Clive Bundy and the Rule of Law

Thursday, April 17, AD 2014

 

 

The stand off between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher Clive Bundy raises some very intriguing questions about the rule of law in the land of the free and the home of the brave in this year of grace 2014.  Bundy and his family have grazed cattle on federal land for generations.   In 1993 the Bureau of Land Management changed the rules of the game, limiting the number of cattle to 150 that Bundy could graze, ostensibly to protect an endangered desert tortoise that, it turns out, are so endangered that in recent years the Bureau of Land Management has had to cull them because they have grown so numerous.  It also turns out that the tortoise and cattle co-exist fine in any case.

After 1993 Bundy stopped paying Federal grazing fees and grazed his cattle anyway, arguing that the land actually belongs to the State of Nevada rather than the Feds.  That argument has been a loser in court for Bundy.  He also has powerful enemies in Senator Harry Reid (D.Nv) and his son Rory Reid who often seem to assume that Nevada is, or should be, their personal fiefdom.  Go here  and here to read about their shady involvement in all this.  This all led to an attempted massive show of force by the Bureau of Land Management last week to round up Bundy’s cattle which was called off when videos of confrontations between the Feds and volunteers seeking to protect the Bundy cattle began filling the net.  Harry Reid has vowed this isn’t over.

Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online points out why so many people around the country sympathize with Bundy whose family has grazed cattle on public land for 140 years.

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers. If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

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98 Responses to Clive Bundy and the Rule of Law

  • I think something similar is happening in the Church. Pelosi, the Nuns on the Bus, et al usually get a pass and take Communion or get an Honorary Degree from Important Catholic University. Not so much people like Sister Jane. Opine that maybe the divorce culture isn’t a good thing by citing a reputable journal and you’ve got to go on sabbatical.
    :
    Little wonder our bishops and many priests are no longer respected.

  • Disputes of this kind frequently arise over land, because the question, “who owns this piece of land” seems like a simple one, but is, often, anything but.

    A landowner sells land (or feus it heritably and irredeemably), reserving let us say, the mineral, timber and sporting rights (a very common form of grant); who owns the land? Scottish lawyers have traditionally said that the seller owns it (dominium directum), but the purchaser owns the use (dominium utile). This means that, at whatever distance in time, the seller and his successors in title can irritate the grant for the least infringement of their rights on the grounds of purpresture. In the case supposed, let a hare be shot or a few ctw of sand or gravel be extracted or a timber tree felled, or a windfall used or disposed of and the superior may declare all and whole of the lands forfeit, regardless of the amount the purchasers may have expended on them and thereby irritating all subordinate rights acquired, such as leases or lenders’ rights in security. Let the occupier resist these demands and he runs the risk of creating a further ground of forfeiture, namely disclamation, for his breach of fealty in disputing his superior’s rights.

    Indeed, there has been a scandalous trade in more or less worthless superiorities, by speculators, often thieves and broken men of England, hoping to take advantage of such irritancies, either to repossess the land or to extort money for grants of novodamus, waiving the breach. In Scotland, the offenders have been subject superiors, rather than the Crown.

  • There is a law that covers everything. Today, I will commit several federal crimes just being me.

    Obama and the Reids own 86% of Nevada. Why?

    Regarding the “volunteers”, are you crazy? You’ve marked yourselves for death. You cannot beat them and their M/RAP’s.

    This is why the progressives push gun control/assault weapons confiscations. They cannot have the serfs shooting back. The secret police don’t like it.

  • Note the title: the Bureau of Land Management. Management is not ownership. It is management because all public lands (and waterways and buildings) belong to each individual person in America in joint and common tenancy. You own it all and I own it all and Clive Bundy owns it all in joint and common tenancy. Government owns nothing of itself. Government is the servant of the people made up of people who, too, own in joint and common tenancy and are common citizens, their office set apart with the laws Donald McClarey so very succinctly reiterates.
    .
    Harry Reid is fighting for his part of ownership. Clive Bundy is fighting for his ownership. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Bundy is there first. Reid must get consent from Bundy by maybe saying: ”PLEASE” and cannot use the government departments to serve his own purpose as Donald McClarey points out. Having said that, government against the people is treason against the nation. (and maybe, probably, perjury in a court of law)

  • God owns the land. In the Old Testament land ownership and use is very distinctly defined.

  • The cattle keep the weeds down, fertilize and enrich the land making the cattle valuable assets in land management. Besides, Clive Bundy looks like John Wayne. Harry Reid you lose.
    .
    It is probably another strategy of Obama’s to take a stranglehold on our food chain. Where will the cattle feed? The herds will have to be reduced if feed becomes more expensive.

  • This is crazy. First Obama got Cal Sunstein, Obama’s czar of propaganda to make persons of animals, persons without a rational, immortal soul and sovereign personhood and endowed human rights, so that your beef steak could sue you in a court of law and your pork chop could be defined as a citizen to maybe vote for Obama. Now this, if Obama can’t have it, he will destroy it.

  • Bill Clinton’s executive orders is an eye opener. For instance: “President Clinton repealed a number of important executive orders issued by Presidents Reagan and Bush, who both had issued a variety of cross-cutting executive orders calling on executive branch agencies to take important constitutional or institutional principles into account when they take regulatory action. The constitutional and institutional principles elevated by Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush were varied but fundamental. They included paying special attention to the cost and benefit tradeoffs of government regulation (Executive Order 12291, 1981); the constitutional structure of federalism with an instruction not to carelessly preempt state authority and law (Executive Order 12612, 1987); avoiding interference with the traditional family (Executive Order 12606, 1987); the constitutional guarantee against uncompensated takings of private property (Executive Order 12630, 1988); and the clarity of drafting regulations and whether any unclear rules would lead to costly and unnecessary law suits (Executive Order 12778, 1991).” from Heritage Foundation.
    .
    Notice that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of “just” compensation for the public taking of private property has been abrogated without three quarters of the states ratifying the change. It was Clinton who placed all public lands and waterways under the direct authority of the Executive, Clinton thinking that Hillary would be next in line for the presidency. That is now possible in 2016.
    .
    THE SEPARATION OF POWERS
    “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.”
    –Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu1
    “The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
    –James Madison, Federalist 46
    “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
    –U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 1
    “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”
    –U.S. Constitution, Art. II, § 1, cl. 1from the Heritage Foundation

  • This dispute is an aspect of a weird anomaly that needs to be rectified, and that is that the federal government is the allodial holder of over 20% of the land area of the United States. Some of that is park and preserve land or auxilliary to federal ownership of water courses or consists of old-growth forest, but the vast bulk is commercial grazing and timber land. It is long past time that this land was auctioned off. One sticky point is that reliance on property taxes generates a bias toward deforestation, so you need a system of bounties and excises that counter-act that and stabilize total forest inventories. The other is that grazing rights on federal land are a status tenure – they are allocated to those owning adjacent pieces of property. The rights are then capitalized into the sale prices of adjacent pieces of property. You have to buy back the grazing permits from the current holders, and figuring a compensation formula is a fiendish task (though worth it in the long run).

    As for the Endangered Species Act, it’s turned into a wedge for various New Class sectors to harass private enterprise. State regulation of the use of common property resources and prohibitions on poaching have a looong history and are socially necessary. Manipulating the course of nature in this way does not. Biologists wishing to preserve particular species can build their facilities and preserves from the donations they can hustle and from local governments willing to pony up for zoos. There is no need for the national government to engage in this sort of activity nor to abuse its regulatory authority for the benefit of club enthusiasts.

    While we are at it, is it really necessary for the federal government to maintain all this park and preserve land? Parks, preserves, and trail systems crossing state lines make up about 15% of the inventory maintained by the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service (IIRC). The largest park in the lower 48 is the Adirondack State Park, so it’s not as if more particular authorities cannot do this sort of work, even if Ken Burns fancies that’s not America’s Best Idea. Why not deed over any intrastate parcel a state government is willing to accept with the stipulation that it remain parkland for a term of decades and the idled park rangers will be hired to run it? We get devolution and we irritate Ken Burns in the process, salutary activities both.

    And while we’re on the subject of the Park Service, have you seen the federal facility at Franklin Roosevelt’s house? Turn it over to the Democratic National Committee and tell them to pony up for their own shrines.

    /rant off.

  • That respect vanishes like water in the desert when it becomes clear that the Law is being used as a weapon by the politically connected to work their will against those who oppose them.

    Eric Holder, Vaughn Walker, Anthony Kennedy, the appellate judiciary generally, the U.S. Attorney’s offices, sundry local prosecutors, various state attorneys-general, the legal professoriate, and the management of elite law firms all have a hand in this. The rot in the legal profession is everywhere and there is no ready way to remedy matters.

  • The first thing that comes to my mind is that thought from the government that the “law is for thee, not for me.” And as power gets more and more consolidated that is a scary thought.
    Like Mary DeVoe I am reminded of the ancient truth from way back in the book of Moses, that the land belongs to God. Along with that venerable wisdom, there was to be a time of jubilee periodically to reinforce that cooperation with God’s will.
    For that matter, the ruler of the nation was to be God, and the “power grab” of King David in taking a census is still instructive to us.
    the arming of the BLM with weapons of war- wow! How is that explained?

  • FYI, people, I’m one-in-a-million.

    The SAFE Act, passed in New York last year, had an April 15 deadline for owners of assault-style weapons to register their guns with the state. About 1 million New Yorkers refused to comply.

    J. Christian Adams, “Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.”

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  • Thank You all. This has been going on for a long time and the farmers and ranchers have been forced into lock step adherence to the most ridiculous rules and regulations that have driven millions of family farmers and ranchers off the land. The land is the most valuable asset in the world. Who owns the land, controls the people. All of the wars fought and the millions of displaced humanity has been over control of the land. I am so proud of the Bundy’s and all the farmers and ranchers over the last hundred years who have tried to stand up to this blatant takeover of the most valuable resource. All new wealth comes from the land. Harry Reid and his ilk know that. Those lands hold trillions of dollars of renewable wealth. Those lands (these lands) hold the families of faith and hard work and determination and respect of God given life in all of its glorious beauty and its profound loss and devastation. These lands hold the gateway to the food supply of the world. Harry Reid knows that.

  • ART DECO:”This dispute is an aspect of a weird anomaly that needs to be rectified, and that is that the federal government is the allodial holder of over 20% of the land area of the United States.”
    .
    Was it not the taxpayers who bought and purchased the land by their hard earned tax money that the government now claims to own? I, for one, would like to see the deed, indeed. Ugly usurpers abusing the power of their governmental office to cheat, lie and pillage. Legislate illegitimate laws and executive orders that are of no service to the people, people who had the courage to become citizens in this strange land.
    .
    In New Jersey, where I was born and raised, The Otken farm, the Cornell Dairy Farm, 40 acres of the Michael Smith’s farm were taken and sold to developers so that the “officials ” could raise their salaries. OK and maybe a new yacht. The “officials” changed the Fifth Amendment from “public use” to “public purposes” for this theft and without three quarters of the states ratifying the change to our Constitution. Carter, Clinton and Obama have written themselves a new Constitution without the necessary 3/4 of the states’ ratification. If this is not taxation without representation, what are we paying taxes for? to be herded like cattle?

  • All public lands and waterways are held in trust by us and for us and our constitutional posterity, those few left who have not been aborted by the “public servants”; those few of us who have not been forced to commit suicide. Makes me mad.

  • Anzlyne: Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a BLM?

  • Bureau of Land Management. Pretty well armed bureaucrats ! Not men in gray flannel suits- snipers in camouflage
    .
    IRS, NSA , EPA and others including Hpmeland Security have been used as partisan political tools. … I am thinking now with Common Core we could also add the dept of education to that list
    And while I am thinking about i, the Natoonsl Park people were used to shut down or deny access during the so called government shutdown
    And what about the USDA – department of Agriculture awarding reparation payments on basis of race , building dependency to buy democratic votes.
    Not to mention the DOJ.

  • Was it not the taxpayers who bought and purchased the land by their hard earned tax money that the government now claims to own?

    The Nixon era expansion of the national park system, I think did amount to that, but most was public land to begin with and never vended by the old General Land Office.

  • Art Deco: The Louisiana Purchase was purchased with taxes, Federal money yes, collected from the people. And Alaska, Seward’s Folly. This land would have belonged to the person who put up the money. The American citizen.

  • Thomas Jefferson’s Lewis and Clark Expedition was bought and paid for by citizens’ money. See: Indwellers, and the Pacific Justice Institute and Brad Daccus, people who live in the national parks for free won their case when the National Parks rangers tried to evict them, because these are public lands and citizens are the “public”.
    .
    There was one restaurant in a public park that was closed down when the government closed down and suffered a loss of $30,000 per day. Parks services work for the Federal government and are paid for by American citizens. This country is established with citizens’ money by citizens for citizens.

  • It wasn’t federal land for most of the time he was grazing on it.

    According to my folks– who are getting their information via ranch sources, so I can’t link, perhaps the Capital Press or Range Magazine will help?– Bundy was paying Grazing fees. To the state. Their grazing commission took his money even after the Feds took over the land (not bought, note) and refuse to pass it on.

    Really do need to get rid of so much federal land. I believe there are some pretty strict limits on it in the Constitution, aren’t there?

  • I do not believe there are constitutional limits on federal land ownership. It’s a consequence of inertia and interest group politics. Maintaining a commons to be used for grazing is an ancient practice. You may have noticed, however, that there are no medieval open-field villages in this country and there never were. Maintaining grazing land is not a public function and even if it were, it would hardly have to repair to the central government in a country of our dimensions.

  • Art– Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 17 is what I usually see mentioned.

  • A similar situation exists in Arizona–Federally owned lands are 74% of the total square acreage; now add in 12% for the State of AZ, other municipalities 2%. Private ownership is only 12%.
    With the Great Beast of State owning so much, one must not ask the question: “Whose land is it anyway?” Now consider for a moment: Why would the Feds have purchased over 2 Billion (with a capital”B”) rounds of ammunition in the last 2 years, including (as reported by infowars.com Feb 10, 2014, an enormous amount of .303 Winchester-type high-velocity sniper ammunition? Hmm. Kevlar, anyone?

  • Just out of curiosity… When Clive Bundy claims “ancesteral rights” to public lands and rights for grazing his cows… How about the “ancesteral rights” of the Native People (original owners) of the land??? The Native People; Sovereign People of this Continent that was literally “stolen” from them should have rights of return of the land to them… Clive Bundy is just another “entitled” human claiming rights to receive “special” treatment and using the law to break the law

  • And with that thought I should add that his actual ancestral homeland is someplace in Europe. So with that why don’t you racist white Americans go back to Europe. Leave what left of this continent to us traditional Natives Americans so we can fix and heal the land as well as ourselves. AND with the whites who are left as well as the Asians and African Americans and the Mexicans we can make this country something special. Wake up ignorant people

  • “So with that why don’t you racist white Americans go back to Europe.”

    My Cherokee ancestors are laughing their tails off at that one Adam. I think I’ll stay whether it is all the same to you or not. By the way, it may have escaped your notice, but not only whites are capable of racism. What your interjection of race has to do with the subject of this post, I will leave to sharper minds to comprehend.

  • How about the “ancesteral rights” of the Native People (original owners) of the land??? The Native People; Sovereign People of this Continent that was literally “stolen” from them should have rights of return of the land to them…

    Which ones? The most recent invaders, or the first ones we can find evidence of having lived in the area before another tribe forced them out? Assuming we can find any living relatives, of course.

    Given the rest of what you said, you are probably doing the incredibly Eurocentric thing of lumping all tribes into one group– as if the Pit River Indians were just like the Modocs who were just like whatever the most recently recorded tribe around that area was, let alone like the Cherokee or whatever my great grand was. (Special hint, a lot of folks have an Indian great-great-whatever-grandmother. Not living as a hunter-gatherer is a great aphrodisiac.)

    If you want to respect the tribal traditions– those of the tribes that survived, anyways– then they lost the right to the land when the stronger tribe moved in and successfully defended it. (The land is yours if you can keep it– a pretty universal tribal value.)

    ****

    More rationally, right to use land isn’t generally absolute. If you abandon it and someone else uses it and improves it, they eventually own it. Common law background of “adverse possession.”

  • Donald you don’t get it. Anybody can be racist. Its a said sick disease. I never said white people own it. The term racism was first used by two German scientist’ in the late 1800 to supposedly prove why western Europeans were better then everyone else.
    Reverse racism has become a answer that a lot of minorities go yo for a while tip they find better ways to combat something that is so ingrained in American culture that most people are blind to it. Now Donald are you a elder? Do you know the old songs and stories? Do you know ceremonies or how to tell when it might rain how to find water how to make fire or any of the old ways? Anything at all?????? If not then u are not traditional and don’t know anything yet. Go learn so or come here and I can teach you. But if you not a traditional then don’t pretend.

  • LOL Magua,

    Some GI’s in Vietnam left death cards around. The tribes were known by their particular methods of mutilating their murder victins.

    This land was made for only murderous, stone-age . . .

  • Now firefox. I had a really good answer for you but my wife started to tickle me and I lost it so I will do this one instead. So the pit river Indians were fro. Eleven different bands who’s neighbors included the paiutes. They lived n the great basin area and differed from my mothers people greatly. My mothers people were more aligned by culture to the peoples of the northwest coast such as the Chinook to Tillamook or the Quinault peoples up north. Now my dads people were completely. Different then my moms people due to geography and environment. They lived in the valleys of the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico. They lived caves while my moms people the playanos……basically firefox us natives have some common demoninators but we were as all different. As for the rest of your comment take some history classes and read more books go talk to some elders then we will talk.

  • Art– Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 17 is what I usually see mentioned.

    I think that would apply if the land had been purchased without the consent of the state in question, which may be true for particular parcels. I am fairly sure the bulk of the property held by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management has always been federal land.

  • How about the “ancesteral rights” of the Native People (original owners) of the land???

    It is non sequitur to speak of ‘owners’ of land in sparsely populated territories with no registry or factor markets. They could only have been usufructuaries – as status obtained after they chased off the previous band of usufructuaries.

  • “Now Donald are you a elder? Do you know the old songs and stories?”

    No. Yes, and I know the history of the Cherokee far better than many an Indian activist.

  • Adam-
    Impressive wikipedia skills, however you failed at responding to any point made, making a rational argument, and basic reading comprehension. “Foxfier” is not that hard to spell.

    YOU are the one that wanted to pretend that every tribe was the same– a thing you continue with your attempt to “explain” that they were different because they were in different environments. They’re different because they are entirely different organizations.

    There’s a racist here, but it’s not Donald or myself. It’s the one trying to speak for “us” and group all Indian tribes into one monolithic group.

  • I am fairly sure the bulk of the property held by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management has always been federal land.

    I know that’s not so, because they buy new land each year. I’ve known families that sold it to them!

    The Forest Service especially buys a lot of land for “preservation.”

    The BLM was formed in part of the General Land Office, according to their web site, when it was combined with the Grazing Office. I’m pretty sure they’re still acquiring land, but I’m very sure that they’re also paying people to sue them to make it illegal for anybody to use land.

  • They may buy land, but they started out with a huge hoard.

  • Ok Donald glad you know some Cherokee history. You give nothing to back it up so question are you eastern or western Cherokee and if I’m not to intrusive which clan do you come from? I know a lot of this stuff was last but since you claim to know thing teach them so they don’t die out. And firefox. Sorry sleep check fixed your name. But you to are mistaken. I never claimed any native tribe or nation was the same as another. I simply stated that we are all oppressed and have been since contact by racist. And this Clive bundy guy is a idiot for claiming ancestrial rights since any body who knows history knows that us natives ( you name the tribe) were here first. Does that make this easier for you to understand firefox. Or do I need to simplify this again. No firefox. As for you implying. I’m racist to who am I racist against and what part of my ethnically mixed body should I cut off since you falsely assume I’m a racist. Calm your emotions and read closley what’s said so you understand amigo.

  • “You give nothing to back it up so question are you eastern”

    Eastern. My ancestors migrated to Illinois prior to the Trail of Tears. This was on my paternal grandmother’s side and the family name was Collier.

