grip in Concord, New Hampshire. I was excited this week because the daily highs have exceeded 35 degrees, the snowbanks are fewer and smaller, and three bugs hit my windshield.

I love Concord, but ... aah, Knoxville.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Can't Believe I Still Have Questions About Terri Schiavo

1: Would Terri have wanted an autopsy? People speculate that she would want to die, or that she would want privacy, not publicity. But, apparently, she wouldn't want food.

2: Why an autopsy after she's dead, but no MRI while she's alive?

3: Did Michael Shiavo piss his pants when that wacko put a hit on him? Did he ever think he might pay a price for acting so badly?

4: Does anyone believe that Terri is being medicated with Morphine for her parent's benefit, not because she's in pain?

5: If Terri's braindead, why surround here with music and flowers? If she can appreciate those things, why would you kill her? If you think it's for her family's benefit, don't be stupid.

6: You think congress intervened? Remember Elian Gonzales? The Florida courts ruled he could stay, then Janet Reno sent an armed force in the night to arrest and deport him.

7: Attn same sex marriage advocates: The "Progressive" definition of marriage allows your partner to starve you to death, even if that partner behaves suspiciously. Good luck with that.

8: If Terri had died at her initial collapse, wouldn't Michael have been a murder suspect?

I thought I was done posting about Terri. I was exhausted and depressed. But she's still in the press and the conversation is still woefully lacking. I have serious questions. The people who have the access to the information aren't coming close to addressing them. If it wasn't for other bloggers, I'd believe I'm alone. I'd question my own sanity. Even Fox News has really let me down.

Commentary on Birdnow's Conservatism

Timothy Birdnow has a good article:
The American Thinker: "It's a Brave New World after Terri Schiavo dies"

In his landmark novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley conveys the vision of a technological nightmare in which man is forced, through conditioning and eugenics, to happily serve as a cog in an utopian socialist machine. Those things which we see as important - family, close friendships, love, individualism, faith - are removed from the individual through brainwashing techniques, so as to create hollow vessels better suited to a life of consumerism and service to the State. Motherhood is abolished in favor of factory production of children, and the elderly and disabled are “taken care of.”

The important thing to understand about this brainwashing is why it works. Humans are individuals and members of families and communities all at the same time. All of these relationships are equally important facets of human nature. It is absurd to argue for a concept of human nature which denies one or more of these relationships. Individualism is just as wrong as statism. Conservatism is basically a response to ideologies which assert that one of these facets is the most important. (Libertarianism is often, though not always, characterized by over emphasizing the individual.) It is possible to screw up human society because it is possible to construct a false worldview by overstating one of these facets. In the Brave New World, the communal facet is emphasized to the exclusion of family and individual.

He has lots more to say, most of which is good. But, he seems to equate Christian religion with conservatism. This is not true in my view. Although we have much in common, conservatism is not just Christian values in the political sphere.

If you want to read the rest of my self-indulgent rambling commentary, well you'll have to ask me for it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

When Friends Aren't

Link to Girl on the Right

I'm in the same situation as Right Girl.

My best friend is a Bush-hating Democrat. That is to say, she oozes vitriol, and her face contorts at the mere mention of his name.

While nothing can erase our history, our future is dim. We can't discuss politics, and that's a lot harder than it sounds. This friendship is going to be a lot less meaningful if we're not free to discuss our beliefs.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What is it about Canadians?

They are just so damn funny and so damn nice too. Remember our halcyon friend? Well her husband's a jokester.

Anyway, read her take on the Schiavo situation here, but don't miss this either:
Common Sense Has Prevailed!

The Canadian government has denied refugee status to former U.S. Army paratrooper Jeremy Hinzman, a major blow to a handful of U.S. military deserters who have fled to Canada rather than fight in a war they claim commits atrocities against civilians.

Such as democracy, free will, and dozens of other similar horrible afflictions...

The military attracts many young recruits with job skills training and programs that help pay for university.

