Time to Drive Planned Parenthood From the Federal Trough

Monday, January 10, AD 2011

Congressman Mike Pence (R.Ind), has been a tireless advocate of driving Worse Than Murder, Inc, a\k\a Planned Parenthood away from the Federal trough.  Last week on January 7, he reintroduced his bill to defund Planned Parenthood.  Here is his statement:

“It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion.  It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad.

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9 Responses to Time to Drive Planned Parenthood From the Federal Trough

  • If everyone in America watched the documentary film- Maafa21- which shows the history of Planned Parenthood seeped in eugenics and racism – all funding would end immediately. Watch Maafa21 and see for yourself http://www.maafa21.com

  • I am Catholic. Personally, I could never support abortion. However, this is a secular society. Until the law/US Supreme Court say otherwise, abortion is no only legal it is not the killing of a person. Politicians opposed to abortion have a choice, instead of flapping their moral jaws, changed the law. Find that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Constitution.
    I’m told a majority of Americans are opposed to abortions. If so, then they can amend the constitution instead of blowing millions fighting something that only serves to distract the majority from the failures of government and has no affect on the sacrament of marriage—same sex marriage. Same sex marriage kills no one. Abortion kills millions every year. Lets get our priorities straight IF We Are Serious.
    antonio

  • “Personally, I could never support abortion”
    That’s big of you.

    “Until the law/US Supreme Court say otherwise, abortion is no only legal it is not the killing of a person.”

    The Supreme Court could have a thousand rulings making abortion legal, and abortion would always be the killing of a person.

    “Politicians opposed to abortion have a choice, instead of flapping their moral jaws, changed the law. Find that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Constitution.”

    Have you been paying any attention to the battle over abortion for the past 38 years, or have you been living under a tree stump?

    “I’m told a majority of Americans are opposed to abortions. If so, then they can amend the constitution instead of blowing millions fighting something that only serves to distract the majority from the failures of government and has no affect on the sacrament of marriage—same sex marriage. Same sex marriage kills no one. Abortion kills millions every year. Lets get our priorities straight IF We Are Serious.”

    Abortion is a graver evil than same sex marriage, but I am sure that people can, and will, oppose both.

  • “The Supreme Court could have a thousand rulings making abortion legal, and abortion would always be the killing of a person.”
    You don’t understand the difference between a private opinion and the law. Those who have abortions have a “private opinion” too: that what’s inside them isn’t a human being. Their private opinion is the law. Yours isn’t. Yours wont save one fetus because as a man, you have no control over the path of a pregnancy not even of your biological fetus. –that is also the law.
    Perhaps before being aborted, a fetus will find comfort in knowing the law allowing their death continues because people who could change it are satisfied with their private opinions.

  • “You don’t understand the difference between a private opinion and the law. Those who have abortions have a “private opinion” too: that what’s inside them isn’t a human being. Their private opinion is the law. Yours isn’t.”

    Having spent the last 28 years practicing law, I believe I have an understanding of the distiction between a private opinion and a law. I also have a grasp of reality and the law. The Supreme Court can call the unborn non-persons forever, and that tribunal will not change one iota the reality that the unborn are persons.

    “Perhaps before being aborted, a fetus will find comfort in knowing the law allowing their death continues because people who could change it are satisfied with their private opinions.”

    Once again, have you been following the battle over abortion for the past 38 years, or have you been living under a tree stump?

  • Not a stump, a cabbage patch. That’s where i was 38 years ago. Then my mother found me and at 26 i am a resident in a major emergency trauma unit.
    I’m sure you talk about children and fetuses a lot and probably better appreciate the complexities of policy and law. For me, I have seen hundreds of them in every imaginable conditions–some , most folks wouldn’t know what they were looking at.
    In many cases we team with an obstetrics group, so that aspect is not within my jurisdiction any longer. I’m not judging, but I have seen them abort. We don’t.
    The “battle” you refer to has always been conducted on many different fields, legal political, medical, private. It’s all too complex for me so i tend to desire some level of fundamental agreement. I don’t see any on the horizon.

  • As a doctor you can be of great assistance to the pro-life cause. One aspect of the pro-life struggle that I have been engaged in for the past 15 years is serving on the board of directors of the pro-life crisis pregnancy center in my county. I have been president of the board for the past decade. Volunteer doctors can be crucial for such organizations. If you wish, do a google search in your city and you will probably come up with several pro-life crisis pregnany centers. As a resident I imagine you have almost no spare time now. Eventually this may be an aspect of pro-life volunteer service that you might wish to consider.

  • Spare time?? You are both sensitive and correct. I have none. I am not familiar with “pro life pregnancy centers” I hope they are loving, supportive programs that don’t scare the living bejezzus out of young pregnant women. Those that provide support to mothers, after birth and as long and as much as they need, are wonderful. I have seen a few. I sense, your work is along those lines –today’s pregnant mother will likely find themselves pregnant again. Creating an experience that will save all her children and maybe even those of her friends, is like that pebble in a pond.
    the best

  • The volunteers at the crisis pregnancy center in my county are all women, mostly evangelicals, and all unpaid, except for the director and assistant director who are paid token salaries. The kindness and care for the women who come to the center they have exhibited over the years is a wonder to behold. Several of the women they have helped have come back to become volunteers themselves.

    The pebble in the pond analogy is apt. As evil has ramifications, so good has ramifications. They keep a baby book with pictures of infants they have helped get into this world along with pictures of their proud mothers. Some of those infants are now parents themselves. It is a heartening volume to leaf through.

Electoral Tsunami Coming

Wednesday, August 18, AD 2010

Three recent polls indicate what a wipeout the Democrats are facing in November:

1.  The Republicans have a 12 point lead on the latest Rasmussen Congressional Generic ballot, the highest lead they have ever had in that poll:

Republican candidates have jumped out to a record-setting 12-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, August 15, 2010. This is the biggest lead the GOP has held in over a decade of Rasmussen Reports surveying.

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11 Responses to Electoral Tsunami Coming

  • If we had a third party alternative, you might be right. But let’s remember we’re talking about Republicans. They ride elephants, not white horses. They bumbled two wars, Katrina, and the economy in the living memory of everybody who’s out of diapers. I wouldn’t discount the Dem’s abiities to play politics when their survival instinct kicks in.

    This election looks a lot more like a hockey game between the Yankees and the Cowboys. Two fine traditions totally out of their element. A team of teenagers could have thrashed either one of them.

  • The Republicans are about as popular as used car salesmen Todd with most Americans. However, the Democrats have managed to remind Americans of what tends to happen since World War 2 when the Party of the Jackass is given complete power, and most Americans are shocked and angered by it. I have never seen signs clearer of an electoral avalanche. Compared to 1994 the prospects for the Democrats were positively rosy in the polls. The Republicans will win this election overwhelmingly because they are not the Democrats. How they fare in 2012 will depend on how they do and how the economy does.

  • Todd and all,

    Yes!! That ought to distract people from the economy/unemployment as they worsen; the wars the libs did not end; the gulf oil spill they made more devastating; the first victims of rationing of health care, . . .

    They had to pass the bill so they’d know what was in it.

    They stifle the economy and scare employers into not hiring. Then people give up looking for jobs, and are not counted in the unemployment rate. Problem solved!

    Mort Zuckerman (erstwhile Obama-zombie now awakened), “There is a widespread feeling that the government doesn’t work, that it is incapable of solving America’s problems. Americans are fed up with Washington, fed up with Wall Street, fed up with the necessary but ill-conceived stimulus program, fed up with the misdirected healthcare program, and with pretty much everything else. They are outraged and feel that the system is not a level playing field, but is tilted against them. The millions of unemployed feel abandoned by the president, by the Democratic Congress, and by the Republicans. The American people wanted change, and who could blame them? But now there is no change they can believe in.”

    “The devil is come unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Revelation 12

  • They bumbled two wars, Katrina, and the economy in the living memory of everybody who’s out of diapers.

    Public perceptions are what they are. It should be noted, however, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency employs only about 6,500 people to cover the whole country. Absent the imposition of martial law, the legwork of order maintenance and relief will be the work of local agencies for the most part. Those in New Orleans and Louisiana have their deficiencies. It might also be noted that the salient event in New Orleans (which distinguishes it from Mississippi) was the failure of a piece of public works. Capital expenditures are undertaken over periods of decades (and in this case were joint ventures of federal and local authorities).

    With regard to ‘the economy’, the argument that the Federal Reserve was responsible for generating an asset bubble is a dubious one promoted by purveyors of Austrian economics. That is something most unusual for a Democratic partisan to be seconding. Of course, the President and Congress might have erected legislation prohibiting (or requiring exchange trading) of credit default swaps and derivatives (a project Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers torpedoed during the Clinton Administration), containing the use of leverage (which Robert Rubin was advocating more of while being paid $119 million as chief guru at Citigroup), or inducing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to improve their accounting and underwriting standards. Actually, Mr. Bush did recommend legislation with the last object (co-sponsored by John McCain). It ran aground when Barney Frank rallied the opposition. On the staff of Freddie Mac was his boy toy Herb Moses. In charge of these enterprises was (among others) Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, and James Johnson. Now in what context might one recognize those names???

  • Yet another sign of things to come: in Illinois, pollsters including Rasmussen and PPP place Republican Bill Brady anywhere from 9 to 13 points ahead of Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.

    Moreover, despite heavy advertising in the Chicago media market by the Democratic Governors Association hammering Brady for his allegedly “extreme” pro life and other social/fiscal conservative views, when asked which candidate they believe has “extreme” views, more voters say Quinn does.

    The bottom line is that the DGA campaign is at the very least, failing to make any impression. I rather suspect it’s backfiring in Brady’s favor because — surprise, surprise! — not all women, even in Chicago and its suburbs, think abortion on demand and big government liberalism are great things.

    Of course the never-ending Blago saga (for non Illinois residents just joining us, he was found guilty of one count of lying to the feds yesterday, and the jury deadlocked on 23 — that’s right, 23 — other counts, which are likely to be retried) probably won’t help the Dems any either.

  • Oops, bad sentence structure there. I should have said “he was found guilty YESTERDAY of one count of lying to the feds.” Although Blago probably did lie to the feds and everyone else yesterday (and the day before and every day before that as well).

  • Art,
    Count me among those who hold the Fed accountable at least in part. Unlike some so-called Austrians, I think bubbles are inevitable precisely because markets don’t act perfectly. Markets act perfectly only in laboratories that assume perfect information and perfect rational behavior — two circumstances that never occur. Given this practical limitation, business cycles occur, and every expansion part of the cycle involves some type of bubble or other. Always. The Fed has nothing to do with that. But this time the Fed acted repeatedly and aggressively to prevent any organic contraction. Throughout the last decade the Fed dropped the discount rate at the moment it caught even a whiff of a contraction. I suppose part of this was hubris — the idea that they were skilled enough to manage the money supply to allow expansions to last forever. Pretty silly in retrospect. But I suspect part of it was driven, perhaps unconsciously, by foreign policy. The attack on 9/11 occurred at about the time an organic contraction was developing, and Fed members (being human beings and Americal patriots) did not want our enemies to think they caused it. As the War on Terror dragged on the Fed probably felt some (self-imposed) pressure to keep the economy humming. They allowed cheap money to flow and while this deferred the inevitable correction it permitted the bad behavior (stupid lending and borrowing) to continue much longer than a free market would have permitted since the market’s natural medicinal contraction was not allowed to occur to correct it. Indeed, the artificially-gotten profits just induced ever more bad behavior until the inevitable happened. By that time he Fed had reduced the rates to the point where a liquidity trap robbed it of any ability to continue its well-intended but misguided policy. As in most things in life — plenty of blame to go around — a little greed here, a little hubris there, add a touch of common error and pour on some good intentions and you have the human condition, I’m afraid.

  • If I understand correctly, the Federal Reserve gradually raised the discount rate during the period running from 2002 to 2006. This was insufficient to contain the asset bubbles.

    The rate of increase in consumer prices during the period running from 2001 to 2008 was modest, so I think your critique would be more appropriately applied to the administration and Congress, which damaged public finances with a discretionary tax cut.

  • I certainly hope things improve but political solutions are too transient in the context of a fickle electorate. As the attachment to traditional christian traditions wane, in an ever increasingly culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse society, as it is and for a long time shall be in America, predictability
    is likely an uncertain hope.

    Don, I pray that this country finds the cohesiveness to remain a country rather than devolving into chaos. I have become a stranger in the place I was born and raised. It is amazing, really, but very disconcerting as well.

  • Fair point, Art. I concede that my recollection of the discount rate history was incorrect. Certainly fiscal policy was poor. Bush granted Congress a free hand in spending (no vetos) in exchange for a free hand to prosecute the War on Terror. Whether one wants to blame the resulting fiscal mess on the rise in domestic spending or the discretionary tax cut depends on where you sit, but no question the behavior was irresponsible.

  • Whoa Nellie… check out this tidbit from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed today:

    “We’re screwed.”

