Various Items

I’ll be doing some traveling today, so until this afternoon I won’t have much time to do a typical morning post.

Instead, a few thoughts on what’s going on around politics…


Last night in a special session called by Gov. Rick Perry after the pro-abortion crowd managed to run out the clock on legislation which would have imposed some health and safety standards on abortuaries and ban abortions of fetuses old enough to survive outside the womb, the bill passed by a 98-49 margin in the House last night. They’ll take a final vote in the Texas House today, and when the bill passes it will go to the Senate – the same body at which the bill was filibustered and Wisconsin’ed by pro-abortion protesters.

Naturally, the Democrats in the Texas House brought out coathangers as props…

Waiving a wire coat hanger and a knitting needle in the air, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson used props to describe a “back alley” abortion, which she says women will be forced into if the bill passes.

“(She) will be forced into a back alley and have someone jabbing, jabbing, and jabbing a needle into her uterus until she hemorrhages and the baby is dead,” said Thompson, D-Houston.

How embarrassing.

The bill doesn’t ban abortions, it bans them after 20 weeks. 20 weeks is five months. You have the first five months of pregnancy to decide on an abortion in Texas when this bill becomes law.

Abortion has never really been my issue. I’m pro-life, but I can understand a pro-choice point of view. What I can’t understand is a pro-abortion point of view, and that’s different from a pro-choice point of view. If you’re pro-choice you’re willing to allow things like government regulation of abortuaries, and you can handle the idea that killing a human being capable of surviving outside the womb is something a state can ban without interfering with the choice a woman has to terminate her pregnancy.

But to fight attempts to stop abortuaries from looking like the abattoir Kermit Gosnell was running in Philadelphia and to defend the practice of killing a kid through an abortion procedure that actually involves inducing labor – which is a standard practice in late-term abortions – you’re not pro-choice, you’re pro-abortion.

That doesn’t say much about your politics, from my perspective. That says more about your soul. And what it says isn’t good.


What to make of this?

Boustany, speaking during and after the lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Lafayette North, said Louisiana could encounter problems by not participating as a state in the ACA.

For example, he said, some Louisianians may believe they will receive Medicaid coverage, but won’t. If the state does not set up an insurance exchange, Boustany said, Louisianians may encounter difficulties in receiving tax credits for their insurance costs.

“It could put Louisiana in a very bad place,” Boustany said. If he were in charge, Boustany said, he would participate in the program and work to reform Medicaid.
“To sit back and do nothing is not an answer,” Boustany said.

Boustany conceded that the ACA was a flawed piece of legislation, “rushed through” Congress by the Obama administration, but said that public officials should work to improve ACA processes. The congressman praised Lafayette General Health System’s public-private initiative that rescued University Medical Center and ushered in medical education at Lafayette General Medical Center.

Erick Erickson at RedState went ballistic about the congressman’s statements.

Robert Costa at National Review has a report that Eric Cantor is yelling at House Committee Chairmen for doing the right thing and opposing the farm bill. The Committee Chairmen recognize just how terrible the legislation is and Cantor is upset with them.

One would think the House Republican Majority Leader would be more upset with House Republicans who want states to embrace Obamacare.

For example, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) should lose his sub-committee chairmanship for wanting Louisiana to expand medicaid in the state under Obamacare.

Governor Bobby Jindal has been a national leader in opposing Obamacare and refusing to create a state-level exchange. It was this refusal to create a state-level exchange in Louisiana that other Governors adopted to the point that 24 states now will not do it. These states have caused such a mess for Obamacare implementation the feds are delaying the employer mandate as a result.

They should be treated as heroes. Other states should refuse the state exchanges.

But Rep. Charles Boustany, a subcommittee chairman for the powerful Ways & Means Committee, thinks Jindal and the 24 other governors are wrong.

The insider story I’m hearing on this is that the hospital association “got to” Boustany. I don’t know whether that’s true. But if so, it wouldn’t be the first time the hospital people were pushing stupid policy on legislators from Louisiana. They were big backers of that “bed tax” legislation which passed both houses of the legislature and wasn’t vetoed by Gov. Jindal this year, which essentially amounts to running a scam on the federal government.

It doesn’t make you a good legislator to find ways to get the federal government, which is $17 trillion in debt, to pay for an expansion of your local or state government. What it makes you is a pirate. In the past, we saw some virtue in that here in Louisiana, and we were wrong.

What’s most irritating about Boustany – and every time I criticize him I catch a bunch of flak from the Lafayette people who both brag about what great conservatives they are and then proceed to lecture me about how great Boustany is, so this will follow a predictable pattern – is that here’s a guy who’s about as an establishment-Republican as you can get, who touts his relationship with John Boehner and how much influence he has, and as an establishment Republican your entire ethic is that you go along to get along…and then he decides what he wants to do is trash Jindal and take Obama’s position on a law which is scaring the bejesus out of the whole country and which Washington is trying to squirm out of actually enforcing?

We conservatives are told that we need to sit down and shut up, and accept crap like the Gang of Eight bill – or the farm bill that Cantor trashed his caucus for voting against which Erickson noted in his RedState post yesterday – for the good of the Republican Party. OK, fair enough. Why doesn’t Boustany have to sit down and shut up on Obamacare?