  • “Ancestral rights” are a mischievous thing.
    In Scotland, we got rid of them in 1617 and for a very good reason: “Considdering the gryit hurt sustened by his Maiesties Liegis by the fraudulent dealing of pairties who haveing annaliet thair Landis and ressauit gryit soumes of money thairfore Yit be thair vniust concealing of sum privat Right formarlie made by thame rendereth subsequent alienatioun done for gryit soumes of money altogidder vnprofittable whiche can not be avoyded vnles the saidis privat rightis be maid publict and patent to his hienes liegis…”
    “Made public and patent,” that is what justice requires and the solution is obvious: “thair salbe ane publick Register… [in which] all instrumentis of seasing salbe registrat”

  • Adam-
    Still, no actual answer to any argument– I thought for a second you might when you actually mentioned Bundy, but it was just name-calling and ignoring that the Bundy family has been maintaining their rights, rather than trying to act like genetic relation was enough. You spin, and try to get people angry to distract them– and again with the inability to spell a very simple name, and again with the pretending that “Indians” are all one political group. Which you grace yourself with membership to, and try to regulate.
    Why can’t we get a better quality of random fanatics? One that actually bothers to have make an argument, instead of mistaking attempts to annoy for arguments? Seriously, every other one messes with my name. I am not much of a speller, but good grief.

  • Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 17 refers to Congress having exclusive legislative powers over the land in question.
    There is a distinction long recognised in Europe between the public property of the Crown (ut de corona) and property that comes into the Crown’s hands, for example by purchase or escheat, where the Crown may hold of a subject superior, just like a private person (ut de honore) and, if it the title is itself a superiority, the vassals are said to hold of the Crown ut de persona, without the incidents of Crown vassalage.
    The framers would, no doubt, be familiar with the distinction between property public in its nature and patrimonial property that happens to belong to the state.

  • I simply stated that we are all oppressed and have been since contact by racist

    Aboriginals are not oppressed in this country. Reservation Indians have depressed earnings due to residence inconvenient to skilled employment, indifferent schooling, and dipsomania.

  • There has been no more graphic object lesson in American history of the devastation wreaked by socialism than the appalling history of Indians as the “wards” of the government on reservations.

  • Art-
    Dig long enough and you’ll probably hit the stylish notion that intermarriage is genocide, and not acting as Adam believes is the proper way for Indians is oppression. Got shoveled at me quite enough once folks saw my great grand’s wedding picture. (Oppression! She was wearing a clean, comfortable dress that someone else sewed!)

    I take the same view as the lady my mom grew up knowing, and I grew up familiar with, who was born in a traditional village: I give thanks that my female ancestress decamped ASAP for modern medical care, and have little patience for romanticism about struggling to survive and mechanisms related to it, and less for the crab-pot mentality that rules those who take advantage of opportunity are not “really” Indians.

  • *nod* Sadly, yes, Donald.

    The valley I was born in had a reservation. The difference between the kids off of it as compared to, say, the grandkids of those who went to Indian School with my grandmother was horrifying in retrospect. (Not even counting the contrast in cousins– her brother in law ended up marrying a Paiute lady in the area. Some cousins lived on the rez. Last one drank himself to death last year, younger than me. Sometimes wonder if having outside family to call on didn’t make it worse, but what are you going to do?)

    CS Lewis’ observations in that Narnia novel about the Horse and the kids (A Horse and His Boy? Been too long.) are sadly appropriate.

  • “AND with the whites who are left as well as the Asians and African Americans and the Mexicans we can make this country something special. Wake up ignorant people.”

    This comment of itself seems somewhat racist, making the claim that Asians, African Americans and Mexicans are all the same. Three of my four grandparents left Mexico to come here. Not because they thought America needed to be changed, but because they were leaving oppression and hatred. They loved living here and, while they did experience true racism like yours, they never thought of going back. America saved them.

    By the way, the other quarter of me is Native.

  • More rationally, right to use land isn’t generally absolute. If you abandon it and someone else uses it and improves it, they eventually own it. Common law background of “adverse possession.”
    .
    The Homestead Act is still valid.
    .
    Clive Bundy’s home is his “village”.

  • Are Native American Indians, a sovereign nation within a sovereign nation, taxed?

  • What is the real purpose of this government move against Clive Bundy? So, far the government is not saying. I see no difference between the land that belongs to the public and patrimonial land. Government belongs to, is paid for and is constituted by the people. It would seem odd that government that belongs to the people ought to have land in its own sphere.

  • If you or your children are, now, I am not sure if it is 1/8 or 1/4 Native American Indian and can prove it, you and they, can attend any college of their choice, all room, board and tuition free.
    .
    Native Hawaiians wanted to become a sovereign nation within a sovereign nation, but were told that since they had voted to become a state, they had to stay that way. Puerto Rico has voted to remain a dependent a number of times. Puerto Rico pays no taxes.

  • If Clive Bundy rents the land and the American Public who steward the land, I will not say own the land, since God our Creator, owns the land, and Bundy has not polluted or committed any crime against the people, consider calling the people, the state, there must be a valid reason for this move against his livelihood.
    .
    This it would seem is the crux of this matter. What crime did Bundy commit against the people, for this prohibition of his use of the land, what is and has been the right of a free people.
    .
    My sister is in the top 1% of IQ in the world, I, nooot sooo muuuch, so mom always said that I was beautiful. God bless mom.

  • Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 17 refers to Congress having exclusive legislative powers over the land in question.
    .
    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
    .
    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
    .
    The Seat of Government is Washington, D.C. The rest is public use, not public purposes. “Legislation” by Congress is the voice of the people. Congress has not passed any legislation to permit the eviction of a citizen or even otherwise, a guest, unless a crime has been committed and the person becomes “persona non-grata” and can legally and morally be deported.
    .
    In America Harry Reid, as all politicians, is a citizen. His office is not to be abused for private enterprise or for public purposes.

  • “More rationally, right to use land isn’t generally absolute. If you abandon it and someone else uses it and improves it, they eventually own it. Common law background of “adverse possession.”
    .
    Squatters’ Rights. In my home, the adjacent property owner placed his fence two feet onto my boundary. When I purchased the property, my lawyer told me that I needed to inform the adjacent property owner of my intent to clam the land and by legal notification. As long as the adjacent property owner was informed of my claim, he could not claim the land for himself after seven years.
    .
    It seems that the government is trying to claim the land as its own, when the land belongs to the people. Who has claim over and above Bundy’s claim? Will this government try to find someone to file a claim over and above Bundy’s claim. Actually, the fact that Bundy uses the land for his cattle, may allow Bundy to claim Squatters’ Rights.

  • I am not of American Indian ancestry that I know of. I do know by talking with American Indians every day, that great umbrage is taken if I confuse the Tribes in the area – Oneida are not Menominee are not Ojibwe are not Potawatomie are not Ho-Chunk are not. . . so on and so forth. So to think that American Indians are one group with many different parts is a fallacy. It is to think Europeans are all the same but different part. Wars have been fought because they view themselves as different, both here and Europe. Even though I am considered white, my Eastern European heritage has much more Asian background than Western European. Just as Europeans, American Indians, around me, view themselves as different and not as one group. In addition there is a lot of inter-tribal rivalry due to casinos and protecting their cash flow. But this is all far afield of the intent of this article/editorial on Land Rights.

  • In response:
    “When queried about the Bundy family’s claim to Prescriptive Rights, BLM explained “We are worried that he might” [have those rights] “and he might use that defense.”. Which explains the show of force instead of further legal action. No, this was Harry Reid, et.al being offended that this Mormon cowboy was fighting them instead of rolling over.”

    http://www.examiner.com/article/understading-the-harry-reid-and-communist-chinese-fight-against-mormon-cattle?cid=db_articles

  • Cliven Bundy, labeled as a “domestic terrorist”, must charged and faced by his accuser in a court of law. Bundy needs to be read the part of the law he broke. Ex post facto law is unconstitutional. Bundy has a Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial and being faced by his accuser. This needs to happen. Make it happen. Bolsheviks are not empowered to run America.

  • Jim: i read your link. A Chinese solar plant in Nevada for the Chinese to own our energy supply?

  • Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property–until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

  • “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property–until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

    Jefferson never served a day in the Continental Army and died bankrupt. He had zip understanding of either armies or banks.

    The quote cited is a fake quote made up circa 1937, although there is no doubt that spendthrift Jefferson hated banks, although he was quite adept in his personal life of spending well beyond his means.

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/jefferson/banks.asp

    http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/debt

  • Jim I read your link too. Very interesting. No coverage of this to speak of. I understand that CNN is looking the other way, so busy covering pings in the Pacific, and that CbsNbc and Abc are busy helping transform the world- but why doesn’t FOX do their homework on thus?

    . How does a senator have authority to sell U.S. Properly rights to a foreign company? Doesn’t there have to be de kind of clearance and review ? And what made those county officials go for this? Who makes the decision?
    – Do hearings have to be held before such a huge decisions are made. Seems like we need a whole lot of sunshine on these kinds of dealings.

  • I’ve seen a couple of hatchet-jobs– accusations of “welfare ranchers,” shock that land is actually used, lots of creatively ignorant misinterpretations of ranch gossip and quoting radical preservationists as unbiased sources.

    FOX is probably realizing that there’s no way to make folks happy, and avoiding it– the guy is not the one I’d pick as a shining example, but the BLM is beyond screwy, and there’s a lot of stink even before you look for Reid related corruption.

  • In related news, my family moved cows onto the School Section today; that’s land put aside to fund the schools by renting it for cattle and harvesting timber. (Thus, the early morning posting. I brought the kids
    Imagine if the BLM actually managed land for farming, rather than trying to drive people off to protect turtles the BLM is euthanizing.

  • Thank you, again, Donald McClarey. I really need to laugh after reading Jim’s link. Alexander Hamilton built the banking system in America.
    .
    The Chinese taking over our energy supply using our money on our land is not happy. As land owners, this deal would give the Chinese the right to enter and stay in the United States without any oversight, passport, or any permission, necessary. Harry Reid selling us out, using his office, for a personal buck.
    .
    Then there was the ABscam scandal, influence peddling. I know Absam was real because I lived through it. Sen Harrison Williams went to prison for two years with a three year sentence…but this time, the guns, the snipers…unbelieveable.
    .
    Anzlyne: “How does a senator have authority to sell U.S. Properly rights to a foreign company? Doesn’t there have to be de kind of clearance and review ? And what made those county officials go for this? Who makes the decision?
    – Do hearings have to be held before such a huge decisions are made. Seems like we need a whole lot of sunshine on these kinds of dealings.”
    .
    Happy Easter Anzlyne and all.

  • It is often far from easy to decide whether a right of pasturage is a right of property, or a mere servitude over another’s land.

    According to the leading text-book (Duff), to give an immediate right the grant must necessarily flow from the proprietor of the barony or estate to which the common pertains, but a grant a non domino [from a non-owner] is a good prescriptive title, providing it is recorded in the Register of Sasines.
    Thus a conveyance of lands “cum communion” (with commonty) confers a right of property. The like interpretation is given to other terms clearly denoting a right in the soil and not a mere interest in the surface, such as “with shealings and gleanings” or “with gleanings grazings and shealings,” whereas the terms “common pasturage,” “privilege of commonty,” “pasturage of cattle and privilege of commonty,” “parts pendicles and pertinents with privilege of shealing” and the like import a right of servitude only.
    Again, only a proprietor can claim a right of division. Mere servitude men cannot insist against the proprietor of that share of a common subject which is declared to form their servient tenement for a division of such share and thus convert a right of servitude into a right of property. In a question between proprietors and feuars having a servitude of pasturage, the latter have a claim to so much of the common as will pasture the number of cattle which they have been in use to graze on it or, in the general division, they may have their rights of servitude valued and a portion of the common subject allotted in lieu of them.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour “Thus a conveyance of lands “cum communion” (with commonty) confers a right of property.”

    .
    It does not make sense that taxpaying citizens give money so that our government can “own’ literally own the land…and to what purpose? This concept violates the definition of government. It does however fulfill the definition of slave.
    .
    “Robber barons” makes sense.

  • Pasturing counts same as any other use for establishing ownership, here. The land my grandfather almost lost for being too kind was only used for pasturing one cow. That’s why they have grazing permits, even if they’re silly like “renting” pasture for a penny a year.

    I’d guess that traces back to a lot of people leaving their old countries in part because they didn’t like the laws and how they treated property. (Ironically, some of the state land in Cali was willed to them by immigrants who wanted everyone to own land, not like Scotland.)

  • In my humble estimation this looks like nothing more than an attack on the underlying treasure that lurks beneath these lands: water. Like most western states, water rights can be lost and made available to others when the holder cannot demonstrate a “beneficial use” of those rights they hold. By “taking” away Mr. Bundy’s cattle that he waters with his water rights, the “benefical use” of watering livestock can be successfully challenged by those that covet those rights.

    Some of those who could benefit from such a challenge include: the city of Las Vegas, private developers, and other special interest groups. I wonder which of these are influencial enough to get the BLM to be their agents?

  • Foxfier

    A grant of “an heritable and irredeemable right, servitude and attolerance of pasturing horses, cattle and bestial on or digging, winning and driving fuel, feal and divot from the moor of……… lying in the parish of…… and shire of….. with sufficient roads and passages to and from the same” are very common in grants in my part of Ayrshire and there is scarcely a farm that does not have them. They are perpetual (“heritable and irredeemable”) and, for the most part, no separate duties are payable for them. Often, there is a barony court, held by the superior or his baron-bailie, that manages them, makes by-laws, appoints office-bearers, imposes fines for overstocking &c.
    We have 10 farms, including the Mains or home farm, that share a moor and we employ a shepherd for the summer, who lives in a shealing on the moor – a 15th century stone cottage, with an undercroft on arches for folding sheep. I have to maintain it (one of the “privileges” of superiority). Our barony court meets in the function room of the local inn (again, the Superior pays for the refreshments). If a decision is tied, it goes against the chair, the common practice in feudal courts. The commoners can put in as many beasts as overwinter on their own farms. I keep 30-40 ewes and 90-100 winter hoggs (females in their first winter) – not to be confused with hogs, which are pigs – the joy of Lallands.

  • When the Rule of Law becomes a political weapon, rather than a revered universal principle, we no longer have freedom or a government by the People and for the People–we have tyranny.

  • Michael-
    I’ve actually heard of it, just isn’t used over here, to my knowledge. I’d guess it’s what gave folks the idea for the “conservation” things, selling all rights to use the land except for whatever’s in the contract. (Sometimes the other way around. I really hope that they are challenged and ruled illegal, along with HOA requirements….. but that’s going afield. )

  • Didn’t know there was a word for heifer sheep, though. How is it pronounced?

  • Some of those who could benefit from such a challenge include: the city of Las Vegas, private developers, and other special interest groups. I wonder which of these are influencial enough to get the BLM to be their agents?

    My wager would be developers, indubitably intermediated through Reid.

  • Foxfier asked, “Didn’t know there was a word for heifer sheep, though. How is it pronounced?”
    The same as hog! “Winter hogg” makes it clear what is meant, otherwise one just has to go by the context. At a year, they become “gimmers.” They are “ewes” after their first lambing. Rams, we call “tuips” and mating is “tupping.”A wether, between the first and second shearing is a “dinmont”/”dynmont.” Bit like esquimaux and snow (allegedly)

    English people tend to look blank when we use these terms and, also, when we refer to a “stott” (young bull, under 2) or a “stirk”/”styrk” (bullock or heifer, between 1 and 2)

  • Foxfier,

    I should have mentioned that a gimmer (see above) is called a “theave,” when she cuts her first two teeth, usually at 18 months.

    “Lamb,” we only use until weaning, then they are hoggs.

    In Ayrshire, “ewe” is pronounced (and sometimes spelled) “yow.”

  • Pingback: Sagebrush Rebellion II | The American Catholic
  • Do you guys use “bummer” for orphaned lambs? (Well, generally used for any motherless lamb, even if it’s just because they were twins or the mother sucks at being a mother.)

  • Perhaps someone knows how to investigate a claim that the U.N. has taken upon itself the power over the seas, that all mineral rights under the sea is theirs to exploit and people sailing the oceans must pay fees for doing so. Just thought I would ask, since I want to know just how far tyrants have come to their tyranny. Thanks in advance. Must look myself. Will tell you later.

  • Clive Bundy is a master illusionist. He has managed to violate laws and snooker the world. Have to give him credit for that.
    1. Land is under federal ownership. Has been since 1846 in unbroken chain of title. Supported by several federal and Supreme Court decisions.
    2. Bundy has never submitted any evidence of grazing “rights” or ownership of anything, other than his claims, repeated ad nauseam by ignorant blogs and media.
    3. Bundy claims ancestral ownership from his Mormon polygamist ancestors. Why then did he file for a grazing permit (in 1954..not 1800s)? No evidence he ever filed for grazing prior to that time. If he “owned” the grazing, why did he pay the feds fees between 1954-1993? If you own something, why would you pay someone else for its use?
    4. Bundy claims not to recognize the U.S. Government. Yet all his “cowboys” and supporters are on television screens carrying the American flag and waving it around. If you don’t believe in or recognize it, what’s the flag waving and claims of “patriots” about. What a phony!
    5. Hundreds of bloggers are sounding exactly like Saul Alinsky leftists. Justify bad behavior by pointing at other bad behavior. The left consistently uses this tactic (see Rules for Radicals).
    The Bundy matter should be dealt with on its specific facts alone.
    6. I hold no brief with Reid, Obama, or their radical actions. But Congress has the ability to step up and deal with the many other issues raised by keyboard warriors. (Impeachment anyone?)
    7. To reverse some of the sins of Obama, we conservatives need to gain control of the Senate as a start. To do that, there are at least four seats in the west that are in play this year (more in 2016). Want to lose them to leftist Democrats? Join the regurgitated Sagebrush Rebels and try to turn these lands over to the likes of Clive Bundy. The millions of outdoor folks, a very key voting bloc, will turn against you.
    Yup, ol’ Bundy is a snooker in chief!

  • “1. Land is under federal ownership. Has been since 1846 in unbroken chain of title. Supported by several federal and Supreme Court decisions.”

    Correct, although the question is whether it should remain so, and the Bundy confrontation has highlighted this.

    “2. Bundy has never submitted any evidence of grazing “rights” or ownership of anything, other than his claims, repeated ad nauseam by ignorant blogs and media.”

    I don’t believe there is any dispute that he had grazing rights under a grazing permit until 1993 when the Feds decided to limit to 150 the number of cattle he could graze for the farcial reason of protecting the desert tortoise, a tortoise that has coexisted with cattle for hundreds of years.

    “Bundy claims ancestral ownership from his Mormon polygamist ancestors.”

    What would the fact that his ancestors were Mormons and polygamous, if that is the case, have to do with the situation?

    “Why then did he file for a grazing permit in 1954”

    His father filed for a grazing permit in 1954.

    “If he “owned” the grazing, why did he pay the feds fees between 1954-1993? If you own something, why would you pay someone else for its use?”

    Because the Feds were willing to allow him and his father to graze the land by paying a fee for their cattle to do so. Then, in 1993 the Feds changed the rules by restricting the number of cattle he could graze. As a legal argument Bundy does not have a strong argument. As an equitable argument I am much more sympathetic, especially since the restriction was imposed as a misguided attempt to protect desert tortoise from cattle which do them zero harm.

    “Bundy claims not to recognize the U.S. Government.”

    Untrue. He claims that the Feds do not own the land on which he seeks to graze his cattle. As a legal matter his contention is a loser. As a matter of public policy I think it is absurd for the Feds to own 83% of all land in Nevada and prevent productive use of it. Patriotism does not consist in supporting wrongheaded policies of the government.

    “Justify bad behavior by pointing at other bad behavior.”

    Rather, at least in my case, pointing out that while Bundy’s legal case is weak, the public policy issues his case raises are important and that shadowy figures like Senator Reid and his son are obviously not seeking to drive Bundy from grazing on public land out of public spirited love of the law.

    (Impeachment anyone?)
    An impossibility unless the Republicans had at least a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

    “The millions of outdoor folks, a very key voting bloc, will turn against you.”

    Rubbish. The holding of so much of the Western land by the Feds is widely unpopular in the West. Enviro nuts would not be voting Republican in any case.

