WaPo Bails Out Obama!

Okay, I’m sort of joking with that headline. I’m giddy and need a break from my project.

To be fair, Robert J. Samuelson, whom I like, does try to take a constructively critical view to President Obama’s stimulus:

But in practice, the stimulus could disappoint. Parts of the House package look like a giant political slush fund, with money sprinkled to dozens of programs. There’s $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund and $15.6 billion for increased Pell Grants to college students. Some of these proposals, whatever their other merits, won’t produce many new jobs.

But the end quote is still a bailout: The success of Obama’s policies lies, to a large extent, outside his hands.

“Don’t blame Obama” when we’re in bad shape a year or two or three from now. It’s not going to be his fault. It will be everyone else’s. And George W. Bush’s time in office, and his little dog too.

Are there better plans out there? I know there is a proposed Obama-Limbaugh Bipartisan Stimulus Plan. Yeah. That will be taken seriously. Anyone else? Anyone? Come on, there has to be a better plan than “spend a trillion and raise taxes.”

Iceland has collapsed; it’s a “global” crisis.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman is doing his part to serve (with some dishonest flackery) while others line up for their share of the dubious “stimulus”.

And I’m still waiting for an answer to this question: If we’re broke, why are we spending taxpayer money on overseas abortion? Why is this an urgent priority? How does this in any way help or stimulate the US economy?

Transparency: The Bush White House used to release transcripts of the White House Press Briefings. Those do not presently seem to be continuing under President Obama.

Week 1, Michael Novak:

These decisions humiliated those who voted for President Obama because they had been assured, and assured others, that the new president would take seriously the culture of life. It is now clear that the new president was willing to allow those who risked their moral reputations to support him to feel in retrospect like liars. E.J. Dionne expressly warned the president-elect against not to issue these early executive orders.

A lot of pro-life Catholics voted for Obama believing he was actually was going to work with them on abortion. It’s too sad to “heh” over.

No one is as Irish as Barack Obama:

O’ Leary! O’ Reilly!
O’Hare and O’ Hara!
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama!
H/T

And the savvy marketers get a jump on St. Paddy’s Day! – correction – this is not new. Althouse had it back in November. She’s always on top of things!

Okay, back to work.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    Yes, we absolutely should be rescinding the Mexico City rule (which is not, no matter how cleverly the Right frames it, tantamount to funding abortion overseas). The Mexico City rule didn’t supersede some enormous order put into effect by the Liberal Conspiracy that says we need to specifically allocate money to abortions. There are a large number of foreign aid programs sponsored by the United States which provide necessary family-planning services to developing nations. Many of these organizations provide basic healthcare in addition to family planning. These organizations can and do incorporate abstinence and contraceptive use as part of responsible family planning. The Mexico City rule actively denies funding to these necessary humanitarian groups if they even colloquially bring up abortion as an okay thing, unfairly denying all manner of aid to people who need it.

    It removes all credibility to frame this as an economic issue when the Reagan administration obviously intended it to eliminate all debate regarding the moral crisis of abortion.

    [ That is a lucid and well-thought out response but while very smart, dances around the fact that none of these organizations will lose a scintilla of aid - and none of these people will miss out on needed health care - if they simply leave off the option of abortion. My understanding of the Mexico City plan is that contraception IS allowable as part of the discussion on family planning, but the line is drawn on abortion. To me, this is and imperfect but not insensible line, at all. And the heart of my question is quite valid and not at all lacking in credibility. Should we, when we are in financial straits and need to seriously look at how we spend our money, be using taxpayer money to fund overseas abortions, which will now be a part of that foreign aid? Further should we - in an era where more Americans are feeling ambiguous about abortion in general with (if I recall correctly) only around 35% of Americans finding it "morally acceptable" - be insisting on taxpayer money going to abortion? I suggest we should not. As long as the medical aid an assistance is still going to impoverished nations, I am at a loss to understand why we MUST fund abortions. Contrary to the rhetoric of some on the extremes (I am not calling you an extremist) an abortion is not the equivalent of a tooth-pulling, an appendectomy or the removal of an extra toe. It is bringing violent death to a living being, and that violence is perpetrated deep inside a woman's own being. It is not a good thing. -admin]

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  • Scott H

    As the Anchoress says, why are we paying for this? Even for those who believe that abortion is a ‘medical issue’, and not a moral issue, wouldn’t you rather see that _taxpayer money_ go to fund abortions _inside_ this country (i.e., to benefit those who actually _paid_ that money) than to fund abortions outside of this country?

