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March 14, 2017

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Most abortions are of embryos. An overwhelming number are first trimester (slightly past embryo stage). Why isn't there a large movement to support the rights of frozen embryos?

Ok, I get your point now. Because at or less than 8 weeks the technical description is an embryo and therefore we are talking about protecting embryos. Is an embryo not a human, or a human in process or something that has a lot of human characteristics like human DNA?

Is it because we support people's choice to have fertility treatments even when some of the embryos are discarded? Why the double standard?

I agree the positions are inconsistent in a number of material ways.

I'm sure not everyone has this kind of double standard, but I personally know some "anti-choice" people who have not used all of the embryos from a fertility treatment.

I've known women who struggled to get pregnant and who went through IVF. I've never quizzed them on their pro-life/pro-choice views or asked if they appreciated some of the inconsistency or asked how they feel about putting a half dozen embryos in their uterus, knowing that some were doomed. Just like I've never confronted a woman who had an abortion and quizzed her on how she felt about it then or now or does she wonder what if would be like to know the child she didn't have.

A conceit of some in the pro-choice camp--and I'm sure there are corollaries on the pro-life side--is that being on the pro-life side means having no empathy or understanding for those who struggle with having gotten pregnant unintentionally or who struggle to get pregnant.

Our daughter just had her first child (our second grandchild). She remains pro-choice. Pretty firmly pro-choice. She has friends who had abortions while in college and whose lives would have been significantly altered had they not had abortions. For her, that is a huge thing, having one's life plan derailed by an unintended pregnancy.

I agree it's a huge thing. I know that because my wife and I experience exactly that thing at a time when marriage was the last thing on our minds, much less having a baby.

I can't get in the mind of women who desperately want to conceive. From the outside looking in, the desire to have a child is all-consuming or as close to all-consuming as to make no nevermind. It colors nearly every aspect of her life. It is, using my limited abilities to understand a woman in that mode, not unlike the desperation a woman alone and pregnant faces.

Biology isn't fair. Life is frequently not fair, in a lot of different ways.

The 10th Amendment is clearer: what isn't specifically reserved to the Feds or specifically prohibited to the states, is reserved to the states, or to the people.

Note the sly insertion of the term "specifically" into the wording. Tenthers just about always try to do this, broaden the meaning of what has become an essentially meaningless Amendment.

As to the use of the term "human life" to apply to embryos, well, there is some dispute about that as well, but McKinney tries to turn it into a demand, "Yes or No", he cries.

A cheap rhetorical trick.

But if an embryo is a human life, and taking a human life is "murder" then what should be the punishment for the person who commissioned the crime?

There are a very few "pro-lifers" who take this on consistently and advocate jail time or capital punishment (it is willful cold blooded murder is it not?) for the mother.

Very few as in practically none.

The issue is one of power. Who should have the power to make the decision...the mother or the state?

How do I know that a pregnant woman is carrying a human life?

Ultrasound. It's visual and pretty straightforward.

so, if you can see it in an ultrasound, it's a human life / fetus. otherwise it's an embryo ? is this the line?

help us know when you would put women on trial and when to say 'meh'.

Our daughter just had her first child (our second grandchild). She remains pro-choice. Pretty firmly pro-choice.

Congatulations McKinney! To you and your whole family, and particularly to your daughter, on both counts.

McKinneyTexas,

Ok, I'll bite: killing is perfectly fine and anyone who disagrees is imposing their metaphysical, religious views on the rest of us, which we can assume, in good faith, is being done in bad faith by the religious bigot.

I consider that killing is wrong. However, I don't think that there is any rational basis for this opinion. It is simply a commonly agreed moral custom among most people. Yet, I cannot make any rational counterargument to your fictitious argument "killing is right". Whatever ethical system I use, religious or secular, I end up with some irrational basic assumptions.

However, this does not mean that all ethical discussion would be a province solely reserved for religious bigots. Instead, it means that any laws we make end up forcing at least some irrational moral rules on some people. This is unavoidable. Fortunately, the most basic principles are rather widely agreed upon. Most people agree that killing, stealing or defrauding is wrong, at least when committed against your own people.

Thus, I find it quite OK to force my moral beliefs on the population in general. Any political act, no matter how liberal, is essentially an act of trying to dictate some moral rules on others. Because this is so, it it would be best to have the best morals, that is, my relatively liberal and tolerant morals, ruling over society. :-)

A conceit of some in the pro-choice camp--and I'm sure there are corollaries on the pro-life side--is that being on the pro-life side means having no empathy or understanding for those who struggle with having gotten pregnant unintentionally or who struggle to get pregnant.

I don't think that "pro-life" people are generally heartless. I just think that trusting a woman to know what her own circumstances are is the best public policy.

And I'm with you in that I would never quiz someone about their various choices either, but I don't see the IVF situation as being nearly as controversial as abortion, even though they both involve the destruction of embryos. I don't see hospitals doing IVF treatments being defunded, for example.

I will also add my congratulations to your family!

McKinney! Also congratulations from me to your daughter, to you and to the whole family.

Ditto! The Dictator (do you still call him that, or has he mellowed?) has some competition.

Congratulations on the new grandchild. I had lunch today with "the girls" -- my daughter and her two daughters. The youngest just turned four months. She and I spent much of lunch making faces at each other, which seemed to please her no end.

The Administration says that it will be putting the latest round of CAFE mileage standards on hold. California says that it will press forward with those standards using the part of the Clean Air Act that explicitly gives California the authority to do that (other states may choose between federal clean air standards or California's clean air standards, but not make up their own). Roughly 40% of cars sold in the US are sold in states that follow California's rules. This is interesting on multiple levels.

1) Since this will almost certainly go to court, how the courts interpret Massachusetts v. EPA. (Note: Kennedy was the deciding vote in that case.)

2) Other than Volkswagen, the auto industry didn't fight these CAFE numbers very hard because the numbers brought California and the feds into agreement. Building to two standards is a pain.

