Sheldon Adelson: Put aside social conservativism to reclaim America

I promise that this post will be about what Sheldon Adelson had to say in an interview with Alana Goodman of Commentary Magazine.  Before I get there, though, I need to begin with a little story of my own.

Readers of my newsletter know that I had lunch last week with seven other conservative women here in Marin.  We had all found each other more or less by accident, not because any of us in Marin have proudly worn our conservativism in the open (our kids would be ostracized if we did), but because we listened for the little clues in their words that hinted at a conservative orientation.  We then risked exposing ourselves by asking, “Uh, are you by any chance  . . . um, you know, conserva-mumble, mumble, mumble?”

That shyness, of course, was before the last election.  Since the 2012 election, we’ve all made a vow to each other to be more open about our political identity and to challenge liberals who lead with unfounded conclusions that demonize conservatives and their beliefs or that confer saintly virtues on Obama and his cadre.

Interestingly, the eight of us were a microcosm of conservative views, ranging from fiscally conservative but socially liberal conservatives all the way to both fiscally and socially conservatives.  Our common denominator, of course, was fiscal conservativism. Dig deeper, and there were two other common denominators:  an abiding belief in the Constitution’s continued relevance to modern America and a fierce devotion to individual liberty.

Where we differed was (a) gay marriage and (b) abortion.  With regard to abortion, we did have one overarching point of agreement, which was that abortion is not a federal issue and should therefore be returned to the states.  When it came to gay marriage, all of us were willing to recognize gay unions, but we differed about whether the answer is to declare gay marriage the law of the land or, instead, to preserve marriage for religious institutions, while making civil unions across the board (both straight and gay) the law of the land.  As regular readers know, I hew to the second view, which acknowledges human relationships and state goals, without interfering in any way with religious freedom.

I walked away from the lunch realizing as clearly as I ever have that the strong fiber weaving us together is fiscal conservativism and individual liberty.  The frayed strands at the edges are what are commonly called “social issues.”

The Democrats, recognizing that the quickest way to shred a piece of fabric is to tear at the frayed edges, rather than to try to destroy the sturdy center, worked hard during the election to blow the gay-marriage and abortion dog whistles.  As the race in Missouri showed, social conservativism is a political landmine that routinely explodes in the face of struggling Republican candidates.  Todd Akin could have won that race if he hadn’t been asked about abortion.  When thinking about Akin’s repulsive and misinformed answer, which provided a solid Progressive rallying cry, don’t forget Richard Mourdock. His experience proves that, even if Akin had given a principled pro-Life answer, he still would have been pilloried and destroyed.

I’m a big believer that, when it comes to social issues, culture drives politics, rather than politics driving culture.  For the past forty years, social liberals have been planted very firmly in the driver’s seat.  They have infiltrated both media and education, which has given them the chance to shape a generation’s social views.  They have sensitized this generation’s ears so that the dog whistles most people under 55 hear the loudest aren’t “debt” or “fiscal cliff” or “responsibility,” but are, instead, “women haters,” “homophobes” and “racists.”

What this cultural transformation means is that, in the short term, conservatives can win on the fiscal side (and, possibly, on the individual liberties side) because people haven’t been deafened by decades of dog whistles on those subjects.  Until we take back the culture, though, which we do exactly the same way the Left did — namely, a slow march through the culture — we will invariably lose on social issues.  Significantly as the most recent election shows, losing on social issues inevitably means losing on all issues.

Now, finally, have established my premise about the way in which social issues invariably play against conservatives in national elections, I can get to Sheldon Adelson’s interview in Commentary Magazine.  For purposes of this essay, Sheldon Adelson is important for three reasons.  First, he is a conservative who is willing to put his money where his mouth is (unlike Warren Buffet, a true-to-form liberal who wants to put other people’s money where his mouth is).  The second reason Adelson is important is that, after his emergence as a money-player in this election, the Left has worked as hard to demonize him as they did to demonize the Koch Brothers and Mitt Romney.  And the third reason is that Sheldon Adelson agrees with me that conservatives cannot win on social issues:

For someone whose name and face were a regular staple of the election coverage, the public does have many misconceptions about Adelson. His liberal social views rarely received media attention during the campaign season, though he’s certainly never hidden them.

“See that paper on the wall?” he asked, gesturing toward a poster with rows of names on it. “That is a list of some of the scientists that we give a lot of money to conduct collaborative medical research, including stem cell research. What’s wrong if I help stem cell research? I’m all in favor. And if somebody wants to have an abortion, let them have an abortion,” he said.

[snip]

Adelson has not said whether he will use his influence to try to change the GOP internally. But he does believe social issues cost the Republicans the last election.

“If we took a softer stance on those several issues, social issues, that I referred to, then I think that we would have won the most recent election,” he said. “I think people got the impression that Republicans didn’t care about certain groups of people.”

You should definitely read the whole interview.

Adelson is precisely what my self-admitted conservative friends are:  fiscally conservative, socially fairly liberal, very receptive to legal immigration (because a nation, for health, national security, and economic reasons should control its own borders), and supportive of Israel.  What’s funny, though, is that Adelson is also pretty close in actual outlook to all the upscale, white collar liberals I know who reflexively vote Democrat because of the conservative issues.  These people are also fiscally conservative in their own lives; they what their country safe and fiscally sound for their children; they like immigrants but recognize that illegal immigrants pose risks both for American citizens and legal, Green Card immigrants; and they like Israel’s values.

The problem at the ballot box is that, after forty years of Leftist indoctrination, these educated liberals are unable to harmonize their values with their politics.  Despite recognizing the wisdom of fiscal management in their own homes, they think a state can survive indefinitely by spending more than it takes in; despite training their children in self-reliance, they believe that we should destroy self-reliance in “the poor”; despite believing that people should be able to protect themselves and their homes, they are embarrassed when their country tries to defend itself; and despite admiring a pluralist, democratic society, which is what Israel is, they bemoan the plight of the poor Palestinians who have allowed their (now sovereign) territory to devolve in a crazy mix of anarchism and Islamic fundamentalism.

What makes this cognitive dissonance possible for white collar liberals is their unswerving allegiance to unlimited abortions and (of late) to gay marriage. Just as fiscal conservativism, the Constitution, and individual freedom bind conservatives of all stripes together, so too do abortion and gay marriage (with a soupçon of illegal immigration) bind together Progressives of all stripes.  We cannot entice Progressives to fiscal conservativism if we insist on a purity test for abortion and gay marriage.  It’s just not going to happen.  And here’s the kicker:  abortion and gay marriage become moot issues if our nation collapses entirely under the weight of debt or if our walls our breached by Islamists or if we become “tuberculosis central” because we cannot assert even a modicum of polite control over our borders.

As a parent, I hew socially conservative, so those are values I want to advance.  But I’m a pragmatist who recognizes that the ballot box isn’t the place to make it happen.  The ballot box is how we manage issues of sovereignty (including national security and border control) and fiscal health.  Our social institutions are where we make headway on social issues.  If we can keep those lines from crossing, we can be a resurgent conservative political party and, eventually, a somewhat more traditional America, one that preserves the best and healthiest social policies of the past and the present.

 

Washington’s stoners celebrate the triumph of dishonest debate and public misinformation

A lot of people who showed up at the polls this past November actually had very parochial concerns.  They weren’t worried about the economy, or national security, or illegal immigration.  Blacks were concerned with racial solidarity, unions were concerned about union strength (and to hell with the economy on which that strength feeds), gays and other Progressives wanted gay marriage, and young people and stoners were concerned about getting stoned.  Almost all of these parochial issue voters also support Obama.

The stoner vote for Obama was a bit ironic, because it ignored the fact that the Obama administration has a nasty record when it comes to marijuana prosecutions.  As far as stoners were concerned, Obama is young, hip, and was once a stoner himself.

In Washington, having successfully made marijuana legal at a state level (although it’s still illegal under federal law), those who supported this new policy had a smoke-infused party:

The crowds of happy people lighting joints under Seattle’s Space Needle early Thursday morning with nary a police officer in sight bespoke the new reality: Marijuana is legal under Washington state law.

Hundreds gathered at Seattle Center for a New Year‘s Eve-style countdown to 12 a.m., when the legalization measure passed by voters last month took effect. When the clock struck, they cheered and sparked up in unison.

A few dozen people gathered on a sidewalk outside the north Seattle headquarters of the annual Hempfest celebration and did the same, offering joints to reporters and blowing smoke into television news cameras.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store!” shouted Hempfest volunteer Darby Hageman. “It’s all becoming real now!”

[snip]

“This is a big day because all our lives we’ve been living under the iron curtain of prohibition,” said Hempfest director Vivian McPeak. “The whole world sees that prohibition just took a body blow.”

My personal suspicion is that this must have been the world’s most boring celebration.  Stoners are not known for being able to muster a vast amount of enthusiasm for anything.  Being stoned equals being boring.

In keeping with my small government philosophy, I support legalizing marijuana for adult use.  I strongly agree, though, with Steve Crowder that the public debate about marijuana is predicated on a vast amount of misinformation and outright lies.  Marijuana is a dangerous and damaging drug, one that interferes with adolescent brain development and contributes to myriad ills in adults who use it regularly. In other words, Americans’ increasingly strong support for its legalization doesn’t result from a belief in a free society and individualism but, instead, from massive amounts of magical thinking about the drug’s supposed harmlessness.

Of course, the fundamental nature of our supposedly “information rich” society is dishonest debate.  My pet peeve is the debate about abortion, which the Left approaches as if we’re still in a pre-Roe v. Wade world, one in which single motherhood would result in a woman being ostracized, bastardy would taint a child’s life forever, and birth control options were limited to nil.  Americans can have an honest debate about abortion only if we recognize that the world didn’t stop in 1955.  The same holds true for the gun debate, with the MSM (which still controls the loudest bully pulpit in America) pretending that guns have no useful purpose and regularly recycling the canard that America is the most deadly society in the Western world.

It is ironic that, as Americans have more information available to them than ever before in human history, they are prone to believing fallacies as people ever were.  Proof is irrelevant when people are happy with their belief system.

From the same people who brought you the constitutional right to privacy: “You have no privacy.”

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court created a federal right to abortion by finding that abortion falls into an unstated Constitutional dimension called “the right to privacy.”  (Note:  British and American common law has always recognized a right to privacy, but the Constitution makes no mention of it.)  Thus, in Roe v. Wade, the Court explained the constitutional protections for abortion as follows:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution.

[snip]

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

With the Court’s pronouncement about the huge reach of the Constitution’s unexpressed “right to privacy,” Democrats, Liberals, Communists, and Progressives pronounced themselves satisfied.  The 10th Amendment, which once upon a time reserved to the states those rights not expressly delegated to the federal government, was meaningless.  If the Left thinks it should be in the Constitution, then — voila! — it is in the Constitution. Since 1973, therefore, Americans have believed that a person’s right to privacy is all-encompassing, and prohibits the government, as well as arms of the government, such as state founded or funded universities, from poking their governmental nose into anything that pertains to our own bodies.

With the exception of abortion, which is the most challenging issue because there are competing right’s (the woman’s and the fetus’s), most libertarians would agree with a common law (and therefore worthy of full respect) right to privacy, even if they would argue, as I do, that it’s tremendously damaging to the American body politic to pretend such a right is constitutional.  If we want a constitutional right to privacy, the Constitution spells out the procedure:  amendment, not judicial fiat.

