Thursday, March 29, 2012

New at Live Action - Oklahoma Judge Nixes Ultrasound Law, Pretends Abortion Is Healthcare

Check out my latest Live Action post:
Not every case can be a winner. In Oklahoma, District Judge Bryan Dixon has invalidated the state’s law requiring abortionists to show their patients ultrasound images and read them descriptions of their babies before performing abortions:
District Judge Bryan Dixon ruled the statute passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2010 is an unconstitutional special law, and is [sic] can’t be enforced because it addresses only patients, physicians and sonographers dealing with abortions without addressing other medical care.
In response, Oklahomans for Life Chairman Tony Lauinger points out that “abortion is different than any other procedure,” and therefore regulations on it shouldn’t necessarily have to be uniform with other procedures. Which seems like basic common sense—even similar medical procedures and conditions can have a wide range of differing nuances and circumstances, requiring different considerations. Why should a judge be able to keep Oklahoma from taking those differences into account?
Read the rest at Live Action.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Would Mitt Romney Shrink Government?

When asked by Jay Leno which federal agencies he'd cut, Mitt Romney said:
I'm going to go through it piece by piece, combine -- when I was secretary, excuse me, when I was governor of Massachusetts, and we looked at the Secretary of Health and Human Services, we had 15 different agencies.  We said, let's combine those into three.  We're not going to get rid of the work that each do, but we're going to combine the overheads, we're not going to have as many lawyers and press secretaries and administrators, and that saves money and makes it more efficient.  And I hope to be able to do the same thing in Washington [...] We'll look agency-by-agency and look where the opportunities are best, but I'll take a lot of what Washington does and send it back to the states.
Byron York characterizes Romney's answer as "not less gov't, more efficient gov't," and Mark America takes it as an illustration of "why conservatives do not trust Romney":
Mitt Romney isn’t interested in reducing the reach of government into Americans’ lives, but instead making it more efficient.  That’s part of the message Romney delivered to Jay Leno’s audience on Tuesday evening, and what you need to realize about all of this is that Romney is not a conservative.  He’s a technocrat, and he’s a businessman, but his interest in making various programs and agencies of government more efficient does not make him conservative.  Conservatives realize that to save this nation, we must re-make the government in a smaller, less intrusive, and less-encompassing form.  We need to eliminate programs, bureaus and agencies, and discard their functions.  Romney won’t do any of that, and in fact, he will likely extend their reach.
Of course, nowhere above did Romney actually say he wouldn't make government smaller, that he "isn't interested in reducing the reach of government," or that he'd extend its reach. At most, he gave one example of how he cut government at the state level which offers a general idea of his approach - and while that could be interpreted by those unfavorably predisposed to Romney as meaning he wouldn't shrink government, you can't simultaneously read so much into that statement while completely ignoring the part in the very same interview where Romney says he'd also "take a lot of what Washington does and send it back to the states."

While the blemishes in Romney's limited-government record are undeniable, let's not sell him short on that front - Romney's been against a federal takeover of healthcare since not just 2007, but 1994(!), he's spoken about getting education back to the states, and as Ann Coulter explained last week, his governorship of Massachusetts was much more conservative than you may have heard from some bloggers:
He cut state spending by $600 million, including reducing his own staff budget by $1.2 million, and hacked the largest government agency, Health and Human Services, down from 13 divisions to four. He did this largely by persuading the Legislature to give him emergency powers his first year in office to cut government programs without their consent.

Although Romney was not able to get any income tax cuts past the Democratic Legislature, he won other tax cuts totaling nearly $400 million, including a one-time capital gains tax rebate and a two-day sales tax holiday for all purchases under $2,500.

He also vetoed more bills than any other governor in Massachusetts history, before or since. He vetoed bills concerning access to birth control, more spending on state zoos, and the creation of an Asian-American commission -- all of which were reversed by the Legislature.

As Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, said, "What else could he do?" 
Maybe a President Romney would capitulate to big government. But what he told Jay Leno isn't evidence of that.

Mitt or Rick?