3) California's privilege is embedded in statute, and can't be taken away by rule-making in the executive branch. Don't know if the Congressional (R)s might try to take that privilege away. (If that's a hill they're willing to kill the filibuster for, I assume the change they'd actually make to the CAA would be "For the purposes of this act, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and may not be regulated by the EPA or the states.")

Also, I have always thought that people have rights while governments have powers. To the extent we take Tom Jefferson at face value, men are not endowed by their Creator with certain "powers", unalienable or otherwise.

I agree; however, the 10th A speaks in terms of "powers".

Note the sly insertion of the term "specifically" into the wording. Tenthers just about always try to do this, broaden the meaning of what has become an essentially meaningless Amendment.


The 10th A speaks in terms of "delegated" and "prohibited" powers which meanings are very similar to if not synonymous with "enumerated" or listed powers, as used elsewhere in the Constitution. The construction I place on these words is pretty ordinary in the legal context. So, nothing sneaky here, just the plainly understood meaning of the words. Nor is the 10th meaningless. It means something, even if that something runs counter to modern, progressive central planning.

As to the use of the term "human life" to apply to embryos, well, there is some dispute about that as well, but McKinney tries to turn it into a demand, "Yes or No", he cries.

A cheap rhetorical trick.

That's your formulation and it's mostly dismissal rather than engagement. If there is some middle ground between what is or is not human life, feel free to enlighten.

There are a very few "pro-lifers" who take this on consistently and advocate jail time or capital punishment (it is willful cold blooded murder is it not?) for the mother.

Very few as in practically none.

Again, this is a common device from the sloganeering quarter of the pro-choice side. Talking about cheap tricks. I address it substantively below.

The issue is one of power. Who should have the power to make the decision...the mother or the state?

This may be the way you see it, as if there is no discussion to be had before deciding who gets to decide. This is more sloganeering, not reasoned analysis. Pretty much every penal law, much of the Family Code and much of tort law--to name three practice areas off the top of my head--turn on 'who must or must not do or refrain from a particular or general act/omission'. Formulating in your over-simplified way would earn an F in most law schools and 'denied' in most courts.

help us know when you would put women on trial and when to say 'meh'.

In addition to the deficiencies I point out above, this is called changing the subject and makes a number of tendentious assumptions. I might as well ask you why it isn't perfectly fine to murder a baby who has one foot remaining in the birth canal and judge the entire pro-choice movement on your answer.

If I were drafting a specific statute on the topic, I would outlaw the procedure and penalize anyone performing the procedure. For those charging for performing the procedure, the penalty would be higher. There would be no jail time for a first time offender performing the service for free. I would not criminalize the mother.

I consider that killing is wrong. However, I don't think that there is any rational basis for this opinion. It is simply a commonly agreed moral custom among most people.

Ok, as a thought experiment, imagine taking the life of another with the same level of detachment as parking your car or having a drink. Let me know if the first comes as easily to you as the last two.

I used to hunt. The farther up the food chain--specifically mammals--the more aware I was that I was taking a life when I pulled the trigger. I was always a meat hunter, so there was no moral issue for me, but I was still aware of what I was doing at a very basic, visceral level.

Now that I've quit hunting, I seem to be even less comfortable taking an animal's life. I had to kill a poisonous snake in our front yard a couple months back. I didn't like it. It needed to be done because we have a dog and it's a neighborhood with older people and lots of pets.

So, killing is different in a lot ways. Very different.

I just think that trusting a woman to know what her own circumstances are is the best public policy.

Sapient, we are speaking civilly to one another for the first time in a long time and for that, I am grateful. I agree with your statement right up to ending the life of an unborn child. In every other instance, we are on the same page. Your scale tips in favor of the woman, mine in favor of the child. I'm not a woman, but I've been very close to two women who thought they were pregnant by me, one wanted an abortion (I didn't and would have married sooner and under other circumstances) but turned out not to be pregnant and the other was pregnant and I married her (or, she married me, would be more apt--I got the better end of the deal). In both cases, I was very aware of how hard that experience was for them. So, I don't come to where I am without having given it quite a bit of thought.

And I'm with you in that I would never quiz someone about their various choices either, but I don't see the IVF situation as being nearly as controversial as abortion, even though they both involve the destruction of embryos. I don't see hospitals doing IVF treatments being defunded, for example.

Well, you're right: IVF, while not without it's moral dimension, is widely accepted and whatever questions are raised are very muted.

I will also add my congratulations to your family!

Thanks for this, and to GFTNC, Lurker and HSH. And yes, the Dictator still holds sway over the household, even at 4 and a half. My daughter pronounced our Number Two Grandson a terrorist after the first week home. Turned out the formula didn't agree with him.

The youngest just turned four months. She and I spent much of lunch making faces at each other, which seemed to please her no end.

Thanks for the congrats. My highest and best use seems to be holding James up in the air and making weird noises.

It means something, even if that something runs counter to modern, progressive central planning.

The thing that pisses me off about this statement is the assumption that 'modern progressives' are the only folks interested in top-down federal level central planning and regulation.

Progressives have their list of big plans for everyone else, so do conservatives.

Everybody thinks theirs is better, but everybody has 'em.

The House passed a resolution to roll back the recent rule change that put much tighter limits on methane emissions from wells and related infrastructure on federal land. The corresponding Senate resolution has been introduced, but not debated. Colorado College does a large opinion poll in states in the Mountain West each year. That's the region that will be affected by the change. In the CC poll, opinion is strongly in favor of keeping the tougher rules, in both red and blue states.

If the so-called 'pro-lifers' cared as much about the lives of those actually born as they do about those unborn the world would certainly be a better place.

And yes, the Dictator still holds sway over the household, even at 4 and a half.

My other granddaughter is three and a half, and keeps coming up with (largely correct) vocabulary far beyond her age. I've been thinking of teaching her to say, "I'll conform this time, but it's not a precedent."

The thing that pisses me off about this statement is the assumption that 'modern progressives' are the only folks interested in top-down federal level central planning and regulation.

