Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bill O'Reilly's Lie Du Jour

Today's O'Reilly show led of with a diatribe against "liberal fascism" for the Left's efforts to get Rush Limbaugh off the air. From his anger you're think Socialists were bombing radio stations. But no--liberals are trying to organize boycotts of advertisers and other forms of perfectly legal activity--activity which both liberals and conservatives engage in nonstop.

I saw a conversation among broadcast news anchors a few years ago, and they talked about what happened every time their reportage offended the far Right: organized letter/phone/email campaigns to their bosses, their advertisers, the general public.

It's hypocritical for either side to complain about boycotting, though O'Reilly tried to parse it, praising Rosa Parks for her boycotting while condemning the current Limbaugh boycott. This makes no sense. In fact Parks was breaking local laws, while the Libaugh boycotters are not.

O'Reilly further declare that Libaugh's protracted attack against Ms. Fluke was water under the bridge since he "apologized." Of course he did no such thing. For an apology to be real it must be done in the same medium and at the same length as what the apology is for. And it can't be "if anyone was offended by my remarks I'm sorry" which implies the the fault was actually the listener's, but the faux-apologizer is being noble about it.

Fake, pro-forma apologies are a staple of politics. Anyone who follows politics has seen thousands of them--all aimed at trying one's hardest to not apologize in fact, but giving one's defenders a fig leaf to use to attack anyone who pursues the issue--as O'Reilly did today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Here's a detailed listing and analysis of the Republican healthcare reform plan

1. Defund Planned Parenthood.
2. Repeal RomneyCare--oops, I mean ObamaCare.

That's it.

The reason given is that taxpayers who object to Planned Parenthood providing abortions shouldn't be forced to pay for them via government funding of Planned Parenthood.

I don't see how Mitt Romney could be stupid enough to propose this, since it's crazy. You mean every taxpayer gets to send government a list of things his taxes are to be used for and not used for? Boy, have I got a list for them. Only my list mandates paying for abortions on demand without questions. So then would government allocate money for my preference based on how many people demanded it?


Or did the Republican Party just mean that Christian Fundamentalists get to choose how their taxes are to be allocated?

Well, that's an improvement.

As for #2--that would take us back to the healthcare situation we had in 2008, which every competent economist said was fiscally unsustainable--not to mention making us the only rich nation without a comprehensive healthcare plan. Not to mention stuff like the private health insurance bureaucrats getting to choose whether you live or die if you get really sick--not even a "death panel." Just some clerk stamping "DENIED" on your claim routinely, then triggering the group every big insurer has to kick out any insuree who gets really sick by finding some "i" that wasn't dotted in the 50 pages of forms you have to fill out, and then not only not paying your claim but suing you to recover any and all healthcare payouts up to that point.

This is what Mitt Romney calls "Freedom." When a lady at a public meeting yesterday asked him what poor women would use for gynecological services if his party succeeded in killing off Planned Parenthood, he grandly told her "People can get whatever healthcare services they choose. It's a free country. But we won't have taxpayers supporting Planned Parenthood against their will." He went on to hail the invigorating virtue of freedom from government interference and handouts (to the lazy, was the implication).

This is what the Republican healthcare reform plan boils down to: "You're own your own. pal."

Anything else is So-shul-ism, apparently. The concept of shared risk? Out the window.

Well, that makes perfect sense if you're a multimillionaire like Mitt Romney and his friends who own ball clubs. They don't need government handouts, so you don't either.

Only BTW Romney loves the government handout of letting him pay half the taxes that multimillionaire CEOs pay vs. what Wall Street financiers like Romney pay.

I'd take him more seriously if he were willing to forego government handouts to the wealthiest. But instead his tax plan will enrich Mitt Romney personally by a substantial amount.

Ah, freedom. Bracing, huh? To the Republicans it means Survival of the Fittest, and it you aren't financially deserve what you get.

