Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stop Loss

I recently made a bad comment which I then deleted off of a soldier's facebook page serving in Afghanistan. I agree that it was a bad comment. I agree that I shouldn't have done it. But it's a topic that we civilians need to get better educated on soon.

Right now, the US Military is beginning to look a lot like organized crime- the only way out is to leave horribly wounded or dead. Stop loss means that a 4 year commitment made in the wake of 9-11-2001 could easily mean that against your will you're still in the military in 2009, and on your fourth, fifth, or even sixth deployment. That is NOT what I consider to be a volunteer military anymore, although I'll admit it's drafting from those who choose to serve, it's still enforced servitude for bad pay and a horrible return on investment considering the risk includes the ultimate sacrifice.

I support the idea that one of the duties of government is the common defense. I understand that in Afghanistan, we have the danger of a certain minority sect regaining a foothold and then attacking us again, just as they did in 2001. I understand that the Islamic Reformation is taking a very dangerous turn- just as the Christian Reformation did in the 1500s and 1600s.

But isn't there a better way than just sending the same people over there again and again, breaking our contract with them through stop loss, until they die, are wounded physically and mentally, until we've used them up just like corporate America uses up human resources? How about the old idea of a no-man's land between radical Islam and the rest of the world- and enforce it like it was a jail instead, with NO CONTACT AT ALL between the Islamic world and the rest of us? Isn't that better than sacrificing yet another American life to this mess?

Monday, November 16, 2009

On abortion- some intrinsic evils are worse with other sins

Some have recently, due to my positions on charity and Health Care, accused me of "compromising with evil" on abortion.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I agree with the Roman Catholic Church that abortion is *always and everywhere* an intrinsic evil, and nothing can change that.

But there are levels to evil. The number of people affected is one. Who is to blame is another.

For abortion due to incest or rape- the full blame MUST fall on the man committing incest or rape. Any abortion the woman has to go through to maintain sanity, health, or avoid suicide, is his fault, and his fault alone.

For abortion to save the life of the mother- this is triage. And while being forced into the choice is evil, ethical doctors in emergency room or battlefield conditions are often forced to make this very choice- there are TWO patients here, and if you do nothing, both will die. I don't even call this truly abortion- the ethical doctor in this case *MUST* do a cesarean birth, and if the child fails to survive, well, it isn't entirely his fault. Ectopic pregnancy is the classic case of this, but it doesn't make the abortion any less evil, just less fault.

Having said that- abortions paid for by state health care systems, abortions that are solely for the "future economic conditions of the mother" (including teenage pregnancy), or worse yet are forced upon the woman by the father or grandfather of the child, are the shame of all of America, and all of us who earn a profit from capitalism and avoiding our duty to the poor and hopeless, are to some extent guilty of this great evil.

In a different economic system, every woman would have access to an ultrasound machine *and* the data it gives, before making the decision for abortion. Every woman would *be guaranteed* food, clothing, shelter, pre- and post-natal care for the first 5 years of a child's life (America currently only guarantees food). This is the shame of abortion. It's not only an intrinsic evil, it's a failure of charity, a failure to give the poor their due. It's a failure of subsidiarity at the lowest level where it would do the most good- the family. And it is those souls; the ones abandoned by parents and grandparents, and to some extent abandoned by the very system that sucks up the resources they would have used into bank accounts in New York City on Wall Street, that I mourn the most.

A million children a year are aborted in the United States, less than 2% of those are for the first two reasons above. The other 98% were abandoned, not just by their parents, but by all of us. That's why I support the Stupak Amendment. That's why I'd like to see WIC expanded to cover clothing, shelter, pre- and post-natal medical care. But most of all, it's an explanation as to why I don't think just making abortion illegal will work (much as I'd like to see that also)- because in doing that, we turn our back on these other great sins that are as much of a cause of abortion in this country as Planned Parenthood's genocide of the poor itself.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Catholic Tech

This is a good one. From the land that long before Christianity brought us the Robotic Zeus and the very rarely used automatic doors on the Temple of Mars, the Swine Flu has inspired a new, very Catholic, invention: The automatic touch-free Holy Water Dispenser.

Final thoughts on John Allen Mohammed

You know, the DC Sniper dude, that Virgina just killed for his monumental stupidity. Yes, that's right, I said stupidity.

It has now been revealed that he had several other victims nationwide- victims he was not prosecuted for and now will never be prosecuted for. At the time, it was obvious that even three jurisdictions side-by-side were creating a massive clusterfuck of the investigation; imagine what would have happened if say, he had modified an SUV with a Thule car top carrier for his sniper platform, pulling a trailer, and had limited himself to one six-round set of potshots per state per month, usually at skyscrapers from the backwoods of some state or national park, always leaving the state directly afterwards.

We'd still be *looking* for him today if he had done that. There's even a half a chance that the FBI wouldn't be called in yet. But no, he had to be stupid- an old car with a huge hole in the trunk, once he got across the country to the Washington DC area he stayed there, taking pot shots at small targets from less than a mile away. He was an idiot, and the State of Virginia executed a massive mental defective.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Subsidiarity-denying the poor their due?

Deal Hudson has actually apologized for writing off the influences of pro-life Democratic Members of Congress, while praising the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Unfortunately his followers there aren't pleased, for after all, he's often argued that this topic does not belong with the federal government at all, that under the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, the free market is a better place for health care.