Progressives have their list of big plans for everyone else, so do conservatives.

Everybody thinks theirs is better, but everybody has 'em.

First, I was responding to BP's snark. Second, conservatives have a far different take on the 9th and 10th amendments than do progressives. I know of no recognizable conservative movement that believes the 10th A is not an express limit on Federal powers. Are you contending that there is a quarter on the left that agrees with the conservative take on the 10th? I'm sorry my statement was offensive, but I'm pretty confident that it accurately if somewhat snarkily lays out the battle line.

If you can refer me to conservative over-reach that runs counter to the 10th A, I'll look at it and probably agree with you.

Sapient, we are speaking civilly to one another for the first time in a long time and for that, I am grateful.

Me too. It's a work in progress.

Now that I've quit hunting, I seem to be even less comfortable taking an animal's life.

See, now that really is good news!

If the so-called 'pro-lifers' cared as much about the lives of those actually born as they do about those unborn the world would certainly be a better place.

I agree. But those who insist on categorical imperatives can easily gat tripped up like that.

I would not criminalize the mother.

Then the crime is not murder, and by terming it a crime, you deny agency to women.

If you can refer me to conservative over-reach that runs counter to the 10th A, I'll look at it and probably agree with you.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

MA currently does not recognize concealed carry permits from other states. Because we like it that way.

Trump wants to overrule that.

Then the crime is not murder, and by terming it a crime, you deny agency to women.

The only way I have been able to process the concept of abortion is that we as a society have defined it as justifiable homicide. For all of those reasons that a woman, with her doctor, might decide that it is appropriate we have accepted their judgement the way we accept self defense.

The limits we have placed on it are arbitrary limits on the Doctor to perform the procedure which should make it a criminal act, Moving from justifiable to some slightly higher form of homicide on whatever that scale is.

New York law defines a difference between the charge for a provider and the mother, I cant square the difference, but I understand the intent. NY Law:

Code Section Penal §125.05, §125.20, §125.40-60; Pub. Health §4164

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

(1) Failure to meet standards for legal abortion;
(2) if causes mother to die;
(3) if not within first 24 weeks;
(4) administering or taking drugs or any other manner with intent to cause a miscarriage

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion

Within first 24 weeks or necessary to preserve mother's life; if mother performs abortion it must be on the advice of M.D. within the first 24 weeks or to preserve her own life

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

If not justifiable abortional act and after 24 wks., Class E or D felony; if woman dies from act, Class B felony; self-abortion or issuing abortion articles, Class B or A misdemeanor

Let me take a wild guess here, sapient: you have no idea what the categorical imperative actually means or how Kant's moral philosophy permeates modern thinking about ethics and justice.

Ordinarily I would not touch this subject but I have something to contribute regarding killing. McKinneyTexas wrote:

I consider that killing is wrong. However, I don't think that there is any rational basis for this opinion. It is simply a commonly agreed moral custom among most people.

I happened to re-read Rex Stout's Too Many Cooks recently and in it Stout (as Nero Wolfe) writes:

It was realized centuries ago that it is impossible for a man to protect himself against murder, because it's extremely easy to kill a man, so it was agreed that men should protect each other. But if I help protect you, you must help protect me, whether you like me or not. If you don't do your part you're out of the agreement; you're an outlaw.

To me this seems perfectly rational, not just a commonly agreed custom. It specifically addresses murder, but it applies as well to lesser threats. It is the foundation of a society with laws. Such agreements make it possible to live a normal life without the constant threat of arbitrary violence.

[switching topic]

I offer my congratulations too on the second grandchild. My daughter's family lives with us and the twins are now 18 months old. I'm still adjusting but also loving it.

you have no idea what the categorical imperative actually means or how Kant's moral philosophy permeates modern thinking about ethics and justice.

Personal, anyone?

My degree isn't in philosophy, but I've done some readings, even lately. Also, I have a law degree, and in law school studied the philosophical underpinnings of our (Anglo-American) legal system. Perhaps you are a better scholar of Kant - my knowledge is superficial (although not Google superficial).

As applied, your purist vision is a loser for anyone who inhabits the planet at the moment. If you think that there's some kind of future where you can convert our contemporary hordes to pacifism, that's fine, but without some kind of a plan that you're willing to articulate, you're basically opting out.

The Middle East is a complicated place, and the American relationship with Middle Eastern countries has a decades long history. The UK's goes back way farther. Europe's too. Peace Now is a lovely bromide, but not actually on the table.

Travel ban is enjoined!

I guess it's hard to square the so-called "pro-life" crowd's rhetoric and protest actions about abortion - "baby killers!", "murderers!," holding up signs with pictures of dead fetuses, shooting abortion providers, etc. - with what they would do in the event Roe was overturned and they could ban abortion completely.

I mean, no punishment for the woman? The person who went out and procured the abortion in the first place, most likely for money? Really?

That makes people wonder if either "pro-lifers" don't really think abortion is murder or something else is going on (like, pregnant women are crazy and can't be held liable for their actions while pregnant).

It really is just bizarre.

The exceptions for rape and incest (for those who would provide them) also don't make any sense in the context of the pro-life movement's rhetoric.

The pro-life movement also IMHO gives short shrift to the trauma suffered by a woman forced to carry a pregnancy to term, both physical and psychological.

"When is the blessed event? Oh my don't you look radiant? You know you shouldn't ___ when you're pregnant. Have you picked out a name yet? Are you going to take maternity leave?" and countless other unsolicited questions, advice, and condemnations that people seem to think they can just put before pregnant women out of the blue, all of which assume she is happy to be pregnant and looking forward to childbirth.

Justifiable homicide...that's an interesting frame, Marty.

But the thrust of the pro-choice argument is again, one of power...who gets to make the choice. The law follows. Justifiable homicide is a concept at law that excuses killing under certain circumstances, usually having to do with self defense, presumed danger, prevent a crime that would harm others, etc. Now if we could consider the totality of the circumstances that led the woman to make this choice in some sense "criminal" then perhaps that would apply. But such a frame would be nonsensical (example: Inability to afford a child is a crime? Does that make society "guilty"?).

