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Meet the New Boss

November 14, 2008

During his election campaign, Senator Obama promised that he would if elected bring real “change” to Washington, as opposed to his opponent, who would bring “more of the same.” Now that Mr. Obama is President-Elect, things are becoming somewhat murkier. Exhibit A. Intellegence Policy to Stay Largely Intact:

President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA’s interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.

Yet he more recently voted for a White House-backed law to expand eavesdropping powers for the National Security Agency. Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision.

The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.

A few months back, taking the same position caused Senator McCain to be labeled a supporter of torture by one of my co-bloggers at Vox Nova.

Exhibit B. Obama Won’t Rush to Reverse Iraq Policy:

Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, stayed up most of the night, watching the U.S. election returns. He offered his government’s congratulations to Obama but said he doesn’t see much prospect for a significant policy change right away.

“That is a relief,” Zebari says, “that there wouldn’t be an abrupt or sudden withdrawal or disengagement that would lead to destabilization or confusion.”

Zebari, you may recall, made some headlines back in June when he told reporters Obama had promised “if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field.”

Exhibit C. Obama’s Second Thoughts on Iran:

Obama appears to be having second thoughts about the wisdom of an idea announced largely as a means of strengthening his anti-Bush message rather than dealing with a dangerous foreign foe. All indications from him since his election are that he’s in no hurry to open talks.

The other day, in response to a cable from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulating him on his win, Obama indicated he was in no mood to accept the Iranian’s invitation to dance.

Obviously there is a lot of speculation involved in these articles. Maybe as president, Mr. Obama will deliver on his campaign promises and that his administration will represent a radical break with Bush administration foreign policy, rather than making only symbolic changes while leaving the core of those policies intact.

Then again, maybe not.

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98 Comments
  1. joseph permalink
    November 14, 2008 8:39 am

    Oops.

  2. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:07 am

    Oh, no! Centrist and moderate? No love fest with Ahmadinijead? No destabilizing and confusion? No immediate attack on Pakistan? Does this mean no socialized medicine, too? Will he abandon his Marxist principles? My comrades and I are outraged!

  3. joseph permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:18 am

    Dude isn’t even in office yet and he has already reinforced his campaign promises with a “double promise” on abortion and ESCR and has broken his promises on torture and dialogue with Iran. Nice. It appears that the Kmiec list of reasons for electing Obama are fading fast.

    Like David, I hope that the ease at which Obama seems to be disregarding his promises that wooed the pro-Obama Catholics to vote for him means that he might change his mind on FOCA, his support for the gay lobby, and his Marxist principles as well. Somehow I doubt it, but at least his recent dishonesty gives me hope.

  4. November 14, 2008 9:29 am

    David N,

    You seem to have missed the point – the promise was systemic change, the reality is things will remain largely the same. This is usually deemed misleading.

  5. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:46 am

    Zach,

    Don’t you think it’s a little premature to conclude that Obama has abandoned the idea of change? We already have conservatives saying we are in an “Obama recession.” The article says, “Advisers caution that few decisions will be made until the team gets a better picture of how the Bush administration actually goes about gathering intelligence, including covert programs, and there could be a greater shift after a full review.”

    I know you want him to fail in as many ways as possible, but why don’t you give him at least a few days in office first?

  6. November 14, 2008 10:02 am

    David,

    Of course it is a bit early to draw conclusions. This is just the beginning. It’s just – the fervor of the campaign really got me excited for the revolution.

    I actually want him to succeed. I just don’t agree with the liberal or progressive definition of success.

  7. jpf permalink
    November 14, 2008 10:23 am

    As the French say: Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    OR

    To quote Emma Goldman: “If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal.”

  8. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 10:31 am

    To quote Emma Goldman: “If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal.”

    Instead of just a mortal sin?

  9. November 14, 2008 10:48 am

    David, LOL.

    The banks and businesses will still get bailed out and then hand cram it down their customers’ throats. The average Joe on the other hand can go **** off, nobody helps him. What’s a trillion or two to save companies that screwed up. The market does work, btw, those empires built on sand would go down the toilet as they should if it weren’t for corporate socialism. I am just glad the AIG executives got a big spa trip to alleviate their pain. People are very docile these days. An equivalent of storming Versailles is long overdue. The greed of these bloodsuckers is only topped by their stupidity. Debts secured by debt. How could that have gone wrong ?

    Let me quote Leonard Cohen:

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows

    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died

  10. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 14, 2008 10:49 am

    Here’s hoping Obama will bring change on these issues. If not, we’ll be enjoying our first truly seamless garment president: pro-torture, pro-unjust war, pro-death penalty, pro-choice and pro-embryonic stem cell research.

  11. blackadderiv permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:00 am

    An equivalent of storming Versailles is long overdue.

    Cause it worked out so well the first time.

  12. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:48 am

    I actually thought I was pretty much joking with the mortal sin remark, but here is a letter to the parishioners of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in South Carolina telling them that if they voted for Obama, they may not receive communion.

    Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.

  13. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:54 am

    Michael,

    From your linked article:

    John Podesta, the transition chief, has revealed a set of draconian new regulations aimed at curbing the excessive influence of lobbyists, as Mr Obama promised throughout his election campaign.

    I would be much more encouraged by this if it wasn’t coming from the mouth of the founder of The Podesta Group.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/firmsum.php?lname=Podesta+Group&year=2008

  14. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:57 am

    And here….

    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2008&indexType=l

  15. November 14, 2008 12:19 pm

    David,

    Why is the South Carolina priest’s letter noteworthy? Confessing ones sins and doing penance prior to presenting oneself at the alter for Communion is a rather long standing concept.

  16. November 14, 2008 12:23 pm

    largegbill – It’s noteworthy because the priest presumes to know that each and every Catholic who voted for Obama sinned in doing so. Voting for Obama is not, in and of itself, sinful.

  17. November 14, 2008 12:49 pm

    Blackadder – I look forward to the next 8 years of you shooting barbs at the Obama administration. I’m actually learning a lot about the rhetorical tactics of movement conservatism from you. Very instructive…

  18. Zak permalink
    November 14, 2008 12:58 pm

    Brother Matthew,
    I’m pretty sure the lobbying firm is Podesta’s brother Anthony. John’s been heading a think tank (Center for American Progress).

  19. November 14, 2008 1:01 pm

    “I’m actually learning a lot about the rhetorical tactics of movement conservatism from you. Very instructive…”

    lol…if you haven’t learned about partisan rhetorical tactics from MM by now, I wouldn’t expect that BA would be able to help you. Shrill overwrought polemics aren’t his style….

  20. blackadderiv permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:04 pm

    The next eight years?