I disagree with Deal that subsidiarity means the free market, but I will concede that he has a point. Not because, as the Reaganites tell us, the federal government is incompetent. But rather because human bodies do respond to climate, and different climates need different health care.

I believe the current proposal handles this by putting the exchanges in the hands of the states, with "public option lite": the public option only available after the free market has proven itself inadequate to cover the 90% target. BTW, this means that the current proposals from the Senate and the House are *NOT* universal health care, they're 90% health care. But that's a far cry from the 73% health care coverage we have now, so I believe it's worth doing.

So here's my question for all you theologians out there: Is the value of subsidiarity so important that you that you're willing to let the poor go without a health insurance system to support it? KNOWING full well that the next pandemic (and pandemics almost always start among the poor) or bio-terrorism attack (since this entire debate has shown an area of weakness that the terrorists would be stupid NOT to take advantage of) could well end up hitting you, due to lack of health care for your neighbor? And better yet, what would Christ (or more to the point, his character in the parable of the Good Samaritan) say about this debate over subsidiarity, while people are dying?

Now on to my second point. I've often been told by the non-Catholic free market people that subsidiarity is a ridiculous idea, that economy of scale means centralization and collectivism will always beat out subsidiarity for profitability. If you read the comments at the above link, you'll find one libertarian who actually disagrees with that view- claims that charity given personally has lower overhead than charity given in a group.

But beyond all that- by claiming a Universal God and Universal Message and Universal Right and Wrong, isn't the biggest break of subsidiarity the Roman Catholic Church herself? Would those of you who think of subsidiarity as an *absolute* value, then agree with the congregationalist Protestants that church theology should come from below rather than above?

Oh, and just to throw some fun into it, here are the Billionaires for Wealthcare, a little know counter protest to the 9-12 protest, with "Save the Status Quo", along with MSNBC's great commentary on the counter protest.

Because that's the option at this point: save the status quo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The key problem- no food processing left in Oregon

Or at least, so says Sharon Thornberry of the Oregon Food Bank. She brought up things I didn't know about our free market system: like the small town of Fields near Steens Mountain in Southeastern Oregon, where the local grocer is often worse stocked than the food bank because he has to make a 400 mile round trip to get groceries for his store. Nobody will deliver anything to him, he has to go to Bend or Idaho to get food. Umatila County is the same way- plenty of beef, but not a single slaughterhouse, so getting ground beef for the grocery store or the food bank is very expensive.

This gives me two things: One, when I start my roundtable at St. Clare's for Knights of Columbus, one of the first charity acts I'm going to propose is to use the money from our recruiting breakfast to buy/build window box gardens for St. Vincent De Paul's food banks at St. Clare's and St. Anthony's, to be given away to anybody who has a source of water and a south facing window or balcony or small lawn. Second, a whole new argument for distributism in Oregon; we're an agricultural state and we can't feed the poor because we can't get the food processed where the poor work to raise our food? I've seen it myself with my family's grass fed organic beef- no mobile slaughter left in the Willamette Valley either, and the slaughterhouses are few and are shutting down in favor of plants in third world countries (how they get the beef THERE I'll never know) like Brazil, which have fewer environmental controls.

The only answer for the rural people in the article though, is for some smart enterprising butcher to move to Eastern Oregon specifically to process local food for local sale. Seems to me that is hunting country also; and the same butcher could probably make as much off of local kills of deer and elk as beef. If capitalism was allowed to work the way it should, anyway, instead of being gobbled up into collectivism and corporatism.

Health Care: Hypocrites meet idiots

yep, one of my famous "A pox on both their houses" posts.

On the front page of the Oregonian today, I see a very interesting article about abortion coverage in the new healthcare plan (unfortunately, they seem not to have put "Abortion covered widely by insurance", an article from the McClatchy newspaper service written by James Oliphant, on the web). In there I find some very interesting ideas:

1. From an alternate article on the subject: "What the amendment, offered by Democrat Bart Stupak, really does is bars the use of federal subsidies to fund abortions. It bans the proposed new government health insurance plan from covering abortions in all but the most extreme cases (rape, incest and when a mother's life is threatened). And news reports say that policies purchased with federal subsidies from private insurers will have the same restrictions. Women could purchase an abortion insurance rider if they felt they needed the coverage (or pay out of pocket for an abortion)."
2. This amendment only covers plans in the new "Health insurance Exchange".
3. Many private health care plans, currently cover abortion.

So, to the Republican Catholics who read this, I say, if you currently have employer sponsored health care that is using YOUR premiums to cover abortions, what exactly is the moral difference between that and a government using YOUR taxes to cover abortions? The main difference I can see is choice- are you willing to cancel your employer-sponsored health insurance on this principle?

And to the pro-choicers who are all up in rage about this: Nobody who has abortion coverage now, will see it dropped because of this amendment, and you're an idiot if you think it is going to be. The rider will be available to any prochoicer who thinks ahead- not that many of them do since they've utterly failed to make the connection between *having sex, as a prayer to the gods for fertility* and *having children* to begin with. Not that it is any great loss to you *DINKs* to pay $400 for a night of sex in comparison to us *breeders* who spend the next 18 years paying an average of $700/month for the same act, and no insurance covers parenthood.

Bunch of hypocrites and idiots who want to keep me, specifically, from getting new legislation that would allow me into the insurance market to begin with.
Creative Commons License
Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at http://outsidetheaustisticasylum.blogspot.com.