Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oh noez! Form your militias!

President Obama's signed an executive order to create a council of governors. It's going to be ten state governors from both parties (who will serve on the council for two terms each) plus a bunch of cabinet members. The executive order says that reason behind this is to
"strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards. When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities."
Now, when George W. and Friends pushed their little wish list of civil liberties infringements through Congress after 9/11, not too many people paid attention to it until months later. And now that Obama's made this one little executive order establishing what looks to be a committee for reviewing all sorts of things (which the next president could easily get rid of with another executive order) some people are already interpreting it as the beginnings of a sinister plot to declare martial law.

I almost find this funny, until I remember that they're not joking. These are the same people who were talking about forming militias and buying up all that ammunition after the election was over - the same people who think that Obama hates America and is somehow a communist and a Nazi at the same time (a statement which bothers me not just because it's slanderous and false, but because it's pretty much impossible - Hitler's party may have been called the "National Socialists" but the fact is the communists were among the people that he was sending off to death camps.) Obviously the situation we're in now is far from perfect, but it seems like the people who are saying these things want to believe that we're mere moments away from some kind of apocolyptic dystopian totalitarian doom-empire. I honestly do not understand this. I mean, I didn't like George Bush while he was president, but I also never compared him to any dead dictators or suspected him of trying to set up some kind of 1984-esque police state (and this in spite of the whole PATRIOT Act thing.)

I'm not a political scientist, but immediately after I heard about the executive order and the theories as to what it is for, I came up with a theory of my own. Surely you all remember the gentleman from Nigeria who spectacularly failed to blow up an airplane in Detroit last month. You may also remember that not too long after this happened, President Obama said in pretty blunt terms that our intelligence and national security system had screwed up badly and needed to be reviewed and overhauled ASAP - because apparently a few agencies within the government had this guy's name and information about him, and somehow he still didn't make onto any no-fly lists and was able to get on a plane to Detroit. And so now the goal is to figure out where the miscommunication happened and fix it.

Given all of this, it seems a lot more likely that this is part of the comprehensive "overhaul" of our national defense system that Obama was referring to - the state governors will meet with the people from the cabinet and go over everyone's resources and policies and whatnot, so that everyone will be on the same page and know what they need to do (and what everyone else is doing) at the state level if there's ever another attempted bombing. I think this make a lot more sense than the "martial law" conspiracy theories... because frankly, if I were a president and wanted to work towards making myself a dictator, my first order of business would not be "form a committee".

I mean, maybe this is all just a front for some evil scheme... but I, for one, will not be rushing out to buy a gun anytime soon.

The Pro-Life Movement: selectively protecting embryos since 1973.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past year, you are probably aware that the U.S. government is closer than it's ever been to major healthcare reform. If you're aware of this, you're probably also aware that the debate over this reform has partly turned into a fight over abortion, with the right introducing all kinds of measures to make sure that no one's tax money ever pays for an abortion.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am pro-choice in every sense of the word - I believe that everyone who is able to do so should have the final say in their own medical decisions, and that these decision should ideally be based on their  needs and sounds medical advice. Ergo, I think that if a woman wants to undergo any procedure related to her own fertility (IVF, abortion, tubal litigation, etc.) then the only moral paradigm that she should have to consider in the process should be her own. It's no one's business why she should choose to do any of these things - and unless you're her doctor, you have no right to ask or give your opinion on the matter. Obviously, those in the pro-life movement disagree - they would probably tell me that those embryos are unborn children who have a right to live.

But I've noticed something recently that I find very strange. For all the time and resources that the anti-abortion people have dedicated to putting as many restrictions on abortion into the healthcare bill as possible, they've kept strangely quiet about another medical procedure - in vitro fertilization, or IVF. I haven't seen it mentioned at all, even though it seems logical to me that someone who opposes abortion on the grounds that embryos are people would be equally if not more opposed to IVF. Anyone who consider embryos to be people and abortion to be murder should logically consider IVF to be something like a massacre.

Iowa residents, take note.

State representative Dawn Pettengill (R, Mount Auburn), is proposing a law that would require Iowa state reps to say "so help me God" when being sworn into office (link goes to Friendly Atheist.)

The justifications that are giving for this proposal are truly cringe-inducing ("not allowing state-sponsored prayer is against my religion!") The whole thing is obviously unconstitutional and even if it does go through somehow, it would probably be struck down very easily. Nevertheless, if you live in Iowa and have the slightest regard for freedom of (and from) religion, then you should still contact your state rep about this. Let them know that there are people in Iowa who will not take this kind of nonsense sitting down.