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Monthly Archives: November 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just when you thought there was enough reasons to hate reality TV. Now, a reality TV couple gate crashes a White House state dinner.  Meanwhile , I’m stripping down to my under wear to get on a airplane. Can we have some sensible security in this country?

Mr. King said he had seen people turned away from similar White House events, including a congressman who brought his daughter instead of his wife, whose name was on the list. He also raised concerns about the Secret Service’s assertion that Mr. Obama was safe because all guests passed through metal detectors.

“The fact they went through the magnometer is incidental,” he said. “They could have had anthrax on them. They could have grabbed a knife from the dining room table.”

He added, “The next time it will be a far worse reality than a reality TV show.”

 

Obama had his chance to do a Nixonesque honorable withdraw from the tar baby war called Afghanistan. Instead he is doing an LBJ escalation. Hope it works better for Barak than it did for Lyndon.

The Christian Scientists,who believe illness is an illusion, nevertheless would like a piece of the action in all this healthcare reform. Mary Baker Eddy would be proud.

At left-leaning  TruthDig.Com, a pro-choice journalist defends the Stupak Ammendment and discusses the fallacies swirling around the pro-choice and pro-life communities:

Fallacy No. 1: The Stupak amendment is necessary to maintain the status quo, in which no federal money is used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or to preserve the life of the mother.

As it went to the floor, the House bill included an amendment, by California Democrat Lois Capps, that would have required all insurance plans in the exchanges to segregate public and private dollars to make certain that the public subsidies would not be used to underwrite abortion coverage.

But if the Capps restrictions do not go far enough, existing efforts to segregate federal funding from abortion coverage fall short as well. For example, Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. Federal law prohibits federal Medicaid funding for most abortions. But the law also lets states decide to use their own money for abortion coverage, and 17 do. How is that different from separating public and private dollars in the exchange? Likewise, current law allows family planning funds, national and international, to go to clinics that perform abortions, so long as the federal money is kept separate.

And no one questions—not yet, anyway—the fact that millions in tax dollars subsidize abortion coverage through the employer exclusion, which allows health insurance to be provided as a tax-free benefit. News alert: The single-largest subsidy in the tax code is going to pay for abortions!

Fallacy No. 2: Your money is fungible but mine isn’t.

The wall of separation between public and private funds is always going to have some degree of permeability. It’s just that some fungibility is deemed acceptable, and some not. It depends, it seems, on who gets the money.

The same folks who squawk about money being fungible when it comes to federal funding and abortion take the opposite view when it comes to federal funding and parochial schools or federal funding and faith-based programs.

When the Catholic Church takes government money to run homeless shelters or soup kitchens, it frees up dollars for other, religious expenses that wouldn’t be a permissible use of government funds. Somehow, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which pushed the Stupak amendment, isn’t bothered by this reality.

When the government gives low-income families school vouchers to use at parochial schools, or sends educational material and equipment to parochial schools, the bishops aren’t worried about whether that money is being commingled to subsidize religion.

“The simple fact that broad governmental social programs may have some effect of aiding religious institutions … cannot be cause for invalidating a program on Establishment Clause grounds,” the bishops argued in one case before the Supreme Court.

Fallacy No. 3: The Stupak amendment is such an intolerable intrusion on the rights of women to choose that it cannot be allowed to stand.

I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that this is wrong, and that pro-choice forces may be making a mistake in elevating the importance of the amendment to the degree they have. The Stupak amendment is not worth killing health reform over.

The women most hurt by the amendment stand to gain much more from expanded insurance coverage. And while having coverage is preferable, it is not the same as putting an insurmountable obstacle in the way of abortion rights. Women who lack insurance still obtain—and, if the amendment survives, still will be able to obtain—abortions. It’s possible that the exchanges will evolve to supplant employer-based insurance, making the amendment’s impact far greater than it now appears.

That remote risk isn’t worth the greater danger: losing the opportunity to get reform now.

During Oprah’s benign, softball interview with the Republican right’s full-scale action figure, Sarah Palin, it was clear that  Palin didn’t write her autobiography, hadn’t read her autobiography and that the only one who was prepared to promote the book was Ms. Winfrey. Sarah was like a deer in the headlights circling the same jumbled buzz words and phrases that she uses in lieu of  communication. The saddest part of the interview was when Palin couldn’t even come up with the bittersweet words that her husband was alleged to have said when the couple discussed the down syndrome diagnosis of their son. Clearly, Palin is too undisciplined and too lazy to even do her homework on her own book tour. To think she could have been one heart beat away from a President McCain!