    The mind boggles. Even Kant agrees (and believes more emphatically than theological types) that charity coerced is no virtue. I can at least see the argument that taxpayer funds should go to assist those taxpayers. But how can one possibly defend using taxpayer funds to assist non-taxpayers _while leaving those taxpayers without services_? Note that this ignores all moral issues with the ‘procedure’ at hand (abortion), and only with the moral issues related to the usage of public funds.

    I simply do not understand how one can take this stance unless one presumes that public funds are actually the property of the state, and not the people. That presumption is also known as socialism in most circles.

  • tim maguire

    The sad fact of the matter is that no issue touching on abortion can be seperated from abortion politics. Whether you are talking about fetal stem cell research, which gets the lion’s share of the press despite showing far less promise than adult stem cell research, or funding overseas abortions with money better spent domestically, if it advances the “pro-choice” side of the debate, certain groups will back it to the hilt.

  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    Regardless of how easy it is to do, there is no legitimate reason why these organizations should be forced to leave off the option of abortion. It’s very easy to claim that abortion isn’t necessary in the Western world, where we have access to proper education about contraceptive usage and abstinence, but this isn’t the case in places where children have few, if any, educational opportunities, and are lucky to learn how to add two-digit numbers. Take Haiti, for instance, where educational opportunities are so poor that restavek children are commonly given away by their parents to wealthy landowners who promise them schooling as long as they serve as slaves until they’re grown. In places where parents believe that being a slave gives their children a better chance at success than being a free person, the preemptive education about contraceptive use just isn’t there. People living in these circumstances don’t learn until it’s too late; they either go to town on their reproductive organs with sharp pointy things or they themselves have children that they can’t take care of, that are given away to slavers who might want a maid or cook, or they might want an ambulatory vagina to sell by the thrust in a backwater barn.

    If we’re going to truly give foreign aid to be altruistic, then foreign aid must be given with no strings attached. As long as medical standards are being met, other locales should be free to set their own standards governing the moral permissibility of abortion. The United States seems to have serious problems acknowledging the sovereignty of people abroad. This includes not just the sovereignty of foreign governments, but individual sovereignty over how they choose to interpret their culture’s moral standards. Except in extreme cases, such as genocide or mass starvation, it is not the job of any country to interpret moral standards for any other. What we’re doing is tantamount to PETA firebombing labs that perform animal research.

    Unfortunately, this misguided mentality of “altruism with a catch” initiated by the World Bank and the IMF half a century ago has done little to engender good feelings for the United States and its citizens, and this trend has simply continued and intensified at the hands of Western governments, spawning phrases like “neocolonialism” that don’t exactly represent the United States’s foreign policy positively. It puts developing nations in a position where they have a hand that feeds saying “you need us to survive, so you’re going to play by our rules and if you don’t like it you can starve, suffer and die,” and it’s exactly this type of coercive force that allows people like Hugo Chavez to gain the influence that they do by biting that hand.

    If we’re going to offer aid, we should offer aid. Anything else is forcing the hand of someone as a power play, and we should be forthright in representing it as such.

    Scott H, we _do_ have taxpayer money funding abortions inside the country. Every single hospital that performs abortions inside the country and receives state or federal funding is essentially receiving funding for abortions, aren’t they? What we’re talking about outside our borders is absolutely no different. Funds aren’t being earmarked for abortions, but organizations who not only perform, but even recommend, abortions, are being denied money for vital health care.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com/ Bender B. Rodriguez

    Misogynist –

    Would you agree or disagree that if we were to fund and push “family planning services” in foreign countries, including Muslim countries, that that would constitute the United States dictating to those countries?

  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    I think that those countries have the ability and the right to make their own laws concerning what is or is not acceptable practice in their sovereign lands, and if abortion or contraception is illegal in those countries, then we don’t have the right to leverage our economic muscle and exploit the suffering of their people in order to force the debate in whatever direction we please. So if abortion was illegal in some country, and we were knowingly funding organizations that performed back-alley black market abortions, then yes, I think that would be stepping out of line.

  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    I tried to post this a few hours ago but it seems to have gotten lost:

    Regardless of how easy it is to do, there is no legitimate reason why these organizations should be forced to leave off the option of abortion. It’s very easy to claim that abortion isn’t necessary in the Western world, where we have access to proper education about contraceptive usage and abstinence, but this isn’t the case in places where children have few, if any, educational opportunities, and are lucky to learn how to add two-digit numbers. Take Haiti, for instance, where educational opportunities are so poor that restavek children are commonly given away by their parents to wealthy landowners who promise them schooling as long as they serve as slaves until they’re grown. In places where parents believe that being a slave gives their children a better chance at success than being a free person, the preemptive education about contraceptive use just isn’t there. People living in these circumstances don’t learn until it’s too late; they either go to town on their reproductive organs with sharp pointy things or they themselves have children that they can’t take care of, that are given away to slavers who might want a maid or cook, or they might want an ambulatory vagina to sell by the thrust in a backwater barn.