Bottom line: the Republican Healthcare Plan is undoing everything Democrats ever voted for. Other than that, there is no plan to curb costs, make healthcare more universal or more affordable or more reliable (do you know how many people are accidentally killed by hospitals every year? More than drunk drivers). Their plan is to not have a plan. No government meddling. Not even to negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients. Of course their implication is to do away with Medicare, but that'll wait until they get back in power.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Romney vows to nuke China and India and invade and conquer all the major oil producers

Chinese traffic jam--worst in history--Aug. 14-26, 2011
Well, no, he didn't. But he blamed President Obama for the high gas prices we have now, and vowed things would be different during his reign. But to accomplish that, he'd have to do what I said in my headline, and he said he's accomplish that, therefore he plans to nuke China and India and invade and conquer the OPEC nations.

Of course what he's promised is to stop stopping American oil producers from producing oil, as he's accued Obama of doing. Including blaming Obama for slowing down Gulf oil platform operations like the one BP owned that blew up. Does anyone outside of the states around the Guilf remember that?

But suppose we opened the taps, drilling offshore, in Alaska, everywhere, dumping our reserve capacity into the refineries, and built the Keystone pipeline..

First, America is no longer a major oil producer. Second, the burgeoning middle classes of China and India--each the size of America's total population--are buying cars and driving them. Third, unless we nationalized our oil companies, oil production in America is in the hands of private, for-profit, multinationals.

So the modest increase in oil supply would be promptly sold on the world market--much of it snapped up by China and India--at prices set by the oil cartel, OPEC.

Change to American gas prices: pretty much nada. American gas prices are the same as prices in Europe, except for us subsidizing drivers more here with a lower gas tax. But on a day by day basis, except for that tax differential, Americans pay the same at the pump as their French, German, and Brit counterparts--and have done so at least since the mid-1990s.

These facts were pointed out by all the pundits on Fox News--back when gas prices soared during Bush II's presidency. They only started lying about it when prices rose during a Democratic presidency.

And nearly all the Congressional Republicans always vote against raising gas mileage requirements, of course. Now their mantra has become God, Gays, Guns, and Gas....

Therefore, since Romney et al claim they can affect gas prices, they'll have to eliminate the competition for gas: China and India...and OPEC.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Santorum right for once

I'm no Santorum supporter. But the hoo-rah over his statement that Puerto Rico should speak English before joining the Union as a full-fledged state was correct.

What was interesting was that the Left-O-Sphere didn't consider his statement debatable. All the MSNBC show hosts I saw just stated it as proof of his not being ready to be president--as if there could be no debate on his statement. I'm sure that the Right-O-Sphere considers the same point equally un-debatable. 

Meanwhile the Invisible 40% who are Independents sit here looking at these opponents and scratching our heads--at how identical all these partisans are, emotionally. They simple cannot debate anything. Everything is carved in stone by a fiery finger somewhere, apparently.

Worse yet, the Left-O-Sphere talks about it as if a major point was that Santorum was failing to pander to the Mexicans with American citizenship (but who still consider themselves Mexican, according to the last Pew survey I saw). Apparently failure to pander to a group--at least a group that isn't White--is somehow immoral.


Friday, March 16, 2012

There is no GOP "War on Women"

The following is a press release from the GOP's Ministry of Propaganda:

Washington DC-- It has come to our attention that outside agitators from the Democrat Party have accused us of hating women, just because a handful of homely, overweight Communistic Lesbians couldn't take a joke or two or three thousand from harmless comedian Rush Limbaugh, and because the legislatures we control have made the first priority not the deficit or jobs but making sure women don't get abortions--even if their life depends on it. Because it's the principle of the thing.

Sure, many fertilized eggs don't even develop into fetuses, and many fetuses aren't viable. But some are, so all are.

Not all women carry our babies, but some do, so all do. They're our sacred vessels.

So of course we love our women. Our beautiful, humble, obedient, baby-bearing women. Women who know their place--at our side, supporting us, caring for us, depending on us, making us feel manly.

Our women are our most prized possessions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Out on a Limbaugh--should the Armed Forces Network carry him?

Some considerations:

1. Just as servicemen surrender a portion of their free choice as a condition of their vocation, citizens surrender control over the disposition of their tax dollars as a condition of their participation in our representative, constitutional democracy. We have a say over where our tax dollars go via petition, voting, citizens’ initiatives (at the state level), and, ultimately, lawsuits.

