Soap Box

My very own cute little soap box!

Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Rant

Posted by eemilla on June 12, 2011

My hormones are at an all time high, and I am angry so I’m hopping on my soapbox.

Freshman NC Representative Tim Moffitt is unfortunately my elected official, and I must say that for a Republican he doesn’t seem very interested in limiting the size of government or simply keeping government more locally controlled.  He has pushed through a bill, HB471, that will make Buncombe County voters elect commissioners from a district rather than elect all five; the same bill increases the number of commissioners from five to seven.  Even the Asheville Citizen Times was against this move, and it was decided unilaterally without any voter consent.

Representative Moffitt would also like the city to cede ownership of the airport and water system to more regional control; the water system bill, HB925, was changed in response to public outcry to simply study whether ownership should change or not.  The airport bill, HB552, has broader support according to Mountain Express, but it doesn’t provide any compensation to the City of Asheville for the airport.

My rant initiated with notice of Mr Moffitt’s vote on HB854, which is innocently entitled, Women’s Right to Know Act.  This act would require a woman seeking an abortion to watch an ultrasound, listen to the heartbeat, and wait 24 hours before being able to obtain an abortion.  She will also be made aware of state support available, but to my knowledge no one has put forward a bill to increase the state’s funding for Medicaid.  It incenses me that Representative Moffitt and the sponsors of this bill would think that a woman would decide to have an abortion on a whim, and if they believe that then why would they expect that she would be capable of properly caring of herself and the baby while pregnant or afterwards.

Everyone wants to see a reduction in abortions, but I don’t want to see it at the expense of a child being brought into a dangerous situation.  Every single child born should be a wanted child; putting up a twenty-four barrier to a difficult decision isn’t going to help have more wanted children, but it could increase the number of children born to unprepared and ill equipped people.  The bill doesn’t provide any leeway for rape or incest victims, which is yet another instance of the system blaming the victim.

I’m sure Senator Tom Apodaca will also support this bill, but I do hope that Governor Purdue will veto it.  Please note this post was partially written with my newborn nestled against me in our super awesome wrap; my pregnancy wasn’t exactly planned, but my daughter is a wanted child.

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Tax Exempt Status for churches

Posted by eemilla on March 5, 2011

While I agree with the recent Supreme Court decision in favor Westboro Baptist Church’s right to be completely disgusting and abhorrent and absolutely hateful and disrespectful, it firms my opinion against tax exempt status for churches.

The IRS requires organizations claiming tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to refrain from being action organizations, which prevents them from supporting or working against both legislation and political campaigns; however, we all know that churches participate in the political discourse in this country and tell their memberships how to vote.  However, “churches” like Westboro Baptist stick to their message of hate and refrain from ever mentioning legislation or candidates; therefore following the letter if not the spirit of the law.  The Family/The Fellowship enjoyed tax exempt status until 2009 while they posed as a church; the home on C Street (which was considered a church) provided highly subsidized lodging to both Republicans and Democrats (including Representative Heath Shuler) all the while actively influencing legislation in this country and abroad.  Recent research has validated the Church of Latter Day Saints involvement in passing Proposition Eight which altered California’s constitution to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

Many argue that churches deserve the special tax status for the charitable works that they perform in the community, and while I would regret to see modest churches that actually do good works in the community suffer, I wouldn’t mind at all seeing mega churches with huge ostentatious buildings contribute to the tax base.  If they truly follow the words of their holy book then they don’t need the tax incentive to perform these good works, and driving around any town or city in this country most churches have way too much money in their building funds.  Furthermore, our First Amendment provides for a separation of church and state, and frankly, I do not see the need for taxpayers to enable churches to proselytize anymore than James Madison did.

Our current budget concerns are bringing some important programs to the chopping block, but we cannot cut our way out of the deficit; revenues will have to be increased.  Federal heating oil assistance is being cut, teachers are being laid off, and projects for mass transit are mouldering, but churches like Westboro Baptist don’t have to pay a single cent in taxes on their assets?  Much like defunding NPR and PBS, removing churches’ tax exempt status will enable them to fully enter the political arena rather than secretly participate.

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Shame on you, Congressman Shuler!

