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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Monday, January 23, 2006
Politics Potpourri
I'm about as motivated to write a well considered post as I am to pour lemon juice on my paper cuts, but too much has happened recently to be silent. I'll throw all the recent events here, and you can discuss whatever floats your goat.

Supreme Court Upholds Assisted Suicide

Oregon has a law allowing doctors to assist in their patient's suicide. The US Supreme Court recently upheld it. I actually agree with the SCUS decision because I don't see anything in the Constitution prohibiting what Oregon is doing, and even murder is a state not a federal crime. I think Oregon's law is terrible, however. It is simply allowing murder for the mere reason that the victim consents. This is another step towards the religion of consent that I wrote about before. I'm happy to argue the evils of assisted suicide in the comments, and it certainly deserves its own post in which related terms like withdrawal of care and refusal of care are defined and explained. I do not believe there is ever a medical reason that a patient who is receiving optimal care including psychiatric care and aggressive pain control would ever want her life ended. The broader point is that as a Conservative, I believe in judicial restraint. I understand the difference between a terrible law and an unconstitutional one. I can watch Oregon do things that I think are wrong and understand that it is neither under my nor under the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to do anything about it. Liberals have no such modesty. Abortion must be a right in Utah, according to them, because they know better than the citizens of Utah.

Ford Does the Right Thing – Unions Mixing the Kool-Aid

Organized labor in the US has never been weaker and has nowhere to go but down. Ford just announced that in the next 6 years it will lay off over 30,000 jobs, (that's a quarter of its workforce) and close many plants. It had no choice. Its market share was circling the drain and it was hemorrhaging losses. This is obviously horrible in the short term for the workers but good in the long term for everybody. Businesses are realizing that in a global economy remaining uncompetitive by paying artificially inflated wages and benefits is no longer an option. Workers will have to realize that belonging to a union does not make them more valuable, just more expensive, and that the ultimate arbiter of their value isn't the greedy shareholder bogeyman, it's the customer. Union leaders will expand on the trends of the last few years and spend increasingly more on friendly (i.e. liberal) candidates as a desperate last gasp to prevent the marketplace from affecting them. They will fail.

Next Target in the Axis of Evil – Iran

We've been telling you that Iran's going to get smacked for a year now, and the rhetoric is really heating up recently. The relevant new development is that even Europe is talking tough. Germany refuses to rule out any options, a thinly veiled threat. France declares that a nuclear strike against terror-sponsoring states is an option. And of course, leading them and cajoling them is the US. Remember when we were told that the insane Bush-Chimp-Cowboy's maniacal unilateralism in Iraq will leave us isolated? When does that start?

Prediction: a massive multi-day multiple target assault on Iranian facilities by summer by US forces after the entire UN-diplomacy gambit is allowed to run its impotent course. This will be met by harsh rhetoric from Syria and of course from Iran, and a deafening silence from the gov'ts of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who will be too busy sweating and buying escape villas in Europe. What is less clear is whether this will help internal Iranian dissidents.
YES on Supreme Court upholding Oregon's rights.

YES on Bill Ford protecting his company.

NO on Iran's new president. That guy has got to go. And don't be so sure that he was democratically elected.
Thanks for caring, Oven.

Why do I spill my political guts here when the only thing that gets any coments is fart jokes?
1.) I also agree with the Supreme Court's decision because there is nothing unconstitutional about Oregon's law. However, your comments about liberals, modesty, etc. are off base. Since the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitional right to privacy, it is not liberals that are telling the state of Utah that abortion is legal, it is actually the Constitution. Similarly, when Southern states discriminated against Blacks, it wasn't the liberals who knew better than the Southerners, it was the Constitution. Arguments similar to yours were made during the civil rights era as well by Southern conservatives. Are you really anti-choice?

2.) The demise of Ford probably has more to do with their crappy, boring cars than with the UAW. But if you wanna blame 'em go ahead, they ain't goin' away.

3.) I think I prefer a more surgical approach, without ground forces if possible. Drones would be cool. Putting troops on the grounds just escalates matters and might be more difficult for the EU to swallow (I'm talking realpolitik here, not how we would want the EU to be ideally). Syria will probably make a lot of noise, but secretely will be happy about it, as will every other country in the region. Something similar to the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi reactors would be best, minimizing our potential for casualties. I love Ronald Reagan's reaction when he was told of that bombing: "Boys will be boys."

