December 15, 2012

Obama promises "meaningful action... regardless of the politics."

Noted.

Obama's statement is...
  
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"Meaningful" was a vogue word circa 1970s. Back when people were acting as if sex outside of marriage was new idea and "pre-marital sex" seemed to be missing the point, the term "meaningful relationships" had its day. That faded over time. I'm not sure exactly how or when. It wasn't just sex but also politics that were supposed to be meaningful. One imagined wellsprings of inner satisfaction opening up. It was almost even religious. Or not religious, but spiritual. A rabbi wrote a book called "The Politics of Meaning." It turned Hillary Clinton on and made Michael Kelly write a NYT article titled "Saint Hillary."
Driven by the increasingly common view that something is terribly awry with modern life, Mrs. Clinton is searching for not merely programmatic answers but for The Answer. Something in the Meaning of It All line, something that would inform everything from her imminent and all-encompassing health care proposal to ways in which the state might encourage parents not to let their children wander all hours of the night in shopping malls.
That was written in 1993. (Michael Kelly died in 2003, in service as an embedded journalist in Iraq.) In 2008, Jonah Goldberg published a book called "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." In 2010, we got our all-encompassing health care, not from Saint Hillary, but from Saint Barack. We called it Obamacare, because Obama cares, cares about meaning, regardless of the politics.

Barack Obama has written 2 books. The word "meaningful" appears once in "Dreams from My Father" ("meaningful time frame") and 7 times in "The Audacity of Hope":
1. "[W]hat binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done."

2. "I have criticized the [Bush] Administration for lacking a meaningful health-care agenda...."

3. "[T]he standards and principles that the majority of Americans deem important in their lives, and in the life of the country—should be the heart of our politics, the cornerstone of any meaningful debate about budgets and projects, regulations and policies."

4. "[W]e already have hard evidence of [school] reforms that work... meaningful, performance-based assessments that can provide a fuller picture of how a student is doing...."

5. "[A lesbian] knew when she decided to support me that I was opposed to same-sex marriage, and she had heard me argue that, in the absence of any meaningful consensus, the heightened focus on marriage was a distraction from other, attainable measures to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians."

6. "[W]here there’s strong evidence of prolonged and systematic discrimination by large corporations, trade unions, or branches of municipal government, goals and timetables for minority hiring may be the only meaningful remedy available."

7. "I wanted to call [an immigration activist group] and explain that American citizenship is a privilege and not a right; that without meaningful borders and respect for the law, the very things that brought them to America... would surely erode...."
What meaning is contained in "meaningful" for Barack Obama, specifically, and for all of us?

Something terrible has happened. Children were killed, seemingly senselessly. We are bereft of meaning. The President deems it meaningful to speak, to offer us meaning, not for why that happened, but in the future. An action has horrified us, an action in the past, which we cannot change. But in the future, actions can be taken. We can do something there in that place of hope. So meaning, meaning... where is meaning? Put it in the future, where the action is. Meaningful action.

There, now. Are you salved? Are you saved? Is there meaning?

91 comments:

Mogget said...

Obama remains the blank screen upon which we are encouraged to project whatever.

Shouting Thomas said...

Meaning = intentions.

Translated, this means that if the intentions are pure and saintly, the results must be good.

Unfortunately, this is not always true. Quite often, it is not true.

BDNYC said...

I haven't decided if his performance last night was genuinely tearful or not. The tear wipe, the choked up moment, etc. Personally, I would feel reassured by a strong figure who can convey sorrow and clarity of purpose without seeming weak or overwhelmed, but that's just me.

I hope he was being a phony.

AlphaLiberal said...

It is meaningful to me that I came here to see if the reaction in the Althouse swamps to this latest shooting tragedy was any different than the small-minded reflexive Obama bashing of the past.

No change.

Lem said...

Regardless of the politics means autocratically.

Rustling Leaves said...

Golden heart intentions don't always result in the hoped for pot of gold. The saddest reality is that there may not always be a true solution. We all live at the mercy of one another every day. Thankfully most of the time people choose to respect life.

AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

meaningful
comprehensive
balanced
fair

Words to govern by.

rhhardin said...