Once they established this new constitutional principle, however, Progressives realized that they should have been a bit more careful in institutionalizing privacy as a core constitutional doctrine.  As they’ve discovered, the best way for a state to control individuals is through controlling their sexuality.  By asserting increasing state dominance over people’s sex lives (which is different a society enforcing traditional moral codes), the state can break familial bonds, destroy an individual’s sense of his inviolable self, interfere with core religious doctrine, and hand out sexual treats at opiates for the masses, all of which consolidate state power over individuals.

The problem for the Progressives arises if individuals are old-fashioned enough to believe that their sexuality is nobody’s business but their own. And no, traditional marriage is not necessarily proof that people are screaming their heterosexuality out loud. Having grown up in San Francisco, I’ve known of many marriages that involved agreed-upon sexual arrangements that had very little to do with traditional heteronormative behavior, and everything to do with people wanting to live their lives their way, free from prying eyes.

Progressive’s frustration with old-fashioned notions of personal privacy — the same notion that they promoted and cheered in Roe v. Wade — came to a head in 2008 at the University of Delaware.  In academia’s never-ending push to turn people into malleable little clumps of victim-hood, and class-, race-, or sexuality-based identity groups, the University of Delaware realized that it would need to force recalcitrant students to state whether they’re LGBT, GLBT, STR8T, BI, AC/DC, or LMNOP (oh, sorry, got lost in my alphabet soup there):

A female freshman arrives for her mandatory one-on-one session in her male RA’s dorm room. It is 8:00 p.m. Classes have been in session for about a week. The resident assistant hands her a questionnaire. He tells her it is “a little questionnaire to help [you] and all the other residents relate to the curriculum.” He adds that they will “go through every question together and discuss them.” He later reports that she “looked a little uncomfortable.”

“When did you discover your sexual identity?” the questionnaire asks.

“That is none of your damn business,” she writes.

“When was a time you felt oppressed?”

“I am oppressed every day [because of my] feelings for the opera. Regularly [people] throw stones at me and jeer me with cruel names…. Unbearable adversity. But I will overcome, hear me, you rock loving majority.”[1]

She is not playing along like the other students, and the RA confronts her using his “confrontation training,” but it isn’t working. He becomes so appalled by her resistance that he writes up an incident report and reports her to his superiors. After all, this is the University of Delaware, and the school has a zero-tolerance policy for anything remotely resembling “hate speech.”

This one-on-one session was not meant to be a punishment, some kind of mandatory sensitivity training for a recalcitrant student who had committed an infraction. It was mandatory training for all 7,000-odd students in the University of Delaware dorms. The sessions were part of a thorough thought-reform curriculum, designed by the school’s Office of Residence Life, to psychologically “treat” and correct the allegedly incorrect thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, and habits of the students. The ResLife staff considered students too intolerant of one another, too “consumerist,” and in dire need of reeducation to become responsible world citizens who could meet the planet’s environmental crisis and the requirements of social and economic “justice.”

(FIRE successfully mounted a campaign to force the University of Delaware to abandon this forcible effort to extract personal information from vulnerable freshman, but I use it as an example here, because it so perfectly encapsulates the Leftist attitude towards privacy and sexuality.)

Aside from having a girl-crush (but not an LGBT girl-crush, just an intellectual one) on the young woman who spoke of being opera-oppressed, I’m shocked, disgusted, appalled, etc. — the usual range of emotion a liberty-loving person experiences when an institution takes vast sums of money to control a young person’s life and future and then uses its coercive power to extort deeply private information from that same vulnerable student.

What makes this Progressive attitude even more distasteful is the fact that Universities claim to be all about privacy — at least when that privacy means isolating students from their own parents, despite a reasonable presumption that these same parents, unlike the vast, impersonal institutions, truly have their children’s best interests at heart:

College and University students have a right to privacy. In the United States, it’s called FERPA: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. And there are a lot of rights and protections that you have as a student eighteen or over, and that you must respect as both a parent and a professor.

As a student, your grades, enrollment, assignments, and interactions with professors are all completely confidential. As a professor, I am not allowed, legally, to give out any information whatsoever about a student without that student’s explicit permission.

And, like practically all professors, I don’t. But this message is most important for parents, and for students who are worried about their irate parents.

Put another way:  your parent, who is probably paying for some or all of your education, cannot ask about your grades, but your university, which will have taken a minimum of $100,000 from you over the course of four years, while promising you a diploma with at least some market value, can force you to state your most private personal information.

I was going to end this post by saying the Left can’t have it both ways:  it either recognizes individual privacy or it doesn’t.  Then I slapped myself in the face and said “Don’t be stupid, Bookworm!  In Obama’s Leftist, narcissistic America, the Left can have it any way it likes it, both coming and going, as long as its demands drive the bottom line towards statism.”

A world without consequences

If you’re on the political Left, have we created a world without consequences?  I first started thinking this when someone I know called Bristol Palin a slut because she had a baby.  Not because she had premarital sex or got pregnant, but because she had a baby.  Girls in Marin, who are also have premarital sex and probably getting pregnant, are not sluts, because they have abortions.  It’s a perfect example of Leftist consequence-free ideology.  Not only are you free from the burdens of a baby (and, while there are joys, the burdens are undeniable), you’re also not a slut.

Confess that it was your lack of responsibility that Left four men dead in Benghazi, not to mention massive amounts of confidential information in Al Qaeda’s hands, and nothing happens.  In a normal world, Hillary would have been fired.  In Leftist world, she’s applauded for confessing.

Break all of your campaign promises — close Gitmo, lower unemployment, reduce an “unpatriotic” deficit, lower the seas, avoid involvement in other wars, make the world love us — and there are no consequences.  Instead, if you’re Obama, you get reelected.

This sounds like a pretty peachy keen world from a kids’ eye view:  Endless actions without consequences.  I’m not sure this center will hold, though.  In the 1970s, gay men thought they had it all — unlimited sex and antibiotic resistant sexually transmitted diseases — but AIDS came along.  Those women who’ve had repeated abortions have too often discovered that when they want to get pregnant, they can’t.  (I don’t know the statistics on this last one, but I know personally many women  who have experienced this.)  Mother Nature eventually makes her point.

Will the political world eventually spell out its consequences too, irrespective of human intervention?  Will the Hillary’s and the Obama’s eventually experience the natural consequences of their actions?  If conservativism comes to the fore, they will.  But what if it doesn’t?  What will be the stopping point for their current ability to behave as they will without any downside?

 

Found it on Facebook: Voting with those “lady parts”

This keeps cropping up on Facebook and every time I see it, I find it irritating.

There’s something horribly medieval about reducing women to their sexual organs.  After all, when you think about it, the only thing that Obama has done for women is to order employers to provide insurance that covers birth control — which is a very limited expense.  That’s the difference between Obama’s approach to women and Bush’s.

In all likelihood, notwithstanding the fact that both Romney and Ryan are pro-Life, the only change under a Romney presidency is that we’ll go back to having women pay for their own birth control.  (And men, I’m sorry, but you should pay for your own Viagra.)

The Supreme Court is not going to reverse Roe v. Wade.  If it does, the matter goes to the states and, if enough people want it, a constitutional amendment.

As Michelle Malkin says, I’m voting with my lady smarts, not my lady parts.

Found it on Facebook: Jon Stewart and the problem with modern political discourse *UPDATED*

Matthew Continetti garnered some much deserved praise for his article about the way that sarcasm and insult took over the Democrat party, replacing anything of substance.  It all started with the attacks against Bush:

The criticism of Bush, of Bush Republicans, and of the war took on a specific character. The spokesmen of movement progressivism—Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert—spoke in tones of irony, sarcasm, knowing disbelief, glibness, and snark. Liberal bloggers and op-ed writers used the same voice. A television clip of a conservative would be played, a quotation cited, and the liberal would mug for his audience, whether on screen or on the page. Their basic attitude was: Can you believe this? These people don’t even believe in science! The fools! Derisive and smug laughter would ensue. The war was not going well, America seemed in decline, and it was obvious to liberals that conservatives and Republicans were to blame. The punch lines were a signal. If you laughed, you differentiated yourself from the fundamentalist prigs running the country. You established your superiority.

Obama brought precisely that attitude to the third debate, with his sarcastic, condescending, and remarkably ignorant statements about the American Navy:

You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. It’s not a game of battleship where we’re counting ships, it’s ‘What are our capabilities?’

Others have debunked the President’s ignorance about the armed forces he commands, so I won’t do it here. Suffice to say that, while Americans appreciate gentle zingers (“There you go again”), the level of disrespect that Obama showed only makes the Jon Stewart acolytes happy. Others (including thoughtful liberals) wonder what happened to the dignity of the presidency.

The problem with snark is that, although it can be amusing, it displaces serious political discussion.  Nowhere is this more obvious than with the way in which abortion has come roaring to the fore at the same time the President is struggling to keep the Benghazi cover-up under wraps.  Even as thoughtful people who pay attention to national security and facts are grappling with the immensity of al Qaeda’s resurgence and the President’s lies, the snark shows are keeping liberals in a state of perpetual outrage about abortion.

I wrote last week that abortion is a defining issue for many people on the Left.  Some of you (very intelligently and politely, of course) disagreed with me.  Politely (and, I hope, intelligently) I have to disagree right back.  The proof of abortion’s centrality is the way in which the snark Left is using the abortion dog whistle to terrify wavering liberals into voting for Obama, regardless of the fact that Obama has put our national security and our economy at serious risk.  The dog whistle is so powerful to liberal ears that they’d rather focus on a woman’s right to abortion than on the fact that al Qaeda would like to commit post-birth abortions against all Americans.

Part of the reason the dog whistle works is because the Left so assiduously avoids any serious discussion about life’s beginnings.  A case in point is a Jon Stewart shtick that made the rounds amongst my liberal friends, all of whom posted it on Facebook along with myriad warnings that Romney will turn back the female clock to 1950 (see the cartoon, above).  Here’s the Jon Stewart shtick, one that is high on hysteria and word play, but low on analysis:

Ooooh! Mourdock is evil because he thinks rape is a gift from God, and Romney is more evil because he supports Mourdock. Never mind that what Mourdock said is thoughtful and logically consistent, even if one doesn’t agree with the premise. The premise is that life begins at conception. The logical corollary is that, once a life begins, and most certainly when that life is helpless, civilized people owe it protection.  It is not the fetus’s fault that it was conceived out of violence, pain, and shame. Mourdock quite obviously doesn’t lack compassion for the rape victim.  It’s just that he recognizes that the life that the act of violence created is an innocent one.  Now, one may not agree with Mourdock, but it is, if you will, an honorable position that starts with a humanistic premise.

While Jon Stewart fears to delve deeply into what Mourdock is saying, and who simply rolls with superficial conclusions, sarcasm and insult, Andrew Klavan, has a very thoughtful take on Mourdock’s words, and one that allows for disagreement:

Let’s do a mind experiment. Pretend you are yourself. Now pretend your mother comes to you and tells you that, even though she and your father raised you as if you were the product of their union, in fact she was horribly, brutally raped and it was in that rape that you were conceived. Painful as it was for her — and only she and God know how painful it was — she decided to go through with the pregnancy and give you life.