    “Sneed hears rumbles that was the private reaction of Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine upon learning former Gov. Blago’s case was going to be retried … and was the reason Kaine kept a low media profile after the verdict. (Kaine was at an event in Iowa City when he learned about the verdict.)

    • The flip side: ”This simply isn’t true,” said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. ”I’m not subject to every conversation . . . and the chairman wasn’t even made aware of the verdict until after he finished his event last night. He has not addressed the issue.”

    What?

    • Translation: Dems are already facing difficult races this November because of President Obama’s plummeting poll numbers and the nation’s economy. Top Dems had hoped a verdict — not a mistrial — would have been the end to the Blago debacle.”

8 Responses to Republicans Enjoy Largest Lead Ever in Gallup Generic Congressional Ballot

  • I think that speaks to the fact, that’s gotten out even despite left wing media censorship, that Obama is even worse than Carter, the erstwhile worst POTUS in history.

    He is incompetent and totally unprepared for the job, as is the sum total the elitist, liberal governing class.

    Or, all is going according to the plan: destruction of the evil, racist Gulf Coast.

  • Blago’s Circus (the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial now beginning in Chicago) probably won’t help Dems’ image either. I believe Politico rated it as one of five potential or developing stories this summer that could significantly impact the November elections.

    If Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, Roland Burris, Harry Reid and others get called upon to testify in Blago’s defense (and that’s still a VERY big if), even if they themselves did nothing wrong, the sound bites/video clips of them marching to and from the courthouse can only leave a bad impression on voters.

    Due to the embarrassment this will cause Illinois residents for the next 4 months or so, I may just pretend to be from another state for the duration 🙂

  • “Due to the embarrassment this will cause Illinois residents for the next 4 months or so, I may just pretend to be from another state for the duration.”

    I agree Elaine. I will be Indiana Don for the duration! 🙂

  • Good one Don.

    Goes well with Indiana Jones 🙂

  • And I’m not afraid of snakes Don! 🙂

  • Elaine and Donald, whenever I am tempted to feel even slightly superior toward my Land of Lincoln neighbors, I remember my Congresscritter – and cringe:

    http://www.rightsideoftheroad.com/2006/01/gwen-moores-criminal-family.html

    Really, though, I think that if Old Abe is in Heaven right now, he is blissfully content – and thus knows nothing of current Springfield and Chicago goings-on. If he’s in Purgatory for reasons we do not know, well, his penance is that he gets filled in on Blago and Company from time to time. 😉 Knowledge of the current political goings-on in his beloved state would, I believe, be more painful for Lincoln than any of the torments described by Dante!

  • I wonder if the maximum sentence of 415 years which Blago could (theoretically) receive if found guilty on all 24 counts, includes projected time in purgatory? 😉 That would be far preferable, of course, to the fate Dante assigned to corrupt politicians in The Inferno — spending eternity immersed in a river of boiling tar.

  • Michael Voris should name the enemies within and without the Church. What criteria does he use to determine who is and who is not the enemy of the People of God?

Generic Congressional Ballot: Nine Point Republican Lead

Thursday, January 7, AD 2010

Scott Rasmussen, the best political pollster in the country in my opinion, had a stunner yesterday in his latest generic Congressional ballot:  the Republicans have a nine point lead, 44% to 35%.

The latest generic ballot numbers highlight a remarkable change in the political environment during 2009. When President Obama was inaugurated, the Democrats enjoyed a seven-point advantage on the Generic Ballot. That means the GOP has made a net gain of 16 percentage points over the course of the year. Support for Democrats has declined eight points since Obama’s inauguration while Republican support is up nine points.

The Republican gains began in February when Republicans in the House unanimously opposed the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats. At that time, Republican gains came almost entirely from the GOP base. Currently, just 30% of voters believe the stimulus plan helped the economy while 38% believe it hurt.

The two parties were very close on the Generic Ballot throughout the spring, but Republicans pulled ahead for good in late June. Those GOP gains took place after the health care debate began and unaffiliated voters began to shift away from the Democrats. Only 40% of voters currently favor the health care plan, while 55% are opposed.

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19 Responses to Generic Congressional Ballot: Nine Point Republican Lead

  • “A nine point gap, or anything close to nine points, indicates an electoral disaster of truly epic proportions for the Democrats.”

    If it were already September or October I’d say that’s true, but 9 1/2 months out from the general election, I’m not so sure. Was the “gap” as big or bigger than this in early ’94?

  • In March 1994 Elaine the Democrats had a one point lead in the Gallup generic Congressional ballot. The largest lead the Republicans had on the Gallup generic ballot in 1994 was 5 points in mid August in 1994.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/124010/generic-ballot-provides-clues-2010-vote.aspx

  • Here’s another very significant Rasmussen poll result: in Massachusetts the GOP candidate in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is only 9 points behind the Democrat — very unusual for a state as “blue” as Massachusetts.

    Among poll respondents who say they definitely WILL vote in that election, the GOP candidate is behind by only 2 percentage points! And that election is less than 2 weeks away (Jan. 19).

    If the GOP pulls off this upset — or even if they just make it a close race, say within single digits — then we’ll know something really is brewing.

  • Quite right Elaine. If a Republican takes Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat there will be few Democrats in Congress outside of major urban centers who will not be feeling very nervous. It is an extreme long shot, but the fact that people even think it is possible is an indication of what a different type of political year 2010 may well be.

  • While I’m not excited about Republicans taking power, oh how I love seeing the Dems take it on the chin.

  • Steve, I feel the same way.

    The idea that either one of these parties will ever change society for the better is a joke. I have no faith in the GOP. But I do believe the Dems deserve to lose, and badly.

  • “The idea that either one of these parties will ever change society for the better is a joke. I have no faith in the GOP. But I do believe the Dems deserve to lose, and badly”

    Well I am not so down on the GOP as some folks are. I realize its limitations. I am not sure I want the GOP to change society. Or at least do it by itself. Often political parties are rather bad vehicles to do it. Though in the past at certain times they were in the forefront on important issues.

    Parties are just one of many vehicles to do it but they cannot do it on their own.

    Right now I just want the GOP slow some this down. I think using raw political power the powers that be in the DEM party wanted to change society on many fronts. We are seeing how the public is reacting to that.

  • My party, the Republican party, often fails to live up to my expectations when the GOP is in power. The Democrats on the other hand usually have no difficulty in exceeding my fears when they are in power.

  • Donald I think that is a good point. One of the problems is the GOP is if I might say a tad more diverse than the Democrats. Thus getting this coalition to agree on stuff is a tad harder.

    THe Dems used to be this way when Conservative blue dogs were not on the endangered species list.

  • I am bewildered that any one who knows how to think would expect a political party to change society. The parties are symptoms of the problems, not possible cures.

    The difficulty with democracy is that the representatives are indeed representative of the populace, whether Joe Six Pack or members of Mary Daly’s academentia.

  • “I am bewildered that any one who knows how to think would expect a political party to change society.”

    The Republican Party and its anti-slavery and pro-Union policies changed society radically, as did FDR and his New Deal. Political parties change societies all the time, for good and ill.

  • Don’s right. Political parties are important institutions, and they are quite often change agents, for better or worse.

  • I’m with Steve and Joe,

    I have little or no faith in either party.

    Bring back the WHIG party!

  • Tito,
    The Whig Party had its imperfect platforms and leaders too, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we should have “faith” in a political party. While Catholic teaching requires that we be socially engaged to appropriate ends, and even favors political engagement, it is not at all necessary for that engagment to involve the support of a political party. But nor does Catholic teaching disfavor political party involvement, even acknowledging the inevitable imperfections of all political parties. It is important that our political parties include serious lay Catholics who work to advance policies informed by Catholic teaching. The temptation in various Catholic quarters to declare some type of moral (and often intellectual) superiority derived from a self-removal from party politics is just smug nonsense. There are many trenches to be worked, and political parties are among them.
    That said, it is true that there is also the temptation for Catholics to allow their Catholicity to be subordinated to party loyalty. There is a place for loyal opposition within political parties, and perhaps Rep Stupak is giving us a lesson in it.

  • Mike P.,

    I agree with you on your points.

    Probably what I am yearning for is more a parliamentary type of governance that the U.K. has. Which would allow for more specialized parties that would cater to Catholic’s interest more effectively.

    Rather than working through the Democratic and Republican Party’s infrastructure which can be daunting at times.

  • Probably what I am yearning for is more a parliamentary type of governance that the U.K. has.

    No thanks. A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

  • No thanks. A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

    I see both the benefits and drawbacks of this, but with wishy-washy Catholics infecting both parties, ie, Nancy Pelosi and Rudy Guiliani, we get drowned out by these dissidents and end up with tools such as Bob Casey Jr. and Olympia Snowe.

  • A parliamentary or multi-party system is not something we should ever desire, nor is it the way the country was designed.

    A country is not a thing ‘designed’. Separation-of-powers and bicameralism are mere instruments, and disposable at that.

    One trouble we have is a crappy political class. A discussion of some of our predicament is here:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NGM0ZmJlZmU0Yzg2YjM5YmIzM2M1YzEyN2JmNDcwODA=

Bye Bye Byron

Tuesday, January 5, AD 2010

Byron Dorgan, Democrat Senator from North Dakota, decided it was better to retire rather than to be tossed out in November.  His retirement is an indication of just how grim the political environment is becoming for Democrats, especially in red states.    The news of Dorgan’s exit is sending out shock waves on Capitol Hill among Democrats.  Which Democrat Senator will decide next that “retirement” sounds better than “defeated”?

Update I: Politico takes a look here at the sudden wave of Democrats retiring.

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14 Responses to Bye Bye Byron

  • Rumor has it that Sen Dodd is about to join that list.

  • Which he will today afl, although in his case, scandal ridden as he was, it will probably help keep his seat in the Democrat column.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/chris-dodd-to-step-aside.html

    The Democrat governor of Colorado has announced his retirement.

    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14129079

    Meanwhile the Democrats’ best hope to keep the Michigan governorship has announced he’s not going to run.

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20100105/POLITICS02/1050391/Lt.-Gov.-Cherry-won-t-run-for-governor

    People on blogs, including myself, can blather all they want. When people who earn their bread and butter in politics begin to act this way in near unison you know something big is in the wind.

  • Would that they all retire and we can start fresh with some legislators who have actually read the Constitution, think government is a dangerous power that needs to be used cautiously and within limits, and believe in keeping oaths they make before God to defend the Constitution.

    The left-wing plan of destroying the united States of America in order to raise some Communist Utopia out of her ashes will fail so long as we remain faithful.

    He has cast down the mighty from their seat,
    He has lifted up the humble. – Canticle of Zecharia

    Proud, arrogant, power-hungry men who put their faith in themselves instead of God will run like any bully when confronted. They don’t have the stomach or the lower anatomy for a real fight.

  • The Dodd retirement is huge – I had sort of made peace with the notion that my great-grandkids would come and go and Chris Dodd would still be in the Senate. I guess it’s not official yet, just like the sunlight has to fall on Dracula’s bones before you can be sure he’s destroyed. Every one of these retirements means that the Democrats will have to spend more money even on seats they retain, which means less money for minor races and potential upsets.

  • The GOP seems to be within 10 points of taking Ted Kennedy’s old seat.

    That would be huge.

  • Well, the Dems are probably at their lowest, and any sort of positive economic news is going to be trumpeted by the press during the runup to November, so some of these long-shot hopes may not come true. But then again, the GOP has dominated the governor’s races in Massachusetts for decades, and it’s possible for the state’s voters to reject a non-Kennedy candidate. I’m hoping for a net +7 for the Republicans in the Senate.

  • I wonder what lucrative banking-financial public-private position Dodd has been promised?

  • If Ted Kennedy’s old seat goes GOP, I’ll saute my favorite sling-back sandals and eat them with mashed potatoes on the side. It would be amazing if the Republican came within 5 points.

    And the Republican isn’t getting any help from the RNC. Gee, way to go, guys! Dems can take some comfort in the fact that the leadership of the opposition party is still so completely without clue (yes, Mr. Steele, I’m looking at you).

  • “And the Republican isn’t getting any help from the RNC.”

    But lots of help from conservatives courtesy the Internet. We learned that lesson well form Obama in 08.

  • Wasn’t that lesson originally taught by Goldwater in ’64 Donald? Sure the Internet was 5 years away and the WWW a few decades, but AuH20 managed to get more ‘small’ contributions from the Silent Majority than anyone could have imagined.

    Obama just used Al Gore’s invention to streamline the process. Like all things Obama – there is nothing new, just a repackaging of someone else’s idea. I think the ideas are Saul Alinksy’s and he got them from the world’s first liberal — Lucifer.

  • True AK. After Reagan’s speech on television for Goldwater small donations came pouring in across the country.

    For those who don’t get the Lucifer reference, Alinsky dedicated Rules for Radicals to Lucifer.

    “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer”

    Alinsky was one twisted puppy and it is astonshing how many Catholic clergy and laity were useful idiots for that bozo.