An old automatic Tom Swifty generator came up with

"Hit me with your midpoint, she said meanly."

AlphaLiberal said...

To help you with the English language, Ann, an example of a political discussion that is not meaningful is the Benghazi brouhaha. That was all about sticking it to Obama and the other "blahs," but not about defending the nation or any honest fact-finding.

Coming to grips with the gun and violence fetishism in our country is a discussion that has a lot of meaning, though also some meaninglessness, such as "car kill more people than guns."

So, for the righties, it's wrong to question gun policy right after another gun massacre.

But it makes sense to become histrionic and political right after an embassy is stormed in a country recovering from civil war.

WTF.

DCS said...

"Meaningful" is the quintessential weasel word.

rhhardin said...

Obama is a cartoon show.

Shouting Thomas said...

It is meaningful to me that I came here to see if the reaction in the Althouse swamps to this latest shooting tragedy was any different than the small-minded reflexive Obama bashing of the past.

I was impressed with Obama last night.

And, I'm not exactly an enthusiastic supporter.

You're, as usual, jumping to conclusions that have no support.

EDH said...

My read was that the objective of Obama going out there in that manner was to garner as many Q-Score points as possible useful to him across a spectrum of issues.

Craig said...

Why didn't Obama do something to prevent this attack?

chickelit said...

AlphaLiberal said...
She's gone.

She was one of the House Democrats in Sarah Palin's "target" ad, with the crosshairs placed on a map.

Fuckers.

Can we please drop the hysteria now? All the "reload," drawing targets on people, describing opponents as traitors, all of it that we've heard for years. Just STFU already.

There are fragile minds and hateful minds out there, damn it. Show some responsibility.

1/8/11 1:24 PM

Calypso Facto said...

Ever the student of Rahm: let no crisis go to waste. How about we just mourn this tragedy instead of using it as a cudgel for unpopular policies?

Mitchell the Bat said...

It all makes sense if you replace the word "meaningful" with the word "good."

MayBee said...

I'm not really interested in what politicians have to say about it.

It isn't about them or their feelings. There are people who lost something big yesterday. There are experts who can tell us about mental illness, guns, and even social safety. They have something interesting to say, but politicians needn't be involved in this.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell the Bat said...

"[T]he term "meaningful relationships" had its day."

So did "meaningful dialogue," as I recall.

But now we're all reaching out to one another, apparently.

The Godfather said...

In most of the examples in this post, isn't the word you'd like to see instead of "meaningful" "effective"? We want an effective response, and effective policy, etc.

But politicians, commentators, intellectuals, etc. don't want to be judged by whether their policies actually work, so they shy away from saying they're "effective" and say "meaningful" instead.

"Meaningful" is useful because you can't look at the results of a policy and say, "It's not meaningful", as you could say, "It's not effective."

"Meaningful" is meaningless.

Ann Althouse said...

"It is meaningful to me that I came here to see if the reaction in the Althouse swamps to this latest shooting tragedy was any different than the small-minded reflexive Obama bashing of the past."

It is meaningful to me that you came here to see if things were how you always expect them to be and then you saw what you expected to see and you said what you came here to say if you saw what you expected to see.

Thanks for chiding us for being so predictable and small-minded, genius.

rhhardin said...

Free birth control is the solution.

Darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

Meaningful to Obama means the "solution" that moves the Leftist agenda forward. The Left knows that guns will keep them from putting their feet on our necks and they won't stop pushing until they get their way. Never. Like on every other issue they see as important to gaining power and holding it.

Leftist governments have the highest bodycount in human history. One would think that we would start there if we want to make a meaningful difference. Ban Leftist governments.

campy said...

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

~ Michelle Obama

Bob Ellison said...

I heard Obama speak yesterday, where he apparently cried a bit during the press conference, and I heard most of his radio address. So far, I think he's done a good job, speaking more as an emotional fountain for everyone. He's at least good at talking.

We'll see what he tries to do with this wasteful crisis.

Darrell said...