But it's right there in the ads - we'll pay for college, and you'll fight for your country. No one is misled...

Out, out, out. I can barely support myself [despite her shiny new job] and my chosen immigrant [the funny guy from before] - I am not supporting you and your four freakin' kids, just because you are too much of a sissy to tdo the job you volunteered to do. Out!
Turns out she lives in Toronto (the source of all funny, e.g., Albino Black Sheep), but she is from Montreal. Now that is a fascinating, beautiful, strange city. You can get lamb kebobs at 3:00AM and fresh crepes in the mall. You can also freeze your ass off -- your choice.

Back on topic, though, this guy is our fault really, we should take him back. We should take him back and "re-educate" him. Where is Patton when you need him?
Patton: Well, hell, you're nothing but a God-damned coward.
[Soldier start sniveling]
Patton: Shut up!
[Slaps him, once forehanded, then backhanded on the rebound]
Patton: I'm not going to have a man sitting here *crying*! In front of these brave men who have been wounded in battle!
[Soldier snivels some more, and Patton swings a vicious forehand slap, knocking his helmet away]
Patton: *Shut up!*
[to the doctors]
Patton: Don't admit this yellow bastard. There's nothing wrong with him. I won't have a man who's just afraid to fight *stinking up this place of honor!* You will get him back up to the front.
[to soldier]
Patton: You're going back to the front, boy. You may get shot, and you may get killed, but you're going back to the fighting. Either that, or I'll stand you up before a firing squad. Why, I ought to shoot you right now, you...
[pulls his service automatic. At that, the doctors leap forward and hustle the soldier out of the tent. Patton keeps shouting at the soldier's back]
Patton: God-damned bastard! Get him out of here! Take him back to the *front! You hear me? You God-damned coward!*
[Takes deep breath]
Patton: I won't have cowards in my army.
[edited to reflect comments below]

Thursday, March 24, 2005

MSM Bias In Schiavo Case

At 3:00 this morning, I was on my lunch break at work. ABC news was reporting their latest rebuttal vs. life.

Specifically, they rebutted Jeb Bush's statement that "the neurologist's review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness, rather than in a persistent vegetative state."

In a straight news broadcast (not editorial), they reported that the neurologist "has ties to Christian organizations".

There was exactly zero mention that neurologists who diagnosed Terri with PVS had associations with right-to-die organizations, or the Hemlock society. There was also no mention of Felos' creepy messiah complex.

This is the reason I almost never watch network news.

[Endymion adds that Power Line is covering ABC's "Republican memo" here, here, here and here.]

Enemies abroad and at home

Bill has a nice post about the culture wars we find ourselves in. I have argued this before, but he's better at it.
The nihilism of the Left -- its denial of value and true being to anything that actually exists and provably works -- may be turning in upon itself. Unable to destroy Western civilization under its own steam, it aligns itself with Islamists, who, were they to attain power, would of course mercilessly exterminate all leftists. A curious sort of Selbstaufhebung.

So perhaps I was a bit hasty in my intitial schematization. The major war, of course, is against militant Islam. But if liberals keep moving to the Left, then the minor war against liberals may become indistinguishable from the major jihad against the Islamo-fascists.
The war metaphor is apt. This is war and the Left, in all its forms, is the enemy. We have to fight them as such. Leftism is not just another way of looking at the world, it is an evil and deadly way. As I have said before, America needs at least (and maybe only) two parties. I'm not against debate and I am not suggesting that Chomsky and other deranged nihilists be censored. But, we should not imagine that they are harmless. They wish to dismantle the very ideas that make Western civilization great. It is no surprise to me at all that many Liberals end up cozy with radical Islam; American values are the antithesis of both.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

2-1 Against

My Way News: "In its 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the woman's parents 'failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims.'"
Wow! I guess one judge can ruin your life with an egregious fact finding mistake and you really do not get any chance for a second opinion. If Scalia is right, we have to accept this. We should focus our energies now on our legislators and alter our laws and perhaps the Constitution so that a person can get a de novo review of the facts of his/her case.