  21. November 14, 2008 1:10 pm

    Michael,

    Actually, I thought he only indicated that informed Obama voters sinned. It is very obvious that some percentage of voters are completely ignorant. Those who voted but were ignorant or unaware of his positions may have cast an irresponsible vote but did not necessarily sin.

  22. Ressourcement permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:15 pm

    Were they just holding hands? Amazing. ;)

  23. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:25 pm

    Zak,

    Though he doesn’t work for the group now, John Podesta co-founded the group with his brother Anthony in 1988. He would later go on to greater things, like “Project Podesta”, his effort to greatly expand executive power during the Clinton administration, a project that would later be taken up by Bush and friends. Yay for change!

  24. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:37 pm

    Depressing! You are right, if Obama does not change course then he will have betrayed millions who voted for him to make change.

    And those who are happy about it? Sick. Sick.

    And if we had voted for McCain we would still have the same thing, which tells me that America is rotten to Her Core.

  25. November 14, 2008 1:58 pm

    same as the old boss! da na na na na na na

  26. AdamV permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:59 pm

    If McCain were elected, at least he wouldn’t have hoodwinked millions into voting for him. He was clear about not changing the course of the country from the get go, radicalcatholicmom.

    The one thing that does give me hope, though, is that Obama has not as of yet declared that he has been given a mandate. This would be a disastrous step for his administration, because it would definitely disenfranchise at least one block of people who voted for him.

  27. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:01 pm

    And if we had voted for McCain we would still have the same thing, which tells me that America is rotten to Her Core.

    RCM,

    I’m afraid a lot of people will be saying this as they go into withdrawals after a two year hope-aine binge. “Put not your hope in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help…”

  28. November 14, 2008 2:07 pm

    largegbill – It’s noteworthy because the priest presumes to know that each and every Catholic who voted for Obama sinned in doing so. Voting for Obama is not, in and of itself, sinful.

    No, Michael, nobody knows someone’s state when they pulled the Obama lever. They may have been mentally ill. In that case pulling Obama’s lever might might be sinful. Or in the case of pulling the lever by accident. That’s not sinful either. I think Altzheimer’s patients or the mentally retarded folks who were coached to vote for Obama, sometimes against their wishes could be accused of sinful actions either.

    So yes, I guess there are a number of reasons where voting for Obama might not be sinful.

    And if we had voted for McCain we would still have the same thing, which tells me that America is rotten to Her Core.

    RCM, are you a prophet and know exactly how someone who wasn’t elected might govern? Or it might be that you know McCain is a straight talking man of his word, so you can usually take his statements to the bank, while St. HopeNChange is not?

    I’m going to put my Madame Cleo hat on and prognosticate that within the first 100 days of an Obama administration there will be oodles of “buyers remorse” on the part of those who pulled his lever.

    They’re going to say: “How were we to know?!?!?!?” And I’ll say: “We tried to warn you.”

  29. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:11 pm

    Why is the South Carolina priest’s letter noteworthy? Confessing ones sins and doing penance prior to presenting oneself at the alter for Communion is a rather long standing concept.

    Largebill,

    There are a number of reasons why it is noteworthy. First, I’d note that he calls the president-elect “Barack Hussein Obama.” While of course that is Obama’s full name, it has generally only been the practice of people who were particularly contemptuous to use it. John McCain specifically condemned it.

    It’s noteworthy because reframes the issue. Voting for a pro-choice candidate has now become “material cooperation with intrinsic evil.” Formerly it had been remote material cooperation, and there is a major difference between the two, material cooperation always being sinful and remote material cooperation not being sinful with a proportionate reason. Of course, he may have accidently omitted a word or he may just not understand the two concepts.

    Also, in effect he declares, without qualification, that voting for Obama was a mortal sin. He also claims that abortion “is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the United States,” which is not immediately apparent, at least to me. If it is indeed true, the peace and security of almost all our allies and some of our opponents is similarly threatened. Time to more to Ireland or Poland.

    It is interesting that he says, “We must also take note of the fact that this election was effectively decided by the votes of self-described (but not practicing) Catholics, the majority of whom cast their ballots for President-elect Obama.” So apparently the large turnout by blacks or young voters or first-time voters was not the decisive factor. Apparently now bad Catholics are the “swing vote” in America.

  30. AdamV permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:22 pm

    Michael, viz-a-viz the common dream article. It says is that Obama’s transistion team will charge for staff and office space. I think all that will do is price out lobbyists from relief organizations, health researchers, etc. But multi-nationals will be more than able to foot the bill.

  31. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:42 pm

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with lobbying or lobbyists. There are Catholic lobbying groups and pro-choice lobbying groups. There are antipoverty lobbyists, animal welfare lobbyist, arts lobbyists, and children’s healthcare lobbyists, and on, and on. Obama never promised to put an end to lobbying.

  32. Kurt permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:49 pm

    That was a great letter by Father Newman. Trust me, I’ve saved a copy for future use. We need to get it distributed around as much as possible. I would like to see it mailed to every Catholic in the country. Do you think we can get him to issue another one for the 2010 elections?

  33. Mark DeFrancisis permalink
    November 14, 2008 3:00 pm

    The poor cleric should perform due penance for either (a) his willfull and knowleable abusing of his parishioners’ consciences, or, (b)his inexecusable ignorance of proper Church teahing, in the light of the special and not-to be-taken for granted teaching, pastoring and leadership charisms confirmed upon him, through ordination,

    These examples make me consider going all NonConformist and Dissident, in my weaker moments…

  34. November 14, 2008 3:27 pm

    I’m afraid this country is quickly approaching banana republic status, incl. the credit rating. In addition to a completely crooked/insane financial world two parties share the same troth without any risk of being removed. Since they know it’ll be there turn at the troth fairly soon, everything stays the same. “Hope” and “change” are futile and impossible, respectively. The very fact that one can donate money to parties and campaigns is a scandal – beyond a party membership fee. The ones who pay the most count the most. Sure, it’s government of the people, but not by or for the people. And they thought British taxes were bad. Sure, banks across the world were affected by this, but at heart it was an American-made disaster. The vox clamantis in deserto was Warren Buffett. Everyone else was like a bipolar high stakes gambler in a manic phase. It’s nothing new of course, one only needs to look at the 80s crooked schemes of hostile takeovers and what not. Oh and then there’s the little matter of the Iraq War, now in its 6th year. But it’s banning gay marriage that people care about, and all the other BS “culture war” issues.

  35. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    November 14, 2008 3:30 pm

    “RCM, are you a prophet and know exactly how someone who wasn’t elected might govern? Or it might be that you know McCain is a straight talking man of his word, so you can usually take his statements to the bank, while St. HopeNChange is not?”