Obama has a personal bodycount of over 300 dead as a result of supplying automatic weapons to Mexican drug gangs in order to gin up support for a US gun ban. Who wasn't paying close enough attention to that goofy bastard? He needs to be monitored 24/7/365 until further notice.

Darrell said...

where he apparently cried a bit during the press conference

If you watched instead of listening, you would have seen him wiping away something from his eye with his finger several times, but his face did not register any clue normally associated with crying or even strong emotion. Imaginary tears. Imaginary concern and empathy.

Bob Ellison said...

Darrell, even liberals have hearts. I'm close to Obama's age, and the things he said well expressed the things I was thinking.

My kids' school district superintendent has sent out an email discussing how to talk about this thing with the kids. I remember thinking that seemed silly when I was a child and similar "think of the children!" talk went around. It's the parents of children who are really freaked out.

Roger J. said...

Explaining evil has always been one of the major issues in philosophy (and theology). It exists, and there is damn little people or governments can do about it. Evil simply is.

As to Mr Obama's speech, I didnt watch it, but I think it is appropriate for the President to make some sort of statement.

Much of this tragedy will now turn into farce as gun control becomes an agenda item for politicians of all stripes to beat to death. At the end of this exercise in mental masturbation, there will still be guns available to anyone who wants to use them. And Evil will exist in the world. Should we get rid of all guns by waving a magic want, evil will still find a way to kill innocents.

roesch/voltaire said...

Any honest discussion about guns in America would be "meaningful," but the boot of the NRA sits so heavy across he necks of politicians that CBS has a hard time finding anyone in Congress willing to speak about the issue for a Sunday morning show.

Palladian said...

I heard Obama speak yesterday, where he apparently cried a bit during the press conference, and I heard most of his radio address. So far, I think he's done a good job, speaking more as an emotional fountain for everyone.

Just what we all need, the "Emotional Fountain-in-Chief"!

You can have fun dampening yourself in the spray. I'll stay dry over here.

whoresoftheinternet said...

"Never let a crisis go to waste."

Reichstag Fire, part 2.


Enjoy the decline!

Bender said...

Everything that Obama does is meaningful. There is nothing superfluous or pointless about him. Rather, he is meaning itself.

The key point to focus on is "regardless of the politics." By that, of course, he means that he will do whatever the hell he wants, he will impose his all-powerful meaningful will and dictate what will happen, likely by executive order, if anyone dares to try to check or balance him, which is by definition "politics."

Opposition to Obamaism is always, by definition, partisan politics, while everything he does is always, by definition, the embodiment and manifestation of meaning.

Shouting Thomas said...

Has it ever occurred to you, R/V, that the majority of Americans just disagree with you?

That's it's not just a plot hatched by the NRA?

That the power of the NRA derives from people, that majority that just happens to disagree with you?

whoresoftheinternet said...

@Bob Ellison:

even liberals have hearts

---lmao.

If lefties had hearts, they wouldn't be lefties. They'd abandon their system, which is designed for maximum oppression, pain, and murder.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Too bad BetaLiberal, Inga, Garbage Pail, Faggy Andy, and their families weren't at school that day.


Palladian said...

I think a more "meaningful" discussion would be: why has the default position for "liberals" evolved into anti-gun? Is it because they rely on stupid women to get elected these days, and since guns are "scary" to a lot of stupid women, they go after their votes? Is it due to cultural snobbery, now that liberalism is a costal-urban directed, and guns are associated (by stupid people) with scary un-evolved things like the military and the South? Is it because "liberals" are pussies who hate loud noises?

Palladian said...

Speaking of stupid people and pussies, it's whoresoftheinternet!

wyo sis said...

From what has been reported the school had all the meaningful measures in place. Every school I'm involved with has the same kind of security measures. they work as well as they can when you're talking about security in a place like a school. People come and go and get careless. Staff know the people they see often.
I was going to say a school is not a military base, but as we have seen a military base isn't even safe from a massacre. Insiders can be the threat as much as outsiders are.
The Godfather has it right. Effective should be the measure, but it never will be. There might not be an effective way to prevent this kind of massacre.

rhhardin said...

I don't mind the agenda-making but rather the entertainment taking.

If your neighbor has a tragedy, the wife will be over there in no time to see what she can do to help. She's not entertaining herself.