  • Byron Dorgan is 67 years old and has been in Congress for 29 years. Christopher Dodd is 65 and has been in Congress for 35 years. It is not terribly surprising that they are retiring. Most men their age are retired. Dodd’s hijinks with Angelo Mozilo have also made him peculiarly vulnerable; that is not a credential widely distributed in the Democratic caucus.

  • “Most men their age are retired.”

    Not in Congress Art. Most CongressCritters will do their level best to occupy their seats for as long as they can.

  • Did anyone else get creeped out when the Senate gave Robert Byrd a round of applause recently, as the longest-serving senator? My reaction didn’t have anything to do with his politics or his person, but with the notion that length of service is something for a senator to be proud of.

60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

Monday, December 21, AD 2009

By a vote of 60-40 early this morning in the Senate, the Democrats, with not a Republican vote, voted to cede power to the Republicans in 2010.  The Democrats thought they were voting to invoke cloture on the ObamaCare bill, but the consequences of the passage of this bill, assuming that it passes the House, will likely be to transform a bad year for the Democrats next year into an epoch shaping defeat.  As Jay Cost brilliantly notes here at RealClearPolitics:

“Make no mistake. This bill is so unpopular because it has all the characteristics that most Americans find so noxious about Washington.

It stinks of politics. Why is there such a rush to pass this bill now? It’s because the President of the United States recognizes that it is hurting his numbers, and he wants it off the agenda. It might not be ready to be passed. In fact, it’s obviously not ready! Yet that doesn’t matter. The President wants this out of the way by his State of the Union Address. This is nakedly self-interested political calculation by the President – nothing more and nothing less.

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26 Responses to 60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

  • Possibly.

    The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done. Continuing the delay would do little more than look like defeat. And since the GOP never had any alternatives, keeping the status quo would, in fact, also be painted as defeat.

    So we move ahead, as it were, and as you say, corporate America is well-positioned to benefit in some way from all this. Surely they weren’t going to stand to be put out of business with government insurance.

    As for the 2010 elections, they are still a long way off. If we had a solid third or fourth party option, I’d join you to say the Dems should be tweaked. But voting for do-nothing, sit-on-their-hands Republicans? Please. They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. The GOP is standing pat with their hand as dealt. Let’s see how that plays out before handing the election to them eleven months ahead of the fact.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge.”

    Todd, the Stupak Amendment only passed because every Republican in the House but one voted for it. The Democrats in the House as well as in the Senate are overwhelmingly pro-abortion as the forthcoming battle over the Stupak Amendment in the House will reveal.

    As for Republican alternatives, they have had several including this one.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277551107536875.html

    What the Democrats are about to do is massively unpopular with the American people, as has been so much of what they have enacted this year. Rarely has a political party so quickly stepped off into a political abyss as the Democrats have been in the process of doing throughout this year.

  • And since the GOP never had any alternatives,

    I guess if you repeat a false assertion it eventually becomes truth.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. ”

    Uh What about Cao?

    That being said no one is going to pay attention to what GOP Prolifers say. We (as a party) are pretty much poiwerless right now. That is why the action is the Democrat party and it segments

  • Todd,

    Apparently you didn’t follow the House. There was a GOP Alternative that the CBO scored as cheaper and more efficient at reducing the deficit. The GOP Alternative included an actual exchange allowing for the purchase of health care policies across state lines (thus creating greater competition), enacted tough Medical Liability Reform (TORT) that would reduce inefficiencies in the practice of medicine caused by defensive medicine, and it would increase some of the privatization of Medicare seen in the popular Medicare Advantage Program (a program that now only will exist in 3 counties in Florida).

    The fact you declare there was no GOP alternative indicates in fact that you are just taking your talking points from the DNC.

  • The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done.

    Start that truck and drive it into the ditch. You’ll be getting something done!

  • Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles – also blame Bush for tens of thousands of small businesses that go bust because of this requirement and the excess taxes they will impose?

    “The Democrats’ government takeover of health care will increase premiums for families and small businesses, raise taxes during a recession, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, add to our skyrocketing debt, and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. The bill also authorizes government-funded abortions, violating long-standing policies prohibiting federal funding of abortion. That’s not reform. My message to the American people is now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to fight harder. When the American people are engaged, Washington listens. Now is the time to speak out, more loudly and clearly than ever, against this monstrosity.”
    John Boehner (R-OH) 21 Dec 2009

  • In true Jacksonian fashion, the country fired the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they bungled the war in Iraq and allowed the economy to sink into recession. They might soon have another Jacksonian moment, and fire these equally useless Democrats for hampering the recovery, exploding the deficit, and playing politics with health care.

    The big difference is that Americans saw the death toll mounting in Iraq and the economy going down the toilet. Americans won’t see the effects of ObamaCare in 2010. In fact, a not-yet-implemented ObamaCare should be an electoral asset. “You get health care! You get health care! Everybody gets health care!” The GOP may see gains in 2010, but it won’t be because of ObamaCare.

  • With only 34% of the people saying that passing ObamaCare is better than doing nothing restrainedradical, I think this bill is an anchor which will take Democrat electoral prospects straight to the bottom next year.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/december_2009/just_34_say_passing_health_care_bill_is_better_than_passing_nothing

  • “Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles …”

    With insightful analysis like this, I feel confirmed that conservative Catholics have as much of a sense of a pulse on the nation as they do when they feel a coconut. When you can’t distinguish between voting while holding nose or political worship (we sure had a lot of that with Bush II) we might as well turn to tea leaves than attend carefully to your analysis. Not everybody thinks like you guys do, comprende?

    The president invested a lot–and some might rightly say too much–in health insurance reform. One might even say he backed himself into a corner on this. By your account, Mr Obama was a loser any way he tried to put a face on this. Alternate proposals aside, he had no incentive whatsoever to caucus with the GOP on this. None.

    As for congressional elections next year, get serious. The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election. I can’t see the GOP taking back the Senate, especially if the economy recovers in any way, and the Afghan surge remains a non-disaster.

    2012 is another story, but the GOP has yet top surface a viable national candidate.

    Interesting that you picked Jackson as your theme. Wasn’t that when the Whigs ascended to major party status? They had to wait till 2016–I mean 1840, right?

  • “The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election.”

    Wrong on both counts Todd.

    The Democrats are defending quite a few vulnerable seats in the House which McCain carried last year, and many more which Bush carried in 2000 and 2004. Traditionally Republican districts will be swinging back to the GOP next year. Incumbency after the fiasco this year I doubt can be regarded as a positive in competitive districts. The Democrats are also beginning to be plagued by retirements from Congress, a sure sign of a party in trouble in the next election cycle.

    In the Senate I see the Republicans taking Senate seats in Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, New York (Gillabrand’s seat), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware and either Washington or Wisconsin. I see them holding all their seats and Lieberman caucusing with the GOP in 2011. If Linda Lingle, popular Republican governor of Hawaii, gets into the Senate race she might topple 85 year old Inouye who has served in the Senate since I was 5 years old in 1962. It is hard to imagine Evan Bayh losing in Indiana, but if the political winds are gale force against the Democrats I think there is a small chance he might.

    The Whigs Todd first gained control of Congress in the election of 1834, the year after it was formed. The Whigs were formed as a reaction to the policies of Old Hickory.

  • I don’t know about the Senate, but it would be surprising to see the GOP pick up less than 20 seats in the House. That doesn’t net them a majority, but that’s a worst case scenario. It’s folly to make a firm prediction, but at the current course I think many of the Blue Dogs better start looking for alternative employment. As for the “incumbentia,” that’s funny in light of the recent spate of Democrat retirements. Perhaps they lack Mr. Flowerday’s acute political acumen, but I suspect that might have a better sense of where the country is heading.

    I don’t see a ten-seat pickup for the Senate. There are a couple of very shaky GOP-held seats at the moment, and even considering the possible voter backlash against the Dems, I wouldn’t bet the house on the Republicans holding on to them.

  • I see three Republican seats as offering the Dems possibilities for a switch: the open seats in Missouri and Ohio and Burr in North Carolina. I think 2010 is going to be a strong GOP year in Ohio. Ohio went strongly for the Dems in the last two election cycles and buyer’s remorse has set in. I’ll be shocked if the GOP doesn’t hold the seat. Burr is a weak incumbent, but I think the GOP will have a great election night next year throughout the South. Missouri will be a battle, as open seat elections in that state tend to be. I think the GOP will hold on, but I think that is their shakiest current seat.

  • Don’t know about the comment on politiucal acumen–aside from local politics, I try to stay as apolitical as possible. I wouldn’t say that eleven months with a volatile economy, and who-knows-what on the international front makes for an easy prediction of what is to come.

    The Dems still have eleven months to make a case to stay in power. If some third party in Iowa wants to make a case for my congressional seats, I’m willing to listen. I’m not inclined, like some other progressives, to stay home to make my point next Election Day. I’ll continue to hold my nose and pull the blue lever, but not because I think they’re generating the best ideas.

  • Must correct Mr. McClarey.

    The Republican Party in New York has suffered a secular decline in the calibre of the people they run for about thirty years now. It has left Upstate, conventionally a Republican preserve, represented in Congress almost entirely by Democrats. One exception is a fellow from Buffalo who is a man of genuine accomplishment in private life. (By what accounts have appeared in print, the Republican State Chairman, Stephen Minarik, was partial to him as a candidate because he could ‘self-finance’. The late Mr. Minarik always had his priorities).

    I will offer better than even odds the Republican sachems will arrange for the nomination of some seedy lush who has been making cruddy little deals in Albany for 25 years, because that is who they know and that is their idea of a normal person. Kristin Gillibrand will then eat him for breakfast.

  • I always hesitate to disagree with you Art, but I think that next year it will be anything but politics as usual. As the uprising in New York 23 indicates, there are plenty of Republican voters fed up with precisely the type of machinations you describe.

  • Evidently former Governor Pataki seems poised to make a run at Gillebrand. Yeah, good luck with that. Had Rudy run, he probably would have won that seat, but evidently the Senate was too low a prize for the guy who still seems to have some delusion that he will be president one day. Pataki might be viable, but that would be a race where I would weep few tears if the Republican lost.

    I can see the GOP holding onto the aforementioned seats if it’s a real good year, but it will be tough. They have to hold serve, then win pretty much every toss-up state currently held by the Dems. That’s a tall order, though that’s basically what the Democrats did in 2008.

  • If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.

    Giuliani ought to retire from political life and attend to mending fences with his children. Putatively, he has told intimates that positions in legislative bodies look unattractive after you have sat in the mayor’s chair producing actual ‘output’. The thing is, as Mayor of New York, he has been among the most accomplished political figures of the post-war period. Most of the presidents we have had over the last sixty years are men of lesser significance. He is 65 years old now and should quit while he is ahead.

  • “If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.”

    I am certain the dog would do less harm than either Pataki or the incumbent, and would probably have more charisma.

  • That is one cute canine!

  • Parker Griffith, Democrat Congressman from Alabama, is switching to the GOP. He is the first Blue Dog to do so this Congress; he will not be the last.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/12/22/breaking-blue-dog-flips-to-gop/

    Some Democrats can clearly see the electoral ice berg their party is careening towards.

    Merry Christmas Speaker Pelosi!

  • That’s fairly major news. These retirements/party switches are usually a good indicator of significant electoral upheaval – they certainly were in 1994, 2006, and 2008.

  • I don’t think Arlen Specter’s switch indicates an upheaval.

  • It indicated that Specter knew that Toomey would clobber him in the primary. Now Toomey will clobber him in the general.

  • Pingback: Political Miscellania 8/31/10 « The American Catholic

Daniel Larison, Talking Sense

Monday, December 14, AD 2009

I’ve written about this before, but it’s nice to see Daniel Larison making the point with characteristic clarity in an interview with The Economist:

Iraq was also the policy that turned the public so sharply against President Bush prior to the 2006 mid-term elections, and those elections were and were correctly seen as a rejection of the war and Mr Bush’s handling of it. The war was the main issue of those elections, and the GOP lost control of Congress because it had identified itself completely with the war and its members in Congress continued to be its most vocal defenders. By national-security conservatives, I mean those members of the conservative movement who have a primary and overriding focus on foreign policy and national-security questions, and who typically take extremely hawkish positions. They were the leading advocates and cheerleaders for the invasion. Most movement conservatives supported the policy, but it was the national-security conservatives who drove the party into the ditch while the others went along for the ride.

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14 Responses to Daniel Larison, Talking Sense

  • Well, Larison was certainly wrong about the surge which he vehemently opposed and predicted would fail.

    http://larison.org/2007/01/27/to-oppose-servility/

    The war in Iraq was quite popular until the casualties began to mount and the Bush administration appeared to have no plan to win the conflict. That is death for popular support of a war. After Rumsfeld was finally dumped, Bush listened to Petraeus and carried out a war-winning plan, but by that time it was too late. I do think however that Republican unpopularity in 2006 had more to do with the accurate perception that Republicans had been profligate in spending in Washington. The Iraq War was a major secondary factor in 2006, but I do not think it played much of a role in 2008, an election in which the economic meltdown in September was devastating to Republicans. Then the Democrats took over the White House with broad majorities in Congress and demonstrated to the Republican amateurs how true pros in wasteful and feckless spending went about things.