    That would really funny, except then you say this:” I’m going to put my Madame Cleo hat on and prognosticate that within the first 100 days of an Obama administration there will be oodles of “buyers remorse” on the part of those who pulled his lever.

    They’re going to say: “How were we to know?!?!?!?” And I’ll say: “We tried to warn you.””

    Tony, it would do you good to be a humble and stop being so self -righteous. We know McCain voted TWICE for ESCR. We know he voted with Bush 90+% of the time. So we can guess past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. That is why I voted for Obama even though he is passionately pro-abortion. I have hope that his social programs will give better support for poor women who won’t feel that their only option is abortion. As opposed to the Republican “We are against abortion and we will pass a law that does NOTHING to decrease the overall rate.”

  36. November 14, 2008 3:31 pm

    In other news

    HORMEL FOODS struggling to keep up with SPAM demand.

  37. joseph permalink
    November 14, 2008 3:37 pm

    David,

    You voted to have your tax money spent on abortions. Your vote had a voice and it said, “Mr. Obama (‘god’ for short), I know that you plan to use my tax money to fund abortions for women who otherwise would not have been able to pay for them. Please, take it, use it however you see fit. I support you because I know that this means less abortions will occur”. That is “material cooperation with intrinsic evil”.

    Barack Hussein Obama is his name. I’m sure Barack Hussein Obama himself is not going to stop using his middle name because some right-wing nuts exploited it. Sorry, your link to this priest and Ann Coulter doesn’t work. You may try to make that link with all your might, but you’ll only end up bursting a blood vessel in vain.

    I see DeFrancisis has just elected himself Pope. I guess since Henry Karlson is already Pope, that must mean he’s an anti-pope?

  38. joseph permalink
    November 14, 2008 3:55 pm

    And those who are happy about it? Sick. Sick.

    What is this but a statement that those Catholics who did not vote for Obama because we had a feeling he was who we thought he was are happy about his callous disregard for human life and his policies that go against everything the pro-Obama Catholics believed about him.

    In other words, “Stop reminding us every time Obama proves that we made a freakin’ monumental mistake in judgement. You’re a jerk!”. Of course, that’s a funny thing to tell one’s conscience, but people do it all of the time I suppose.

    But to accuse us of wanting Obama to unleash the power of the darkside on America and the world is utterly ridiculous and it shows that you are having a conscience panic attack. M.Z. Forest already unloaded his conscience baggage on Mark Shea’s blog this week in similar fashion. As far as us being happy about it? I have one thing to say, “We didn’t vote for him” and we were shedding tears on election night, but they weren’t tears of joy. I think that covers it.

  39. joseph permalink
    November 14, 2008 3:59 pm

    Of course, this might just be right-wing propaganda on a Catholic News website. Or not. Just another possibility for the future President-elect.

  40. November 14, 2008 4:38 pm

    RCM:

    Really — what does it mean, exactly, “We know he voted with Bush 90+% of the time.”

    Which votes? Which policies? And which do you find reprehensible? Or are you just reciting verbatim an Obama talking point?

  41. JLR permalink
    November 14, 2008 5:20 pm

    Chris – RCM is nice and I think she means well, but asking her to articulate a reasoned position for something is like asking a fish to fly. It ain’t happening. It’s not her style. She relies a bit more on intuition. If this is how she decides to vote:

    http://vox-nova.com/2008/11/03/why-i-am-not-voting-for-mccain-tomorrow/#comments

    I wouldn’t expect to receive a good answer to your question.

  42. November 14, 2008 8:56 pm

    “That is why I voted for Obama… I have hope that his social programs will give better support for poor women who won’t feel that their only option is abortion.”

    radicalcatholicmom, you want to be a true radical, start a ministry and quite expecting the government to solve the social problems of the world. God called us to feed the hungry, heal the sick, etc. Remember Matthew 25:40, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Heck, Obama even quoted this scripture at Saddleback (and the brother he was talking about wasn’t Big Brother–at least I don’t think). If eloquent rhetoric could solve the world’s problems, Obama would have healed them at “hello.” It takes a united body of believers being “doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22) to make real change. So I say lets take up our cross together and chip away at the gates of Hell one life at a time.

  43. November 14, 2008 9:13 pm

    brianshaw — perhaps you may not be aware, but RCM is actually involved in various (pro-life) ministries.

    RCM — To clarify. There’s a deliberate ambiguity to the assertion “he voted with Bush 90% of the time”, commonly employed by Obama during the debates, that’s disappointing. Unless you actually bother with specifics it tells you nothing.

    Granted there are policies of the Bush administration that you might find deplorable, but the assertion cuts both ways. I can imagine a number of occasions where I would actually hope that a politician “voted with Bush” or at least supported him — his reinstatement of the Mexico City policy; his support for crisis pregnancy centers; his opposition to the Democratic Congress’ attempts to pass federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

    Things which our President-elect at this time is working to dismantle.

  44. S.B. permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:28 pm

    I’d also be curious to know how anyone tallied up that 90% . . . probably includes a lot of meaningless procedural votes. In any event, that 10% disagreement with Bush encompassed an awful lot of significant stuff. As The New Republic reported:

    Even though it is in the public record, McCain’s voting behavior during Bush’s first term is almost never mentioned in the press anymore. Yet McCain’s secret history is simply astonishing. It is no exaggeration to say that, during this crucial period, McCain was the most effective advocate of the Democratic agenda in Washington.

    In health care, McCain co-sponsored, with John Edwards and Ted Kennedy, a patients’ bill of rights. He joined Chuck Schumer to sponsor one bill allowing the re-importation of prescription drugs and another permitting wider sale of generic alternatives. All these measures were fiercely contested by the health care industry and, consequently, by Bush and the GOP leadership. On the environment, he sponsored with John Kerry a bill raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards and another bill with Joe Lieberman imposing a cap-and-trade regime on carbon emissions. He was also one of six Republicans to vote against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    McCain teamed with Carl Levin on bills closing down tax shelters, forbidding accounting firms from selling products to the firms they audited, and requiring businesses that gave out stock options as compensation to reveal the cost to their stockholders. These measures were bitterly opposed by big business and faced opposition not only from virtually the whole of the GOP but even from many Democrats as well.

    McCain voted against the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. He co-sponsored bills to close the gun-show loophole, expand AmeriCorps, and federalize airport security. All these things set him against nearly the entire Republican Party.

  45. David Nickol permalink
    November 14, 2008 10:21 pm

    Christopher Blosser, JLR, and S.B.,

    The following is from From Factcheck.org.

    Is it true John McCain voted with George Bush 95 percent of the time?

    Q: The Obama campaign keeps claiming McCain has voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Is this true? Is this significant?