I don't understand all the strum and strang. The overwhelming majority of women are adults with reasonable decision making powers. Do you think, like McKinney does apparently, that women just wake up one morning and say to themselves, "Boy, this would be a great day for an abortion"?

Really?

The limits we have placed on it are arbitrary limits

The key word there is "arbitrary".

Thanks.

The only way I have been able to process the concept of abortion is that we as a society have defined it as justifiable homicide

if that's what works for you, go with it.

I don't understand all the strum and strang. The overwhelming majority of women are adults with reasonable decision making powers. Do you think, like McKinney does apparently, that women just wake up one morning and say to themselves, "Boy, this would be a great day for an abortion"?

Thanks, bobbyp. This is pretty much it. Suppose I am a woman, do I have a conscience about my own body, my own actions, my own circumstances, my own future? Don't I too love babies, and can't I imagine how lovely it might be to have one? Or not?

Why does a legislature (right now, mostly men) know better than me?

bobbyp,

The fundamental argument is power, but it is an argument generally reserved for the left. It is representing those who can't represent themselves in a circumstance where one person has complete power over their very existence.

Travel ban is enjoined

And the judge was pretty blistering, too.

when does a cell become a person?

I don't know. Do you?

We take our best guess and go from there.

We don't come up with the same "best guess", so we all stand around and yell at each other.

The fundamental question is a mystery. Might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

If you're faced with the situation of having to decide about this stuff, search your conscience and make the best decision you can.

The rest seems, to me, to be noise. Because nobody actually knows. It is beyond our ken.

What I do know for sure is that we have, as a nation, been having this argument for 45 years. I don't see that any fresh insights are on offer.

And the judge was pretty blistering, too.

sic semper tyrannis

Kevin Drum on abortion issues today

http://m.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/sure-lets-be-honest-about-abortion

McKinney,

Perhaps I can raise my grade to D-? Much as I hate to argue from authority, I defer to Scott Lemieux, who is a law professor (believe it or not!).

Part 1

Part 2

The fundamental argument is power, but it is an argument generally reserved for the left. It is representing those who can't represent themselves in a circumstance where one person has complete power over their very existence.

Marty,

I'm not quite sure of your point, so please explain further.

When it is conceded that rich (generally white) women can effectively (de facto) obtain abortions either here or abroad ("How can we stop it?", They ask, i.e., the situation pre-Roe), the mockery of any concept of equality or justice is pretty darned well complete.

The fnking law be damned.

From part I of bobbyp's link:

"it is hard to think of a more fundamental invasion of personal liberty than to tell a woman that she must or may not bear a child"

Said by someOne who thinks Roe was wrongly decided.

Is life a process or an event?

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/17/the-fertilized-egg-is-not-a-hu/

And from part II

"abortion laws tend to be a legal, moral, and ethical shambles that are inexplicable unless their primary objective is regulating the sexual behavior of (some) women. Laws designed to protect fetal life have no reason to exclude women from punishment, or contain rape, incest or health-of-the-mother exceptions, or to permit women to obtain abortions across state lines. As the nature of these laws indicate; there is nothing remotely resembling a consensus that a fetus is a human life, and only a tiny minority of the minority that nominally accepts this position acts is a way that is consistent with this belief. For this reason, American abortion laws are directly comparable to Griswold and Lawrence: they are primarily attempts to regulate consensual sexual behavior. "

It is representing those who can't represent themselves in a circumstance where one person has complete power over their very existence.

I see now. Well, this is merely another return to the "sanctity of innocent human life" argument.

We've already been down that road.

I disagree.

I disagree vehemently.

Donald Trump freaks out.

My anger management technique: Anger go there!!!!

There was never any doubt that Trump would start ranting and raving. The only questions were how soon and in what forum. The smart bets were all under 24 hours.

Legal abortion as justifiable homicide seems to also be the common Jewish position. If the unborn poses a threat to the life and well-being* of the mother**, it can be treated as a persecutor and killed in self-defense up to the moment its head is out of the woman's body (which at least over here is also the official date of birth in secular law).

*in strictly medical terms, not about happiness or social circumstances
**for lack of a better (short) term

Personal, anyone?

I was posting about a completely unrelated matter (abortion), but you just couldn't help yourself and had to chastise me for my supposedly 'purist' and 'pacifist' (I'm neither) views using a philosophical concept you don't even understand and which I don't adhere to.

Your follow up post is completely vacuous - "the ME is a complicated place", really, you don't say. And then you add that Europe and the UK have also been involved, as if that's somehow undermining my position, for reasons only you can explain.

Anyway, sorry for the derail, but I wasn't the one initiating it.

ral,

You make a cogent argument, that people want to live in peace and living in a society of orderly justice and laws is a good way to do this. In fact, I agree. Nonetheless, it simply moves the argument forward: why should you, I or any other person have a right to live in peace, without fear? (My answer is simply, it feels right, but that is not a rational argument.)

McKinneyTexas,

Your argument is perhaps even more compelling: killing feels wrong, i.e, it is against conscience or against our genetic makeup. I agree also with this argument. However, that is a naturalist fallacy. Simply stating that you and all sane people have an inborn reluctance to commit violence, does not mean it would be morally correct. Or you are making a metaphysical argument that your conscience or genetically inheritable moral sense are a competent moral authority (which I hold true, but don't consider rational.)

This is not my ozwn argument. Bertrand Russel, in the second book of his History of Western Philosophy, makes the same argument. There is no rational basis for any moral system.

Well, to return to the subject of the original post, I would like to express my concern about the state of the US foreign and security policy.

When you look at the reports coming from the State Department, and at the fact that the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs were removed from the national security council, it looks like thE US foreign policy is now completely in the hands of White House aides and Mr Mattis.

