Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Right to Choose (and the Consequences That Follow)

You can't have a federal election without bringing it up.
It's been 43 years since Roe v. Wade, and we're still talking about it. Abortion is legal, and has been for a very long time, and yet we are STILL talking about it.
And now I'm going to talk about it too.

The argument that a woman has the right to choose what does or does not happen to her body is a very compelling one. I don't believe there is anyone out there who believes that another individual should dictate what happens to a woman's body.

But it's not just a woman's body, is it? It's the woman and the life she is carrying inside of it.

But let's go back to the right to choose. I don't disagree with it. In fact, that very strong libertarian side of me that hates over-legislating things, wants to say it's none of my business, and let everyone choose.

Until I remember the innocent life on the inside.

But that right to choose. How can you argue with that? How can you argue that a woman must remain pregnant when she doesn't want the baby? It does seem unfair and almost cruel.

Until you remember the atrocity you are going to commit on the tiny body growing inside the woman.

But again, it's her right to choose, isn't it?

It is. She got to choose to sex. She chose to engage in an act that had consequences. She chose to engage in a life-creating act. And she has to live with those consequences.

Life is not fair. Life is often cruel. We make choices all the time, but we rarely get to determine the consequences that follow. Especially when the consequences involve other parties.

Like that little life growing inside of her.

I absolutely believe in a woman's right to choose. But she also has the right to live with the consequences of that decision. And that consequence is that she created a new life. 

(And don't ever tell an adoption advocate, who comes from a family with many adopted members, that it's not fair to make the woman have a baby she didn't want. There will always be someone out there who does what the baby. Always.)

(Isn't it amazing how much money people will spend on a surrogate mother when there are other women out there aborting an unwanted pregnancy?)

As for the tangential arguments around abortion, such as Planned Parenthood. I have no problem admitting that Planned Parenthood does offer several valuable services to low income communities. But in no way, shape, or form, can I ever agree with federal tax dollars being spent to fund abortions. How can anyone justify that the government should be providing that service?

Insurance and birth control - if there is one thing I have learned in my past year of Obamacare nightmares, it is that you can always shop around for a different insurance provider. If the one your employer offers doesn't cover birth control, go get a different plan. And pay for the plan yourself. Because why on earth should anyone else have to pay for you to get birth control? And if you are going to argue that it should be a law that all insurance providers should cover birth control, they should also cover fertility treatments. And while I hate creating lots of laws to legislate every tiny thing, there is one law I would support- pregnancy and maternity leave should absolutely NOT be covered by disability. Since when was a pregnancy a disability? Maternity leave should be covered by all employers and insurance. In fact, I think the US needs to take a page from Denmark, Norway, and a few other countries, and actually pay mothers to take maternity leave. Why can't Social Security also go to mothers out on maternity leave? (And if you believe that the federal government should cover abortions at Planned Parenthood, why can't the federal government pay for the birth, instead of the death, of the baby?)

And one last thing- restrictions on abortions. If you are going to make such a major, drastic choice as to terminate a pregnancy, you should be educated on all of your options, by a qualified individual first. And if the woman is a minor, then, yes, she should have to have parental consent. If she still has to have a permission slip signed by her parents to ride the school bus, she should also have to have their permission to have an abortion.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to see teenage girls forced into pregnancies they don't want. So let's provide real sex education that isn't just about diseases and abstinence. (Although, let's face it, abstinence is a highly effective form of birth control.)

I am all for a woman's right to chose, and to live with the consequences. Which does mean that if her choice was taken from her, and she was forced into sex (rape, incest, abusers), then I have no problem with allowing that abortion. And if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, the mother has the right to chose between her own life and the life of the child. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Personal Manifesto

1. I no longer consider myself a Republican. I am definitely not a Democrat either. I am a bleeding heart conservative, if such a thing exists. I believe in and defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes Religious Freedom and the Second Amendment. I believe in gay rights. I believe in many programs that help the less fortunate. And I really hate big government and big business.
2. I believe citizens have the right to bear arms. I do. I have no problem with people owning firearms. However, I do not think ALL people are smart or sane enough to have one, and do, 100%, firmly, and without question, believe we need stricter gun controls. Gun permits and CCL's need to be determined by much more than a computer and a gun store owner. And they shouldn't be for life. They should have to be renewable, just like a driver's license.
3. I am all for stronger and more States' rights. Sure it means some states will get a little carried away with their legislation. (California, Massachusetts, and Illinois come to mind.) But as long as people have the right to pick up and move away, or vote out bad politicians, those problems will take care of themselves in time. (Everyone in Utah knows at least one Californian who has moved to UT to get away from the craziness of CA.)
4. I believe that as things currently stand, politics and representatives has put gay rights and religious liberty at odds with each other. I do not believe that it has to be that way. And I think that in time that will start to work itself out. I believe in gay rights. I believe in religious liberty. And I will work to help those two things work in harmony with each other.
5. Donald Trump is a complete arse.
6. I fully support the refugee movement. I live in one of the designated refugee towns. I am not in a situation where I can provide housing for someone. But I will absolutely give my time, skills, and money to assist refugees in whatever way I can.
7. Obamacare is a complete disaster. The state marketplaces are a complete disaster. Healthcare reform has been a complete disaster. And my opinions are based solely on my personal experiences using all of the above. I firmly believe we need more controls and safeguards. I believe the insurance system in this country is a complete crock. I do not think the government should run insurance. At.All.
8. There is a violence and narcissism problem in this country. And I believe the two things go hand in hand. The more narcissistic people become, the more they believe they have the right to violent, unchecked, harmful behavior. I don't know how this can be fixed or helped, but something needs to be done.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Sexual Revolution vs The Visual Revolution