  • I have a hard time accepting the idea that deficit spending was a significant factor in 2006. For one thing, the deficit spending was basically half of what it was in 2004 when Bush won re-election, and it was trending downwards in 2005, 2006 and 2007. As the deficit picture was improving, Bush’s approval ratings were sliding.

  • The Iraq War was probably the main reason for the GOP losses, but there were so many factors – scandals, deficits (yeah, they were going down, but the Bush-led GOP was seen as no longer living up to conservative principles economically), an unenergetic base (thanks to the previous point), fall-out from Katrina (which ties in with administrative incompetence in Iraq as well), etc.

  • The problem with blaming Republican defeats on excessive spending is that such spending went on for years and no one really cared. It was only when the party was already hurting because of Iraq that it became an issue.

  • The Republican Party never had but quite modest pluralities in both houses of Congress. With few exceptions, it is the norm for the President’s party to lose ground during midterm elections, most particularly during midterm elections held during a second presidential term (for whatever reason). It would have been a historical oddity had the Republicans retained Congress, without regard to the ambient concerns of the electorate.

    The article to which Mr. McClarey links is instructive. Unless I am mistaken, Mr. Larison’s time in the military approximates that of Madonna Ciccone. All of his formal education has been in pre-modern history or in the liberal arts at an institution which (as we speak) offers one (1) course in either military history or national security studies. The guy must be a hell of an autodidact. I see has been adding to his portfolio skills as a diviner of public opinion as well (and the results of his dowsing are that the general public’s irritation is a precise replica of his own – Frank Luntz, your consulting business is in danger).

  • “The problem with blaming Republican defeats on excessive spending is that such spending went on for years and no one really cared. It was only when the party was already hurting because of Iraq that it became an issue.”

    Much of the Republican base has always cared. Ross Perot used that to devastating effect against George Bush in 1992. George Bush with his “compassionate conservative” spending programs exacerbated the problem. Contra Larison the response to 9-11 and the seeming victory in Iraq in 2003 helped mask this problem in the 2002 and 2004 elections. When Iraq went South, disgruntled Republicans over spending saw no reason to turn out in 2006, and there was great dissatisfaction with McCain in 2008 and his support of the Bailout Swindle of 2008. The tea parties are merely an outward manifestation of a growing concern with fiscal folly that has been building for well over a decade. Republicans ran in 1994 as the party to bring fiscal sanity to Washingon, and initially they did to some extent. The years under Bush convinced too many Republicans that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the parties on the issue of government spending. The Democrats this year have convinced many of those same Republicans that they were wrong.

  • Find me two people who voted Democrat in 2006 because the Republicans were spending too much.

  • Find me two people who voted Democrat in 2006 because the Republicans were spending too much.

    More likely, it would be people who abstained and added to the plurality of the Democrats by default.

  • Again, I don’t know that it was deficits per se, but rather a feeling that the GOP had lost its way generally on economics issues. As Art Deco noted, the primary impact there was influencing core GOP voters to stay home.

  • Well, maybe, but my guess is that it deficits were more of a second order effect. By 2006, Bush’s approval ratings had tanked, primarily because of Iraq (and Katrina). To say that deficits were the real problem or even a major one requies an explanation for

    1) Why Republican voters did turnout in 2004 when deficit spending was much higher, and why reductions in deficit spending between 04-06 convinced those voters to stay home.

    2) Why Republican voters were so different from the rest of the electorate that it wasn’t Iraq, Katrina, etc that depressed turnout when it pretty clearly was what drove most of the rest of the country.

    There’s not any way to prove this one way or the other, of course. But I think the fiscal irresponsibility account is pretty implausible as a primary driver, even if it undeniably is a first order consideration to a vocal but small contingent on the right (like, for instance, Ron Paul supporters). Most people don’t pay attention to politics much, and that’s certainly true of the deficit.

  • I have a feeling it was more of a “Change” election in 2006 than any one factor. It happens. It does nto seem fair but it is what it is.

    We should also recall in 2006 that “Joe” Lieberman” was target number one over the Iraq war and he won.

    What the various branches of the GOP and the conservative movement really hate to admit is that they were too busy fighting each other and calling each other RINOS. They seemed to have forgot there were democrat challengers. This nasty counterproductive scorched earth policy started happening around the Dubai Port controversy and just got worse. Add to that a few unfortunate scandals and the Washington Post making all out war on the VA GOP Senator and it was a bad day.

    Also another point. WE lost a ton of hispanic vote largely because we could not police our own on a highly emotional debate.

    Did the Iraq war play a role in some places. Perhaps but when I look at some blue dog victories that occured in other places the ansewer is no there.

  • Regarding fall out from Katrina. I really wonder how much that was a factor. I think on the whole the public was much more sophisticated about that. In Louisiana the GOP did not suffer for it from what I can tell. It did not show up in the Congressional races in the last two cycles

  • Larison’s argument assumes that the fiscal and defense conservatives are two separate teams.

    “Most movement conservatives supported the policy, but it was the national-security conservatives who drove the party into the ditch while the others went along for the ride.”

    That sounds like scapegoating. If all the hawks jumped off a bridge, the movement conservatives shouldn’t have followed them. In reality, hawks are movement conservatives. There may be some conservatives who promote military strength, fiscal soundness, or traditional social values more, but there’s too much overlap between their policies to identify many of them as single-issue conservatives.

    Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq didn’t harm the Bush Administration. The apparent failure in Iraq, along with the Mark Foley scandal, added to the natural midterm loss for the president’s party.

    The lack of Republican fiscal high ground was a major cause of their losses in 2008. And again, there weren’t economic conservatives who lost their way, or who are trying to spin old military failures to their advantage. The Party lost its way fiscally.

  • Y’all keep referring to Republican voters and who they voted for, I don’t get it. Republican voters always vote for Republicans. Republicans lose because non-Republican voters who tend to vote for Republican candidates may or may not vote for them depending on what they actually do.

    Iraq could have been over in 18 months if we fought it right. The problem was Rumsfeld and the liberal neo-cons that were extending the conflict for nefarious purposes. Compassionate conservatism was code for spending like Democrats to sway the liberal-leaning Hispanics because they are seen as the future of the party, since it is a forgone conclusion in Republican circles that blacks are lost to the murderous Democrats (responsible for the murder of a third of all conceived Negros over the last 40 years!). ANd white voters are being overrun by brown immigrants and lack of reproduction. This is all conventional thinking and it is wrong.

    Republicans only win by default because they are less bad than the Democrats. Of course a charismatic leader, an orchestrated economic crisis and non-conservative Republican stooge makes for a great way to intentionally lose an election and keep the money rolling in to ‘win’ next time. Gimme a break.

    There is hardly a difference between the two parties and most Americans are so ignorant of the purpose and intent of government that they will vote for the jerks that promise the most stuff or the idiots who promise not to let them, but let them anyway.

    This is a dying system, if it isn’t dead yet. How do the Republicans recover?

    Oddly enough it will be the same way the Church will. Ditch the lying, sniveling, liberal relativism and honestly stick to principles of truth and Truth. Do the right (pun intended) thing especially when it is unpopular. And be doers of the conservative principles.

    Republicans have the same choice to make as the two sons from yesterday’s Gospel reading. Are they going to keep saying the are conservative and act like slightly less liberal Democrats, or are they actually going speak moderately and behave in a principled, conservative manner?

    Republicans lose because they lie, Demoncrats win because they will double your freebies if you vote for them within the next 15 minutes. Call now for more free crap.

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.

Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment.  In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here is their released statement in its entirety:

December 9, 2009

Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform

Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form

Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail

BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE

TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT

WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”

Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”

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67 Responses to Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

  • Personally, I think it is dangerous for the Bishops to weigh in on most prudential matters. Of course, they should oppose any legislation that would advance abortion, just as they should weigh in on all matters of grave morality. But while appropriate access to health care may have a moral component, whether a particular approach would be effective or most effective is well outside the charism of bishops. I’m far more interested in what health care economists say, as well as insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and medical organizations. Big and small pharma too. And big city hospitals that serve the poor. All are stakeholders and have knowledge. But the Bishops and their staff don’t know any more than you or me. They just have impulsive policy preferences based on political bias just like you and me.

  • I think the bishops are fully invested in the process since they seem to be wedded to “universal coverage” in health care. Though I disagree on their method of implementing God’s Kingdom here on earth, at least they found “a” voice somewhere.

    Hopefully they’ll be more unified in the next election cycle when it comes to protecting the unborn among us.

  • Amazing that this ammendment was defeated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Maybe the Bishops could take note of that also.

  • Phillip,

    Good catch.

    It may be an omen that the bill will be defeated in order to protect the most vulnerable among us.

    Or it could mean something else.

  • Tito – I thought you didn’t recognize the authority of the USCCB. Only when they agree with you I guess?

  • Michael I.,

    The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    So I choose what I like from the USCCB.

    I only adhere to Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition.

    Unlike you that adheres to Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, and Bono.

  • The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    This is not true, Tito, for the millionth time.

    And I’m not a fan of Bono.

  • I dunno … some of Bono’s earlier music is ok.

  • How exactly is the USCCB an authority of Catholic teaching?

  • Notice that Michael I. didn’t deny his adherence to Karl Marx.

  • Tito, I noticed and wasn’t at all surprised. No big scandal in my mind, since I have several misguided Marxist friends. We avoid politics and economics and just drink. I don’t see how Marxism can be squared with Catholicism though. But perhaps the USCCB has an authoritative teaching on how to do that. 😉

  • Although I would not call myself a Marxist, I’ve learned from Marx. As has the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the human race.

    Mike – Um, because the USCCB are nothing but the bishops (you know, the successors of the Apostles!) in the united states.

  • Perhaps you and Tito would like to have a conversation about Marx, and about which of his ideas I agree with and don’t agree with, and whether or not the ideas I agree with are in opposition to Church teaching or whether the Church herself acknowledges said ideas?

    Or maybe you both can throw around the name “Marx” and the term “Marxism” without actually getting specific?

    Or maybe Tito will simply delete my comments when I ask him to actually get specific and show us how much he actually knows about Karl Marx?

    What about Chomsky, Tito? Can you explain to me what elements of Chomsky’s work are in opposition to Church teaching? Perhaps u.s. foreign policy is sacred and unable to be criticized?

  • The magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop. I think the document Apostolos Suos addresses this question. See here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • Michael I.,

    With the answer you provided so vague, vacuous, and open-ended, I’m surprised you haven’t found common cause with Mein Kampf or that writer.

  • It seems Michael is trolling.

  • Phillip – If you actually read Apostolos Suos and the relevant ecclesial documents, you will find that the issue is much more complex than your claim that “[t]he magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop.”

    Tito – You’re not making any sense. Could you rephrase for me? What was that about Hitler?

  • Michael I.,

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Of course its much more complicated than that. But of course, when one reads Apostolos Suos, one sees that a single dissenting vote by a bishop on a doctrinal matter ends the authority of the Conference and the matter must be referred to Rome. An individual bishop has that degree of authority in that he can stop the entire conference.

  • It is important to read the relevant ecclesial documents as well, including theological discussion on these matters. AS makes some interesting (non-infallible) claims about the authority of bishops conferences which are indeed in tension with, say, significant portions of Vatican II (which carry more weight than AS). AS strikes me as awfully mathematical, as if one rogue wacko bishop could threaten the authority of the teaching of the rest. Does not strike me as a very Catholic approach to authority.

    So yes, AS is important, but other documents are important too. And it’s important to read AS in its entirety and in context.

  • Of course AS can be read as a development of doctrine (non-infallible perhaps) though with greater magisterial teaching than theologians. As the theologian Cardianl Dulles noted, AS is the effort of the Church (read magisterial authority) to place the authority of conferences in its proper context (a limited one) which is only a reflection of individual bishops authority. This is the proper context.

  • Of course that would presuppose that much of what the USCCB does is pronouce on doctrinal matter. Actually most, such as its support of current health care legislation with three provisions, is doctrinal. It is of course not. It is prudential. Thus laymen can licitly disagree with their position in regards to the legislation in general.
    What is doctrinal is the USCCB’s defense of traditional Catholic teaching that abortion is an intrinsic evil. Thus Tito is on good ground in his position.

  • Funny, the way folks use the word “doctrinal” to draw artificial lines around certain ethical issues.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

  • Guys. Marx was generally good about diagnosing a lot of the problems of capitalism-particularly its tendency towards self-destruction due to the need for expansive greed.

    Now, his other ideas about history and individualism and God and pretty much everything else he wrote? utter garbage. But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Oh, and bishops are important, You should generally listen to them. (Darn it, I just agreed mostly with Michael I. I may get banned from this blog if I keep this up!)

