26 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #369: Keep off the Grass

Marijuana probably ought to be legalized, if only for the sake of consistency with the legality of alcoholic beverages, since it is thought to be no more harmful or habit-forming than liquor (although some experts fear that the former is increasing in potency); I've no intention of smoking it myself or of crusading for its wider legality, however, since there are things that this country needs far more than legal marijuana, e.g., a different president. (On the other hand, if we spoke enough weed, perhaps we’ll not care who is our president.)

17 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #368: Poll Results that Get the Gall Up (Part Two)

In our judicial system, courts are under obligation to follow precedent (i.e., previous rulings on the same subject), even when the precedent is wrong, as it was in the case of Roe v. Wade and that of the accompanying Doe v. Bolton; this makes it extremely unlikely that those decisions will ever be overturned, and, consequently, extremely likely that any laws that do more than regulate the inducing of abortion (and even many of those that do only that) will be invalidated by the courts.  Very recently, a judge indeed blocked a North Dakota "fetal heartbeat" law from going into effect at the beginning of August, writing that the legislation is unconstitutional "based on the United States [sic] Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade from 1973 ... and the progeny of cases that have followed."  Since our highest judicial authority has held that the US Constitution guarantees a right to murder unborn children, the one foreseeable way in which the inducing of abortion could be made illegal in the USA would be to amend the US Constitution—but, Gallup has made surveys on this subject also, asking people whether they support "a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all circumstances, except when necessary to save the life of the mother".  As you can see from the results reproduced below, opinion has trended in precisely the wrong direction; the sole hope for anti-foeticidists is that opinion has reversed over the eight years since the latest poll was taken.

No opinion

2005 Nov 11-13
2003 Jan 10-12
1996 Jul 25-28
1992 Jan 16-19
Opposition to induced abortion has always been most pronounced among religious persons, who also tend to be the most fervent supporters of what we call "American democracy".  I wonder, therefore, whether it ever occurs to my fellow pro-lifers that, were this country not a "democracy" (accurately, a republic with near-universal adult suffrage), foeticide could have been outlawed decades ago, and that, so long as we are a "democracy", it almost unquestionably will never be outlawed.  I'm not advocating overthrow of the government; I just challenge people to stop being so smugly conventional, and think about whether that government is really so wonderful as everyone assumes it to be.

13 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #367: Poll Results that Get the Gall Up (Part One)

I recall hearing, in the late 1980's or early 1990's, that the majority of the people in the USA opposed (induced) abortion but were ambivalent about what ought to substitute for it.  Remembering this made me curious about what I've heard more recently, and which seemed quite inconsistent with the ongoing collapse of our moral standards: that the USA is becoming pro-life.  I did research at Gallup.org and learned, among other things, that the difference between the percentage of the populace describing themselves as "pro-life" and the percentage calling themselves "pro-choice" underwent a 32-point shift from 1995 to May 2009: from 33 percent "pro-life" and 56 percent "pro-choice" in 1995 to 51 percent "pro-life" and 42 percent "pro-choice" in May 2009.  This looks like a revolution in opinion, but "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are just labels.  On the five occasions when the Gallupers have posed the question "Thinking more generally, do you think abortion should generally [Note the use of this word.—Doman] be legal or generally illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy?", the results (from Gallup.org) were as follows. (You'll have to "click" the image if you want to see the entire thing.)
From the first to the latest survey, therefore, the disparity between the should-be-legal and the should-be-illegal positions decreased, in regard to the first trimester of pregnancy, from +34 to +30 percentage points; in regard to the other two trimesters, the disparity increased from -39 to -37 and from -69 to -66 percentage points.  These results suggest that what has really changed is not public attitude but rather the concept of "pro-life".  Indeed, when I read one of Gallup.org's articles (In U.S., Nonreligious, Postgrads [sic] Are Highly "Pro-Choice") for a separate purpose, I found support for this hypothesis: "While the poll ["Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll", of 3-6 May 2012] found a significant decline in self-identification as pro-choice, Americans' [sic] more basic views of the legality of abortion were unchanged this year." ("Significant decline in self-identification as pro-choice" alludes to the previous survey's tie between the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" camps, each with 47 percentage points.  The table below, from Gallup.org, shows the result for each occasion on which Gallup has asked those polled "With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-life or pro-choice?"; note that the 27-30 December 2012 survey, taken less than eight months after the percentage of "pro-choice" respondents had fallen to a record-low 41, registers a 13-point swing in the opposite direction.)
The object of this posting is not to discourage my fellow pro-lifers by showing them how much work still needs to be done; rather, it is to caution them against assuming that fœticide can be outlawed completely (or even close to completely) by working through the "democratic" process.  If you want to achieve any kind of success, you must be realistic about your goals, and it seems very unrealistic to hope for anything more than extremely limited victories such as July's legislation in Texas.  Anyway, public opinion is not the only obstacle to ending the tragedy of induced abortion, as you will see in a future uncommon commentary.