In practice, it looks very much like the only persons able to give Trump any foreign policy advice were Mattis, Tillerson (alone, without input from his department), a number of aides and a couple of Fox News anchors.

Coupled with the proposal to give combatant commanders the power to designate new areas of hostilies (which may be a Russian information operation, considering how aggressively RT is working on the topic), this looks a lot like a US military takeover of the security policy. The DoD and their combatant commanders seem to be the only officials still in the loop.

In the current situation, the Department of State is off the loop, and any non-US diplomat worth his salt knows that the US diplomats may or may not have the support of their government, as the State Department is often unaware of policy changes, and unable to affect them. Essentially, this means that your best contact to the US government seems likely to be the local military attache or, more likely, the regional combatant command.

Of course, this severely restricts the scope of policy making. In essence, outside of routine or emergency matters, we outside the US are unable to conduct any non-military foreign policy.

To add: With the US government, of course. Naturally, we can conduct foreign policy with other countries as before.

this is called changing the subject

you have told us several times on this very threat that the unborn are "children" and "human lives". if killing a child or a human life is not murder, then tell us what it is.

how should we punish women who miscarry ? surely that's murder, or at least manslaughter.

2 years? 20? death penalty?

In essence, outside of routine or emergency matters, we outside the US are unable to conduct any non-military foreign policy.

I think that's the plan. Other countries will bow before the US's reborn military might under President Trump. Anything that requires negotiations POTUS will handle personally as the best deal maker in the 28 known galaxies.

How long before Trump tries to order Yellen to keep interest rates flat?

Ugh,

no, the US military really is equipped to handle large parts of US diplomacy. They do have extensive intelligence apparatus, they have liaisons about everywhere, and they have quite a lot of people who have done a lot of negotiating with foreign governments. The current defense minister, Mr. Mattis, is one of the most accomplished military foeeign-poljcy makers you have. The scary part of the issue is that this is not an unworkable plan. It can work, but it means dropping out a number of foreign policy fields that maintain the US dominance in world politics.

ugh,

Are you alluding to the fact that the federal government's deficit goes up when interest rates rise?

Now that the King of Debt is the twitular head of the enormous borrower known as the federal government, perhaps He wants low interest rates.

On the other hand, His billionaire friends and relatives who always prefer to lend money to the federal government rather than pay money to it in taxes, surely love the prospect of higher interest rates.

So what's a poor billionaire populist president to do?

--TP

If you have to choose between saving a frozen embryo or a 2-year-old from a fire, is that a hard choice to make?

TonyP - I was more thinking that a rise in interest rates tends to negatively impact employment and wages.

If you have to choose between saving a frozen embryo or a 2-year-old from a fire, is that a hard choice to make?

even Sophie could not make that choice.

Why can't I be frozen and saved for later use? Seems unfair.

Yesterday was fun. Today, duty calls. I'm confident this subject will come up again. In parting, a few points:

Ral, you quoted Lurker, not me.

BP, sorry, still giving you an F :-( even if Lemieux gets a C-. Lemieux does not address the 10th A at all that I could see, but he does concede that, using recognized precedent and recognized constitutional analytical tools, a completely different outcome could have been obtained. This is the fundamental problem with Roe: 7 judges made a policy preference and cloaked it with constitutional dignity and they did so in a democracy.

Ugh and Cleek, no one can keep you from insisting that the only honest position for a pro-lifer is to want to jail the woman who gets an abortion. Have at it. However, when you do that, you are basically having a conversation with yourself. It would be like me insisting that unless you are fine with killing a baby in the birth canal, you have to admit that all abortion is murder.

Finally, IMO, sides-stepping the question of when human life begins is the least effective position pro-choicer's can take. The rest of the country has seen ultrasounds, so we know what's in the womb. Telling us a baby in the womb isn't a person is simply not credible. Raising the volume, repeating over and over again or quoting BP's "scientist" as some kind of final authority is not persuasive. I will have drinks with three MD's and one nurse this weekend, all of whom have no trouble with the notion that it is a human life in the womb. My wife's degree is in microbiology. I don't have to understand all their words to understand that scientists can and do articulate very fact specific reasons that disagree with the "it's just too metaphysical for us mere humans to grasp" line of thinking. Plus, there is the ultrasound and my not-yet-failed eyesight--I know what I'm looking at and it's not a toaster.

The persuasive argument is what I take to be part of Sapient's position, which I paraphrase like this: whether 'human' or pre-human, early in the pregnancy, the embryo lacks sufficient individual form and identity to outweigh the mother's right to choose for herself whether to carry the child to full term or to terminate. Sapient, I'm not saying this is all of your position nor am I defining "early" for you. I am fairly sure this rationale, or something close to it, informs some portion of the European abortion regimes and probably approximates how my daughter and her friends would describe their thinking.

I'm out early today so y'all have a nice weekend.

I don't have to understand all their words to understand that scientists can and do articulate very fact specific reasons that disagree with the "it's just too metaphysical for us mere humans to grasp" line of thinking.

Then they're smarter than I am.

No comment on requiring MA to grant reciprocal concealed carry privileges?

You asked, I answered. Your turn. You're not the only busy guy here.

Oops! Excuse me McKT!

Lurker, sure, any logical argument eventually comes down to assumptions. I'm just looking at it from a practical point of view.

no one can keep you from insisting that the only honest position for a pro-lifer is to want to jail the woman who gets an abortion.

it's a direct consequence of your claim that an abortion kills an "unborn child" or a "human life".

i certainly get why you want to run away from it.

Finally, IMO, sides-stepping the question of when human life begins is the least effective position pro-choicer's can take.

That seems to be the very opposite of what people have been doing in this discussion. It seems to be the thing people have been taking head on. Coming up with a different answer to the question is not side-stepping.

There's also the practical matter of what the law should be that is only partly informed by what one thinks is right morally. Not all morality is enforceable by law, be it for logistical, political, ideological, or other reasons.