  • Michael R. Denton,

    But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Karl Marx was born human.

    Michael I. was born human.

    I guess I found the kernel of truth in both of them.

  • I agree Michael D, though I can’t say Marx’s ideas about history were totally wrong – certain classes do gravitate to certain ideas. The casual relationship might be out of tune, but the correlation is there.

    The irony is that so much revolutionary nonsense, especially when it railed the hardest against Christianity, is really born out of a sort of childlike disappointment that humanity did not live up to the true standards of Christianity.

    I see much of revolutionary socialism stemming from what Moses Hess said to Marx – that the whole point was to “bring heaven down to Earth.”

    If we lived as Christians ought to live, consistently, fully, these people would disappear. In a sense I see the revolutionary scourge as, if not a punishment, an inevitable symptom of a society that has fallen off the right track. That is how Leo XIII and especially Pius XI saw it.

  • Michael,

    Yes, the bishops are important in matters of faith and morals. In matters of application of faith and morals to the political domain, that’s the role of the laity. The bishops may chime in with their prudential judgment. And I will assess their prudential judgment and use mine as is proper to the vocation of the Catholic layman.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

    I understand the distinction well, but that distinction is not a matter of doctrine vs. not-doctrine.

  • Ah yes. But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion). One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

  • But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion).

    Obviously.

    One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

    True. But Catholic teaching demands that health care actually be provided to the population in general. Most folks who “respectfully disagree” with the bishops on the health care issue have no desire to see health care extended to those who have no coverage, preferring free-market “you gotta earn yer health care” approaches. Basically what Catholic teaching allows is substantial disagreement on how universal health care is to be provided.

  • Tito – Do you not want to have a discussion about Marxism anymore?

  • Of course your present a false picture Michael. And what universal health care includes is not defined by the church. In my experience, America does in fact provide universal health care for children through S-CHIP. For the elderly with Medicare and with almost all poor with Medicare/Medicaid. Your point again is limited to a very false impression of what the government already does with health care in America.

  • Phillip – Show me where I am false, don’t simply claim what I have said is false.

    Millions of people are not covered in the united states. Millions of lives are ruined by this health care system. You cannot say with any seriousness that the u.s. provides universal health care.

    Another contradiction of the right: claiming on the one hand that the u.s. DOES provide universal health care, and then on the other hand in another argumentative context insisting that the u.s. should NOT provide universal health care.

  • Show that Obama’s plan will make it better.

  • Why? I’m not in favor of Obama’s plan. I’m in favor of the single-payer option.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.) To claim otherwise is to not be based in the facts.

  • Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer. Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.)

    All children = almost everyone? What?

    Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer.

    I never said CST requires single payer. I said I am in favor of it. But CST requires that every person receive health care regardless of their ability to pay, i.e. universal health care.

    Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

    What exactly are you looking to get out of? Which persons do not deserve what? Please be specific since you seem to have something in mind.

  • S-Chip will cover all children. That takes care of that segment of the population. Medicaid and Medicare covers most others. That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage. A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST. Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

  • Medicaid and Medicare covers most others.

    Most?

    That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage.

    A “small number” is awfully imprecise. Are you saying that statistics reported and used by the USCCB are false? Is 40 million or whatever the statistic is a “small number”?

    A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST.

    The way you have phrased this indicates a “what can we get away with” approach to ethics

    Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

    Why should poor people NOT be able to have coronoary bypass surgeries? Why should they be denied “cutting edge medications”? Why are you intending to set up a class structure?

  • Actually the 40 million includes a large number of 18-39 year old who choose not to buy health insurance. A calculated risk but for most it is a wise economic choice. 11 million who qualify for Medicaid/S-CHIP are not enrolled. That would cover most of that 40 million number.
    CST does not require equality of outcome. A right in CST is that that would allow basic human flourishing. Vaccines and basic medications will. More elaborate plans are not required by CST. That’s been the teaching since Rerum Novarum

  • If you need bypass surgery or else you will die, then bypass surgery is basic to human flourishing.

  • Everyone will die. Even the rich will run out of options. Even with ordinary policies there is denial of care (transplants, experimental procedures.) The question is how much health care is a right.

  • I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

  • Not only that, but when he is older, deny a fair bit of care that he would get with ordinary, private policies in the U.S.

  • Everyone will die.

    Ah, here is your position. Crystal clear.

    I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

    1) I don’t live in Canada anymore. 2) I never had provincial health insurance while living in Canada because I am not Canadian. International students, until very recently, had to purchase private insurance. It was very inexpensive compared to the u.s. 3) In three years in Canada I did not meet a single Canadian who was unhappy with Canadian health care. Not one. I sought them out. They’re few and far between. 4) I am currently without health insurance.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

  • Its not my position, it is God’s. Even Marx couldn’t overcome that.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

    You never ASKED me a question. You said “Iafrate would probably do such and such.”

    But since you asked me directly this time…

    Presumably you are asking me assuming I still lived in Canada. Considering I had no U.S. health care at all when I lived in Canada I would obviously wait it out because “the greatest nation in the history of the world” would be of absolutely no help.

  • Phillip – What makes you hate poor people?

  • Tito, you are under the mis-apprehension that the US healthcare system is superior to that of other advanced economies. It is not.

    I am one of the lucky ones – I have insurance, decent by American standards. But in other countries I am familiar with, I can see doctors faster, I can get similar treatment, and I don’t have to deal with byzantine insurance bureacracies.

  • Michael I.,

    Are you going to scrub your fingertips until you scrape the skin off because they typed out the greatest nation in the history of the world?

    LOL

  • MM,

    Exchanging byzantine insurance bureaucracies for byzantine government bureaucracies is a step down in most people’s opinion.

    You may be able to get basic medical care at a lower price, but you will have to wait for most surgeries and other sophisticated medical procedures due to the lack of highly trained physicians being priced out of the market and to heavy regulation making it impossible to make a living in those fields.

  • Michael I.,

    i cut and pasted it.

    That was an awesome comeback!

    Niiice!

    🙂

  • But we are back to the point where we were before. The bishops have made a prudential judgment. Some laymen agree. Some disagree for different reasons. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. Obama’s health care plan is a prudential judgment. Elimination of class distinctions is not a component of CST. Rationing of some sort will happen as it does currently. Death is an inevitability. Not all health care that is available needs be present in a health plan to be moral.

  • The prudential judgment of the bishops is one thing, but their insistence that health coverage should be universal is not a prudential judgment.

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil.

    What does this have to do with it and why did you just throw it in the middle of this paragraph? Are you one of those “everything is really about abortion” types?

  • Just that the Senate plan just passed includes abortion coverage and the bishops have noted that one cannot support the current plan as a Catholic.

    Yes basic coverage for all is a Catholic principle. The problem with the bishops’ statement is that if abortion payment, as well as conscience provisions, were provided in the legislation, they would support it as being consistent with Catholic principles. This is their prudential judgment. Mine is that it does not. That’s the prudential judgment part.

  • I don’t see how universal “coverage” is anything but prudential. Universal access to basic health care may be a Catholic principle, but “coverage” suggests insurance, and the role of insurance is prudential. To the extent a society can afford it, no one should be denied access to basic health care. The extent to which that is actually happening in the US today is debatable, as is how improvements can be made. With proper protections against abortion, I have absolutely no problem with Catholics supporting a variant of the current legislation; I also have no problems with Catholics opposing it. To suggest that Catholics are required to support or oppose in such a case is just mistaken. Phillip is correct.

  • Thanks. Better said then my efforts.

  • Mike Petrik – But Catholics cannot support the standard republican line on health care. Period.

  • Michael,
    Discourse is not served by throwing our vagueries like “standard Republican line on health care.” Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare

  • Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    If you ignore all the lies in the platform, as represented in that link, maybe you statement would be true.

  • I rest my case.

  • Of course you do. Rest assured, too, in your “what can I get away with” ethic.

  • Michael,

    How can you on the one hand insist that only those who are ideologically sympathetic to you have an accurate understanding of what socialists/anarchists advocate, and yet on the other hand insist that only those who are _not_ Republican (indeed, only those who dislike them) have an accurate understanding of what Republicans advocate?

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

Pro-Life Republicans

Sunday, November 8, AD 2009

pro-life gopLast night all but one, who voted present, of the House Republicans voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment in spite of knowing that its passage made likely the final passage of ObamaCare.  Here is a statement of the House Republican Leadership issued last night before either the Stupak amendment or ObamaCare was passed:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) issued the following statement in support of an amendment offered by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit federal funding of abortions under the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) health care plan: “We believe in the sanctity of life, and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment addresses a moral issue of the utmost concern. It will limit abortion in the United States. Because of this, while we strongly and deeply oppose the underlying bill, we decided to stand with Life and support Stupak-Pitts.

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43 Responses to Pro-Life Republicans

  • It is an easy decision when you are genuinely pro-life; however, political pragmatism would be very tempting in this situation. It must have been difficult to know that you are voting to create the climate that will pass the Obamanation assault on health care.

    Nevertheless, we may credit them with taking the correct moral stance and pray for the Senate to kill the bill.

    What the heck is with Cao? Is he another Dede?

  • Cao is very liberal for a Republican but also absolutely pro-life. I am sure no political calculation entered into his head and that he voted for ObamaCare simply because he thought it was the right thing to do, especially since he probably assumes he isn’t coming back to Congress no matter what he does. He was elected from an intensely Democrat district in New Orleans simply because his opponent is a crook and it would take a major political miracle for him to win re-election.

  • They receive it from me, Don. I really was expecting a “present” vote from them, to assure the defeat of the health care bill… but they really surprised me. My hat is off to them.

  • I have been struggling with this all night. Keep in mind I am no a Republican and I think over the years they have done much damage to the cause of liberty. I also find many to pander to religion and actually employ political pragmatism.

    Part of me wants to be mad at them for giving the Demoncrats cover to pass this monstrosity. Stupak will likely be removed or the rules developed in darkness, behind closed doors by unelected officials will create a work around to kill babies. Nevertheless, we are to always pray, “Fiat voluntus tua” – Thy Will be done. We have to trust God and even if some Republicans voted for this ammendment knowing that it would allow the assualt on health care to pass and perhaps just to fool us into voting for them in 2010 – it is still a principled victory.

    Life is the most precious gift and all other rights, both human and civil are derived from the right to life. The defense of life has been marginalized so much, even by Christians, perhaps especially by Catholics. I am so sick of being called a one-issue voter – I am not, neither are most pro-lifers I know. It is the primary issue and that cannot be avoided no matter how severe the mental gymnastics employed may be. So long as killing the innocent is legal and even encouraged this country is heading toward extinction.

    This is a principled victory and we must give thanks even if we are tempted, as I am, to see it as hollow becuase God’s ways are not our ways.

    Mary, Mother of Life, ora pro nobis.

  • “Cao is very liberal for a Republican but also absolutely pro-life. I am sure no political calculation entered into his head…”

    If he were “absolutely” pro-life, wouldn’t the rationing, contraception, and other nasty provisions come into play for him? Evidently not.

    Also, I’d be more likely to believe no political calculations entered his head if he didn’t wait until the Dems secured the necessary number of votes to win before he voted.

  • Here is what Cao says about this on his webite.

    “Tonight, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-2) voted in favor of the comprehensive health reform bill, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

    Of his vote, Cao said: “Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.

    Cao said: “I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.

    The bill passed the House at a 220-215 vote.

    Cao said: “Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.

    Cao said: “I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents.”

    http://josephcao.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=154007

    Needless to say I disagree with Cao profoundly on this, but I do not doubt his sincerity.

  • Seems to me this is just a brief side trip along the road of the decline of western civilization.

    Reelection is usually what matters most to folks, if it means maintaining power, influence and a “comfortable” standard of living. I am grateful not to be a politician.

    Nothing surprises me. I have come to “lean on” no institutions and very, very few people. We are each capable of the worst choices and these days those choices are made with ever increasing frequency, I regret to observe.

    We pay “lip service” to moral absolutes, finding all manner of “justifications and rationalizations” to find cover for our decisions which are made in support of the “Culture of Death”, although we try to wash our hands of these as did Pilate when he handed Jesus over to pay for OUR SINS, FOLKS.

    MINE AND YOURS.

    Some things never change.

  • It was also the political expedient thing to do. Can you imagine the outrage had they voted against the Stupak Amendment?

  • This seems to be good news for the pro-life cause—so why does it taste like poison to me?

  • “It was also the political expedient thing to do. Can you imagine the outrage had they voted against the Stupak Amendment?”

    The politics aren’t that simple restrainedradical. A strong majority of Republicans oppose abortion. Almost all Republicans oppose ObamaCare. I am seeing plenty of opposition on Republican sites to this move:

    “As I responded to Daybrook, I appreciate the answer but this is horrible strategy. The NRLC should have been adults about this. They are going to save this amendment and ensure final passage. Then it’s going to get struck in conference and a chance to kill this will have been lost.

