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.