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    • Looks like Scottish Independence is a “No”
      The calls are coming in. Assuming they are correct, I think this vote is a mistake, and I note that having been given a clean vote to leave and a chance to live their own values, but having given in to fear; for me, at least, Scottish complaints about privatization of the NHS and other [...]
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Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

A few interesting things happening in the news. First up, we have a cure for HIV infection, at least in one patient:

Doctors believe that they may have found one of the largest breakthroughs in the battle against HIV, the virus which leads to AIDS. The news broke today (December 14) out of Berlin, Germany when doctors confirmed that Timothy Ray Brown received a stem-cell treatment while battling leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved.”

Here’s the abstract of the paper in question for any of you up on your hematology research. Here’s the salient point:

In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient.

There’s a lot of work yet to do, and this may not be an overall cure, but it’s a major breakthrough.


As reported yesterday by RD, a federal judge in VA ruled the mandate to buy a private product part of the health insurance company bailout bill is unconstitutional. Here’s a follow up article about the ruling and the VA district attorney’s winning strategy:

Virginia’s go-it-alone legal strategy to challenge the nation’s sweeping federal health-care overhaul – once questioned by both advocates and some opponents of the law – seems to be paying off for state Attorney General Ken T. Cuccinelli II after Monday’s court ruling, in his favor, that a key provision of the law is unconstitutional.

When Cuccinelli (R) filed suit in March against the federal law – rather than signing on to one filed jointly in Florida by 20 other attorneys general – Democrats said it was an exercise in grandstanding for political gain.

[...]

But his decision has undermined those who contend that constitutional challenges to the law are frivolous.

“There’s no question that this was a gamble in terms of how the litigation would have been perceived if he’s received the third strike in a row,” said Jonathan Turley, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School. “It’s certainly a gamble that’s paid off.”

Cuccinelli has maintained all along that filing his own challenge made more sense than signing on to the Florida effort.

The Virginia General Assembly had passed a law in March that made it illegal to require state residents to carry health insurance. The conflict between the state statute and the federal law gave Virginia unique standing to sue, he argued.

“You just don’t go to other states to protect your own laws,” Cuccinelli said in an interview Tuesday.

That being said, the real test will be the supreme court. Which at the earliest would be sometime next year, and likely the year after that. I think it’s an interesting issue and very worth a supreme court case. Clearly there’s gray area with being “punished’ for inaction with respect to having to buy a commercial product. And of course when the health insurance lobbyist wrote the bill, making that part not a tax was a big issue. Those calling the issue silly or frivolous were being silly.


And speaking of silly, Republicans that think the 2010 midterm elections were about them are of course not even close. A new poll out back up what everyone should know (again):

Republicans may have made major gains in the November elections, but they have yet to win the hearts and minds of the American people, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The midterm elections – in which Republicans gained 63 seats to take control of the House and added six seats to their Senate minority – were widely seen as a rebuke to President Obama. Still, the public trusts Obama marginally more than they do congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43 percent to 38 percent.

The poll suggests that the election, while perhaps a vote against the status quo, was not a broad mandate for Republicans and their plans. The survey also underscores the degree to which Americans are conflicted about who they think is setting the agenda in Washington.

The president’s narrow advantage is a striking contrast to the public’s mood at this time in 1994 and 2006, the last two midterm election years when one or both chambers of Congress changed hands.

[...]

In the new poll, just 41 percent of respondents say the GOP takeover of the House is a “good thing.” About 27 percent say it is a “bad thing,” and 30 percent say it won’t make any difference. Most continue to say that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues.

At this time in 1994, six in 10 Americans said the GOP had taken a stronger leadership role in Washington, while just one in four said Clinton was firmly in charge. In the new poll, Americans are about evenly split between Obama and the Republicans in Congress on this question.

Of course it’s idiotic comparing 2010 to 1994 for many reasons. One is that in ’92 Clinton won a three man race without  a majority. So his numbers were building up from a low point. Obama’s numbers in contrast have been steadily coming down from a high point. Also in ’94 Democrats got shown the door precisely because a large number of them were breaking the law. Whereas in this case, we have a supermajority Democrats in congress and a Democratic president elected in ’06/’08 to fix a majorly broken economy. And in the last 4/2 years respectively, it’s gotten worse. And for better or worse (or right or wrong), the voters wanted a new direction. That is, it’s the economy stupid. On top of that, Obama’s a real piece of shit and the congress that just does what he says (same as they just did what Bush II said before) were getting a bit tiring.