We're now less than a week away from the Wisconsin Republican primary, and I'm still undecided. As it stands, this is more or less my current thought process: 
  • Romney & Santorum will probably be roughly equal on defense, abortion, taxes, marriage, judges, and immigration.
  • Romney will probably be somewhat better on spending/entitlements, though whether he'll be aggressive enough remains questionable.
  • Santorum is right that he'd campaign much more effectively against ObamaCare (though I trust both to repeal it). ObamaCare and RomneyCare can be sufficiently distinguished to neutralize the issue for Mitt, but Romney himself needs to do it - and so far, he hasn't.
  • Both candidates are gaffe-prone & have trouble refuting false narratives, though I'm unsure which will be a bigger liability: "Santorum as theocrat" or "Romney as corporate fatcat." 
  • I fear Romney's over-sensitivity to polls, but I also worry about Santorum's "compassionate conservative" leanings.
I'm leaning towards Romney, but the great speech Santorum gave right here in Fond du Lac over the weekend - in which he showed undeniable passion and command of the issues, and made a strong case against Romney's ability to campaign against ObamaCare - have stuck with me. Maybe in the next few days, one of them will do something magnificent - or idiotic - enough to make the choice clearer.

Hopefully the former. But I'll take the latter at this point, too.

New at Live Action - Hypocrisy Alert: Pro-Abortion Sexist Lectures Pro-Life Men on How to Treat Women

My latest Live Action post:
As a male pro-life activist, I’ve run into my share of sexism and condescension over the years, as abortion defenders have claimed I shouldn’t have a say on the issue because I’ll never have to worry about getting pregnant.  They’ve insinuated that I’m somehow trying to control or oppress women. Though pure sophistry, it’s something any guy who wants to save babies should expect to deal with – a lot.

On Monday, at the Huffington Post, Laura Trice fumed that she’s sick of men having the nerve to express their opinion on public policy questions related to abortion and birth control. She wants us to “rewind 2-3 months before most abortions happen and look in the mirror.” She wants men to take the following actions, which she claims would lead to a 90% decrease in abortion rates within 3 months, if widely practiced:
7. Make a personal commitment today to stop looking at pornography, stop engaging prostitutes and stop visiting strip clubs.
6. Make a personal commitment today to stand against sexual violence, rape and incest.
5. If you are Christian and have strong views, read this Susan B. Anthony essay and make a commitment today to be a better type of Christian husband.
4. Make a personal commitment today not to pressure a woman for sex of any kind when she says, “No,” “I don’t feel well” or “I’m tired.”
3. Make a personal commitment today to know a woman for at least 6 months to one year before having intercourse with her.
2. Make a personal commitment today not to take advantage of any woman who has been drinking or is impaired.
1. Make a personal commitment today to stop smooth-talking and lying to women to “get in.”
(Note: these are just the individual steps; see the original column for elaboration.)

Taken on its own, that’s perfectly smart, moral advice. So how can it possibly be controversial? Because of the implication in Trice’s conclusion...
Read the rest at Live Action.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New at Live Action - British Abortion Provider Asks Pro-Lifers to Let the Fox Guard the Henhouse

My latest Live Action post:
For those who are sick of those pesky pro-lifers picketing outside abortion mills, CNN feels your pain. They’ve given column space to Ann Furedi, head of U.K. abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service, to explain “why anti-abortion activists should not intimidate women”:
The problem with the protests is this: the protesters oppose abortion in principle — but their actions are against women who want to consider abortion — not in principle — but as a private medical solution to a personal, individual problem.
Women attend our clinics for care or counseling because they need help. They do not come to demonstrate support for abortion. The protesters should leave them alone, to deal with their problems privately with those they have chosen to seek help from.
The mindset of abortion-seekers has no bearing on whether abortion destroys an innocent life, separate and distinct from his or her mother’s. It makes precious little difference to an unborn baby how political his or her mother is. Besides, aren’t the least politically aware the ones most in need of hearing both sides before “choosing”?
Read the rest at Live Action.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barack Obama and the Left's Willful Anti-Constitutionalism

