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The Comprehensive Case Against Barack Obama

Over at Hot Air.

The reason to vote for John McCain? He's not Barack Obama. It's sufficient for me.



Chris Gerrib wrote:

To summarize, the case against Obama is:
Radical Associations
Foreign Policy
Distain for the Heartland
Race Card

My vote on these issues are:
Abortion - not sure I care either way, but the "partial birth" claim is incorrect.

Taxes - 39.5% marginal tax rate is not radical

Radical Associations - complete BS

Foreign Policy - I actually like his foreign policy

Distain for the Heartland - also BS. For the record, we have loads of rednecks in Illinois, and Obama carried 90% of the counties in Illinois.

Race Card - I find it difficult to argue that race is not a factor in this election.

Resume - yep, it is light.

One out of seven's not so bad ;-)

Rand Simberg wrote:

Abortion - not sure I care either way, but the "partial birth" claim is incorrect.

In what respect?

Chris, this isn't an argument meant to appeal to people like you. It's for wavering conservatives and independents.

Chris Gerrib wrote:

The bill in question was being pushed by a hard-line anti-abortion group, and was structured to prevent any (or most) abortions.

I realize that you're trying to persuade waivering conservatives and independents. Some of the facts you're using are (in my view) incorrect.

Rand Simberg wrote:

The bill in question was being pushed by a hard-line anti-abortion group, and was structured to prevent any (or most) abortions.


Are you saying that Senator Obama doesn't support partial-birth abortion? If not, then what difference does it make? Because that's the point.

Cecil Trotter wrote:

"39.5% marginal tax rate is not radical"

No, radical is too gentle a term. It's is confiscatory. It is theft.

Chris Gerrib wrote:

Rand - I'm a member of the NRA, and I frequently become aware of bills proposed by hardline anti-gun folks that, on the surface, seem reasonable, but when you dig into them, they are not. I suspect something similar happened with the abortion bill in question.

Although, in the final analysis, I'm pro-choice enough not to care what the details of Obama's view, just that he's not going to restrict it.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Although, in the final analysis, I'm pro-choice enough not to care what the details of Obama's view, just that he's not going to restrict it.

Again, you are not the target audience. The target audience is people who do oppose partial-birth abortion, and the notion that Obama would vote for or sign even a "reasonable" bill restricting it is ludicrous, considering that he did in fact oppose the "born alive" bill.

Bill Maron wrote:

What part of he is willing to let a BABY that has survived a botched abortion die don't you understand? If you have kids and think this position is okay, you shouldn't have had them. If you don't have kids and think this is okay, don't reproduce.

What I gather from Chris is that he is putting his hands over his ears and saying, "nanananana". I say this because no self-respecting NRA member would want Obama as President. He WILL come after your guns just as soon as he gives away your money.

Radical associations are not complete BS but it's obvious you are so in the tank for Obama, he would have to kill your mother on national television before you would not vote for him.

Bob wrote:


Obama has addressed your question many times. Here is what he said, off the cuff, in the last debate:

If it sounds incredible that I would vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant, that's because it's not true. The -- here are the facts.

There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.

And the Illinois Medical Society, the organization of doctors in Illinois, voted against it. Their Hippocratic Oath would have required them to provide care, and there was already a law in the books.

With respect to partial-birth abortion, I am completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life, and this did not contain that exception.

And I attempted, as many have in the past, of including that so that it is constitutional. And that was rejected, and that's why I voted present, because I'm willing to support a ban on late-term abortions as long as we have that exception.

The last point I want to make on the issue of abortion. This is an issue that -- look, it divides us. And in some ways, it may be difficult to -- to reconcile the two views.

But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, "We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby."

Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that's where we can find some common ground, because nobody's pro-abortion. I think it's always a tragic situation.

We should try to reduce these circumstances.

Anonymous wrote:

More conservatives flipping:

Chris Gerrib wrote:

Bill Maron - I'm not going to argue abortion bills with you. My view is that abortion should be between a woman, her doctor and her God. "Taking my guns" is so not on the Democratic radar that it's not an issue either.

As Rand says, this post was not intended for me, so I'll let you folks have it.

Rand Simberg wrote:

More conservatives flipping

You ignorantly (and probably stupidly, too) confuse Republicans with conservatives, Anonymous Moron.