    A:Yes, it’s true, according to Congressional Quarterly’s assessment of McCain’s voting record.

    Sen. Barack Obama has attempted to use the Arizona senator’s voting record against him in statements like this:

    Barack Obama (June 3): It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

    The claim is true. According to Congressional Quarterly’s Voting Studies, in 2007 McCain voted in line with the president’s position 95 percent of the time – the highest percentage rate for McCain since Bush took office – and voted in line with his party 90 percent of the time. However, McCain’s support of President Bush’s position has been as low as 77 percent (in 2005), and his support for his party’s position has been as low as 67 percent (2001).

    Democrats are, of course, attempting to make the case that a vote for McCain is a vote to continue the policies of Bush, whose approval ratings are, to put it charitably, not a political asset for McCain.

    Is 95% “Significant”?

    As for whether voting with Bush 95 percent of the time last year is “significant,” that’s a matter of opinion that we leave to readers to determine for themselves.

    When doing so, they may wish to consider that Obama’s votes were in line with the president’s position 40 percent of the time in 2007. That shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Even the Senate’s Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, voted with Bush 39 percent of the time last year, according to the way Congressional Quarterly rates the votes.

    The McCain campaign points out that Obama told a local TV interviewer recently that “the only bills that I voted for, for the most part, since I’ve been in the Senate were introduced by Republicans with George Bush.” Obama was actually wrong about that. In 2006 he voted alongside the president 49 percent of the time, and in 2005, the year before Democrats took control of the Senate, Obama voted with the president only 33 percent of the time.

    Also, Obama voted in line with fellow Senate Democrats 97 percent of the time in 2007 and 2005, and 96 percent of the time in 2006, according to CQ.

    And so . . .

    So to sum up, McCain has indeed voted to support the unpopular Bush 95 percent of the time most recently, but less so in earlier years. And Obama has voted pretty close to 100 percent in line with fellow Democrats during his brief Senate career.

  46. November 14, 2008 11:47 pm

    It’s hilarious to think Obama’s social policies are going to persuade women not to have abortions.

    I hope you wake up from your delusion when President Obama passes health care reform that includes taxpayer funding of abortions.

  47. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    November 15, 2008 12:39 am

    Zach, you are aware that other countries with socialized healthcare have lower abortion rates than the US, right?

  48. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    November 15, 2008 12:44 am

    “radicalcatholicmom, you want to be a true radical, start a ministry and quite expecting the government to solve the social problems of the world. God called us to feed the hungry, heal the sick, etc.”

    Brianshaw: read my stuff and you will know how ridiculous you sound telling me this. I don’t think any of what I already do means that the Government cannot help make a more just society. As a matter of fact, most of the groups who I volunteer for always lack sufficient funds to help the people they need to. Our Food Bank here in Anchorage is constantly low on food. I know the Archdiocese via parishes donate a lot of food, but somehow the need is always greater than individual donations. You might want to volunteer in your local community to educate yourself on what privately funded charities go through.

    And thank you David, for providing the Fact Check. Any good McCain supporter should have known that McCain was the one who originally touted that figure long before Obama got a hold of it.

    McCain didn’t always agree with Bush. He supported the ESCR Bill TWICE, though Bush vetoed both.

  49. November 15, 2008 1:12 am

    Any good McCain supporter should have known that McCain was the one who originally touted that figure long before Obama got a hold of it.

    I guess that’s my problem, I’m not a good McCain supporter. ;-)

    But seriously, as long as you’re touting the “McCain voted 90% of the time for Bush”, can you answer my original question?

    McCain didn’t always agree with Bush. He supported the ESCR Bill TWICE, though Bush vetoed both.

    Great, so in that case he was voting with our President-Elect.

  50. November 15, 2008 3:36 am

    If Obama does not end immediately the US connection with torture (at least to the degree of withdrawing legal and moral approval — the US has been involved in clandestine torture by proxy for decades) — he will lose his best supporters.

  51. November 15, 2008 11:59 am

    Our ambitious SC priest got a bit of an administrative smack-down:

    Here’s a written statement from Monsignor Martin Laughlin, administrator of the Diocese of Charleston.

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) – This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion.

    As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” The Catechism goes on to state: “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.”

    Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.

    The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.

    We should all come together to support the President-elect and all elected officials with a view to influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child. Let us pray for them and ask God to guide them as they take the mantle of leadership on January 20, 2009. I ask also for your continued prayers for me and for the Diocese of Charleston

  52. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 15, 2008 12:15 pm

    RCM,

    I appreciate your commitment to the poor and your desire for government assistance, but such assistance is not going to be forthcoming:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JK13Dj01.html

  53. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    November 15, 2008 1:11 pm

    “Great, so in that case he was voting with our President-Elect.” Chris: NOW you are getting it. Yes. Exactly. If Obama had run against a solidly pro-life person, I would have more than likely supported that person. But he didn’t. For me it was a choice between bad and bad.

    And Brother regarding assistance, maybe. But I voted in Hope. What Obama chooses to do with that hope as SOVatican II points out, is another thing.

  54. November 15, 2008 1:25 pm

    Br. Matthew – not so fast. Part of the Republican’s agenda the last 8 years has been to pile up so much debt that the next Democratic administration would be saddled with crippling debt and deficits. “Gee, we’d love to help those poor people, but whoops, all the money is gone.”

    Well, there are ways around this other than asking foreigners to finance our debt. Two that spring to mind: The top marginal income tax rate could be raised to 100%. There could be an asset tax levied — 15% of any personal assets beyond, say, $10 million are surrendered to the government.

    I don’t anticipate either of those things happening, but would be happy to be surprised.

  55. November 15, 2008 1:43 pm

    Chris: NOW you are getting it. Yes. Exactly. If Obama had run against a solidly pro-life person, I would have more than likely supported that person. But he didn’t. For me it was a choice between bad and bad.

    Respectfully, i disagree: There is no comparison between Obama and McCain on abortion.

    Of course, the election is behind us, and the next four years will see if your gamble on voting for the most zealous advocate of “choice” (who it might be stated voted with NARAL 100% of the time) was correct.

    But getting back to the point — you stated derisively that ‘McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time.” — Which votes are you actually referring to, and which by McCain do you personally find reprehensible?

  56. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 15, 2008 2:58 pm

    RCM,

    But I voted in Hope.

    That is precisely what I find frightening. The realm of politics is Hope’s least congenial environment. It is a good place for Prudence, but it is where Hope goes to die.

    Part of the Republican’s agenda the last 8 years has been to pile up so much debt that the next Democratic administration would be saddled with crippling debt and deficits. “Gee, we’d love to help those poor people, but whoops, all the money is gone.”