But what these numbers do indicate to me is that if things don’t get better economically, esp. with respect to jobs, then the Republicans will incur losses in ’12. If we’re around high 8% or higher in unemployment, there’s going to be some more changes. And they might just be dramatic.


The Commandant of the Marines says repealing DADT will result in casualties:

The Marine Corps’ top general suggested Tuesday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose “a distraction.”

“When your life hangs on the line,” said Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, “you don’t want anything distracting. . . . Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives.”

In an interview with newspaper and wire service reporters at the Pentagon, Amos was vague when pressed to clarify how the presence of gays would distract Marines during a firefight. But he cited a recent Defense Department survey in which a large percentage of Marine combat veterans predicted that repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law would harm “unit cohesion” and their tight-knit training for war.

“So the Marines came back and they said, ‘Look, anything that’s going to break or potentially break that focus and cause any kind of distraction may have an effect on cohesion,’ ” he said. “I don’t want to permit that opportunity to happen. And I’ll tell you why. If you go up to Bethesda [Naval] Hospital . . . Marines are up there with no legs, none. We’ve got Marines at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center] with no limbs.”

I understand Commandant Amos’ concern for his marines and why he would want to move very slowly when it comes to any change that shakes things up. But it’s way past time for this change. We have women at most levels and in combat (though we pretend they’re not), and of course for a long, long time, we’ve had people of color in the armed forces, even though both of those were changes that shook things up and were distractions at the time. I have faith in the marines that they can handle such a change just fine. If memory serves, the previous commandant has similar issues. I hope he can take a lead from his boss, Adm. Mike Mullen, and move to deal with the new realities instead of throwing wrenches in the works.


In the latest news from the world of WikiLeaks, the Air Force has blocked WikiLeaks from it’s own networks:

The Air Force is barring its personnel from using work computers to view the Web sites of The New York Times and more than 25 other news organizations and blogs that have posted secret cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Air Force officials said Tuesday.

[...]

Cyber network specialists within the Air Force Space Command last week followed longstanding procedures to keep classified information off unclassified computer systems. “News media Web sites will be blocked if they post classified documents from the WikiLeaks Web site,” said Lt. Col. Brenda Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Space Command, a unit of which oversees Air Force cyber systems. “This is similar to how we’d block any other Web site that posted classified information.”

Colonel Campbell said that only sites posting full classified documents, not just excerpts, would be blocked. “When classified documents appear on a Web site, a judgment will be made whether it will be blocked,” she said. “It’s an issue we’re working through right now.”

The other armed forces are handling it differently:

Spokesmen for the Army, Navy and Marines said they were not blocking the Web sites of news organizations, largely because guidance has already been issued by the Obama administration and the Defense Department directing hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by WikiLeaks unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said a notice sent on Dec. 3 by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads.

A Defense Department spokesman, Col. David Lapan, in an e-mail on Tuesday night sought to distance the department from the Air Force’s action to block access to the media Web sites: “This is not DoD-directed or DoD-wide.”

The Air Force may have gone too far. We’ll see how that plays out. And in related news, Julian Assange paid bail, but is still in jail:

Sweden tonight decided to fight a British judge’s decision to grant bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than a week in prison over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women.

A dramatic day in and around City of Westminster magistrates court saw Assange win bail, but then be forced to return to what his lawyer Mark Stephens described as “Dickensian conditions” at Wandsworth prison while the international legal battle played out.

Sweden has decided to contest the granting of bail to Assange, who is being held pending an extradition hearing, on the grounds that no conditions imposed by a judge could guarantee that he would not flee, a legal source told the Guardian.


And speaking of crimes, it looks like the Senate will pass the near trillion dollar deficit increase and social security destruction bill today:

The U.S. Senate today is poised to pass President Barack Obama’s $858 billion proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels, cut payroll taxes and extend expanded jobless benefits.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said last night on the Senate floor that the chamber will start debate at 11 a.m. on the measure. Before a vote on final passage, senators will take up three amendments, Reid said. Amendments require a two-thirds supermajority for adoption.

Senate passage will send the tax bill to the House, where Democrats — who threatened last week not to bring it to the floor — late yesterday discussed a plan to let Democrats vote on an alternative to estate-tax provisions many of them oppose.

We will see soon after that what happens in the House. Please write your congressman and tell them not to pass anything like this POS giveaway to the rich and obvious ploy to destroy social security and medicare.


