The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 15th, 2011: THIS EARTH IS NOT FLAT

Published in the Pawling Press, Pawling, NY, Friday, September 9th, 2011, under the title “Not So Flat Earth”

Note: I wrote the following in response to an opinion piece by the Pawling Press‘s conservative columnist, Mr. Paul Keyishian. Mr. Keyishian’s piece was entitled “Achieving Ideological Balance at the Federal Level”; it should be available in full at http://www.pawlingpress.com next week.

I found it aptly ironic that both Frank Matheis [liberal columnist] and Paul Keyishian, in their opinion pieces of September 2nd, referred to the idea that no sane person these days believes that the world is flat. However, while Mr. Matheis went on to discuss the dismissal of science by climate change deniers, including many of today’s prominent Republicans and Tea Partiers, Mr. Keyishian took a different route. Mr. Keyishian’s column centered around the idea that, while “established scientific facts” are either right or wrong, opposing political philosophies are “not so cut and dried.” While this is true to a certain degree, some political philosophies are readily proven to be wrong, simply by looking at history.

I am compelled to dismiss Mr. Keyishian’s base premise where he “assume[s] that each side of the political spectrum has something meaningful to contribute…” or “that we all possess the sincere desire to ‘even things out’ politically.” Anyone who has paid attention to the political arena in the last few years since President Obama was elected has to realize that, even before the 2010 mid-terms, the majority of sitting Republicans became the party of Obstruction, the party of “No!” and even “Hell, NO!” Senior Republican Mitch McConnell outright stated that the party’s goal was to “make President Obama a one-term President”, which doesn’t exactly sound like meaningful contribution in my view. The only solution that the Republicans offered to mitigate the effects of the recession and the rampant, increasing unemployment rate were tax cuts, especially for the wealthy and big corporations.

Here’s where we go back to the ‘flat-earth/established science’ idea: Republicans, and I mean every single Republican Congressperson and Senator, still pronounce that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations actually create jobs and must be continued, some believe permanently. This flies completely in the face of established historical fact. Historical facts tell us that, when President Clinton raised taxes, including on the wealthy and corporations, the country gained millions of jobs (and provided his successor with a budget surplus); historical facts also tell us that, when George W. Bush reduced taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, the country LOST millions of jobs. Republicans paid no attention to the burgeoning deficit during the Bush years, but suddenly it became the number one priority when a Democrat, President Obama, took office. (Sorry, that one should be filed under “Hypocrisy”, not “Established Science”.)

Mr. Keyishian’s dream scenario that having a Republican President, a majority Democratic House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate would help to make Congress, and therefore the country, work better together to accomplish ideologically central, moderate legislation, is just that: a dream scenario. First, this idea is totally dependent on the premise that the members of the House and Senate are all reality-based, competent and honest public servants. Unfortunately, there are very few of those to be found, in this age of big-money-influenced politics. Take the big money out of politics with real, effective campaign finance reform and lobbying reform, and this scenario may become slightly less dreamlike. Second, let’s turn Mr. Keyishian’s scenario on its head and look at the current makeup of the legislative and executive branches: we have a Democratic President, a majority Republican House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate. If Mr. Keyishian’s hypothesis held true, wouldn’t one have to believe that there would be more cooperation, compromise, and resulting ideologically central, moderate legislation, instead of what is actually happening in today’s Congress?

Lastly, the scenario that Mr. Keyishian proposes has Michele Bachmann as his choice for the Presidency. Like most of the Republican candidates, Ms. Bachmann is a climate-science denier and doesn’t believe in evolution. She has also signed the Grover Norquist pledge (compulsory for Republicans, although one Congressman just recently disavowed the pledge) of no additional taxes, not for anyone, not ever. This past weekend, Ms. Bachman went as far as saying that she ‘would consider’ the idea of ZERO taxes on corporations. Ms. Bachmann has also signed a ‘no abortions for any reason’ pledge, and is anti-homosexual: she and her husband truly believe that one can “pray away the gay.” To sum up, Michele Bachmann is a “Flat-Earther”, and not someone who is qualified to lead the United States of America, especially not in this century.

By Jane E. Schneider

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: August 30th – Failing to prepare…

… is preparing to fail.

Noone knows yet for sure who is going to run against President Obama in the next elections, but the field of contenders seems to be solidifying. Maybe Sarah Palin will try and have a go for it after all, I highly doubt it but with her you never know, but I seriously cannot see any viable contender coming in besides the ones that are already campaigning. Any Republican politician (especially a young one) worth his salt will be discouraged by the general drift to the right fringe the Republican Party is experiencing now, due to tea party activism. Anybody electable by moderates or even right leaning democrats would face defeat in the primaries and just add this defeat to his or her credentials. Why not wait it out for another four years? At least that’s what I would consider doing. Nevermind anyway, because the Tea Party has produced a couple of fringe pushover candidates that should be easily beat by Obama, even if he is right now at a dismally low approval rate.

But is it highly dangerous to underestimate the probability that one of the Republican fringe candidates could be winning the presidency. Frank Rich from the New York Times could tell you this. In February 2000 he wrote:

Why would Mr. Bush’s campaign move so far to the right? It’s the same thinking — that you can pander to a right-wing base and hope centrist voters suffer amnesia on Election Day — that led the G.O.P. to defeats not only in ’96 but in ’98. (…)But Democrats who are worrying about the prospect of a race against Mr. McCain shouldn’t lose sleep yet. The same G.O.P. minds that blew it in ’96 and ’98 are doing everything possible to shore up Mr. Bush.