    I wish I could believe that- then we would merely be up against a political party which put partisan interests above the common good, rather than an entire society that has given reign to their basest appetites and have elected people who would enable their disordered passions- a situation in which we are all implicated, rather than few unscrupulous people among the opposition.

  57. November 15, 2008 3:31 pm

    I wish I could believe that- then we would merely be up against a political party which put partisan interests above the common good, rather than an entire society that has given reign to their basest appetites and have elected people who would enable their disordered passions- a situation in which we are all implicated, rather than few unscrupulous people among the opposition.

    We’re up against both, actually, in my view. I am interested more in this, however:

    The realm of politics is Hope’s least congenial environment. It is a good place for Prudence, but it is where Hope goes to die.

    Not sure what you’re getting at, there. It seems obvious to me that hope can indeed be expressed through politics. if by politics you mean people coming together to make their country a better place. The civil rights movement? The push for women’s suffrage? The movement in the Philippines to overthrow the Marcos regime?

  58. November 15, 2008 4:48 pm

    Sounds like someone’s stuck in an overly Augustinian view of human nature. I imagine Guadiam et Spes is a difficult document…

  59. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 15, 2008 5:10 pm

    Matt,

    The object of Hope (in the full-bodied sense in which I assume you are using the word) is human fulfillment and happiness, which is founded and perfected in God. There is also the mundane kind of hope which is the mere impulse toward some apparent good which is estimated to be attainable. The latter kind of hope certainly animates and is expressed in politics. However, it is also what animates a strung-out drug addict to rob a convenience store or a lion to stalk and pursue its prey. Insofar as the former kind of Hope animates and is expressed in politics in a positive way, it will be through humbly acknowledging the limits of human initiative and encouraging the virtues and societal order that will lead to the authentic happiness which is founded in our Creator. It will see and estimate our political striving sub specie aeterni. Something of this latter Hope may have animated the civil rights movements you mention in their infancy, insofar as their catalyst was a realization of human dignity and an attempt to secure and protect that dignity against those who used state power to make claims against it. But our fallenness seems to assure that all such movements, divorced from the prudence which gives a true estimation of temporal things, quickly degenerate into violence and injustice-e.g. the woman’s movement begins by attempting to secure equality for women and leads to the diabolical notion that such equality can only be secured through State-sanctioned violence against their unborn. If you intend to find the former sort of Hope to be realized in the current political climate, you are going to be sorely disappointed. We need to change, not our leadership class- who only attain power by promising to deliver what we, at the mercy of the mayhem and disorder of our passions, desire. Do you think we suddenly became virtuous on Nov. 4th?

  60. Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP permalink
    November 15, 2008 5:23 pm

    Mark,

    To the contrary, I love Gaudium et Spes. I think everything I have mentioned can easily be attested to in the document. For instance:

    17. Only in freedom can man direct himself toward goodness. Our contemporaries make much of this freedom and pursue it eagerly; and rightly to be sure. Often however they foster it perversely as a license for doing whatever pleases them, even if it is evil. For its part, authentic freedom is an exceptional sign of the divine image within man. For God has willed that man remain “under the control of his own decisions,”(12) so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man’s dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, not under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when, emancipating himself from all captivity to passion, he pursues his goal in a spontaneous choice of what is good, and procures for himself through effective and skilful action, apt helps to that end. Since man’s freedom has been damaged by sin, only by the aid of God’s grace can he bring such a relationship with God into full flower. Before the judgement seat of God each man must render an account of his own life, whether he has done good or evil.(13)

    I could list many, many more excerpts…

  61. November 16, 2008 8:39 am

    Lower abortion rates can be the result of many things, including the proliferation of contraception. And to be honest I really doubt the abortion rate is much different in nations with socialized medicine. Statistics aren’t perfect. If it is, despite the lower abortion rate, they still have lower birth rates, which suggests they are not really even trying to have babies in the first place. The “socialized” states are far-deader culturally than the U.S. is.

    And I’m sure abortion is a procedure covered by those socialized health plans. Meaning your income will be directly responsible for the abortion.

  62. November 16, 2008 12:08 pm

    Tony, it would do you good to be a humble and stop being so self -righteous. We know McCain voted TWICE for ESCR. We know he voted with Bush 90+% of the time. So we can guess past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior.

    And Barack Obama opposed life sustaining care for live babies born as a result of abotion in addition to ESCR not only for “left over” embryos, but the creation of life for the express purpose of experimenting on that life and killing him or her.

    But now, John McCain is out of the picture. And you’re left with Obama (who is backtracking on his positions on “aggressive interrogation” (what the lefties call “torture”) and warrantless wiretaps.

    So you Obama supporters are probably going to get the worst aspects of both the Republican and Democrat platforms.

    I’m still waiting for that post specifically condemning Obama’s anti-life proposals. Regular Paul and I are awaiting with baited breath. I’m hoping you can be as eloquent in your defense of the unborn as you have the preferential option for the poor (since you shouldn’t have to criticize Obama with regard to that).

    That is why I voted for Obama even though he is passionately pro-abortion. I have hope that his social programs will give better support for poor women who won’t feel that their only option is abortion. As opposed to the Republican “We are against abortion and we will pass a law that does NOTHING to decrease the overall rate.”

    President Bush already has executive orders in place that have reduced the abortion rate. Obama promises to reverse those orders. Just having McCain in office would have kept those orders in place.

    So, his promise to reverse the Mexico City policy and fund international abortion, reverse the gag order on facilities that accept federal funds so they can sell more abortions, the promise to pass the FOCA which will federally overturn parental notification, force doctors and pharmacists to dispense abortifacients, and allowing abortions through the 4th trimester of pregnancy will be offset by helping poor people not need abortions (when fully 50 percent of abortions are procured by women above the poverty line for convenience reasons).

    How many poor people will have to be helped to offset this evil, and do you really believe he will do it?

    McCain was beat. President HopeNChange is ready to take office. What you prognosticated about McCain has no bearing (except in a what-if scenario designed to salve your conscience). My prognostications have a chance of coming true. I hope they don’t, but I fear they will.

  63. David Nickol permalink
    November 16, 2008 2:15 pm

    And Barack Obama opposed life sustaining care for live babies born as a result of abotion in addition to ESCR not only for “left over” embryos, but the creation of life for the express purpose of experimenting on that life and killing him or her.

    Tony,

    You have misrepresented Obama’s positions on some of the issues.

