Tag Archives: Democracy in America

Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

First saw this story on Rachel’s show last night, during which she had pics of reader-supplied vaginal probes, including this one:
Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

The Tuesday passage in Virginia of two of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country has sparked fierce debate over abortion rights the battleground state, with Democrats decrying the acts as an unprecedented encroachment on women’s rights as Republicans push to move the legislation forward.

One bill, Republican Del. Bob Marshall’s House bill 1, would define personhood at conception and “provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.” The second bill requires that women be required to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.

Now here’s fun part

there are more than 25,000 references to the word “person” in the Virginia legislative code, and that applying all of the laws pertaining to “persons” to all existing fertilized eggs would inevitably become complicated.

She pointed to an example in which a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization successfully becomes pregnant without using as many eggs as were fertilized in the procedure. Those additional eggs would thus be considered “persons,” and the couple could use exploit those “persons” to get additional tax breaks, she argued.

The other bill requiring ultrasound examination before a woman can have an abortion has a rather dangerous, and shall we “intrusive”, requirement that the woman is not allowed to protest – “its requirement that some women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound probe”

The FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object”

Virginian-Pilot editorial

Inserting something into the vagina of an unwilling woman is a violation in every sense of the word. But not to a majority of Virginia’s Senate.

This week, the Senate passed a bill, largely along party lines, that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and wait as long as a day for the procedure.
This isn’t about whether abortion is right or wrong.

This is about the scope of government. Even those opposed to abortion should have qualms about the government mandating medical procedures and waiting periods.

Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.

Will those screaming about “government intrusion into our lives” when commenting on a silly mixup over a 4 year old’s lunch say the same thing about this Virginia LAW?

This is just one more example of the hypocrisy of so many on the right; a hypocrisy extending from the Tea Partiers shouting about socialised medicine while simultaneously screaming “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”, from Catholic bishops complaining about paying for often medically necessary procedures while denying for years that they were covering up even more morally offensive acts in their own churches and schools, from ‘small government‘ activists who claim the feds are after your guns when their is a push for gun registration laws while complaining about the high crime rates in urban neighbourhoods, from sexually conflicted pols and preachers decrying the “attack on marriage” while simultaneously hiring rentboys to “carry their luggage”, and now to this state legislature controlled by “small government” types mandating something far more intrusive than contraception insurance.

It does seem to me that “intrusive government” is often defined as one that does something I don’t like, otherwise – as long as it affects only those “others”, its all cool with me. Like I wrote – hypocrisy.



Tea Party Wants Schools to Be Nicer to Founding Fathers

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Jan 24, 2012

The late comedian George Carlin used to say America was built on a double standard: “This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.”

We wonder how his joke would have sat with members of Tennessee’s tea party, which just presented state legislators with five priorities for action, including amending state laws governing school curriculums to change textbook selection so that “no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

Hal Rounds, an attorney and a spokesman for the group, said the goal is to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another,” according to the Commercial Appeal.

Though they acknowledge that the Founding Fathers were human, evidently the Tenn. Tea Party doesn’t think kids in school should hear about those ‘little’ events that “actually occurred”. Sort of like the imaginary religionists that David Barton, pseudo-historian, claims the Founding Fathers to have been.

What the group is asking is not unprecedented. In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education adopted controversial textbook standards that stress the Christian influence of the nation’s founding fathers and give more weight to conservative groups and personalities throughout history.

Those moves have been criticized as a departure from generally accepted historical teachings and a threat to the apolitical nature of academic standards.

It is no surprise that so many on the right advocate for policies that have failed time and time again – for them, history is something to be manipulated for political gain, not a set of facts to be studies and learned.

One Thing Americans Need – better history education

This post is a comment I made on another WordPress blog,
A Father’s Apocalypse
with a few edits to clarify the points I was trying to make.

Go and read the post there to understand what I have written here. My first clue as to the blogger’s take on things was found in his blogroll where he includes Glenn Beck, Drudge and David Barton.

The years leading up to the creation of the Constitution with the influence of the various churches upon the governance of the colonies were exactly why the men who wrote that document intended to keep religion, of any nature, out of the government, not out of civil society but certainly away from the halls of legislation.

Thomas Jefferson was justly proud of three actions he had undertaken during his political career, so proud of them that he had those three acts placed on his tombstone:

“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.”

from Jefferson’s autobiography, writing about the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.

