Monday, November 20, 2006
Recently the City Council of Avon Park, Florida, narrowly defeated an ordinance that would have fined landlords who rent to undocumented people and punished businesses who employ them. Other states and cities are considering similar punitive initiatives.
For seventeen years I have been an advocate for migrant farmworkers and have responded to their calls for aid from Harvest of Hope (www. harvestofhope.net), my nonprofit foundation. Mostly our immigrant workers are humble, hardworking and family oriented. Yes, many are not here legally, but since 1996 there have been almost no legal mechanisms to change one's status--especially if you are poor and from Mexico or Central America. Agriculture, housing construction, hotels, housekeeping, landscaping, meat processing and restaurants are heavily dependent on immigrant labor.
We are all beginning to feel the impact of the crackdown. Florida may not be able to harvest all its citrus due to a lack of workers. Georgia has an outrageous new policy denying medical providers reimbursement for undocumented patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer or kidney failure. I know of a 10-year-old boy who has leukemia, but no Georgia health facility will provide follow-up treatment. Nonprofits like ours, private organizations and churches are being stretched beyond our limits trying to close the gaps in service.
Contrary to popular belief, migrant and immigrant workers contribute a lot of money to our economy. Many pay taxes. Companies turn a blind eye to false Social Security cards and put a percentage of wages into our pension system, but those undocumented workers will never see any of the billions they have contributed. Furthermore, these workers' hard-earned dollars are often spent at local businesses.
Doesn't it make sense to have an immigration policy that allows undocumented people who are working and staying out of trouble the opportunity to come out of the shadows and become citizens? We can't have it both ways--depending on their labor while doing everything we can to make their lives miserable and then trying to deport them.
When I get a call at night from a Texas migrant family whose car has broken down while traveling to Michigan to work the fields, I don't ask them their legal status. To deny them assistance because they might be undocumented would be inhumane. To me, no human being is illegal.
I thought this letter was brilliant because it addresses one aspect of this issue that most people have completely ignored, that these people are paying taxes. Many of the undocumented immigrants use false Social Security numbers in order to get employment. Because they have a number, they also have Social Security taxes withheld from their pay. This money goes into the fund that is used to pay current retirees. When the immigrants reach retirement age, they get nothing, because as undocumented workers, they are not eligible to receive these funds, even though they paid into them. Also, if they do become legal at a future time, they will get their own Social Security number and the funds they have already paid are still out of their reach.
On top of that, the workers, whether earning wages above or below the table, spend much of their money in their local communities. This means that they are paying sales tax on the items they purchase, which also adds to our economy. Gas, cigarettes, food, clothing, and other items are taxable, depending on the state where the purchase is made. These items are purchased daily by illegal immigrants, and that adds to our coffers.
Lastly, and most importantly, these people are not terrorists, they are here to work. They provide services that Americans simply don't want to peform. Many of the jobs they hold were held by high school students years ago, but today's students would rather work at McDonald's or Starbucks or the local movie theater. They don't want to work in the fields in the hot sun, or the pouring rain, picking fruit and hauling heavy baskets of produce. To say that our young people can take these jobs is simply not accurate. The students don't want these jobs. No one here does, but the immigrants are willing to do the work.
I agree that they should be allowed to come in to this country, and so long as they prove themselves to be hard working and keeping their records clean (i.e., no arrests), there should be a mechanism in place to assist them in becoming legal. Added to that, we (the United States) should also be working with the governments of Central and South America to help them create jobs in their own countries that would encourage the majority of their citizens to stay in their homeland and not have a desire to move to the United States.
The current system, simply does not work.
Friday, November 17, 2006
On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Ann Coulter, for example, has attacked four widows of the 9/11 attack claiming:
These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. ... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much ... the Democrat ratpack gals endorsed John Kerry for president ... cutting campaign commercials... how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
In her home state of New York only 33% of the people voted against her, yet she is still one of the most hated people living today. Why? What has she done that is so heinous as to deserve such treatment?