Have you now lost your right to live? Can you be legally exterminated because of the way you were conceived?

My point here is not — not — that there should be laws against abortion in cases of rape. My point is only that the question of abortion is essentially the question of whether a fetus is human. If an unborn child is a human being, the fact that it resides within its mother is no more relevant than the fact of where you reside. If (and a person of good will can honorably make this argument) there is some point at which a fetus is not yet a human being, then it seems to me you can morally abort it because it’s sick or annoying or female or has failed to have blond hair and blue eyes.

Now anyone with a mind and heart can see that there are vexed moral questions here, filled with grey areas. No feminist blather and no ruling from the pope in Rome can turn those areas to black and white. For a rape victim to bring a baby to term would be, to my mind, an act of moral heroism equivalent to running into a burning building to save a child. I’m not convinced that laws should be passed requiring that sort of elevated action from people. And yet I do believe the child conceived in that horror story is a child indeed and that a minister, say, could, in good conscience, counsel the mother to strive toward the heroic, if the minister felt she might be able.

As everyone knows (since the media has covered it more often than Fast and Furious and Benghazi-gate put together), Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock recently answered a debate question about abortion and rape: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock later clarified the comment and apologized for his poor phrasing — as was proper — but come on, we all know what he was trying to say. He doesn’t think rape is intended by God. He thinks a baby conceived by rape remains a baby with a right to life.

Please read the rest here.

Klavan’s approach, of course, is the way we should be discussing a fraught issue such as abortion.  It is the embodiment of Dennis Prager’s wise statement that we should prefer clarity to agreement.  Clarity enables us to have meaningful discussions about vexing issues and, quite possibly, to work towards solutions.  Stewart’s piecemeal, shallow, insulting analysis makes intelligent discussion impossible.  If you disagree with Stewart, you support rapists.  End of story.  (Incidentally, the Jon Stewart segment embodies the state of mind Jonah Goldberg describes in The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.)

I feel very strongly that, in my little corner of the world, there are thousands of people who are yearning for Romney’s strength on national security and the economy, but who are being scared away from voting for him because they buy completely into the imaginary War on Women that the Stewarts, Maddows, Colberts, and Obama’s of this world sell as intelligent political discourse.  This is too bad, not just because it bodes poorly for the elections, but also because it bespeaks an America whose educated class can no longer grapple with serious ideas.

UPDATE:  And right on time, Tom Friedman blows hard on the abortion dog whistle.  Here’s the key paragraph:

But judging from the unscientific — borderline crazy — statements opposing abortion that we’re hearing lately, there is reason to believe that this delicate balance could be threatened if Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan, and their even more extreme allies, get elected. So to those who want to protect a woman’s right to control what happens with her own body, let me offer just one piece of advice: to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. And we must stop letting Republicans name themselves “pro-life” and Democrats as “pro-choice.” It is a huge distortion.

Get it?  If Romney and Ryan win, women will be dying in back alleys with coat hangers between their legs.

It’s time to acknowledge that we’re not in the 50s anymore:  Single motherhood, though economically foolish, is culturally cool; birth control is freely, and cheaply, available; and pregnancy is relatively risk free.  There are still credible arguments for abortions, but pretending it’s still the 1950s isn’t one of those arguments.

Found it on Facebook — Planned Parenthood’s attack on Paul Ryan

With the election nearing, the Facebook frenzy is accelerating.  I got this from a Facebook acquaintance:


Lots of food for thought, there:

Ryan voted to end funding for Planned Parenthood.  Ryan’s vote is completely in line with Romney’s insistence that a broke U.S. government should repeatedly ask itself “Is this program worth going into debt to the Chinese?”

This is an especially good question, when it’s unclear why Planned Parenthood gets special funding status.  If we’re saying women’s health care (including or not including) abortion is of transcendent importance, then we should just put aside a pot of money and let all health care programs apply by proving that they provide the best women’s health care for the least money.  Alternative, we should give women vouchers entitling them to special services that are unique to women.

Of course, once we stop assuming that Planned Parenthood is automatically entitled to funds, and start questioning the services it provides and the benefits citizens receive, we’d better start giving men vouchers for services that are unique to men.  For example, the feds could pay for women’s pap smears, breast exams, and well-baby checkups, and pay for men’s prostate exams, Viagra, and heart disease prevention and treatment (since men die from heart disease in proportionately greater numbers than women).  Indeed, since men routinely die earlier than women do (sorry guys), men should get special longevity treatments, or they should get cash payments for those years that they die sooner, thereby saving the government money.  And really, if we’re going to break it down this way, by looking at both need and savings, we’d better have special vouchers for African-American men who, sadly, have significantly greater health risks than their white or Asian counterparts.  They should get both bigger vouchers and a cash discount for being virtuous enough to die before they cost the government too much  money.  (And wasn’t it the Progressives who want bat bleep crazy when they learned that a cigarette company argued that smoking is really a benefit for socialized medicine because people die sooner, rather than being a lasting burden on the system?)

This is so confusing.  I have a really good idea:  How about the government stops funding special interests and starts promoting a competitive market for quality health care?

He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade with no exceptions for rape or incest.  All thinking people want to overturn Roe v. Wade because it is a terrible malformation of American law.  There is no right to abortion under the Constitution.  There is also no federal ban on abortion under the Constitution.  Abortion is not a federal issue.  It’s a state issue.  Roe v. Wade should be overturned, with the abortion question then being returned to the various States.  They will do what they will, and each state, by looking at the others’ experiments regarding abortion, will be able to decide what is the best policy, either generally or specifically (i.e., for a given state’s finances or morals).

The Ryan budget plan would dismantle Medicaid.  How often will Ryan have to repeat that Medicaid will be there for those who have vested or who are near vesting?  Don’t answer — that’s a hypothetical question.  I know that no Progressive will ever believe him or the laws he’s proposed.  And how often will Ryan have to repeat that Medicaid will continue to be there for those younger people who want it, but that the government will facilitate market-based insurance for those who don’t?  Yup.  That’s another hypothetical.  [UPDATE:  Me being dyslexic and confusing Medicare and Medicaid.  Sorry.  Medicaid is a state program which is going to get royally reamed under Obama.  He's giving short-term benefits now and then transferring the entire burden to the various states, many of which are currently looking for ways to run and hide.  I suspect that the Ryan budget plan can't be worse than the current situation, but I have to run now, and cannot confirm that belief.  Anyone want to volunteer information?]

He co-sponsored an extreme and dangerous “personhood” bill.  Here’s what Ryan’s co-sponsored bill states in relevant part:

(1) the Congress declares that–

(A) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and

(B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and

(2) the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.

“Extreme and dangerous”?  Really?  What the bill states is a biological truth.  The real question isn’t when life begins, it’s when each citizen has the power to end another person’s life.  For the most part, we all agree that, once someone is born, a fellow citizen cannot arbitrarily and without government due process, terminate that born person’s life.  The question is whether an individual can act to terminate a pre-born person’s life and, if so, when.  As long as Roe v. Wade exists, does it matter that Congress symbolically affirms that government entities have the right to protect life on their soil?  No, because  Roe v. Wade gives the faux-constitutional final word to the woman.  And if Roe v. Wade is overturned, all that the bill does is say what the Constitution already implies, which is that the individual states have the power to make such laws.  So I ask again — “Extreme and dangerous”?  Really?  Symbolic, maybe; but practically meaningless.

He has repeatedly tried to repeal the “Affordable Care Act,” which banned insurance companies from charging women more than men.  Okay, in item one, above, Planned Parenthood implicitly conceded that women’s healthcare is more expensive than men’s, which is why the government (in Planned Parenthood’s view) should subsidize it.  So Planned Parenthood is either saying legal businesses should operate at a loss, or that they should arbitrarily increase men’s insurance rates to subsidize women’s.  In that vein, I think Congress should also pass a law saying that teenage drivers shouldn’t pay any more for car insurance than a 40-year-old woman.  Never mind the statistics showing which driver is more likely to cost the insurance company money.

But while I’m talking about laws, if Planned Parenthood’s only concern about ObamaCare is those “equal” insurance rates, why not repeal ObamaCare, which is a 2,700 page monstrosity that adds an enormous amount to America’s debt load and has seen substantial cost increases for currently insured Americans, and in its place enact a very simple bill?  The new bill could say “Women must be charged precisely the same for health insurance as men.  Insurance companies may achieve this goal by raising men’s rates or lowering women’s, whichever they prefer.  There.  That was easy.

If we’re looking for serious government subsidies, I think the federal government should create a subsidy for reason-challenged Progressives.  It could fund emergency six-week long classes on Socratic-based logic and reasoning.

Biden explains when it’s okay to impose his religious views on others

Nobody ever accused Joe Biden of being coherent.  Peter Heck, however, realized more quickly than I did that Biden was being exceptionally incoherent — or hypocritical or held tightly in the grip of cognitive dissonance — when he was asked to explain the relationship between his faith and his politics.  I’ll give you Heck’s summary, but you should read the whole thing to find out how he got there:

It’s an interesting worldview, isn’t it?  Government-sponsored theft is legitimate on moral grounds, but government protection of innocent, defenseless life is unreasonable.  That’s the modern Democrat Party.

Democrats and Republicans do indeed have very differing views of the future

The day after Mitt Romney gave his speech, Jon Stewart went to town. It was a typical Jon Stewart exercise, replete with out-of-context snippets, juvenile sarcasm, and endlessly bleeped obscenities. One part of it, though, the very first part, stayed with me. If you watch just the first couple of minutes of the video below, you’ll see Stewart make fun of Romney’s statement about the way American people have traditionally looked to the future:

Romney:  “We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.”

Stewart:  “Yes, yes, yes.  We Americans, uniquely among Earth’s people, move forward in time.”

Nothing could more perfectly illustrate the differing ways the two parties think about the future.

I understood exactly what Romney meant.  Americans feel a special kinship with the future because they believe that their current actions will affect the future and make it better.  And indeed, the American trajectory has proven this believe to be a truism.  Through vigor and innovation, we’ve achieved measurable improvements in food production, health car, mobility, shelter, clothing, entertainment, communications, etc.  And that’s not just comparing us to American life one hundred or two hundred years ago.  You’ll get the same result — continuous quality-of-life improvement — by comparing us to American life just twenty years ago.  We work hard, we think creatively, and we make life better.

This sense of possibilities has been part of the American mental landscape forever, although it wasn’t until modern media that we were able to capture this optimistic sense of the future.  Nothing was unthinkable or un-doable.

Americans imagined a fashion future:

They saw exciting travel possibilities:

And they envisioned clean, comfortable, labor-saving homes:

That last clip was a Disney clip, and this is no coincidence. More than any figure in popular culture, Walt Disney believed that America was on a continued upward trajectory, one that saw our lives getting better and better. He didn’t see rich plutocrats living high on the hog, while the poor provided the necessary Soylent Green. Instead, Disney believed that, in his own lifetime, Everyman’s and Everywoman’s life had improved in a way never before seen in history, and he further believed that the American personality was such that nothing could stop this trend.