Erickson’s right that there ought to be some consequences for Boustany going off the reservation and siding with Karen Carter Peterson on the Medicaid expansion. Whether he loses his chairmanship or not is questionable, but certainly he ought to get it from both barrels from the Jindal administration and from the rest of the Louisiana GOP delegation.

And Bill Cassidy in particular, who actually has something to gain by hammering Boustany on this issue. Cassidy is running for the Senate against the Democrat who cast the deciding vote to inflict Obamacare on the country in the first place, and he’s fighting something of a perception as an establishment type as well. Ripping into Obamacare, and the wayward RINO who just defended it, would be a way to rally some conservative support and perhaps reel in a few dollars to make up that fundraising deficit against Mary Landrieu he needs to close.


Speaking of irritating, this is a bit more than that

The Broward Sheriff’s Office, working closely with the Sanford Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, has coordinated a response plan in anticipation of the verdict.

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right. While raising your voice is encouraged, using your hands is not. BSO has created a public service announcement with the help of kids from the Jason Taylor Foundation, H.A.N.D.Y. (Helping Abused, Neglected, Disadvantaged Youth) and basketball star James Jones of the championship Miami Heat team urging young people not to let their emotions get the best of them.

“We don’t have information about a specific event that might take place at the conclusion of the trial, but we encourage everyone to keep any protests peaceful,” Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Members of the BSO Strategic Investigation Division have been monitoring the pulse of the situation, maintaining open lines of communication with community leaders, civic activists, members of the clergy, as well as local, state and federal agencies.

We’re working on a theory that the Zimmerman trial would already be over but for the fear of rioting that could follow an acquittal. You can’t really find a legal analyst out there who thinks the prosecution has met its burden of proof for Murder 2, or really even manslaughter. The defense hardly even needed to put on a case; most of their case made its way into the record through the prosecution’s witnesses.

And the judge knows this. In a case the media hadn’t hyped into a racial time bomb she would have cut Zimmerman loose already. That motion for a directed verdict the defense made after the prosecution’s case would surely have been granted.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman has had so many threats made on his life that he’s likely never to be able to walk around on a street for the rest of his life. He’ll have to move to somewhere like Idaho or Wyoming; in Florida he’s going to be a marked man.

And for what? For defending himself? For not consenting to have his brains scrambled on a sidewalk somewhere?

The implications of this case aren’t really even racial; something else is at work. From a terrific essay at Sultan Knish on this case…

But the case isn’t about race either. It’s about a struggling middle class in a precarious economy trying to hang on to what it has. And it’s about a culture of dropouts from the economy who celebrate thuggery and then pretend to be the victims. It’s doubtful that anyone in Zimmerman’s neighborhood who weathered multiple break-ins has much sympathy for the Martin family. And that’s one reason that the prosecution hasn’t found any useful witnesses.

If Trayvon Martin had been the clean cut innocent kid that the media tried to pretend he is, the reaction might have been different. But he wasn’t. The gap between Martin and Zimmerman wasn’t race, in other circumstances most liberals would have called both men members of minority groups, it was aspiration.

George Zimmerman wanted to to be a cop. Trayvon Martin wanted to be a hood. It’s quite possible that Martin got no closer to his ambition than Zimmerman got to his. Both men were just going through the motions on the edge of a game of cops-and-robbers that suddenly turned deadly real. And even in a country where the thug tops the entertainment heap, the vulnerable parts of the middle class have more sympathy for aspiring cops than for aspiring thugs.

What are cops and thugs? Cops are the protectors of the middle class and thugs prey on the middle class. Not just any part of the middle class, but the vulnerable parts, the men and women without enough money and mobility to get out when neighborhoods turn bad. And then it all comes down to territory and who can intimidate whom. Either the cops intimidate the thugs or the thugs intimidate the cops.

Everyone is the hero in their own story, but George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were living out different stories. George Zimmerman was looking out for his neighbors while Trayvon Martin was looking to live the thug life. Martin’s story ended with him realizing that sometimes attitude isn’t enough and Zimmerman’s story ended with him realizing that sometimes even when you try to be the hero, you’re going to be drawn as a villain.

The interesting question is how much longer the middle class, or perhaps better defined, the working class, who doesn’t particularly feel like they’re represented by anybody either in the culture or in politics, will go on tolerating being put upon by the leeches and criminals and talked down to by the elites when cases like this continue coming about. It’s not just white people we’re talking about, either – there are lots of blacks and Hispanics who “cling” to religion, desperately want their kids to grow up with the skills and wherewithal to have it better than they do but struggle mightily to raise them amid the poisonous and classless culture and the Mengele-style experimentation going on in the public schools. And when neighborhoods go bad, as they all-too-often do amid a lousy economy, the violence follows.

Look at Chicago. Those are mostly black kids getting killed in a city the political elites can’t control or manage. And those kids are learning nothing in a broken school system with a communist teachers’ union holding sway, whose boss is blaming the collapse on “rich white people.” The fabric of society in that town is lost, and life there has become cheap. The victims aren’t just welfare recipients and untouchables; they’re working-class people who have seen their property go down the tubes and can’t leave.

And it’s the thug culture which is guilty in the Zimmerman case, just like that culture is guilty of killing lots of other kids like Trayvon Martin in cities all over the country. The elites profit from that culture; it helps get the politicians elected and it makes money for the entertainers. But the middle class is its victim.

So if Zimmerman beats the rap and there are riots, if we go there, the question is: what reaction from the working class? What size backlash?

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