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When Pro-lifers become a significant enough part of the Democratic Party to do what they did this Saturday, we are starting to witness tectonic plates shifting in U.S. politics. The Republican tent is shrinking as they move to further to the wacko fringe and ostracize their own moderate candidates and voters. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is going to have to figure out how pro-choice feminists can learn to play nice with big-government-social-justice-committed pro-lifers. It’s going to be interesting. The Daily Beast observes:

What Pelosi did last weekend has its roots in a rebellion against small-tentism that began in the mid-1980s, when a group of Southern and Western Democrats formed the Democratic Leadership Council, which campaigned inside the party for greater tolerance for cultural conservatives. Ideologically, the DLC incubated Bill Clinton, who spent the 1990s calling abortion a necessary evil and affirmative action a good idea taken too far, and enjoyed modest success in luring some conservative Democrats back. Then, in the Bush years, congressional barons like New York’s Charles Schumer began to aggressively recruit cultural conservatives to run in red states and districts. In Pennsylvania, they muscled a pro-choice candidate out of the way to clear room for anti-abortion Democrat Robert Casey, whose father had famously claimed that party bigwigs prevented him from discussing his opposition to abortion at the 1992 Democratic Convention. Barack Obama went even further, naming pro-lifer Tim Kaine as chairman of the Democratic Party.

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The Daily Beast outlines how pro-life Democrats and a fairly moderate President Obama have been promising a Health Care Reform that would avoid using public money to fund abortions all along. So why are pro-choice Democrats so shocked? Maybe they were listening to the distortions of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party crowd.

In a July interview with Katie Couric and on the floor of Congress in September, President Obama promised there would be no public financing of abortion in health reform, meaning the procedure would not be available to women who opt in to any potential new public insurance plan. That pushed the goalposts closer to the pro-life position.

Others are pointing at the pro-choice groups themselves. Jane Hamsher, who runs the Netroots blog Firedoglake, says the organizations have gotten too cozy with the Democratic Party establishment, which often seeks to avoid public discussion of abortion. In the health-reform fight, NARAL and Planned Parenthood were less effective in advocating for their agenda than were proponents of the public insurance option, Hamsher said. “We went out and got commitments from members of the House to vote against any bill that doesn’t have a public option,” Hamsher told The Daily Beast. “They weren’t doing the same thing.”

Richards, of Planned Parenthood, said she wasn’t aware of any efforts, before Saturday’s vote, to extract promises from legislators to vote against a health bill that restricts abortion access. “Frankly, this issue came out Friday night,” she said. Yet Stupak has been on the warpath since July, when he released a letter signed by 19 Democrats demanding a ban on abortion coverage in the exchanges.

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The Health Care Reform bill has passed in the House. What put it over? Pro-life Democrats. You heard right. Pro-life Democrats.  Sure, they are as scarce as unicorns and vegans in fur coats, but it was the pro- life Democrat congressmen who inserted a last-minute amendment that got the bill the votes.

The deal was cut verrrrry late last night, so maybe the news hasn’t gotten out everywhere. When Obama arrived on the Hill to rally House Democrats to pass health reform around 11:30 this morning, his motorcade passed anti-abortion activists protesting outside with “Kill the bill!” “Kill the Pelosi bill!” signs. Yet just a few hours earlier, the Democratic leadership decided to allow pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak to offer his abortion amendment for a straight up-or-down vote on the full House floor, a huge concession and perhaps the only way to pave the way to pass health reform in the House.

The Stupak amendment is a full-out ban on abortion coverage in the public exchange. In addition to language barring direct funding of abortion–which was already included in the bill as part of the Capps amendment that passed the committee this summer–Stupak would prevent private insurance plans that cover abortion from receiving subsidies if they participate in the exchange. Supporters of the Stupak amendment argue it simply continues the status quo and they bill it as the Hyde amendment for health reform. But that’s not true. It’s only half of Hyde amendment language, the half that says no funding without the half that allows exceptions for using other funds (like state funds) to cover abortion procedures.

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The neo cons have a charmingly parochial view of the world. They believe that if we simply occupy more countries and build more bridges (right after we blow them up), we can defuse radical Islamic jihad and spread democracy. No more 9-11s. No more terrorism. All it takes is enough troops. The trouble is that the U.S. army apparently can’t even take an American-born Muslim, pay for his education and train him to use a gun and win his particular heart and mind to the American Way. Is there something about our view of the world and the Muslim view of the world that is fundamentally irreconcilable? Nahhh, that makes far too much sense.