And whatever happened to personhood? That seems to be the more appropriate term for a discussion on the legality of abortion. Asking when life, or human life, begins seems to me to make the question unduly binary and definitionalist (as in, "any living cell with 46 chromosomes is human" or some such).

No comment on requiring MA to grant reciprocal concealed carry privileges?

You asked, I answered. Your turn. You're not the only busy guy here.

Fair point. The constitutional authority for Trump's position would be the privileges and immunities clause. Whether that is enough of basis to validate Trump's position on requiring all states to recognize all other states' concealed carry licenses is a different argument. I come down on your side, as a matter of constitutional law. The states, using their inherent police power (penumbra!), have the right to determine for themselves what criteria to apply to a person who the state is going to license for concealed carry. When the Feds take the position that the state with the most minimal, least substantive requirements can bind the other 49 states, the Feds run afoul of that *meaningless* 10th amendment. A state *could, in theory* decide to allow violent felons on probation to carry concealed weapons based solely on the felon's promise to behave going forward. There are plenty of good reasons why the other states should not be bound by that level of foolishness. The constitutional reason is that it infringes on a power reserved to the states.

Ugh and Cleek, no one can keep you from insisting that the only honest position for a pro-lifer is to want to jail the woman who gets an abortion.

I just want an explanation why the taking of a human life with malice aforethought in this instance is somehow different from most (if not all) other instances, and so much so that the primary actor should get - at least in your view - no jail time at all.

As I said, ISTM this kind of position if fundamentally different from the rhetoric that the fetus is as "person" and killing it is "murder."

Fair point.

Thanks for reply McK, much appreciated.

McTx: Lemieux does not address the 10th A at all that I could see, but he does concede that, using recognized precedent and recognized constitutional analytical tools, a completely different outcome could have been obtained. This is the fundamental problem with Roe: 7 judges made a policy preference and cloaked it with constitutional dignity and they did so in a democracy.

I don't see how the 10th amendment is relevant at all to the abortion debate, at least right now (if the GOP passed a federal law banning abortion it might be relevant).

Part of SCOTUS's job is to draw the lines delineating where the various rights in the Constitution end and where permissible government action begins. You seem to think that if it's a close call (or however it should be phrased) then SCOTUS should defer to the government and let it do what it wants, rather than to individuals and let them do what they want.

I just want an explanation why the taking of a human life with malice aforethought in this instance is somehow different from most (if not all) other instances, and so much so that the primary actor should get - at least in your view - no jail time at all.

My interest does not lie in making rhetorical points. It lies in letting unborn children go full term. I'm not mad at anybody and don't want anyone to be hurt anymore than the already difficult situation causes on its own. I suppose, in a hypothetical case, if a woman was intentionally getting pregnant in order to get an abortion, I would be ok with considering sterilization.

Further, on the legal side of things, there is no malice, much less malice aforethought, if I am recalling my common law definitions correctly, involved on the woman's part--although there may be abortionists who qualify (I don't know). Whatever mens rea you want to impute to an woman terminating a pregnancy is your unique take that is not imputable to or binding on anyone else. Among other issues, you assume that the woman intends to take a human life. You assume that she is not under some form of duress that mitigates if not negates sufficient criminal mens rea to warrant prosecution.

You and several others seem to believe the worst about pro-life people. Your caricature requires rendering them as despicable as you can. It's a form of dismissive argument, not engagement, where you insist, among other things, that their good faith requires meeting your arbitrary standards. I've said all I'm going to say on this topic. I categorically reject your arbitrary insistence that I have to meet your standards.

Cleek, this applies to you too.

I don't see how the 10th amendment is relevant at all to the abortion debate, at least right now (if the GOP passed a federal law banning abortion it might be relevant).

I disagree with you as to the 10th's relevance, but the issue I was gigging Comrade Bobby about was a side discussion we were having on the 10th A.

A state *could, in theory* decide to allow violent felons on probation to carry concealed weapons based solely on the felon's promise to behave going forward.

FWIW, there are something like 10 states with no permitting requirement whatsoever for concealed carry. You don't even have to demonstrate that you know which end the bullets come out of, you can just get a gun and carry it around.

That's what the folks in those states want, and I have no interest in telling them to do otherwise.

I'm just looking for the same consideration from them.

MA ain't AK. Or VT or NH, for that matter. Live where the way of life suits you, don't bring it where it isn't welcome.

I'm just looking for the same consideration from them.

We are on the page.

You seem to think that if it's a close call (or however it should be phrased) then SCOTUS should defer to the government and let it do what it wants, rather than to individuals and let them do what they want.

No, I think SCOTUS should follow the Constitution and not make stuff up and then sprinkle it with penumbras and call it a fundamental right. I am very much about individual liberty, far more so than most progressives are in other contexts, and I think I've articulated very plainly where I come down and why on abortion.

And now, I am off. Ciao.

My interest does not lie in making rhetorical points. It lies in letting unborn children go full term.

can we agree that killing a child is murder? and we agree that there are serious punishments for murder?

seems simple enough. don't need a law degree for that.

how is killing an "unborn child" (your term) different than killing a child-child ?

if it's not (and your words seem to suggest it isn't), then abortion is murder and mothers who get abortions are murderers. and as such they need to be punished as murderers, right?

this is not a rhetorical trick. this is based on a simple and direct reading of your words. if you don't mean to say this, maybe you could rephrase it?

Lurker: the US military really is equipped to handle large parts of US diplomacy. They do have extensive intelligence apparatus, they have liaisons about everywhere, and they have quite a lot of people who have done a lot of negotiating with foreign governments.

I'm afraid that you are assuming some things that is not much in evidence. That is, that intelligence from any source, including the military, will impact foreign policy decisions. Or, indeed, that policy decision making will be much beyond gut feel and knee jerk reactions from POTUS, mediated by whomever spoke (or broadcast) to him last. Concern for actual facts seems to be limited at best.**

While Mr Bannon has thought about foreign policy (however daftly), it is not clear that his thought weigh as heavily as whoever is speaking of Fox this morning -- his main clout is that he has lots of opportunities to be the last person speaking to the President before a command gets tossed out.