    First, on the old canard that Obama opposed life-sustaining care for live babies born as a result of abortion, the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 mandated life-saving care for viable babies born as the result of an abortion. The Born Alive Infant protection act would not have changed anything for babies that had a chance of surviving. Life-saving care had been required by law since 1975. The Born Alive Infant Protection Act also did not mandate any standard of care for previable infants born alive. It just designated them persons under the law. Of course, it is a matter of faith (in the sense of belief without evidence) among most pro-lifers that Obama wanted to deny life-saving care to born-alive infants, so it can only be a futile effort on my part to once again point out the actual facts.

    On the matter of creating life only to destroy it for purposes of stem-cell research, you need only check Obama’s own web site. Or you can read the bill he sponsored, which did not pass, which embodied the same principles. Here is Obama’s actual position (with emphasis added by me).

    Supporting Stem Cell Research:
    Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would allow research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics. These embryos must be deemed in excess and created based solely for the purpose of fertility treatment.

    You said: and allowing abortions through the 4th trimester of pregnancy. I hope that is simply a typo (or perhaps an “infanticide joke”), since pregnancy is divided into thirds (trimesters), and there is no such thing as a fourth trimester, just as there is no fourth book in a trilogy or no forth side and fourth angle in a triangle.

  64. David Nickol permalink
    November 16, 2008 3:04 pm

    I’m still waiting for that post specifically condemning Obama’s anti-life proposals. Regular Paul and I are awaiting with baited breath. I’m hoping you can be as eloquent in your defense of the unborn as you have the preferential option for the poor (since you shouldn’t have to criticize Obama with regard to that).

    Tony,

    It seems to me you are not engaging in anything resembling a debate or a dialogue, but rather you are harassing RadicalCatholicMom because she disagreed with you, and you are trying to get her to articulate positions you think she should have.

    The election is over, and while I think it might be legitimate to take the position that you still don’t understand her rationale for voting for Obama, it seems that you are more intent on claiming you were right and she was wrong and trying somehow to force her into recanting. It all seems a little bit to personal to me, as if you not merely disagree with her but have a grudge against her.

    I will take you at your word that you hope Obama does not do the things that you fear, but I get the impression that many pro-lifers are secretly hoping there is a drastic rise in the number of abortions under Obama, because it would be much more satisfying to say “I told you so” than to see the rate of abortions decline. Many have already admitted that the primary goal is not a reduction in the number of abortions, but a criminalization of abortions, so if the abortion rate drops to zero under Obama and Roe v Wade remains the law of the land, he can still be criticized as unwilling to protect the unborn.

  65. Joseph permalink
    November 16, 2008 3:29 pm

    Br. Matthew – not so fast. Part of the Republican’s agenda the last 8 years has been to pile up so much debt that the next Democratic administration would be saddled with crippling debt and deficits. “Gee, we’d love to help those poor people, but whoops, all the money is gone.”

    So, it makes sense then to spend what’s left financing abortions instead of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and giving drink to the thirsty? Obama could always scrap the federal financing of abortion for the other things, you know. But, he’s not going to.

  66. David Nickol permalink
    November 16, 2008 4:49 pm

    Joseph,

    How do you know what Obama is going to do?

    How do you reconcile the extreme emotional reaction from the pro-life movement on these issues to the reaction of the Bishop of Rome and the Italian bishops when Italy has abortion on demand for the first trimester, abortion for the life and health of the mother in later pregnancy, and it’s free for all women, not just poor women who can’t afford to pay?

    I don’t think FOCA is going to happen, but even if it did, the United States would probably wind up still being more conservative on abortion than Italy and many other European democracies. Obama is by no means a “pioneer” in making abortions available.

  67. kurt permalink
    November 16, 2008 5:15 pm

    Joseph,

    You are free to have your opinion. I think there is about zero chance we will see federal financing of abortion in the next four years.

  68. Joseph permalink
    November 16, 2008 9:24 pm

    Kurt,

    Overturning the Mexico City policy is instant federal funding of abortion.

    David,

    How do you know what Obama is going to do?

    Is this the million dollar question? I guess it’s OK for Obama supporters to presume what other presidential candidates were going to do and use that as justification for their Obama vote, but it’s not OK for those who oppose Obama to presume to know what he’s going to do, even when provided with clear statements made by Obama himself, on tape, and these little gems of foresight provided by the very media that did everything but pull his pants down and kiss his bare behind in public. In other words, it’s not like they are trying to destroy him or anything. These aren’t negative stories to them.

  69. November 16, 2008 11:00 pm

    First, on the old canard that Obama opposed life-sustaining care for live babies born as a result of abortion, the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 mandated life-saving care for viable babies born as the result of an abortion.

    David, it’s not a canard, that’s standard Obama talking points. What the 1975 law stated was that the doctor had to provide life saving care to a baby he deemed “viable”. This means that it was up to the abortionist who had just tried to kill the baby to determine whether the baby was viable enough to deserve life-saving care. You are either ignorant or disingenuous. I’ll leave it up to you to let me know which.

    but I get the impression that many pro-lifers are secretly hoping there is a drastic rise in the number of abortions under Obama, because it would be much more satisfying to say “I told you so” than to see the rate of abortions decline.

    That statement doesn’t even merit a response.

  70. David Nickol permalink
    November 17, 2008 8:07 am

    This means that it was up to the abortionist who had just tried to kill the baby to determine whether the baby was viable enough to deserve life-saving care.

    Tony,

    Could you, or anyone else, please explain to me exactly how the Born Alive Infant Protection Act would have changed that?

  71. Joseph permalink
    November 17, 2008 9:33 am

    Tony, you will have more success engaging in dialogue with the wall.

  72. Kurt permalink
    November 17, 2008 9:56 am

    Joseph,

    No, it is not.

    And this is another example of the dishonesty of Pro-Life Catholics (including the signatories of Henry’s letter). The federal government appropriates funds to distribute family planning assistance in developing countries (something opposed by the Church but supported by President Bush and Senator McCain with conservative Catholics rarely raising an objection). By law, none of the funds can be used to for abortions.

    The federal government contracts out this work to groups who bid on it. Absent the Mexico City Policy, Planned Parenthood International frequently submitted one of the winning bids.

    Now, the argument is that all money is fungible. That is an argument and not a fact. And of course, one of the most entertaining parts of politics is to watch people turn on a dime on this issue. When the issue is vouchers for Catholic education, all of a sudden the same people will switch sides on the question if vouchers are giving taxpayer money to an establishment of religion.

    Now, having said all of that, I free admit I support the Mexico City policy and support aid to Catholic schools. But I also freely admit I am a hypocrite. And I can’t damn others for not joining in my hypocrisy.

  73. c matt permalink
    November 17, 2008 12:59 pm

    If you don’t know what Obama’s going to do, why the hell would you vote for him?

  74. November 17, 2008 1:18 pm

    Could you, or anyone else, please explain to me exactly how the Born Alive Infant Protection Act would have changed that?
     