2. What servicemen want to listen to should absolutely be a consideration. Actually, I’ve heard that the troops would actually prefer to listen to rap and hip-hop, and that Rush Limbaugh’s show is mainly promulgated at the behest of the older white men in the top brass, in hopes of indoctrinating the troops. I haven’t found research proving this but it sounds plausible to me.

3. But though what servicemen want to listen to should be a consideration—especially since they go in harm’s way for us—it’s not dispositive in and of itself. From a military POV, the AFN should give soldiers the subset of what they’d like to hear that also contributes to their military mission—especially as it contributes to unit cohesion.

Thus the military non-political argument for banning Limbaugh is that he harms servicemens’ respect for the chain of command by expressing scathing contempt for our military’s Commander In Chief in nearly every sentence he speaks during his daily 3 hour stints. I fail to understand how that assists servicemen in carrying out the CIC’s orders—which is the heart of their job.

He also expresses scorn for the 17% of the armed forces who are women. Nearly all military women use contraceptives. Last week Limbaugh spent three days, three hours each of those days, branding all such women “sluts” and any of them who expect their health insurance to cover contraception “prostitutes” and demanding that such women provide taxpayers with videos of them copulating, for Mr. Limbaugh’s viewing pleasure.

The military has a serious problem with rape and sexual harassment of servicewomen. It it worse than most civilians realize. Mr. Limbaugh’s ongoing misogyny contributes to this problem—the most recent example is just one of innumerable ones over his decades in broadcast.

Mr. Limbaugh also expresses hostility towards blacks, Hispanics, nonreligious people, Muslims, and foreigners in general, usually with dogwhistle speech. All these groups are minorities in the armed forces as well as in civilian America—but it hardly encourages unit cohesion to encourage antagonism by the white majority of servicemen toward people in one’s unit who belong to any/all of these minorities.

An additional issue is that nearly everything Limbaugh says is verifiably factually false, and much of that falsehood is slander as well. This is a separate issue from his political orientation. There are many conservative commentators who lie less often and almost never engage in misogyny or statements undermining the chain of command. We could poll servicemen on which of those commentators they would like to hear.

One other point about servicemen’s own preferences—what if 51% of them wanted to hear torture porn fantasies? Should we allow that? What if 49% objected? How do we balance the wishes of majority vs. minority, commanders vs. enlisted personnel, taxpayers vs. the military?

These aren’t simple issues. However, I believe Limbaugh has made it simple in his case.

Also, the percentage of military personnel who are in his camp has been dropping steadily. Today Republicans only number less than 41% of members of the military. It used to be nearly 2/3, but the GOP’s morphing from a political party into a tribe—and its saying increasingly nonsensical things about military matters—may be contributing to this.

“Conservative” once equated with “Republican.” No more.

So yes, Limbaugh should go--not because he's a right winger, but because his program is bad for our military's tactical and strategic objectives. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bush II who?

Fascinating how Republicans rhapsodize about Reagan (despite the fact that he'd be considered a RINO today) while the last GOP president--for two terms no less--is an official Nonperson.

And yet Romney, Gingrich and Santorum all endorse Bush II's overall tax and economic policies, along with his Ready! Fire! Aim! foreign policy, firm belief in big government intrusion into our bedrooms with no respect for states' rights (contrary to GOP mantras about same), and contempt for science and economics when their findings don't support GOP Billionairian theology. They should give credit where its due--and so should their followers. 

Especially since the overall policy similarities give us a horror movie-quality foreshadowing of what a Republican-dominated Congress, Presidency, and Judiciary would have in store for America. 

Of course my non-Republican conclusion is that Republicans don't want to talk about Bush II precisely because a Romney presidency would be Bush II Redux. Right down to both of them claiming to be "outsiders." Now there's unintentional humor for ya.