Carl Pham wrote:

My view is that abortion should be between a woman, her doctor and her God.

Really? No place for the father of the child at all? Or the child's grandparents?

That's frankly disgusting. You might as well support a father's right to sell his children into slavery over the impassioned objections of their mother.

It's a child, a life, not a piece of property.

And please spare me the bogus metaphors about imprisonment or sexual slavery, or the deceptive meme about "forcing" a woman to carry a child. Almost no woman gets pregnant except through a voluntary act which she knows very well may have that effect, if she doesn't take care. The only "force" involved, if she then must carry it at least to term before giving it away, is that she's not allowed, at the cost of a life, to back out of a decision she doesn't like. Considering we don't let people back out of mortgages they don't like, or abandon infants who squawk too much at night, or let soldiers change their mind about signing up the first time they're fired upon, I'm unsympathetic.

Bob wrote:


How much would technology be game-changer for you, with respect to your views on abortion?

The classic example is the artificial womb. What if a woman didn't abort her unwanted fetus, but gave it up for adoption before it was born by giving it to an adoption agency, which would care for it in an artificial womb?

Another example is cryogenics -- there hae been nearly 400,000 fertilized eggs frozen in the last 30 years - each of which, I asssume, you consider not just "a life", but "a child", and a living child at that. (source: I don't know what their shelf life is, but lets assume that it either is indefinite, or near-future tech will allow it to be indefinite. If a woman doesn't want to have a baby, do you have any objection to her undergoing a procedure similar to an abortion which preserves the fetus and deposits it in cryogenic storage. Custody/ownership (you choose) might be transfered to an adoption agency, or it might be maintained by the mother/parents. If custody/ownership is maintained by the mother (hopefully economies of scale would bring the maintainance price down), the baby might stay in storage for the lifetime of the mother, and custody/ownership would transfer to the mother/parents' heirs or assigned custodians upon both parents' death. This state of affairs might continue for generations, which might make a good hedge against genetic manipulation experiments gone awry.

Carl, do you have any problem with these sorts of futures?

Bob wrote:

Oh, if my reference to "hedges" is too utilitarian, please replace that with:
"this state of affairs might continue for generations, until the child's custodians raises the child as they think would be best for the child, as all good parents do."

Leland wrote:

I don't know about Carl, but I find the proposal disgusting. From the link:

Patients have designated only 2.8 percent (about 11,000 embryos) for research. The vast majority of frozen embryos are designated for future attempts at pregnancy.

So 11,000 lives should be sacrificed without their consent? How about you go first, Bob? We sacrifice you without your consent. For the other 389,000 set aside for "family building", 35% will likely not survive the freezing/thawing process. Again Bob, how about you go first? We can freeze you and see if you survive.

Then there is the utopian argument that is well on its way to eugenics.

Bob wrote:


You're referring to the cryogenics (cryonics) proposal, but there is also the artificial womb proposal. Perhaps you, Leland, would be more comfortable with that one. But read on:

Regarding the cryogenics proposal, the RAND report does discuss using the embryos for research, but I was talking about custodial storage. I was just citing the RAND report to show that cryogenic storage has already occurred for 400,000 embryos. I was imagining extending the technology to include fetuses and not just embryos, and, as I said above, you should assume a near-future tech that allows the "shelf life" to be indefinite. Assume it is 100% safe if you like, although actually being a growing child or a thriving adult is not, sadly, 100% safe.

Seems to me that the ethical issues here do not involve "killing a child without its consent". First, we are talking about storage, not killing (again, ignore the RAND report), and consent isn't an issue either - much of parenting involves doing things without the child's consent, and that's how it should be. But not abusive things, of course. Is storing a child abusive? If you believe childhood begins at conception, children are stored for 9 months anyway, so is it abusive to make the storage time a little longer?

Carl Pham wrote:

Bob, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying abortion is wrong. Abortion is killing, and there are cases where killing is the moral (if regrettable) correct decision. For example, maybe aborting (killing) an infant with horrible birth defects is the right thing to do, just as it might be the right thing to do to let someone suffering terribly at the end of their life die. These are complex moral questions, and I have no sound-bite philosophy to decide them. Reasonable men can differ.

