All posts by mjh

I'll be your host for the next 47 seconds.

Meddling in Medicine, part 2

Senate Approves Bill to Prohibit Type of Abortion

[I]n the Senate, advocates of the right to abortion, led by Ms. Boxer, insisted on one more day of debate before final passage. They characterized the bill as an assault on the right to privacy established by the Roe case, and an intrusion into the ability of doctors and patients to make their own medical choices. [Just like the Florida case. See the pattern emerging? — mjh]

”This bill puts doctors in the untenable position of choosing the best and most appropriate care for their patients or risk going to jail,” said Vicki Saporta, the abortion federation’s president. …

But proponents of the ban say the legal climate may change, particularly if Mr. Bush wins re-election. They are hopeful that, by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court, Mr. Bush will have had an opportunity to appoint new justices, and the slim 5-to-4 majority that rejected the Nebraska law will no longer hold together.

”It would only require the change in one mind, or the change in one justice, so that those on the other side who make confident predictions aren’t as confident,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, which has spent years fighting for the ban.

Of the Nebraska case, Mr. Johnson said, ”Congress is now inviting the Supreme Court to re-examine that extreme and inhumane decision.” [That is, Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion under any circumstances. — mjh]

Rumsfeld’s war-on-terror memo

Rumsfeld’s war-on-terror memo

DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem. [Oh, god, a Department of Foreignlands Security? — mjh]

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us? [Aren’t our efforts encouraging more terrorists? — mjh]

Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists’ costs of millions.

Do we need a new organization?

[From a memo written by Donald Rumsfeld]

Meddling in Medicine

Florida errs in right-to-die case

Why is the state’s decision so awful? The Legislature tried to craft a law that would apply only to Terri’s situation, but has instead created a policy that will have far-reaching consequences for all the state’s citizens.

Sadly, most people do not have living wills or other documents that state in writing who should make decisions for them or what they would want if they should fall into a permanent coma or be unable to communicate. Under the new law, every person in Florida who does not have a living will is now in a situation where a spouse’s decision to remove artificial feeding can be challenged.

But there is nothing medically special about feeding tubes — and the legal challenges will not stop there. Parents or siblings will now have more legal authority to override the decision of a spouse to stop kidney dialysis, ventilators or any form of medical technology that can maintain physiological function in someone who is dying or unable to think.

Try to get the Florida legislature to vote for statewide health insurance — they’ll call that socialism and too expensive. But they don’t hesitate to tell you what treatment you can or can’t have; the costs are your problem. mjh

It’s easy

”The right to ask questions, debate, and dissent is under attack. The drums of war are beaten ever louder in an attempt to drown out those who speak of our predicament in stark terms.

”Even in the Senate, our history and tradition of being the world’s greatest deliberative body is being snubbed.” — Robert Byrd

”[I]t is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. …[T]he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” — Hermann Goering

The Emerging Republican Majority

Rescuing the Democrats

In the current issue of The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes argues that we have seen the birth of a Republican majority. In 1992, Barnes points out, Republicans held 176 House seats. Today, they hold 229. In 1992, the G.O.P. controlled 8 state legislatures; now it controls 21. In 1992, there were 18 Republican governors; now there are 27.

But the really eye-popping change is in party identification. In Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, 49 percent of voters said they were Democrats. But that number has been dropping ever since, and now roughly 32 percent of voters say they are. As Mark Penn, a former Clinton pollster, has observed, ”In terms of the percentage of voters who identify themselves as Democrats, the Democratic Party is currently in its weakest position since the dawn of the New Deal.”

The (Finally) Emerging Republican Majority

…[U]nmistakable signs of realignment. But he won’t call it realignment. Whoa! says Bill McInturff, one of the smartest Republican strategists, let’s not be premature. Before anyone claims realignment has put Republicans in control nationally, McInturff says, the GOP must win the White House, Senate, and House in 2004 and maybe even hold Congress in 2006. Bush adviser Karl Rove agrees. He recently told a Republican group that the realignment question won’t be decided until 2004.

There’s really no reason to wait. Realignment is already here, and well advanced.

Both of these articles are worth reading, if only to put some fear into Democrats and independents. The Republicans believe they have taken power — and we know what that leads to. mjh

How long ‘until the terrorist threat is fully and finally defeated’?

Bush calls for ‘final defeat’ of terrorism

”Today, our nations are challenged once again,” Bush said. ”We’re threatened by ruthless enemies unlike others we have faced. Terrorist groups hide in many countries. They emerge to kill the innocent. They seek weapons to kill on a massive scale.”

”We must fight terrorism on many fronts,” he added. ”We must stay on the offensive until the terrorist threat is fully and finally defeated. To win the war on terror, we must hunt a scattered and resourceful enemy in dark corners around the world.”

The Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) – Patriot Act Amendments Offered

A bipartisan group of senators is introducing legislation designed to curb the sweeping government surveillance powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Under the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (S. 1709), the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be subject to additional judicial oversight in its search procedures.

”I believe the SAFE Act is a measured, reasonable and appropriate response to concerns we have with the USA Patriot Act,” said Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) at its introduction. ”This legislation intends to ensure the liberties of law-abiding individuals are protected in our nation’s fight against terrorism, without in any way impeding that fight.” Craig and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) are cosponsoring the bill.

Well, they at least got a good acronym: SAFE. mjh