Romney would kill medical care reform, just like Bush II would; he'd hang onto the tax cuts for the rich that Bush II got--and which, instead of trickling down, has cost America at least 3/4 of a trillion dollars so far and counting; he'd endorse the government rape of women trying to get abortions (or should there be a different word for inserting a foreign object into a woman's privates against her will at the behest of male-dominated legislatures and male governors?). And he'd enrich himself personally and substantially through implementing his policies--just like Bush II did. And Bush II and Romney both worked hard to mimic what regular people who weren't born rich were like--Bush II with his fake ranch, Romney through his, um, family anecdotes (they're regular Motor City folks because his wife has two Cadillacs--and she doesn't "feel" rich!).

Bush II is one of your own. He's not just your past--he is, if the GOP has its way with us, our future. And he still actually rules one of the three branches of government, through his radical corporatist appointees, who are likely to rule that roost for decades to come, regardless of who wins in November.

So come on, guys, give credit where it's due. You aren't the party of Reagan--who raised taxes repeatedly and avoided foreign entanglements. You're the party of Bush II. Own it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mightily ticked-off Republican women

On the Tavis Smiley show former hardcore Republican Congressman and lifelong solid conservative Joe Scarborough said his even-more-conservative-than-him "Pro-Life" wife who's never voted for a Democrat for President in her life...won't be voting for any of the GOP candidates this time around, due to what she perceives as the Republican war on women.

The last straw for her was Reichsleiter Limbaugh's multi-day verbal sexual assault on a Georgetown U. grad student, followed by GOP TV's staunchly defending Limbaugh's accusations (if not his amazing stylings) across its various programs, followed by every GOP candidate wannabe and the congressional leadership refusing to directly denounce those stylings, instead resorting to copouts like "Well, I wouldn't have said it that way and let me tell you how Obama has failed the country" or "What does it matter what entertainers say?" or "there goes the Lib-er-ul Elite Media again, criticizing a conservative for what they excuse Lib-er-uls saying all the time," followed by Reichsleiter Limbaugh's own apology-by-blaming-everyone-else.

The Party Faithful who are men may be buying all this, but many conservative women voters are seething.

And those women haven't failed to notice that President Obama has a flawless marriage/parenting Family Values record, including two daughters he's obviously devoted to...and even brought his mother in law with him to the White House.

Remember in the '90s when Clinton was running for re-election and the Republican pitch was that personal character was everything you needed to know--when it was Clinton vs. personally squeaky-clean Bush I? I remember being told by party faithful at church that I mustn't vote for a cad like Clinton.

But now that the Democrat is the squeaky clean one and one of the four remaining GOP contenders is Newt...suddenly personal character is irrelevant.

Only a lot of Republican women haven't forgotten that stuff, and still think it matters. And the depiction of Obama as a foreign devil actually intending to destroy America just doesn't comport with the family stuff they see. And Michelle Obama has been an outstanding first lady--both confident and supportive--and not too full of herself either.

Obama's obvious emotional stability and deliberative approach to major problems suits the tastes of many GOP women on the process level. They don't want a hothead in the White House. Or a zealot, actually. That's not conservative, in any real sense of the word.

Not to mention the fact that now they've heard both Obama and Romney sing...

No more need for the State Department

According to the Republican Party, we appear to have no need for our State Department, because it simply duplicates Israel's, and our job, say all the presidential contenders (except for Ron Paul), is to jump when Israel's government says Hop!

Of course Israel is an ally. An important ally. But they don't always act in our interests, and we don't always act in theirs (unless the GOP gets control of both Congress and the White House, of course).

And actually even if we considered Israel's welfare more important than ours, if we state that our job is to obey the dictates of Benjamin Netanyahu, it diminishes our ability to act as an honest broker between Israeli and Arab interests--and given the turmoil in the Middle East today, that's more vital to Israel than ever.

The presidential candidates on the Right have let it be known--again, except for Ron Paul--that if they were president it'd be bombs away over Iran. This from people who have never served and have never had any other kind of military experience either.

Well, that has one benefit--to them: it drives up gasoline prices as speculators see huge opportunities for profit if we go to war with Iran and oil supplies are crimped.

And, by total coincidence, the higher the gas prices, the less likely the White House's incumbent will be re-elected.


Monday, March 5, 2012

It's about freedom of religion

The GOP has revived the same principle the Puritans upheld when they emigrated to the New World: freedom of religion.

