Sunday, September 28, 2008
I'm still an undecided primary voter even today. But this is interesting.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
First, last I heard, the laws of the State of Illinois made it illegal to kill infants. So was this legislation even necessary?
Second, the name of a piece of legislation tells you nothing. By this logic, someone who voted against the No Child Left Behind Act wants children left behind, or someone who voted against the Healthy Forests Initiative wants sick forests.
Third, when I suggested that pro-lifers have to be prepared to accept a greater expansion of socialism to care for all the would-be victims of abortion, there was a chorus of objections from pro-lifers. But this law, if the linked article is correct, mandated state funds to take care of these children as long as they were alive. It also abrogated the rights of parents and would have given lawyers an opportunity to "sue everything on two legs." But I thought Republicans hated trial lawyers. In other words, there appear to have been various reasons for voting against this legislation besides wanting the accidental survivors of abortion dead.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Do you hold to a general principle of laissez-faire capitalism, that the government ought to stay out of the economy. That principle is equally violated by a corporate bailout as it is by LBJ's War on Poverty.
Was the GI Bill socialism?
Do you oppose any and all government assistance to poor people?
And who do you think was last conservative President? If you say GW Bush I'm going to laugh. Ronald Reagan? Give me a break. Herbert Hoover? Maybe.
Are child labor laws justified? There's government intervention to be sure.
The leaders who have run the Republican party for years are not principled conservatives. They want government to back big business. Their hearts start bleeding at the sight of a failing multinational corporation.
Do you seriously doubt that many have benefitted from government involvement in the economic life of the public?
What, in your view, constitutes principled conservatism? This isn't just a rhetorical attack. I'd really like to see what conservatism is really all about. The "conservative" ideology that has run the Bush administration seems to be an ideology that looks out for big business first and foremost. If that means government involvement, then government gets involved. It that means reducing government, then government is reduced. But I see no commitment to limited government as an overall governing principle. That is why, if you really convinced me that conservative principles were true, I would register, not Republican, but Libertarian.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Bill Vallicella once criticized my use of this little piece by saying that it commits a diachronic fallacy; it implies that because liberals might have been justified in going for government assistance to the economy in the past, it doesn't follow that the kinds of things liberals propose today are justified. As Palin would say, perhaps so. Nevetheless the general principle that government should keep its filthy laws off our collective economic body seems just false, and there can't be any greater proof that what we have seen this past week. The bitter fruits of deregulation have been reaped this past week, and now one of the leading deregulators, a member of the Keating Five, wants the job of cleaning up the mess?
The Bible says those who won't work should not eat. But those willing to work should eat, and the weakest members of society, those who are too young, too old, or too sick, or too disabled, to work, should be able to eat as well. It would be wonderful it trickle-down actually worked, or if in particular Christians were so generous enough so that government action was not necessary. The evidence suggests otherwise.
The Day in the Life of Joe Democrat mentions mostly things that Rush Limbaugh, in his worst nightmares, images liberals as advocating, not the actual accomplishments of real liberals.
Let's take a look at something that was enacted in the Clinton years, the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was for the purpose of preventing companies from firing mothers who took of to have babies and spend time at home with their children before going back to work. I was pleased to see that McCain voted for this legislation, but I remember Limbaugh and other conservatives railing against it. But gee, if you're pro-life and you want women to carry their babies to term and not abort them, how can you be against this sort of legislation? Is overturning Roe all you can think of when you think about lowering the abortion rate?
For reasons I have presented earlier, while I don't subscribe to what I think is a doctrinaire commitment to "a woman's right to choose," I don't think that is an area where the President can make a direct impact. I am being told that if McCain is elected, we'll get a fifth pro-life justice on the Court, Roe will be overturned, and abortion will at least be prohibited the the red states. I think that won't happen; I think the abortion rate will actually rise if McCain is elected and fall if Obama is elected. So pro-lifers should vote Democratic this time.
In foreign affairs, again I am actually a conservative, I am very conservative about the traditional Just War theory, and skeptical of modernists who think that that its provisions are "quaint" because we live in a "post 9/11 world." Iraq was, in my view, a completely unjust war, and when I get in a bad mood I actually think it's a war we deserve to lose, since we invaded the country immorally to begin with. (Yeah, I don't like the sound of what I just said either). I don't care what the justification is, there are things you don't do to prisoners of war and things you don't do to criminal defendants, and the people we picked up off the battlefield in Afganistan should not have been put into some "neither fish nor fowl" category so that they we could do what we wanted with them.
So these are some of the main reasons why I am a Democrat.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This post is dedicated to the memory of David Baur, a friend of mine whom I recently discovered died of a heart attack last August. He sent me this during the 2004 election campaign.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.
With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.
He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.
Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."
* written by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The rumors about Palin are an understandable reaction to the possibility of having someone close to the Presidency who is unknown to the general public and is seen as extreme in some ways. Who she is is important. Is her campaign persona genuine? Or is she trying to appear to be something she is not. America wants to know, and should want to know.