  • Your comment:
    “The millions of outdoor folks, a very key voting bloc, will turn against you.”
    Rubbish. The holding of so much of the Western land by the Feds is widely unpopular in the West. Enviro nuts would not be voting Republican in any case.
    – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/04/17/clive-bundy-and-the-rule-of-law/#sthash.DcNUIIdU.dpuf
    WRONG! 2012 Montana, a leftist democrat Obama clone named Jon Tester won with last minute lies by Baucus operatives over the issue of taking hunting lands. In the west, millions of average people use BLM, Forest Service and other federal lands for enjoyment..most free of any charge. The zealots like Bundy and his armed militia spouting revolution will not win this voting bloc. Count on the left to use this as a key issue this fall. The average users of the land are not “enviro nuts”
    but they do vote.

    Regarding Bundy family history. That is key in the issue. He has produced not a scintilla of evidence that his “ancestors” ever grazed anything at all,much less had any purchased grazing rights. So if he actually wants to carry this argument, then produce evidence.

    The last thing thinking conservatives need this year is the image of armed militias patrolling a 160 acre farm in Nevada in support of a nut like Bundy. Not the way to win the hearts and minds of the average voter.

  • Mr. Vickery, I do not know what your game is, but you ignored every point Mr. McClarey made.

    We manage in New York to support ample recreational hunting while have hardly any federal landholdings, nothing in the way of state-owned grazing land, and little-or-nothing in the way of state-owned timber land. The sum of park and preserve land owned by the state amounts to 13% of the total land area of the state, and we are more invested in this sort of thing than just about any state in the union. The notion that you all require that half or two-thirds or four-fifths of the land area of your state to be sequestered is tommyrot. What’s going on here is the maintenance of economically inefficient status-tenures which invite these sorts of finicky controversies. It’s time for the BLM and the Forest Service to sell their inventory and reduce their activities to fighting forest fires and the like. If Montana wants preserve land for recreational hunting, the state can put in bids.

  • Your cannot compare land use in New York State to the history and development of lands in the western states. Many books have been written on the subject. Suffice to say that in the public land states, the issue of having them available for public use is extremely strong. Politically trying to get rid of them is a proven loser. Outdoor recreation in Montana, for example, puts about $5-billion per year into the private market. Much of that is due to the availability of large areas of public land on which to recreate.
    As an aside, New York ceded all land claims west of the Appalachians to the federal government in1780.

  • Your cannot compare land use in New York State to the history and development of lands in the western states.

    Yes, I can. You sue me if you don’t like it.

    It’s a factor of production, whether it’s in New York or in Montana. Neither ranching nor timber production require nor benefit from holding lands in common. The proper purposes for having lands in common is as follows:

    1. Grounds for government facilities;
    2. Right-of-way for public roads.
    3. Loci where policing private property rights is prohibitively costly.
    4. Amenities.

    Montana’s domestic product attributable to agriculture, fishing, and forestry exceeds that attributable to arts and recreation (and not merely outdoor recreation) by a factor of 3.

    You are insisting to me that Montana, with a population of about 950,000 requires 30% of its land area for recreational hunting (managed by a federal agency) while Upstate New York, with a non-metropolitan population of more than 4 million requires only 13% (managed by a state agency). Non ci credo.

  • Lands are not simply used for recreation. Public lands are used for grazing, logging, oil and gas production and other uses. All these activities are private sector using public lands to make money, provide jobs, and make necessary resources available to the world. They produce a pile of money in many ways.
    Aside from production, BLM, Forest Service, etc. pay each county where federal lands are located money each year under what is called Payment in Lieu of Taxes. (Clark County, Nevada gets about $3-million each year, for example). Feds pay state government each year 50% of mineral revenue generated from public land. In the west today, that is big bucks.
    If the Feds don’t own or manage the lands, actions such as fighting fires would become either a state, county or private responsibility. Fire fighting in the arid west is a huge cost every year. Unlikely states would want to take it on.
    Finally, since National Parks, National Forests, Fish and wildlife refuges, dams, and the like all are part of the public domain, do you advocate getting rid of them as well? Lots of federal land in eastern states that would also be affected.
    Finally, I won’t sue you! I don’t much care for lawyers!

  • “WRONG! 2012 Montana, a leftist democrat Obama clone named Jon Tester won with last minute lies by Baucus operatives over the issue of taking hunting lands.”

    Tester barely won his Senate seat in 2006, one of the worst years for Republicans in the post war era. Tester barely won again in 2012. The main factor in that race was Libertarian Dan Cox who took 6.5% of the vote allowing Tester to win with 48.58%. The Democrats at the end of the race were running ads through an astroturf organization asking voters to vote for Cox as the true conservative in the race.

    http://www.propublica.org/article/in-montana-dark-money-helped-democrats-hold-a-key-senate-seat

    The adds complained falsely that the Republican wanted to increase Federal control over Montana lands, completely the reverse of what the Sagebrush Rebellion would be seeking to do by having these lands turned over to the States.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/dan-cox-montana-rehberg-tester

  • Lands are not simply used for recreation. Public lands are used for grazing, logging, oil and gas production and other uses. All these activities are private sector using public lands to make money, provide jobs, and make necessary resources available to the world.

    I am perfectly aware of that, and if you’d read anything I said on this thread, you’d see that that is my whole complaint. Economic efficiency is not enhanced by replacing allodial tenures with status tenures. I am too old and rusty to do the calculus anymore, of course, but if you want land to be optimally cared for, the full benefits of investment therein must repair to the investor, which in this case would be a proprietor, proprietors of a sort you do not have on BLM land. The problems are compounded in this case when his rights as a usufructuary are subject to unilateral alteration, in this case one which did an injury to his business in the course of compelling him to look after someone else’s turtles. What the deadweight loss is for the economy as a whole is from hinky land tenure out west I assume some resource economist has calculated. I would wager it exceeds the value added for the recreation industry in Montana (which is $468 million per annum per the U.S. Commerce Department).

    The PILT program amounts to a nine-digit indemnity (i.e. a rounding error) to a selection of local governments which have their property-tax base denuded by the presence of federal land. The trouble with property taxes is that they induce environmental damage. The post-bellum ruin of Appalachian forest land is attributable to the biases property taxes induce.

  • If the Feds don’t own or manage the lands, actions such as fighting fires would become either a state, county or private responsibility. –

    I have never lived on a piece of property owned or managed by a municipal government, but everywhere I’ve lived had a fire department. Maintaining a federal fire department whose speciality is forest and brush fires does not require the federal government to own the forest anymore than the municipal government needs to own anyone’s house.

  • Finally, since National Parks, National Forests, Fish and wildlife refuges, dams, and the like all are part of the public domain, do you advocate getting rid of them as well? Lots of federal land in eastern states that would also be affected.

    See above. I am not seeing how scale and central planning improves the care of preserve land, and New York functions passably as a park manager. As far as I am aware, very few Fish and Wildlife properties inland cross state lines, so I cannot see the objection to deeding them over to states if states will take them, bar that they may require employees with odd skills which the states might have trouble recruiting. Ditto all but about 10 national parks. You have some inter-state trail systems, you have the domestic battlefields, you have the veterans’ cemeteries, you have loci which are salient for events in national history (Independence Hall, not Franklin Roosevelt’s house), you have coastal properties, you have properties salient for maintaining inter-state watersheds, you have some crown jewels like the Jefferson memorial. Otherwise devolve it if anyone will take it and take on the employees who work it.

    As for the dams, the Bureau of Reclamation properties are contextually quite small, perhaps 2% of all federal landholdings.

  • Public servants do not own what their employers pay for.

  • Foxfier

    Alas, we do not have “bummer” for orphan lamb.

    We do use it for anything especially large and wonderful of its kind – “A bummer o’ a tuip.” A “big bummer” is an astonishing untruth.

    Lambs, as you know, come mostly in pairs, but the singles and triplets tend to balance out: no small part of our time at lambing is involved in marrying them up, so every ewe ends up with two, and only two, lambs. One needs to work fast, if the lamb and ewe are to bond. We have artificial feeders, but one has to stand over the lambs for about 2 days to help them puzzle them out.

  • Art-
    I’d want to the land turned over to the county it’s on.

    Most counties with lots of land are already familiar with having deals where the folks who rented the grazing rights are responsible for fence upkeep and road clearing; part of the advantage of selling lumber is that you can require the folks who buy it to upkeep the road as part of the deal.

    Making it county instead of state would also avoid abuses like what’s going on at home right now– four years ago they planted a bunch of cottonwoods. This year they tore them out and are planting willows and some kind of bush that their book says is native. “For the fish.” And it’s “free” money, just like the grant to update the down town area, the one spot with public sidewalks. Most of it went into buying REALLY UGLY artwork from the coasties that own the art place there, which also subsists on grants.

  • Michael-
    By the time I came along, my family’s involvement was through my mom helping with difficult births or being an extra body when they were docking tails. At one point we had six bummers– knowing mom, they were probably the ones that would’ve been killed as too much of a bother. I know some were definitely twins, but that was probably on sheep that were so old they got discounts a Denny’s.
    I know about managing where they go in a high desert environment with only mostly-pure coyotes as a threat, and I know how to spot holes in the fence that they’ll kill themselves on, but I don’t know a lot of things!

  • Got this in my email this morning:
    If Bundy had played by the rules first and then fought the broken system that changed the terms of his grazing agreement, I would probably be more sympathetic. Obviously, however, this issue wouldn’t have received the national attention it has, if Bundy had buckled under and just gone out of business like the 50 or so other ranchers that BLM drove off the allotment. Bundy is the last man standing.
    http://beefmagazine.com/blog/4-lessons-we-can-learn-bundy

  • Most counties with lots of land are already familiar with having deals where the folks who rented the grazing rights are responsible for fence upkeep

    Your business, not mine. However, I do not see the point of county governments owning ranch land or timber land either. Unless it proves impossible to contrive a formula for compensating the holders of grazing permits, private ownership should do as it does everywhere else.

    In New York, the most salient swatches of park and preserve land transcend the boundaries of the extant counties (and nearly all our county boundaries were fixed by 1825) and the counties in question are those in the state least equipped to assemble the staff for land management tasks. I cannot imagine this would not be a problem in Montana, where you have huge swatches of property and rotten borough counties with populations in the low four digits.

  • Art-
    returning it to the county has a slightly higher chance of happening, and a lower chance of being exploited.

Harry Reid: Liar

Friday, February 28, AD 2014

Washington is a town filled with liars, but even with all of that competition Senator Harry Reid (D.NV.) can be considered to be in a class all of his own when it comes to lies.  He lies constantly and with brazen effrontery because he realizes that with almost all of the mainstream media serving as unpaid press agents for the Democrat party, the chances of him being damaged by his mendacity will be remote.  Time, past time, to strip of his post as Senate Majority Leader by electing a GOP controlled Senate in the fall.

 

 

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22 Responses to Harry Reid: Liar

  • Good luck with that. And with the Pope’s strong stance against unfettered capitalism, you no longer have the Church in your Koch shilling back pocket.

  • Are you just being a troll Tom M. or are you really that dim?

  • “Time, past time, to strip him of his post as Senate Majority Leader by electing a GOP controlled Senate in the fall.”

    God help us with this one. We all know how precious little differences there are between Democrates and many Republicrates! I really do not sense a sufficient increase in the intelligence or the integrity of voters to have much hope for this republic. We are way down that slippery slope…..

  • Donald,

    What did I say that makes you think I’m dim? You really don’t believe the influence of Pope Francis’ anti-capitalism is going to make a difference in this years elections?

  • What did I say that makes you think I’m dim?
    ——————–
    I’m gonna take a stab that has to do with that fact that a) you pretty much misrepresented, or at least exaggerated what the Pope had to say, b) grossly overestimate how much his words will impact an American electorate, and c) reveal that you are fairly unacquainted with polling data and a political map that signal that Democratic retention of Senate control is much less than a 50/50 proposition.
    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/347506.php

    I would also suggest that Koch brothers line further suggests that you are a fairly unoriginal thinker incapable of doing anything but parroting talking points you’ve heard from other media sources.

  • “Pope Francis’ anti-capitalism is ………….”

    Pope Francis is NOT anti-capitalist. He simply pointed out – as many other popes have done – that we should avoid the excesses that capitalism can produce.
    On the other hand however, along with the other eight popes who have preceded him, his condemnation and rejection of Socialism is very severe.

  • Paul,

    Those are all reasonable points but in response I would say that I think you underestimate the power of the Pope’s words and actions. Remember, Catholics helped elect President Obama even with nearly the entire episcopate lined up against him in their “fortnight for freedom” mania. He’ll make a difference in places like Louisiana.

    As far as the Koch brothers, they themselves admit to pouring huge amounts of money in to these 2014 races. So far to little very effect as even someone like Kay Hagan is essentially tied with Tillis in North Carolina.

    Anyway, it’s going to be a very close election and I think the Pope could provide just enough oomph to keep Harry Reid as the majority leader.

  • “Tom M.”– the trolling and misdirection is strong in this one…

    Back on topic, I’m curious how Senator Reid could ever justify his claims. He
    seems to think that just because horror stories have been publicized in anti-
    obamacare commercials that have been sponsored by ‘a billionaire’ (Oooooo!,
    cue scary music!), that they cannot be true. Just take his word for it.

    Who are we going to believe– Senator Reid, or our lying eyes?

  • “What did I say that makes you think I’m dim? You really don’t believe the influence of Pope Francis’ anti-capitalism is going to make a difference in this years elections?”

    1. You mentioned the Koch brothers. That is a substitute for thought on the left and is hilarious since the left depends to a far greater extent than conservatives on large cash donations from very rich individuals.

    2. You mentioned Pope Francis and I think he will have zip influence on these elections.

    3. Your comment was non-responsive to the post.

  • Don,

    Pope Francis like all his predecessors have always condemned both socialism and capitalism. But, aside from the Senator from Vermont, who is a socialist? Certainly not our Wall St. loving president. The Holy Ghost chose Pope Francis precisely because the dangers we face today are from the advocates of unfettered capitalism. Those who would treat labor as a commodity to be bought and sold no different than a car or house.

  • He’ll make a difference in places like Louisiana.
    —–
    Yes, I’m sure Mary Landrieu’s bacon is going to be saved because of some comments the Pope made about economics. Your political analysis here rivals that of Michael Barone.
    —-
    As far as the Koch brothers, they themselves admit to pouring huge amounts of money in to these 2014 races.

    And? They are hardly the only people who contribute financially to political races. In fact, the amount of money they contribute is dwarfed by other individuals and organizations.

    The Holy Ghost chose Pope Francis

    And now we throw some bad theology into the mix. How many times must it be repeated that the Holy Spirit does not choose the Pope? The Holy Spirit guides the Cardinal electors.

    because the dangers we face today are from the advocates of unfettered capitalism.

    Yes – unfettered capitalism, which is practiced pretty much nowhere on planet Earth – is the single greatest threat humanity faces.

  • I have probably worn out the hospitality of the host so I won’t stick around but I stand by my comments and don’t think them trollish.

    Heck, I’m probably more conservative then most people on the right. I mean which right wing politician wants to do anything about this from Pope Pius XI:

    “It is an intolerable abuse, and to be abolished at all cost, for mothers on account of the father’s low wage to be forced to engage in gainful occupations outside the home to the neglect of their proper cares and duties, especially the training of children.” – QUADRAGESIMO ANNO

  • Heck, I’m probably more conservative then most people on the right.

    And hopelessly confused.

  • Back to the seemingly pathological lying of Harry Reid and others who have become so Partisan- such Party men- that they have lost balance in their thinking. It seems their goals or ends justify any means. The conscience is maybe not dead, but totally distorted

  • Perhaps many professional lefties are so accustomed to moral relativism they cannot tell the difference between plain truth and lying fiction. The first lie told is to oneself.

  • William Walsh’s comment about leftist politicians not being able to tell the difference between the plain truth and lying fiction reminded me of a similar phrase that Bill Wilson wrote concerning alcoholics in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am certain this is not a coincidence given the alcoholic addiction that leftist politicians have to the public treasury and the votes of the masses. Sadly too many RINOs by the same addiction make a similar stain on what could otherwise be authentic conservativism. 🙁

  • Ah ha! I finally found the phrase on page xxvi of “The Doctor’s Opinion” in the Big Book at http://www.whytehouse.com/big_book_search/.

    “The sensation is so elusive that, while they [i.e., alcoholics] admit it [i.e., alcohol] is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.”

    Yes, I cheated because my Big Book is still buried in a box somewhere after having moved apartments.

  • The gem within is: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”. —– Samuel Johnson – It wonderfully describes our dilemma. Our political and economic situation is in an abnormal condition due to the unrestrained influence of the political left. They have managed to mainstream radical falsehoods. Those in political control of the country are immovably mired in their own ordure. They’ve convinced the masses that the world owes them a living but they can’t provide it. In the town square, the guillotine awaits.

  • William P Walsh again hits the nail on its proverbial head:

    “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”. —– Samuel Johnson

    Only St. Paul had a better description of addiction:

    15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.

    Romans 7:15-20

  • Thank you – Paul but take care not to feed my ever lurking vanity. Saint Paul speaks for each and all of us. He describes the big sins we may have by grace left behind and the little sins so small we cannot see them. It is comforting to know that it’s not our efforts that draw us out but Christ’s sacrifice.

  • Harry Reid is but a symptom of Potomac Fever. Immune to term limits, detested by many, likely even in his own party, Reid’s machine has locked up Nevada by owning Las Vegas casino worker unions.

    The media has been in the Democrat back pocket since FDR, for the most part, and it has only grown worse. Reid lies whenever he opens his mouth – not a unique trait among politicians, but he has raised the bar for being obnoxious.

    Off to Mass. Today is Quinquegesima Sunday (in the old calendar, a time for preparation for Lent, Bugnini didn’t like it). Let us all prepare for Lent, which begins tomorrow for many Eastern Catholics.

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Harry Reid: Seniors Love Them Some Junk Mail

Thursday, April 19, AD 2012

Like Jim Geraghty, every time Harry Reid opens his mouth I’m left wondering how we didn’t defeat him last time out.

In his opening speech on Wednesday, Reid called on theSenate to quickly move forward on the passage of S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which restructures pensionplans for Postal Service employees as well as allows the USPS to access overpayments in the Federal Employee Retirement System.

“Madam President,” Reid said to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the presiding officer of the Senate, “I’ll come home tonight here to my home in Washington and there’ll be some mail there. A lot of it is what some people refer to as junk mail, but for the people who are sending that mail, it’s very important. “And when talking about seniors, seniors love getting junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world,” Reid continued. “Elderly Americans, more than anyone in America, rely on the United States Postal Service, but unless we act quickly, thousands of post offices … will close. I’ve said this earlier today; I repeat it.”

I think this comment requires me to break out the big guns.  Yes, it’s time to up the ante and respond the only way that seems appropriate.  It’s time for:

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Where They Stand: Senate

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

With five days until election day, I decided to take a close look at each of the Senate races, and to offer some prognostications about how I think each will end up.

First, the lock-solid holds for each party:

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19 Responses to Where They Stand: Senate

  • Paul,
    I have been following the Senate races fairly carefully, and I agree 100% with your predictions and caveats.

  • Good analysis Paul. I differ from you in regard to California and Washington. I think the huge anti-Democrat tide will carry Fiorina to victory in the formerly Golden State, and Rossi to victory beyond the margin of fraud often used by Washington Democrats to steal state wide elections in that state. I recall in 2006 that the Democrats won all the close Senate races and I expect the Republicans to do the same this year. However, I suspect that even I underestimate the true power of the anti-Democrat tide running in this country right now, which is something unprecedented in living memory.

  • I hope you’re right Don, but my gut says Boxer hangs on. The problem is Fiorina doesn’t seem to be getting any help from the top of the ticket. And even in wave elections like this one, there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table, and I have a feeling this will be one. As for Rossi, he’s starting to seem like one of those perpetual candidates who always just loses. (Well, the first time around he arguably didn’t really lose, but that’s a topic for another time.)

  • An interesting look at the polls in the Rossi-Murray race.

    http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/19875/Murray-Rossi:-Why-the-polls-are-a-coin-flip/

    I think most pollsters are understating Republican strength at the polls by around 3% this year, because they are dealing with an unprecedented situation as to the anti-Democrat wave, the enthusiasm gap between the parties and the fact that independents around the country are breaking hard for the Republicans. We will soon find out, and the accuracy of the polls will be a subject I will be intensely interested in post-election. Watch many polls this weekend showing a mini-surge to the Republicans in the Senate races as pollsters hedge their bets.