Posted by eemilla on November 11, 2009

Abortion is legal.  The best way to stop abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Before Roe v. Wade, well heeled women went out of the country to have their abortions performed, and less well off women went to illicit abortion providers who may or may not have been medically trained.  As a result, women died.  It is infuriating that Congressman Shuler (and the other representatives) would vote to restrict a right that is so intensely personal.  Every child born should be a wanted child.  How many children have you adopted or fostered Mr Shuler?

Congressman Shuler issued a press release stating that HR 3962 doesn’t provide enough reform or control enough costs.  However, if that were the case why bother with voting in favor of the Shupak amendment that would restrict access to abortions for ostensibly less than wealthy women.  Why didn’t Congressman Shuler present anything to the Small Business Committee that would have provided better cost controls or more reforms?  What reforms are Congressman Shuler looking for?

His press release states that he supports “many of the provisions in HR 3962”, but other than cost control he doesn’t specifically state where the bill’s reforms fall short.  On his Small Business page he points that healthcare costs have almost doubled since 2001 and that businesses are facing the decision of whether to pay for health insurance or lay off employees, but his solution on that page is to allow businesses to band together to create coops which would work within the existing system that Shuler says is “laden with waste, fraud and abuse” (from today’s press release).

The Senate is next so pick up your phones and call your Senators daily to remind them how you feel about our healthcare system.  I’ll be reminding mine that unlike them I don’t have free healthcare.  I don’t get to choose my doctor because my health insurance company does that for me.  For my annual physical, I have to schedule my appointment about six months out, and then I should expect to wait one, two, or more hours to be seen by the doctor.  Due to the huge price difference between the group and individual market, my employer choses my health plan.  If I were on the individual market, my only real option for health insurance company would be Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC; although they are not considered a monopoly BCBSNC collected over 96% of individual health insurance premiums in North Carolina in 2008.  I’ll also be sure to mention the millions of uninsured (like our friends who work forty plus hours every week, but still cannot afford health insurance) that the private market has failed.  I’ll voice my support for moving away from the fee for service paradigm and moving towards the rewarding healing the sick one; I’ll also share my dream of taxing the hell out of those prescription drug ads that harass me constantly to ask my doctor to please give me a prescription which might help the selectively fiscally conservative get on the bus.

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Happy Fourth!

Posted by eemilla on July 4, 2009

Please take the time (or some extra time) this week to contact your elected representatives about an issue you care about or to thank them for a vote well done.  I’ve called Senator Kay Hagan, Senator Richard Burr, and Representative Shuler to voice my support for a public healthcare option.  Governor Purdue, Senator Nesbitt, Representative Whilden, Representative Fisher, and Representative Goforth all received thanks for their support of the Healthy Youth Act.  Next week I guess I’ll bug someone about more sidewalks and bus service.

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Do state legislators really deserve free healthcare?

Posted by eemilla on June 13, 2009

With the budget crisis looming for counties, cities, and states across the country, cuts are being proposed to mental health services and education among other things.  To their credit they did cut their own pay just like the state employees down the chain, but in the middle of this crisis our state legislators are wasting time with bills to amend our state’s constitution to deny rights.  

As healthcare isn’t that important for the weakest members of society, I bet the state legislator’s could save much more money by cutting their own health insurance.  Most of them are older and are probably prescribed a plethora of pharmies, which as well all know (especially those without health coverage or with only basic major medical coverage) cost a lot. Additionally, being a state legislator isn’t even a full time job, and how many of their constituents have health coverage working either a full or part time job?  I have never worked a part time (or even a full time job) in which my health care was provided free of charge.  Even if one does have health coverage, it certainly isn’t free, and I would wager one month’s premiums that it isn’t as good as what the legislators provide for themselves.

I’ll be sending this to my elected officials, and I hope you will join me.  I will also bring them to task for wasting time on a stupid Constitutional amendment to deny citizens’ rights and trying to break down the proud tradition of the separation of church and state.

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Stimulus and Upcoming Bank Bailout Redux

Posted by eemilla on February 15, 2009

With all of the ongoing discussion about the economy and the soon to be signed stimulus bill, I wanted to throw my two cents into the mix.  

Read the rest of this entry »

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How Should We Get Big-Money Influence Out of Congressional Elections?

Posted by eemilla on January 3, 2009

My comment on the HuffPost was truncated due to space, so I expanded it a bit here.