What I said is wrong is to consider the major (or only) issue the "property" (ownership) rights of the person with the womb, instead of under what conditions it's right and moral to take a life. That is the same kind of reasoning that kept the Democrats in support of slavery for so long. The focus was always on the property rights of the masters, on the terrible burden on them of any liberation of the slaves. (And they were "innocent" in the same way a woman "accidentally" pregnant is: they were born into a slave-owning society, and sometimes they inherited their slaves so you might say they were born owning slaves. But the fact that you got into a situation in some sense partly unwillingly and without intention to do so does not change your moral obligations once you're there.)

As for your technology questions, the short answers are that, certainly, if an artificial womb is available, I see no objection to a pregnant woman allowing her child to be adopted away immediately. There's little moral difference between adoption at age 0 and adoption at age minus 6 months.

No, I don't consider an eight-cell embryo to be a human life. You can do what you want with them, provided you realize that, vide supra, you may make a decision with respect to an eight-cell embryo that leads to it becoming a child -- and then your right to make very similar decisions may disappear. That is, you may find yourself making an apparently small decision that backs you into some moral corner later on. Beware, is what I have to say, of the seeds you plant. The fact that you originally made the decision about a mere embryo is not going to save you from being held morally responsible on much larger issues later on.

The sad fact is I can't justify any bright line between mere tissue and a human life. It's a spectrum, a continuum, and for different reasons we may draw the line in different places. That's reality. It's no different than the same problem we have at the other end of life.

Leland wrote:

So first I'm suppose to use the Rand report as an example, now I'm suppose to ignore it. Apparently you haven't thought out your position, Bob, so I won't waste my time with your ignorance. If you want to support Obama, then perhaps he's a perfect pick for you.

Bob wrote:

Leland, whenever you comment on spaceflight, you sound pretty sharp, and I've learned about shuttle launches from your posts. Whenever you reply to me, you sound hostile. What's really a shame is that, apparently, your hostility makes you dull.

One more time: The RAND report demonstrated how many embryos have been frozen. It was a source. I labeled it as a source. It was not my argument. I'm sorry you misunderstood.

If you would like to not waste your time with me, that would be fine with me.


Carl, thanks for your reply. I completely agree with your comments on moral responsibility. My wife and I are trying to have a child and I'm well aware that if we're successful, our lives and responsibilities will change, and as you point out, the responsibilities will be irrevocable. As for embryos and fetuses, I've long thought that they should be accorded some special status, neither property nor people, particularly early in their development. Human organs and pets already have some kind of special status, although obviously embryos and fetuses are neither & can't be treated like either. Children themselves have a special status as well, of course.

I'm most interested in the future of the abortion issue, and I found your opinions interesting. Obviously, I think that technology has the potential to transform the abortion debate.

Carl Pham wrote:

My wife and I are trying to have a child

Congratulations and Godspeed. I can think of no moment more astounding and wonderful than the day I held my newborn first child in my hands. (They really do fit in your hands! Can you imagine?!)

and I'm well aware that if we're successful, our lives and responsibilities will change

Ha ha, you only think you're aware of how much will change. It's like when you were a virgin and you knew theoretically that sex could feel good. What a most excellent trip you're in for. Enjoy!

But to return to the issue: I don't know how old your woman is, but at some point, if you have enough children, she will be old enough that you need to think long and hard about testing for Down's, and about what you'll do if the result is the wrong way.

The difficulty is that the only certain diagnosis of the defect comes from amniocentesis, and that can't be done until the little fella is big enough to feel, and see moving about in the ultrasound, looking very human indeed. Anybody who thinks the decisions you have to make then can be reduced to a sound-bite, a slogan, or even a humane and practical law is an idiot, or just has never been there himself, I suppose.

This is why I loathe the majority of the debaters on the topic of abortion. It's just not so simple as they say. I long for the technological solutions (artificial wombs) you imagine, because I honestly don't think Homo sapiens is smart enough to resolve this question. I know I'm not.

Leland wrote:


You style of debate is the devil's advocate. I showed the folly of your example, so you want me to continue playing by changing your example, and ignoring your evidence. Sorry, no dice. You presented the evidence, either live with it or don't present it.