  • Great analysis and predictions Paul!

    There may even be a surprise in Delaware ( I realize it is unlikely though) – http://weaselzippers.us/2010/10/27/dnc-at-defcon-1-is-christine-o%E2%80%99donnell-now-leading-in-dem-internal-polls/

  • “… there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table …”

    Not in 2006. Every close Senate race broke to the Dems(see, e.g, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia).

  • On the ground here in WA… Murray holding on to her seat is the likely scenario from my perspective. First and foremost, we are a blue state. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties make it so. The corruption in King County (think Seattle) elections makes it even more so (as you alluded to the gubernatorial race of 2004).

    What’s more, there are two different feelings among tea party folks around here. One, which is more aligned to the GOP is that we must defeat Murray at all costs. You heard this all over local talk radio after the primary when Clint Didier withheld his endorsement of Rossi (based on a lack of support for some key GOP platform issues).

    The second element in the tea party is the more libertarian leaning group, one that strongly identifies with the ideas put forth by Ron Paul (and strongly behind Didier). They feel rather disgruntled about the primary, where Rossi was a late comer, and ran something of a non-campaign saving his war chest for the general.

    We’ll see… will the third time (for a state-wide election) be the charm for Rossi? If he loses, blame will be placed squarely on the Didier die-hards for with holding their vote. One thing is for sure, if Rossi loses, it will be one more tick mark in a long string of losses by moderate Republicans in state-wide elections. This begs the question… should the WSRP court more conservative candidates?

  • I’d love to see Her Royal Senator Highness overthrown, but CA is one of those states where getting rid of an incumbent liberal is akin to Hell freezing over.

    If you wish to disagree with that assessment, fine, but don’t call me sir or RL. Call me Beloved General Field Marshall of the L homestead; I worked hard for that.

  • The just released Rasmussen poll on the Washington Senate race has Rossi up by one 48-47. Murray still being under 50% this close to election day is trouble for her.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/washington/election_2010_washington_senate

  • A sign of the public mood:

    “According to pollster Doug Schoen, whose new poll shows vast support for the Tea Party movement among voters, the president is still liked by about half the nation. In fact, more like him personally than like his policies. Some 48 percent think he’s a nice guy, while just 42 percent approve of his job performance.
    But that personal favorability doesn’t translate into re-election support when voters are asked if Obama deserves a second term. Says Schoen: “Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president.” Worse, Schoen adds, “43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/28/shocker-bush-beats-obama-4843-in-poll/

  • In Wisconsin, I wouldn’t count Feingold out. While Johnson has been ahead in most polls, the gap’s been closing in recent weeks and Johnson hasn’t fared well in the debates. Feingold, with three terms under his belt and being a smooth debater, is still pretty popular in a purple state. Johnson may still win, but his lead is shrinking.

  • New York is a sad case. Less than a year old it looked like both Gillibrand’s seat and the governorship would easily go to Republicans. Unfortunately for Republicans, Paterson decided not to run and the GOP basically conceded the senate seat without a fight.

  • Joe, you probably have a better sense of what’s going on in Wisconsin than I do, but the polls seem to have flattened out over the past week. Feingold certainly can make it interesting, but with Johnson now consistently polling in the low 50s, I’d be surprised if he lost.

    As for 2006, there was one race the Dems lost that was considered something of a toss-up. It was the TN Senate race that Harold Ford (call me) lost to Corker by about 3 points. That said, I can’t really think of any other close race over the past 2 cycles that the Dems have lost.

  • RR –

    New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP. Rudy Giuliani could certainly have won any of the statewide races had he decided to run, but evidently he is under the delusion that he could still be President one day. And as bad as Pataki is, he certainly could have been competitive with Gillebrand. The same is true for Lazio if he had set his sights on the Senate instead of the Governor’s Mansion.

  • “whatever the party breakdown is after Tuesday is the way it will remain for the 112th Congress”

    Maybe, maybe not. If the Republicans get to 50, they’ll be throwing every deal they can think of at the most nervous-looking Democratic senator they can find. If Sestak loses badly, that could be Bob Casey.

  • New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP

    The candidate for Comptroller and the candidate for Attorney-General have both shivved the Gubernatorial candidate, refusing to endorse him and (in the latter case) even to appear at public events with him. The Onondaga County executive endorsed Andrew Cuomo. The state party chairman (Richard Nixon’s corporate lawyer son-in-law) has been a pillar of Jell-O. I keep telling you: these people lose and lose and lose because of their irredeemable inadequacies.

  • Re Kirk vs. Giannoulias in IL: I voted early a couple of weeks ago. If either candidate had been ahead by a comfortable margin (meaning my vote would probably not make any difference), or if either party were pretty much assured of taking (or keeping) control of the Senate, I would have skipped this race and not voted for either candidate.

    Kirk is about as RINO as one can be — pro-abort, pro-ESCR, voted for cap and trade before he was against it, etc. However, I went ahead and voted for him, very reluctantly, ONLY because the race is so close AND because control of the Senate may hinge on the outcome. I am not going to sit back and allow a liberal Democrat to win under those circumstances.

  • On a side note: there are some prognosticators who believe that if Harry Reid loses his seat but the Dems hold on to the Senate, the next Majority Leader will be none other than Illinois’ other (ahem) esteemed Senator, Dick Durbin, who comes up for reelection in 2014. Now THAT is a race I am looking forward to. Hopefully the GOP will come up with a much better candidate than they have had the last three Senate election cycles. Lord knows they can’t do much worse.

  • Paul, I wouldn’t disagree that Johnson looks like the winner by a nose. Interestingly, more TV spots have been run in Wisconsin than any other state. Spending at $10.8 million in the Badger state, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks federal races.

Harry Reid Is Attempting A Coup Against Joe Biden!

Wednesday, September 22, AD 2010

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am Joe Biden’s number one fan.  Not for his meaningless job as Veep, which does suit Joe like a velvet nose warmer as long as Obama, please God!, remains in good health.  I am of course referring to his real job:  beloved National Clown.  In these dark days of the Obamacession, he has lightened the national mood with his verbal pratfalls, non-sequiturs, theater of the absurd behavior, inability to think first and talk later and, in general, his heroic willingness to be a fool 24/7 to put a smile on our faces as we stare into the economic abyss.  A tear almost comes to my eye when I think of Joe’s unflappable dedication to a comic idiocy which no doubt is being loudly applauded by the  Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers in that land which knows only laughter.  We love ya Joe!

Therefore I can only view with complete alarm the ongoing campaign being waged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take away from Jolly Joe his status as our National Fool.  True, Harry Reid has always been given to saying wacky things.  For example, in 2008 he referred to Obama as a light skinned negro who didn’t speak with a negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.  In 2008 he gave his opinion of tourists in Washington:  “You can always tell when it is summertime because you can smell the visitors. The visitors stand out in the high humidity, heat, and they sweat.”  In 2009 he referred to tea-party members as “evil-mongers”.  So a certain level of daffiness is standard operating procedure for Reid.

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Political Miscellania 6/24/10

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news.

1.  Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35.  She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism.  She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year.  She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.

2.  Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1.  This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

3.  The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop.  Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.

The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.

Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.

(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)

The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)

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One Response to Political Miscellania 6/24/10

  • Re: Patty Murray’s challengers… Akers is solid, but he just doesn’t have much of a following among folks here in WA. He’s a businessman from Bellingham, who intends to streamline or LEAN out the bureaucracy.

    Rossi is (in my mind) a Johnny-come-lately to the race, and is the supposed establishment choice. He has name recognition, but he has yet to win a statewide race. In my time here, he’s the guy that lost to Christine Gregoire (governor) twice.

    Clint Didier is the man who has won my support. He’s a former tight end for the Redskins, and even caught a TD pass in the Superbowl. He’s a farmer, and a football coach back in Easter WA. By no means is he a polished politician, he admits quite frankly that he is not a polished politician.

    The Washington State Republican Party recently held their convention. Terra Mork, a local activist and pro-life conservative gives her take on the convention here and here. Additionally, Michelle at “Life of the Party”, another local local activist and pro-life conservative gives her endorsement to Didier as well.

    Anecdotally, the signs you see around town for Senate candidates are primarily for Didier. I have not seen one for Rossi. I’ve only seen one for Akers and one for Murray. WA is typically a blue state, but the enthusiasm seems to be falling mostly behind Didier, as Terra’s report of the straw poll seems to indicate. It should be interesting to see how the top two primary plays out to see who really will be on the ballot in the general.

Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama continue to spend, spend, spend away money we don’t have.  With the public option now firmly established in the current Senate version of the health care bill, Election 2010 comes to mind.

Kick the bums out.

I love democracy.

(Biretta Tip: Glenn Foden of NewsBusters)

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13 Responses to Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

  • Give me an alternative to Republicans, and I’ll happily comply. Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Lucky thing for the GOP that in our political system, you might be in last place, but you’re never more than one election from ascendancy.

  • Borrow and spend began with Reagan Todd only if Reagan’s name is spelled Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s Depression deficits, not including World War II, peaked at 5.4% of gdp. Obama’s deficit this year was 7.2% gdp. During Reagan and the first Bush the deficits averaged 4.3% gdp. Both parties have done a lousy job since the onset of the Great Depression of balancing tax receipts and spending, with the exception of Eisenhower and for a few of the Clinton years due to the dot.com bubble, and we are all going to be paying a high price for this for a very, very long time.

  • Running a deficit during a war of national mobilization, a banking crisis, or an economic depression is not unreasonable. During nearly all of Mr. Roosevelt’s tenure, the country was either producing below capacity (and had latent unemployment of such a level that public expenditure might actually be ‘stimulating’) or engaged in a war global in scope. Please note, the Roosevelt Administration did make a serious attempt to balance the federal budget in 1937.

    What has been troublesome has been the inability (since 1960) of the political class to balance the federal budget over the course of any one of the seven business cycles which have run their course since that time. We have had a few balanced budgets near business cycle peaks.

    It is not that difficult to manage. You have to fix your expenditure stream at where your revenue stream would be if the economy were producing at mean capacity. They do not do it because they just don’t feel like it.

  • Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Todd, you are of an age to recall that during a period of economic expansion lasting ten years and featuring improvements in real domestic product a mean of 4% per annum, the administration and Congress balanced the budget just once. Name the political party which had majorities in the upper and lower chamber of Congress during that entire period, and held the presidency for eight of those ten years.

  • When was the last time anyone heard of Congress raising our debt limit to aproximately 2 Trillion dollars. With our debt cost apprroaching 50% of our national income, and the new health bill
    and more stimulus spending to come..some thoughs..the
    government takes money from someone, it has none of its own, and giving money to others has to come from those who work for a living. When those who work for a living realize that if they didn’t and then the government would care for them, then what is their incentive to work and that is the begining of any nation to fail..the fact is that you can not mutiple wealth by spending it and dividing it.

  • I should have added that Medicare’s chief actuary states that Medicare under the proposed bill would spend 35.8 Trillion from 2010 to 2019. Wonder where the money is going to come from?

  • “Name the political party …”

    I would love to see national politics turned on its head, and some degree of sanity restored to foreign and economic policies.

    That either major party will effect that change is a vain hope. Given an alternative to an incompetent, lawless GOP, I’d prefer to hold my nose and take my chances with the current status quo. If nothing else, seeing the Republicans whine in defeat is more entertaining than the alternative.

    Seriously, I do think 2010 and 2012 will be an outlet for much anger if the job market doesn’t perk up. The feds borrowing money isn’t news; it’s been SOP for the last three decades. But unemployment is a crusher right now. The federal deficit? That’s just a useful tool for partisans. As of right now, it still means nothing, and either party is as much to blame as the other.

    Now let’s get back to Obama’s one-child policy.

  • I do not think it will be all that amusing if the U.S. Treasury suffers a failed bond sale. When the ratio of public debt to domestic product comes to exceed 0.9, the willingness of participants in the bond market to buy your scraps of paper diminishes considerably. And that won’t mean ‘nothing’.

    Quite a number of us have had occasion to assess what causes you to hold your nose.

    http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/11/settlement_in_s.html

  • Excellent research, Art. With the change in topic to Catholics behaving badly, I’ll accept your concession on my point that major party politics are bad news for economic good sense. I’m really curious about one point. Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently? Mr Bush and the Fed starting the bailout to the tune of a third of a trillion last Fall. Would Mr McCain have ended all that?

    Now can we please get back to the secret Muslim/socialist takeover?

  • Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently?

    I am not making any concessions, Todd.

    Counter-factual speculation is usually idle.

    Barney Frank was one of the obstacles to implementing debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize the bulge bracket banks and in general casino bankers like Robert Rubin have more intimate relations with the elites of the Democratic Party; however, it is true that debt-for-equity swaps for these institutions and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also rejected for obscure reasons by Mr. Paulson and his camarilla.

    I have a suspicion a Republican Congress and Administration would have told the United Auto Workers to pound sand. They’d have had to accept a pre-packaged legislated re-organization or the corporations would have had to trudge through the standard proceedings of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, not to mention the ministrations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It would have been a good deal less sweet for General Motors’ legatees.

    As for the stimulus, by what accounts have appeared in the newspapers, it appears to have been an omnibus of programs Democratic members of Congress have had on their wish lists for some years. A Republican Congress and Administration would likely have preferred a legislated tax cut.

    There is quite a bit of dispute between economists as to the actual value of the multipliers associated with public expenditure in these circumstances, which is to say a dispute about the degree to which public spending crowds out private spending (one macroeconomist who has written on the subject has said recently that crowding out vitiates the effect of public spending so long as unemployment rates are below 12%). A suspension of payroll tax collections could have been implemented rapidly and would have dispensed a disproportionate share of its largesse to the segment of the population with the highest propensity to consumption, thus having the most impact toward the goal of maintaining aggregate demand. There was the anxiety that the demand for real balances was so intense last year that such would simply be added to people’s stock of cash reserves. The results of monetary policy innovation since then indicate that that concern was misplaced. I do not think the Republican caucus would have favored a payroll tax cut over an income tax cut.

    I think the Republicans, given a free hand, might have put the kibosh on scheduled increases in the minimum wage. The labor market would be in less parlous condition for a’ that.

    The Republicans likely would not have pissed away valuable time on a tar baby like Mr. Obama’s medical insurance proposal.

    I have no clue about what sort of mortgage modification plan might have been drawn up by a Republican Administration.

    So, we did not get debt-for-equity swaps, we got fleeced by the United Auto Workers, the Democratic Party got to do $787 bn in favors for their friends, we priced a good many low wage workers out of the market, we were saddled with a means-tested mortgage modification program that encouraged people to restrict their earnings, and we have had no action as yet on a revised architecture for the banking system or a general plan for working out underwater mortgages because Congress has wasted so much time debating a non-acute problem. It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.

  • “It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.”

    Ouch! Give it up Todd! You are batting way out of your league with Art. (When it comes to economics, so would I if I tangled with Art!)

  • No, president is can solve these problems. There is more going on behind the scene that we can’t see. Why don’t movie stars like Oprah and Jolie and many other people in the US try to help but stand and watch our country go down and stand before the camera with six kids from all around the world. Im sorry Oprah im black and I may just have to mail her. Why do people from out of the country get free education but not homeless vets? Or just homeless people?. And Obama is making it worse sending troops because he just gonna piss off those people and that’s the last thing we need here in America along with a race war. America is fake, why would anyone believe any presedent. Denmark, France are happy countries with healthcare but they pay a lot in taxes, not many people want to do that in America. America is not use to change. Change is easier for an eastern countries philosophy speaking.

  • “I am not making any concessions, Todd.”

    Then on the next thread we find ourselves conversing, I suggest you stick to your expertise, as Donald terms it, and set aside the desperate historical research.

Senate Kills Pro-Life Nelson Amendment

Tuesday, December 8, AD 2009

The Senate defeated the pro-life Nelson amendment that would have disallowed public money to be spent on killing babies.

Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com explains what the current bill contains without the pro-life Nelson amendment:

The legislation currently allows abortion funding under both the public option and the affordability credits to purchase health care insurance.

Pro-abortion Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine voted along with most Democrats when pro-abortion Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer of California moved to kill the bill.  Democratic Senators Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, David Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Edward Kaufman of Delaware, and Evan Bayh of Indiana voted along with the rest of the Republicans to not kill this amendment.

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66 Responses to Senate Kills Pro-Life Nelson Amendment

  • Reid is digging a bigger hole for himself and for Obamacare. Watch Pryor and maybe Casey join Nelson in refusing to vote for cloture. Smart Democrats are beginning to realize that as bad as 2010 will be for them, passing Obamacare would make things much worse, and the issue of abortion gives Red State and Blue States Trending Red Democrats a good excuse to vote against it.

  • I pray you’re right.

    As for Bob Casey, Jr., he’s holding the line of “abortion is one of the many other issues” argument. Basically if we can get other Catholic issues covered and not stop funding for abortion, I’m voting for passage with or without abortion funding.

    I think Snow (which Collins follows sheepishly) and Lieberman will be joining Nelson and the rest of the GOP and stop the bill in it’s tracks (without Casey).

    That’s the (hopeful) scenario I envision.

  • Man…I wish I shared your optimism.

    I don’t see any reason to believe this bill doesn’t pass before Christmas. I think Collins, Snowe, Nelson AND Lieberman vote for it. And we need three of the four not to, right?

    Nelson is already backing off his promise to filibuster. Casey has been a joke to start with.

    The Republican Party talked tough a few weeks ago, vowing to insist the bill be read in its entirety. What happened to that? They vowed to insert controversial amendments? Never happened. They can’t even get this off the fast track so it’s not passed by Christmas. Pathetic. It’s as though they want it to pass so they win big next year.

  • Coburn backed off reading the bill when calculations revealed that it would only take 34 hours to read it, and it would probably have been done over the Thanksgiving Recess and would not have slowed down the progress of the bill.

  • I can’t believe how non-academic this article is. NO ONE IS PRO-ABORTION! What is WRONG with you? Why don’t you understand that? No one, especially Barbara Boxer, WANTS people to have abortions! That is SO STUPID. They are all pro-CHOICE. CHOICE. CHOICE. They believe that it is not anyone else’s–especially a religious group’s right to tell an individual (who is not apart of that group) that they cannot have an abortion within the first trimester. The definition of what constitutes “life” is NOT AGREED UPON.

    Why do people fight for the “potential” for life when innocent children are NEGLECTED AND MALNOURISHED IN THIS COUNTRY. Why don’t you care about THEM?
    I think if someone REALLY cares that within-3rd-trimester abortion should be outlawed–because they believe that an innocent pre-fetus has the right to life, then they should be obligated to care for an unwanted child too. I think it’s more inhumane and un-Catholic to bear a child to poverty in a country where healthcare is not guaranteed to everyone–especially to the poorest of the poor, who would be MOST HURT and BURDENED by the outlawing of abortion.
    If abortion is out-lawed, then POVERTY should be outlawed too.

  • I’m sorry that I said, “what is wrong with you” in the previous post, but it just REALLY scared me that a distinguished author would actually write and believe that.
    And addressing other fellow Catholics, c’mon now! Where is your COMPLETE care for the poor? If Jesus taught us to care for the poor, then we should be caring about decisions that will negatively and devastatingly affect them.
    As for fellow Catholic who do not support a public option of health care…WHY????????

  • As for fellow Catholic who do not support a public option of health care…WHY????????

    Because it won’t work. Here is lefty Ezra Klein explaining why it won’t work.

  • Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, Senator Nelson declared flatly that if his amendment fails,” I won’t vote to move [the bill] off the floor.”

    “If Stupak-type language is not in the bill at the end of the day, I can’t support getting it off the floor. That’s not negotiable. No wiggle room.”

    Tell me — how has Senator Nelson backed down?

  • If abortion is out-lawed, then POVERTY should be outlawed too.

    How would one go about outlawing poverty? It’s not like you could get rid of poverty by making it a crime to be poor.

  • “NO ONE IS PRO-ABORTION!”

    Caps do not make nonsense any more persuasive. Many people are pro-abortion including those in Congress who fight tooth and nail against any restrict on the sacred right to choose to slay the unborn.