    Right now it’s passing with 63 Dem votes and 170+ Republican votes.

    The GOP leadership got rolled on this by Pelosi.”

    http://ace.mu.nu/

    Long term I think this will work out well for the Republicans, but short term there is a political price to pay for this move by the Republicans in the House.

  • Donald,
    You are not thinking clearly. Of course it was the politically expedient thing to do. The logic is impeccable: Republicans are not really pro-life and will do whatever is politically expedient; Republicans voted in favor of this pro-life measure; ergo, the vote must have been politically expedient. Hope that’s clear now.

  • 🙂

  • “short term there is a political price to pay for this move by the Republicans in the House.”

    I don’t think so. Voting against the bill gave them the cover they need. There may be some opposition, but I think the vast majority of their constituents will support this move. It’s a win-win for both sides. The Democrats get to vote pro-choice and for universal health care and the Republicans get to vote pro-life and against socialized medicine.

  • I see that some people in this thread are more partisan Republicans than Catholics. I’ve met Joseph Cao. My wife has been to numerous fundraisers for Joseph Cao. Joseph Cao is a highly honorable man, a true Catholic public figure. He promised that he would support healthcare reform if the Stupak amendment was included, simply because he knew it was the right thing to do. Joseph Cao is a hero. If only a few Republicans would follow him.

    And to Donald – yes, I very much appreciate GOP support for the Stupak amendment. The cynic in me would say they were caught between a rock and a hard place, and could not be seen publicly opposing a pro-life measure on tardy political grounds. But let’s give them some credit. And now that we have a decent bill with ironclad abortion protection, I would like to see some Republicans start supporting this bill – just a few Catholic Republicans would make a difference here. So where were they last night? Are they willing to support a pro-life universal health insurance plan that actually reduces the deficit, or are they instead enslaved to a rigid free market ideology and to insurance company money?

    I don’t know what is going to happen in conference. But with enough GOP support, we can get this bill passed withe the Stupak amendment.

  • Somebody mentioned “socialized medicine”. Sigh. This reform twins an individial mandate with community rating-style restrictions on what insurance companies can do (you know, refusing coverage, dropping people, charging exhorbitant premia based on “pre-existing condition”). For everybody in empoloyer-insurance, hardly anything changes. For those in medicare and medicaid, hardly anything changes. For those in the individual markets, they will purchase insurance on a regulated exchange, which will include a public option that will be wholly funded by premia and which cannot use medicare reimbursement rates. And those below a certain threshold will receive subsidies to help they purchase the insurance.

    How is any of this “socialized medicine”? You know, people on the right would perhaps had a better ability to shape this debate if they actually delved into the issues, instead of relying on slogans.

  • We agree that Cao is an honorable man Tony. As for the bill I think it is atrocious and I pray it is buried in the Senate, although from my partisan perspective it would be better if it passed since I believe that it would ensure the GOP taking the House back in 2010. At any rate if a bill does get out of the Senate it will bear as much relationship to the House bill as a bat does to a spider.

  • Please Tony. Your whole goal has been a single payer, socialized medicine, system. The intent of this bill is to drive private insurers out of business and to force people to become health wards of the state ultimately. Fortunately this bill has as much chance of ever becoming law as Madonna, the strumpet and not the Mother of God, does of becoming a spokeswoman for the Eagle Forum.

  • A good AP story explaining why the House bill is DOA in the Senate.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091108/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_care_overhaul

  • We have to be careful not to confuse Catholic intentions (ends) with practical methods (means). Yes, it is true that we, as Catholics, are to provide for all those in need and that includes health care; however, the Church does not demand that we use the government for that purpose. Does government have a role? Yes. Not always at the federal level. In fact as seldom as possible should the federal government be employed.

    Furthermore, Charity is what we as individuals are called to do, when government forces one of us to provide for another then it is theft and not charity.

    This bill is a disaster. Anyone who supports it has either not read it, doesn’t understand it, has no concpet of basic enconomics, is extremely naive, or has sinister intentions to make us all slaves of the state.

    I haven’t read this entire thing, it is over 2,000 pages!!!! The parts I have read are frigtening. We will be left with one, two or three enormous insurance companies with their market secured by government force. I doubt we will get to government provided health care. What we will probably get is government protection for a few insurance companies at the expense of all the other insurance companies and the people.

    Even if the Stupak ammendment makes it into the spider or the bat version that Donald is referring to, that does not guarantee that abortions will not be increased under this mess. Bills become laws and laws become regulations. Regs are not written by elected reps, they are determined by government agencies behind closed doors and always further the expansion of government and aid the corporate interests that fabricated the legislation in the first place.

    The murder of the per-born, the elderly, the disabled, you know the same old targets Eugenecists have always had is firmly set in the minds of many of those in power and any and all means to achieve this will be utilized. Those on the Left and the Right, the Libertarians (of all stripes), the Republicans and the Democrats all need to realize this NOW. If we play ‘wait and see’ it will be too late to stop it. We’ve been killing babies for almost four decades and this is going to be just another step toward more death and the destruction of what this nation can be.

    Combine this mess with Cap and Trade and you have a recipe for how you make the USA into China. No Catholic in their right mind can want that.

    I am confident that this will die in the Senate; however, these are dark times and anything is possible. Pray.

  • Suz,

    I’m with you.

    This’ll disappear in committee *IF* the Senate passes the health care bill.

    But in the end this violates the rule of subsidiarity.

    Technically speaking, why bother giving money to Catholic hospitals, or any other Catholic Charity, if the government is going to provide it to you at the expense of your children having to pay off this monstrosity of a debt in the very near future.

  • How is any of this “socialized medicine”? You know, people on the right would perhaps had a better ability to shape this debate if they actually delved into the issues, instead of relying on slogans.

    1). As someone that follows politics, one should be able to safely assume you are aware that Republicans have offered, in recent years, several reform proposals. Agree or disagree, there is substantive opposition. And slogans are necessarily a part of all debates.

    2). The label “socialize,” and the ensuing slogans, are correct. This House proposal is a large-scale federal government intrusion and cash influx (which is sickening for those of those of us that can’t stand the quite brazen A. Stern and SEIU). In this context, “nationalize” is an incomplete but usable description. And to “nationalize” is to “socialize.” These two words, in the political context of advanced liberal democracies, are synonyms. (In fact, feel free to go right ahead and make a case for any one time in 20th Century American history where this was not the case – I’ve had people try and it’s pretty difficult.) This is why I have for some time now found the supposedly “Catholic anarchist” arguments for this particular brand of reform to be quite strange.

    3). As an advocate for health care reform, I applaud the efforts of Rep. Stupak and also hope the Democratic efforts, for far too long the pawn of public sector unions, trial lawyers, and the abortion lobby, go down in flames. Any reform efforts need, at minimum, three things: a). strong protections for the unborn b). a serious appraisal of the demographic impact of baby boomer entitlements, senior care – including discussion of some manner of what could be termed ‘rationing,’ and illegal immigration (I favor a halt on all immigration, especially with double digit unemployment and until such time as the number comes much close to 3 or 4 percent – the wage destruction of the past few decades has been terrible) c). measures that make trial lawyers furious.

    All Catholics must agree on the first point. The Senate Democrats and the president are horrible on that score, especially compared to the always running for re-election House, but let us hope for a surprise.

  • In regard to Representative Cao, this article is in accord with my view of him:

    http://spectator.org/blog/2009/11/08/defending-cao

  • Cao is a good guy. Part of the problem here is the LSU Charity hospital that was destroyed by Katrina and still has not been rebuilt.

    It was pretty clear to a lot of us on Obama’s visit to New Orelans and his elusive answers on Federal finds for this that he sending a message to CAO. I think CAO doid what he had to do

  • This is NO victory. This is a political public stunt, & abortion was used as a red herring.

    This is the Stupak Amendment:

    Page 154, after line 18, insert the following new section (and conform the table of contents of
    Division A accordingly):

    SEC 265. LIMITATIONS ON ABORTION FUNDING.

    (a) IN GENERAL.–No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act

    (or any 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 pregnancy or incest.

    The last clause: “unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of pregnancy or incest,” places in law a class of human beings that has no protection of life and is jeopardy of loss of life through no fault or responsible action of their own: those who have been conceived by the sins of rape or incest and have not yet been born. This is NOT a pro-life amendment.

    I got this from a friend in regards to the Rep who voted present:

    “Well, Shadegg had a plan to throw sand in the gears and likely ruin the political machinery grinding out a victory for the government takeover of health care. He was rounding up the votes to kill the pro- life amendment (by voting “present”) and thereby killing the whole bill and quite possibly the entire effort. This would have caused such a train wreck, it is doubtful the liberals could have
    recovered, i.e., Waterloo.”

    http://prop207az.blogspot.com/2009/11/with-friends-like-right-to-life-who.html

    I wonder if Rep Shadegg’s-(AZ) strategy actually would have killed the bill?

    Because of the USCCB encouraging lay faithful to call their Rep to add the Stupak (anti-life) amendment to the bogus health “care” bill, we could possibly have a socialistic country. Thanks USCCB! Next time you want to do something dramatic, have the pastors read & stuff the bulletins with
    Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html

    Faithful Catholics NEVER have & NEVER will support socialism!!!

  • Faithful Catholics will never support socialism? Indeed, if you define socialism correctly and not as a mere slogan. But remember, Catholic social teaching tells us that faithful Catholics should also eschew the ideology of free market liberalism. Pius XI referred to both as the “twin rocks of shipwreck” – extreme individualism and extreme collectivism.

  • “Combine this mess with Cap and Trade and you have a recipe for how you make the USA into China. No Catholic in their right mind can want that.”

    China has neither universal health care nor cap-and-trade. Did you mean the UK?

  • Or did you mean that no Catholic in their right mind can want to make the USA into Malta which does have universal health care and cap-and-trade.

  • Pope Pius XI:
    “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist”

    Every Pope, beginning w/ Leo XIII to our current Pope Benedict, condemns socialism. The main underlining reason is that socialism ultimately denies the central truth of Christianity, that man needs GOD.

    The bill does not deal only w/ “health care.” There are other issues in the bill such as, the bill will create a government home visitation program, with federally funded bureaucrats giving out parenting advice, and nothing in the bill makes it clear that these programs must be voluntary.

    I take it you support the bill, because my previous post started w/ the wording on the Stupak amendment, showing how it is NOT pro-life & as well, to Shadegg’s plan. “But remember” the Catholic Church is pro-life. However, you don’t discuss these items, instead you zero in on socialism, because in your mind you think the USCCB was right. Well, they weren’t & now they are regretting their decision. They DON’T approve of the bill.

    Get it in your head – Americans want health care REFORM – not govt. take over.

  • The Stupak Amendment–if it stays in after the Conference sausage making (and I think it will, all things considered)–certainly removes the deal killer aspect of the House plan for me. And the Amendment also greatly diminishes the problems with the conscience clauses, which were pretty iffy beforehand.

    As much as it may grate folks here, MM is unimpeachably correct–health care is a right. In the absence of any other moral objections, it isn’t a bad day for Catholics. Far from it.

    Now the kicker is to see what the Senate does, and to make sure the Amendment stays in.

  • NY Times: Dems Banking on Later Squeezing Pro-Life Language Out of Bill in Committee
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09110705.html

    Abortion in or out of the bill was a ruse. If Stupak’s Amendment stays in, which I highly doubt, don’t think for one moment that Planned Parenthood & other abortion activists will not be plotting how to bring this bill to court in three years to say it is unconstitutional.

  • If it stays in, they instantly lose the Court challenge on stare decisis. Hyde survived the Supreme Court.

    A “ruse”? Maybe that’s what the pro-aborts were hoping, but I don’t think that’s fair to the overwhelming majority who voted for Stupak.

  • Actually I think one can argue from Catholic Social Teaching that this is a failure for Catholics. Starting here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/08/AR2009110817808.html

  • rradical: “China has neither universal health care nor cap-and-trade. Did you mean the UK?”

    Sure, UK, China, whatever. It is just the difference between socialism and communism. A little bit less of a bad thing doesn’t make it good.

    Control health care (HR 3962), life (Roe v. Wade), food (FDA), money (the Fed) and energy (Cap and Tax) and you have slaves not citizens.

  • Just becuase health care is a right doesn’t mean the government has to directly provide it. Our rights come from God and are secured by government. Government can secure the right to health care by allowing a market of businesses to provide medical services and insurance services as well as allowing overall wealth to increase by not confiscating it so that we can take care of the indigent with Charity instead of theft.

    Why would anyone who is remotely Catholic want the government to start providing our tangible rights directly. Health care includes food, water, exercise, medical treatment, shelter, clothing and love – should the government provide all that as well?

  • “Why would anyone who is remotely Catholic want the government to start providing our tangible rights directly.”

    Because an uninsured friend of mine died at age 33 because of cancer that wasn’t diagnosed in time. Because there are plenty of folks “enjoying” long stints of unemployment here in Michigan who can’t afford COBRA. Which runs out in 18 months anyway.