Rahm “The Fish” Emanuel got a Chicago style grilling yesterday about his mayoral run:

The most serious attack on his candidacy came in the first 90 minutes of the hearing as the lead attorney challenging Emanuel bored in on the issue of whether the former White House chief of staff meets the requirement of being a Chicago resident for one year prior to the Feb. 22 election.

But after that, it was open season as a long line of citizens who object to Emanuel’s run for mayor quizzed him on everything from when and where he purchased a city sticker for his car to whether he played any role in the violent 1993 Waco, Texas, siege to if he has ever been a member of the Communist Party.

Sadly I think he’ll be able to run just fine. And sadly he’s still the front runner.


Interest rates have been inching up and the Fed has taken notice:

Interest rates are marching upward, making it more expensive to take out a mortgage or get a loan to expand a business, and diluting efforts by Congress and the Federal Reserve to strengthen the economy.

The rise is partly because of good news: The outlook for growth has improved, putting less pressure on investors to keep their money in ultra-safe bonds. When there’s less demand for bonds, their interest rates – or yield – go up to attract more investors.

And the better economic outlook could allow the Fed to pull back sooner than expected on the extraordinary steps it’s taking to keep rates low.

But bond investors are also spooked by the tax-cut deal between President Obama and congressional leaders, which if enacted would increase the budget deficit substantially over the next two years.

The climb in interest rates is confounding the Fed’s efforts as it tries to bring down rates by buying $600 billion in Treasury bonds. The central bank affirmed that it would stay on course with those plans Tuesday after a policy meeting.

Yes, it’s good and it’s bad and it’s messing up their efforts to make money cheaper. It’s all going to end in tears I tell you. Our economy as well as the world economy is fragile. The dollar is on the brink. It’s scary out there. The current worry about interest rates going a bit higher (as if things are getting better.. give me a break) reminds me of a small leak in a dam being plugged by a finger. Sadly we’re all living in the small village below the dam.

On that lovely note, let’s open the floor to more news. And some positive news please. Chime in with what you’re reading.

Dish: Health Insurance Reform

WHHHOOOOOOOOOO! Health Care Reform for white men has passed! The most historical event evah in the history of historicalness has occurred! A Democratic Congress and a Democratic President has made a Republican Healthcare Bill Law! Insurance companies will be able to not provide helpless children with adequate care at last!

All this change! All this hope! I can’t take it! I’m going to spontaneously combust!

The world is going insane, and while normally I like insanity, this is not the good kind. Obama has just passed national RomneyObamacare–a Nixon wet dream originating from the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s in opposition to Hillarycare, and yet lunatic “Tea Partiers” are running around vandalizing the houses of Congressidiots who voted for the heaping pile of shit, screaming that they are “socialists?”

Obama signs an executive order restricting women’s access to abortion, and so called “progressives” and “feminists” are having kool aid induced orgasms as they compare the passage of a Health Insurance Reform Bill that would be better served as toilet paper to the Civil Rights Act? What the fuck?

Well, maybe I’m being unfair. The Bill IS Historic. Historically shitty.

I find myself–and we all must admit that I am normally so cheerful and chipper, yes, you know you all love me– I find myself feeling gloomy. I’m walking around campus with my hands shoved in the pockets of my fake leather jacket with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth–and I don’t even smoke! Security officers are mistaking me for troubled youth and are performing random searches on me.

Well, I am troubled. I’m troubled about a lot of things, but in terms of politics and current events, I am troubled about the fact that, as MYIQ said a few weeks ago, there appears to be no end in sight.

But what really has me bummed out right now is the realization that there is no end in sight for the mess this country is in. The single biggest problem facing our nation is the illness in our political system. When I say “illness” I mean the equivalent of an inoperable cancer that has metastasized. If we fixed our political system then we would actually be able to do something about those other problems.

For most of my adult life I believed that the Democrats were the good guys so even when they were getting slapped around by the Republicans I could support them and hope that after the next election they would grow a pair and start standing up for the liberal ideals they campaigned on.

I finally realized that the majority of the Democrats who hold elected office are not only corrupt but they have the same agenda as the Republicans. Oh, the say they’re on our side, and when it’s time for them to represent us they might make some speeches andr play some parliamentary tricks but when the nitty meets the gritty they lose on purpose. Lots of times they don’t even bother to put on a dog and pony show anymore, they just vote to bail out Wall Street or take away our civil rights as if that’s what we wanted them to do.