Put that question out and you'll get many answers, but what you won't get are any tangible facts that support them. People hate Hillary for no apparent reason other than they want to hate her. Period. She hasn't done anything, or said anything so terrible to deserve the horrible things that are said about her daily, but the hatred continues.
So, let's take a look at some of the things Hillary has done; she continued to work on her career while her husband was the governor of Arkansas. She became the first first-lady with a post-graduate degree, which she earned by writing a thesis on the rights of children. As first-lady she continued to work for the rights of children, as well as the rights of women. She's a mother. She is the first first-lady to leave the white house and begin her own political career.
As first-lady she lead a task force that was charged with solving the health care problem in our country. I won't try to suggest that her plan was a success, or even the right plan for our nation, but she at least came up with a plan. Name me one person since who has done the same. Health care is still a major problem, and was named as one of the major issues by voters in 2006.
When her husband cheated on her, she refused to leave him. This should be her right and her choice, but for some reason she seems to have garnered quite a bit of animosity for her decision. Had she left him, she would undoubtedly still have been hated, albeit for making a different decision, and probably by the same people.
Personally, I admire Hillary. I think she's a caring woman who only wants to do what she believes to be right, and I don't think it's fair of people to hate her without reason. Show just cause or rethink your position. I also hope she runs for President, and if she does, I hope she chooses her husband as her running mate. Our laws prevent him from becoming president again, but they don't prevent him from being vice-president. I think having the two Clintons officially running this country would be the best thing we could do following the devastation of our civil rights under the current administration.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Possibly. Bruce Bendinger of Chicao, Illinois has put together a fascinating video of George Bush comparing his performance in a debate ten years ago, when he was running for Governor of Texas with more recent examples, and in this video, the change in the man in such a short period is striking. The video can be viewed at http://www.adbuzz.com/bushbuzz.htm which also contains information on how the video came to be created.
Briefly, it started with an article in the Atlantic Magazine about the change in Bush over the years. The article, written by James Fallows, drew several responses, and one of the letters came from a doctor who said that the change could be caused by presenile dementia. For a full text of the letter, see either a copy of the magazine, or their site at http://www.theatlantic.com/. Note that to read the full articles on their site you'll need a subscription.
You can also read more about this in an article in the Boston Globe here http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2004/09/14/a_medical_cause_for_bushisms/
What is important about this issue is that it's not new. When Mr. Bendinger writes about reading an article in the October issue, he fails to mention that it was in 2004. This is incredibly important, as it indicates that our president may be deteriorating mentally, and has been for years. If this is the case, then it changes everything. In a telephone conversation I had with Mr. Bendinger, he mentioned that one physician he spoke to said that if you stuttered ten years ago and you stutter today, you have a history of stuttering, but if you didn't stutter ten years ago and you do today, something must be causing the stuttering. That, in essence, is the issue with our President.
I have never been a fan of either of the Bush presidents, and I wouldn't be unhappy to see this one removed from office, however, if the cause for his removal is a mentally incapacitating illness, then there will not be any joy in seeing him leave office. If he does, in fact, have any kind of disease or infirmity that will limit is mental capacities, it is imperative that he be removed from office before such deterioration causes him to do something that will harm either himself or the American people.
Arguments can be made that he has already done this (invading Iraq springs readily to mind), and in listening to his speeches, even very recent ones, it is easy to say that such a diagnosis might very well be valid. Of course, as the articles linked above will discuss, it is possible that his stumbling over, and creation of new words has another cause, and one that is not linked to any abnormality in the brain, but the difference between his performance of ten years ago and those of late is astounding.
As the President of the United States and the leader of the free world, the President has a duty to his people. Not just to his constituents, but to all people, and that duty includes being completely honest about any medical condition that may adversely effect his ability to perform his duties. I think it is imperative that a neurologist, chosen by Nancy Pelosi be brought in to examine Mr. Bush thoroughly, and those findings need to be reported to the American people.