Disney put these core beliefs together in his Carousel of Progress — which for me, as a child, was the absolute best part of Disneyland, even better than the rides. I too believed that things could only get better:

And lest you think everyone looks to the future in this way, think again. The Egyptians were perfectly happy to live a relatively unchanged life for 3,000 years: same clothes, same food, same agricultural economy, same housing, same form of worship. There were, of course, small changes over the centuries, but nothing that resembled the changes America has experienced since 1776.

This holds true for large parts of the third world. People live as their ancestors lived for hundreds of years before. We go and, with our modern 21st century digital cameras take pictures — they are so picturesque — and then we return gratefully to our air-conditioned cars and hotel rooms, our hot running water, our washers and dryers, and our clean, healthy food.  Even Europe can be stultifying for the American traveler.  Because it raises money by looking old, nothing can change.

So yes, Mitt is right that Americans have traditionally believed that the future isn’t just the day after tomorrow, and then the day after that, ad infinitum. Instead, to Americans, the future is a real place, one that builds on the past, but that offers infinitely more.

The Democrats also have a vision of the future, but it’s not a greater future, it’s a lesser future. On the one hand, there is the coming Apocalypse, one that will see half of the earth under water and the other half a parched, Sahara-like desert. Billions of the world’s citizens will crowd this desert, choked by filthy air from factories and cigarettes, and desperately trying to force genetically modified Frankenstein-plants to grow in the barren land. That, they believe, is the American trajectory.

The other hand offers the only way to stop this Apocalypse:  Americans must turn their back on the future and revert to the past: a past with limited transportation abilities; primitive food production, free of scientific or mechanical intervention; no air-conditioning; no modern medicine; no defensive weaponry; and, most importantly, no people.

So, while Mitt Romney spoke explicitly to Republicans about the Republican view of the future, Democrats, with their abortion-fest, are offering an implicit vision of their future. It’s one that sees American thriving by subtraction not addition — and the fastest form of subtraction available is abortion.  To Democrats, children aren’t the promise of the future; they are, instead, the promise that the future will be destroyed.

Perhaps I’m irresponsible, but I like the optimism that characterizes the conservative belief in the future.  Looking at the world through Democrat eyes and seeing a future that is a barren rock or primitive hard place, makes life meaningless.  Honestly, the best thing you can do is go out and kill yourself, so that your intellectual superiors can delicately seed an empty land with their own progeny.

Maybe Akin’s revolting stubbornness is part of a deep, Machiavellian plot *UPDATED*

Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri is refusing to step down, despite the fact that everyone in the Republican/conservative establishment, from the RNC, to Rush, to Mark Levin, to Ann Coulter, to every major blog known to conservativism, is hollering that he must leave.

Akin’s arrogance and selfishness is depressing.  Or is it?

Maybe, just maybe, this is part of some deep-dyed Machiavellian plot.  I know I’m reaching here, but bear with me.

Once Akin went stupid, the inevitable happened, which was the Dems capitalized on what he said to tie his remarks to abortion and the alleged Republican war on women.  We know that stupid faux-biology about impregnation during rape has nothing to do with the question when life begins or when it becomes entitled to legal protections.  But the media is frothing at the mouth with excitement, convinced that a gaffe by a 32-nd rate Congressman can be used to define an entire political party.

You know, therefore, that if Akin had vanished immediately, the media frothing would have continued unabated.  That is, what he said is out there, and there’s nothing conservatives can do to stop it.

However, because Akin hasn’t stepped down, the one thing Republicans can do, with ever-increasing volume, is to disavow him and demand that he step down.  Those continued cries for his withdrawal should count as headline material.  In Akin’s absence, no one would care that the Republicans were saying “Aw, come on, MSM.  We don’t agree with him….”  However, in his presence, maybe someone will notice all the Republicans screaming at Akin, “Leave now, you unmitigated idiot.”

Okay.  I know nobody plotted for Akin to appear intransigent in order to improve Republican headlines.  Akin is refusing to leave because he is, in fact, an unmitigated idiot.  His known unmitigated idiocy is why, in Missouri’s open primaries, the Dems spent $1.5 million to get him elected (perfectly proving my ongoing point about the evils of open primaries, which deny parties the opportunity and the right to make their own, best choices about candidates).

Still, even though my theory amounts to pie-in-the-sky retrofitting of painful events, it still has merit.  We should make much of the fact that, unlike Dems who rally around their crooks and pedophiles, Republicans react ferociously when someone uses the Republican platform to engage in acts or make statements that are beyond the pale of reason or morality.

UPDATE:  The plot just thickened, because the Dems couldn’t restrain themselves and are now preparing for the Abortion Convention . . . er, Democrat Party Convention.  My sense is that even those Americans who identify as pro-Choice start feeling sickened by a three day orgy celebrating fetal death.

I’m a horrible child! I ruined your life! — Turning the abortion debate into the punchline to a silly joke

One of my favorite silly jokes goes as follows:

A man runs into a friend.  “Oh, my God!” he says.  “I just made the most terrible Freudian slip.”

His friend asks “What did you do?”

The man answers, “Well, I was having lunch with my mother.  I meant to saying ‘Mom, please pass the peas,” but what I actually said was ‘You horrible woman!  You’ve ruined my life!’”

I don’t know why I find this joke so funny — beyond the obvious point that what the man said was not a Freudian slip — but I just do.  It makes me laugh every time.

As is always the case, though, Progressives manage to go one better than any joke, but they invariably ruin the punch line.  The latest example comes from Britian’s Guardian, a reliably Left wing publication.  The article is entitled — no kidding — “I wish my mother had aborted me.”  The author, Lynn Beisner, assures us that she’s not one of those sad-sacks who has a miserable life and, therefore, wishes she’d never been born.  Instead, she explains, she wrote the article as a counter to those ridiculous emotional pro-Life stories that revolve around a woman who contemplated abortion, decide not to do it, and raised a child very grateful to be alive.  How disgustingly bathetic, Beisner says:

What makes these stories so infuriating to me is that they are emotional blackmail. As readers or listeners, we are almost forced by these anti-choice versions of A Wonderful Life to say, “Oh, I am so glad you were born.” And then by extension, we are soon forced into saying, “Yes, of course, every blastula of cells should be allowed to develop into a human being.”

Beisner is going to counter this horrible narrative — by pitching an emotional story about how her birth stunted, not her own, but her mother’s life:

An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother. An abortion would have made it more likely that she would finish high school and get a college education. At college in the late 1960s, it seems likely she would have found feminism or psychology or something that would have helped her overcome her childhood trauma and pick better partners. She would have been better prepared when she had children. If nothing else, getting an abortion would have saved her from plunging into poverty. She likely would have stayed in the same socioeconomic strata as her parents and grandparents who were professors. I wish she had aborted me because I love her and want what is best for her.

Or, to use fewer words:  “I’m a horrible child!  I ruined your life.”

What Beisner doesn’t realize is that she’s not breaking new ground here.  She’s treading the old, hard-packed pro-abortion ground, only in a way that’s more silly than usual.  Because the pro-abortion crowd has always and only focused on the woman (“It’s a woman’s choice”), the issue always has been that the woman gets to ask herself “Will this baby ruin my life?” and then to abort if her answer is “Yes, probably.”

Well, I’ve got news for Beisner.  Babies always ruin a woman’s life.  That is, they ruin the life she knew before babies came along.  Goodbye, lithesome figure!  Goodbye, sleeping through the night!  Goodbye, privacy!  Goodbye, eating a meal without interruptions!  Goodbye, ready money!  Goodbye, dancing all night (at least, without bouncing a crying baby in your arms)!  Goodbye, spontaneity!  It’s all over.  Everything that made for your youthful existence is gone.

What Beisner misses, though, is the “Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window” aspect of having children.  For every goodbye, there’s a hello  Hello, bidding farewell to your immature self and saying welcome to the you that is a fully realized adult!  Hello, to a little one entwining himself or herself around your neck and saying ‘Mommy, I wuv you so much’ — and meaning it!  Hello, to having an incredibly rich social life, one that doesn’t revolve around the drunken hook-up scene, but one that involves other parents who are so glad to welcome you into the Parent Club!  Hello, feeling connected to your country, because it’s not just yours anymore, it’s also your children’s and your grandchildren’s.

Some people are going to be horribly damaged by their inability to turn their backs upon giddy youth in favor of responsible maturity.  But for every one of those people, there’s going to be someone grateful for the love, stability, and meaning that parenthood brings.

The only thing that Beisner gets right (although she fails to live up to her own standards) is that emotional pitches are meaningless, because different people have different emotional responses.  What she When emotions are meaningless, the only thing that matters is principle:  Do you believe that (a) life begins at conception and (b) that this life is immediately entitled to full respect?  If yes, you must be pro-Life; if not, well, then pro-abortion is a reasonable position for you.  But don’t try dressing it up with sob stories about living children or unhappy mothers.

The Democrats’ 2012 campaign: A bloody spectacle, almost too horrible to watch

I don’t do well around gore, whether real or fake.  I cover my eyes when the dyed corn syrup flows in movies and, unless my children need me, I tend to faint when someone becomes sanguinary in my presence (myself included).  In other words, I have a pathetically weak nervous system.

That weak nervous system is activating now, as I watch the Democrats come out with daggers drawn in their determination, not just to win against Paul Ryan, but to eviscerate the Republican candidates with the same glee one sees in Jason, of slasher movie fame (warning:  video not for the squeamish):

In this Election 2012 slasher flick, the Democrats have already written the script:  Truth is irrelevant.  Human decency is irrelevant.  The integrity of our political system is irrelevant.  Before this is over, Democrats will have the two pro-Life candidates dining nightly on blood sucked directly from the headless bodies of decapitated newborns.

The election, rather than being a discussion about competing values for America’s future, will be a nauseating journey through the most foul corners of the Democrat psyche.  And, as is always the case with those functioning out of dysfunction, psychological projection will be the name of the game:

Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.

Which party supports unlimited abortion, with leadership provided by a president who thinks it’s fine for babies born alive to be thrown in the garbage?  The Democrats, but we’ll hear that Republicans are murdering children with their fiscal policies.

Which party firmly believes that blacks are so incompetent they cannot function without government patronage?  The Democrats, but we’ll hear that Republicans are trying to destroy blacks as part of a grand KKK plan.  (And which party gave life to the KKK?  Yes, of course — the Democrats.)

Which party supports a government controlled healthcare plan that we know, from the experience of other countries, refuses treatment to the elderly or very sick?  Yup, the Democrats, but we’ll hear that Republicans generally and Paul Ryan specifically intend to murder the old and the sick by allowing them to make their own market decisions.

If you’d care to contribute to this list of ugly projection, please do so.  I’ll update the post with your contributions.  As for me, I spit up a little in my mouth as I wrote this, so I have to stop now.

My hope?  That the American people realize that the Democrats are busy creating a horror movie rather than reporting on real life events.  With that understanding, voters can grab the popcorn (only not the buttered kind) and enjoy the show, fully appreciating that the blood and guts are corn syrup and plasticine.  Otherwise, if the Democrats manage to fool all of the people all of the time, this bloody, nauseating campaign will turn into a true death watch presidency.