4.) Fart jokes are funnier and much less controversial. Both liberals and conservatives fart and they smell just as bad no matter where they stand on the political spectrum. I think we should proudly state that smelly farts are just one of the things that unite us all.
Actually, I've heard that farts are like religion: you like yours well enough but everybody else's stinks.
The broader point is that as a Conservative, I believe in judicial restraint. I understand the difference between a terrible law and an unconstitutional one. I can watch Oregon do things that I think are wrong and understand that it is neither under my nor under the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to do anything about it.

This quote is so wise, I'm gonna hang onto it for future use.

Re farts: Because of chronic intestinal troubles, I've actually developed a Pavlovian affinity for my fart odors. I associate the smell with feeling better.
There Bean, you happy now? Nobody cares about the politics, everyone wants to talk about farts.

Wait a minute, Doctor BEAN! Ha ha ha - now I get it!
Re Ford & unions: I had to think about this for awhile. If you're comparing to developing countries, I really don't think we have a chance of competing with .25/hr wages. If you're comparing us to the other countries at the top of the heap, don't they all have govt health care? A huge chunk of benefits is unnecessary for them. Maybe you were trying to get at something more complicated than I understand. Not surprising, since I barely understand business.
a) your numbering system is confusing. Why the period and the close-parentheses? Too much.

1. I'm pro choice but believe it is a state issue. Meaning, I would like to see Roe overturned and California remain a legal-abortion state.

2. The unions have never been weaker, both in terms of membership and in terms of influence. I say they are going away. Let's make a specific prediction so that we can hold ourselves accountable. I say in 5 years union membership is lower than today? You want to take the opposite position? Should we wager lunch or something?

3. Everything I've read suggests a multi-day dozens of missions bombing campaign with the only ground troops being in very small numbers and secret. We don't have to occupy them, just set their nuclear program back a decade, show the world that we can do it with impunity, and ideally give Iranian dissidents a morale boost.

Kiwi the Geek: Thanks for the praise. I came up with that all by myself.

Kiwi the Geek: That's right. But there are lots of markets in which we are uncontested: services, innovation, entertainment, higher education. It's time to admit that manufacturing in the U.S. at least under current conditions is a losing proposition. Smart companies long ago moved manufacturing elsewhere. That's OK. We're still Americans; we just have to focus on what we're great at.
On abortion, I'm very surprised. Care to explain why you think it should be legal?

On overseas manufacturing, are you truly comfortable with your clothes being made in sweatshops where the employees can barely earn enough money to survive? You seem like more of a social justice type than that.
Kiwi the Geek: First, let me clarify my position. I think first trimester abortion should be legal. I think lots of things should be legal, including many that are clearly wrong, such as adultery. That an act is legal should be the default, and it should be the burden of those who wish to ban it to explain why the gov't monopoly of force should be brought to bear on the problem. I simply believe that preventing women from aborting in the first trimester would cause more social harm than it would fix. I could be wrong, and would be willing to be proven wrong by watching states that ban abortion if Roe is overturned.

are you truly comfortable with your clothes being made in sweatshops..?
No, but I'm more uncomfortable with the workers in the sweatshops being left unemployed so that companies can pay inflated wages to Americans.
Oh, and I'm not sure what you mean by "social justcie type". I thought "social justice" was used as a euphemism for wealth redistribution. I'm a radical capitalism type.
abortion: sounds like you're kind of a libertarian, like me.

social justice: I meant people who try and right the wrongs, not necessarily by government force.

sweatshops: I want people in develping countries to be employed, but I'd like to find a way to pressure companies to pay them a living wage. As I understand it, that would only increase our prices by pennies. Well worth it, IMO.
KTG: I'm mostly a libertarian except for foreign policy. Libertarians are fairly isolationist. I'm fairly not.
Hey, you are just like me! No wonder I like you so much!
KTW: Flattery will get you everywhere.
"living wage" is also a euphemism for something. I forget what. Sounds like commies to me.

But while there are certainly some sweatshop situations out there, the vast phenomenon of outsourcing/offshoring is not about that. Believe me, the people in India answering your phone calls have what is for them, for the moment anyway, terrific jobs & salaries.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see why my six-year-old isn't meeting her quotas on Nike knock-offs.
Bean, you musta been reading my blog! Awwww...

I use "living wage" to mean "enough money to get by. I believe it was also used in the early 1900s labor movement, along with "family wage" meaning enough for a man to support his family so the wife could stay home.

I don't have a problem with all outsourcing, just when the employees are paid pennies a day and treated like garbage. I understand this is widespread in the clothing industry, but not in service industries.
BTW, I posted about Wal-Mart and sweatshops at my blog, if you'd like to read it. Got a long discussion there. http://kiwigeek.blogspot.com/2006/01/wal-mart.html
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