I would suggest that this be done immediately, simply because if it is found that Mr. Bush does suffer from a disease that is destroying his mental ability, for his own good and the good of this country he needs to be removed from office. Such removal should be done now, while the Republicans are still in control of the House and Senate. If George Bush is removed from office during 2006, Dick Cheney will assume the presidency and Dennis Hastert will become the Vice President. If, however, the impeachment doesn't happen until after the new Congress takes office, Dick Cheney will still take over the role of President, but the office of Vice President will likely be assumed by Nancy Pelosi.
It would not be fair for the Democrats to take the Vice Presidency if it could be held by the Republicans, who are, after all, in power. This action, however, needs to be initiated by the Republicans. Should they refuse to impeach their president (and it's understandable why they would refuse to do so), they have to realize that if it becomes necessary for our own safety to do this, they'll lose the Vice Presidency out of their own fault. The ramifications of this could be historic. Since Mr. Cheney has not been shown to be the healthiest physical specimen among the Republicans, should he assume the top spot with Ms. Pelosi second, and should he die in office, not only will the Democrats assume total control, but we will have the first female President of the United States.
Note, however, that no Democrat, Independent, Moderate, Liberal or Progressive (pick a label, any label) should find any joy in gloating over the removal from office of a man who has a medical condition that prevents him from leading this country. If this does, in fact, turn out to be the case (just as it was for Ronald Reagan), then we need to offer understanding and compassion to George Bush and his family. As I said, I've never been a fan of this president, but I would not wish Alzheimer's on anyone.
Democrats support surrender in Iraq, higher taxes and the impeachment of President Bush. They just won an election by pretending to be against all three.
Ann Coulter - November 8, 2006 http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/welcome.cgi
So, how true are Ann's statments? Let's start with her first item, Iraq. She claims Democrats want to surrender, or as she put it later in the same writing, the Democrats' policy is to:
Stay, leave ... stay for a while then leave ... redeploy and then come back ... leave and stay ... cut and run ... win, lose or draw policy.
Is that what the Democrats want? Do we really want to just up and leave Iraq and not clean up the mess we made? Consider what leaders of the Democratic party in both the House and Senate said in a letter to President Bush in July:
We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.
Additionally, every effort should be made to urge the Iraqis to take the steps necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources. It is also essential to disarm the militias and ensure forces loyal to the national government. Finally, an international conference should be convened to persuade other governments to be more involved, and to secure the resources necessary to finance Iraq's reconstruction and rebuild its economy.
Letter to President Bush from Democrats in both the House and Senate, July 31, 2006 http://www.house.gov/pelosi/press/releases/July06/IraqPlan.html
Wow. That doesn't sound like cut and run, Ann, that sounds like the Democrats actually have a plan. Empower the Iraqis to be able to take over their own country again, with all factions being fairly represented and guaranteed such representation in their own constitution. That sounds a lot like what we did here in America when our government was being formed, by the way. Get other countries from around the globe involved in this so it stops being America versus Iraq and shows that we have broad support in our mission. Bring our troops home in stages, so that the progress made in Iraq won't be undone as we leave.
This is a much more sound policy than the "stay the course" alternative that the Republicans have been touting for the past three years, and have recently dropped because of how far from reality it actually is.
How about her second claim of Democrats wanting higher taxes? Are the Democrats really hoping to increase taxes? Consider this from MSNBC:
Pelosi criticized congressional Republicans who have shown support for a new national sales tax, which she said would hurt the middle class ... House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., called for a national sales tax or consumption-based tax in a recent book. But Bush’s suggestion this summer that a national sales tax is worth serious consideration drew a backlash from Democrats and many Republicans, and the idea was quickly discarded.
MSNBC September 25, 2004 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6095868/
Finally, Ann says that the Democrats are for impeachment. According to an article in the Washington Post:
Seeking to choke off a Republican rallying cry, the House's top Democrat has told colleagues that the party will not seek to impeach President Bush even if it gains control of the House in November's elections, her office said last night.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) told her caucus members during their weekly closed meeting Wednesday "that impeachment is off the table; she is not interested in pursuing it," spokesman Brendan Daly said.