    “Why do people fight for the “potential” for life when innocent children are NEGLECTED AND MALNOURISHED IN THIS COUNTRY. Why don’t you care about THEM?”

    An unborn child is not “potentially” alive, but is simply alive. We do care for neglected and malnourished children as the many Catholic and Protestant charities serving children attest. Why do you believe that an unborn child can be disposed of like an unwanted tumor?

  • “I think it’s more inhumane and un-Catholic to bear a child to poverty in a country where healthcare is not guaranteed to everyone”

    My mother was born in abysmal poverty. I am eternally thankful that my maternal grandmother, abandoned by the father of my mother, did not share your views. My father was one of seven kids born in the Great Depression to a shoemaker and his wife who struggled just to keep them fed. Oh, and my dad was born crippled with his feet turned the opposite direction from what they should have been. I am eternally thankful that my paternal grandparents had a very high respect for the sanctity of life.

  • Sadly, Ms. Miller erred opinion is too common in many dioceses within the American / Europe Catholic Church. The secular culture has done it’s job well.

    That said, prayer is the solution – daily prayer to stop pro-abortion support in our country. Prayer for the fathers who don’t care and just want to write a check to clear their conscious; prayer for the mothers who go through with it without really wanting to; prayer for those mothers who still suffer from their consent to abort their babies; prayer for the local, state and federal leaders who participate and support the pro-abortion business with their votes in legislation; and prayer for those opinion makers in the media who don’t see abortion for the murder it is.

    Imagine how easy health care for all would pass Congress if abortion funding was completely excluded! With daily prayer to the Sacred Heart of our Holy Mother abortion will go the way of slavery in America!

  • There is nobody more poor than the unborn child.

  • Mr. Brown:

    ” A few reporters waiting outside the door asked [Nelson] how it would effect his decision on whether to support the final effort.

    “I want to continue to work on this,” he said, not ruling out his support, at least “not at this point in time. I want to continue to work on the project we’re working on… This makes it harder right now [to support the bill]. We’ll have to see if they can make it easier.””

  • Kelley,

    I really really get where you’re coming from. I used to be pro-“choice”. But I just have to address some of the logical flaws with your argument.

    First, pro-choice IS pro-abortion. No, you don’t necessarily want people to choose abortion, but you don’t mind if they do. To be pro-choice means you think abortion is an acceptable choice – one that should always be available (and even beyond that, one that people have a right to have the taxpayers fund if they can’t afford to pay for their “choice”). That’s pretty strong approval for something you’re saying pro-choice people don’t really support.

    Second, there are many criminal actions that stem from poverty, but they remain illegal. Should we legalize theft until we as a society make it unnecessary for any person to steal? Should anyone who wants theft to remain illegal be legally required to house poor people in their homes or pay for things they would otherwise steal? (This is not to say we don’t have a moral obligation to care for the poor, I’m addressing the legal arguments you made.)

    Third, complete care for the poor and absolute intolerance of the evil of abortion are not inconsistent. But it is inconsistent to support ANY “health care” that will pay for the slaughter of millions of children with taxpayer dollars. At the very LEAST, the status quo on federal abortion funding should be maintained (and yes, since the health care plan will expand the areas of health care in which the government is involved, that means extending the funding ban to cover these new areas.)

    As you rightly point out, not everyone agrees that abortion is the taking of a human life. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t. And the fact that religious people believe abortion is wrong doesn’t mean this is a matter of faith. Science and reason confirm that a unique human being is created at the moment of conception. Those who see this evil for what it is (whatever religious or political persuasion) have every right as citizens to lobby their government and attempt to have the law recognize that lives are at stake. There was a time when not everyone agreed that black people were fully human. That didn’t make it so. It just meant that those who saw the truth had to fight HARD to convince the other side (and use all legal means available to them in the meantime to protect the human rights of our fellow man).

    Sorry this is so long. I used the very same arguments for YEARS, and was as shocked as anyone when one day I couldn’t stand the mental gymnastics anymore. I hope that day comes for you too, and in the meantime I wish you all the best.

  • It may sound petty, but I think Casey is feeling the footsteps of Santorium.

  • Kelley,

    Choices end when you decide to have sex. Don’t want a baby? Then don’t have sex. What are you? A wild animal given to the passions of the moment? And then once you do, you don’t like the consequences, so you murder the unborn baby that results from your fornication or adultery?

    NO sex outside of the bounds of Holy Matrimony! Act like a human being. Use the brains God gave you. You don’t need to rut in the wild like a baboon, and then claim it’s your “human right” to have a “choice”. Reproductive freedom ends when you chose to engage in the act of reproduction – sexual intercourse.

    P.S., As far as I know, baboons are more “moral” than we in that they don’t murder their young. So perhaps I insult baboons everywhere by comparing liberal pro-choice Democrats (and RINOs like Olympia Snowe) to them. If so, then I apologize to baboons everywhere.

  • Even if we grant that pro-choice is not pro-abortion, encouraging abortions is definitely pro-abortio. It’s one thing to say “It you’re choice.” It’s quite another to say “Here, I’ll help you pay for it.”

  • “There is nobody more poor than the unborn child”.

    I think I disagree. The father of that unborn child who has NO SAY in her/his abortion is poorer. He must watch his child, at the very least in his mind, die.
    If the mother who chooses the abortion is his wife, he must watch, at least in his mind, the person he is “one in being” with murder the fruit of their love.

  • Technically, one can indeed be pro-choice without being pro-abortion. No doubt in 1860 there were some Americans who believed slavery to be gravely immoral but who nonetheless thought it should be a legal option. With proper cognitive dissonance such a position is quite possible.

  • I think there is a difference between the pro-choice and pro-abortion position; I say this as someone who supported legal abortion but found it to be a tragedy in many ways. I don’t have a recollection of consciously wanting women to choose only abortion or advocating for abortion like I would have supported, say, gay rights. I believe I was pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is a difference that is subtle. Both are, however, unacceptable.

  • Karl,
    Your post grieves me. Surely that unborn child senses a father’s heavenly love, just as surely as if that child had died cradled in the comfort of its father’s arms.

  • There ARE people who are pro-abortion – population control freaks like Ted Turner and other billionaires that fund abortion on a global scale, or our “science czar” John P. Holdren.

    Yes, they actually WANT more women to have abortions because they believe the Earth is over-populated, crawling with “breeders” and “eaters” and “breathers” who harm Mother Earth and make life less pleasant for the enlightened few.

    This is what international “family planning” is all about. Not only does abortion reduce the population, it destroys a society’s birth rate. Look at Russia. Look at Russia! Millions of women have been made sterile by multiple abortions. There are more abortions than live births, it is a society in complete demographic decline. And this is what the future holds for Europe, the US, and Japan.

    Abortion is a social scourge, a plague, it is almost as if civilization itself is committing suicide.

  • Eric,
    It seems to me that one must ask what does it mean to be pro-abortion in order to distinguish the term from pro-choice. The only sensible critereon that I have discerned is the belief that abortion is a morally neutral option. In contrast, a pro-choice person would typically acknowledge that while abortion is morally problematic, it is imprudent for government to police it. Such a position can make sense if one believes that the seriousness of the imprudence associated with outlawing abortion outweighs the gravity of the moral problems associated with abortion. This exposes the dissonance I mentioned earlier. It takes some pretty strange mental gymnastics to believe that while abortion is a moral wrong it is not so serious a wrong as to demand legal prohibition. When scrubbed, such mental gymnastics usually involve the absurdly unscientific claim that the humanity of the fetus is a religious question (it is wrong for me because my religion teaches that the fetus to be a human life but I acknowledge others are bound by other religious traditions), or more subtly and dangerously, the claim that the social protection of humans from violance should turn on utilitarian principles related to the the costs and benefits of a fetus to the community (i.e., the wrong associated with killing a fetus is outweighed by the wrong associated with requiring a woman to take a baby she does not want to term, because the socially acknowledged importance of adult women simply trumps that of unborn children). The latter calculus often involves the notion that fetuses are not fully congitive in the way an adult is. Peter Singer accepts the logical implications of such reasoning, but few others are willing to be so rational.

  • Mike,

    When I was pro-choice, I did not think abortion was immoral. Otherwise, I would not have supported it. It was tragic only as it related to the mother and whatever emotional and psychological struggle she faced. It was more ideal, in my view at the time, for a woman to announce pregnancy with joy and happiness — I felt the natural desire, the childhood dreaming of such a moment was to be one of joy — not of fear, shame, uncertainty, etc.

    In other words, I didn’t view abortion as a tragedy because of the destruction of unborn human life. I held a very John Kerry-esque smokescreen question of what constituted “personhood.”

    I didn’t see the direct contradiction of supporting legal abortion and wanting to change the circumstances surrounding it to prevent it from occuring. I was focused wholly on the woman; it was inevitably for this reason that arguments put forth b pro-life feminists and disability groups as well changed my views on abortion and physician-assisted suicide because they approach the issue from a different perspective — a way that resonates with people who are otherwise not predisposed to the pro-life position, but rather to the contrary.

    Objectively speaking, a pro-choice person is pro-abortion in the sense that they would tolerate legal abortion, they materially support it. I feel there is some distinction however in views, not in result of those views. I don’t recall being rabidly pro-abortion. I was, and still am in a more constructive sense, a critic of the pro-life movement.

  • Perhaps a distinction of view and intent would better explain it. It amounts to nothing and doesn’t legitimzie the “pro-choice” position over the “pro-abortion” position if there is even a difference.

    I’m just critical of it because it intellectually follows, perhaps, but it doesn’t resonate at all with my experience of being pro-choice.

  • Fair enough, Eric. I’m pretty much coming around to the view that the two terms are hopeless. Basically, no one is willing to call himself pro-abortion. Pro-aborts all consider themselves as simply pro-choice. Basically, they all consider the perceived positive moral value of giving a woman the option as outweighing any perceived negative moral value of killing an unborn child. Even the goofballs mentioned by Joe are really indifferent to abortion as such — they just want population reduction.

  • Pingback: Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment « The American Catholic
  • I’m so glad that you guys wrote back to me! Thank you for your responses. I have been yearning for thoughtful discussion like this because the truth is that NO one knows everything, certainly I don’t! I have SO MUCH to learn from all of you. Please expose me to your viewpoints.
    I consider myself Catholic, went to Catholic school for 12 years, and still make it to church every Sunday-despite being a senior neuroscience student at a VERY LIBERAL college. I love my faith and what it stands for- mainly to help those that have less than us. Help the needy. To not be selfish and think of the well-being of others.
    With that said, I often lay awake at night puzzled and scared about the way I have seen other Catholics behave.
    What American Catholic would not want every person in this country to have the right to full health-care coverage? What Catholic wouldn’t be excited to give more of what they have for the benefit of those who are disadvantaged in this country? Also, someone in an earlier post mentioned that a public option wouldn’t work. Oh, ok–yeah–so let’s just not try! Or do you argue–that we should leave it up to the private sector/private aid funds to help out the needy…
    When it’s been clearly shown that this does not even come close to helping enough people; many US causes/aid programs within this country and in other parts of the world (e.g. Kenya)are insufficient, and partake in mostly self-serving endeavors as opposed to completely serving the communities they are funded to support (except for Amnesty Intl.)

    Those are only some of the questions I have. I have a laundry list of them–I just feel bad to write such a long post. I’ll get my questions together and write another one. But let’s start with that question

  • Kelley,

    As far as I know, the US bishops support universal health care, provided abortion is not a part of the deal.

    That is how it should be. We cannot achieve social justice through a culture of death. We believe that unborn human beings have rights, that abortion is murder, the destruction of the weak and innocent by the strong and the guilty.

    The teaching of the Church on abortion is clear and consistent. I hope you’ll come to realize that the fight for social justice begins with the fight to protect innocent life at all stages of existence.

  • Kelley,

    No serious person is arguing that the system is not in need of a change. No one is arguing that we don’t need to do something to make sure that everyone has access to medical care. That is a human right that no Catholic should stand against. Whether there is a right to or a need for government run health care is less clear and indeed could be a WORSE option than the staus quo (i.e. depending on how it’s structured in the final bill, it could easily make health care significantly worse and more expensive for everyone). There is evidence for this when you look at past US government forays into healthcare. At the state level and in the federal arena (medicare, Walter Reed medical center), government systems have been riddled with waste, fraud, and sub-par care. I haven’t seen any evidence of a system in practice to make me doubt that this will be the case on a much larger scale with more extensive government health care.

    That said, I think there are many options being put forth to reform the system to make sure people have better access without such broad government involvement. One that comes readily to mind is changing regulations to make sure consumers have the options in choosing insurance that will make it a truly competitive market. I urge to to look back over Darwin Catholic’s posts on this subject on the blog (others too, but him especially) I find him to be one of the most reasonable contributors on this matter – not given to hysterics, offers workable possible alternatives, etc. I don’t have time to dig up links now, or I would do that for you. It’s really worth it, if you have the time!

  • -Ok, let’s say that abortion became against the law again. People who want abortions are STILL going to work very hard to get them, will use hangers or get back-alley procedures done–which is a huge health risk for everyone involved…and a tragic, harmful one for the innocent fetus. Do we want that? Isn’t that worse?
    I know that there are moral reasons why we should do away with abortion. But what about what will realistically happen? Isn’t it morally wrong to ignore what has happened in the past? (meaning-when abortion was illegal).

    Also, I believe that it is wrong to have an abortion. But is it the government’s right to make within 3rd trimester abortions to be an illegal issue?

    On a separate point-What about for rape victims, mothers who cannot afford to care for their children or to care for themselves while pregnant, etc? Malnourishment during pregnancy is one direct cause of schizophrenia. If we care for the life of an unborn child–then let’s REALLY care for the life of an unborn child. Shouldn’t there be complete financial assistance for pregnant mothers who would otherwise feel pressured to have an abortion due to lack of resources?

  • Also, since everyone here cares about human life, I recommend these amazing books–I think you will all appreciate them. I’ve not yet finished, but I have learned a LOT:

    -“Social Determinants of Health” by Michael Marmot and Richard Wilkinson

    – “Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity” by Susan Starr Sered & Rushika Fernandopulle

    – “Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor” by Paul Farmer

    – “The Social Transformation of American Medicine: the Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry” by Paul Starr

    Joe, your comment was very comforting about the stance of the Catholic Church. I just wish that some Catholics that I personally know felt the same way. (I have a Catholic relative who calls the poor “lazy” and is terrified of anyone getting all of her money…but she thinks she’s the best Catholic because she makes curtains for the nuns at her parish…)

    And CT, your comment was very enlightening as well. Unfortunately, I have procrastinated long enough on finishing a research paper on the lack of adequate funding for mental health services in this country, but I promise that I will ponder over what you’ve said and get back to you!

    In the meantime, those books that I wrote down have seriously opened my eyes to issues that I had never contemplated. They offer facts and viewpoints that I still am shocked to know and am struggling to wrap my head around. Please check them out!

  • Kelley,

    “People who want abortions are STILL going to work very hard to get them”

    People who want to steal work hard at it too. We don’t make a terrible crime against a human being easier.

    Please understand, Kelley, that pro-abortion activists LIED before Roe v. Wade passed – they said hundreds of thousands of women died from illegal abortions.

    You need to look up Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was once an abortionist and one of the founders of NARAL, the abortion political lobby. He is now pro-life, and revealed that NARAL made up ridiculously large numbers to get the public to sympathize with legalized abortion. Radical abortionists have done the same in every country where abortion is illegal – for instance, in Nicaragua, where they said thousands of women die each year from illegal abortions. Again, this is simply false.

    You see, Kelley, these people believe they are waging a war, a revolution, for sexual liberation, for liberation from the Church and morality. And they believe that a lie is a weapon of war – the ends justify the means. What matters isn’t the truth, but the freedom to have sex without consequences. They have been caught lying red-handed, and well meaning people such as yourself are the victims of the lie.

    I’m telling you if you do the research, you will see that not that many people died from illegal abortions because when it was illegal, women simply did not seek them out. Since it has become legal, it is often MEN – the fathers of the children – who force their mates to abort, or threaten to leave them if they don’t. Legalized abortion has made women into disposable sex objects for perverted male predators.

    “But is it the government’s right to make within 3rd trimester abortions to be an illegal issue?”

    It is every child’s natural, God-given right to live. Government exists to protect our rights. So yes.

    “On a separate point-What about for rape victims,”

    Abortion does not heal the wounds of rape, and a child’s right to live is absolute – how it comes to exist isn’t relevant.

    We are talking about a human being, Kelley. No matter how bad it sounds to you, even the child of a rape is a human being, even it has rights, even it is loved by God, as much as you or I or anyone else. You can’t forget that.

    “mothers who cannot afford to care for their children or to care for themselves while pregnant, etc?”

    Adoption is always an option. There are also many charitable organizations, churches, etc. that exist to help struggling mothers and fathers. In the worst case, it would be better to leave the child in a basket at a church or police station than to murder it in cold blood.

    “If we care for the life of an unborn child–then let’s REALLY care for the life of an unborn child.”

    You’re the one defending abortion rights. If you really care for the life of an unborn child, you have to start by accepting that it has a right to live. If you can’t do that, I don’t see why we should believe you care about unborn children.

    “Shouldn’t there be complete financial assistance for pregnant mothers who would otherwise feel pressured to have an abortion due to lack of resources?”

    There should be some assistance, yes – but we should not be in the business of paying women not to kill their children.

    As I have argued, a big part of the problem would be solved if society changed its attitude toward the father’s role in pregnancy and abortion, because many abortions are triggered by the actions of the father.

    So I believe in holding fathers responsible for their children, if their actions directly contribute to the abortion. This is not a woman’s issue, Kelley – it is a parental issue. It is about a parent’s duty to their children, a duty established by God, written into nature, for the survival and benefit of civilization. We cannot discard it so boys and girls can have fun without consequences. That is the way to chaos and destruction.

  • Here’s an interesting response I just got from a fellow college student:

    “remind them that the freedoms which prevent them from banning abortions are the same freedoms which prevent the government from banning Catholicism”

    Thoughts?

    Here’s another one:
    “I’m pro-choice. I would not get an abortion myself. If someone can’t comprehend the concept of wanting women to have options but not necessarily wanting to take them yourself, then they’re either remarkably stupid or so set in their ingrained beliefs that they can’t comprehend anything written by people disagreeing with them.”

    ?

  • Kelley,

    Come on. You’re going to post other people’s insults here? I know you’re trying to get to the bottom of this issue, but we don’t want to debate others through you.

    Your first friend is wrong: we have a first amendment right to free expression of religion. There is no Constitutional right to an abortion, no matter what the Blackmum court decreed. The “right to privacy” does not exist.

    Your second friend doesn’t understand the issue. I understand the argument and I reject it. We are opposed to abortion for one reason only – we believe it is murder.

    Listen very carefully to this. Repeat it 100 times if you must, because it is the core of our message.

    If abortion is not murder, then no justification is needed for it. If abortion IS murder, then no justification for it is adequate.

    Think about that.

  • People who want abortions are STILL going to work very hard to get them, will use hangers or get back-alley procedures done–which is a huge health risk for everyone involved…and a tragic, harmful one for the innocent fetus. Do we want that? Isn’t that worse?

    I must admit, this is a line of argument I don’t really understand. There are a great number of things which are considered immoral and/or socially destructive which we outlaw, despite the fact that people who are determined to do them anyway will take great risks to break said laws. For instance, we outlaw rape, despite the fact that some men are so determined to rape a woman that they resort to back alley rapes, which at times result in injury of not only the woman but the rapist as well.

    Would any sane person argue that this meant we should make rape legal, in order to assure that rapes were “safe, legal, and rare”? Of course not.

    By the same token, why should the claim that people might be injured in disobeying a law against abortion be an argument against having such a law if one actually accepts that having an abortion is a moral evil which harms another person? And if one does not accept that, why would one claim not to be for abortion?

    This whole position, however well meant, is simply incoherent.

  • Joe, I think you could be turning me over to pro-life. I’m not fully convinced yet, but I’m getting much closer! I need to check out the link you provided for me and look up Dr. Nathanson. I suppose I need some time to think.