If somebody across the country has a tragedy, the wife will be glued to the TV. She's entertaining herself.

It's the same instinct, different circumstance, different result.

The chief result is vulnerability to idiot political plans.

Enter the agedas.

One solution is don't let women vote.

Another is to raise self-awareness about the matter with women. They're idiot instinct bearers when it comes to politics. Take precautions.

Darrell said...

Sorry Bob Ellison,
Watch the tape of the press conference and judge for yourself. You didn't did you? The clues are visual, not aural.

Darrell said...

...as we have seen a military base isn't even safe from a massacre

Not when it's a gun-free zone it isn't.

Maj. Hasan would now be adding carbon to the biosphere if the people there had the means to defend themslves.

madAsHell said...

meaningful discussion becomes more executive orders

EMD said...

Anything "meaningful" coming out of DC is bad, bad, bad.

edutcher said...

So he doesn't intend this "crisis" to go to waste.

There's a surprise.

This is the same boilerplate Willie gave us during all the massacres during his term.

Why do we have so many of these things when Democrat sociopaths are POTUS?

Not all that rhetorical, but something I've noticed.

AlphaLiberal said...

To help you with the English language, Ann, an example of a political discussion that is not meaningful is the Benghazi brouhaha. That was all about sticking it to Obama and the other "blahs," but not about defending the nation or any honest fact-finding.

Not meaningful, in this context, meaning it screws up the Lefty agenda.

Sorun said...

"Any honest discussion about guns in America would be "meaningful," but the boot of the NRA...

Honestly, our gun rights are safe because the lefties have all of their attention on demonizing the NRA -- an organization that won't ever disappear. And it wears at least one boot.

chickelit said...

R/V writes: but the boot of the NRA sits so heavy across he necks of politicians that...

That phrase seems borrowed from Orwell's "Politics And The English Language."

Bruce Hayden said...

To help you with the English language, Ann, an example of a political discussion that is not meaningful is the Benghazi brouhaha. That was all about sticking it to Obama and the other "blahs," but not about defending the nation or any honest fact-finding.

But it makes sense to become histrionic and political right after an embassy is stormed in a country recovering from civil war.


Sometimes, I think that you are clueless, and the rest of the time, just living in a liberal cocoon.

The question in Benghazi was never really why the consulate was attacked, per se, except to the extent that the Administration, led by Ambassador Rice, lied through their teeth about that on national TV to the American people, trying to convince them that it was spontaneous, when it was anything but, and the White House watched the firefights in real time from drone feeds in the situation room, and knew within hours, if not minutes, that the attack was preplanned. Yet, a week later, Rice lied through her teeth on 5 TV news shows. That was issue number 1 - blatant lying.

Issue number 2 involve the questions about security and advanced knowledge. It still appears that stand down orders were given, but not clear who gave them. And, security had been gutted in Libya in general, and Benghazi in particular, less than a month before the 9/11 attacks, despite dire warnings about the consequences of that from various people involved, including the now dead ambassador. Indeed, we still don't have a good reason why he was traveling away from Tripoli to very lightly defended Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks.

Issue 3 is still open - who gave the stand down orders, and, why was the order not given to use at least a decent amount of the might at our disposal to either relive the Americans still fighting, or make the terrorists involved regret attacking official U.S. territory. American military forces were close enough in Italy and in the Med to have easily arrived in time to help out the men fighting, and then dying, at the annex.

Which brings us to Issue number 4 - the Administration's disastrous performance in foreign policy, and, esp. in dealing with the Muslim world, and esp. the "Arab Spring".

You may think that the President's gross malfeasance here was irrelevant, esp. when running for reelection, but a lot of people don't. He failed in his most basic duty, protecting the country from attack. And, somehow you think that is a sideshow.

BTW - as for fact finding, it is suspicious when high ranking Administration officials plead the 5th Amdt. instead of testifying before Congress. The Administration wants to investigate itself, of course, as it did with Fast and Furious, delaying any accountability until after the election. It does not have a good reputation for honesty and transparency.

garage mahal said...

the boot of the NRA sits so heavy across he necks of politicians that...