    Actually, I don’t want the government to *directly provide* free coverage for everyone. I just want it to make sure that coverage is *available* for everyone. I’m all ears as to viable alternatives, which haven’t been proffered.

    I am also cognizant of the problems with the Pelosi bill apart from abortion, specifically the costs and regulatory problems which will likely result.

    However, at least it does provide coverage for those who need it. Which, alas, the Republican plan didn’t, despite the fact it contained some long-overdue reforms.

  • Dale,

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend. You should know, though, that cancer survival rates in the United States are higher than in Europe and Canada (where the government plays more of a role), and one of the reasons is that we actually do *more* screening than do other countries, and treatment comes faster once there is a diagnosis.

  • Exactly BA, which is why one may find varied reasons as a Catholic to be bothered by this.

  • BA:

    Yes, and I recall reading somewhere that overall cancer treatment in the US is the best in the world, by a wide margin. God knows I don’t want to see that lost with any reform.

  • Some cancers yes, some no. I seem to recall the evidence is mixed. But in general, there is nothing wrong with the quality of US healthcare. It’s just that a lot of people can’t get it, and it’s incredibly expensive.

  • MM,

    I think you’re missing BA’s point, which is that the facts suggest that even given the fact that number of people in the US do not have health insurance, people _still_ overall get cancer screenings more and survive cancer longer.

    Frankly, I think in this case it’s probably a wash since the pending legislation will probably only increase the number of insured nominally — you aren’t simply “given” health care, you need to pay for insurance, and paying a fine for not having insurance is cheaper than paying for insurance (even after subsidies), so those who can’t afford insurance now mostly still won’t have insurance. The main people helped by this will be people with lots of money who nonetheless don’t have employer insurance and can’t get individual insurance because of some pre-existing condition.

  • MM — since you’re here, you might want to correct your constant misinformation and lies about how often private insurance covers abortion. A quote from yesterday’s NY Times: “A 2003 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found that 13 percent of abortions were billed directly to insurance companies.” Note, that’s billed, not paid.

    This refutes your dishonest attempts to claim that “most” people are contributing to private insurance policies that pay for abortion.

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Congress Goes Batty

Sunday, September 27, AD 2009

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I wonder how the bat would vote on ObamaCare?

A few years ago my wife and I awoke in the middle of the night to a bat flying around our bedroom,  the only time we have seen  a bat in our house.  We turned on the overhead light and the bat began to circle it at top speed.  We opened the bedroom window, but the bat seemed to be having too much fun circling our light.  I grabbed a towel from our bathroom, and, hearkening back to the “towel wars” I participated in during high school a bit over three decades ago, I snapped the towel at the bat.  The creature fell stunned on our bed.  I threw the towel over the bat, and unceremoniously tossed towel and bat out the window.  The next morning I retrieved the towel.  No bat was lying on the ground, so I assume it went on its bat way unscathed.

That was my one and only run in with a bat.  On the whole I would rather deal with them than the results of most Congressional legislation.

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Blueshirts, Pelosi, and Mobs, Oh My!

Saturday, August 8, AD 2009

It’s been an interesting week in the world of American politics.  With the arrogance of congressional Democrats and the White House attempts at discrediting a grassroots movement, the passions will certainly continue to climb after the weekend is over.

Here are some highlights from these past few days:

1. At a town hall last week in Dallas, an elderly “mob” with “manufactured” outrage questioned AARP’s support for nationalized health care, asking: “Do you work for us or do we work for you?”

There were no swastika-wearing grannies at Tuesday’s meeting, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might claim. Nor were they “taking their cues from talk show hosts, Internet rumor-mongers . . . and insurance rackets,” as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said.

But they were mad as hell at the perception that AARP was selling them out in the name of government-run medical insurance. That perception was not helped when the AARP town hall on the subject was shut down by the seniors outfit once the members dared to ask questions. The AARP representatives did not want to hear from the members at all. Just send in your dues, granny, and be quiet.

To read the rest of this IDB Editorial click here.

2. You’ve heard a lot about this crazy, scary, vicious mob on some shadowy GOP payroll. By the way the DNC, Rachel Maddow, and President Obama talk, you’d think it was a motley crue of Hell’s Angels.

Let me introduce you to the mob:

scary mob 1

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20 Responses to Blueshirts, Pelosi, and Mobs, Oh My!

  • A superb roundup Tito! You have a real talent for putting these together!

  • It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people. And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

    How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a lynch mob advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

  • If you don’t know who Rick Scott is then you don’t know who is duping you. This is the false prophet. Scott is the money-changer you let into your temple. Scott is a big health care CEO (whose company by the way was fined $1.7 billion for fraud) who is financing the disruption of the town hall meetings. He is the temptor who has cause you to stumble into the gospel of hatred for your fellow man. His “salvation” (money) is to get you to serve corporate profits instead of your fellow man.

    One Master said “Feed my sheep,” “As ye do to the least of these my brothers, you do unto me.” Perhaps you can appreciate how that would be served by universal health care?
    The other “master” says, “shout them down,” and “voice your anger.” Does that really serve your mission to be the spreader of the Good News?

    I truly feel sorry for good-hearted people who have been drawn into the hatred of political extremism and who honestly think they are serving Christ, when in fact they are serving corporate lobbyists. What a shame!

    Check it out: http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/06/rick-scott-sanchez/

  • Paul,

    Those were very hateful elderly people in those posts.

    I guess the GOP Hate-van picked them at an early bird dinner and bussed them over to these town halls.

    It’s called grasping at straws.

  • I really don’t care how great the proposed healthcare bill is, even if it give cradle to grave care to all at the same level Congress enjoys (don’t mention the military, our healthcare isn’t all that great). I don’t care if B.O. & Company summon up a genie to pay for it all with no expense to the taxpayers. I don’t care if there is absolutely no provisions for funding abortions in it.

    If it doesn’t expressly forbid coverage for abortion and euthanasia it isn’t good enough. Period.

  • The health care plan on offer provides for government funding of abortions. Pointing to shady corporate lobbyists doesn’t change that gruesome fact. Who’s the temptor who put that murderous, needless and revolutionary language in the bill? Mr. Scott may be a fraud, but he hasn’t snuffed human life on the scale contemplated by this health bill.

    It has no place in a “health care” bill. Demand that it be taken out and I’ll stand with you, CL. Ignore it, and I’ll ignore you.

  • Paul,

    Do you have a citation for your assertion that the military receive the ‘the best health care in the world’?

    I am not aware that anyone has asserted that private enterprise is infallible, merely that it generally performs more efficiently in the provision of merchandise and services unless the good in question is one that cannot be vended on a market (e.g. law enforcement, or natural environments) because the costs and benefits of the provision of the service are very poorly aligned, payer and recipient being different parties (for the most part). A secondary problem you have is that often the use of markets to provide certain goods and services leads to a distribution of same that people find unpalatable. Medical services is one of those goods.

    People’s demand for goods and services (including medical services) is invariably going to exceed the capacity of producers to supply these services. From the perspective of the consumer, if you spend more on x, you have to spend less on y. Rationing of the fruits of productive capacity may be done through price systems or through administrative controls, but it must occur. Neither the individual household, nor the commercial insurer, nor the government have unlimited resources, so some party must be in the business of ‘denying coverage’ (i.e. refusing to pay for it). The commercial insurer charges you a premium which is derived in part from an understanding of a particular benefits configuration. If you change the benefits configuration post hoc, the insurance program is not actuarially sound and eventually goes bankrupt.

    The program as proposed is hideously rococo, is proposed to be enacted when there are severe demands on public resources from the banking crisis, and is being enacted when simpler alternatives that allow for more decision-making by consumers and providers are available. People also tend to be rather risk-averse in these sorts of situations, preferring a devil they know. That there is opposition is unsurprising. Get used to it.

  • Paul,

    the plan at offer bears no resemblance to the plan which congress generously offers itself, it’s more akin to medicare or the veterans administration. Active military enjoy excellent trauma care, but their “routine” medical system leaves a lot to be desired.

    ChristianLiberal (an oxymoron),

    and your well-crafted talking points are financed by George Soros. Whatever the agenda of Rick Scott’s organization, they fund NOBODY to attend any townhalls, they, along with many other conservative groups help to analyse the proposal (it’s >1000 pages for legalese and Orwellian “newspeak”) and communicate their findings. It’s the well funded SEIU that is far more in line with what you’re accusing us of.

  • Advocacy groups, at ALL points on the political spectrum, exist for a very good reason: because most ordinary people cannot take the time to thoroughly perform completely original research and personally lobby their legislators on EVERY single issue of interest to them.

    That’s why we have issue-based organizations that do it for us — National Right to Life, the NRA, AARP, the Sierra Club, etc. If they organize an event and provide transportation, meals, etc. for people to participate, does that automatically mean that every individual who attends is being “manipulated” or “bought” and therefore their views don’t deserve consideration? Do people’s views “count” only if they happen to find out about an event completely on their own and attend totally at their own expense, without using any arguments or “talking points” that have ever been used by anyone else?

    The mere fact that an advocacy group organizes an event or actively invites people to participate (no one has, as far as I know, claimed that anyone on either side was ordered or forced to attend) does NOT mean that the views expressed by those attendees are insincere or not worthy of attention. I think that applies just as much to SEIU as to any alleged GOP political operatives — if they care enough to show up for an event, they have a right to be heard AND a responsibility to let others be heard as well.

  • Elaine,

    you’re right of course, but in the case of the townhall ‘mobs’ the only support provided has been information as far as we know, and that’s generally the case with conservative causes. On the other hand, there is a LONG history of leftist groups using all sorts of enticements, including cash payments to individual protesters. Furthermore, it’s curious that the SEIU is showing a lot of interest in this matter, since union negotiated health care plans are largely exempted from interference under this law. Also notable is the special treatement afforded SEIU and other democrat activists at these supposedly “open forums”.

    I remember SEIU “protestors” involved in a janitorial contract dispute a couple of years ago marching around Cincinnati. I asked one of them what it was about and after a short discussion he acknowledged that he had no idea what it was about he just got paid to come out.

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  • I probably should have added that I have very little if any sympathy for SEIU, since they were among the biggest supporters of and donors to Illinois’ disgraced Governor Blago, and also among the most strident groups now pushing for a massive tax increase to cover the state deficit. I believe their efforts to organize home health care workers and demand taxpayer support for them are doing more harm than good to their cause and those of the elderly and disabled people they are supposed to be helping. Also, it is true that completely original arguments offered by someone acting on their own will carry more weight than canned “talking points”.

    What I take issue with, however, is the notion that participating in ANY kind of organized effort or campaign regarding an issue somehow invalidates one’s point of view or makes it less genuine.

    Also, Pelosi obviously doesn’t know what “astroturfing” means. In my experience as a journalist, it referred to instances in which an advocacy or lobbying group creates fake grass roots support for its point of view by getting its own members or clients to write a bunch of letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, blog posts, etc. in a way that makes them APPEAR to have come from ordinary citizens moved to write purely out of personal conviction — with NO mention of the authors’ group affiliation or personal or financial interest in the matter. However, the mere fact that a letter-writing campaign or public event is organized by some group does not make it “astroturf.”

  • Tito Edwards, Art Deco, Matt McDonald: It is very American to want to help our fellow countryman. I believe in my government especially our men and women in our military, firefighters and police. You, not so much. Lets face it the previous administration did nothing (except start two wars of choice that are bankrupting our country with all the “war profiteering” contracts to Halliburton) well you and I will just have to agree to not agree. I did not believe any of the Republican rhetoric before the last election and I do not believe them now. I do not believe that your sentiments are in line with the majority, but your comments, funny stuff.

  • Paul,

    Tito Edwards, Art Deco, Matt McDonald: It is very American to want to help our fellow countryman.

    yes, and we do. In fact, if you are a typical liberal, and we are typical conservatives then we do far more to help our fellow countrymen than you do… shame on you.

    I believe in my government especially our men and women in our military, firefighters and police. You, not so much.

    I believe in God Almighty. I appreciate and thank our military, firefighters, and police. The FEDERAL government bureacracy which you worship, not so much. State and local governments I appreciate and trust more because they are closer to the people.

    I do not believe that your sentiments are in line with the majority

    based on all the liberals you hang out with it’s not surprising that you have no idea what the majority think. Check the polls buddy.

  • “I believe in my government especially our men and women in our military, firefighters and police. You, not so much.

    And this comment was meant to prove what exactly?

    It reminds me of a corrupt company when faced with possible prosecution for dumping toxic wastes into rivers; they all of a sudden introduce the rather conspicuous red herring: well, our company, as you know, believes wholeheartedly in the greatness of these United States and, in fact, donate regularly to charitable causes!

    Well, quite frankly, much like the Demo-n-Caths and other like-minded felons who capitalize on the veneer of societal goodness, professing such remarkable love of country and their fellow man, all the while, advancing deterimental policies that only hinder and even injure the common citizen; I don’t buy the seemingly noble facade even for a second.

