Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Assume This Phone Is Tapped - Politics Law and the Like

I think you probably guess what this post is about.

Currently, Congress is at loggerheads with the Bush administration over the warrantless wiretapping law. Mainly, Democrats having a rare show of spine and not wanting retroactive immunity granted to telecom companies. AS a result Senate Republicans (who are trying to get a new bill passed with that immunity) and the current adminitration find themselves in a weird place. The HOuse has approved an extension for 15 days. Senate Democrats are asking to extend the current law, the Protect America act, for another 18 months. Dubya, on the other hand, has said he'd veto any law that didn't include immunity for the telecom companies.

So we find Republicans in the mode of willing the let the law expire rather than not have immunity for phone companies. The current law ends in two days. What will happen is hard to say?

Will the Democrats cave and give in to Dubya -like they have on almost everything else the past seven goddamn years? I wouldn't be surprised in the least if this went down. I hope there are some actual signs of opposition to Dubya and comapny - but I'm not expecting it. For now all we literally can do is wait and see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roe Turns 35. What Next?

As I type this it's January 22, 2008. 35 years ago today the Supreme Court made Roe v. Wade the law of the land, ruling that state laws against abortion were unconstitutional. Since that fateful day, a procedure that should be a decision between a woman, her doctor, and her conscience has become a polarizing political issue that appears to become more of a chasm with each passing year.

Since Roe, abortion access has been slowly taken out from under the American people. The recently released study by the Alaqn Guttmacher Institute found that 87% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. In addition, parental consent and, in some places, spousal consent, laws have made what should be a personal decision one that can be placed in the hands of other people to make (and, by the way - if anyone reading this calls themselves "pro life", this can also mean forcing abortion on someone).

Right now a number of state legislatures are seeing bills emerge that, if passed into law, would basically outlaw a woman's right to reproductive freedom. Waiting periods and forcing a woman who made this decision to undergo alleged "Counseling" adds to this by taking one view in mind - a naive (at best) and extremely sexist belief that a woman is too vulnerable tomake decisions regarding her own body.

Today a lot of bloggers are taking part in Blog For Choice Day. WHile I support the basic premise of it, I do have one reservation about the theme (this year - the importance of voting pro choice). I agree that voting for pro choice candidates on this issue is necessary and important. However, I do have one concern - mainly the worry that some politicians (many in this case being mainstream Democrats but some Republicans who haven't completely jumped the shark into the dark side [once the GOP elite find out, they'll likely be escorted out]) may be pro choice now but may be more than willing to throw a woman's right to choose under a bus if it means getting a few extra votes. I hope I'm totally wrong and off base on this, but I've learned to be a bit skeptical over the years on anything regarding politics. Should one who wants to vote choose a pro choice candidate? Yes. However, let's remember that we must be on guard against anyone in office who says what we want to hear solely for the vote only to do the opposite thing when elected (this includes other issues such as the war, economy, health care, etc as much as this issue).

We're living in scary times right now. Hopefully, we don't head too far back into the dark ages. That said, my best recommendation can be to watch our backs and keep the pressure on for anyone in office to make sure they do the best they can for all of us - not just their own interests.

Whoa! This turned out to be a little longer than expected. I guess I had a lot on my mind regarding this issue. If you disagree with me, fine - that's your right. But I will not allow you to force your vision of what life is down my throat.

That's it for now. Feel free to disagree amongst yourselves. I have other things to do.