The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Now, let's come up with a new health care bill!

It looks as if Scott Brown's election has finally brought the juggernaut to a halt. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has admitted she can't get 218 votes to ram the Senate bill through the House, so any bill is going to need to get through both houses again, and Brown will join the other Republicans in a 59-41 vote, at least. And the message is finally getting to President Obama: He's not going to get a health care bill at all, unless they start from scratch and write a new bill that will get some Republican votes.

So let's proceed. The government (alias "public") option already had to go to get the vote of people like Sen. Joe Lieberman. Let's also scrub the mandate that requires people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. (If you have to make them buy health insurance, there must be something wrong with the pricing, the benefits, or both!) And recognize that the way to control costs is simply to get a handle on malpractice suits and the resulting defensive medicine -- we need meaningful tort reform!

That's a start, anyway; let's get going!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank you, voters of Massachusetts!

It looks as if the message that Massachusetts voters sent, by electing Scott Brown to the Senate, was picked up. It took a little time, but it looks as if Pelosi et al. have given up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

He did it!

Scott Brown is now the Senator-elect from Massachusetts! If this doesn't show how big a hole Barack Obama has dug for himself, nothing will.

Brown won on one pledge — to vote against the so-called health care reform that Pres. Obama is pushing. If his win does not kill this bad bill in its tracks, our Constitution is a dead letter.

Three cheers for Sen.-elect Scott Brown!

Monday, January 18, 2010

On Martin Luther King and the holiday in his honor

Today is a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. And it seems that one risks being called a racist if one refuses to think that Rev. King was worthy of such a holiday. But here goes.

Rev. King, in the early part of his life, was a leader in the struggle for civil rights, and justly deserves praise for this. But later, he took on another cause, for which he deserves, not praise, but condemnation. He became an opponent of the fight against international Communism, particularly in Vietnam, and one must ask,
If freedom for African-Americans was worth giving up people's lives to obtain, why was freedom for Vietnamese (Southeast Asians) not worth giving up people's lives?

There are others I consider more worthy of being given a holiday to commemoriate the civil rights movement. Like Thurgood Marshall, whose work led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

I suppose some might argue that African-Americans should be allowed to choose their hero. But I cannot see lionizing Rev. King.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Let's work together -- this is good for a change

In 1964, probably before many of the readers were even born, much less old enough to vote, I had my first chance to vote in a presidential election. [You had to be 21 then (unless you lived in Georgia or Kentucky), not 18, so I could not vote in 1960, though I was 18 in 1960.] The Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, who contemptuously dismissed the moderates in the party with his famous quote:

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

I was one of many Republicans who did not vote for Goldwater that year — I felt I was being read out of the party, though this was my first year of eligibility to vote.

Several elections later, the Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan, who was just as conservative, if not more so. But his attitude was much more inclusive: he had named moderate Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as a running mate in an earlier election year, and chose the leader of the moderate faction, George H. W. Bush, as his running mate that year. The difference was dramatic: he won.

Last year, the extremists of the GOP rejected Dede Scozzafava as insufficiently conservative and left her so peeved that she endorsed the Democratic candidate, who won the election in a disctrict that had been Republican since 1870. So Nancy Pelosi got one more soldier in her army. Did this help conservatives or the Republican Party?

I'm glad to see that this year they seem to have learned theie lesson. Last night I was listening to a conservative talk radio program hosted by Mark Levin, who seems to be fervently backing Scott Brown, the candidate who seems to the best hope for breaking the filibuster-proof 60-vote Democratic bloc in the Senate. And Brown is the type of moderate Republican they have often criticized as a "RINO" in the past. Thank you. We need to work together. Conservatives enforcing ideological purity have led to people like Arlen Specter and James Jeffords leaving the party, and you really need to ask again, "Did this help conservatives or the Republican Party?" It really did not.

Let's all work together and support people like Scott Brown, as moderates supported Bob McDonnell, who today takes the oath of office as Virginia governor.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Massachusetts special election

Some of the polls I see show Scott Brown, the Republican, actually ahead in the special election that will fill Edward Kennedy's Senate Seat. For this to be happening in a State as liberal as Massachusetts shows that the people are clearly upset with the Obama administration's health care "reform" bill. If the State that sent Edward Kennedy to the Senate, the only state that George McGovern carried, the bluest of the blue, is close to electing a Republican to fill that seat, it gives us a sign.

The American people are saying, "KILL THIS BILL!" By any means, whatever the opposition to this bill can do, they must do all they can to hold this bill up, because even doing nothing is better than this bill.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger

As this article points out, today a possibly groundbreaking "gay rights" case starts its path through the court systems: Perry v. Schwarzenegger. If it succeeds, it will lead to as fundamental a change in the legal treatment of sexual orientation as Brown v. Board of Education did to the legal treatment of race. And while I hope it succeeds, I have to worry that it might fail. Because failure might be equivalent to Plessy v. Ferguson, setting the cause back for many years.

Those who have been reading this blog know that I feel that the incremental approach, starting with gaining marriage rights, without perhaps the name, (i. e. the "civil union" approach) and then getting marriage later on after some of the resistance has been dulled by experience — the approach which has worked in Vermont — has more chance of success. I see nothing wrong with the idea of gay marriage, but why not go for the thing you really want — rights — if you can get more support for that than you can get for the word "marriage" itself?

One thing that gives me some hope is that the legal team challenging California's Proposition 8 is led by two lawyers who represent opposite ends of the political spectrum, Theodore Olson and David Boies (the two lawyers for opposite sides in Bush v. Gore.) It has always saddened me to see that the same political Right that generally acts in a "pro-freedom" direction on economic issues often takes the side of bigotry and intolerance on social issues. But here it's different.

If the pro-rights side wins here, it will make me happy. But I'm just afraid it's an awfully big "if."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Chickens coming home to roost?

In 2008, I posted a lot of reasons why Barack Obama was a bad choice for the Presidency. One of the points I made was that as a product of Richard M. Daley's Chicago machine, he was used to a style of government that would run roughshod over all opposition. Well, the American public did not choose to consider such points, and Obama now sits in the White House. And he's been governing true to form. Anone with any misgivings about the desirability of an Obama policy is simply ruled to be an obstacle to progress, and ignored. The Congress is about to pass a health care bill which the majority of the American public opposes, even believing (as I do) that doing nothing at all would be better than enacting this unfortunate bill. Because the Senate has its 60 Democrats who can override any filibuster threat, there is simply no barrier to this blockbuster, unless the differences between the two chambers of Congress turn out to be so serious that they cannot be reconciled — and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are doing their best to prevent any word of what is being negotiated behind closed doors getting out, so that secret deals will assure a bill that both chambers will approve.

It looks as if the only possibility of derailing this monstrosity is a challenge to the constitutionality of this bill's mandate (buy approved insurance or be fined!) ot another constitutional challenge over the special sweetheart deal that Sen. Ben Nelson got for Nebraska. (Even Nebraskans are embarrassed by this, saying that while they elected Nelson to get Nebraska its share of benefits, this was going too far, and recent polls show Nelson losing if he ran against a challenge by the Republican governor of the state!)

Until these objections on constitutional grounds get to the courts, of course, nobody can tell how the courts will ruled on them. Let us hope that at least in the courts, some sanity reigns.