The Obama Administration reportedly plans on tweaking the case for ObamaCare's constitutionality it'll bring before the Supreme Court, shifting its emphasis from the Commerce Clause, which empowers Congress to "regulate commerce...among the several states," to the Necessary and Proper Clause, which empowers Congress to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the federal government's constitutionally-authorized powers:
“The minimum coverage provision is … necessary to achieve Congress’s concededly valid objective of reforming the interstate market in health insurance,” the Justice Department said in its first Supreme Court brief on the merits of the mandate.
You don't need to have spent so much as a day in law school to understand that this does nothing to improve the White House's argument. The Necessary & Proper Clause only helps if the objective is identified by the Constitution, and they're still relying on the commerce rationalization. Unfortunately for the Left, if we're going by what the Constitution actually means rather than what they want it to mean, we already know that's a dead end. Alexander Hamilton explained the Commerce Clause in Federalist 22:
The interfering and unneighborly regulations of some States, contrary to the true spirit of the Union, have, in different instances, given just cause of umbrage and complaint to others, and it is to be feared that examples of this nature, if not restrained by a national control, would be multiplied and extended till they became not less serious sources of animosity and discord than injurious impediments to the intcrcourse between the different parts of the Confederacy. "The commerce of the German empire is in continual trammels from the multiplicity of the duties which the several princes and states exact upon the merchandises passing through their territories, by means of which the fine streams and navigable rivers with which Germany is so happily watered are rendered almost useless." Though the genius of the people of this country might never permit this description to be strictly applicable to us, yet we may reasonably expect, from the gradual conflicts of State regulations, that the citizens of each would at length come to be considered and treated by the others in no better light than that of foreigners and aliens.
In other words, the intended purpose of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce was specifically to prevent the states from discriminating against one another through over-regulation, to erect a uniform standard that would keep the interstate flow of commerce mostly un-regulated. Further, Hamilton's clearly talking about regulating the actions of state governments, not of individuals. Nothing in the Constitution comes even close to empowering the federal government to compel individuals to purchase a good or service. (For more on the Founders' understanding of the Commerce Clause, see here.)

The most important thing to understand about this story is that this is not a difficult conclusion to draw. If you have a proper understanding of the purpose behind a written Constitution and how to interpret it, then the rest of the exercise mostly takes care of itself. One need not engage in much heavy theorizing or interpretation thanks to the simple fact that, in most cases, those who wrote the Constitution told us exactly what they meant.

In particular, Barack Obama has no excuse not to know better, considering that the man taught constitutional law. But as Ben Shapiro has been chronicling, Obama's teaching was defined by an agenda to mislead his students about the law, making originalism subservient to his personal ideology. As president, Obama explicitly chose Supreme Court Justices based on criteria other than their judicial excellence, and his administration has been defined by chronic disregard for any limits on federal and executive power.

Simply put, Barack Obama has no respect for the oath he took to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution," and he's getting away with it in large part because our society doesn't teach its citizens sufficient constitutional literacy to recognize it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: conservatives can't restore America's founding principles if we don't wake up and work to break the Left's stranglehold on education.

New at Live Action - Wisconsin Pulls the Plug on Webcam Abortions

My latest Live Action post:
Last night Wisconsin made modest yet meaningful strides toward a culture of life as the State Assembly passed a bill to prohibit so-called ‘webcam abortions’. The legislation, which has already passed the house and is expected to receive pro-life Governor Scott Walker’s signature, forbids doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs without physically examining the patient and requires them to be with the patient when she receives the drugs, as well as requires doctors to ask women if they’re being coerced into aborting their child.