At least one of these judges got it right. I need to consider his dissenting opinion (which starts on page 11), but mistress Chartreuse beckons.

Anyway, Beth at MYVRWC is a great source for info. You should go there and read because this case will be argued for awhile and mastery of the facts is important (e.g. here for a CT Scan analysis)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Poor Excuse For Discussion of Schiavo Case

I've been following the Schiavo case for approximately 3 years. I'm really happy that enough people are aware of the case now that I can participate in a vigorous discussion.

My problem is that I'm getting a lot of discussion from people who have the most minimal awareness of what's going on. The following comments are from one blog (HobbsOnline), but I find them typical of the general discussion. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

" Terri Schiavo chose Michael as her husband. She gave him the right to be her voice and make her decisions for her in these kinds of situations. How can we say that we believe in the sanctity of marriage but say that a spouse does not have the right to make these kinds of decisions?"

"Like Bill said, we do not know this Michael guys motives." " ... But were it my wife, I could not stand by thinking she was trapped in there …”

It's true we don't know what Michael Schiavo's motives. That doesn't put him on equal ground with all husbands. There is a lot more reason to question him than what you've seen on the news. There are some REALLY nasty allegations of things he's done to Terri. Do your research. Marriage is not a suicide pact. Some people marry the wrong person. They need a means to appeal when their spouse is questionable.

"What I find very strange about this argument is the people who say starving to death is inhumane, but then want to keep her alive in the state she is in. Imagine if you were trapped in that body."
How do you know she's trapped? By the extremely brief shots of footage taken of her years ago? What you know does not constitute a diagnosis or prognosis. Neurologists who examined Terri are in disagreement.

" ... do not tell me anyone sane would want to go on living like that for what? another 30 years? Starvation is inhumane but I would take that over the alternative. She has been an invalid for more then 10 years already."
Who are you to judge that no sane person would choose that? Your choice has nothing to do with hers. Do you presume that all "invalids" (a loathsome term) wish to die? I submit that neither Stephen Hawking nor Christopher Reeves chose death, in spite of severe disabilities. Neither would have had a voice if technology had not given it to them. Michael Schiavo denied his wife therapies that might (in the opinion of some neurologists) have enabled her to swallow, and possibly speak.
" ... I could not stand by thinking she was trapped in there, while her mother refused to let go. I would fight to end it in anyway I could. To do otherwise would be inhumane."
Terri is either capable or not capable of suffering. She cannot be both. If she is incapable of suffering the pain of starvation, then she is incapable of suffering the pain of being "trapped" in her living shell. And if Terri's not in there, then there's no one to suffer, now or ever.

Also, it's true that Terri's parents shouldn't subvert Terri's wishes. But you can't accuse them of that until you know what Terri's wishes are. Don't let your feelings for her parents direct you to a knee-jerk solidarity with the "husband".
" There is no medical expert who will testify that Ms. Schiavo will recover. Nothing, today, will bring her back."

Actually, there are at least two neurologists who have examined Terri and concluded that she is NOT in a persistent vegetative state. They have testified on her behalf, to this effect, and that she could benefit from therapy. She'll never be the Terri she was before the event, but that's not to say she'd be better off dead.

Terri has never had an MRI. I've read that a diagnosis of PVS without an MRI and several days of observation is essentially malpractice. Yet this is the level of evidence Judge Greer has accepted in issuing what amounts to a death sentence.

"... if Terri woke up everyone would be happy - but now we have lost a large portion if not all our privacy rights...because congress can now single you out and stick a feeding tube in you..."
Congress did not have her feeding tube reinserted, as evidenced by the fact that it remains out. What congress did do is protect Terri's constitutional right to federal appeal. The federal courts already hear appeals on criminal cases. What is it about Terri's case that makes it interference in states rights or privacy rights?