    Still flogging that dead horse, are we? The BAIPA criteria for an infant being allowed to live (savor that phrase a moment, won’t you?) do not invoke something as tenuous as an abortionist’s assessment of viability (this having already been proven wrong in the first instance, else the infant would have never made it to the born-alive stage), and refer to more tangible indications – heartbeat, breathing, etc. – measured at the time of expulsion, as opposed to expectations of what might or might not happen in the future (see http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/Index.html and references therein). I.e. the viability loophole you continue to prattle on about throughout the blogosphere would lose its totemic power to protect the abortionist and be deservedly relegated to the status of red herring.
     
    Yes, some abortionists could wriggle their way through the new language, and ideally, more restrictive measures would be preferable. Are you seriously suggesting that Obama would be in favor of those? On second thought, don’t bother answering. I think Joseph’s last comment sums it up nicely.

  75. Joseph permalink
    November 17, 2008 4:05 pm

    Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

    “The Bush administration has said the UNFPA supports coercive birth control methods and that’s why they’re blocking money to it… The problem is that UNFPA money goes towards things like family planning and contraception, too” said Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

    “We think there’s going to be a change, and clinics will be allowed again to offer a full range of family planning services,” said PPFA head Cecile Richards.

    Democratic lawmaker Carolyn Maloney drew applause when she told the launch: “We are about to see major cultural change in Washington … One big change is that UNFPA will be funded.”

    C’mon, Obama, don’t disappoint your buddy, Cecile who, apparently, your transition team has been communicating with almost daily.

    Apparently, Cecile and Co. think that voters like MM, MZ, Karlson, RCM, and other pro-Obama Catholics are in favor of abortion and contraception, which is why they voted for Obama, in her humble opinion. My guess is that she has his ear more than those who voted for him thinking he’d reduce abortions.

  76. David Nickol permalink
    November 17, 2008 4:12 pm

    Still flogging that dead horse, are we? The BAIPA criteria for an infant being allowed to live (savor that phrase a moment, won’t you?) do not invoke something as tenuous as an abortionist’s assessment of viability (this having already been proven wrong in the first instance, else the infant would have never made it to the born-alive stage),

    HA,

    The BAIPA criteria (complete expulsion or extraction, breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles) define what born alive means and have nothing to do with viability. It is basically the same definition for live birth used by the World Health Organization.

    Babies can be born alive, and live up to a few hours, well before they can possibly be saved by even the most aggressive medical care. No baby born alive (either through abortion or premature birth) has ever survived prior to week 21 of pregnancy. Infants can be born alive at 17 weeks and possibly earlier.

    BAIPA does not substitute the “born alive” criteria for the criteria for viability. BAIPA does not require a doctor to attempt to save every infant that is born alive. Just as before BAIPA, an assessment must be made as to whether the baby is viable or not — that is, whether it is mature enough to survive if given medical treatment. Previable babies born alive were given “comfort care” prior to BAIPA. They were kept as warm and comfortable as possible and allowed to die a natural death. That is exactly what happens to them in Illinois now that BAIPA is in effect in Illinois. No one, even under BAIPA, is obliged to attempt to save or prolong the life of a previable baby born alive.

    Whether a baby was viable or not was a matter of medical judgment before BAIPA, and it remains a matter of medical judgment. This is a judgment that is made every day in any hospital where premature babies are born. It is not unique to infants born alive as the result of abortions (which is, by the way, extremely rare). It is a routine matter for doctors to decide to withhold medical care from babies as the result of mothers going into labor prematurely, even in Catholic hospitals.

    You object to the terms “viable” and “viability,” but the concept of viability is essential to abortion law in the United States since it helps define the framework set out in Roe v Wade.

  77. Joseph permalink
    November 17, 2008 4:21 pm

    No baby born alive (either through abortion or premature birth) has ever survived prior to week 21 of pregnancy. Infants can be born alive at 17 weeks and possibly earlier.

    David, seriously, dude. Are you actually suggesting that, because the youngest premature infant to survive on record was 21 weeks old, there is no hope for any premature baby born before 21 weeks? Also, are you actually suggesting that the only babies that were being allowed to die in Illinios during the time that Obama fought against BAIPA were younger than 21 weeks? Because, if that wasn’t the case, and babies unborn babies older than 21 weeks were being left to die under Obama’s watch, then you have absolutely no point at all.

  78. Joseph permalink
    November 17, 2008 4:24 pm

    Nevermind, it appears that David has no problem with an abortionist saying that the human he just tried to kill is not viable and therefore should be cast into a wastebasket to die. Sorry, I didn’t read the entire comment until now. I got it, I’ll move on.

  79. November 17, 2008 5:15 pm

    Whether a baby was viable or not was a matter of medical judgment before BAIPA, and it remains a matter of medical judgment.
     
    For all of you keeping score, we thus have: Joseph 1 – David 0. He certainly sized you up well.
     
    Rather than risk gainsaying his sage advice, since I’ve talked to walls enough at this site, I invite everyone else here to read the actual wording of the BAIPA, at the link I provided above, to see whether David’s voluminous and willful digressions, diversions and near-tautologies such as the one I cited above that few here could disagree with (except perhaps to note that viability as defined by an abortionist is a far more slippery concept than criteria such as heartbeat and breathing, which a nurse or another observer is able to define with just as much precision) give a fair representation of that legislation, and a clear picture of what is relevant in determining whether an infant deserves protection.

  80. David Nickol permalink
    November 17, 2008 5:50 pm

    HA,

    You still don’t appear to understand the meaning of viability and how it differs from the definition of a live birth.

    Let me pose a simple question about premature birth to avoid the issue of abortion, since BAIPA covers all live births, not just those that result from an abortion.

    Suppose a woman in Illinois in the 18th week of her pregnancy goes into labor, goes to a Catholic hospital, and the baby is delivered by a Catholic doctor. It is alive. Is the Catholic doctor obliged by either Catholic medical ethics or BAIPA to put it on life support and do everything he can to save it?

  81. David Nickol permalink
    November 17, 2008 6:17 pm

    Please note this article from the journal Pediatrics regarding the consequences of the federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act for physicians dealing with premature births. It is a short article, and here is a key paragraph:

    It is the opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) Steering Committee that the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2001 should not in any way affect the approach that physicians currently follow with respect to the extremely premature infant. Physicians should discuss treatment options with parents, preferably before the birth of the infant. Treatment plans should be based on currently available information and outcomes. Guidelines for developing such plans in collaboration with the parents have been published elsewhere.1–3 At the time of delivery, and regardless of the circumstances of the delivery, the medical condition and prognosis of the newly born infant should be assessed. At that point decisions about withholding or discontinuing medical treatment that is considered futile may be considered by the medical care providers in conjunction with the parents acting in the best interest of their child. Those newly born infants who are deemed appropriate to not resuscitate or to have medical support withdrawn should be treated with dignity and respect, and provided with “comfort care” measures.