NRA members want stronger regulations on firearms but they aren't being represented by lawmakers, and the NRA who threatens and bullies them. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, not their members.

Bob Boyd said...

'Man's Search for Meaning' find's expression in social engineering, activism, politics.

Bruce Hayden said...

Coming to grips with the gun and violence fetishism in our country is a discussion that has a lot of meaning, though also some meaninglessness, such as "car kill more people than guns."

So, for the righties, it's wrong to question gun policy right after another gun massacre.


Yeh, well, the whole purpose of the gun scare is to move the country in the direction of more gun control for the masses (ignoring that the elite can always get their armed security, as they currently do in the most gun restrictive places like Chicago, NYC, and D.C.) It was bad enough yesterday that they preempted the mid-day shows, but they were still running wall to wall coverage all during prime time (Mountain time) better than twelve hours later, and that was no accident. It was intentional, and it was aimed at increasing gun control across the country.

Why wait until cooler heads can prevail? Because, just that, cooler heads result in better policy and better laws. Besides, despite the wall-to-wall coverage yesterday, gun control legislation isn't about to pass Congress, or survive court scrutiny, after Heller, etc.

leslyn said...

Since we are to hold politicians responsible for preventing mass acts of violence in the future, let's start with the recommendation of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, who gave her own statement:

"We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kind of actions,” said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.

Will she yet save us?

Bruce Hayden said...

Maj. Hasan would now be adding carbon to the biosphere if the people there had the means to defend themslves.

Be fair - natural animal respiration also adds carbon to the biosphere, which is then removed by plants, in the cycle of life.

Sorun said...

"[A small percentage of] NRA members want stronger regulations on firearms..."

Fixed it.

leslyn said...
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leslyn said...

Is there any pretence that can be believed that whore posts in good faith?

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

wyo sis:

The military base was not safe because the murderer, Hasan, was aware of the situation. He knew the "soldiers" would be mostly or completely unarmed. The risk and opportunity cost were low. He knew there would be no meaningful response from unarmed people. He was able to wield overwhelming force and slaughter them.

The same issue exists for our soldiers overseas, where not only the ROE, but also our explicit statements, have advised our enemies that we neither value our lives (or of the civilians) nor have conviction to succeed. This also lowers the risk and opportunity cost to our enemies. While we may capable of mounting an overwhelming response, their initial attack is likely to be successful and inflict high casualties and damage, and they have successfully achieved both.

So, the right to bear arms has two effects. First, it works as a deterrent, as the potential criminal must acknowledge the elevated risk and opportunity cost. Second, it enables an effective response, as the weapon acts a force multiplier, and the first effect is realized, not as an initial but continuing deterrent. The goal is not to prevent (which is idealistic), but limit involuntary or unlawful exploitation.

Chip S. said...

NRA members want stronger regulations on firearms but they aren't being represented by lawmakers, and the NRA who threatens and bullies them.

This would be an interesting comment if it provided some empirical evidence that supported the claim.

Got a link?

Sorun said...

"Why wait until cooler heads can prevail? Because, just that, cooler heads result in better policy and better laws."

Reminds me of something my ex-wife used to do. She'd wait until I was in weakened condition and then she'd start a fight. Such as it's really late and I'm just falling asleep, or I'm on the sofa with the flu. (I learned to hide being sick).

The Brady Bunch are like that. They have such low confidence, and poor knowledge and experience, that they have to wait for opportunities like this.

cryptical said...

I can almost guarantee that any gun control measure put forward by the administration would not have stopped this shooter had the regulations been in place before the incident.

It's not about safety, it's about moving the chains forward towards the eventual goal of no guns for civilians.

BrianE said...

We search for meaning as that is why we were created. We've wandered from the Creator and our ears naturally perk up when someone makes a suggestion of meaning.

Barack Obama is not the leader of the progressive ideologues-- the strong, agile running back or quarterback-- he's more the pulling guard, providing cover, strong arming the opposition.

creeley23 said...

AlphaLiberal: Any liberal who thought Nixon was wrong and deserved what he got, yet lets Obama slide on Benghazi is an utter hypocrite.