It's my view that the Palin pick is a highly dubious pick for the reasons I gave earlier, which do not in any way rely on the truth of any of these speculations.
Palin can do herself a world of good by putting an end to the boasting about her stand on the Bridge to Nowhere and admitting quite honestly that she is a relatively new convert to the McCain anti-earmark gospel. In doing so, she needs to admit that her little one-liner about the bridge is highly misleading.
The e-mail mentioned by Factcheck from Anne Kilkenny raises some other issues concerning her leadership style which, while perhaps less sensational, are nonetheless important to the process of the vetting of Sarah Palin by our country.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Overall, I'm just more comfortable in the Democratic party than in the Republican. But suppse I were a Republican, and perhaps one that fervently desired and expected that Roe v. Wade be overturned. Would I be happy with the Palin pick. Many people think she is the greatest thing since Ronald Reagan.
The answer is, that were I a Republican I would be troubled for my own party. First, apparently party leaders are not leaving the vice-Presidential choice to the nominee, they are telling him that he may not nominate certain people like Lieberman or Ridge. Second, we are told that this person has been thoroughly "vetted" but we have no idea what that "vetting" amounts to. Palin is unknown to most Americans and they would like to know what she is like. She makes good emotional connections with people, but so far there are serious problems with her background, she gives scripted responses to questions on issues, she is under investigation for misconduct as a governor, and makes dishonest statements about her record. Even if this pick proves effective for the campaign, it could prove disastrous for governance, especially if she has to supplant the elderly McCain in the highest office of the land.
Conservatives care about the poor. But they think that a "privatized" compassion is better than one that enlists the government. They think that trickle-down economics works. I think that this is not the case.
Bush had zero foreign policy experience and zero military experience, (except for a questionable brief stint in the Guard) and he showed it by expending our energy in the war on terror against a dictator who of whom there could surely be a great deal said against him, but who was no friend of Al-Qaeda and had no WMDs. McCain want to continue the Bush policies. Obama wants to change the focus in the war on terror to the truly dangerous terrorists who plotted and carried out the 9/11 attacks.
As for abortion, I differ with the platform of my party on this matter, in that I would welcome a reversal of Roe. But were that reversal to occur, it would probably save the lives of two fetuses in the state of Mississippi. If we want to abolish abortion, we are probably going to have to make a large step in the direction of socialism in order to care for the children who would otherwise be aborted. Republicans aren't willing to do that, so their defense of life rings hollow.
VR: Note to Sarah Palin: By dodging the heat, you are showing that you are no Hillary Clinton.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Mr. Obama’s hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a “hundred-year war” in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there.
More recently, Mr. Obama has been criticized for advertisements that have distorted Mr. McCain’s record on schools financing and incorrectly accused him of not supporting loan guarantees for the auto industry — a hot topic in Michigan. He has also taken Mr. McCain’s repeated comments that American economy is “fundamentally sound” out of context, leaving out the fact that Mr. McCain almost always adds at the same time that he understands that times are tough and “people are hurting.”
And not being truthful is a problem for either side. Should we demand that candidates raise the standard of truthfulness, not lower it?
Let's take an example. Suppose the Cubs win the World Series this year. A lot of fans are going to come out and say that they knew at the beginning of the season this would be the year the Cubs win the series.
First, the Cubs have to win the series in order for someone to know that the Cubs won the series. If the Angels win the series, no one can know that the Cubs won it.
Second, the person has to believe it. So someone who says he knew the Cubs would win would have to believe that the Cubs would win. Someone who was picking the Diamondbacks would not qualify as someone who knew that the Cubs would win.
Third, a person has to be justified in believing it. So the mere fact that one is a die-hard, incurably optimistic Cubs fan, who have predicted victory for the last 70 seasons would not qualify as someone who knew that the Cubs would win the series.
Some philosophers have posed problems with this definition (google the word Gettier if you want to know about that) but this is a fair enough rough idea of what knowledge is.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Does anyone really care that this statement is exceedingly misleading at best and a bald-faced lie at worst. I think the latter is closer to the mark.
But does this matter? Should we care? Now telling me all the lies you think the Obamacrats might have told doesn't answer the question. That just gives us more lies to either care, or not care about.
Did it matter when Clinton lied? Should we give up on expecting our candidates to be truthful?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
However, this Christian Reconstructionist is praying for McCain to die so Palin can run the country. Wow. I have the suspicion that defending herself against the charge of right-wing Christian extremism will probably be the most critical challenge for candidate Palin.
Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.
Let's clarify something for them right now.
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies. And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.
Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it's happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
It's a little like this when we are having religions of the world explained to us, religions of which we are not a part. In the Buddhist religion they have a conception of dukkha. It's translated "suffering" into English, but Buddhists tell me that that simple transliteration doesn't capture the meaning completely.
I suspect Buddhists react the same way when Christian talk about sin. How would you make the idea clear to them?