  82. November 17, 2008 6:49 pm

    Asserting over and over again, on site after site and thread after thread, that viability is essential to this discussion does not make it so. If you want to claim that my reason for not helping you blow smoke over Obama’s infanticide problem is because I am ignorant about viability or anything else, feel free. Whatever helps you sleep at night. At least a few people here have managed not to be fooled, and I find that heartening.
     
    Moreover, if you want to leave behind the topic of BAIPA altogether and discuss viability in general, then likewise – have at it. Indeed, perhaps Morning’s Minion or some other fellow traveler here will open a thread and help you hand-wave away Obama’s actions to your hearts’ content. As to your question, I would consider it sufficient if the infant you posited were treated like any other individual on the verge of dying, provided his nearness to death were diagnosed by some party other than those who only moments before were bringing about that death, and provided that nearness were defined in language that better reflects and proscribes the reality of that murderous intent. That is what sets this issue apart from your. By the way — and I say this only to anticipate your segue back to BAIPA — if that legislation does little to fulfill my wish, feel free to urge your chosen presidential candidate, a la Henry Karlson, to have a change of heart and adopt more restrictive wording. I sincerely wish you and Henry the best of luck with that.

  83. c matt permalink
    November 17, 2008 6:50 pm

    What are you saying, that money is not fungible? That a certain dollar bill cannot be freely and equally exchanged with another dollar bill? I am afraid I do not understand the point you are trying to make.

  84. kurt permalink
    November 17, 2008 9:29 pm

    That dollar bill can’t be exchanged when the organization has accepted it on condition that it perform a certain service — be it medical or educational.

    Oddly, the closest the federal government comes to paying for abortions is through the Bush Administration’s A-76 program (which Obama has promised to end). Yet the Pro-Life Movement has not raised a single objection to this Republican initiative. (no surprise)

  85. David Nickol permalink
    November 17, 2008 11:10 pm

    HA,

    I see no point in any further discussions with you.

  86. c matt permalink
    November 18, 2008 11:23 am

    …can’t be exchanged when the organization has accepted it on condition that it perform a certain service….

    OK, I see what you mean. But even if that dollar is restricted to use for activity X that the organization does, that frees up other dollars that the organization can use for activity Y. So if you give Planned Parenthood $20 to be used for prenatal care for mothers who choose to keep their babies (assuming PP does such things), that frees up $20 PP can use to help another mother abort her child, doesn’t it?

    Assume PP’s total budget is $40, pre-contribution. $20 goes to helping women w/ prenatal care for babies to be kept, $20 is alloted to defray costs of abortion for women who abort.

    You donate $20 for use only to help w/ prenatal care. PP now has a $60 budget. It can therefore allocate $20 to prenatal care, and $40 to abortion services. Precisely because $$$ is fungible, your restricted donation has the effect (if PP so chooses) to increase funding for abortion.

  87. Kurt permalink
    November 18, 2008 12:07 pm

    c matt —

    You have a point. Though let’s not sugar coat it. What Bush and McCain supported is not prenatal care but distribution of contraceptives. You are getting pretty down into the weeds on PP’s budget and I think it is hard to know what they would do if they lacked the grants.

    I don’t have the highest opinion of President Bush and have questioned Senator McCain’s statements about cutting wasteful spending. But I would be even more disappointed in their judgment if they were providing taxpayer dollars to an organization that would do this work anyway without taxpayer dollars. Seems like government waste. If PP is going to spend $20 to pass out birth control with or without a grant, the President should have zeroed out the whole program.

    Now, the same thing could be said of school vouchers. If you give $20 of taxpayer money for a Catholic school, that frees up $20 for the Church to spend on evangelization. The secularists make this argument and I and other Catholics have tried to counter it, particularly around the Administration’s Faith Based Initiative.

    Listen, I personally support the Mexico City policy. But in doing so I freely admit I am a hypocrite. And I’m not willing to call others uncivil things if they think that when the government puts out RFPs, it bases the awards on the ability of organizations to carry out the requirements of the RFP, blind to their other activities.

  88. c matt permalink
    November 18, 2008 5:03 pm

    I didn’t mean to sugar coat it at all – I opppose Bush’s pushing of contraceptives as well. I only used the prenatal example to show how you could restrictively donate for something you would agree with only to have it indirectly help out something you don’t.

  89. Kurt permalink
    November 19, 2008 11:23 am

    c matt —

    I understand your example and I also understand the results of consistently applying it.

    I appreciate your public opposition of Bush’s contraceptive policy now that the election is over.

  90. Joseph permalink
    November 20, 2008 9:47 am

    I suppose the meaning of the post’s title was lost in all of this debate? Yet the arguments do a good job of reinforcing it.

  91. David Nickol permalink
    November 20, 2008 10:21 am

    Joseph,

    Obama appears to be the first president who has failed miserably less than three weeks after being elected, and before being sworn in.

    Bush, on the other hand, is unpopular now, but is really another Truman, and will be vindicated by history.

    It’s funny how these things work.

  92. joseph permalink
    November 20, 2008 12:07 pm

    I think the post’s title went over your head, David. That’s expected.

  93. David Nickol permalink
    November 20, 2008 4:11 pm

    Joseph,

    Isn’t it part of Catholic teaching not to resort to gratuitous personal insults?

    You are correct that I didn’t get the allusion. I have never heard “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” since I haven’t paid much attention to popular music (with some exceptions) since about 1969. It’s a clever title for the post, though.

  94. blackadderiv permalink
    November 20, 2008 4:41 pm

    It’s a clever title for the post, though.

    Thanks. I think it works well with the photo.

  95. David Nickol permalink
    November 20, 2008 5:28 pm

    Thanks. I think it works well with the photo.

    BA,

    They are almost mirror images.

  96. c matt permalink
    November 20, 2008 6:04 pm

    I also opposed it before, and I also did not vote for McCain, and was about as public about it as I could be, for a blogless dude, so I don’t quite get your point.

    I do have a question for you and any other pro-life Obama supporters, and this is meant as a sincere question: Would Obama’s signing of FOCA be a line in the sand for you? That is, would you support him in 2012 if he has signed FOCA?

  97. Kurt permalink
    November 21, 2008 2:26 pm

    I will not support Barack Obama in 2012 if he has signed FOCA.

    And if he has not signed FOCA by 2012, will he get even the most modest tip of the hat from those who signed Henry’s letter?

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