In the pages of the NYT, Prof. Shari Motro fully realizes the gibberish of Leftism

I left a trail of hostile professors in my wake when I graduated from UC Berkeley.  I didn’t do that intentionally.  I never set out to be obnoxious or disruptive.  Back in the day, I marched in ideological lock-step with my professors.  (Although even then I couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of the Berkeley professors prating on about class warfare while making under-the-table payments to Mexican women to clean their houses and Japanese men to groom their gardens.)

The problem I had at Berkeley is that then, as now, I have a great reverence for the English language and, more than that, I’m a complete nincompoop when it comes to learning other languages.  This means that I never mastered Marxist cant, which is as foreign a language to the good English speaker as are Chinese and French.

My inability to comprehend Marxism at a linguistic level meant that, when my history professor made some statement about “the alienation of the medieval peasant as resulting from the hegemony of the feudal infrastructure that dominated the commodification for the agricultural economy despite the destructive rise of the proto-petite bourgeoisie,” I didn’t nod sagely and scribble frantic notes as did the rest of my classmates.  Instead, assuming that my class had some number fewer than 1,000 students, I raised my hand and said, “Excuse me, Professor Whatsit.  I don’t understand.  Can you please explain?”

This seemingly innocent question would result in another shower of Marxist gibble-gabble.  At which point I, supremely confident in my mastery of the English language and therefore unfazed by my inability to understand, would repeat, “I’m sorry, I still don’t understand.”  Eventually, parrot-like, I was able to repeat this nonsense with sufficient facility to garner a magna cum laude degree, but I never did internalize all this babble.  And, as I said, many professors weren’t very fond of me.

In retrospect, I suspect that the professors looked askance at me because I played the role of the little boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” effectively pointing out that what they were saying had no meaning — at least with regard to the feudal, agrarian culture that existed in medieval Europe.  Likewise, there was simply no Marxist way to make sense of Jane Austen.  I must say, though, that my suitably Marxist English literature professor managed to do what many might have thought was impossible:  he made Jane Austen dull.

I’m politically more astute now, but have just as little patience for Leftist gibble-gabble.  That’s why, despite attempts to read Shari Motro’s NYT’s Op-Ed about “Preglimony,” I still can’t make sense of what she’s saying.  Motro seems to argue that men will be less likely to get women pregnant if they had to pay for her . . . what? . . . pain and suffering or clothes or something during pregnancy.  Heck, they might even be forced to help to pay the cost of killing their baby (emphasis mine).  At least, I think that’s what Ms. Motro . . . or, should I say, Professor Motro, because this incoherent ideologue is a professor of law at the University of Richmond in Virginia.  See what you make of this:

Since the 1970s it has been possible to genetically link a father and his baby with increasing levels of accuracy. Then, a test using amniotic fluid let us test a baby’s DNA before birth, but the procedure increased the risk of miscarriage. Now a prenatal blood test has made the process far easier. Since a small amount of fetal DNA is present in a pregnant woman’s blood, the pregnancy can be genetically linked to her partner through a simple blood draw from the woman’s arm.

One of the potential ramifications is that men might be called upon to help support their pregnant lovers before birth, even if the pregnancy is ultimately terminated or ends in miscarriage. They might be asked to chip in for medical bills, birthing classes and maternity clothes, to help to cover the loss of income that often comes with pregnancy, or to contribute to the cost of an abortion.

Frankly, I don’t see why pregnancy support would be any more of a deterrent than child-support.  Having drifted away from her shopping list (clothes, medical bills, killing baby), Prof. Motro gets abstract, and I do mean abstract:

Rather than focusing on the relationship between the man and a hypothetical child, the new technology invites us to change the way we think about the relationship between unmarried lovers who conceive. Both partners had a role in the conception; it’s only fair that they should both take responsibility for its economic consequences.

Former spouses are often required to pay alimony; former cohabiting partners may have to pay palimony; why not ask men who conceive with a woman to whom they are not married to pay “preglimony”? Alternatively, we might simply encourage preglimony through the tax code, by allowing pregnancy-support payments to be deductible (which is how alimony is treated).

Huh?  An entire high-exposure op-ed to say that men who can’t be counted on for child support might pay for maternity clothes?

Despite having encouraged men to pay to abort their DNA (apparently yet another way to encourage them not to get women pregnant in the first place), Prof. Motro feels compelled to assure New York Times readers that her whole “preglimony” idea isn’t just a backdoor argument against abortion.  After all, some might say that, if you’re arguing that both biological parents’ obligation to the fetus begins in utero — or, at least, that the obligation to make sure Mama is stylishly attired begins in utero –  maybe you’re also arguing that the fetus has legal rights, including the right not to be aborted.  Not so.  In a paragraph that I still haven’t completely deciphered, Motro assures pregnant women that, even though men have an obligation to the fetus that bears their DNA, abortion is unlimited.  Or at least that’s what I think she’s saying:

The most frequent objection I hear to this idea is that it will give men a say over abortion. A woman’s right to choose is sometimes eclipsed by an abusive partner who pressures her into terminating or continuing a pregnancy against her will, and preglimony could exacerbate this dynamic. But the existence of bullies shouldn’t dictate the rules that govern all of society. In the name of protecting the most vulnerable, it sets the bar too low for the mainstream, casting lovers as strangers and pregnancy as only a woman’s problem.

It’s also possible that preglimony could deter a different form of abuse by making men who pressure their partners into unprotected sex, on the assumption that the woman will terminate an unwanted pregnancy, financially liable for the potential result.

To which I again ask huh?  Feel free to translate.  I don’t know what she’s saying, except that Motro thinks a right to choose eclipses all other legal and moral rights.

This isn’t Motro’s only foray into incomprehensibility.  Back in 2008, right before the election, Motro wrote a masterfully incoherent love letter to Obama’s promise as a healer.  In it, Motro dissed her native Israel for being a hate-filled, racist land, rhapsodized the American South for its love-level, and vomited up the usual charges against Bush.  Keep in mind as you read these excerpts that this woman is a product of higher education and that she teaches the next generation of leaders:

I grew up in Israel, and during my last visit there I felt the interconnectedness of the violence of that place in a way I never had before. I felt the hatred and the heartbreak and the hopelessness seeping like sap from everywhere, from the ambient near-fistfight atmosphere in every interaction. I felt it in the venom with which a minibus driver shouted at a migrant worker who didn’t want to pay for her five year old son “Go back to Africa,” and from the look on the boy’s face as he watched their shouting match quietly, resignedly, understanding that this is the world, a battle. I felt the poison walking on the beach in Tel Aviv – beautiful, sunny, blue skied Tel Aviv – because I knew that my mere presence there is so offensive to some people they want to kill me, want to kill themselves in order to kill me. And it hit me in Jerusalem, walking through bucolic, placid streets where Jews live in Arab houses, houses in which people who are still alive have memories.

[snip]

Flying back from Tel Aviv to Richmond was, as always, soothing. Richmond, where you get to a four-way stop sign and everybody stops. And marching through campus with students and faculty on MLK day, I thought: these American feel-good gestures, which the Israeli in me rolls her eyes at, there’s something to them. These Americans, and the Richmonders I’ve met in particular, they get something right. With good will and gentleness, they are working hard, imperfectly, but working hard nevertheless at healing this bloody, bloody history which here in Richmond is so recent.

And what a gift it would be if we had a president who would stoke this flame.

And what a shame these past seven years.

Abu Ghraib and leaving the bodies of Katrina victims to rot in the streets while Brownie did a heck of a job and reading My Pet Goat as firefighters climbed up against the tide of fleers to rescue as many as possible.

How have seven years of Bush affected our hearts?

Imagine 9/11 with Obama at the helm?

The woman is a walking-talking and, sadly, teaching, spouter of Leftist platitudes and hypocrisy, untethered to either fact or logic.  No wonder our children aren’t learning.  With teachers such as Ms. Motro, they don’t have a fighting chance.

Obama’s peculiar devotion to abortion

The Anchoress examines Obama’s peculiar devotion to abortion, one that sees him put it ahead of all other policy considerations and that allows him to violate freely the consciences of others.

As I’ve said here repeatedly, while I have not yet made the journey to being whole-heartedly pro-Life, after a lifetime of being pro-Choice, the Left’s fealty to abortion, one that transcends even garden-variety morality, logic, and basic Constitutionalism, is pretty good at driving me ever further into the pro-Life camp.

All the good stuff that’s fit to publish on the internet *UPDATED*

For the last two days, I haven’t been blogging much, but I’ve been collecting stuff to read and share with you.  In no particular order, my collection:

Are you an old fart?  I certainly am, and proud of it.

There are several expressions that cover the need to make a decision in the face of uncertainty (e.g.,  “Fish or cut bait.”  “S*** or get off the pot.”)  Bruce Kesler explains that, in the face of Obama’s panicked inertia, Israel had better fish or . . . do other stuff.

Ben Shapiro has, bar none, the best post I’ve seen explaining what Critical Race Theory is and why it should matter to those who, this year, will be given the opportunity to examine candidate Obama once again.

Even in these unhappy times (and the world is struggling), Dennis Prager reminds us that happiness is a possibility and, morally, an imperative.

I am not a birther.  Really.  But this one surprised me.  Is Adams for real, or is he a conspiracy theorist who conveniently presented himself when the opportunity arose?

Finally.  A clear, logical, comprehensive explanation for our current very high gas prices, prices that are higher in real dollars than they were during the Carter years.  I’m not sure Obama has enough speechifying in him to explain this away.

The disturbing racial/eugenicist implications of unlimited abortion.

Spengler (i.e., David Goldman) has been writing for some time about the problems inherent in Muslim population decline.  And no, I didn’t make a typo.  Despite the proud boasts and misleading data about the way the Palestinian population explosion will inevitably overrun Israel, the fact is that the Muslim world is in decline.  The MSM has finally noticed, but they’re getting the wrong message from the facts.

Here, we talk about impeachment.  In Iran, they do something about it.

Please add anything you think is interesting.

UPDATE:  I wasn’t planning on updating this post, but Victor Davis Hanson hit one out of the park, right into must-read territory.

A clever statement by a Leftist reveals that the Left views the Constitution as a content-free document

MoveOn.org has created an online poster that has been getting a fair amount of play on Facebook.  The page is entitled “The #1 Reminder Every GOP Lawmaker Needs To See.”  It then quotes “American Hero” Jamie Raskin, a law professor, before successfully running for Maryland’s State Senate himself, testified before the Maryland State Senate in 2006.  Back then, he had this to say:

Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution.  You didn’t place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

That sounds very clever, doesn’t it?  Nice parallelism, and a definite superficial truth:  American politicians don’t swear to uphold the Bible.  Of course, that cute little parallelism ignores a deeper truth, which is the fact that the Constitution includes this nifty little Amendment called the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The classic religions (as opposed to recently created New-Age spiritualism) all define marriage, and they all define it as a union between a man, on the one hand, and a woman, on the other hand.  Freely exercising ones religion means that, constitutionally speaking (and lawmakers are charged with upholding the Constitution), the government doesn’t get to redefine marriage to include other sexual variations.

In 2008, during the Prop. 8 debate (when California voters were asked to, and did, pass a Proposition defining marriage as being between a man and a woman), I spoke with a very smart, very liberal friend who couldn’t understand why the Catholic Church was taking a stand against Prop. 8.  I suggested to him that the Church was concerned that there would come a time when it would be sued for refusing to perform a gay marriage and that it might lose that suit if gay marriage is deemed a civil right.  He scoffed:  “The Church is opposed to abortion, but no one sues it for that.”  What he couldn’t grasp is that the Catholic Church doesn’t perform abortions, but it does perform marriages.