    If we’re going to truly give foreign aid to be altruistic, then foreign aid must be given with no strings attached. As long as medical standards are being met, other locales should be free to set their own standards governing the moral permissibility of abortion. The United States seems to have serious problems acknowledging the sovereignty of people abroad. This includes not just the sovereignty of foreign governments, but individual sovereignty over how they choose to interpret their culture’s moral standards. Except in extreme cases, such as genocide or mass starvation, it is not the job of any country to interpret moral standards for any other. What we’re doing is tantamount to PETA firebombing labs that perform animal research.

    Unfortunately, this misguided mentality of “altruism with a catch” initiated by the World Bank and the IMF half a century ago has done little to engender good feelings for the United States and its citizens, and this trend has simply continued and intensified at the hands of Western governments, spawning phrases like “neocolonialism” that don’t exactly represent the United States’s foreign policy positively. It puts developing nations in a position where they have a hand that feeds saying “you need us to survive, so you’re going to play by our rules and if you don’t like it you can starve, suffer and die,” and it’s exactly this type of coercive force that allows people like Hugo Chavez to gain the influence that they do by biting that hand.

    If we’re going to offer aid, we should offer aid. Anything else is forcing the hand of someone as a power play, and we should be forthright in representing it as such.

    Scott H, we _do_ have taxpayer money funding abortions inside the country. Every single hospital that performs abortions inside the country and receives state or federal funding is essentially receiving funding for abortions, aren’t they? What we’re talking about outside our borders is absolutely no different. Funds aren’t being earmarked for abortions, but organizations who not only perform, but even recommend, abortions, are being denied money for vital health care.

    [Is "altruims with a catch" really not altruism? Last night I was at Adoration at a church where the "soup kitchen" is open three times a week for folks who need a meal. While I was at prayer, a man came in, washed his face in the holy water (we do have a bathroom he could have cleaned up in) and then dried it on the American flag hanging nearby. The church's altruism would be just as complete, even if it told him clearly, "you're welcome to eat here, but not to wash your face in the holy water or dry it on the flag." For that matter, the church's altruism would is just as complete if they insist that the people eating in their kitchen maintain non-violent, non-aggressive behavior. Altruistic endeavors can certainly come with rules of how the altruism may be received. Giving is a good thing, but it should never require the "giver" to surrender his ethics or morals (and yes, not respecting your own taxpayer's concerns about a moral issue is itself "a moral question"). The only "giver" I know who surrendered everything, including his own right to justice and moral-treatment was Jesus Christ. And he had something else in mind, which is why he allowed it. ;-) - admin]

  • http://www.madtasty.com Misogynist

    I feel the need to address your earlier comment as well, Anchoress — what people find “morally acceptable” is only superficially relevant to the rule of law. If a family lived in an isolated rural cabin in the wilderness on a bitter winter night of 20 below, and a homeless man shows up freezing to death at their front door and needs to spend the night in order to survive, I feel that it is morally reprehensible to not shelter the man. However, that does not imply that I believe everyone should have a legal responsibility to do so. Likewise, there are a number of people (Judith Jarvis Thomson comes to mind) who believe that abortion is morally inappropriate, but that morals shouldn’t be legislated in that manner and that people have a right to be selfish within reason.

    [Well, as it happens, misogynist, I am not one of those extremists who believes that women who have abortions should face criminal prosecution - I also do not believe that "overturning Roe v Wade" will solve the issue of abortion, partly because the issue will simply go to the states and most states will approve them, but also because women will have abortions whether they are legal or not; they always have and always will until what is broken in the human heart can be healed.

    But to say "morals" should not be legislated is mistaken thinking. Slavery was immoral and was rightly legislated out (although there is terribly slavery still extant in the world). Murder is immoral; beating children is immoral; mistreating animals is immoral - and these things all have legislation attached to them, and none of us would argue against those laws. "Well, those are clear and unambiguous moral dictates," you may argue. But others may argue that "mistreating animals" is as morally ambiguous as "having an abortion" because the animals are not human and unaware of their own existence.

    For me, abortion is not a morally ambiguous concept, but I accept that it is for other people. And to that my answer will always be, "if you are ambiguous, you will always be safer erring on the side of life." And for that reason I cannot fathom how it is in America's interest to pay for or promote abortions overseas. Good discussion, eh? - admin]

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