May 12, 2006 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/11/AR2006051101950.html
Note that this was last May. Has anything changed since Democrats are now coming into control? No. Consider:
Presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the podium Wednesday to outline her party’s plans for the future and to reassure voters that she won’t lead a liberal inquisition against President Bush.
“Impeachment is off the table,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “Democrats are not about getting even. Democrats are about helping people get ahead.”
November 9, 2006 http://www.examiner.com/a-388565~Pelosi__Impeachment__off_the_table_.html
Does that mean that Bush will not be impeached? Not necessarily, and I'll explore that in another post, but for now, it's not being considered by the Democrats, unlike the pathetic attempt that the Republicans made at doing something similar with Bill Clinton, one of the best presidents this country has ever seen. The major difference between the two is that after Clinton's impeachment, he remained as President, while Bush would not. He would be tried for high crimes that would not only remove him from office, but could very well land him in prison.
One thing about Ann's latest writing really surprised me. In a move that will distance her from other right-wing pundits, she admits that the Democrats won the election. Most of the others claim that the Democrats didn't win so much as the Republicans lost. Apparently, they don't think the American voting public had any interest in things like Iraq, torturing of prisoners or illegal wire-tapping, but Ann did.
Imagine Ann getting a fact right!
Monday, November 13, 2006
So, let's see if we can shine some light on the Democratic Agenda for Rush and others of his ilk who don't seem to understand why the American voters felt it was necessary to remove the Republicans from power on November 7, 2006.
1. We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves, starting with real ethics reform.
If you think this isn't necessary, you might want to remember Mark Foley, Duke Cunningham and Tom Delay. Do you need more examples? Fortunately, they can be provided.
2. We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland security begins with hometown security.
Let's put that another way. We will not claim that there are Weapons of Mass Destruction when we know there are not. We will not try to obfuscate the truth by bringing up September 11 every time we want to further our own objectives.
3. We will create a cleaner, greener and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in energy independent technology.
This does not mean that we reduce the Alaska wilderness to rubble by over-exploiting it, as some would like us to do. This means finding new means of energy, while working to conserve our environment.
4. We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget discipline that reduces our deficit.
Raising the minimum wage. Does that sound familiar? It was raised to $5.15 in 1997 and has not been increased since, despite the fact that Democrats have tried to get it raised. In fact, only by tying it to a decrease in estate taxes were the Republicans even willing to bring it to the floor, where it was rejected by Democrats and many moderate Republicans for the shameless sham that it was.
5. We will join 36 other industrialized nations in making sure everyone has access to affordable health care, starting by fixing the prescription drug program and investing in stem cell and other medical research.
Remember when the Clinton Administration tried to fix the healtchare problem and in 1994, the Republicans soundly defeated any chance of it? I'm not suggesting that the proposal put forth by Hillary and her Commission was the perfect solution, but at least it was a start. What has happened since? What solutions have the Republicans put forth to provide equitable health care for all Americans? For twelve years the Republicans have controlled the House and Senate, and for six years they've held the White House as well, yet nothing has changed. Why isn't Medicare allowed to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for our senior citizens? Maybe Rush meant if it's not important enough to be on the Republicans' Agenda, they can ignore it when the Democrats bring it up.
6. We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American, starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.
Does that one scare you? Social Security will remain federally funded, even though the Republicans would love to see it taken out of the government's control so that it stops bleeding the government, but Democrats understand that hard working men and women in this country paid into the system and they deserve to reap whatever benefit from it they can. If it were left to the Republicans, many of our retirees would be on Skid Row.
7. The Democratic Party believes that it is our responsibility to protect America's extraordinary natural resources. The health of our families and the strength of our economy depend on our stewardship of the environment.
