Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part I (Updated)

The more I reflect on The Great NewsReal Abortion Debate, the more convinced I am that I made a critical error.

I want to revisit the issue of whether or not the pro-life cause is central or peripheral to the conservative movement.  I made clear where I stood on that question—as an egregious deprivation of human rights, abortion should be opposed by every lover of liberty with every fiber of his or her being—but I fear I didn’t go nearly far enough in explaining the implications of the answer.  This essay will explore the practical aspects of the matter; my next one will address the moral and philosophical.

I conceded that I could “basically support” the kind of ‘truce’ David Swindle was talking about, i.e. candidates centering their campaigns on the “two unifying issues” of the free market and defeating Islamofascism. That’s more or less how wartime Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have run for office anyway (in Reagan’s case swapping out Islamofascism for the Soviet Union), and that’s okay.  I don’t have a problem with our candidates emphasizing some issues more than others to put voters’ most immediate concerns front and center, or to address crises that demand immediate resolution.

However, that doesn’t exempt a candidate from talking about the right to life at all, or from being pro-life.  I have already argued that pro-life principles are inseparable from core conservatism, and that abortion cannot be regarded as merely one issue among many, and I’ll elaborate more on those points in the next post.  But it’s also important because whether or not one is capable of recognizing abortion for the evil that it is, and is willing to do something about it, tells us something about what he or she is made of. I know there are exceptions (Ron Paul is pro-life but deranged, Joe Lieberman is radically pro-abortion, but firm on the war), but I truly believe that strongly pro-life candidates will tend to be of a higher caliber than pro-choice candidates in several qualities that will benefit public servants, and the American people, in all areas: Continue reading

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How the Teachers’ Unions and Democrats Scam Taxpayers

Charles Lane, in the Washington Post:

By now, you’ve probably heard about the urgent teacher layoff crisis that threatens public education across America. Due to shrinking state and local budgets, up to 300,000 teachers could be laid off, with devastating educational consequences for our children, such as burgeoning class sizes. The only cure is $23 billion in fresh federal deficit spending, rushed through Congress as part of a bill to fund U.S. overseas military operations. “The urgency is high,” President Obama warned congressional leaders in a June 12 letter.

Don’t believe the hype.

Start with that scary number of 300,000 teacher layoffs, which has been bandied about in numerous newspaper articles. The sources for it are interested parties: teachers unions and school administrators, whose national organizations counted layoff warning notices that have already been sent out this spring and extrapolated from there. Notably, however, even these sources usually describe the threatened positions as “education jobs” – not teachers. That’s because the figures actually include not only kindergarten through 12th grade classroom instructors, but also support staff (bus drivers, custodians, et al.) and even community college faculty. And 300,000 is the upper end of a range that could be as low as 100,000. Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers.

Moreover, springtime layoff notices are a notoriously unreliable guide to actual job cuts in the fall, because rules and regulations in many public school systems require administrators to notify every person who might conceivably be laid off — whether they actually expect to fire them or not. As the New York Times recently reported: “Everywhere, school officials tend to overestimate the potential for layoffs at this time of year, to ensure that every employee they might have to dismiss receives the required notifications.”

Given these facts, it’s unclear how the bill’s supporters came up with its $23 billion price tag. It works out to about $77,000 per job saved in the 300,000-layoff scenario, but $230,000 per job if only 100,000 jobs are at risk. Maybe that’s why the bill’s fine print allows states to spend any excess funds left over from education hiring on other state employees. By the way, the bill distributes funds to states according to how many residents they have, not how many threatened layoffs.

Read the rest here.

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Why Let Reality Get in the Way of a Good Meme?

When we last left Self-Defeating Left-Wing Zealot Scott, he was making an ethically-challenged fool of himself over abortion.  This evening, while browsing Boots & Sabers (which I really need to get back in the habit of reading more often – sorry Owen!), I came across the following comment from our pal:

Many conservatives eschew expert opinion in the first place, so what’s the big deal?  Everything from CBO reports to scientific opinion—it just doesn’t matter because you can’t trust those eggheads.  Me, I’m a big fan of learning.  I like to acknowledge someone else’s expertise and learn from it.

Again, the only proper response is:

For good measure, background behind his bull about the CBO can be found here & here, and about “scientific opinion” here.

Unreal

Via the HA Headlines, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security is trying to deport Mosab Yousef on grounds that he’s a terrorist, when in reality, he’s an anti-jihadist with a record of service spying on Hamas for Israeli intelligence.  It seems to me this is the sort of thing a single phone call to Israel could clear up; unfortunately, US-Israeli relations haven’t been so hot since 44 took over.

Yet another Democrat disgrace allowed to pass with silence from Republicans.

Mexican President Slanders AZ; Republicans React Pretty Much How You’d Expect

Here is Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s response to Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s condemnation of Arizona’s new immigration law:

The state of Arizona is stepping in where the federal government has failed. It is trying to stop waves of illegal immigrants, many of whom are dangerous gang members and drug and human traffickers, from crossing into its communities. It’s inappropriate for a head of state to question our laws, especially when the state of Arizona only acted in the best interest of its citizens and with the support of seventy percent of its people.

Boy, don’t strain yourself, Senator.

Hatch could have mentioned that Calderon’s characterization of the law as “introduc[ing] racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement” and a “human rights” violation which “opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement” is, as Byron York’s reporting on the law reveals, so dishonest as to border on slander.  For instance:

Obama ignored the law’s specific stipulation that any check on a person’s immigration status can only come after a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” when a person is suspected of breaking some law — that is, as Arizona lawmakers explained in a footnote to the bill, it must come “during the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”

And even after meeting that standard, the law directs that police meet a “reasonable suspicion” standard before “a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…” The phrase “reasonable suspicion” means that there must be a number of specific factors that an officer can cite before taking action, and the law specifically says that prosecutors “shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.”

And even with those safeguards, the law specifies that if the person involved produces a valid Arizona driver’s license, or other forms of identification specified in the law, then that person is immediately presumed to be in the country legally. In other words, the whole question of legal or not legal becomes moot once the person produces a driver’s license — a common experience for nearly every American, regardless of his or her race or ethnicity.

He could also have mentioned that, not only is Calderon partially responsible for the hardships Arizona is trying to address, but that Mexico’s own immigration laws are far more draconian and “intolerant”:

– The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?

– If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own health care.

– Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country (see, for example, President Obama’s illegal alien aunt — a fugitive from deportation for eight years who is awaiting a second decision on her previously rejected asylum claim).

– Law enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens’ arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.

– Ready to show your papers? Mexico’s National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

A foreign head of state hypocritically slanders American citizens before our own legislature – to the applause of one of America’s two major political parties – and the best the other party can muster is “inappropriate” (maybe an “unfortunate” if we’re lucky).  As usual.  Looks like the GOP’s not about to kick its habit of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory any time soon.