Most state Democrats voted nay, with Madison Representative Mar Pocan complaining that lawmakers “don’t trust the people of Wisconsin to make a decision with their doctor about their own health care.” And Jessica Pieklo of Care2.com is incensed:
In neighboring states like Iowa and Minnesota, patients living in rural areas are able to have mifepristone prescribed via online video conference. This would not be an option for women living in rural Wisconsin.
Finally, the bill requires a woman return to an abortion clinic for a follow-up visit 12 to 18 days after being given the drug. Women who take mifepristone already have a follow-up visit, but most see their primary care physician for that follow-up. This bill forces women to have that follow-up visit at an abortion clinic, putting yet another unnecessary burden on the backs of women trying to access health care services.
Unnecessary? Not quite. Pro-Life Wisconsin explains...
Read the rest at Live Action.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New at Live Action - WaPo Columnist: It's Racist to Defend Black Babies From Abortion

My latest Live Action post:
Lately, the mainstream media’s been doing a pretty good job of reminding pro-lifers that we hate women, but surely our malice isn’t limited just to women, is it? Of course not. Fortunately, dear readers, we have Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy to remind us that we’re racist, too. Milloy claims the real intent of the pictured billboard, sponsored by Life Always’ “That’s Abortion” campaign, is to “shame the black woman, single her out by race and cast her body as the personification of sin and death”:
[T]he conservative effort now underway to overturn the court’s decision is not just being waged on women’s reproductive rights, but on the black woman as a person.
Do white women recognize the difference?

“When you add racism to sexism, oppression manifests itself differently,” said Paris Hatcher, executive director of an Atlanta-based women’s advocacy group called SPARK Reproductive Justice Now. “In this country, it’s okay to shame and blame the black woman, to pathologize and criminalize her behavior. Black women become the nannies, the mammies, the Jezebels.”
That must be it! Why didn’t anybody see it before? Apparently the rest of us were taken in by Life Always’ clever ruse of staffing its four-person Board of Directors with two black men and one white woman, leading us to naively infer that the billboards were motivated by compassion for the innocent black girls killed by abortion. How foolish of us!
Read the rest at Live Action.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New at Live Action - New York Times Pushes Fake Centrists Obsessed with the GOP's "War on Women"

My latest Live Action post:
Over the weekend, Susan Saulny had a report in the New York Times on “centrist women” who are turning against the Republican Party, and I must say, I’m a little disappointed. Not that the article’s a hatchet job, mind you—that’s what I’ve come to expect from the Times. No, I’m disappointed that it’s such a shoddy attempt; I’ve come to expect much more effort and creativity from America’s premiere propagandists.

From a “randomly generated list of voters,” Saulny interviews a handful of self-described moderate or Republican women who claim that the birth control debate currently raging in the media has destroyed whatever intention they have of voting for the GOP candidate in November:
  • Mary Russell, retired teacher, “evangelical Christian and ‘old school’ Republican who supported Mitt Romney “just two weeks ago” but is now considering Barack Obama: “We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago. I didn’t realize I had a strong viewpoint on this until these conversations. If they’re going to decide on women’s reproductive issues, I’m not going to vote for any of them. Women’s reproduction is our own business.”
  • Fran Kelly, retired public school worker who voted for John McCain in 2008: “Everybody is so busy telling us how we should act in the bedroom, they’re letting the country fall through the cracks. They’re nothing but hatemongers trying to control everyone, saying, ‘Live as I live.’ If Republicans would stop all this ridiculous talk about contraception, I’d consider voting in November.”
Read the rest at Live Action.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New at Live Action - Shocker: Episcopal Priest Brags That She'd Break the Law to Give Minors the "Blessing" of Abortion

My latest Live Action post:
In a textbook case of being too honest for her own good, a pro-abortion activist told lawmakers on Thursday that she’d gladly break the law to help minors kill babies without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Episcopal Divinity School president and dean, Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, “recalled the time she took a 15-year-old girl she had never met before to get an abortion”:
‘Although New Hampshire was closer to that girl’s home than Boston, as it happened, I did not take her across state lines,’ Ragsdale said. ‘Nor did I, to my knowledge, break any laws.’
‘But if either of those things had been necessary in order to help her, I would have done them,’ she continued. ‘And if helping young women like her should be made illegal I will, nonetheless, continue to do it.’
Ragsdale cited her vows as an Episcopal priest as the reason why she would “have no choice” but to break the law.
The modern leadership of the Episcopal Church might embrace abortion, but the Bible they claim to follow is decidedly less sympathetic. And doesn’t the church have anything to say about respecting parents’ relationships with their children, or whether their judgment and authority takes precedence over that of a complete stranger?
Read the rest at Live Action.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"We can lie to women all day long about the excitement of the hook-up culture, but it’s far better to tell women the truth, even though the word 'slut' stings."