Now as far back as I can remember the Republicans were corrupt and they tended to be pricks or assholes, and sometimes both, but they weren’t insane. Nowadays there’s a lot of GOPers that are crazy as shithouse rats. That not only includes the elected ones but the voters too. Then you got the tea baggers who don’t think the Republicans are crazy enough.

I can’t believe that I am living in a country–I country I have grown up loving with every fiber of my being despite its flaws–where this is happening. The passage of a bill that bails out the Health Care Industry is historic! And in honor of Women’s History Month we passed it on the backs of women and their reproductive rights! Cats bark! Fish have tails! Catholic Priests are ethical in their treatment of young children!

The whole world is going mad I tell you! MAAAADDDDD!

Of course, intellectually I understand, there is always hope. Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in November and while the Republicans that come into office will be even worse, the door will open for real liberals, not phony “progressives,” to show Donna Brazile and Howard Dean’s “New Coalition” to be ineffective and thus we will be able to take our party back.

But sometimes, in this Golden Era of Hope and Change, politics just isn’t enough. For once in our lives, we needed policy. Good policy that would actually have given broke-ass students like me real Health Insurance. Just a few weeks ago, before my spring break, I came down with the flu and missed a week of classes I’m still making up. If I had insurance, I might have been able to get antibiotics and missed only one day, maybe two. This bill does nothing to help me. For one thing, I’ll be done with my undergraduates and possibly even my graduates by 2014. At this rate I’m going to have to start stripping for my ‘scrips, just like a number of poor senior citizens who will shortly be facing cuts in medicare due to this lame-assed bill.


Sometimes, I get tired. Sometimes, I don’t want to live life day to day anymore. Sometimes I think things will never get better. Trying to get something to eat, trying to fill up my gas tank–always being hungry, worrying about my mom, worrying about my friends, worrying about all the people around me at my school who are going through the same thing.

Sometimes, honestly, I’m just tired. And today, forgive me, but I have to lament over the fact that politics took precedence over policy. Sorry.

Wednesday, I’m NOT a garbage can! (New Commitment: Day 1)

[Note: This post was originally written for my personal blog, Eat4Today, and is part of an ongoing discussion of using the power of Commitment and Daily Goals to create a successfully healthy lifestyle. ]

Just4Today, I’m not going to eat between meals and I’m not going to take seconds. I’m also going to walk at least 3 miles, take my fiber supplement and drink 2 liters of water. And I’m going to think about my Commitment . . . .


The sweet thing about that list is that each of those elements translate into broader goals without making things complicated. For example :

I happen to be very good at portion control with my meals. I know what servings are and I’ve got serving spoons in 1-cup & 1/2-cup sizes that make it easy to stay in control as I serve my meals. But it’s sooo tempting to take another little bite from the leftovers on the stove after dinner. Or (this is horrible) to rummage through the fridge and make a cheese sandwich in the mid-afternoon.

Those are my greatest weaknesses.

One of the great things about Eat4Today as a discussion group for Health Issues is that the discussion bursts out of the blog and into my real and virtual life all over the place. These issues are important to all of us — not just struggling fatties (believe me – I AM a struggling fattie) like me.

Yesterday I was chatting with one of my friends and, of course, I HAD to tell her what I’ve been doing here. And that brought up the topic of setting & keeping daily goals. She mentioned that she got in trouble by finishing her children’s food — which TOTALLY is either taking seconds or eating between meals. And she reminded me of my great breakthrough — I’m not a garbage can.

You see, it’s easy to wrap up a leftover serving or two & store it in the refrigerator. But, (for some of us) it goes against every instinct to throw way the dribs & drabs in the bottom of a pot — something that’s just going to go to waste if you don’t eat it now. And eating those last bites from a child’s plate is just as hard — just as tempting. (And it doesn’t help that very often parents have to eat from a child’s plate BEFORE they’ll eat, just to prove it’s good.)

This world is a complicated place full of conflicting temptations. The trick is for us to develop methods that help us negotiate those traps.

What are the traps in your life and what simple goal might help keep you from falling into it?

Senate Healthcare Deliberations and Votes: Live Blog

Tawk amongst yourselves…I got nuthin

Thursday Morning! News!

This news is old as things go for this page but, it’s new to a lot of people and VERY exciting in my world:

Neurologists at the University at Buffalo are beginning a research study that could overturn the prevailing wisdom on the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The researchers will test the possibility that the symptoms of MS result from narrowing of the primary veins outside the skull, a condition called “chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency,” or CCSVI.