When Jefferson wrote, “priest-ridden people” he was not writing about the Roman Catholic Church as some revisionists would have you believe, but of all religions that demand the presence of a person with ‘special knowledge’ to lead any group of “believers”. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt (6 December 1813)

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

Explaining to John Adams as to why and how he came to create what we know today as the “Jefferson Bible”, Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, on Christian scriptures (24 January 1814)

The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

Were the Founding Fathers as religious as David Barton and others would like you to believe? Certainly those who were lived closer to their time didn’t think so –

…the proceedings as published by Thompson, the secretary, show, that the question was gravely debated in Congress whether God should in the Constitution or not, and after solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it: … the men whose arguments swayed to vote God out of the Constitution, to declare that there should be no religious test, and that Congress should make no law to establish religion, were atheists in principle; that among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was professor of religion, at least not of more than unitarianism;

a quote from a sermon given by Rev. Bird Wilson in 1831, to be found in Discussion on the existence of God and the authenticity of the Bible by Origen Bacheler, pgs 230-231

Unreasoning Opposition

The present day Republican mantra or one version thereof

“tax reform and revenue enhancement”

Tax reform = cut taxes for that percent of the population which has benefited most greatly from recent “tax reform” and raise taxes on those who have not received such benefits.

Sweeping statement but hey! that’s the game that is played. Serious tax reform would not start with tax cuts but with actual study of how groups, corporations, individuals have benefited from government subsidies and then the economic result of said subsidies and regulations. In almost every case, there are pro and con arguments, the difficulty lies in determining overall benefit and negative of any single provision for our society.

Revenue Enhancement = raise tax rates that most adversely affect low and middle income Americans.

Of course there is waste and duplication in government. “Government” is bloody huge and it is made up of human beings, therefore – targets of opportunity for those ideologues who know little of history and prefer to claim the Truth supports them – no matter what the facts are.

For some reason, some seem to think that any regulations on capitalism and governmental actions beyond national defence leads quickly to Communism. On the other side there are those who think their opponents would prefer to live in a state of near anarchy where the wealthy all live in fortified manor houses with private security armies – kind of mediaeval society – like modern day Somalia.

Extremism in belief and actions with the resultant refusal to listen objectively to one’s opponents have led us to the present situation in Congress where a significant number of elected representatives of the people are following the orders of a minority in opposition to the wishes of the citizenry.

My only hope for the future is the (slim) possibility that one day, the concept of “corporate personhood” is made non-existent. At this time, it does seem the idea of having more money gives one the right to more influence in society – more dollars = more votes.

Is this America’s future?

from the Maddowblog

A question of democracy in America

Michigan’s revamped emergency manager law allows (Emergency Financial Manager) Mr. Harris to do just about whatever he pleases. The state has deemed Benton Harbor in need of serious help, such serious help that democracy itself is part of the problem. Democracy is seen as part of the problem, until it isn’t. Mr. Harris has placed the charter changes he wants on the November ballot. This is one that the people of Benton Harbor will get to vote on.
If you’re working for political change, just getting on the ballot is a major hurdle. Folks like Eclectablog have been toiling for months now to get to get a repeal referendum up for a vote, but Emergency Manager Harris types up an order and he’s in.

Oh yeah – it’s always better if we tell the poor folks what they are allowed to vote on. After all, those in charge know what’s best for the poor folks.

True throughout history.

The right has so altered the political environment in America they are now passing laws to subvert democracy, as with the Michigan law. State legislatures are able to do this because far too many Americans have come to believe the memes created and promulgated by the well-funded right wing noise machine.

Such actions seem to be insufficient for some on the right, now they are beginning to openly promote the idea of restricting the right to vote to those who fit their definition of “Real Americans”. Matthew Vadum, in a recent American Thinker op-ed argues the poor shouldn’t even be allowed to vote, writing that “Registering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.” The comments at the American Thinker are rather indicative of the type of ‘thinking‘ found in a faction of the American right.

Samples of American Thinker ‘thinking’

syrin23 – I agree completely with this article and have a simple solution to fix it. Every person’s vote is weighted according to how much they paid in taxes. Everyone gets a default value of one. So of that evil CEO paid $750,000 in taxes, his vote would be the equivalent of 750,000 voters who paid nothing.

PattyMor – Not only we have representation without taxation; we also have representation without citizenship. Luis Guiteriz(sic) is their champion and La Raza is their non-profit money generating scheme and advocate. Since there weren’t enough U.S. citizens to sign up for welfare, they began importing them.

Wayward Son – One person one vote is a recipe for political suicide and the Communist’s dream.

In other words “Democracy is for those who agree with me – all those others, Fuck ’em!

One of the ways being implemented to make it more difficult for the poor to vote, is the requirement for new state-issued identification. Owing to civil rights laws passed back in the sixties, states can’t charge for these IDs because that would amount to a poll tax. Wisconsin has one of those new ID laws but recent news reports have revealed that the state has sent a notice to all offices issuing IDs that workers are not to volunteer information about the free IDs available. One state worker has already been fired because he had sent out emails to friends about the order from on high.