And finally, (I have no quote for this myth), but a lot of people say that this case has already been appealed by plenty of judges. But only one judge examined the physical evidence regarding Terri's case. The rest only did reviews to determine if proper procedure was followed. They did not review the evidence of the case.

Get back to me when you've done your research, assholes. Oh, yeah, I said assholes. If you guys want to put your voice out there with a woman’'s life on the line, you should put more effort into what you say.

No respect for Life, Facts, or Congress

Andrew C. McCarthy on Terri Schiavo on National Review Online
Here, it bears noting that Whittemore was placed on the federal bench by President Clinton in 2000 after spending a decade as a judge in the state courts of Florida. His opinion is a staunch approbation of the integrity of Florida’s procedural framework, and extremely deferential to the performance of his former state-court colleague, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer. Essentially, Judge Whittemore reasons: Florida’s procedures are fair and designed to achieve a just result, there is no basis to suspect that those procedures did not produce a just result here, and, therefore, federal due process has been satisfied — without any need to revisit (i.e. , conduct a de novo review of) the facts that were actually found here under those fair procedures...

But most disturbing about Judge Whittemore’s opinion is its refusal to delve into the questions that impelled Congress to act in the first place: Whether Terri is really a PVS case and whether she really evinced an informed desire not to be sustained — let alone to submit to two weeks of starvation and dehydration, which is unquestionably torture for a person who is responsive to stimuli and aware of pain.

Not only does Whittemore decline to get into the heart of the matter. In the one fleeting footnote in which he alludes to it, he blames Terri’s parents and their attorneys for this dereliction: “Plaintiffs have submitted affidavits of health care professionals regarding Theresa’s medical status, treatment techniques and therapies which are available and their opinions regarding how and whether these treatments might improve Theresa’s condition. Plaintiffs have not, however, discussed these affidavits in their papers and how they relate to the claimed constitutional deprivations.” (Italics mine.)

What an asshole. Is he pissed that the Schindlers did not actually tell him what to think? Is he that divorced from the reality of his job?

Congress is the heart of the republic and the courts should give it due respect. Whittemore ruled on Florida's process but not he facts. This is a extreme offense to the de novo request of the Congress. In the end it is about the facts of the case, not the process alone. Our courts seem to have removed themselves from the real world where the rest of us live. Now, I am with Scalia on the Due process issue
the Constitution has a Due Process Clause, which says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Now, what does this guarantee? Does it guarantee life, liberty or property? No, indeed! All three can be taken away. You can be fined, you can be incarcerated, you can even be executed, but not without due process of law. It’s a procedural guarantee.
So, I have a dilemma. Due Process was followed -- I think. But an extreme injustice was committed by the courts and no respect was shown to the facts of the case.

What do you do when one branch of government secedes from the union by seceding from the real world? Take up arms? Maybe, but let's try voting first. Again Scalia:
My Constitution is a very flexible Constitution. You think the death penalty is a good idea — persuade your fellow citizens and adopt it. You think it’s a bad idea — persuade them the other way and eliminate it. You want a right to abortion — create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society, persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and enact it. You want the opposite — persuade them the other way. That’s flexibility. But to read either result into the Constitution is not to produce flexibility, it is to produce what a constitution is designed to produce — rigidity. Abortion, for example, is offstage, ... it’s no use debating it anymore — now and forever, coast to coast, I guess until we amend the Constitution, which is a difficult thing. So, for whatever reason you might like the Living Constitution, don’t like it because it provides flexibility.

Social Security verbo ipso

I have been meaning to say this for awhile now, but this guy beat me to it. So, here it is from what appears to be our doppelganger (I guess I should say that we are theirs since they have been at it longer. Also, Lee seems to be smarter than I am. Also, they are more religious and they have some different links -- otherwise, the same.)
verbum ipsum: A Layman's Stab at Social Security Reform: "The deceit at the heart of Social Security has always been that by paying FICA taxes you are 'investing' for your retirement. But this is nonsense. Decades of government propaganda notwithstanding, SS is a wealth transfer program like welfare. It takes money from one group of people (young workers) and gives it to other groups of people (retirees, the disabled, their dependents, etc.). There may have been compelling reasons for pitching it as an investment plan, but basic honesty compels us to admit it ain't so.