It also assumes that negotiation (by the military or anyone else) is going to be part of our foreign policy. It seems like the plan is to limit "negotiations" to bluster, demands and threats emanating from the White House. Yes, the military has the expertise and experience to do better; but will they be allowed (never mind asked) to do so?

** Witness the "wiretapping" accusation. Where even staunch Trump supporters in Congress are standing up and saying that there is zero evidence that anything like that happened. And the White House continues to insist that it did. Or something....

McK: side-stepping the question of when human life begins is the least effective position pro-choicer's can take. The rest of the country has seen ultrasounds, so we know what's in the womb.

So are you saying (here) that abortion should be OK any time before you can make out a form in the ultrasound? I can see lots of arguments about exactly when that is (some people manage to see things in abstract art, after all). But certainly there is nothing to see for the first couple of weeks -- i.e. long past conception.

abortion should be OK any time before you can make out a form in the ultrasound?

and does this assume that ultrasound technology will not improve?

Not to mention that, pre-ultrasound, the standard would have properly been different.

You and several others seem to believe the worst about pro-life people. Your caricature requires rendering them as despicable as you can. It's a form of dismissive argument, not engagement, where you insist, among other things, that their good faith requires meeting your arbitrary standards. I've said all I'm going to say on this topic. I categorically reject your arbitrary insistence that I have to meet your standards.

I'm not trying to be dismissive I don't think, at least not in the discussion about the pro-life rhetoric vs. what the pro-life movement would put in place as a legal structure. And I understand that your interest is not in making rhetorical points and you are not a spokesman for the pro-life movement writ large so I can't pin what I view as their position on you. I also don't think I'm setting up arbitrary standards on this particular point. The terms "murder" and "human being" are not empty voids to be filled with whatever meaning the person uttering them wishes them to mean (and particularly not when they do intend to use them in their commonly accepted manner).

I'm just trying understand what I see as a disconnect between rhetoric and action - maybe there's no disconnect and I'm blind, but again I'd like an explanation about why there is no disconnect or how I'm being blind.

Perhaps this is my answer:

there is no malice, much less malice aforethought, if I am recalling my common law definitions correctly, involved on the woman's part--although there may be abortionists who qualify (I don't know). Whatever mens rea you want to impute to an woman terminating a pregnancy is your unique take that is not imputable to or binding on anyone else. Among other issues, you assume that the woman intends to take a human life. You assume that she is not under some form of duress that mitigates if not negates sufficient criminal mens rea to warrant prosecution.

Malice aforethought means in this context the intentional taking of human life. Not an accident, or negligence, or wreckless disregard (mostly), but "I intend to end this human life" or the natural consequences of the actions you are intentionally performing or having performed would end a human life.

I would ask how, if the fetus is legally defined as human, a woman is somehow not "intending to take a human life" by procuring an abortion - absent some form of duress or incompetency as you note. But if this is the justification for setting up a system whereby abortion is illegal but the woman is never punished for procuring an abortion, then it seems you are saying that in every case the woman is either incompetent or under duress.*

Perhaps you are saying that in procuring an abortion the woman merely wishes to no longer be pregnant, and therefore she didn't intend to take a human life but merely to end her pregnancy and the human life taking was necessary to achieve that end state? I don't think that mitigates the criminal intent, at least as I understand criminal law. That is, there is a difference between the reason for doing something - wanting not to be pregnant versus wanting to kill a fetus regardless of pregnancy - versus the intent to do something - killing a fetus.

I mean, I don't think you would get off a murder charge in saying "I didn't shoot him in the face to kill him, I shot him in the face to steal his wallet. So I'm only guilty of robbery." No?

don't think you would get off a murder charge in saying "I didn't shoot him in the face to kill him, I shot him in the face to steal his wallet. So I'm only guilty of robbery."

New form of instant divorce also, too.

Ugh, you're on the right track. The whining and desperate weaseling proves it.

My other example was killing your parents to become an orphan.

Let's talk about something much less controversial, like the death of Michael Brown.

McTx: No, I think SCOTUS should follow the Constitution and not make stuff up and then sprinkle it with penumbras and call it a fundamental right.

But...your pejorative language aside, isn't it SCOTUS's role to "say what the law is" (per Marbury v. Madison) and interpret the Constitution, which when it comes to rights and many other things is written in very broad strokes, both purposely and out of necessity? And if this is the case, and perhaps you disagree, you also have to take into account all prior relevant SCOTUS decisions on the Constitution under our common law system to determine "what the law is" when applying it to the case at hand, and not just the text of the Constitution itself?

Maybe you could have taken that approach in June 1788, but eventually you need to deal with SCOTUS precedent or reject the common law system. And I'm not even sure simply taking the text of the Constitution and applying it to the question of whether there is a fundamental right to an abortion (to accept that framing for the moment) compels a "no" answer.

More broadly, I know you're busy McKinney and have checked out for at least a little while and, as always, I appreciate your commenting here, I wouldn't engage if I wasn't genuinely interested in how you think and connect A to B to C to get to D. The invitation is always open to you do to a guest post on whatever topic you may so chose.

speaking of carnage:

The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

if only Clinton was perfect.

...the question of whether there is a fundamental right to an abortion (to accept that framing for the moment)...

I'm not a lawyer, and I haven't researched it, but is that what the Roe decision says, explicitly - that there is a fundamental right to abortion? I thought it was that access to abortion could not be unduly restricted without violating some other fundamental right(s) - like privacy, at least.

Not to mention NIH. Not eliminated but proposed cut of 20%.

The syllabus of Roe says:

State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that except from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother's behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman's qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. Though the State cannot override that right, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman's health and the potentiality of human life, each of which interests grows and reaches a "compelling" point at various stages of the woman's approach to term.