    But in the meantime, if I decide to become “pro-life”, I still think it’s wrong to make that my top agenda to fight for over other more critical issues–especially issues surrounding the social determinants of health that essentially allow for the murders of individuals within low-socio-economic groups. Things that we currently allow in this country- are forms of structural violence–that are allowing people who are actually alive to feel immense pain that could be avoided.
    “the world that is satisfying to us is the same world that is utterly devastating to them.” – Pathologies of Power

    We know what is moral and what is important- to preserve human life and decrease human suffering. Often times, I feel that political agendas often force us to choose one pathway vs the other. Do you think that we should pick and choose our battles in order to help the common good? Even if we do not get what we want (which is for abortion to be addressed in the new health-care public option in a way that is in agreement with the Catholic Church), if a health bill were passed that allowed the un or under-insured to finally be insured–isn’t that better than halting the process and allowing them to suffer because of it?

  • Kelley,

    I think I speak for everyone here when I say that I am thrilled to hear you say you are considering the pro-life position.

    I do encourage you to think these matters through. If you want some reading to help you along, I think you will greatly enjoy reading JP II’s Evangelium Vitae.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

    There’s no reason you can’t be pro-life and fight hard on other issues as well. It is what many of us here do. But it is foundational.

    If we here can be of further help to you, don’t hesitate to ask questions. You can friend me on facebook too, if you like 🙂

  • why should the claim that people might be injured in disobeying a law against abortion be an argument against having such a law if one actually accepts that having an abortion is a moral evil which harms another person? And if one does not accept that, why would one claim not to be for abortion?

    I should clarify: when I say “why would one claim not to be for abortion” I don’t mean that people would think that having an abortion is just a fun and peachy way to spend an afternoon. Rather, I’m not sure why one would argue, “I think it’s wrong, I wouldn’t get one, I’m not in favor of them, but I think we should allow people the choice.”

    I’m not in favor of gall bladder surgery, in the sense that I certainly hope I never need it. However, if my gall bladder ever turns against me, I would sign right up and have it out. I wouldn’t consider it an agonizing decision or refuse to get one while allowing others to have the surgery, etc.

    I guess the question would be: If one is going to take the position that abortion is wrong, and one thus wouldn’t get one oneself, yet simultaneously hold that abortion should not be restricted because it’s a legitimate choice, one has to answer the question, “What is abortion and why is it wrong?”

    It seems pretty clear that if the unborn child is a unique human person with a right to be born and have a chance to life his/her life, then this would make abortion wrong. And if this is why it’s wrong, it seems to me that it’s wrong enough that legally tolerating it is not a good option, just as we refuse to legally tolerate a host of other ways in which one person can hurt another.

    If, however, the unborn child is not a unique and living person, I’m less clear why it would be wrong at all to have an abortion. If the unborn child is merely something which might someday turn into a human, than it’s no more shocking to dispose of one than to have a period (in which an egg which failed to be fertilized is disposed of) and no one talks about that as being a somewhat wrong or morally ambiguous activity.

    I suppose one could claim the unborn child is alive, but not a human person — putting it on the same level as having a cat or dog put down. But that would seem like the oddest belief of all: that at some point you and I were both living animals, but not human, and then later we morphed into humans?

  • I suppose one could claim the unborn child is alive, but not a human person

    It all hangs on this, doesn’t it? I think the reason that so many people can exist in the moral limbo of “more than a gall bladder operation, less than murder” is that they don’t really know what they mean by “person” and “human.” Biology doesn’t really help them much, because although they (should) know that a unique organism (of species Homo sapiens) is clearly present at conception, they’re not quite ready to call it a person. It doesn’t have consciousness or brain waves! they say.

    No one is quite sure what to make of this “unique human life” that possesses so few attributes of what we normally call a “person”. We need philosophy, not science, to say something definitive about personhood. We need an anthropology, a view of mankind, to know how we should treat this biological curiosity. That’s why so many modern people struggle in this moral limbo, because they sense that something more than tissue removal is going on, but they grope around in science for answers that aren’t there.

  • “We need philosophy, not science, to say something definitive about personhood. We need an anthropology, a view of mankind, to know how we should treat this biological curiosity.”

    Why? Why can’t developmental neurobiology be incorporated at all?

  • Personally, I just think that we should put the saving of human lives first instead of using this time and energy on worrying about whether a zygote is a human life. I mean, it’s not a human life, but whether a zygote has the same right to continue to develop into forms that will hopefully lead to a human typical form.

    There are SO many “agree to disagree” debates centered around what constitutes “personhood”–[some believe having a brain (like a late fetus), some believe any genetic material that could be incorporated into making a human, etc]

    And then there’s another step of “agree to disagree” about whether “personhood” is a legitimate stance to fight for.

    – Just another question: Are we the most important and the best species on this Earth? Is that a moral thing to assume? Look at what we do to other animals…
    why do we place ourselves on such a high pedestal?

  • I lastly just wanted to point out that there are many people (like most of my peers) who genuinely love and respect human life–that is why they fight for the oppressed (through Amnesty Intl, etc.)
    And some of these same individuals firmly believe that a zygote does not hold the same stance as a late fetus (with its developed human faculties). Debate after debate after debate–it tends to just come down to that.

    If we can’t convince those who truly believe that–of otherwise, do we have the right to change legislation about it-which will force them to abide by our laws? Who gave us that “moral” right? Did our God grant it to us? But these individuals don’t believe in God at all. (and are actually wonderful, loving, caring, human suffering-defending people).

    I think it is morally wrong to allow the halt of helping/saving human lives by holding this abortion debate (which could last forever at this time in 2009) at the very highest. That is precisely what we are doing by fighting for it at THIS point in time.

    I think that until we can resolve those differences, we should at least put survival of the living at our utmost importance. –and making that choice does count.

  • (just imagine if all of those people holding pictures of mutilated fetuses in front of Planned Parenthood–instead were using that time and energy to fight for single moms on welfare who can’t afford to feed their children because of the system, for those who are tortured in jail or exposed to TB as extra punishment, for the schizophrenic homeless who are essentially forced on the street or in jail because there are not enough people fighting for them–and they are defenseless- dependent on the rest of us to notice the everyday injustices they face.

    When we halt plans that will let them live, we are choosing the zygote over them.

    When we walk passed a homeless man who is talking to himself (clearly has schizophrenia) and we ignore him when he asks for a dollar…but then we donate to support pro-life initiatives–we are choosing the zygote over them.

    When we advocate for political agendas that will spend the time to advocate for anti-abortion laws instead of advocating for tax dollars to be steered toward mental health services, we are choosing the zygote over them.

    Every issue is important, but they are still often competing with each other. Don’t you think we should collectively help the living first and then help the pre-living?

  • Kelley,

    Please continue asking us questions. Many of the writers here on The American Catholic and many more readers of our website have extensive knowledge on a variety of issues that affect us as Catholics.

    We appreciate your sincerity and do continue asking us questions.

    We hope to arm you with the Truth.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Kelley,

    Aren’t there a lot of “agree to disagree” deals that we’ve absolutely (and rightly) refused to make, however?

    There were a lot of people who thought it was perfectly acceptable to force black people to use different water fountains and lunch counters. They thought that skin color indicated a difference in kind and human worth. Lots of people held that view, and many others didn’t want to see the social upheaval of forcing those people to change their ways. But would that have made a good argument for argeeing to disagree?

    Should we agree to disagree on whether women should be turned down for higher paying jobs because “it’s not their place”?

    Should we agree to disagree on slavery?

    Sould we agree to disagree on anti-Semitism?

    All of these issues relate to moral judgements which were not shared by everyone in sodiety. And yet few, I think, would say that it would be a moral choice to simply shelve the issue because people disagree on it.

    Why is it so much more reasonable to shelve the question of whether unborn people should not be killed?

    It’s true, some people make arguments that human dignity stems from mental function, and thus that early stage embryos are not human. But by that same argument, isn’t the schizophrenic homeless person you pass on the street less human than you are? Do we want, even for a moment, to immitate the great eugenic and genocidal regimes of the last century in holding that human beings have less worth if they look different or are “disfunctional” compared to others?

    (BTW, it’s a minor scientific quibble, but the issue of “zygotes” doesn’t even come into abortion. A zygote is a human during the first five days of development, even prior to implantation. While the idea that calling an early stage human a “zygote” makes it particularly silly to oppose destroying it certainly ties into the overall failure of philosophical anthropology which lies at the root of the abortion question as well as other questions such as eugenics and euthenasia, zygotes are simply not candidates for abortion because the mother does not even know that she’s pregnant at 1-5 days after conception. She wouldn’t have even missed her period yet. While it’s common for abortion advocates to talk as if abortions take place when the child is “only a clump of cells” or “just a fertilized egg”, this is not accurate from a scientific point of view.)

  • Kelley,

    “Why? Why can’t developmental neurobiology be incorporated at all?”

    As Catholics we believe we are created with a soul. Developmental neurobiology may be useful in a number of ways, but it cannot tell us the VALUE of a human life, a human soul. No science can.

    “Personally, I just think that we should put the saving of human lives first instead of using this time and energy on worrying about whether a zygote is a human life. I mean, it’s not a human life”

    A zygote is alive, and it has human DNA. It isn’t any other kind of life but human.

    My right to exist began when I began to exist. I can’t remember being a zygote but I was one. I was the same being then with the same soul as I am now. All of my cells have died and regenerated 100s of times, yet my essence is still here.

    Importantly, I had parents who incurred a responsibility to care for my life as soon as they learned I existed.

    “If we can’t convince those who truly believe that–of otherwise, do we have the right to change legislation about it-which will force them to abide by our laws?”

    Did they have the right, Kelley? Abortion was illegal before Roe v. Wade and they forced it on the country. The founders of this country were pro-life, and abortion after the first movement in the womb (which is when people assumed life began in the 18th century, not having ultrasound technology) was illegal. It was our collective belief that life was sacred and that every person had a right to life, regardless of where they were.

    As Christians we have an obligation to defend the weak and defenseless. We have an obligation to create a society in which all human life is valued and respected. Unborn human beings are slaughtered by the millions for one reason only – they can’t speak for themselves.

    And if certain ethics professors have their way, live born infants will be added to the list, as well as the mentally handicapped, people in a coma, the elderly, and the list goes on. So we must be the voice for the truly voiceless. All life, through its very being, demonstrates a will to live, a will to keep on existing, even if it can’t speak.

    “Who gave us that “moral” right? Did our God grant it to us? But these individuals don’t believe in God at all.”

    We live in a democratic society. But legalized abortion was never democratically decided upon – it was imposed by the Supreme Court. We have a right as citizens, however, to try and persuade the majority to our views, and the majority has a right to vote for representatives that will enact their will as law.

    But this does miss the point. Suppose a group of people wanted to make child abuse and child rape legal. We wouldn’t hear a single argument from you or anyone else as to why that ought to be ok, and why we ought not “impose our morality” on anyone. We wouldn’t listen to the argument, “who are you to decide whether or not I can rape a child?” We recognize it as an inherently repulsive act.

    Well, the abortion industry and political lobby is committed to lying and scaring people into accepting another inherently repulsive act, abortion, and convincing people it isn’t so bad.

    Kelley, I think you ought to try and find a video of an abortion and watch it.

    “I think it is morally wrong to allow the halt of helping/saving human lives by holding this abortion debate ”

    No one is halting that debate. You’re setting up a false dichotomy.

    How we view human life is foundational to how we will approach all other matters.

    That said, a lot of the people who do try to prevent abortion at clinics are ALSO involved in the sort of the things you suggest. There are crisis pregnancy centers, there are food pantries, there is help for anyone who asks for it.

    Finally, EVEN IF what you said was true, murdering innocent unborn children wouldn’t suddenly become right because preventing it might require us putting aside some other causes. But let me stress again – it isn’t true.

    “When we halt plans that will let them live, we are choosing the zygote over them.”

    No one is doing that. Same for all your other scenarios. It is a completely false dichotomy, and many pro-life Christians are just as committed to helping the poor and others in need.

    Without any offense intended, Kelley, I don’t think you know very much about the pro-life movement, the people in it, what motivates them and interests them.

    You ought to take some time to get to know it. There are some rotten apples in every batch of course, people who hurl abuse at women, and it isn’t good. Compared to the crimes of the abortion industry, it’s practically meaningless.

  • Well said Joe!

  • Ditto!

    And I would add that Roe was lawless. Blackmun’s reasoning was specious and the decision the model example of a judiciary bent on making policy rather than deciding cases. Even liberal Con Law profs admit as much now and rely completely on stare decisis in their ongoing and embarrassing effort to prevent Roe from being overturned.

  • The things that you wrote were very comforting to me, Joe. I think I have grown up with a negative example of Catholics around me, that is why I came to this website– to see the views of other Catholics- to see if there are ones that are more open-minded and care about human life in the most practical way.
    I just know some Catholics that vote with the abortion ticket on their minds as opposed to universal health care. I know that you say it is a false dichotomy, and I agree that it is an indirect one, but I have seen this pretty blatantly in my life. I really hope that changes.
    I just don’t see or hear a voice from Catholics about the poor, the mentally ill, our terrible jail system, etc–as loudly as the pro-life movement. But, perhaps this is due to what the news reports on..and those other movements have more diverse crowds.
    I personally know individuals that care more about abortion of zygotes than advocating for those who are alive and suffering.

  • Kelley,
    The Catholic Church operates the largest system of charities in the world (SVdP. Catholic Charities, and Catholic Relief Services just to name three of hundreds), and that is hardly an accident. But you must understand that (i) no one is more helpless and innocent that that zygote and (ii) there is a difference between tolerating intentional killing versus grappling with poverty and disease.
    You seem to have an inaccurate and cartoonish understanding of religious conservatives. I recommend you read Arthur Brooks recent book “Who Really Cares?”. You need your eyes opened.

  • I used to think that poverty and disease were an “unlucky, unfortunate, by-chance” phenomenon, but actually it’s totally systematic and structured–meaning it will keep down the same types of groups over and over again. Look at those books I recommended earlier–really, I want to hear what others think with all of that information (that I never knew–but only just learned through a service-learning class called “The Health of Communities” in which we read all of those books, in addition to others).
    I will definitely get “Who Really Cares?” This forum here has already opened my eyes to the way other Catholics think–it is very comforting and interesting. I’ve learned so much.
    I disagree that no one is more helpless and innocent than the zygote–what about individuals with mental retardation or severe schizophrenia? They are completely dependent on the presence of a care-giver and advocacy from others (which is VERY LOW). People with mental retardation are the most forgotten, under-funded, and stigmatized of all disabilities. Furthermore, zygotes do not have that extra negative stigmatization that those with schizophrenia and mental retardation have, which only further contributes to their helplessness.
    Furthermore, I believe that zygotes are very important (obviously–hence I am not pro-abortion). But, I think that saving the potential lives of zygotes is less imminent and less important than saving the lives of the living. I think it’s more important to save the lives AND better the quality of life for those who are suffering, who can feel pain, who are left behind and know it (or even don’t know it due to mental impairments).
    One could argue that a zygotes right to life is just as important as the living’s right to life. But the living are suffering..suffering terribly…and I think that is what should place them before the zygote. I think that the leaving behind of the mentally ill, punishing prisoners with TB, exclusion of groups from certain systems/programs/privileges, allowing the needs of the poorest of the poor to never be adequately addressed–are all very intentional by policy makers and people in power. I never knew that until I did the research this year—and if I never knew that, I’m positive most Americans don’t either.
    I agree that I need my eyes opened–that’s why I came here to discuss these issues. But don’t you think everyone needs their eyes opened…including you?

    “Without any offense intended, Kelley, I don’t think you know very much about the pro-life movement, the people in it, what motivates them and interests them.”
    This is very true! That’s why I wanted to come on here. I’ve been very troubled by the things I’ve heard from some fellow Catholics. This has made me feel much better about the American Catholic population.

    “But this does miss the point. Suppose a group of people wanted to make child abuse and child rape legal. We wouldn’t hear a single argument from you or anyone else as to why that ought to be ok, and why we ought not “impose our morality” on anyone. We wouldn’t listen to the argument, “who are you to decide whether or not I can rape a child?” We recognize it as an inherently repulsive act.”
    I have to point out that many would make a huge distinction between raping a child and killing a zygote. Everyone agrees that raping a child is repulsive, but not everyone agrees the same about zygotes.

    ” ‘If we can’t convince those who truly believe that–of otherwise, do we have the right to change legislation about it-which will force them to abide by our laws?’
    Did they have the right, Kelley? Abortion was illegal before Roe v. Wade and they forced it on the country. The founders of this country were pro-life, and abortion after the first movement in the womb (which is when people assumed life began in the 18th century, not having ultrasound technology) was illegal. It was our collective belief that life was sacred and that every person had a right to life, regardless of where they were.”
    But I think the distinction here is that individuals felt specifically oppressed by this ruling. As Catholics, we are not oppressed by having abortion be legal. We can choose to not do it and to teach others to not do it either, and why. We can enlighten others about why it is immoral and offer help to those who need it.
    But conversely, for someone who feels they need an abortion–maybe even because they have severe diabetic problems and their life & potential child’s would be at severe risk in pregnancy and birth—they would not have the option to consider saving their body in this situation. They would have NO right to even make a moral decision about it in favor of bearing the child anyway–they would have to be FORCED to.
    This is something NO Catholic has to face.
    What’s even worse is if the diabetic woman truly believed that a zygote was not a human life. What if she truly believed that? (And it is backed by MANY other respectable, loving, and caring people.) None of them would be allowed to believe in what they believe. Or to even consider taking action.
    But Catholics do not have this problem. We are not prohibited from making decisions about what we want to happen to our bodies.

  • Also, Mike:
    My university has 3 copies of that book, so I’ll get it today! 🙂

  • Dear Kelley:

    You have an important insight here:

    I just don’t see or hear a voice from Catholics about the poor, the mentally ill, our terrible jail system, etc–as loudly as the pro-life movement. But, perhaps this is due to what the news reports on and those other movements have more diverse crowds.

    Sadly, the media is far less interested in covering this aspect of the Church’s work, as Archbishop Chaput pointed out a few years ago:

    http://www.archden.org/archbishop/docs/03_01_05_faithinpublic.htm

  • Kelley,

    I have to take issue with your continued use of the word “zygote.”

    When a woman goes to Planned Parenthood – or is dragged there by force, something that happens all too often – she cannot have an abortion performed on a “zygote”, which is extremely tiny.

    Surgical abortions are not undertaken until the “fetus” has acquired a distinctly human form. It has to develop to a certain degree before it can be effectively butchered and the bloody mess suctioned out of the uterus.

    Now, this is not to say that a zygote isn’t a human being – it is, as you and I were once zygotes, as we were once infants and adolescents. But I think you have a misconception of what is taking place. That is why I encourage you to somehow view an actual surgical abortion.

    “Everyone agrees that raping a child is repulsive, but not everyone agrees the same about zygotes.”

    First of all, not everyone agrees.

    Secondly, what about killing born infants? Whole societies used to think that that was just fine – and there are many prominent “ethicists” today who also believe that it is just fine. They believe it because an infant really isn’t that different from a fetus in terms of development, and in terms of it’s dependency on it’s parents.

    The point here is that just because a whole bunch of people come to think that something is OK, doesn’t make it OK. Child rapists probably feel oppressed that our laws don’t allow them to rape children – but how is that our problem?

    But the REAL point here is this: if you want to argue that an unborn child should not have a right to life, that is one thing. You may make that argument. But it is a SEPARATE argument. It has nothing to do with whether or not we should outlaw something or permit it. That is a distraction from the main argument. That’s why I brought up child rape – we know it is intrinsically wrong, and so we don’t debate the feelings of child rapists. If we thought the same way about abortion, we wouldn’t debate whether or not it was “oppression” to prevent it.

    “As Catholics, we are not oppressed by having abortion be legal.”

    And good Germans were not oppressed by Hitler. But if they spoke out against the Nazi’s treatment of Jews and other groups, they were treated as enemies as well. Hence millions of German Christians died in the camps alongside Jews, some of them because they refused to be quiet while the Nazis exterminated other human beings. They did so because it was a moral obligation.