That's the conclusion of Cassy Fiano at PJ Media, who in two paragraphs, does more good for teen girls than all the "comprehensive" sex-ed programs in the country put together:
The worst part of the obsession with sluthood? The harm to women. For starters, one in five women currently have herpes. Rates of chlamydia among women have also skyrocketed, with almost three times as many women infected as men. HPV, a disease which can cause cancer, is so prevalent now that at least half of all sexually active adults have been diagnosed with it at some point. According to the CDC, of the 12,000 women who get cervical cancer each year, almost all of them are HPV-related. The effects are even worse on younger girls. Sixty-three percent of teens who have sex wish they didn’t. The Heritage Foundation did a study and found that 8,000 teenagers are infected with an STD daily.

As a woman, how is it better to close our eyes and bleat “empowerment!” about women being sluts? It’s harmful, degrading, and even the feminists advocating for sluthood admit to feeling used, cheap, and worthless. It may seem harsher to call someone a slut, but far better for us to stop glorifying sluthood as if it’s some kind of acceptable lifestyle than to praise women for it. What’s the better choice in the long run for women? To lie to them about the greatness of being a whore, or to be honest and call sluts what they are? Believe it or not, slut-shaming serves a purpose.
Read the rest of it, including some valuable background on feminists' open promotion of sluthood (their word), here.

Thomas Sowell's Tortured Logic on the Primary

Last week, Thomas Sowell issued another plea for conservatives to rally around Newt Gingrich. It was...questionable.
Rick Santorum has possibilities, but can he survive the media's constant attempts to paint him as some kind of religious nut who would use the government to impose his views on others? And, if he can, will he also be able to go toe-to-toe with Obama in debates?

I would not bet the rent money on it. And what is at stake is far bigger than the rent money.
I have similar reservations about Santorum enabling the media to erect a false narrative about him that he won't be able to overcome, but I think the debates have also shown that his policy chops and passion are more than adequate to mop the stage with Obama.
Mitt Romney is the kind of candidate that the Republican establishment has always looked for, a moderate who can appeal to independents. It doesn't matter how many such candidates have turned out to be disasters on election night, going all the way back to Thomas E. Dewey in 1948.

Nor does it matter that the Republicans' most successful candidate of the 20th century -- Ronald Reagan, with two consecutive landslide victories at the polls -- was nobody's idea of a mushy moderate.

He stood for something. And he could explain what he stood for. These may sound like modest achievements, but they are very rare, especially among Republicans.
Yes, Reagan stood for something. Yes, there are real doubts about what Romney stands for. But it's simply not true that Romney's running as a moderate. He's taken firm conservative stances on everything from taxes and entitlement reform to abortion and gay marriage to the border and Iran. While he might not make good on those promises once in office, the fact remains that he's presenting as bold and uncompromising a contrast to Obama as any of the others. (And shouldn't the "establishment"-baiting be beneath you, Mr. Sowell?)
Newt Gingrich is the only candidate still in the field who can clearly take on Barack Obama in one-on-one debate and cut through the Obama rhetoric and mystique with hard facts and plain logic.
True, Gingrich is easily the best debater in the field, and when he's on his game, he can deliver almost Reaganesque levels of inspiration in his speeches. But there's more to campaigning - and leading - than being good with words. Sowell seems to be betting that the general-election debates will be far more decisive than they're actually likely to be.
Nor is this just a matter of having a gift of gab. Gingrich has a far deeper grasp of both the policies and the politics than the other Republican candidates.
Would that be the deep understanding of conservative politics that led Newt to back federal individual health insurance mandates, bailouts, federal stem-cell research funding, ethanol subsidies, "green conservatism," Dede Scozzafava, amnesty for illegal immigrants, the creation and expansion of the Department of Education, the Bush prescription drug expansion, and the 1987 Pro-Fairness Doctrine, or to oppose Paul Ryan's entitlement reform plan, or to flirt with Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, Al Sharpton, and Arne Duncan?
Does Gingrich have political "baggage"? More than you could carry on a commercial airliner.