CCSVI is a complex vascular condition discovered and described by Paolo Zamboni, M.D., from Italy’s University of Ferrara. In the original Italian patients, CCSVI was found to be strongly associated with MS, increasing the risk of developing MS by 43 fold.

This narrowing restricts the normal outflow of blood from the brain, causing alterations in the blood flow patterns within the brain that eventually causes injury to brain tissue and degeneration of neurons.

The preliminary findings were based on a pilot study at the BNAC headed by Zivadinov, and at the Universities of Ferrara and Bologna, Italy, directed by Zamboni and Fabrizio Salvi, M.D, respectively. The study showed that several abnormalities affecting the predominant pathways that return venous blood from the brain to the heart occurred more frequently in MS patients than in controls.

This research, supported by the Hilarescere Foundation of Italy and the BNAC, was conducted to replicate the findings of the Italian investigators.

“Results of this preliminary study, which involved 16 relapsing-remitting MS patients and eight age-and-sex-matched healthy controls, showed that all the MS patients, but none of the controls, had chronic insufficient blood flow out of the brain,” said Zivadinov.

I’ve been following this story closely (since before the Buffalo study was announced.) A good site to find more information is the This Is MS Form where they have a whole section dedicated to CCSVI news. Among other things, they are tracking the progress of MS patients who have gone to Standford University to have stents inserted in their collapsed veins.


If you are interested in health news, the site, Many Years Young run by our friend, Carolyn Kay (Make them Accountable) is updated daily with an impressive array of stories:

 

Wearing a pedometer can be a big step in the weight-loss battle

“What we found was, on average, that wearing a pedometer increased people’s physical activity by about 2,000 steps per day,” Bravata said. “That’s equivalent to about a mile.”

High-fat, high-sugar diet alters bacteria in the gut, making it easier to gain weight

A high-fat, high-sugar diet does more than just pump calories into your body. It also alters the composition of bacteria in your intestines, increasing the proportion of the little buggers that make it easier for you gain weight and harder to lose it, research in mice suggests. And the changeover can happen in as little as 24 hours, much faster than researchers had suspected, according to a report today in the new journal Science Translational Medicine.


Hasan’s supervising doctors questioned his fitness for service

 

The Pentagon official, who is familiar with Hasan’s record as a medical resident, said his behavior was discussed during monthly meetings of top training officials at Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the review sessions, said Hasan’s name often came up because of his sometimes aggressive and argumentative behavior.


More disillusionment? Regarding this story from The Hill, David Sirota says:

 

Obama helping lobbyists weaken offshore tax crackdown Dems passed in 2002 over GOP opposition

What this is all about is corporate lobbying against provisions that both use taxpayer money to reward domestic companies that pay their fair share of taxes and disincentivize companies from trying to rip off the public through offshore “inversions.” And it’s one of the first examples we’ve seen of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress potentially doing something even worse than the Bush administration and the Republican Congress.


Bayh, Conrad, Feinstein, Lieberman and Warner form national suicide pact

 

Currently, these five Democrats are demanding that Speaker Pelosi hand over all relevant Congressional power to an independent commission that will be allowed to slash and partially privatize Social Security and Medicare, or else they will allow the United States to default on its debt.


Lou Dobbs Abruptly Quits CNN

 

Months ago the president of CNN/U.S., Jonathan Klein, offered a choice to Lou Dobbs, the channel’s most outspoken anchor. Mr. Dobbs could vent his opinions on radio and anchor an objective newscast on television, or he could leave CNN.

Relentless Pressure from Progressive Groups Pushes Hatemonger Lou Dobbs Out of CNN

Dobbs’ abrupt departure from the network is a major victory for the Latino advocacy groups demanding his resignation. For years, the talk show host has stirred up xenophobic, anti-immigrant hysteria and promoted an array of right-wing talking points, giving lie to CNN’s reputation for impartiality as well as comically belying his own claims of “independence.”


Since when did taking orders from the Vatican become a good political strategy? Or the right thing to do?

 

How Catholic Bishops Threw the Health Care Debate into Turmoil with Anti-Abortion Maneuver

Members from heavily Catholic districts wouldn’t sign on until the bishops gave their blessing on the language, Republicans wouldn’t vote for the rule until the National Right to Life Committee signed off. Pelosi assessed her risk, apparently calculating that the Stupak language would be stripped out of the bill that is eventually sent to the president’s desk.


