Friday, September 18, 2015

The Republican (Right) Field, Round 2

To go with the mixed metaphor of my title (baseball vs. boxing), today's blog post presents in short "chapters" some of my response to the second Republican debate, which I endured for almost two and a half hours on Wednesday. 


I almost felt sorry for the poor guys and gal--they had to stand there for 3 hours and think about the fact that they would have to somehow distinguish themselves from the other 10 wingnuts on stage with them in little 1 or 2 minute chunks every 10-15 minutes. I'm surprised no one came out from behind the lectern and started doing cartwheels, dancing a jig, or juggling watermelons to get attention. 

Mostly they had to hope someone would mention their name, because if their name was mentioned they got automatic response time (imaginary pre-debate confession cam, with Christie: "Kasich and me gotta deal goin' you see--every time one of us gets a chance to talk we'll take a softball poke at the other one, that way we'll get to go back and forth all night and block the others out!").

And they actually got into policy, which shut Trump up, because the fact is, and he acknowledged it, he doesn't know much. I'll hire experts who know this stuff is basically what he said...that inspires confidence. Rand Paul and John Kasich tried to inject some reasonable ideas like not trying to police the whole world and working with allies instead of going it alone...but they were all alone up there. Ben Carson...what is the great attraction to him? I still think that may be about Republicans wanting to win the black vote ("Look at how many African Americans came out to vote for Obama! They'll vote for their own"). Rubio and Bush are supposed to have potential to pull in the Hispanic vote, but it seems like Trump has forced Republicans to write off that block of voters...and by the way, ship them out on Day 1!

Other things that will happen on Day 1: End Obamacare, Tear up the Iran Agreement, and, though none of them said it, probably indict President Obama for impersonating a president.....OMG--it's still over a year until the election!

On Carly Fiorna’s attack on Planned Parenthood

As if the doctored stealth videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue illegally weren’t false enough (a few PP clinics legally donate fetal tissue for medical research and are reimbursed for the expense of doing so), Carly Fiorina described a supposed scene from the video THAT SHE MADE UP! Here's what Politifact reports:

“Carly Fiorina spoke out against Planned Parenthood regarding the controversial videos released over the last few months. The scene she described, though, does not exist in any of the videos.

Fiorina: I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

We are aware of no video showing such a scene. The videos, released by the Center for Medical Progress beginning on July 14, have focused on fetal tissue being collected for research and have shown some aborted fetal tissue. As we wrote before, the use of donated fetal tissue has been important in several areas of scientific research.

Fiorina’s description matches up with one of the videos in a series the Center for Medical Progress has called “Human Capital” — but only with regard to how an interviewee describes her experience. Holly O’Donnell, an “ex-procurement technician” for StemExpress, a company that procures fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood clinics, relates a story of an intact fetus. She says that a Planned Parenthood doctor “taps the heart and it starts beating,” and then instructs her to remove its brain for collection.

The video does contain images of what appear to be intact fetuses, but they don’t fit Fiorina’s description. In one, where a fetus does appear to move, there is a caption saying that the footage is from the pro-life Grantham Collection and Center for Bio-Ethical Reform; there is no indication as to where the footage was shot. In the other, it was revealed after the video’s release that the image was of a stillborn baby, rather than an aborted fetus.
Though we cannot verify if part or all of O’Donnell’s story is true, the scene Fiorina “dares” others to watch is not present in any of the Planned Parenthood videos."

On Donald Trump boasting he would create a bigger, stronger military, so strong that nobody, not even Putin would mess with us

The fiction the Republicans have created is that talking tough, having a strong military, and using it frequently scares others into cooperating with us. They say Reagan talked tough and scared Gorbachev into disbanding the Soviet Union (false--Glasnost--freedom of speech he implemented led to the Republicans breaking away). They see Bush as tough and strong and would go it alone--going to war in Iraq with "a coalition of the willing". That meant neither NATO nor any major allies were with us and actually weakened us and our interests in the world, strengthening Iran and creating ISIS, which started as Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

They say Obama is weak because he is willing to negotiate with countries that we have serious disagreements with in order to avoid going to war. They don't see it as a strength to bring in our allies to participate in negotiations, but allies add to the threat should negotiations fail. But time after time, Obama has led the majority of the world to the table, negotiating the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, the Iran Agreement, and to stop Russia in Ukraine by implementing sanctions against them that are devastating their economy--finally, the ceasefire seems to be holding, an indication that the policy is working.