Benghazi is worse than Watergate. An American ambassador and his defenders were killed on the anniversary of 9-11 while Obama apparently did nothing when he had the full power of the US military at his disposal, then pretended that there was some mystery about why no help whatsoever was given to Americans under fire and pleading for help over the course of several hours.

Obama went to sleep to rest up for a political fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day.

Since then Obama has been in full obfuscation mode as though it were about a video or the need to bring terrorists to justice or weasel words about how of course aid would be given to American in peril but shucky-darn somehow it didn't happen.

Yet it's three months later and still no explanation that makes sense has been given, just more weasel words, and the complicity of the media and hypocrites like yourself to give Obama cover.

This isn't a complicated scandal like Watergate or Iran-Contra. It's simple. Did Obama order aid for those Americans, and if he did, who dropped the ball that nothing was done?

Darrell said...

Did Obama order aid for those Americans, and if he did, who dropped the ball that nothing was done?

The aid is automatic (pre-greenlighted). A stand-down order had to be issued and that could have only come from Obama (or at least it would have gone to him first). In either case, a complete record exists.

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
the boot of the NRA sits so heavy across he necks of politicians that...

NRA members want stronger regulations on firearms but they aren't being represented by lawmakers, and the NRA who threatens and bullies them. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, not their members

Not really. Firearms manufacturers have their own group.

Rusty said...

I'm not sure the NRA is as powerful as some people think it is,
It certainly doesn't represent me and I've been a firearm owner for .......a long time.

creeley23 said...

The aid is automatic (pre-greenlighted). A stand-down order had to be issued and that could have only come from Obama (or at least it would have gone to him first). In either case, a complete record exists.

Darrell: Thanks for the distinction.

And yes, a complete record exists, but somehow it remains a complete mystery to the media and liberals that as tragic as Benghazi is, figuring out what happened is not that much more complicated than looking up when Obama had breakfast that morning.

Jake Diamond said...

Jonah Goldberg is an idiot.

T J Sawyer said...

"Meaningful" discourse is when someone like Instapundit quotes author William S. Burroughs II on the subject of gun control.

Think alcoholic drug-user who shot his wife in the head. Now there's an authority on the subject!

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...

"Meaningful" was a vogue word circa 1970s.

It even snuck into the most famous opinion from the 1970s. In Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun defines viability as "meaningful life outside the mother's womb."

Blackmun doesn't tell us what a viable baby has to do to have a "meaningful" life. Perhaps he's thinking of killing the handicapped? Or perhaps he thinks poor babies will have a non-meaningful life? In another opinion he describes poverty as a cancer. So perhaps Blackmun defines meaning in materialistic ways?

At any rate, apparently even viable babies can be killed if the authorities deem their lives to have no meaning.

And it's interesting to compare Roe's idea of a baby's "meaningful life" with Blackmun's secret memo that described viability or any other selected point as "arbitrary."

So a baby's life has to be meaningful before the state has to respect it. Meanwhile, our unelected rulers who are making these rules up are secretly nihilist and capricious.

Ann Althouse said...

@Saint Croix Thanks for making that connection. I have never been able to fathom why viability outside the womb matters when the issue is a decision to leave the entity in the womb to continue growing or to destroy it. What is the relevance of its ability to do something no one is even proposing?

Abortion law is a lot about meaning, but mostly the woman's control of the meaning, in that she gets to define what entity growing inside her is. But it's not as if she can't have the abortion if she defines it as a human being. She can get the abortion as long as it hasn't reached viability, which is somehow "meaningful" in a way that trumps her earlier domination over meaning.

Ann Althouse said...

"And it's interesting to compare Roe's idea of a baby's "meaningful life" with Blackmun's secret memo that described viability or any other selected point as "arbitrary.""

St. Croix, the Blackmun statement is:

"You will observe that I have concluded that the end of the first trimester is critical. This is arbitrary, but perhaps any other selected point, such as quickening or viability, is equally arbitrary."