Two distinct stories are making the viral Internet rounds this week. And they couldn't be more alike, or more different.

One is the video of a transgender girl (born male) opening up a box of hormones her mother bought for her. After years of therapy, a psychiatrist has prescribed the estrogen, and with tears in her eyes, the young teen was overcome with gratitude to finally get her wish.

The video has gone viral, with help from celebrities like George Takei.

How touching it is.
And it is. It's hard not to feel the emotion and gratitude of the video. Yeah for transgender! Yeah for the new sexual evolution!

And then there is this other story...

"Psychologist Blinds Woman With Drain Cleaner - Because She Wanted to be Blind!"

Jewel Shuping has dreamed of being blind since she was three or four years old. She would walk the halls at night with her eyes closed. By the time she was six, she was comfortable "being blind."

She has always believed that she was meant to be blind. She should have been born blind. It was her greatest desire to be blind.

She saw a therapist for years for Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a condition in which able-bodied people believe they are "meant" to be disabled. Her desire to be blind was so strong that in 2006 she decided to blind herself - by having a sympathetic psychologist pour DRANO into her eyes.

Most people feel what Shuping did was crazy. How could she mutilate herself like that? How could a therapist actually think this was the right thing to do?

But it begs the question- why is it okay for transgender persons like Caitlin Jenner to permanently alter their bodies? (And even herald them as heroes!) But Shuping is considered crazy? Isn't sexual reassignment surgery just as damaging and permanent as pouring Drano in your eyes?

Why is one okay and the other not?

Is it because one is about sexual desires? Why is sex okay? The thing that must be fought for?

Where is the line between "she should get what she wants" and "she's crazy?"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Carly Nails it on Religion and the Presidency

What I like about the late night talk shows is that the hosts ask the leading question, and let the guest give their answer. Unlike daytime shows or news that ask a biased leading question, and then try to trip up the guest as they answer. Sad when it's the entertainment shows that actually allow the audience to hear what the guest has to say. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Going Team Fiorina

It's still early to really, 100%, completely go all-in with a candidate. After all, there is still way too much time left for skeletons and dark marks to appear. Unless, of course, you are Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and you are your own skeleton.
But as much as you can get behind a candidate this early on, I've decided I'm Team Fiorina.
I like Carly Fiorina's stance on abortion. I feel it's level, fair, and moral.

She's strong on education, and practices what she preaches. She has a master's degree. "You know one of the things this president loves to do is to distract us so I think he is trying to distract us from the fact that we have too many failing high schools in this country by offering community college for free. If we want to educate our children let us make sure that every parent has a choice and a chance to educate their children so that they can fulfill their potential." (Source: Forbes Magazine on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 24, 2015)

Religious liberty is one of the most important topics on my list in this election cycle. Again, I think Fiorina has one of the most level, honest, and balanced answers to the gay marriage questions.

And personally, this interview on CBS This Morning sums up everything I feel about biased media questions and reporting. She completely nails exactly how I feel about voting and women. (And I can't stand Rush Limbaugh!)

So put me down in the Carly Fiorina column. I'm sold!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why I Care Less and Less About Trump

I'm starting to care less and less about Donald Trump running for president. Why? Precedent.
It's taken me a while to remember who his predecessors are, but thankfully, he does have them.

Donald Trump isn't the first three ring circus candidate we've seen ride a very early wave. And all of them have crash and burned before things got real.

Take Rudy Giuliani for instance. Seven years since he ran for president it's hard to remember he was ever a contender. He was fun, he was exciting, and he was an "alternative" candidate to the usual suits, not unlike Trump. But after the fun of the shock and awe wore off, people remembered what they really want in a leader, and it isn't tantalizing soundbites.

Remember in 2011 when Rick Perry was so far ahead of Mitt Romney that no one thought Romney had a prayer?