    No one here is oppressed because of the way society treats mentally handicapped people either. You aren’t. But you have compassion for them, as we all ought to have. It’s something you don’t have to worry about or care about, but you do because it moves you. You should realize that the mentally ill, Kelley, are seen in the same way by a lot of prominent scientists, ethicists, philosophers and politicians here and in Europe as the unborn child is. They are seen as either a financial burden, or living out lives so bad that they would be better off dead – whatever they have to say to get these people out of the way.

    “They would have NO right to even make a moral decision about it in favor of bearing the child anyway–they would have to be FORCED to.
    This is something NO Catholic has to face.”

    I don’t see why you would think no Catholic has to face it. They do every day.

    And they can still make whatever decision they want – the point is that there will be consequences if they choose to murder their child. Now the Church’s teaching on “saving the life of the mother” is clear – the doctors must do everything in their power to save BOTH lives. If the child dies because it just isn’t possible to do both, that is not murder/abortion.

    Also, you have to realize that abortion is NEVER the answer to a life-threatening pregnancy; there are always other options, even if the child ends up dying as a result.

  • Joe, thank you so much for your thorough feedback. You definitely helped me to sort through my thoughts and confusions.
    I understand, now, what you mean–it is a separate argument. That makes a lot of sense to me.
    Then, yes- what if someone truly does not believe that an unborn fetus has the right to life? What if they truly believe that a within trimester fetus does not have the same rights as a human–to life?

  • Well first of all, a fetus is a human being, just like an infant, a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager or an adult is a human being. These are different stages of human development.

    As for people who truly do not believe that a fetus has a right to life, what about them? We should try and persuade them, but in the end, we must do all within our power and the limits of the law to defend human life.

    There will always be people who want to legalize child murder for different reasons. In a perfect world everyone would agree on every issue. In the world we live in, there will always be disagreement. We have to realize that the men and women who spend time, energy, and money to keep abortion legal are NOT people who can’t afford to have children. They are middle class professionals who see children (at least at certain stages in their lives) as a hindrance to their life plans. They exploit the poor woman who really doesn’t want to abort by offering her no other options, no love, no compassion, just a trip to a sterile operating room where a paid medical flunky destroys their child. They say absolutely nothing about the tens of thousands of cases where women are forced by their husbands and boyfriends and even their parents to undergo an abortion they don’t really want to have.

  • Why do so many people who are very intelligent, open-minded, caring, compassionate, fighters for social justice, etc–still fundamentally disagree?

  • Kelley,

    Speaking from my own, past experience of being pro-choice, I think that most of those people haven’t given it the same thought. There’s asymmetrical interest in the abortion topic, I think: The people who care most passionately about it are mainly on the pro-life side. That’s not to say that there aren’t passionate feelings on the opposite side, but it’s rarely an issue central to their ideas of justice. And in the case of those who *have* given it thought and *still* deny the unborn’s right to life, I don’t know what to say except that hearts can be hardened.

    There’s also the case of someone like Camille Paglia, who openly admits that abortion is the taking of innocent human life, but supports it anyway.

  • People with intelligence and who have great intentions can make a logical miscalculation. I’m sure the most die hard advocate for health care reform (like myself) would not concede that I am right on an issue because my opponent is intelligent, compassionate, etc.

    I wouldn’t doubt that such an indivudual has the common good in mind. But I would hold that the person is fundamentally mistaken.

    Moreover with abortion — there is a lot of misinformation — some people are just not informed on the issue. They may have intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to hold to their position, as even pro-life Americans undoubtedly do.

    But we are not all right about this issue. Either an unborn child is not a human being and there is nothing morally wrong with abortion, or it is really a human being at the moment of its conception — where so many genetic factors are already predetermined and known — and it has a right to life because of its basic humanity not because of what it can do (demonstrate consciousness, reason, think and act independently because if this was the standard we should kill born infants because they do not meet such arbirtrary personhood criteria).

    It really boils down to where rights come from and for what reason do we have those rights. Does the government give us rights? Or is a right something intrinsic — something due to us because of what we are, not what we can do? A person legally retarded might not exhibit the qualities of a non-disabled human in terms of rational expression. But that makes him no less human.

    Some very compassionate people will observe the natural suffering in such a situation and might think such a person, or such people, are better off not being born. But such a calculation could not be more wrong. We learn more from such individuals than they ever could from us — and the most foremost lesson is humility.

    Abortion similarly is the symptom of a problem; it is not in itself the problem. Society has not met the needs of women. When a woman has an abortion whatever reasons drove her to have it will be awaiting her when she returns to her home — economic insecurity, an abusive boyfriend or spouse, lack of support, a broken home, or maybe even a life of self-indulgence and promiscuity that she is not willing to give up for whatever reasons. There is never a reason to sit in judgment, but it is clear that abortion does nothing but add to the pain and abortion just leads to more abortion.

    It means not taking responsibility, it reaffirms our committment to a fatherless society, pits men against women, and women against their children.

    Sure, the most concerned and conscientious pro-choice advocate may very well have the best interest of these women at heart — but for those on the other side of the issue, we have every right, as well as an obligation, to protest and articulate how and why their method of support is both against the dignity of women and the scandalous support of genocide of an entire group of humans — the smallest among us.

  • I would recommend Pro Woman Arguments to Pro Choice Questions from Feminists for Life:

    http://www.feministsforlife.org/taf/2005/PWA2005.pdf

  • As usual… What Eric said. 🙂

  • This Nelson/hatch/Casey is not Pro-life. Good Grief!It doesn’t prevent tax payers funding for abortions. It has exceptions! What is happening to our Catholic teaching??? read the amendment! Here it is!

    the Nelson Amendment states (Source: http://bennelson.senate.gov/press/press_releases/120709-01.cfm):
    (3) NO DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF PROVISION OF ABORTION.—No Exchange participating health benefits plan may discriminate against any individual health care provider or health care facility because of its unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

    (b) Limitation on Abortion Funding.—

    (1) IN GENERAL.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, EXCEPT IN THE CASE WHERE A WOMAN SUFFERS FROM A PHYSICAL DISORDER, PHYSICAL INJURY, OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS THAT WOULD, AS CERTIFIED BY A PHYSICIAN, PLACE THE WOMAN IN DANGER OF DEATH UNLESS AN ABORTION IS PERFORMED, INCLUDING A LIFE-ENDANGERING PHYSICAL CONDITION CAUSED BY OR ARISING FROM THE PREGNANCY ITSELF, OR UNLESS THE PREGNANCY IS THE RESULT OF AN ACT OF RAPE OR INCEST. (Emphasis added)

    Leo

  • I am enchanted with the idea of the liberation treatment to cure MS. From what information I can accumulate about clinics that offer treatment, I can only find one nebulous collection repeated on a dozen websites. Is there a better way to locate treatment, per say in North America. There are places that offer Liberation Treatment for the United States that no one knows about, such as Liberation Treatment Now

Bishops Call Reid Health Care Bill Worst of the Bunch

Friday, November 20, AD 2009

Extremist Democrats and liberals are hailing Harry Reid’s Health Care bill as a victory for pro-abortion activists.  Though the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called it “completely unacceptable“.

…Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the bishops’ conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said Reid’s “is actually the worst bill we’ve seen so far on the life issues.”

He called it “completely unacceptable,” adding that “to say this reflects current law is ridiculous.”

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7 Responses to Bishops Call Reid Health Care Bill Worst of the Bunch

  • I have always been pro-life and frankly, this bill is really scary.

  • Well this is what you get when you support a party that has abortion, gay Marrage and stem cell research as part of their party plank…Is it not Polosi is Catholic?,,Kennedy’s all Catholic…Yep.. This is the same group that voted to limit tax deductibility of donations to the church…Their only church is the church of government

  • It’s not over yet! If the bill goes back to the House without pro-life provisions, I am going to have a little faith in the pro-life Dems to hold the line and kill the bill. They said they would.

    It only passed last time by 5 votes in the house. Surely there at least 6 Stupak Democrats who will switch their votes if federal funding for abortion is back in.

    And for those who hate the whole bill, 40 progressive Dems say they will vote against it if abortion funding ISN’T in – so either way, this thing could be dead.

  • Joe,

    From my understanding, Rep. Cao of Louisiana only voted for the bill after he saw that it couldn’t be defeated. So in theory you’ll only need four votes to switch.

  • Precisely. The bill barely survived the House because the Stupak language superseded the Capps amendment.

    We should also be conscious of the fact that the Senate operates differently than the House. We aren’t going to have a closed rule amendment. Moreover, I do not think Nelson would vote for final cloture to vote on a final legislation that had less-than-acceptable language on abortion. Reid has absolutely no room for margin of error. I think the Democrats will have to sacrifice the Planned Parenthood wishlist to some extent in order to pass something.

    It must be said that I think much of the conference speculation is missing the mark. In conference, yes, there is no reason to keep the legislation as is. In fact, in conference the entire health care bill can fundamentally be re-written with no regard to any amendments that passed or the original provisions of the bills. However that is not going to be the case with health care. Say that pro-life provisions pass in the House and in the Senate as well. The Democrats will find it incredibly difficult to strip that language at conference. A brand new bill that is markedly different than the originals will likely fail in one or bother chambers. A bill that reverses the abortion language in one or both chambers will fail in one or both chambers. The Stupak amendment clearly took the bill over the top. It will die in the House without it. Less than acceptable language on abortion will surely not allow the final conference bill to reach cloture in the Senate. Perhaps I have too much faith in Senator Nelson, but I cannot see how he will not hold out. He is incredibly consistent and principled on this issue. I will not blindly trust such a hope, but I have every reason to have this hope.

    Moreover, an incredibly liberal “robust” public option that leaves out opt-out and opt-in clauses is sure to die in the Senate. So again, the theorists speculating that this is a game of “bait” and “switch” — give in to the pro-life Congressmen to win their votes and then remove it, give in to the more moderate members and “water down” to the public option to win their votes only to switch it blatantly and manifestly in conference is absurd.

    After conference there are no amendments. It is a closed-rule vote entirely in both chambers. The moderate and pro-life Democrats will be needed again, to motion to vote on the legislation and to vote for the final legislation. I don’t think it reasonable to conclude that a hyper-liberal bill will come flying out of conference because in what world could it possibly pass?

    If anything, the Senate legislation will have the greater influence. The final conference legislation must conceivably be able to pass in the Senate which is a much more difficult task — in that, it must gain 60 votes before it only needs 51.

  • Pingback: Senate Democrats at odds over health care bill (AP) « NewsDropper.com

53-47

Thursday, October 22, AD 2009

reid-incompetenceFuture historians may mark this vote as the day Obamacare died.   Harry Reid was unable to have the senate invoke cloture and end debate on a bill which would dump 250 billion in medicare reimbursements over 10 years from the health care bill and throw it into the general budget deficit with no hint as to how this quarter of a trillion dollars would be paid for.  In order to invoke cloture Reid needed 60 votes, he got 47.  13 Democrats joined all 40 Republicans in refusing to invoke cloture.

The whole purpose of this shell game was to improve the image of the health care bill by reducing the cost by 250 billion dollars.  I guess the senators who voted against ending debate realize that most voters would be able to see through this inept attempt to reduce the cost by shuffling a mountain of red ink into the general deficit abyss.

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6 Responses to 53-47

  • Quack, I think, not cluck… and I pray you’re right.

  • Thank you Foxfier. I have made the necessary correction. Now, I trust, both Donald Duck and the Little Red Hen will not be outraged with me!

  • Last thing we need is someone showing up and accusing you of accusing O of being a coward, right? ;^p

  • I would never accuse our President of being a coward Foxfier. I am certain that he has the courage of Michelle’s convictions.

  • Things like this make you really wonder. Are they really this incompetent or are they simply blinded by their own arrogance or is it something more sinister?

    The behavior baffles me. It’s kind of like knowing what a sociopath/psychopath/borderline personality/malignant narccisist is and actually understanding them. The chasm is to wide.

    I hope that waddle grows to a full quack, cluck, whatever so long as he’s quiet and impotent. I suppose that comment makes me a racist, or is that specist – I’m confused. 🙂

  • No, you are definitely racist. hee hee hee LOL

President Log

Tuesday, October 6, AD 2009

Obama Clueless

“THE FROGS WHO WISHED FOR A KING

The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

“How now!” cried Jupiter “Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes.””

Like most conservatives, after last year’s election I thought that Obama would prove a President Crane as far as conservatives were concerned.  With large Democrat majorities in the House and Senate I assumed that Obama would implement changes in this country to send it on a left-ward trajectory.  Instead, other than passing the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes erroneously called the Stimulus bill, Obama has accomplished virtually nothing, a fact which even Saturday Night Live is now mocking. This is astonishing considering the size of his victory last year and the strength of his party in Congress.  Or is it?  I believe there were clear clues from the background of Obama that this might occur.

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2 Responses to President Log

  • I think it is incautious of Martin Peretz to offer a clinical diagnosis of a man he has only seen on the news. What is notable about the President is his tendency to plumb the shallows of whatever endeavour he sets himself to: he is admitted to the bar, apparently elects to forego any sort of clerkship, is (after a year) hired as an adjunct at a law school, publishes no scholarly work in twelve years on the faculty, is (after two years) hired as an associate at a law firm, is not granted a partnership and is classified by the firm as ‘of counsel’ after just three years in their employ, is elected to the state legislature, is identified with what notable amendments to the Illinois Revised Statutes nobody knows, allows his membership in the Illinois bar to lapse to a status of ‘inactive’, is elected to the federal legislature, spends about 40% of his time running for higher office and votes ‘present’ a good deal, and so forth. What kind of a lawyer is he?

  • “What kind of a lawyer is he?”

    One who obviously never wanted to engage in the practice of law. To be fair to Obama I’d say about a quarter of law school grads fall into this category.

    Obama seems to be very good at getting where he wants to go, but once he is there he doesn’t seem to do anything except move on to the next goal. I wonder what his goal is after the presidency.

Obama Drops Public Option, Showdown With Pelosi Looms

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2009

Obama Pelosi

President Obama will be dropping the socialistic Public Option from his government-run health care plan.  This will certainly anger the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and make for some interesting showdowns with both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (emphasis mine).

“…Obama’s willingness to forgo the public option is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. But some administration officials welcome a showdown with liberal lawmakers… …The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.”

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15 Responses to Obama Drops Public Option, Showdown With Pelosi Looms

  • Pingback: Dueling ObamaCare Videos! « The American Catholic
  • You do realize that:

    (i) the proposed public option is strictly limited to those without employer-based coverage, and is designed to compete with private options, and that it’s sole point is to keep costs down (it would be very easy just to subsidize people to purchase very expensive coverage)?

    (ii) about 40 percent (this is off the top of my head, but I think it’s right) of healthcare spending in the United States now originates with the government. Medicare, covering all seniors, is basically a Canada-style single payer system. The VHA, covering military veterans, goes even further and is basically a UK-style single-provider system. Overall, this means a larger public role than the systems in countries like Germany and France. Do you propose to abolish medicare?

  • Do you propose to abolish medicare?

    Git ‘r done.

  • (i) without employer based coverage

    Meaning what exactly – if your employer pays your coverage, or if it is offered, but you have to pay? E.g., employer covers the cost for the employee, but the employee has to pay out of pocket for spouse/dependent. Would the spouse/dependents qualify for the public option? If not, then they are really getting screwed.

  • MM — it’s wonderful that you finally, after so long, admit to the level of government spending in America, but you fail to follow the logic where it leads: if a single-payer system established in America would magically give us the cheapness and results of France (as you so commonly claim), then we should ALREADY see that Medicare covers everybody in America (not just the elderly), while spending less money to boot. The fact that Medicare does not even remotely do so betrays the vacuousness of your habitual refusal to consider all of the many reasons that American health is different from European countries, and why an American government program will with 100% certainty be incomparably more expensive than what is seen in France.

  • C Matt – if you have employer-based coverage, nothing changes. This was an issue during early negotation and it was decided to restrict to public option only to those out on their own and in small busineses.

    SB– I have never made such a magical claim, and you know it. But we do have a very good comparison — Medicare and private insurance. And we know that while costs are rising unsustainably in both, the rise is actually smaller in medicare. Of course, everybody focuses on the explicit cost on the public balance sheet (taxes), but not the implicit cost on household balance sheets (rising premia preventing wages from increasing).

    On why the cost per capita is twice as high in the United States, there is no simple answer. Part of it is insurance company profit-seeking and administrative– single payer is able to keep costs in check by simply efficiency gains — spreading risk over the greatest number of people and having a single administrative system. That’s an important part of it, but it’s not all of it. Like everyone else who follows this issue seriously, I was impressed by Atul Gawande’s little cost experiment. And here is the paradox — on one hand we have so many people left behind (47 million with no insurance, 25 million with insufficient insurance, widespread rationing by cost) and yet on the other hand we clearly have a lot of treatment that is not needed. And this happens in places where the income of a doctor or healthcare provider is tied directly to the quantity of treatments ordered. This is a classic market imperfection, as the healthcare provider is exploiting an information asymmetry in a way that maximizes his revenue. In places where doctors are paid a salary, or where income is pooled, you do not see these problems with ineffiency (the Mayo clinic is a good example here).

    So, there are really 2 issues — access and cost. Access is actually not that hard — dish dish out a lot of money to subsidy coverage at whatever cost demanded by private insurance companies. I think everybody would agree that this is unsustainable. We must also trim costs. The public option is a small step in that direction — though it is not neutered that I doubt it will do much good at this point. The big cost issues remain outstanding.

  • SB– I have never made such a magical claim, and you know it.

    No, I don’t know it. I can’t even count how many times you’ve made the claim that European countries with single-payer get better healthcare for less money. It’s clear that you’re trying to suggest that the US could replicate the same. If you’re not trying to suggest that, you should write more clearly.

    Anyway, if you read Gawande’s article, he points out that the incentives in the fee-for-service model are so overwhelming that the method of payment (government vs. private insurance) is pretty much irrelevant. That point seems right on to me.

  • MM,

    C Matt – if you have employer-based coverage, nothing changes. This was an issue during early negotation and it was decided to restrict to public option only to those out on their own and in small busineses.

    This is simply not true. Under all of the public option proposals, ANYONE (including illegal immigrants) can chose any plan in the HIE including the public option. Even if such a restriction were added nothing stops the employer from opting to drop it’s employees into the public option.

  • SB: ” can’t even count how many times you’ve made the claim that European countries with single-payer get better healthcare for less money.”

    Yes, I’ve made it a zillion times because it is A FACT. I have no doubt that a single-apyer system in the US would reduce costs and increase coverage, and be better aligned to the requirements of Catholic social teaching. Will it magically reduce costs from 15 percent of GDP to 8 percent of GDP? Of course not. Any anyway, this is all irrelevant, since clearly the great free market liberal masses would rather suffer and die from lack of care than flirt with “socialism”.

    Matt: You are flat out wrong on this one. Restricting the public option to those outside employer-based insurance is central to the proposals (I think that is silly, but anything stronger would clearly not pass muster with the ideological liberals that oppose healthcare reform). See a flow chart that makes this point succinctly: http://vox-nova.com/2009/08/19/9222/. And as for employers dropping coverage, there would be a big penalty for doing something like that.

  • Matt: No public option covers illegal immigrants. The congress and the president have already said they will not agree to any legislation that says this. The only way they get treatment is by going into emergency rooms where hospitals are morally obligated to give them care if the injury or sickness is serious.

    The part of this article that shows the lack of intellectual honesty with many conservative pundits, is that when President Obama proves that he is not a liberal ideologue, when he shows that he believes in bipartisan, pragmatic governance – no one commends him on it. They only talk about “show downs” and his political problems as if he failed. What hypocrisy!

    And Art Deco, what part of your post is in any way Catholic? I challenge you to get in front of any congregation in the country as say that.

    “Do you propose to abolish medicare?

    Git ‘r done.”

  • And Art Deco, what part of your post is in any way Catholic? I challenge you to get in front of any congregation in the country as say that.

    The parishs I attend congregate for the Divine Liturgy, not to listen to my opinions on anything. Minion can ask a rhetorical question. If he gets a serious answer, that’s a gift. Me stingy today.

    I have already bored the assembled with my suggestion of what a revised mode of financing medical care might look like, as a component of a reconstituted tax and welfare system. Of course, there were a mess of holes in the idea, but I am not in the insurance business and I was only ever the smallest fry in the world of hospital administration, so I cannot draw on any fund of knowledge to fill the holes. If you are interested, it is here somewhere.