That's about the first trimester mattering, which is something the Court abandoned in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In Roe, a line is drawn here on the theory that very early in a pregnancy abortion is safer than going through a pregnancy. This was a reason to exclude the state from regulating based on the health of the mother. Regulating for the life of the unborn was set at viability, and I don't see Blackmun's statement as conceding that it's arbitrary to see the state's interest in the life of the child as arising at that point.

Saint Croix said...

I have never been able to fathom why viability outside the womb matters when the issue is a decision to leave the entity in the womb to continue growing or to destroy it.

Yeah, it's entirely hypothetical. The baby is viable if you leave her in your uterus. Why does the man-made incubator have more constitutional weight than mom's incubator?

Consider too that no abortion clinic actually has a neo-natal care unit. No attempt is made to keep these babies alive.

In Carhart, for instance, abortion doctors are inducing labor and delivering the baby. Why not put her in an NCU? Birth terminates the pregnancy. Once you give birth, the woman's body is no longer at issue. Why not try to keep the baby alive?

Why did the cases develop as a kill-right, as opposed to removing the trespasser or something like that?

Answer: an NCU is expensive, and the Supreme Court wants to keep abortion as cheap as possible. Premature infants cost money. Life is expensive, death is cheap.

Saint Croix said...

Consider too that doctors routinely deny premature babies access to an NCU. Even against the express wishes of the parents. So much for choice!

See this or this.

Abortion law has bled over into general medicine. And the viability doctrine now trumps both the baby's right to life and the parents desire to keep their baby alive.

Saint Croix said...

To me, our abortion fight is entirely ideological and theoretical. (Much like the viability discussion). The discussion is in our head. It's all theory.

Yet abortion is a surgery, one that affects women's health in a number of ways. For instance, women who have abortions are more likely to have a premature baby the next time around. An abortion doctor has to force open your cervix to do the surgery. The cervix is built to stay tightly closed during your pregnancy. Forcing it open damages it. What this means is that the next time you are pregnant, your damaged cervix is often unable to hold the baby's weight.

And so we allow abortion for "choice," but that surgery damages your cervix. And then when you want to have a baby, your damaged cervix gives way and you have a premature birth. And then doctors deny your choice and tell you there's no room in the NCU ward. It's useless and we're not going to try.

Abortion is all about feminist ideology, and the medical risks with the surgery are denied because of that ideology.

Saint Croix said...

She can get the abortion as long as it hasn't reached viability

This is wrong. The Supreme Court has long held that women can get abortions for "health" reasons until birth, including psychological well-being.

Women have the authority until viability, but after that they can still get abortions if they can find a doctor willing to do them.

The baby killed in Carhart was in the 26th week. That baby was clearly viable. And yet nobody seems to care!

1% of abortions takes place after 22 weeks, or 500,000 since Roe v. Wade. That's a lot of viable babies who are getting aborted.

Saint Croix said...

That's about the first trimester mattering, which is something the Court abandoned in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

I think that memo is damning! What Blackmun is saying is that it doesn't matter what point he picks. Any point, including viability, he deems arbitrary.

Saint Croix said...

In Roe, a line is drawn here on the theory that very early in a pregnancy abortion is safer than going through a pregnancy.

In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court deregulates the abortion industry during the first 13 weeks of the pregnancy. According to Roe, there can be no regulations for a woman’s health and safety in the first trimester.

Would a woman write that? Would she argue that a woman’s health and safety is irrelevant, or that it’s unconstitutional for the state to enforce health regulations in regard to a medical procedure that only a woman will have?

Remember, we regulate all of medical practice. We have health standards in place for all surgeries, for all medicines. We require our doctors to be licensed. Nurses are licensed. We have health inspections by the state to make sure that people are not being put in danger.

Roe v. Wade wipes away all those health regulations in all 50 states.

Of course, Roe only does this during the first trimester, or the first 13 weeks of the pregnancy. But almost 90% of abortions take place in the first trimester. So here is an invasive medical surgery, and the Supreme Court is saying that states cannot regulate it for the health of the woman.

Our fight over abortion, and the possibility of infanticide, overshadows how incredibly risky--and incredibly stupid--this part of Roe is. Imagine the Supreme Court deregulating any other industry. For instance, in one notorious opinion the Supreme Court said that states could not limit the amount of hours that people work in a bakery. Liberals jumped up and down and were furious about Lochner v. New York. Why? Because liberals think we should be able to protect the health and safety of workers.