The HHS fight over funding contraceptives and abortifacients proves that the concern I raised in 2008 is precisely correctly.  Suddenly, through the purse, a Leftist government was trying to get the church to perform abortions.

When Leftist government passes laws that conflict with a religion’s doctrinal points, it has no problem ignoring the First Amendment and using the power of the state and the purse to force the religious organization and its practitioners to abandon their doctrinal concerns.  In other words, Leftist government is happy to enact and enforce policies that essentially prohibit the free exercise of a religion.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  the government should get out of the “marriage” business.  The government’s control of “marriage” is residue of a time when church and state were inextricably intertwined, rather than Constitutionally separate.  Let’s leave “marriage” to the religious organizations, and let them define it as they will.  The state, which has a huge interest in promoting stable unions that result in healthy, happy children, should then bend itself to the task of figuring out how best to promote those unions.  Promoting them, of course, boils down to money.  The state needs to figure out how to entice people (hint:  tax breaks) into joining together and having stable nuclear families.  Civil unions, folks.  In this day and age, it’s the only way to keep the state’s hands off the church.

Looping back to law professor and ignoramus (oh, and American Hero) Jamie Raskin, someone needs to give him a constitutional refresher course:  When the lawmakers place their hands on the Bible and swear to protect the Constitution, they are also swearing to protect people’s rights to practice their Biblically based, life-affirming beliefs without state interference.

The “ultrasound = rape” meme on the Left is part of a larger movement to discredit Republicans with a Big Lie

I will never forget my first ultrasound, when I was pregnant with my first child.  I was not an enthusiastic pregnant woman.  It was my husband, not I, who wanted children.  I had them only (a) because when I married my husband I felt I owed him a family and (b) because, when I was growing up, those of our family friends who were childless were unpleasant, rigid, unimaginative people, something I attributed to their childless state.  I figured that, like ‘em or not, having children was an inextricable part of growing up.  So there I was pregnant and, starting just one week into the pregnancy, vomiting 24/7.    I therefore did not view the ultrasound with any particular enthusiasm.

The ultrasound experience wasn’t particularly congenial.  I lost my clothes from the waist down, and had to lie on a cold, hard table.  The nurse smeared this nasty, cold, jelly stuff on my still flat belly.  (I really miss that flat belly.)  I shuddered.  She then started rolling a cold, hard device across my stomach.  I shuddered more.  And then I turned my head, and saw a string of pearls appear on the monitor.  That string of pearls was my child’s spine.  Everything else on the screen was kind of vague and fuzzy, but I could see clearly that perfectly formed little spinal column.

I never did get reconciled to the vomiting I experienced during my entire pregnancy, and I still miss the relative hedonism of a life without children (sleeping in, eating ice cream without getting fat, having a tidy house), but that string of pearls transformed me.  There was a human being in there.  I never lost sight of that fact.  And when I look at my blooming teen and tween, both fully realized, interesting, intelligent, and vital people, I remember those pearls.

One thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that, if I had gone to the doctor’s office for an abortion, I would have bitterly resented that ultrasound.  Instead, of thinking of the fetus as a “thing,” I would have been forced to recognize its humanity.  Instead of disposing of a “thing,” I would have been killing a “person,” with a spine like a string of pearls.  That is a serious disincentive to abortion.  This is so because, even if one sees photos in high school biology class of a fetus, it’s quite different when that fetus is inside you.

Both pro-Life and pro-Abortion people understand the emotional resonance of scans.  That is why the Virginia legislature has passed a bill mandating scans before abortion, and why Progressive commentators are likening these same scans to rape.  Here is Dahlia Lithwick, whose post advocating this rape position is currently the most prominent:

Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Before touching on true purpose behind this manic, and ugly, hyperbole, let’s get the facts straight.  It’s entirely untrue that all ultrasounds performed during the first three months of pregnancy are done using a transvaginal procedure.  In fact, there’s only a very small window of time during which the transvaginal procedure is the only way to perform the scan:

Abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds are both effective at early stages of pregnancy. This fact is acknowledged in this “continuing medical education” module produced by the National Abortion Foundation (tag line: “A Provider’s Guide to Medical Abortion”):

Transabdominal ultrasound cannot reliably diagnose pregnancies that are < 6 weeks’ gestation. Transvaginal ultrasound, by contrast, can detect pregnancies earlier, at approximately 4 ½ to 5 weeks’ gestation. Prompt diagnosis made possible by TVU can, therefore, result in earlier treatment.

So, yes, transvaginal is more reliable for detecting pregnancies for a period of about seven days. Please note the Orwellian use of the word “treatment” for “killing of the baby.” How does this require a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound? Short answer: it doesn’t.

Here’s another fact that Lithwick ignores — or maybe Lithwick has never been to any of my OB-Gyns.  (Guys, feel free to ignore this paragraph if it makes you uncomfortable.)  My OB-Gyns have always followed a consistent pattern in their dealings with the women who appear in their offices:  take your clothes off, stick your feet in the stirrups, and have the nurse or doctor poke around inside of you, both with digital manipulation and with that truly nasty speculum.  When you’re at the OB-Gyn, penetration is pretty much the name of the game.  (For those guys who are still with me, this is why women never express the proper amount of sympathy when you complain about having your prostate checked.)  If you show up for an abortion during that one week during which a transvaginal ultrasound is more reliable than a transabdominal ultrasound, the ultrasound is just one among many penetrations.  (Abortion, too, requires penetration.  Just sayin’.)

There’s a reason for Lithwick’s hyperbole, though, and it’s not because she’s upset about the Virginia law.  Or at least, that’s only the smallest part.  My sister, who is as uninterested in politics as can be, called me today outraged that Republicans generally, and Santorum specifically, are making contraception illegal.  She was completely taken aback when I explained that Republicans are only trying to preserve a status quo that has been in place since 1965; namely, that contraceptives and abortifacients are freely available everywhere in the U.S., but that churches don’t have to pay for them.

The Democrats are not making contraceptives even more available than they’ve been before, which is an impossibility given their current unlimited availability.  Instead, they are seeking to shift costs onto employers, including religious organizations and individuals who are doctrinally opposed to contraceptives and abortifacients.

My sister was receptive to the truth, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explain to her the entire story.  She got that she was the victim of a Big Lie.  Most voters, however, aren’t my open-minded sister and, even worse, they don’t have me sitting there walking them through the lies and smears.  Instead, they’re begin manipulated into believing that Republicans and conservatives are depriving women of all access to contraceptives and then, once they’re pregnant, raping them.  That’s the Big Lie, and that’s what Democrats think will win them the election in 2012.

Many commentators have shuddered at the way in which Republican candidates are stupidly making this election about women’s sexual rights.  What they miss is that the whole abortion/contraception issue is a tar baby* that Democrats placed squarely in the Republicans’ path, so that it was impossible for Republicans to avoid.

What might happen, though, and what we must hope will happen, is that the Democrats will prove too clever by half, so that this whole thing backfires.  Remember that, in the tar baby tale, despite the tar baby’s initial success in capturing Br’er Rabbit, the rabbit’s own cleverness, and the Fox and the Bear’s hubris, meant that the tar baby ultimately failed.  As Americans realize that the smelly, sticky lies about abortion and contraceptives originated with the Democrats, it might be s the Republicans who head off laughing into the briar patch, leaving the Democrats holding nothing at all.

_____________________

*I recognize the possibility that ill-informed Progressives will assume that, by referring to a tar baby, I am making some sort of racist remark about President Obama.  I’m not.  I am referring instead to an African folktale that came to America with the slave trade, and was preserved in the Southern black oral tradition.

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, in their endless quest to trap and eat the small, but clever, Br’er Rabbit, create a tar baby — a doll-like figure covered with sticky tar — in order to trap Br’er Rabbit.  Sure enough, when Br’er Rabbit cheerily greets the tar baby, believing it to be a real person, he is offended by the tar baby’s failure to respond.  Br’er Rabbit eventually strikes the tar baby, and quickly finds himself trapped by the sticky stuff.  (This is why we say that a particular subject or idea is a tar baby, because a hapless victim quickly finds himself stuck to and overwhelmed by the issue.)

Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear pluck Br’er Rabbit from the tar and debate the best ways to kill him.  Br’er Rabbit agrees to each proposed idea, but asks repeatedly “Please, please, don’t throw me in the briar patch.”  Convinced that the briar patch is Br’er Rabbit’s greatest fear,  are Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, ignoring their own self-interest in keeping that edible little body near them, throw Br’er Rabbit into the patch — the same patch in which he was born and raised.  Br’er Rabbit happily runs away, while Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear are left kicking themselves. It is not a racist tale. It’s a humanist tale about greed, cleverness, and hubris.

Now that Obama has put contraception front and center, Progressives attack as insane and dictatorial those who want to raise human sexuality above base animal practices *UPDATED*

This is just the week for me to have sex on my mind.  It’s not my fault, though, because the culture insists on pushing it into the forefront of my brain.

Ours is a sex saturated culture.  Progressives like it that way and want it to stay that way.  Conservatives point out that, while sexual pleasure is one of life’s blessings, a sexually saturated culture is not a healthy culture.  Instead, it is one beset by fatherless children (who are more likely to live in economically unstable homes); unmarried teen mothers; demoralized women with low self-esteem; rampant sexually transmitted diseaseabortion rates high enough to shock even many of those who support abortion in theory; and nihilistic youth who squander their sexual capital in loveless relationships during their teens and twenties, and who then wonder why, Peggy Lee-like, they’re left asking “is that all there is?”.

Since the statistics support the conservative view, statistics have only one way to challenge the conservative narrative — they have to denigrate the conservatives themselves, without actually touching upon the narrative.  That’s what we’re seeing with Rick Santorum.

I haven’t yet warmed up to Santorum, but I don’t fault him for wanting to talk about problems in our culture.  Birth control has changed behaviors and — which is something few want to acknowledge — the Pill is a very powerful drug that profoundly affects a woman’s hormonal balance.  Blithely handing it out to teens, without parental knowledge or permission, is not something a culture should undertake lightly. And yet that’s what Progressives want to do.

Worse, if someone (Santorum, for example) says “Hey, wait a minute,” Progressives refuse to talk about the health risks of not only giving teens massive amounts of hormones, but also giving them permission to engage in activities that can harm them both physically and mentally. Instead, Progressives try to paint their challengers as maddened Victorian censors, intent upon using the full power of the federal government to return women to a barefoot and pregnant existence in the kitchen.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch Jon Stewart, who manages in a single segment to (1) gloss over the lies within the HHS mandate (because nothing is free); (2) misrepresent the Church’s position regarding Obama’s HHS mandate by pretending that the Church is attacking contraception, rather than fighting against a government putsch that forces them to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization; (3) launches a direct attack on the Church’s decency; and (4) shows Santorum as a mad man.  Warning:  this video is NSFW.

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(Mr. Bookworm, having watched this segment, turned to me and announced “this is why I can never vote for Santorum.  He’s a God freak.”  Mr. Bookworm was taken aback when I said that he couldn’t support Obama either, because Obama had used Jesus to justify higher taxes.  I got an earful of silence back after that one.)