Charges of opportunism have been among the most serious raised against the former Speaker of the House. But being President of the United States is the opportunity of a lifetime. If that doesn't sober a man up, it is hard to imagine what would.
This is the line that was so maddening I had to write this post. It's not even that Sowell's hope of Gingrich sobering up is speculative; it's that we don't have to speculate on this point. Gingrich has been running for that opportunity of a lifetime, and it hasn't sobered him up at all. Despite virtually all of the conservative movement fiercely condemning Gingrich's dishonest attacks on Bain Capital, the man still has so little discipline that he couldn't resist peppering his speech last night with derisive references to Wall Street. It hasn't given him enough self-control to resist smearing Romney as a heartless bastard who starves Holocaust survivors - all the while lamenting how much he wishes he could stay positive. But I guess we're supposed to just have faith that actually becoming president would sober Newt up, even though neither running for president nor being Speaker of the House seemed to do the trick.

Thomas Sowell is an excellent economist, and I doubt he would have much patience if one of his students used such shaky, evidence-free analysis in an economic paper. So why is it good enough for politics?

New at Live Action - A Berkley Professor Wonders Why More Americans Don't Accept Abortion

My latest Live Action post:
Implicit in most pro-abortion commentary is a certain level of frustration that there remain people who disagree with them. “It’s the 21st century and the Supreme Court has spoken; can’t you anti-choice yahoos get with the program?” This leads to all sorts of outlandish speculation about what really makes pro-lifers tick.

Yesterday, UC Berkley sociology professor Claude Fischer published his thoughts on the “abortion puzzle,” attempting to figure out why Americans are growing “notably more laissez-faire on most sexual issues,” but not abortion:
Before the Roe v. Wade decision on behalf of abortion rights perhaps 25% to 30% of Americans were inclined to say yes [abortion is acceptable for any reason]. Then opinions shifted a bit in the liberal direction. Since that initial shift, however, the distribution of opinions has changed little. The trend since Roe v. Wade is displayed in the blue line in the graph below. About 37% of Americans said yes to abortion on demand at the end of the 1970s and about 41% said yes at the end of the 2000s.
Contrast that to the change, three times greater, in the percentage who said that “sex relations before marriage… [is"] not wrong at all” — the red line — from about 38% at the end of the 1970s to about 51% at the end of the 2000s. And contrast that to the shift, five-fold greater, the green line, in the percentage of Americans who disagreed with the proposition that “Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country up to men.” Another perspective on this compares generations of Americans. The generation born in the 1970s was far more liberal than the generation born in the 1910s on whether women should stay at home and on premarital sex (by over 30 points on each question). But the 1970s generation was only a bit more liberal on abortion than the 1910s generation (only 7 points more).   
To begin with, the premise’s question is flawed in two ways.
Read the rest at Live Action.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New at Live Action - The True Moral of the Sandra Fluke Saga

My latest Live Action post:
Judging by the explosive reaction to last week’s post about 30-year-old Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony on contraceptive coverage, it seems lots of people want to talk about the story. Fortunately, there’s more to discuss.

First, we have some investigative work by Mytheos Holt at the Blaze, who found a Washington Post story which suggests Fluke not only knew Georgetown didn’t cover birth control for students, but decided to enroll there specifically so she could make it a cause célèbre :
Fluke came to Georgetown University interested in contraceptive coverage: She researched the Jesuit college’s health plans for students before enrolling, and found that birth control was not included. “I decided I was absolutely not willing to compromise the quality of my education in exchange for my health care,” says Fluke, who has spent the past three years lobbying the administration to change its policy on the issue. The issue got the university president’s office last spring, where Georgetown declined to change its policy.
In other words, Sandra Fluke is no mild-mannered student blindsided by prudish administrators, but a radical who always intended to transform Georgetown’s values through any means necessary.
Read the rest at Live Action.
The views expressed on this weblog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of any other websites, blogs, campaigns, publications, or organizations where I have been employed and/or my work has been featured, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of any individuals employed by or otherwise affiliated with such groups.