I also don't buy your comment about spaceflight, because I generally don't comment on those subjects. I find that comment disingenious which is my general problem with you.

My experience on the abortion question comes from living with a wife, who worked neonatel icu for several years. She's level 3 qualified, that is she is qualified to take care of babies born as young as 23 weeks.

My problem with artificial wombs is as Carl describes, it's not a choice until the child is at some point viable. Now, you have an argument again as to what is viable. IMO, down that path leads eugenics. Indeed, most of your argument seems to point to that, and I think that is a path society does not need to follow again. Then there is the whole trial and error effort to prove a the artificial wombs work. I'm against human experimentation.

My specific opinion on abortion? I think a woman should have the right to an abortion, when the choice of her pregnancy was not hers, or when continuing with the term threatens her life. I think both provide enough loopholes for many others to jump through.

Also, if it is indeed a right to choose. Then why not give the same right to men? By that, I mean why not allow men the right to relinquish their responsibility to the woman and child at any time during the pregnancy?

Carl Pham wrote:

Then there is the whole trial and error effort to prove a the artificial wombs work. I'm against human experimentation.

I don't think you have to be quite so pessimistic, Leland. For one thing, there's animal experimentation to prove they work. That's how the developed stuff like heart-lung bypass machines and transplants, you know. They didn't just do trial and error on luckless humans.

Also, there's those incredibly sad little 23-weekers with whom your wife works -- and, boy, does she have some guts. My partner is also a nurse, she went from PICU to childrens' ER medicine, but she used to float to the NICU and even she had a hard time with those sad little guys struggling to just breathe.

But, you know, once you think you've got a womb-like device, and it works on pigs and such, there are definitely going to be some 20-weekers, say, who get decanted by accident, and their only hope is your new womb. Why not give it a try? That, too, is how medicine advances -- by letting people who have no other choice give it a trial.

I'm not as pessimistic about artificial wombs as about a lot of other hopes in medicine. A womb is not that sophisticated a device, so far as we know. Definitely tough to get a suspension mechanism that duplicates the near weightlessness, and very tough to get the biochemistry right. We can easily supply nutrients and all, but if something else crosses the placenta, some very complicated but important hormone, with some subtle but vital rise and fall over time, that will be difficult (but not impossible) to get right.

Probably the biggest problem is economic. The sad fact is, we do not value the lives of pre-term infants enough to spend the money required to do the research. (I'm not necessarily saying we should. I might spend the money on curing CF and juvenile diabetes instead, I dunno.)

Bob wrote:

Leland said:

I also don't buy your comment about spaceflight, because I generally don't comment on those subjects. I find that comment disingenious which is my general problem with you.

I was probably thinking of your informative comments on this post:
Other readers can look at the sixth and eighth comments to see some interesting explanations by Leland regarding shuttle launches.

I believe you've said other interesting things on the subject as well, but the specifics don't immediately come to mind, and I'm not going to go trawling through my memory and Rand's archives looking for correlations just to shove a sincere compliment down your throat, you ass.

I might enjoy a conversation about abortion with you, but I can't get past the disingenuous comment. People read and comment on this blog for recreation. I don't know why you persist in throwing insults at me when our differences are only ideological, not personal -- discussing these differences should be a source of enjoyment.

Leland wrote:

Heh, a post from March on a space related blog; I think proves my point quite nicely.


Your argument is developing the technology to meet a current reasonable demand that actually has little to nothing to do with abortion. The outlined strategy for using it, as a way around abortion without the loss of life, is still pretty abhorent. First of all, the construct of law described doesn't account for the rights of the father. Second, it doesn't take into account any psychological effects of separation (lookup attachment disorders). That's assuming the technology is 100% successful.

Now, to be clear, I've stated my general opinion of abortion, and what I think should be legal. I should also state that this is not a topic I use to weigh candidates. If I were to prioritize my issues, this probably wouldn't break my top ten. I'm not a strict pro-life person, but at the same time, I find the pro-choice argument lame. If it is really a matter of choice, give the same choice to the men as given to the women. Let a man opt of the pregnancy if they choose. Push for that law, and I might find the pro-choice people to actually be concerned about choice.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 21, 2008 11:32 AM.

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