This is probably a difficult concept for many Republicans, since they see natural resources as an impediment to progress. Republicans would clear cut the nation's forests, strip mine our fields, pollute our waters and reduce our mountain ranges to fields all in the name of profits. Democrats understand that natural habitats are vital parts of the ecosystem, and that we are responsible for the other creatures with which we share this planet. We'll continue to ensure that they have their place here.
8. Democrats are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That's why we’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws, and every law that protects workers. Most recently, Democrats stood together to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.
Were it not for Democrats, we wouldn't have unions; we wouldn't have the American's with Disabilities Act; we wouldn't have Minimum Wage; we wouldn't have laws regulating safe working environments. In fact, the civil liberties that most of us take for granted we have because Democrats fought hard in the face of Republicans to ensure their passage.
9. A fundamental tenet of our democracy is the right to vote and have that vote counted. We must be vigilant in protecting this right and ensuring that our voting system is fair for every American.
I think what most upsets Rush and others like him is that the Democrats were finally successful in thwarting attempts to steal another election. We ensured that there were people at the polling places to keep an eye on the Republicans. Even in Florida, where nothing even close to a fair election is held, a Democrat by the name of Ion Sancho worked tirelessly to make sure that the voting in Leon County was fair and accurate, something that never seemed to concern Republican Katherine Harris. Note that her bid for Bill Nelson's job failed in the November 7 election.
By the way, all of these agenda items can be found on the website for the Democratic party at http://www.democrats.org/a/national/election_reform/ It would certainly be uncharacteristic of Rush Limbaugh to actually do some research before shooting off his mouth, but if, instead of stating that the Democrats don't have an agenda, he had simply Googled "Democrats Agenda" he would have found this for himself. Imagine, Rush not taking the time to do that before making a total fool of himself.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, arrests for drug possession grew from less than 500,000 in 1980 to over 1,500,000 in 2005 (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/drug.htm). A three times increase in twenty five years can hardly be called a success. Note that these figures are for adults. Throughout this discussion when I speak of drug use, I will be referring specifically to adults, as I don't believe that children should be using drugs.
By the DOJ's own statistics, it's fairly easy to see that our current war on drugs is failing, so what can be done? The most logical answer is to legalize drugs. Immediately this suggestion will get most people in an uproar, making such claims as that children will be using drugs, and people will be driving while high, and that pushers will be free to walk onto playgrounds, and all kinds of other nonsense. As in any issue, the first thing that needs to be done is to put emotions aside and look at the problem logically. This, then, is my rational, logical approach to dealing with drugs.
First, legalize all drugs, not just marijuana and not just for the sick. By legalizing drugs they will be brought into the light and out of hiding. No, legalizing drugs is not going to entice more people to use them, any more than legalizing alcohol encourages more people to drink or legalizing cigarettes encourages more people to smoke. It merely allows those who choose to do so the freedom. Nothing more.
Legalizing drugs has several serious advantages, however. First, those 1.5 million adults arrested would not be, thus allowing our police to go after actual criminals. You know, the ones who are knocking over liquor stores, raping young women and shooting innocent bystanders. It also frees up room in our prisons, hopefully reducing the overcrowded conditions in some, and making building more unnecessary. It will also mean less money spent by our government on trying these people, thus saving the taxpayers money.
More importantly, it provides a source of revenue for our government, which should result in lowered taxes for the rest of us. Just like liquor and cigarettes are taxed, so too would drugs be taxed, so instead of being a debit for our country, they'd be an asset. Legalizing also allows the government the ability to regulate them, ensuring that the drugs that reach the market are safe and have been manufactured (or grown) under strict standards.
Since drugs will now be available at the local market (or liquor store, or whatever each state chooses), drug cartels will be a thing of the past, as will gangs supported by drug money. In fact, much of the drugs can be grown here in the United States thus reducing the traffic coming across our border, since some of that traffic is for illegal drugs. And since we have a free enterprise system in this country, different drug manufacturers will undoubtedly have different prices, thus driving costs down for the users. This might not sound like a good idea, but consider that many drug addicts currently commit crimes in order to get the money to purchase very expensive drugs. By making them more affordable, the potential of reducing crime exists.