Dementia ‘chemical cosh’ warning

 

Nearly 150,000 dementia patients each year are given anti-psychotic drugs unnecessarily, an official review says.
The figure represents four in five of all the people who are being prescribed the drugs in care homes, hospitals and their own homes to manage aggression.

The use of the drugs – dubbed a chemical cosh – is linked to 1,800 deaths as well as leaving people struggling after strokes and falls.


CDC now says 4,000 swine flu deaths in US

 

Federal health officials now say that 4,000 or more Americans likely have died from swine flu — about four times the estimate they’ve been using.


Mo. cops hunt for child abuse clues hidden in jars

 

An excavation was scheduled to resume Thursday at a rural western Missouri property where authorities believe they may find bodies and buried glass jars with notes written by children who may have documented sexual abuse.

The property, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, was once owned by two of five family members arrested Tuesday.

“There has been an indication that there are body or bodies in numerous locations,” said Lafayette County Sheriff Kerrick Alumbaugh, although he would not say whose bodies they might be.


I can’t quite figure out why this is the top headline today. . . .

 

Official: Obama rejects all Afghan war options

President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Laugh of the day:

Perry: Obama ‘hell-bent’ on socialism

Speaking at a luncheon for a Midland County Republican Women’s group, Perry said that “this is an administration hell-bent toward taking American towards a socialist country. And we all don’t need to be afraid to say that because that’s what it is.”


Obama stares down Patriot Act criticism

 

The Justice Department recently reiterated its request for Congress to extend with few changes key provisions of the Patriot Act: sections that allow roving wiretaps on multiple phones, seizing of business records and a never-used authority to spy on non-Americans suspected of being terrorists even though they have no connection to a recognized terrorist group.

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Coakley for President

It’s about damn time this started being said. (h/t Suburban Guerrilla):

Coakley, in her boldest gamble of the campaign, said that fighting for women’s access to abortions was more important than passing the overall bill, despite its aim of providing coverage for 36 million people, establishing a public insurance option, and prohibiting insurers from discriminating against patients with preexisting conditions. [Ed. note: Coverage to some 2 million, varying assistance to the other 34 million. Guaranteed issue, yes, but the pricing of policies for people with pre-existing conditions is basically up to the insurers.]

“To pretend that now the House has passed this bill is real progress – it’s at the expense of women’s access to reproductive rights”

Women’s rights are human rights. Sexism kills.

 

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You have no rights

The Stupak amendment, the greatest rollback of rights for women in decades is now in that thing the House has been calling a “Health Care” bill. (Links from Reclusive Leftist, The Confluence, WiredLeft.)

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.

I’m going to shout that: WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE TOAST WHICH MEANS SO ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S.

Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away.

Think through the consequences of what equal rights for all really means, and you wind up with a system that doesn’t look much like what we have now. There’s lots more about it here, but this is the bit (paraphrased) that concerns us right now:

The right to control one’s own person is fundamental. Even the right not to be murdered is secondary, since killing is allowed in self-defence.

Abortion muddies the argument only because some people believe the fetus is a person with legal rights greater than those of the mother since it can require her life support. There is nothing to stop women from believing this and living accordingly because there is a right to control one’s own body. Depending on beliefs, an individual’s dilemma about abortion may be very complex.

But fair social policies are simple. Either everyone can live according to their beliefs, or nobody can. And personhood is necessarily a belief, a social or religious category. It’s not possible for it to be a matter of objective fact. Biology can only determine who belongs in the species Homo sapiens, but no cellular marker lights up when someone is due to get legal rights.

I’ll repeat: personhood is necessarily a matter of belief, whether that’s based on religion or social consensus.

Therefore those who oppose abortion because they believe the fetus is a person with special status have to hope they are never successful in legislating how others handle their pregnancies. If they are, it means that exceptions could be made to the right to control one’s own person.

Once that principle is admitted, then there is nothing to stop a majority with different beliefs from legislating forced abortions.

Over-population is, after all, the source of the environmental problems killing the planet.

There is nothing to stop an aging population from requisitioning a kidney from healthy people walking around with a spare.

There is nothing to stop doctors from performing medical experiments on you for the public good.

There is nothing to stop the majority from deciding all those old folks are too expensive to live.

Really. Nothing. Once you take away the right to control your own body.

Extreme? Sure. So why is it okay when applied to women?

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