But I note the syllabus is not part of the opinion.

there is no malice, much less malice aforethought, if I am recalling my common law definitions correctly, involved on the woman's part--although there may be abortionists who qualify (I don't know). Whatever mens rea you want to impute to an woman terminating a pregnancy is your unique take that is not imputable to or binding on anyone else. Among other issues, you assume that the woman intends to take a human life. You assume that she is not under some form of duress that mitigates if not negates sufficient criminal mens rea to warrant prosecution.

This is gobbeldygook in its purest form.

I don't think it's on purpose. I think it's what McKinney is left with given his sincerely held belief that, at or very soon after the fertilization of a human egg, you have a human being and his unwillingness to criminalize women who have abortions. Those things are logically at odds with one another, so you end up trying to divide by zero without the benefit of the concept of infinity - or something like that. Lines get blurred, wires cross, and so on and so forth.

I wish that McKinney and people who believe what he believes didn't lead to things like the global gag rule. I mean, it's bad enough that they don't trust women to have a conscience, and they don't allow women autonomy over their own bodies, but basically they kill a lot of people with this b.s.

Also, as I mentioned a few days ago, Texas has an "alarming maternal death rate."

This argument about fetal lives versus women's lives is not theoretical, and they seem to think it is.

We seem to be covering a lot of ground in this thread, so why not.

You knew he was a snake, y'all.

He's gonna bring jobs back to coal country. Selling apples.

I can't believe how many ways the folks in Appalachia have been screwed. By everyone. Forever.

You and several others seem to believe the worst about pro-life people.

Pot, kettle. When somebody tries to bludgeon me about this issue by leading off with assertions that some/many women could simply care less about the implications and just want it over so they can go shopping, and every 'consider this' scenario starts with "imagine the baby's foot dangling out of the birth canal", it is difficult to grant much credence to anything else he might come up with.

To add insult to injury, he casually dismisses the opinions on scientists who, you know, unlike him, actually study the biology involved.

And then he gave me an "F", and not just an "F", but an "F-"!!!! JFC!!!!

I am so humiliated. It's as if the entire weight of the federal government's expansive overreach of the 10th Amendment (despite what OTHER parts of the Constitution say) is bearing down upon my rather smallish shoulders.

You have a good one, Tex. :)

...any living cell with 46 chromosomes is human" or some such...

Not broad enough. There are humans with as few as 45 chromosomes (Turner syndrome) and as many as 48 (48,XXYY syndrome). People with 47,XYY and 47,XXX syndromes often have no symptoms and go undetected. Most women with 47,XXX syndrome are fertile and the syndrome can be -- although seldom is -- passed on to children.

can we agree that killing a child is murder?

I think the regular commenters here do agree on that.
But certain fundamentalist Christians in the US make an exception for their own kids, i.e. they claim that the Bible gives parents the right to kill their own kids for being obstinate under certain circumstances. Plus they claim that their children are their private property and the state has no right to interfere with how people deal with their private property.
I assume that those same guys consider themselves as strongly 'pro-life'

I do not know whether I have ever met such* guys in the flesh but I have encountered them multiple times in comment threads on the net.

*the ones that claim killing rights. I know quite a few that see the old testament as a good education guide including the 'he who does spare the rod he does not love his son.'. They do not use the 'private property' argument though, this seems to be a genuinely USian thing.

H.U.D.'s Meals on Wheels is zeroed out in the budget as the American bullshit family sits down at the kitchen table and decides to rationalize its spending by removing the feed bag from good for nothing non-ambulatory Uncle Fester in the upstairs bedroom.

The state of West Virginia is about to pass legislation prohibiting its state government from inspecting coal mines and levying fines for mine safety violations. Proud republican Scots-Irish hillbillies look forward to ramping up their opioid addictions to ease the pain of their livelihoods.

In the state of Texas, the backlog of rape investigations is so great because of massive public underfunding that crowd sourcing is now being considered to ease the crunch. Not only that but the rape victims face fewer choices for where to go to treat the stds and the damage done by their rapists in the Texas State house and the governer's mansion as they plan any parenthood that might result from the crimes.

As a personal matter, I'm against killing fetuses.

In fact, if we expanded the fetal designation to all Americans, regardless of age, fetal meals on wheels recipients, fetal coal miners, and fetal rape victims might fare better under the murderous budget-cutting knives of the killer fetuses in the Republican Party.

There are tens of millions of murderous Republican fetuses who deserve aborting and none of them are precious children.

Starve em all and let God sort it out:

https://twitter.com/axios/status/842461464631885824

Still collecting atrocities, are we? With no state department, I'm getting quite nervous about North Korea.

Was just going to post that NK link sapient. The last time a GOP president decided diplomatic efforts with NK failed they developed nukes. I guess this time they might launch one at one of their neighbors. Good times.

Good times.

Yeah, this is probably what freaks me out more than anything, although I try not to think about it. Sadly, although it may help with some issues to call our Congresspeople, I'm afraid we're totally helpless with this situation.

So, I wonder, if a disaster occurs (whether man made or natural) what kind of help will anyone get? I mean, if Meals on Wheels "is just not showing any results" are we all just on our own for good?

Countme-in: As a personal matter, I'm against killing fetuses.

Some allegedly reasonable people would tell you there are no fetuses, only babies.

And now for something completely different: I want Schumer and Pelosi to get behind a massive, enormous, yuge tax cut in the form of raising the personal exemption on the 1040 form to $50,000 -- just to see how those freedom-caucus babies and their "reasonable" GOP allies react.

--TP

TP: plus change the "death tax" from zero to NEGATIVE.

Hey, zero tax is good, negative must be better, amirite?

Call it a "bounty", if you will; but to prevent fraud the recipients have to send in the appropriate IRS form with the head stapled on.

(I'm sure that the local RW brigade will call me 'deplorable', but *I* wouldn't be the one claiming that bounty; it would fall to the heirs of the oh-so-family-oriented richie-riches, and they all love each other so very very much, so nothing to worry about, right?)

the DJT administration, in a nutshell:

break stuff
throw a few bones to the nazis
take the money

we got another four years of this. watch your backs.

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