  • I’d have far less problem with the public option if there was some mechanism to guarantee that the government would remain one competitor among several and not a slow-growing monopolist of the system. The government is no mere private competitor–it has pricing and contracting advantages unique to its role as the trustee of the public fisc. I am unaware of any such mechanisms in the plan(s) before Congress.

    And, in one of the plans before Congress, there is a penalty of up to 8% of payroll for employers who want to dump their coverage. I also believe it caps out the size of the employer which can take advantage of the option, but I’m much less clear on that.

    As I said in a previous thread, 8% of payroll may or may not be an incentive to drop coverage. Without knowing how health costs compare on average to payroll, I have no meaningful frame of reference.

  • Yes, I’ve made it a zillion times because it is A FACT. I have no doubt that a single-apyer system in the US would reduce costs and increase coverage, and be better aligned to the requirements of Catholic social teaching.

    A little more epistemic modesty might be in order, wouldn’t you think? In discussing any policy issue of any magnitude, 100% certainty amounts to overconfidence and bias. Has it never crossed your mind that the same forces that have caused Americans to spend so much more on health care — including via government spending, which isn’t subject to your canards about administrative costs or insurance company profits — may well continue to be in place? That this will cause Americans to overuse medicine in a single payer system to an even greater degree, thus causing overall costs to rise?

  • The real issue is liberal agenda. Get the liberals out of absolute power and see how many problems disappear. The american ppublic is already sending that message at the polls and it’s about time!
    Also; someone with the guts needs to take Obama into custody by citizen’s arrest for failure to prove he qualifies under the U.S. Constitution to hold office; since the justice system in this country is failing to do it’s duty. Every executive order Obama has signed is worthless and must not be recognized officially. Those he has placed in office are there illegally and must be removed. Those of you who are supporting Obama must realize you are supporting a usurper and probably illegal alien. Someone with authority must investigate fully all the hidden personal information which cannot be released to the public under court order. This has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with treason; which when prosecuted rightfully carries the death sentence during this time of war we currently are fighting.

Freak Show

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2009

Megan McArdle links to a Financial Times piece by Clive Cook which includes the following quote:

The gap between the right of the Republican party, which is providing the angriest critics of the reforms, and the left of the Democratic party, which thinks the proposals too timid, is unbridgeable. These groups do not merely disagree. They despise each other. Their differences are only secondarily about policy. They hold each other’s values in contempt.

These snarling extremes are nonetheless somewhat alike. They have an equal and opposite penchant for conspiracy theories. Almost a third of Republicans, according to a recent poll, believe the unsupported story that Mr Obama was not born in the US (in which case he would be disqualified from serving as president). But remember that more than a third of Democrats subscribe to the even more outlandish theory that the Bush administration knew about the attacks of September 2001 in advance.

One of the annoying qualities of national debate over the last several months (which seems to increase as Democrats become more desperate about their flagship legislation) is the attempt to find the very looniest possible elements of the right and portray them as being mainstream.

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5 Responses to Freak Show

  • Attempts to compare 9/11 “Truthers” to “Birthers” overlook an important point. The question “Is Barack Obama a natural born U.S. citizen?” can only be interpreted one way, and has only two possible answers — yes or no. Either he was or he wasn’t; there’s no in between.

    However, the question “Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?” admits of several possible interpretations, listed in order from most to least plausible:

    1. Bush had access to intelligence information indicating the POSSIBILITY of a major terrorist attack being planned, but did not believe the threat serious enough to warrant immediate action.

    2. Bush was given credible but inconclusive information indicating that a terrorist attack was likely to occur in the late summer-early fall of 2001, but again, did not believe the information warranted any significant action.

    3. Bush had good, solid information indicating that Al Qaeda was planning a terrorist attack on the U.S. on or about 9/11/01, and deliberately chose not to take action, since he wanted to use the attack as a pretext for increased security measures and for waging war against countries he didn’t like.

    4. The Bush administration planned and staged the attacks from the outset and merely made them appear to have come from an outside enemy.

    Now, quite a few people (Republicans as well as Democrats) subscribe to theories #1 and #2, whereas only hardcore “Truthers” subscribe to #3 or #4.
    The first two theories mean that Bush simply made an honest mistake in not taking indications of a terrorist attack more seriously, or at worst, that he may have shown poor judgement. However, to embrace #3 or #4 is the real “conspiracy theory” equivalent in irrationality to “Birther” conspiracy theories.

  • The question “Is B. Obama a natural born citizen” can very easily be interpreted in several ways– and most of them are perfectly sane; here’s some ways that the answer could be “no”:
    1) His father, as an official rep of a national party in his home land, counts as a diplomat– thus, the child would be a citizen of Obama Sr’s homeland, as Obama’s mother didn’t fulfill the requirements for her children to automatically be nat-born cits.
    2) Obama renounced his citizenship by taking, as an adult, an Indonesian passport.
    3) Obama was adopted by his mother’s second husband and became a citizen of that country. (2 and 3 is why folks want his college records, BTW)
    4) Obama was born outside the US.

    This is off the top of my head, with a topic I’m not even really interested in.

    “Truther,” on the other hand, is applied to those who think that “9/11 was an inside job.” This would include some of the folks who think Bush “knew about it ahead of time,” but not all of them would be Truthers.

    Now, all that done… the quote is horribly inaccurate or misleading; there was a survey that said one-third of folks surveyed in Utah did not believe or weren’t sure if Obama was born in the US.

    Anne Coulter, of all folks, had a pretty decent point on this whole stupid “Oooh, there’s boogie men! You’re idiots!” argument.

  • Good point, Foxfier.

    Recall that before the election someone had fun going around asking rank-and-file Obama voters if they supported his pro-life stance and his selection of Palin as VP — and many said yes.

    In this case, it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the polled “birthers” don’t even know that you aren’t allowed to be president if you weren’t born in the US (which is, these days, a rather odd rule) and their responses don’t amount to much more than “Yeah, he’s got an odd name and I think I saw on TV he has relatives in Kenya — maybe he was born over there.”

  • Pingback: Don’t Negotiate, They’re Crazy! « The American Catholic

How Long in the Wilderness?

Thursday, May 14, AD 2009

Reflecting on Nancy Pelosi and the torture controversies, E.D. Kain makes the following prediction:

To me, Pelosi’s denial (and accusation against the CIA) lays bare a deeper truth about the Democrats.  Without Obama they’d be nearly as big a mess as the Republicans.  Most of them are complicit in the Bush torture program and the wars.  The party is almost headless without Obama – led by the fickle and hardly inspiring Reid/Pelosi duo.  After Obama, if conservatives learn anything over the next eight years – yes, I’m predicting it will be eight – unless the Democrats get some sort of order and discipline and more importantly, some grander vision, then I think the GOP should have no trouble at all coming in and cleaning up.

I have thought for a while that the Republicans will be out of power for a significant period of time, both because of the Bush administration’s failures, and because the current Republican attempts to rebuild (e.g. constant infighting, unconvincing narratives about the role of fiscal excesses in Bush’s unpopularity, rallying around Rush, and Michael Steele’s various embarrassments) seem woefully ill-suited to the current political environment. I still think E.D. overstates things considerably when he says that Republicans “should have no trouble at all coming in and cleaning up,” but the idea that Obama is a sui generis figure  is worth entertaining. The gap in charisma between Obama and Nancy Pelosi or Henry Reid, for instance, is substantial, and Obama is significantly more popular than many of his policies. Will the Democrats still look as relatively desirable once Obama is no longer the spokesperson of the party? And will Obama’s popularity wane significantly as his Presidency progresses?

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26 Responses to How Long in the Wilderness?

  • John Henry,

    Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing the party that brought us torture, Iraq, opposition to immigration reform, and a significant share of the financial crisis stay in the political wilderness a while longer. Incompetence should have consequences.

    You’d prefer the party that brings us infanticide and federal funding of abortion and experimentation on tiny humans?

    Good grief.

  • Matt,

    My political opinions (which are still a work in progress) do not track well with either party, and, to the extent you think the post says I prefer Democrats, either I have been unclear or you misread the post. If I am more critical of Republicans, it is most likely because I voted Republican and was subsequently disappointed (to put it mildly) by Republican leadership.

  • JH,

    I recognize that, but you do know that we have a 2 party system, and expressing a preference for one party to remain out of power necessarily means the other will be in power.

    I’m sure most of us would chose a 3rd more Catholic option if one were presented, that’s just not reality. Given the circumstances, whatever it’s faults, one party is clearly superior to other.

  • The problem with the Republicans is that they couldn’t control their spending. It turns out that the Democrats are suffering from the same problem too. I guess, we are all suffering from the consumerist binge.

  • “How Long in the Wilderness?”

    2010. The failure of Obama both economically and in foreign policy is going to be on an epic scale.

  • The dynamic has changed too much to retain conventional wisdom on the parties’ political fortunes. The welfare state has expanded past the point of no return. Issues like marriage, abortion, family, etc. have brought us to the brink of having two civilizations that cannot coexist in the same territory. And now we’ve got a terrible recession.

    I don’t think there’s any way to analyze what happens in 2012 or later because there is too much social upheaval.

  • That’s an interesting point Steve; I agree that we are in uncharted territory simply because of the size of the debt we’ve taken on and the severe recession. As far as ‘culture war’ issues, I think they generally yield to economic concerns for a significant portion of the electorate(as they did this past November). I agree there is a lot of uncertainty, even a higher degree than usual because of the economy, but I also think the ‘social upheaval’ is fairly mild compared to, for instance, the mid-60’s through the mid-70’s.

  • How long the GOP or any party remains in the “wilderness” depends to some extent on where you are. If you live in a “red” state like Texas, the GOP never went into the wilderness. If you live in a “blue” state like Illinois or Massachusetts, the GOP may be in the wilderness at least as long as the Israelites were (40 years).

  • Elaine is right of course to some extent. On the state level it probably depends on how much the Federal taxpayer kicks in to save them. If the “progressive” states don’t continue to get bailouts they will be in collapse and see big gains for the opposition.

    On the federal level, 2010 will almost certainly see a surge by the Republicans, not necessarily to the majority, but hopefully enough to allow a block on the worst of Obama’s policies and nominees.

  • That’s a good point, Elaine/Matt. The South is the GOP’s base, and it is a fairly valuable electoral stronghold. I probably should have been clearer in the post, but I was referring to national politics, where the Democratic party is clearly in the ascendancy.

  • John Henry,

    Democratic party is clearly in the ascendancy.

    They have nowhere to go but down at this point, and they will, fall significantly in congress. National polls have already swung in the Republican’s favor or very close. Presidentially, a lot will have to happen to take Obama down in 2012 (and a lot may happen), so far he seems immune to paying the price for his errors and bad policies.

  • On the other hand, if Obama continues moving toward “Bushism”, he’s going to lose his base:

    Obama to Revamp Military Panels for Detainees

    This cracks me up. The looney left is going to be in a tizzy.

  • ps. more news about harsh crackdown on peace protesters. Worse yet the 2 protesters have a substance abuse problem (they carry around gasoline-filled bottles with rags stuffed in them, strictly for inhaling purposes).

    http://wcco.com/rnc/mckay.crowder.molotov.2.811139.html

  • And of course, there are smaller Dem or GOP strongholds at the regional, county and local levels. County-by-county electoral maps of the 2004 and 2008 elections show this pattern. On these maps, most states are varying shades of purple rather than solidly red or blue.

  • Matt and Elaine are on to something. The GOP’s national fortunes rely on its ability to do a better job on the local level. Even if you take a place like Maryland where I live, especially in Montgomery county, there’s no reason the GOP should have absolutely no voice here. It comes down to local recruitment and just hitting the pavements, making small waves that reverberate at a national level.

    The national focus of the party is really a problem, both philosophically and practically. The absurdity of the Florida situation is just such an example. You have a popular sitting governor deciding that he has to make his splash in DC and run for the Senate, a move that has completely upset the applecart in one of the few states with a successful state Republican party. The NRSC of course had to throw fuel on the fire. It’s like the national GOP can’t get out of its own way (with moves like trying to brand the Democrats as the Democratic Socialist Party at RNC meetings just another example).

  • As far as ‘culture war’ issues, I think they generally yield to economic concerns for a significant portion of the electorate(as they did this past November). I agree there is a lot of uncertainty, even a higher degree than usual because of the economy, but I also think the ’social upheaval’ is fairly mild compared to, for instance, the mid-60’s through the mid-70’s.

    I agree that this is true. The reason I bring them up in this situation is threefold:

    1. The direction our country is heading with respect to the culture war issues (abortion, marriage, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc.) indicates a societal addiction to sex. Even if it’s not reflected in exit polls, this will drive election results.
    2. Are we on the brink of massive divine retribution for our culture of abortion, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc. as Father Corapi believes? I really don’t know, but this would drive circumstances that would affect future elections in ways we can’t anticipate.
    3. Even if we do not experience a direct divine chastisement, there is no question we will suffer the consequences of dismissing natural law. This will absolutely drive entitlement spending. Something has to give here, and nobody knows what it will be.

    <<<<<<>>>>>>

    [ed. Steve – I inserted in italics the comment you were responding to for clarification. Hope that helps. JH]

  • Tip O’Neill, Democratic House Speaker during the Reagan years, said that “all politics is local.” Both parties forget this at their peril.

    Democrats have made significant gains in suburban areas (I’m thinking of suburban Chicago though I’m sure there are other examples) by concentrating on local races. Republicans need to do the same. If the GOP can win back city councils, county boards, state legislative seats, etc. — particularly in the suburbs — then maybe, eventually, the governor’s mansions, Congress and White House will take care of themselves.

  • One way to alleviate the problem Paul refers to (too much party focus on the national level to the detriment of state and local races) would be to allot presidential electoral votes by congressional district rather than on a statewide winner-take-all basis.

    If this were done in states like Illinois or New York that are dominated by highly populated and predominantly Democratic metropolitan areas, it would allow the downstate/upstate/rural residents (who include many GOP voters) to have some effect on the outcome of a presidential election, whereas now they have none.

    Combine that with a move toward computerized Congressional redistricting (now being done in Iowa) in place of blatant gerrymandering to protect incumbents, and national races would become a heck of a lot more competitive.

  • Elaine,

    proportionality is a terrible idea and is not consistent with the intent of the constitution (electoral reps chosen by the state, not by the district).

    It’s a bad idea because it concentrates electoral power in the largest centers principally in NY and LA. You see, in each state there are districts which always go one way or the other, and districts which swing. The current system requires candidates to show interest in small and large states, and all districts in those states. If proportionality (by district or by % of state) was in place, the smaller states with dispersed population would be ignored because the difference between a win and a draw in those states would only swing 1 or 2 electoral votes, whereas a strong win in NYC and California swings many more electoral votes.

  • As for Steve-O’s idea that “massive divine retribution” would affect the outcome of future elections… perhaps we can glimpse a small-scale example of how such change would look in post-Katrina Louisiana. (Of course, I am not saying that Katrina was necessarily massive divine retribution for anything, but you get the drift).

    One of the reasons strong, pro-life, reformist GOP figures like Bobby Jindal and the GOP successor to scandal-ridden Congressman William Jefferson (sorry I can’t recall his name right now) were able to get elected in Louisiana is because hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents left the state and never came back after Katrina — and they took hundreds of thousands of usually reliable Democratic votes with them.

  • Ah, Matt, but the Constitution leaves it up to states to decide HOW they will allot their electoral votes. (The district system was used in many states prior to the Civil War, by the way.) And the current system doesn’t encourage interest in “small and large states”; it encourages interest only in perceived “swing” states while states that are solidly red or blue are ignored.

    It also means that if, say, a Democratic presidential candidate won NY, CA, FL, IL, and a few other large states by a fraction of a percentage point, while losing many other smaller states by a landslide, and even losing the overall popular vote, he or she would still win the election.

    And furthermore, it disenfranchises people like me (a downstate Illinois resident who votes GOP most of the time). Yes, I voted, and I voted for McCain (with some reservations) out of a sense of duty and aversion to Obama’s anti-life views. However, I knew darn well it wasn’t going to make any difference since Obama had Chicago in the bag, and with it, all of Illinois’ electoral votes. With a congressional district system, however, my vote might have actually meant something since I live (just barely) in a Republican district (now represented by Cong. Aaron Schock.)

  • Elaine,

    yes, of course and each state should have the right to apportion it’s electoral college if it’s foolish enough to do so.

    Granted that your vote in the election doesn’t influence the result, but then again if you’re in a strongly Red or Blue district, it still doesn’t count so you’re in the same boat there. Obama is unlikely to spend a lot of time in your district anyway, because he can hit all the Chicago districts in 1 day, and send a few hundred million there in pork to secure it, vs. campaigning all over the state, and spreading is pork money thin.

    The true landslides you’re talking about, where one party would not win any of the districts in a number of states are incredibly rare and even more rarely would that party be able to win a substantial majority in enough states to win the election. The reality is we are just not that disproportionately divided by party in any region.

  • I wouldn’t call a proportional electoral vote “foolish”, just different.

    No matter how we slice the electoral vote system, we are going to at least occasionally end up with presidents that win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, and who ignore smaller states — unless we go to the proposed electoral compact system that guarantees an electoral victory to the winner of the national popular vote. However, that too has its problems and would only aggravate the problem you refer to (elections being decided in big states with big metro areas.)

    For the proportional electoral vote system to really work in terms of making elections more competitive would require a drastic change in how congressional districts are drawn, and of course, an end to gerrymandering districts so they are dominated by one party or the other.

    Otherwise, the only way for pro-lifers or conservative Republicans to make a difference at the national level would be for them all to move to red states and boost their electoral vote count.

    As distressed as I am by the current state of affairs in Illinois, I don’t plan on moving, partly because I’m not really into hurricanes, kudzu, fire ants, tumbleweeds, wildfires, decade-long droughts, or year-round air conditioning. I’ll wait for global warming to bring them to me instead 🙂

    In the meantime I’ll put up with the tornadoes and blizzards and continue to work and pray for the reform of our state, which as I’ve said before, is a long-term project on par with praying for the conversion of Russia.

  • Elaine Krewer,
    I wouldn’t call a proportional electoral vote “foolish”, just different.

    What I mean is, that it would be completely foolhardy for any state to diminish their importance in the electoral process by being proportional while all or the majority of states are “all or nothing”.

    No matter how we slice the electoral vote system, we are going to at least occasionally end up with presidents that win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, and who ignore smaller states — unless we go to the proposed electoral compact system that guarantees an electoral victory to the winner of the national popular vote. However, that too has its problems and would only aggravate the problem you refer to (elections being decided in big states with big metro areas.)

    Which is precisely why the founders did not chose direct election. There is no issue having popular vote losers being selected, it’s perfectly acceptable in a republican democracy.

    Otherwise, the only way for pro-lifers or conservative Republicans to make a difference at the national level would be for them all to move to red states and boost their electoral vote count.

    I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Republicans have made a difference at the national level over the course of the last 40 years. The battle has shifted back and forth, but it is not helpless even under the current system. No need to move to a red state though. Even in the blue states, conservatives out reproduce liberals, and the red states all grow while the blue states shrink due to fertility levels and taxes.

    If you want to talk about effective reform… look at restoring the proper balance between state and federal powers… eliminate the direct election of senators.

  • I probably should have specified that my support of a proportional electoral vote system is based on it being implemented nationwide for all states at the same time (so that no states are unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged).

    I’m all for promoting a proper balance between state and federal power, but I’m not so sure eliminating direct election of Senators would do that. Do we really want to go back to having state legislatures pick Senators?

    That system is what allowed Stephen Douglas (pro-choice on slavery) to beat out Abe Lincoln for the Illinois Senate seat they were competing for when they held their famous 1858 debates. It led to dozens of accusations of bribery or other corruption against prospective Senators believed to have “bought” their seats. Legislative deadlocks also left many states without Senators for long periods in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • The part of the 17th Amendment that really needs to be scrapped is the provision that allows governors to fill Senate vacancies by appointment — the provision that gave us Roland “Tombstone” Burris. I wouldn’t have a problem with legislatures choosing interim or temporary Senators, particularly in cases where 2 years or less are left in a departed Senator’s term.