Now, it seems to me that two things fall out of admitting that SS is a welfare program of sorts. First, there's no reason, in principle, it couldn't be funded from general tax revenue (sales, income, personal, corporate, or whatever). Second, it could be given only to those who need it. Once you've given up the fiction that people are investing in their own retirement, you no longer need to maintain that they're entitled to a return on their 'investment.' Eligibility for SS could be determined based on need (and 'need' could be defined more or less generously), which makes sense, since the whole purpose of the program was to keep the elderly out of poverty. Retired millionaires don't need that extra couple hundred bucks a month.

Funding SS out of general tax revenue would also address another problem: the FICA tax is one of the most regressive taxes we have (especially when you take into account the cap on income that is susceptible to FICA taxation). A progressive income tax (or even a flat tax) would be fairer and simpler.

I assume (contra libertarians and many conservatives) that it is meet, right, and just that society should provide assistance to those who need it. There's no shame in admitting that Social Security is a program by which we extend aid to those in need. On the contrary, the fact that it has for so long been portrayed as a kind of investment "
That just makes sense to me. I doubt that there are really many conservatives who do not think it meet to provide for the needy via government in some manner. I think it seems that way mainly because we are forced to oppose it in practice so much. Even some Libertarians are not totally against government aid (some are, of course). The debate is in the nature and amount of aid, the definition of needy and the method by which the aid is collected and distributed. But that debate is for another time.

While we are at SS reform, if we do not adopt Lee's suggestions, we should at least return the program more to its original intent. The retirement ages, for example, should be raised commensurate with actuarial changes. People live longer. It's simple and fair.

I can't find it now, but somebody wrote a piece recently about private accounts. Remember the Lock Box? Well, private accounts are the ultimate Lock Box. The government cannot get their greedy hands on the money if it resides in my Vanguard 500 Index. (Which, BTW, has earned 11.24% avg over the last ten years, the same ten years which include the horrible "crash.")

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Fetus Monologues

Mike S. Adams: Blind feminists find nut, details at eleven:

Same excerpt, different take:
"“If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?”; “If it could speak what would it say?” and; “What does your vagina smell like?”"
What if in each of those sentences, we replaced the word vagina with the word fetus? It is considerably more reasonable to anthropomorphize a fetus than a vagina, seeing as how a fetus actually has the potential to talk someday.

The elitists of my gender want you to empathise with my vagina, but try to empathize with a fetus. I promise you, they will go ballistic!

The Vagina Monologues and Double Standards

Go here and read this story:Mike S. Adams: Blind feminists find nut, details at eleven:
"“A six-year-old girl was asked.” This skit asked a child questions like “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?”; “If it could speak what would it say?” and; “What does your vagina smell like?”"
I wonder if it would be okay for a creepy old man to say this to a 6 yr old. Or how about a male kindergarten teacher. How about her dad?

A good friend of mine has a story of her own family. Her 2-yr old neice was molested while in the care of an adult woman who turned out to be part of a child pornography ring.

I wonder if the ladies of The Vagina Monologues understand the enemy doesn't always have a penis? Would they consider the above story to be the case of a leberated woman helping a young female explore her sexuality? Isn't that the point of their skit; that we should help prepubescents learn to explore their vaginas?

Surely feminism is more than just reverse chauvinism.

Where Have All The Feminists Gone

Since when did the Democrats become the defenders of a husband's right to speak for his wife? All of a sudden the left is acting as if the husband/wife relationship is sacrosanct.

Is it the Left's position that when a woman can't speak for herself, her husband receives unquestioned control over her very life and death.

If what happened to Terri Schiavo had happened to me in my first marriage, I can tell you, it would've been a disaster!