But we’re not allowed to protect the health and safety of women? Abortion is invasive medical surgery! It’s far more dangerous than working in a bakery. A woman could die on the operating table. The surgeon could accidentally make her sterile. Lots of bad things can happen in a surgery, which is why we impose health regulations on the practice of medicine.

Saint Croix said...

Blackmun goes on to list the sorts of health regulations that states can start doing in the second trimester:

Examples of permissible state regulation in this area are requirements as to the qualifications of the person who is to perform the abortion; as to the licensure of that person; as to the facility in which the procedure is to be performed, that is, whether it must be a hospital or may be a clinic or some other place of less-than-hospital status; as to the licensing of the facility; and the like.

Reading this it appears that a state cannot even require that an abortion be performed by a medical doctor in the first trimester. That’s how safe abortion is, apparently. An unlicensed doctor can do it. Anybody can do it.

This means, on the other hand, that, for the period of pregnancy prior to the compelling point, the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to determine, without regulation by the State, that, in his medical judgment, the patient’s pregnancy should be terminated. If that decision is reached, the judgment may be effectuated by an abortion free of interference by the State.

It’s true that Blackmun mentions that a “physician” will be doing these first trimester abortions that are to be free of interference by the state. But his opinion in Roe v. Wade also says, quite specifically, that states cannot have any requirements “as to the qualifications of the person who is to perform the abortion” until the start of the second trimester.

Roe v. Wade also says, quite specifically, that we cannot require a medical license for any abortion doctors until the start of the second trimester.

To get an idea of how insane this part of Roe v. Wade actually is, consider that a state has a lot more authority to regulate veterinarians than it has to regulate abortion doctors. The state has unlimited authority to protect the health and safety of dogs and cats. But not women! In fact, under Roe v. Wade, even the most basic health requirement--that the procedure must be performed by a licensed doctor--is apparently forbidden in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

This was the law of the land until the Court had to clarify its opinion in Connecticut v. Menillo.

The Supreme Court, it should be noted, is incredibly slow to revisit and fix any mistakes it makes. Roe v. Wade was decided in January, 1973. Connecticut v. Menillo wasn’t issued until December, 1975, almost three years later.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a private research group affiliated with Planned Parenthood, there were an estimated 2.6 million abortions in this time frame. Or, to put it another way, in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court said that a woman has a right to an abortion “free of interference from the state.” Then, 2.6 million abortions later, the Court issues a clarification, allowing states to make it a crime for a non-doctor to do an abortion.

Saint Croix said...

The Tushnet memo is responsible for moving Blackmun's draft opinion from the first trimester to viability. As you can tell from the memo, nobody was thinking about the baby or cared about the baby. The point of moving the line was the "difficulty in which many women may have in believing that they are pregnant and deciding to seek an abortion."

Mark Tushnet, by the way, is famous for arguing that cases should be decided by how they advance the cause of socialism.

Eric said...

To help you with the English language, Ann, an example of a political discussion that is not meaningful is the Benghazi brouhaha. That was all about sticking it to Obama and the other "blahs," but not about defending the nation or any honest fact-finding.

"Benghazi? Look, a squirrel!"

Eric said...

Any honest discussion about guns in America would be "meaningful," but the boot of the NRA sits so heavy across he necks of politicians that CBS has a hard time finding anyone in Congress willing to speak about the issue for a Sunday morning show.

The boot of the constitution, you mean.

ambienisevil said...
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Jake Diamond said...

Abortion is all about feminist ideology

Welcome to life inside the right wing bubble!

Paul said...

Meaningful action?

Obama uses that word all the time and as Inigo Montoya said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means."

AlanKH said...

Right now White House staffers are scouring YouTube to see if they can find a video to blame.

Amartel said...

"Meaningful" is a filler word, providing meaningless emphasis on the key word, which is "action."

It's all about "action." The government must take "action." This is always the presumption. Also, "direct action" which is what happens when the government doesn't take the action that you want it to take.