James Taranto, in a post that looks at anti-Santorum attacks from conservatives who disagree with him on social issues, still manages to explain precisely what’s going on:

In truth, Santorum says only that he would “talk about” what he sees as the social harms of contraception. There is no conflict whatever between limited government and moral exhortation, provided the latter is unaccompanied by legislative or administrative action.

And the quote is very much in keeping with “a tradition rooted in the pursuit of happiness.” Santorum is merely making a case for deferred gratification. His claim is that the easy availability of birth control has enabled and encouraged a pursuit of pleasure that is inimical to the achievement of happiness. One may reasonably argue that Santorum is overgeneralizing or that on the whole he is mistaken. But to write him out of the American tradition on the basis of that quote, as Friedersdorf attempts to do, is simply bonkers.

[snip]

What he says is that birth control has greatly expanded sexual freedom, and that sexual freedom has had consequences that are harmful to society and to women in particular. Again, one may disagree whether, on balance, these harms outweighed the benefits. But what is so upsetting about the idea that they might have? What in the world explains Friedersdorf’s and Rubin’s overwrought emotionalism?

Here’s our attempt at an explanation: In liberal metropolises like Los Angeles, Washington and New York (homes of Friedersdorf, Rubin and this columnist, respectively), a high proportion of conservatives have internalized the assumptions of feminism. One of those assumptions is that female sexual freedom, an essential component of sexual equality, is an unadulterated good. Santorum’s statements to the contrary challenge this deeply held view.

Furthermore, contemporary feminism is, as we recently argued, a totalitarian ideology, by which we mean one that tolerates no divergence between the personal and the political. If you are not a feminist, you can enjoy a lifestyle of sexual freedom and also take seriously the idea that sexual freedom is bad for society. If you are a feminist, that is a thoughtcrime.

[snip]

Totalitarian ideologies sustain themselves in large part through fear, and feminism has been particularly fearsome of late, as the Susan G. Komen ladies and the Catholic bishops can attest. But our intuition is that this is a sign of weakness, not strength. The fearful reactions to Santorum’s heresies against sexual freedom reinforce that sense.

This column has its differences with Rick Santorum, but we admire him for his fearlessness in challenging feminist pieties. “One man with courage makes a majority,” Andrew Jackson is supposed to have observed. Is Rick Santorum such a man? If not, let’s hear a reasoned argument to the contrary.

Rick Santorum is not the only conservative who is subject to ad hominem attacks for daring to raise factual challenges to feminist pieties.  In today’s SF Comical, Amy Graff, who is one of the paper’s official bloggers, is disgusted by an anti-Planned Parenthood video that is filled with a collection of graphic sexual images.

Reading Graff’s post, one finds that she’s not at all troubled by the fact that the video is correct in stating that Planned Parenthood, with help from federal tax dollars, goes to schools all over America to sell sex as a consequence-free activity for young people that’s fun, fun, fun.  (Indeed, just the other day, a San Francisco high school celebrated Valentine’s Day, if not with PP’s help, at least with PP’s style.)  Instead, Graff thinks it’s disgusting that the dirty-minded people at the American Life League were sick enough to assemble all of the PP propaganda in a single place:

The video was created to show that Planned Parenthood is a “perverted” organization, turning America’s children into sex addicts through community events featuring penis-shaped balloons, vagina macaroons, vulva puppet shows, and giant vagina costumes. And then there’s all the masturbation literature, graphic images of naked boys and girls, and online descriptions of sexual organs. Planned Parenthood would tell you they offer these materials to educate youth and encourage safe sex but Michael Hichborn, media director of the American Life League, says, “They’re selling pornography to kids as science.” No matter, this video is quite an impressive collection of lewdness.

Graff’s right in a way.  Ripped free of the youthful “rah-rah” and feminist ideology in which PP packages these sexuality promotions, the material it routinely distributes as schools throughout America does look remarkably like pornography for the younger set.  Here — see for yourself, but just be sure not to watch this video in the office:

Although this may come as a surprise to Progressives, conservatives like sex.  Indeed, to the extent that devoutly religious people such as Santorum believe that human sexuality is a direct gift from God, they probably appreciate it even more than Progressives do, seeing as the latter simply view it as a pleasurable animal instinct.

Conservatives, however, are the ones who are willing to point out that nothing is free, not even a gift from God.  Sex comes with strings attached, and it’s a health society that respects those strings and weaves them into a strong social fabric, rather than rope with which to hang our young people.  It’s very important, therefore, that we fight back against the Obama narrative that has moderate social conservatives — meaning people who don’t want sexual segregation, burqas, the end of contraception, etc., but who do want sex, and women, treated with more reverence and respect — painted as the worst kind of puritanical totalitarians.

UPDATE:  Tina Korbe, at Hot Air, also weighs in on the now-pulled American Life League video, and includes a link to information about its contents.

I’m shocked! Shocked! The Obama administration has been lying again.

Conservatives of all religious stripes have been attacking the ObamaCare mandate regarding birth control and abortifacients on religious grounds.  The Obama administration’s response was to introduce an “accommodation” under which the insurance companies will henceforth offer these medicines and services for “free.”

Anybody past the age of five understands that, in this life, nothing is free.  The same opponents immediately pointed out that religious institutions and people of conscience will still be funding an insurance package that includes morally reprehensible products.  After all, someone has to pay, right?

Wrong! says the administration.  No one has to pay because all “health care” products have a negative cost effect on the insurance companies.  By forcing the companies to provide preventive services for free, the Obama administration is actually saving the company’s money.  Never mind the fact that, in the real world, if there really was a cost savings, the insurance companies would already be offering these products and services for free — and then, in order to compete in the insurance market, they would be passing these savings along to their customers.

Aside from ignoring marketplace realities, the Obama administration is apparently lying as well:

[T]here is no evidence that a mandate on insurance companies to provide contraception is cost-neutral. A search of PubMedturns up nothing.

Tory Bunce, policy director at the conservative Council for Affordable Health Insurance, told IBD, “In our research, we’ve looked at the cost of mandates on the state level. We’ve asked our members to price these mandates in their actual policies. What we’ve been told from the actuaries is that the contraceptive mandate costs 1%-3% of premiums.”

Read more here about yet another administration lie, one that a complicit MSM cheerfully passes along to a credulous public.

The Obama administration engages in full-out war against pro-Life people *UPDATED*

As others have commented, the Catholic Church is making the loudest noises about the new Obama Care mandate regarding birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization, but the policy is really a strike against everyone who is pro-Life in America.  If you’re a pro-Life employer, you have to pay for your employees’ abortion pills.  If you’re a pro-Life health insurance company (or health insurance company employee) you must write policies that cover every woman’s birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients.  If you are a health insurance consumer (as we all must be in Obama’s America), you will pay for abortions.

Anybody with a pro-Life conscience, even if that person has arrived at that position without benefit of organized religion, is in the line of fire.

But if you’re thinking that Obama is hostile to religion, you’re right about that too.  Check out the first update to the Anchoress’ post about the health care mandate, and you’ll see that Obama is starting to put the squeeze on in other areas when it comes to people of faith.

I’m hoping that hubris is driving the administration’s unpopular decisions now, in an election year.  To date, though, the administration has shown itself to be sufficiently Machiavellian that I wonder if it knows something about the upcoming elections that the rest of us don’t know.

UPDATE:  Oh, and for the pointedly humorous take on Obama’s policy stand, I know you’ll enjoy this.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we live in a very peculiar world, one that sees me, a loosey-goosey theist (sort of), deeply offended by the federal executive’s full force attacks on religious freedom in America.

(And please sign the petition.)

Obama’s war on Catholics (and other faith-based organizations)

Jonathan Last has as good a summation as any I’ve seen of the now open warfare between Barack Obama and his erstwhile ally, the fairly liberal American Catholic Church.  The article ends with an effort to understand why Obama would pick this battle, and why he would pick it now.  It’s certainly an interesting fight to pick during election year.

Last points out that, while the Catholic Church was blindsided, and most middle-of-the-road Americans were completely unaware that anything at all was happening, the MoveOn.org left has been agitating for comprehensive birth control and abortifacient coverage for months now.  In other words, forcing all employers to cover birth control and abortion drugs mattered to the base.   Did Obama not realize that being forced in that way would also matter to the Catholic Church?

Was Obama (and when I say “Obama” I’m referring to the president and all his minions) thinking that, when push comes to shove, Catholics, like Jews and blacks, will vote Democrat no matter what?  In that regard, Obama appears to be unperturbed by the fact that small, but significant, numbers of Jewish voters are shifting Republican.  It’s unclear if this shift is because even liberal Jews couldn’t take Obama’s continuous assaults on Israel or because even liberal Jews, looking at their white-collar world, are beginning to realize that Obama’s policies are not improving their situation.

Alternatively, was Obama thinking that an energized base is the most important thing of all, as that will be the engine that powers his election train?

Or, as some here have speculated, is this simply an example of Obama’s hostility to Western religious institutions?  After all, the man lives in a liberal bubble, and I don’t think he has the wit or imagination to understand how deeply committed religious organizations and religious people to the right to life.  To him, they’re wrong, and he’ll bring them to the light.  (This is a point Michael Ramirez nailed in his latest editorial cartoon.)

I’m asking here, not answering.  What do all of you think?  What would make Obama pick this fight in an election year?

Barbara Boxer’s Orwellian defense of the way in which the new healthcare mandate advances religious freedom *UPDATED*

Barbara Boxer has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to explain why the administration’s mandate that all insurers provide birth control, including drugs that induce abortion, advances rather than restricts, religious freedom.  If you like Orwell’s Newspeak, Boxer’s writing is a thing of beauty and will certainly be a joy forever as a model of obfuscation and deceit.  I think it deserves a nice fisking, I really do:

When President Obama announced that because of health care reform, birth control would soon be available for free in new insurance plans, you would have expected universal approval.

[Why in the world would there be universal approval for a policy that requires people to underwrite birth control for everyone, including the 1%?  It's not as if birth control was unavailable before ObamaCare.  Nor is birth control expensive.  Condoms will not break anyone's bank and the pill is one of the cheapest products around.  So remind me again why I'm celebrating being forced to pay for other people's personal birth control choices?]

After all, virtually all women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used birth control at some point in their lives and 71 percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support this policy.

[See above.  It's not about who uses birth control, Catholic women included.  It's about who pays for birth control.  Welcome to Boxer's first piece of Orwellian sleight of hand.]

That is why I was stunned to read E.J. Dionne’s column in the Washington Post today denouncing a decision that should instead be lauded, especially by those of us who care about religious freedom, women’s health, and economic fairness.

[Now we get to it:  the policy advances "religious freedom . . . and economic fairness."  I'm completely unclear what's economically fair about a working class Mom or a small business having to fund a policy that will help Paris Hilton get her birth control for free.  But let's get to the real meat.  Let's find out how, in Obama/Orwell land, forcing everyone to pay for birth control and abortion pills advancing religious freedom.]