    Go sell your liberal goods elsewhere; while McDonald might play gracious host to you, I, on the other hand, see you for who you truly are: an actor disguising sheer demagoguery in mere sentimentalism but, as even evident in the agenda and actions of the current administration, nothing substantive or even noble where the average American Family is concerned, which policies as these can only prove injurious as regarding any purported benefits such policy claim to advance and can prove even fatal, especially in light of end-of-life issues which will certainly be truncated — not so surprising given the fiercely Pro-Abort administration bent on only advancing the merits of the Culture of Death.

  • e.,

    very eloquent!

  • Matt & e: Sticks and Stones……. Stick and Stones

    I do not believe that your sentiments are in line with the majority, but your comments, funny stuff.

  • Paul:

    I do not believe that your sentiments are in line with sanity; but, hey, such is the sorry state of the world.

    All things besides, interesting that you should flaunt your views as being the right one simply because you make the rather tenuous claim that it happens to be the majority, which doesn’t necessarily make them right even if so.

    That notorious ad populum is an old fallacy that even your own ignoble confreres have used time and again.

    Please do visit us again should you have something more substantive to share. Thanks.

  • e: Snore….Snore

Congress Feeling the Heat

Sunday, August 2, AD 2009

town-hall-2

Hattip to Instapundit. Democrat Congress beings are reporting here that they are encountering angry constituents at their townhall meetings.  Now why would their constituents be so angry?

red-ink

Oh yeah.

There is a political storm brewing in this country of immense proportions.  If some members of Congress aren’t aware of it yet, they will be after they return from the August recess.

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11 Responses to Congress Feeling the Heat

  • I’m sorry that the storm is brewing up over the cost of the proposal rather than over some of the specifics in it. No matter how the proposed program is funded, it seems likely that “universal health care” will make abortion available without restriction or cost throughout America in the near future. In fact, I understand that is the upshot of the Capps amendment included in the version that just came out of committee in the House. Sadly, an increasingly number of Catholic commentators (at America, Commonweal, and Vox Nova, among others) seem to agree that the only possible curb on abortion in the future will have come in the form of increased social services for women who decide against it.

  • The news is overwhelmingly bad and getting worse… But the recession is almost over according to the White House and controlling the deficit is the Administrations #1 concern once the “economy is on track.”

    What is it about the commonsense approach to fiscal responsibility that Washington thinks doesn’t apply?

    I’m not saying that this is “simple” but only that some basic principles strongly recommend themselves:

    1) Stop digging the hole. If you are in debt, don’t contract more debt and suspend the growth on contracted debts by renegotiating where you can.

    2) Shed unused assets, particularly those that have ancillary costs, and apply the recovered cash to the debts with the highest effective cost.

    3) Suspend gifts and donations that are absolutely necessary. This is to say that the 3rd World will have to do without us for a while as we get the economy back on track. Sure it will hurt but it will hurt a lot less than bankrupting the only large-scale donor on the planet.

    4) Reduce taxes where it will have a real positive impact on spending.

    5) Reduce or eliminate taxes on business income for small businesses.

    I am sure there are lots of other choices that people much smarter than me would make. However, the Vice President sounds insane when he suggests that the best way to avoid national bankruptcy is to continue to feed the growing debt. I am equally certain that those statements are utterly incompatible with the President’s assertion that reducing America’s debt is critical to the nation’s sustained prosperity.

    In short, were the Legislature or the Executive Branches serious about the economy, they would not be extending unemployment benefits, contemplating new social programs, or offering $4,500 to Americans to give a short-term spike to the auto markets. These are the acts of persons who have thrown in the towel, the acts which, if done by a person rather than a government, would be a pre-curser to filing for Bankruptcy, not one who expected to avoid it.

  • Ron, don’t underestimate the anger being generated about abortions being funded. Just last week I was approached by a fairly apolitical acquaintance who told me he was livid about the prospect of National Health Care paying for abortions. Paying for abortions has always been a 70-30 split with 70% of the country against using any government funds to pay for abortions. The CongressCritters will be hearing a lot on this issue during the recess.

  • According to the Politico article — if I read it correctly — all the anger seems to be directed at Democratic Congresscritters. Surely Republicans are hearing the same concerns as well?

  • Are you referring to the staged protests occurring, many of which are manned by bussed in operatives?

  • No Mr. DeFrancisis these are not Acorn style faked protests that the Left has specialized in for decades in this country. This is the rage felt by the public against the woeful incompetence of the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress. However, please do your best to convince yourself and your colleagues on the Left that these are staged protests and that they have nothing to worry about in the 2010 elections.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis,

    My wife and I attended a Tea Party in June. Neither of us had been to a protest before.

    While there, we ran into many people from our places of work, our church, and our children’s schools. None of them had ever been to a protest before either.

    I make no prediction as to the effect of such protests since the Speaker and the President are hell bent on dragging our country into this no matter what we say or do. However, my personal experience suggests that they have sparked a visceral response that will not easily be set aside. The fantasy that this is all a conspiracy – some sort of a plot by business – is laughable at best and utterly corrupt at worst.

    Where was all of this skepticism of protests during the Bush years? Where was the indignation at the suggestion that our President was a liar, the Congress a bunch of corrupt lackeys, and our nation a bunch of sheep?

    No… Those struggling to defend the lies of the Obama Administration and of Pelosi’s Congress are a hypocritical lot, concerned more with maintaining political power than doing what is good for our country.

  • What must really be causing cognitive dissonance on the left is the fact that these tea parties are not only growing, they’re also taking place in blue states like New York. If they were limited to the South and rural areas, the liberals could continue to snicker and sneer about rednecks and sore losers. But there have been tea parties in deep blue states, in places like Long Island and (fittingly) Boston. Lefties see that and conclude that these people must have been bussed in from somewhere else because it’s unthinkable that anyone in Long Island could be possibly upset about government spending.

    There were a lot of anti-war protests in my neighborhood back in the day (2003-2008. There’s still a war on and things are heating up in Afghanistan and yet, amazingly, I haven’t seen a single anti-war protest this summer. Hmmmm, what could possibly be different?) So I know what a professional protestor – a leftist cause junkie – looks like. These tea party folks are amateurish by comparison – no Move On folks passing out slick manufactured signs.

    P.J. O’Rourke once noted that normally lefty marches and rallies are far bigger than conservative protests because “we have jobs.” When Mrs. Jones the store manager and Mr. Smith the surgical tech get angry enough to take off from work so they can go to a rally holding a homemade cardboard sign – well, if I were on the Left, that would make me very uneasy indeed.

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Obamacare: If Congress Passes It, Let Them Live Under It

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

Hattip to Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain.  Rep. John Fleming (R. LA.) is the sponsor of House Resolution 615 which states that in the event National Health Care passes, all members of Congress who vote for it are urged to receive their health insurance under it.  This sounds like a very good idea to me.  If it is good enough for voters it should be good enough for CongressCritters.  Of course urging isn’t enough.  They should be required to be subject to Obamacare if it passes.  Here is the text of the resolution.

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9 Responses to Obamacare: If Congress Passes It, Let Them Live Under It

  • I agree. why not? I suspect most people pushing this line really don’t understand the reforms.

  • Actually Tony I believe the opposite is true, and that those who truly understand this bill would be the last who would wish to have their own health care depend upon it, but I congratulate your willingness to have Congress live under what they create for others.

  • One of the things that I find striking is that the stealth inclusion of FOCA in some of the House drafts has received so little attention.

    I received an urgent Knights of Columbus e-mail alert about it and confirmed with my Congressman’s office that the inclusion is true but none of the media outlets, including Fox, are carrying anything about it. Even the Catholic websites and blogs have been largely silent.

    I suspect that, if FOCA had made it out of a committe on its own, we would have been up in arms… you know, as Catholics and all. Shoving into the text of an healthcare draft though warrants not even a remark.

    What gives?

  • I agree. why not? I suspect most people pushing this line really don’t understand the reforms.

    Bill’s only 1,000 pages long. What’s not to understand?

  • Is it even a bill yet?

    As best I can tell, there are at least 5 much smaller proposals that have yet to be incorporated into a single bill. I don’t know what the Speaker is expecting to vote on by Friday, but it doesn’t sound like they have gotten beyond the committee markup stage.

  • Nice idea, but the amendment has no chance of passage. Sort of like how congress will write workplace rules and then exempt themselves. Best analogy to this I can think of is food. Consider congress a pushy chef who is insisting you pay for and eat his new concoction but when you ask him how it tasted when he tried it the chef says “Are you nuts? I wouldn’t eat this crap and definitely won’t pay for it.”

  • Why stop at Congress – shouldn’t the President who signs it also be subjected to it? I would love to see in one of these O press conferences someone challenge the President to give his oath that if O’care passes, and he signs it, he will take the public option.

  • Sort of a “poison pill” provision, eh?

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Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

In light of Zach’s stellar posting which generated over 240 comments ranging from anarchism to Oscar Romero and which inspired a posting by Michael Denton.  These comments, although informative to a certain extent, may have detracted from the original intent of the posting.  Henceforth in regards to said activities being done on Zach’s posting concerning Representative Chris Smith, I am starting a new tradition here at American Catholic, the open thread.

So feel free to comment to your hearts delight that isn’t related to any other postings on this website.

The comments policy is still in place so don’t forget to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Enjoy.

Marxist Health Care

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12 Responses to Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

  • I do not oppose a health care bill that extends coverage beyond the narrow concerns protected under Medicaid, Medicare, and SSI. I object to bloated bills that have not been read. I object to rushing to publish a bill, any bill, for purely political reasons. I object to “stealth” measures to hide within larger bills truly controversial legislation like FOCA. I object to the blackmail that this process creates, diminishing debate and deliberation to little more than key points, without the detail necessary to analyze the effects. Most of all, I object to a President, ANY President, telling the legislature what kind of legislation to pass, what it should do and say, and when it shall be completed. This is bullying and strikes as the core of the Separation of Powers.

    In the instant debate, I am THRILLED to see this rush to cobble together a bill delayed. Now, maybe, we can come up with something that specifically addresses the issues as hand without delving into issues that should be addressed as separate bills.

  • G-Veg,

    I agree to most of your points except the need for government run health care. Which both violates subsidiarity and distributism.

  • I forget who pointed out. Appropos of your cartoon, it appears the right has an unhealthy obsession with anal penetration, specifically anal rape.

  • M.Z.,

    What gnostic class can I take to follow your line of thinking?

  • Tito,

    I love you, man, but you are better than a post with that cartoon as its header.

  • Frankly, the cartoon was a lot more innocuous than M.Z.’s rather inflammatory response to it.

  • Why does it violate subsidiarity?

  • The principle of subsidiarity is that matters should be handled at the most local level as possible and if it cannot adequately at that level be taken care of, it can move up to the next point. The problem is, I think most Democrats will argue, is that the states do not have the resources to address the matter sufficiently because it is fixing a regional problem within a intricately more complicated problem. So, I don’t think one can simply say it violates subsidiarity as if that is some obvious objective fact that cannot, rightly or wrongly, be disputed.

    All Democratic proposals aside. I have read criticism after criticism, but I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem. I have seen what I think are credible starting-points amending parts of the system, but nothing comprehensively to address the whole of health care in America, while restraining the government. If this were really a serious problem, I’d almost expect a solution. The closest thing I’ve seen is the Patients Choice Act which has earned about every stripe of Republican criticism and has incorporated by and large waves of Democratic ideas.

    I think the *structure* of the health care markets is deeply flawed and I don’t see them re-structuring unless it is via the legislative process. I’m sure we won’t agree on details. But it seems opposition to Democratic health care proposals almost always opposition (indirectly) to reform, which ends up not happening — to the total chagrin of the people who need it the most.

  • Eric,

    Were the Federal Government to provide a straightforward and unrestricted subsidy to state, county, and municipal government determined according to a formula taking into account population and per capita income, the principal structural impediment to state authorities acting as medical insurers would be removed. Why not leave general income redistribution, macroeconomic stabilization (e.g. unemployment compensation), and public works implicated in moving people and goods across state lines to the center and other services to the periphery?

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  • Eric,
    I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem.

    have you checked out the Republican proposals? John McCain’s policy is a great starting point. I believe it’s the brainchild of an actual physician.

    Here’s the key points without getting into the nitty gritty:

    1. Tort Reform – liability insurance and payouts for exorbitant claims account for 20% of healthcare costs.

    2. Equal Access – eliminate preferential tax treatment of employer sponsored plans vs. private plans. Accomplished by eliminating the employer’s deduction, and giving a tax credit to all Americans with which to purchase health care as they see fit.

    3. Open Market – allow individuals and employers to purchase any plan authorized by any state.

    4. Encourage Health savings and catastrophic INSURANCE coverage instead of pre-paid health care.

    These actions will drive down the cost of health care while maintaining the motivators for continued advancement and excellence.

    Now, you can never again say haven’t heard any alternatives.