In the end Democrats didn’t need to worry about John McCain as a candidate, but got Boy George instead. A pushover, if there ever was one, for someone of Al Gore’s political clout.

Now, after 9/11 and two devastating wars, after the incredible destruction of New Orleans by Katrina, after the economic crisis of 2008, the meltdown of American society, still, we are not taking what is going on seriously. The Washington Post reports, still talking about the primaries, of course:

A Perry victory would cement the Republican Party’s shift away from Bush’s approach to a more libertarian, anti-government GOP. This is cause for worry among some in the party, particularly those with ties to Bush.

While not addressing Perry specifically, Mark McKinnon, who was a top aide in both of Bush’s presidential campaigns, cautioned that his party would have trouble winning if it moved too far right.

Really?

The Free Republic says it out loud. Obama is the “Accidental President”

The famous Occam’s razor principle states that the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. Applying it to dispel the fog of propaganda, it becomes glaringly obvious that Obama is an accidental president, a lazy and indecisive incompetent devoid of any ability or desire to perform the job to which he was elected by a gullible majority, who loves the perks but hates the duties of his office; who loves to play but hates to work. Have a good look at the man occupying the White House: what you see is what you get. The Emperor has no clothes.

And, about people like you and me..

The smart set living in an echo-chamber that reinforces their conventional wisdom have eagerly embraced this article of faith because in their world to question Obama’s ability is to commit the deadly sin of racism.

..see, racism argument nicely defused. Hey, here’s an argument even that Americans are definitely NOT racist:

Ironically, proving America is completely the opposite of the evil racist country they relentlessly accuse her of being, progressives used America’s goodness, guilt and sense of fair play against her. In their quest to destroy America as we know it, progressives borrowed a brilliant scheme from Greek mythology. They offered America a modern day Trojan Horse, a beautifully crafted golden shiny new black man as a presidential candidate. Democrat Joe Biden lorded Obama as the first clean and articulate African American candidate. Democrat Harry Reid said Obama only uses a black dialect when he wants.

I spare you more of this blatant passive aggressive racism.

The point I am trying to make is: There are a great many Americans out there, who were convinced a black man in the White House would never happen. They relied on a silent majority and wouldn’t go out to vote last time. On the other hand progressive and moderate voters were fired up and very enthusiastic of getting rid of the dismal Bush years and were in fact voting in higher numbers than usual, count in the Latino and the African American vote, as well. Now the pendulum is about to swing back. The historical mistake of electing Obama needs to be corrected and, count on it, the right wing voters will be out in droves. Meanwhile on our side the disenchantment works its destructive ways. People will stay at home, there is no enthusiasm. And it is, of course, all Obama’s fault. Had he only!..Why hasn’t he?..Didn’t he promise?..

Good thing we can rely on the silent majority and need not go out to vote, because Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry in the White House won’t ever happen.

Well, if progressive and moderate voters are planning on relying on others and indulge in self-pity, pouting and sulking, your next President may well be Rick Perry or, Republicans can make history, too, Michelle Bachman.

This is our open thread, don’t hesitate to correct me or tell me “What do you know?” or just chat about anything else, that’s on your mind. 

Republicans Who Hate Women

Today on Meet The Press, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum tried, once again, to prove he’s the furthest one out on the right when it comes to abortion. Ignoring both constitutional precedent as well as common sense logic, Santorum made the claim that human life begins at conception and that any doctor who performs an abortion should face criminal charges. He stated that the woman involved should face no charges, but offered no explanation for this contradiction. And it is a contradiction because no doctor can perform an abortion without a woman being involved. (Unless we’re talking about test tube babies, but that would complicate things beyond the ability of people like Santorum to understand.)

Santorum has a history of getting facts wrong in support of his ill-conceived position on abortion. In a debate with Sen. Bob Casey during his last run for his Senate seat in 2006 (Casey won), Santorum said using the so-called “morning-after pill” is the exact same thing as abortion if it is taken “after the egg has been fertilized.” This is wrong because conception actually takes several days and the morning-after pill won’t work if the woman is already pregnant.

Santorum is also forgetting Justice Clarence Thomas’ famous confirmation hearings in which Sen. Patrick Leahy asked the nominee, “Does a fetus have rights under the Constitution.” After giving it a few seconds’ thought, Thomas correctly answered, “No.” The Constitution applies to persons who are actually born, and no amount of stretching what it says can lead one to believe it applies to people who haven’t been born yet. (For example, of what nation would a person who hasn’t been born yet be a citizen?)

One also has to question how someone can call themselves “pro-life” and still support the use of capital punishment. There is no consistency in this line of thinking, so their constant assault on a woman’s right to choose can only be construed as anti-women.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.

NY Election “Mix Up”…?

In upper state New York, hundreds of absentee ballots were sent out with the following candidates names:

John McCain

Barack Osama

That’s right. Osama.

Are you kidding me?

Sure, it only affected 1 in 13 ballots that were sent out, but what do you think the overall effect was?

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-politics/20081010/Osama.Ballot/