It is important to note that not all people who use drugs are addicts, any more than all people who drink are alcoholics. There are a great many men and women who can handle the effects of alcohol, and only drink in moderation. There are just as many men and women who use drugs in the same way. For those who are addicts, by keeping drugs illegal it makes it more difficult for them to get help, as doing so would force them to admit that they're criminals. Legalizing drugs allows addicts (and their familes) to see their problems and possibly get help.
The laws for drugs would be the same as for alcohol, namely that its use is limited in public, and driving under the influence can cost you your license. Added to that, violent crime committed while under the influence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, since violent crime is violent crime regardless of the situation.
Legalizing drugs would reduce the money spent by the government on arrests and trials, increase the money paid to the government in the way of taxes, reduce the drug lords and cartels that increase crime in this country, and allow those who are addicted to get help. I really don't see a downside to this.
In order to properly address this issue, it is first necessary to understand that for too many years there has been too much spin put on it. The issue stopped being intelligently discussed a long time ago, and in order to put it to rest, it is first necessary to reduce it to what it is, and remove everything else. The first thing that needs to be removed is the emotional angle that both sides have put on it. Second, we need to logically look at the issue, and finally put it to rest.
When you hear someone refer to Democrats as "baby killers" or show you signs of a fetus in the womb, your emotions are being manipulated. Don't allow this. If you hear someone speaking out against (or for) abortion (or any issue, for that matter), and they begin raising their voice or calling those who hold an opposing opinion by unfavorable names, ignore them. If their argument is sound they don't need to resort to yelling or name-calling. Those are tactics that are only necessary when the argument isn't solid enough to carry itself.
Next, we need to logically look at what the objective of abortion should be. There shouldn't be any argument that the goal of abortions in this country should be zero. For that matter, the number of children who die each year from disease, or people who die from drug overdoses, or people who die from automobile accidents should all be zero. That's not reality, however. In life comes death and there will always be people dying. Sadly, that also at times applies to children.
The issue of abortion was made a legal matter when the Supreme Court made the decision that it should not be illegal. This decision was correct. By making abortion legal it now becomes possible to regulate those who perform them. This does not mean that every pregnant woman should run out and have an abortion, and that has certainly not happened, but that is how the anti-abortionists act.
The goal should not be to outlaw abortion, as that will not end abortion. Outlawing it only sends it underground, and won't do anything to reduce the number of abortions performed each year. Look at drug use; it's illegal to use drugs in this country, but it still happens. The same can be said for speeding, cheating on taxes and jay-walking. All of these are illegal, and all happen daily.
In order to solve this problem we first need to end the emotional ties and look at it intellectually. First, who has abortions? Women. No man has ever had an abortion, yet one of the most vocal voices against abortions is the Roman Catholic Church, an organization comprised of men, run by men, who only allow men in their priesthood. That seems like a strange dichotomy to me. If women are the ones who have abortions, it should be women who make the final decision on this issue, not men.
That having been said, and even though I'm a man, I'm going to continue with my opinion anyway. Following on the same intellectual discussion, do all women have abortions? No, only pregnant women do. All pregnant women? No, only certain ones. The issue then should be to look at who are these women and what are the circumstances surrounding their pregnancies.
First, there are those who were raped or are the victims of incest. Does anyone have the right to tell these women that they must give birth to the child of the man who raped them? I don't see how anyone can force that upon any woman. Yes, she would be able to put the child up for adoption, but that still forces her to grow a child inside her that was formed through violence against her. I can't see that anyone has the right to force that upon her. She certainly has the right to decide to have the child, and the right to put it up for adoption or not, but no one has the right to force her.
Second are those who find that either the life of the child or the life of the mother is in danger. That decision rests solely with the pregnant woman. Again, no one has the right to tell her that she has to give birth when it could kill her, or to give birth to a child who will only die anyway. It's very easy to sit back and say that it's God's will that the child dies, but it's not a fair argument because a) it can't be proven, and b) it is inhumane to force a mother to watch her child die. Again, this decision has to rest with the woman.