Only the Puritans interpreted "freedom of religion" as "freedom of me to impose the standards of my religion on you." Thus it isn't good enough for a Republican fundamentalist pharmacist to not use the day after pill. It's against his religion to let you have it too--even when a doctor wrote the prescription.

And it isn't good enough for Catholic-owned businesses that employ non-Catholics to encourage the Catholic employees not to use birth control. The Catholic church demands the right to discriminate against employees who want their medical insurance to cover birth control pills (which are also needed for some medical conditions that have nothing to do with birth control). Somehow it violates your religion if I don't abide by its rules.

In all of these cases, the Republican Party interprets freedom of religion exactly as the Puritans did.

Suppose I owned a private business and belonged to a Christian Identity church that preaches that Negroes are racially inferior to whites, and thus I declared it my Christian duty not to employ qualified Negroes?

Suppose I owned a private business and belonged to a Salafist Muslim congregation and demanded that any female who worked for me wear a burqa to, at, and from work? (That's the fullbody covering required in Saudi Arabia.) My conscience requires that I not employ whores--that is, women who fail to wear burqas. Or I might just say no woman can work for me--their only place is in the home.

By their principles, the GOP must support these business owners' right to impose their religion's notion of morality on their employees.

And if my conscience demands that I use birth control to avoid adding to world overpopulation--apparently that doesn't count. Is it only the conscience of GOP-approved religions that count? Is that it?

The GOP retort is that women who want birth control are free to buy it themselves as long as they don't ask their employer to provide it, against his conscience (and it's always his conscience, not hers, isn't it?). And if the woman doesn't like it she can go work somewhere else. This is very Libertarian--there's no such thing as society. Just proud, manly individuals. And their consciences that you are required to abide by.

Of course the GOP believes we are a society when its values are concerned--hence all the legislation that gets implemented in our bedrooms and in our private lives. Thus alcohol is legal, marijuana is not--even though alcohol is clearly more dangerous by any measure. But when the values aren't GOP ones suddenly we're all individuals and "society" is just another word for "Com-yew-nist."

In this case society has agreed collectively that private businesses are not to discriminate by race, creed or religion, except for churches--not businesses run by churches, but by the churches themselves.

That includes ante'ing up for birth control pills and the like--and Republicans generally went along with this until just now. In fact 28 states require this explicitly, and the numerous Catholic organizations in those states complied without a whimper.

So why does it suddenly become freedom of my religion to exclude contraception coverage from my private health insurance that you help pay for? I'm not asking you to use condoms with your own wife. And why is this an issue now in a presidential election year, when it wasn't earlier?

In every country where the Catholic Church gains enough adherents (in America, largely through illegal immigration, which the Church staunchly promotes), it demands that the nation's laws obey Catholic dictates. Evidently the Church thinks it's approaching that tipping point here. Just a few tens of millions more illegal immigrants can seal the deal.

And the fact that 98% of Catholic women use birth control against Church orders makes this even better. A church that can't get its own adherents to adhere to its medieval family planning policies expects the general public to.


Lastly, before the Catholic church presents itself as a prime source of moral instruction, one might suggest some internal housecleaning first...

Catholic Church coloring book

Saturday, March 3, 2012

new verb: to Limbaugh someone

That is, to call a young woman who wants all employers to include contraception in their medical insurance a slut, a prostitute, and to demand that she provide sex tapes of herself to pay back the public--or at least Mr. Limbaugh--for including this in health insurance.

EDIT: And, given the fact that not one Republican official publicly denounced Limbaugh for his slander, I guess "GOP" must stand for "Gynecologically Obtuse Party."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why do they hate President Obama?

Talk to a lot of Republican voters, and you'll hear them describing Obama using amazing language. They tell me--who they know as a Democrat--that he's a Fascist, a Communist. Literally. They'll tell me how much they dislike him personally. Since by any rational standards he has governed as a moderate, pragmatic center-left Democrat, it's hard to understand them talking about him as if he were Hugo Chavez. 

Here's one possible explanation--though they'll never admit it (often not even to themselves):