10 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #366: Obama Doesn't Make de Grade

Previously demanding military action for what he said to be the necessary purpose of "degrading" and "punishing" the Assad regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons on 21 August, President Obombast now says that he'll ask Congress to delay the potential missile-strikes for the sake of the proposal, accepted by Syria, to place that country's poison-gas arsenal under "international control"; on Monday, he justified this latest deviation in his "policy" toward Syria by saying that he "fervently" hoped for peace and that a diplomatic solution is "overwhelmingly my preference."  But, wait a minute: Even if this alternate option should actually result in the dismantling of Syria's (already-used) chemical weaponry, how will it "degrade" and "punish" the Assad government for what Obama's administration contends was an intolerable crossing of the "red line"?  From the outset, I've considered prospective US intervention in the Syrian civil war to be madness, and so the purpose of this uncommon commentary is not to argue that Obama is wrong to retreat from his tough talk; rather, it is to note that his reaction to this development provides further evidence that our president is a clown whose bluster means nothing.  In the title of this posting, I made a play on the word "degrade"; I could make another by saying that Obama's approach to foreign relations rates a "D-grade", but the truth is that it deserves nothing higher than an "F".

08 September 2013

Blatant Self-Promotion #3

Tomorrow—indeed, all day tomorrow—I'll be interviewed by The (Christian) Authors Show about my "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" novella Vinland Viking The interview lasts for no more than 15 minutes, yet, as I've indicated, it will be The Christian Authors Show's only broadcast on 9/9; having no familiarity with "internet radio", I don't know whether this means that the interview will air some 96 times (four times each hour for 24 hours) or that you can simply hear it "on demand" throughout the day at www.TheChristianAuthorsShow.com. (I recommend that you do spend the entire day listening to it instead of the congressional debates on whether to attack Syria.)

06 September 2013

Miscellaneous Musing #58

Considering how many foreign interventions the USA has bungled since World War II (and especially over the past decade), I shan't be at all surprised should isolationism make a comeback; in fact, I'll be surprised if it doesn't.

05 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #365: President IBombYa

As you may recall, our conniver-in-chief and his administration promised in 2011 that our action regarding the Libyan civil war would last for "days, not weeks", and then parlayed our rôle in the creation of a mere "no-fly" zone over Benghazi into a de-facto alliance with Gadhafi's chiefly Islamist enemies, which lasted for months; now, they're vowing that our potential strikes against Syria will be "limited" and that they will not lead to "regime change".  If they betrayed us on Libya, why should we believe that they won't do the same on Syria?

04 September 2013

Uncommon Commentary #364: Credibility on the (Red) Line?

A recent editorial in National [sic] Review magazine read, in part:
The outrage of our allies and the logic of the president’s own statements make it nearly impossible for him to escape acting this time.  If he did somehow find a way out, it would dangerously erode the credibility of the United States [of America, presumably].  The president can’t repeatedly make threats that prove utterly empty without inviting every bad actor in the world to laugh off whatever we say in the future, in potentially much more dire and important circumstances.
Note that whoever penned this editorial is not commending Obama's handling of the situation in Syria, but, rather, arguing that his mishandling of the same has put US "credibility" in jeopardy and thus made action against Assad's regime necessary!  This must be the first time that anyone has used the ineptitude of his country's commander-in-chief as a rationale for intervention in a foreign conflict.

Uncommon Commentary #363: Bombing, in More than One Sense of the Word

More thoughts related to the prospective US action versus Syria:
  1. Do you remember when our previous president was accused of lying this country's way into war?  Accused by many of the very men who are now telling us what they know to be untrue: that we have a "national security interest" in attacking Syrian government forces?
  2. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Yo'Mama administration still has not effected its plan, made early this year, to arm the Syrian opposition with small arms and ammunition; one reason posited for the delay is that "the Obama administration is concerned about creating an even worse crisis in the country by tipping the balance in favor of the rebels".  If that concern is genuine, then the Obamists are right to have it, but I thought that the whole idea of arming the insurgents was to give them a fighting chance against the Assad regime.  If we fear that supplying them with weapons might tip the "balance" in their favor, why even do it?

02 September 2013

Blatant Self-Promotion #2

A week from now, I'll be interviewed by The (Christian) Authors Show about my "Christian historical fantasy-adventure" novella Vinland Viking.  The interview runs for no more than 15 minutes, yet, it seems, will be run continuously for an entire day on 9/9.  I don't think that you need to hear it 96 times (4 times each hour for 24 hours), but you can hear the broadcast as often or as seldom as you please at www.TheChristianAuthorsShow.com.