Last are the women who never wanted to get pregnant, and I would guess that this is the vast majority of women having abortions. This is also the easiest group to address because it only requires education to end this. Education would include sex education, so that women (and men) understand what can be done to ensure that pregnancy does not occur, and providing birth control. By ensuring that people know how to prevent pregnancy, you eliminate the majority of abortions, because non-pregnant women don't have a need for them.
Now the argument becomes that people should not have sex if they're not re-producing, and that argument is seriously flawed. There is nothing wrong with having sex, and no one in this country has the right to regulate morality. If you believe that sex out of wedlock is immoral, don't have sex out of wedlock, but don't tell anyone else that they can't. No one has the right to tell you what to do with your body. This, of course, goes for adults. Parents certainly have the right to raise their children with their own religious and moral beliefs, but once those children reach adulthood, they have to start making their own decisions.
By teaching sex education to young adults, and providing birth control to all adults (male and female, it's not only up to the women) we could reduce the vast majority of abortions in this country. This is what the goal of the anti-abortionists should be; to reduce all of the abortions possible, not to make them all illegal. For that matter, we should also be working harder to end rape in this country, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. We're more interested in punishing men after they commit the act rather than identifying possible rapists and curing them before the act. We're interested in stopping women from having abortions of unwanted babies rather than helping them to prevent the pregnancy in the first place. We are more concerned with reacting to a problem once it happens rather than preventing the problem from occuring in the first place.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It's not a news flash to anyone to find out that the Republicans have more funds than the Democrats. This has always been the case, and is attributed to the Republicans being more interested in careers in business while Democrats lean more toward education and social causes, which often pay less; however, is this necessarily a true belief?
I would say that it's not. Yes, Republican candidates outspend their Democrat (and other) counterparts, but is that because Republicans have more money or because their party can raise more money? It seems to be the latter more than the former, and one of the areas where they raise much of their funds is from corporations.
This is where the Democrats can make a difference. If the companies where you do business are supporting Republicans, or supporting Republicans more than Democrats, you can do something about this. First, write to them and ask them to make their contributions more equitable. As a customer, you have the right to express your opinions. If they refuse, simply take your business elsewhere.
To find out how your companies contribute, you can start with the following site, http://www.buyblue.org/ and click on Categorized under the search window to see all of the companies listed by category. If the company you're looking for isn't listed, simply send them a letter and ask them if they support political campaigns, and if they do, what their contributions were last year (2005) for Republicans, Democrats and Others. For larger companies you can usually address their Corporate Governance Department. Otherwise, you can simply contact the president of the company.
One thing to look for is a letter back stating that the company does not make contributions, but those contributions are from the employees, and the company has no control over the way employees spend their money. This is true, however, in most cases, the "employees" that are making the contributions are executives of the company, and while it's true that employees have the right to spend their money as they see fit, it is also your right to spend your money on those companies that are not going to turn around and give it to the Republicans. If that money comes from their executives, let them know that you don't agree with that policy, and if the executives choose to support Republicans over Democrats, then you choose to support other companies. Whether they care to admit it or not, executives do represent their companies, even in their personal life.
The goal is not to remove all funding from Republican candidates, but to make it more equitable between the parties. If a company gives $10,000 to Democrats and $90,000 to Republicans, it's not reasonable to expect them to kick in an additional $80,000 in order to give each $90,000, as that would increase their total contributions from $100,000 to $180,000. It is entirely reasonable, however, to ask them to contribute $50,000 to each. This doesn't increase the company's giving at all, but it levels the playing field between the parties.
Links I Recommend
- Common Dreams
- Crooks and Liars
- Democracy for America
- Democratic National Committee
- Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
- Media Matters
- Mick's Blog
- Nation, The
- News Hounds (we watch Fox so you won't have to)
- Patt's Adventures in Cooking
- Political Research Association
- Progressive Majority
- Public Citizen