And then there is the distant memory of Ross Perot. Good old Ross Perot with his pie charts. I was still in high school back then, and a die hard Republican. After watching Perot on TV with his charts and diagrams, I couldn't wait to turn 18 just to vote for him. (Alas, I turned 18 in January, and missed my chance to vote for him by just 2 months.) I interned on Capitol Hill (as a high school intern- really, it's a thing) that year. The congressman I worked for was firmly in the Perot camp. After all, his district had some of the strongest Perot turn out. I can still remember Perot personally calling the congressman one day, and somehow I answered the phone. I put Ross Perot on hold and sprinted down the hall to grab the congressman who was on his way to a meeting. It was the only time I've ever seen him look the tiniest bit frazzled or excited as he sprinted his way back to answer that call.

Anyway, you recall how Perot ended, right? In a Clinton presidency. Perot pulled just enough of the GOP base away (18%), that Clinton beat Bush the First. (Of course, "Read my lips, no new taxes," didn't help Bush much either.)

But more importantly, Perot ended as a third party so-called Reformer candidate. Perot and Trump have a lot in common- both are wealthy businessman, and both like to speak in plain, blunt terms, and don't worry about political correctness. My biggest fear is Trump will follow Perot's footsteps, and cause more harm than good to his party in the long run.

But maybe Trump will stay true to the Republican party? Maybe he he won't. Only time will tell. But precedent tells us he probably won't stand the test of time. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Polls (Why You Shouldn't Believe Most of What You Read)

Tonight I was stupid enough to answer the landline for an unknown number. It was a political pollster call. They said it would only take 2-3 minutes so I said I'd answer their questions.
That was the first lie they told me. (The call lasted nearly 30 minutes. I nearly hung up halfway through.)
They didn't identify who they were calling on behalf of. If they did, they said it so fast I didn't hear it. It was a loud, noisy call, the kind where you hold the phone 6 inches away from your ear so it doesn't get blasted.
The first few questions were generic- name, income, zip code, party affiliation, who did you vote for last time. They asked a few predictable questions like "If the national campaign came down to Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton who would you vote for?"
But then they asked what month I was born in. And tada, my birth month would be answering questions just about Hillary. And this is where things got weird. And by weird, I mean so completely, inappropriately biased, that I had to decline answering a few. All of the questions were about Hillary and the email server. "The right-wing media has disseminated false information claiming there has been criminal activity. Hillary has done everything she can to be open and forthcoming about her emails, and has done nothing criminal. Does this make you 1. More Likely to Vote Hillary, 2. Somewhat Likely to Vote Hillary, 3. Somewhat Unlikely to Vote Hillary, or 4. Not at All Likely to Vote Hillary?" Uh, wait. I disagree with the statement altogether. I don't believe the right-wing media has disseminated false information, or that Hillary has been forthcoming with her emails. I can't answer that question!
There was never a question about "Do you believe anything Hillary says?"
There were similar questions about "The Republicans have painted Hillary as untrustworthy. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for a Republican?"
Uh, again, I don't agree with the statement, so I can't continue!
By the end of the phone call I realized yet again, how little you can trust a poll. I keep seeing something on Facebook about how Ben Carson beat Trump in a poll. But the truth is, he beat him by less than a tenth of point, in a poll of just 405 registered GOP Iowa caucus voters. So really, they tied, once you consider the margin of error. And Carson isn't even remotely close to Trump in any of the other polls out there.
In other words, Carson isn't really a threat to Trump. Not that I don't wish he was. I'd love to see anyone give Trump a run for his money. I'm not a big fan.
But I digress.
The point here is that you really shouldn't believe most polls. Sometime next week there will be very favorable poll results announced for Hillary. But only because the poll was so slanted in her favor, that they can't help but spin the results their way.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Polygamists Use Gay Marriage as a Defense or Right

The infamous polygamist Kody Brown family of the TV show “Sister Wives” has done what conservatives (particularly Mormons) have feared would happen ever since the gay marriage debate began to take hold. They used the same-sex marriage rulings to argue the legality of polygamy.  
The Browns have used this argument before in lower courts with some success. That includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas.
In short, the Browns’ lawyer is arguing for the decriminalization or rejection of morality legislation. For the same reasons homosexuality was considered immoral and illegal, polygamy has as well. Now that the gay marriage contingent has convinced the world that this was an archaic belief, the polygamists want to make the same argument. If the argument on behalf of gay marriage is that any two people who want to be married should be allowed to do so, why can't polygamists legally marry? Polygamists don't marry one wife to another. They marry the woman to the man. It's still just a marriage of one woman to one man, but the man happens to also be married to another woman. If all parties are clear on the facts, using the gay marriage defense, why shouldn't it be legal? 
"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal.
When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling. The Browns want the want the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Waddoups' ruling. The state has argued that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the Browns have not suffered from the law, because they haven't been prosecuted. (They were just threatened with lawsuits and run out of the state.)
It's an interesting legal argument. Why shouldn't polygamy be legalized?