Yet like other Republican fictions that they repeat endlessly as if repeating a lie will make it true: that cutting taxes always creates jobs, that making abortion illegal or unavailable reduces abortions, that running a deficit is always bad for the economy, an overwhelmingly strong military used irresponsibly does not make us safer, it makes us feared and hated around the world.

What Republicans see in Ben Carson (I don’t see much)

Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn M. Turner (African American—I mention that because I think it lends her credibility on the issue) wrote that Carson’s inner city Detroit rise to famed neurosurgeon story “allows Republicans to feel good about themselves. They can vote for a black guy (whose name isn’t Obama) and maintain the myth that race is no longer a hindrance in this country and the only thing black folks have to do is work hard (as if blacks don’t already) and they too can achieve the American Dream."

And the prize for dumbest statement goes to (no surprise)

Trump on why he didn't recognize the name of the head of Iran's Quds Force: “[The reporter] was giving me name after name; Arab name, Arab name, Arab name… and there are few people anywhere that would know those names… I think he was reading them off a sheet.” 

Friday, September 11, 2015

When You Dance with the Devil, You Risk Getting Trumped

When you dance with the get burnt; you have to pay the piper; you dont change him, he changes you. Finish it how you like, the Republicans have been dancing with hot issues and colorful characters for years. They have enticed their base with pipe dreams of a tax free country with a tiny efficient government, an all powerful military to which all countries and terrorist groups submit, and a return to a 19th century morality that never existed in which the Preacher in Chief ushers in an era of peace, prosperity, good health, and world dominance, and theres no need to pay for any of it.the shining city on the hill.

The flip side of these fantasy images assigns blame to anything they claim is preventing us from living their dream: Evil Empires, abortion as holocaust (even to save a womans life),  a government that should be starved and shrunk until they can drown it in the bathtub,a MuslimPresident born in Africawho hates America”, and encourages illegal immigration and “entitlements” to pad the Democratic voting roles. Their list of imagined grievances is  endless, but it starts and ends with their political opposition who, like the rest of the world, are either evil Socialists or the Gestapo. 

Their dance with the devil, during which they have abandoned facts, reason, caution, and evidence of anything that counters their Bible thumping, demagoguing, conspiracy theorizing, tax revolting, tea partying, war mongering, immigrant hating, gay bashing platform has won a loyal following. Their constituency no longer trusts government, and the horde of Republican Congressmen, Senators, and Governors who seek the presidency are one face of the reviled government. An ever increasing number of Republican voters are not interested in facts, just claims, like those the  front runner comedian, I mean candidate, Donald Trump makes that America is losing because, We are led by very, very stupid people,and, "We will have so much winning when I get elected that you will get bored with winning.” 

The only other Republican candidate even reaching double digits in the polls is Ben Carson, a skilled neurosurgeon who also has no experience in government and has said Obamacare is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.Is it possible many Republicans support him because he is black and they want to prove they are not racist? At least hes not saying life may have been better for enslaved African American families than it is today as a pledge once signed by Republican candidate Rick Santorum suggested.

I, like many liberal or progressive Democrats, are quietly waiting for the dance to end. Trump is such a wild carda multi-billionaire who is entertaining, media savvy, and so totally disdainful of politicians, even of his own party, that voting for him is the biggest gamble voters could make. They are willing to trust our nation and the world to a carnival barker who has absolutely no discernible platform or policy—an amazingly brutal competitor who has proven himself by becoming rich, very, very rich! 

After losing the 2012 presidential election, Republican strategists saw the writing on the wall: if they didnt abandon some of their most radical right platforms and reach out to a wider audience, they were doomed to a shrinking Party comprised mostly of angry white men. Trump represents the devil they tried to spurn. After thirty years of listening to the devils enticements, at least half of Republican voters will not face reality, they will not listen to reason, they want someone who tells them what they want to hearthat they, too, can be rich winners who take back their country and return it to the good old days: government of white men, by white men, and for white men.