The truth is, the president’s decision respects the diverse religious views of the American people, who deserve the right to follow their own conscience and choose whether to obtain contraceptives, regardless of where they work. [Uh, Babs -- nobody is banning them from getting contraceptives now.  Last I looked, I could walk into any pharmacy and, for a very affordable price, get myriad over-the-counter contraceptives.  And I can go to my doctor and get a prescription for other affordable contraceptives.  This isn't about access; it's about funding.]  And that is what this policy guarantees — with one carefully drawn exception. This decision respects the deeply-held views of religious institutions. If their mission is primarily religious and the majority of their employees and clients share that faith, religious institutions do not have to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.  [Here's where the real double-speak lies, since it overlooks the fact that the only entirely religious institutions are convents and monasteries.  Whether we're talking a vast Catholic educational institution, a soup kitchen, or the local parish, outside of ministering positions, the Catholic Church is required by law to hire people of different religions.  In any event, my understanding is that, again outside of the core religious functionaries, the Church freely hires those who are willing to accommodate its vision and goals.  In other words, the so-called "exception" probably covers six convents and a monastery.]

So, despite what his critics claim, the president’s policy does in fact respect religious freedom. [No, it doesn't, because it aims to prevent any Catholic institutions from competing in the employment marketplace, by intentionally creating a situation in which Catholic institutions can no longer give their employees insurance coverage.]  In addition, opponents of this policy shockingly ignore the facts: that it will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in our country — a goal I thought we all shared.  [Non sequitur.  We're not talking about reducing unintended pregnancies.  We're talking about a government policy that forces a religious organization to fund a practice that is doctrinally abhorrent.]

The president followed the advice of the Institute of Medicine and other independent medical experts who recommended that health plans cover preventive services that women cannot afford to miss, including annual exams, HIV screening and, yes, contraception. These experts know the truth: The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions is to make birth control more accessible to women and men. Period. Without birth control, a couple has an 85 percent chance of having an unintended pregnancy within a year.

[See my last comment, above.  This is mixing Marxist apples with religious oranges.  We have a free country in which women already have access to birth control, sterilization, and abortion.  It's just that, until today, the government hasn't forced religious organizations to sponsor these practices.  It also ignores the fact that the Church believes that the best way to protect women is to teach them to treat sex as a sacred obligation within the bounds of marriage.  In other words, the Church's birth control is to take a stand against a promiscuous, hook-up culture.]

Finally, this decision will help working families by giving them access to free birth control. The cost of birth control can be prohibitive for many women, particularly in these difficult economic times. In fact, 34 percent of women voters report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. Surprisingly, Dionne glosses over the crucial issue of cost by recommending that the President simply require plans that won’t cover birth control to tell their employees where else they can buy it. He dismisses it as a “modest cost.” Well, tell that to the woman making minimum wage and struggling to buy groceries for her children — paying an extra $600 a year for birth control pills is a major expense for her, not a “modest cost.”

[Another red herring.  I have a suggestion, Babs.  Rather than making the Church pay for this "modest cost," why don't you tell the President to authorize the Keystone Pipeline?  That will create thousands of jobs and substantially drop the cost of oil.  This latter cost drives up the price of everything.  But it's clear that the President would rather attack the Catholic's core doctrines, than the Gaia worshippers' core doctrines.]

Improving access to affordable birth control is not a controversial issue for the American people, the vast majority of whom support family planning. The president’s decision should bring all sides together because it will help millions of women and their families. Certainly, that is a policy worthy of our praise.

[Doublespeak, doublespeak, doublespeak.  We have complete access in this country to birth control.  We have women who might be struggling to meet the cost because Obama's policies, including the stimulus and the refusal to exploit our energy resources, have made many things more expensive for many people.  Forcing religious institutions to fund practices that are morally abhorrent is not the way to balance out Obama's economic failings.]

Okay, enough with wandering around the cesspool that is Boxer’s brain and moral decency. If you really want to know what’s going on, I recommend Elizabeth Scalia’s article on the opening salvo in Obama’s war against the Catholic Church (and, of course, other religious organizations).

UPDATE:  Welcome, David Hogberg readers!

ObamaCare, the Catholic Church, and mandatory abortion payments

In the halcyon pre-Obama days, when Prop. 8 meant that gay marriage was a hot blogging issue, I argued that religion organizations, not the state, should be allowed to define what constitutes a “marriage,” with states confined to authorizing “civil unions.”  In that context, I commented upon the religious implications of the government mandating that a church engage in something that touches upon a core doctrinal belief:

The second problem right now with the emphasis on changing state definitions of marriage, rather than religious definitions, is the risk that there will be direct challenges between church and state. A lawyer I know assured me that this couldn’t happen because, for example, the Catholic church does not get sued because it opposes abortion.  That was facile reasoning.  While abortions may be a civil right, the Catholic church does not provide abortions.  What the Catholic church provides is communion, which is not a civil right, so the church can withhold it at will.  What happens, though, when the church provides something which is both a core doctrinal belief (marriage) and a state right (marriage)?  It’s a head-on collision, and I can guarantee you that the courts will get involved and that some activist judge will state that the Catholic Church is constitutionally required to marry gay couples.  (Emphasis added.)

I was prescient.  Mandating that the Catholic Church provide abortions is precisely what the Obama administration is doing.  Institutions such as the Catholic Church, which considers the right to life one of its core beliefs, must nevertheless fund abortions by providing insurance that makes abortion drugs available to all women on demand.  Funding an act is tantamount to committing that act yourself.

Whether you support a woman’s right to have an abortion or not, surely anyone who is intellectually honest must see that it is morally wrong to make a religious institution fund it.  To use an extreme analogy, this is the beginning of a continuum that ends with Jews being forced to dig their own mass burial pits before being lined upon along the edge of those pit and shot.

I assume that those who are celebrating this mandate will contend that, throughout the Bush years, they were forced to see their tax dollars go to fund a war they did not support, one that saw thousands of people die.  Likewise, those who oppose the death penalty must nevertheless pay taxes that fund the judicial and prison system.  That argument is a red herring.  The Constitution explicitly authorizes both war and capital punishment, which are legitimate government powers.  Those who don’t like that reality are welcome to try a Constitutional amendment to wipe out the government’s war powers and do away with capital punishment.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

There is nothing in the Constitution, however, that authorizes the Federal government (and, by extension through the 14th Amendment, any state government) to mandate that a religious institution be complicit in an act it believes constitutes murder.  More to the point, the Constitutional grant of religious freedom, by which the government agrees to stay out of managing a religious institutions affairs, either practical or doctrinal, should prohibit such conduct entirely.  This is one more example, as if we needed it, of the Obama administration’s fundamental lawlessness.

 

Media commits fraud by continuing to ignore the conservative movement in America

A few days ago, writing with regard to the media’s decision to ignore the standing ovations Newt received during the last South Carolina debate, I asked “If the Press Ignores an Event, Does It Exist?“  The press, it turns out, wants to take that experiment in ignoring facts as far as it can go.

Today, I present you with an even more egregious example, one that sees that media ignore several hundred thousand people walking down the streets of Washington, D.C.  The event, of course, was the March For Life, something the media would prefer not to acknowledge.  As the Anchoress says:

You want the truth? You think you deserve it? The press can’t handle the truth; they can’t bring it to you.

That’s why 250 people camping out in a park gets thousands of stories, while half-a-million marching on Washington does not get reported at all, or if it does, the pictures are cropped; the attendees are caricatured, mis-named and under-represented while their opponents are over-represented.

You should, of course, read her entire post.

As I often say, I’m not yet fully recovered from my years in the Pro-Choice camp, so I won’t be marching any time soon with the Pro-Life people, even though I admire them more than my former fellow travelers.  I am, though, very much pro-truth.  And as I lawyer, I can tell you that, as a matter of law, selective omission is just as much a fraud is deliberately deceptive affirmative statements.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist warns city’s rational thinkers not to roll in the mud with one specific fringe group

Here’s the lede:

The great thing about living in San Francisco is that it is socially and culturally responsible. The bad thing is, a city that is so socially and culturally responsible can’t resist taking the bait when a fringe group tries to provoke a reaction.

In a non-Bizarro world, one might think that the columnist, C.W. Nevius, is advising San Franciscans to ignore the OWSers camped out along the Embarcadero.  What better way to avoid the drugs, feces and vomit?  Except that can’t be right take on that lede because even San Francisco, with its seemingly endless tolerance for all things Progressive, cleared out the OWS camp a couple of months ago because it was a public health hazard.

Or maybe Nevius is advising San Franciscans to avoid the antisemitic/anti-American hate fest that occurs whenever the Progressive crowd takes to the streets of San Francisco to oppose the wars the U.S. is fighting against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Nope.  Can’t be that.  Those protests ended when Obama took the White House, even though it took another three years for one war to wrap up and the other is still going strong.

Hmm.  Maybe Nevius is telling San Franciscans to stay away from the annual Up Your Alley Fair, an open air celebration of pretty much unlimited debauchery.  Or the annual Folsom Street Fair, which features less nudity, but more whips and chains.

I mean, frankly, when it comes to “fringe groups” that are trying “to provoke a reaction,” San Francisco certain has more than its fair share.

This being San Francisco, however, Nevius had something even more fringey in mind, something so horrifying that even San Francisco’s usual crew of protesters, the ones who will take off their clothes to protest anything, including their right to take off their clothes, are being warned away lest they get damaged by contact with this extremist organization.  What is this diabolical gathering, the one so out there that San Franciscans need to hide in their homes rather than validate it with confrontation?

The 8th Annual Walk For Life, which will be held on January 21, 2012, in San Francisco.  Last year, this “fringe” group managed to gather around 40,000 people, all of whom frightened ordinary San Franciscans by wearing normal clothes, walking peaceably, and carrying signs that support life.  (Zombie has an illustrative photo essay from the 2010 walk.)

Nevius, who sometimes distinguishes himself by being amongst the more sensible columnists by San Francisco Chronicle standards, embraces San Francisco’s amorality, however, when he says that the City, en masse, should ignore this pro-Life plague:

The best approach, of course, would be to let them [the pro-Life walkers] have their moment, ignore them, and then go back to real life in San Francisco. That’s the approach that will be taken by the local chapter of Planned Parenthood.

[snip]

Naturally, not everyone feels that way, and we can just about count on clashes between the two groups. There will be disagreements about the size of the crowds – protesters claim that the walk organizers overestimate the size of the march, and members of the walk claim that the number of protesters decreases every year.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a classic example of sound and fury signifying nothing. When the walk concludes Saturday, you can bet that no one will have changed his or her position, although everyone will be congratulating himself or herself for standing up for the cause.

I’ve done enough abortion posts for you guys to know that I’m conflicted on this subject.  I grew up totally pro-Choice, focused entirely on the woman’s needs and convenience.  As I’ve aged — and had children — I’ve no longer been able to deny that there is another life involved.  I want to deny it.  If, God forbid, my daughter shows up pregnant at 15, I want to say “Oh, never mind, darling!  I’ll just take you to the doctor and that’ll be that,” but I don’t think I can anymore.  It’s not a woman’s convenience versus a cell’s existence.  It’s a life versus a life.

So when C.W. Nevius says “[w]hen the walk concludes Saturday, you can bet that no one will have changed his or her position,” he’s plain wrong.  The walk may be the last link in the chain for someone who is struggling, as I struggle, with making a u-turn in a profound belief system, one that forces us to confront who we are and what value we place upon ourselves.