More on Voting
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Durbin/Specter solution [to tax broadcast networks in order to finance elections] is great as long as it applies to all for-profit networks; I propose that the networks be offered the option of either providing broadcast time or paying the tax. The provided air time would be required to be either in prime time or a slot of the candidates’ choosing; I feel this method would provide more exposure than relying on the big four.  Alternatively, all networks that chose to provide air time in lieu of the tax would air a series of debates.  As presidential campaigns command more attention from the general public, it only makes sense that the financing reform would start with a national debate. Any thought of subsidized elections must enact campaign limits so that the price of campaigning doesn’t continue to grow.  We often focus just on the dollar amount; in the last election the three longest running candidates were also supposed to be serving US Senate terms.  Allowing career politicians to neglect and retain their incumbent seats while campaigning to rise to higher office (at any level including municipal) creates another barrier for average citizens to participate in our democracy; most small businesses couldn’t bear the cost of an employee being on leave for two years, and I am not sure how many Americans could afford to stop focusing on breadwinning for two years to run for office.

Finally, any discussion of campaign reform has to include the opening of the races; I want to vote for the best candidate whether it is in the primary or not, and the best candidates may not be in the same party.  There are more than two parties in this country, and I am ready to add those other voices to the mix.  I hope that by providing the Green or Libertarian perspective I may be spared of another debate focusing on a candidate’s patriotism as evidenced by the presence or absence of a lapel pin.  Ending the Democrats’ and Republicans’ strangle hold on the Commission for Presidential Debates is essential to any meaningful reform and any meaningful debate.

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I am Pro Quality of Life

Posted by eemilla on September 7, 2008

Kudos to The Daily Show for their coverage of the Palin hypocrisy.  Not only did John Stewart juxtapose some of the nasty, sexist commentary while Senator Clinton was running against the cries of sexism by the “liberal media” in defense of Governor Palin from the  very same people who attacked Senator Clinton, but Samantha Bee tried in vain to get Republican delegates to say the word choice in light of Governor Palin’s unwed pregnant teenage daughter.  

Under most circumstances I would defend Governor Palin’s argument that her daughter’s pregnancy is a private family matter; however, in this instance her public policy is to take the choice to have a child away from the family.  Additionally, she doesn’t want to allow comprehensive sexual education, which could have prevented this pregnancy.  If it is right for her family then how can she deny my choice for my family?

It is finally time that the Democratic party is opening the up the choice plank to put the emphasis on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies rather than it just being about abortion.  I understand that the option to abort is important, but preventing the pregnancy is the best option.  I cannot understand how the pro-choice lobby have allowed themselves to be painted as pro-abortion or anti-life.  I personally cannot say that I would have an abortion as this time in my life, but I cannot say that this has always been the case.   I have never encountered anyone who thought of abortion as birth control; I think of it as a chance to increase the quality of each life in this world.  I say this because I am the product of a marriage that happened because I was conceived (I must note that my mother would never have considered an abortion because [I believe] she just wanted a family of her own).

As not all families provide the good sound judgement that is required to be a responsible active sexual person, I think that government does have an obligation to do so.  I do not like the thought of government stepping in and picking up the role of the parent, but at the same time for those ignorant, inexperienced people procreating the government will step in as the surrogate parent in the form of welfare (Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing and childcare as well as financial aid for the parents and please don’t forget the child tax credit).  Without stretching very far, I can think of five examples of these ignorant procreators getting a free ride (three of which are within my own family).  As this is the case why should taxpayers be denied the right to try to prevent these births in the first place?

Another major argument against comprehensive sexual education is the increase in sexual activity among those receiving the education, but honestly, I had plenty of sex before I was eighteen with my abstinence only education.  I was fortunate enough not to contract any sexually transmitted diseases while playing around with oral sex, but I would say it is a shame that I first learned about using protection when practicing oral sex from a Jamie Foxx movie.

With sex being such a private matter, it is difficult for me to envision it being a part of the public education curriculum, and I cannot dispute that it is an arduous decision to calculate when in the process should sex-ed be introduced.  However, it is reckless to not teach our burgeoning adults safer sex methods, and while at all points it would not have be compulsory at some stage the comprehensive sexual education would have to be requisite.

Hopefully, the change in the Democratic plank regarding pregnancy reflects a new direction for the entire country.  Keep your laws off of my body, and stay out of my bedroom!

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