My ex-husband and I had very different ideas regarding what constitutes an acceptable quality of life. But he probably didn't even know it, because he bullied me into "agreeing" with him on a number of issues. When I disagreed with him on anything, I carried it privately within my heart.

He considered quadriplegia to be an unacceptable way to live. I don't. Of course, if I'd become a quadriplegic, I'd have been able to speak for myself. But Terri can't speak, and I'm not convinced that in Terri's condition, I'd want to die. My ex would have sentenced me to death. There is no doubt in my mind.

I was an abused wife. It wasn't easy for me to escape my marriage, but a lot easier for me than most. When I reflect on that time, I feel great relief that that man no longer determines my future. I'm thankful to the women of the past who paved the way for my escape.

So why are today's feminists satisfied with Terri's defense? Why does her fate rest in the hands of two men? (Greer and M. Schiavo) Providing Terri (and by extension, all of us) with an appeal to the federal courts is not contrary to states rights or family rights. Denying her appeal is to take her husband's word without question. What century is this?

P.S. This is why I'm a conservative. As a conservative, I can simply ask if a person's civil rights have been protected, and take action based on my conclusion. I don't have to approach it from a pro-life or right-to-die or anti-medicaid or pro-medicaid or feminist or chauvinist position.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Did Felos Approach Michael Schiavo?

Did Michael Schiavo seek out and retain attourney George Felos, or was it Felos who approached Schiavo? I don't know, but I think it's a very interesting question in light of Felos' unusual beliefs. Thank you Free Republic and Florida Baptist Witness for excerpts from Felos' book, Litigation as Spritual Practice.

As I continued to stay beside Mrs. Browning at her nursing home bed, I felt my mind relax and my weight sink into the ground. I began to feel light-headed as I became more reposed. Although feeling like I could drift into sleep, I also experienced a sense of heightened awareness.
As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

I felt the mid-section of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, ‘Why am I still here … Why am I here?’ My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent (73).
It seems to me that Felos has some ulterior motives. It seems clear that he is a wacko on a "spiritual" mission. Here are some other questions that I think are important:

Why was Terri transferred to a hospice where Felos was on the board of directors? Is it true that he is in charge of a large trust that was earmarked for Terri's care? Is it true he plans to write a book about the experience after Terri's death? Why aren't we hearing in the MSM about the multiple fractures that were found on a bone scan 13 mos. after her collapse, or that her collapse occurred immediately following a fight with Michael? I also read somewhere that Terri told her brother she was thinking of divorcing Michael; what of that?

Why, if you have Terri's best interests at heart, would you withold dental care? Why would you prevent nurses from placing wash cloths in her grip to prevent the increasing contractures of her hands? In normal practice, these are things that even nurses aids can do without permission from doctors. Why is it important to prevent comfort measures that don't prolong life?

C'mon MSM, help me out! It's your job!

Pain Is Defined By The Person Experiencing It

This is big issue in health care right now. When a nurse asks a patient the rate their pain on a 0-10 scale, the answer cannot be wrong. It is by definition what the patient says it is.

The funny thing is, that when a person can't say they're in pain, others may try to play free and loose in speaking for them. Case in point, Terri Schiavo.

Thirst and hunger are types of pain that occur when one lacks food and hydration. Some don't seem to mind inflicting upon Terri that which causes pain in us. Maybe it's because she's not like us.

She cannot speak. Her experiences do not elicit a response on EEG. Therefore some say she will not suffer pain from the slow death of starvation.

I have a real problem with this line of thinking. If you inflict pain on conscious people and detect the response on EEG, it shows that EEG can detect pain. It does not show that pain does not exist if it cannot detected on EEG.

If George Felos, and Michael Schiavo are so keen on ending Terri's life, why not use a method that historically is painless. Why use a method that is known to be painful?

A narcotic overdose would leave her no more, no less dead than withdrawal of food and water. It absolutely would be quicker. Furthermore, narcotics are known to create a pleasurable feeling prior to loss of consciousness. Why is this option not on the table?

Please link to this article at National Review Online.