Posts Tagged With: abortion

RELIGIOUS FANATICISM ….. AGAIN

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on abortion in the case known as Roe V. Wade. In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court, citing a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, struck down laws that existed in virtually every state, that restricted a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in a sterile medical facility. Abortions were still taking place prior to the court’s decision; but more often than not, women had to accept some back-alley butcher as the abortion provider. It didn’t happen frequently, but sometimes women died during the procedure, because the person performing the abortion was often not a medical professional. In the 39 years since Roe V. Wade became law, about 55 million abortions have taken place, over, of course, the strenuous objections of religious fanatics who have fought the de-criminalization of abortion every step of the way. The Republican platform this year would prohibit abortions in every circumstance, without exception. Since the prohibition of anything is meaningless unless there are serious criminal penalties attached, the tens of millions of women that have had abortions over the last 39 years would have to do some serious jail time (say 5-10 years or longer) to say nothing of the doctors that performed the abortions and the nurses that may have assisted them, had the anti-abortionists won the day. I always knew that there was a considerable shortage of prison space in this country.

This came to mind because during this election season, all the snakes seem to be slithering out from under the rocks that sheltered them. For example, about 6-8 months ago there were a series of vile sermons given in churches (all of which seemed to be in North Carolina for some reason) that sought to demonize homosexuality in general and gay marriage in particular using the most venomous language. The sermons were being recorded and later posted on YouTube for all the world to see. What was most disturbing about these exercises in pure, distilled hatred, was not the bible-thumping crackpots giving these sermons. It was the several hundred people who attended these churches and cheered wildly as the bible -thumpers promised hell and damnation to anyone living the gay life-style. So much for civility and love-thy-neighbor in the Christian community.

Then several weeks ago, the Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri decided that he was going to outdo everybody in his fanatical anti-abortion beliefs. He came out with statements to the effect that he was told by medical professionals, that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would naturally cleanse itself of the fetus. He didn’t say what the body would do in cases of illegitimate rape, or for that matter, what his definitions of legitimate versus illegitimate rape were. The absurdity of his remarks were so mind-boggeling that even Mitt Romney, who goes to huge lengths not to offend any possible voter, issued a mild rebuke. However, even Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s former consigliere, who has created his own Super-Pac, with express intent of electing an all-Repulican Congress as a present to a Romney presidency, washed his hands of that one.

Still not to be out-done in religious fanaticism, the guy running for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, the other day, made the incoherent statement that if a woman gets pregnant because of rape (presumably both legitimate and illegitimate) it’s God’s will that she have that baby rather than seek abortion. ( Just the words that  the parents of a 15 year-old daughter that’s been sexually assaulted by some psycho animal, want to hear.) The problem in this case is that His Mittness had previously been caught on tape as endorsing this Republican candidate, as just the type of person that’s needed in Washington to clean things up. Fearing that he may have already alienated one evangelical nut-case too many with his previous rebuke of the guy in Missouri, His Mittness is still standing by his endorsement of the Indiana would-be Senator. Both the Missouri and Indiana religious extremists are Tea-Party favorites who believe that all our fiscal problems will be solved if we just cut-out the couple of million dollars the Government gives to Planned Parenthood. But don’t under-estimate depth of religious zealotry that prevails in much of this country, especially in the mid-west and south. Both men might still eke out a narrow victory in each of their races.

Lets go back, for the moment, to the elections of 2010 when the Tea Party movement was at its zenith. It was obvious that the GOP would capture control of the House of Representatives by a wide margin due to the country’s dislike of Obamacare and other issues. Karl Rove, who I mentioned earlier, also set his sights on Republican control of the Senate; but that would be more difficult because the Democrats had 59 Senate seats. But it was doable. One of the key Senate races that Rove was counting on to switch from Democrat to Republican was in Delaware. Mike Castle, one of dying breed of moderate Republicans, was running for that seat, and was considered a shoo-in victor against his Democratic opponent. He had been a popular Governor and then Congressman, and Rove considered his election to be a forgone conclusion. But first he had to win the GOP primary.

The Tea Party movement at that time, in its infinite wisdom, considered Mike Castle to be too moderate, and so put up their own candidate to oppose him in the primary. Their choice was a woman named Christine O’Donnell who had no previous political experience. Like Sarah Palin, she was pretty and perky, but a complete dingbat. However, only 12% of registered Republicans bothered to show up for the primary vote, and most of them were Tea Party fanatics. Christine O’Donnell, therefore, beat Mike Castle in the primary to became the GOP nominee, but thereby ended all hopes of the Senate reverting to Republican control. Upon hearing the news of Christine’s win, it was said that Karl Rove threw a tantrum, beating his fists into the floor and wailing for 24 hours.

In the general election (which was for Joe Biden’s old seat), it came out that Christine had practiced some form of witchcraft in the 1990s. As you may remember, that led her to cut a famous TV ad in which she starts out by saying: “I’m not a witch.” Words that the average American thought they would never hear in a political campaign since the 17th century. In any event, the Democrat, who was largely unknown, easily won the race and ended GOP hopes for Senate control.

In this coming election, the Tea Party is also strongly backing Mitt Romney and Republican Congressional hopefuls. It doesn’t matter that His Mittness used to be for safe and legal abortions before he was against them, that he was for universal health care before he was against it, that he was for gun control laws before he was against them and on and on. If I listed everything, I have a blog longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls. But if elected, Romney will make one major difference, and that is appointing an anti-abotion judge to the Supreme Court. The 40 year dream of zealots, fanatics, and outright religious crackpots, of overturning Roe V. Wade will finally be realized, if the public allows this by electing Mitt Romney as our next President.

 

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ADORATION BY THE MASSES

Watching parts of the Republican convention last week, I was particularly fascinated when the cameras swept to the the faces of the thousands of delegates in attendance, as various speechmakers gave their orations. For many, those faces were of pure, rapt adoration, as the promises being made would surely transform their lives into eternal bliss. Just elect the Romney/Ryan ticket, and thereafter, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp, and every morning we can tiptoe thru the tulips with carefree abandon. All the orator had to do was say: United States of America, we’re number one, and the crowd would erupt into screaming hysterics. Sort of like at a football game. It reminded me of films made by Nazi propagandists during the 1930s of Hitler’s motorcades through the hearts of Berlin or Nuremberg. Thousands would line the streets as young frauleins, with faces beaming in sheer adoration, would toss flowers at Der Fuher’s motorcade. Of course all that adoration turned to dust in the 1940s, as the war progressed and Allied forces were bombing German cities into piles of rubble.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years, it’s this. If you’re unhappy with your life, or things aren’t going well, there is only one person that can make the changes needed to rectify the situation, and you all know who that person is. Yes, you can get help from outside sources, but it sure as hell won’t be from some lowlife politician.

That’s not to insinuate that there aren’t consequences regarding who gets elected to run our government. For example, in the year 2000, Al Gore was elected President, but was not allowed to take office. Instead the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to George Bush through a highly questionable ruling. Bush was determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein, then the unquestionably evil despot ruling Iraq. Bush initiated the war in Iraq (a war Al Gore would never have started) which did depose Saddam who was later executed. But the cost of this war was almost a trillion dollars, plus the loss of over 6000 American military and civilian lives, plus another 30,000 seriously wounded Americans whose lives are effectively over because of injuries such as blindness, brain damage, or being paralyzed from the neck down, etc. To say nothing of the over 100,000 Iraqi lives that were lost. But without the war Saddam Hussein would likely still be in power, so one has to weigh the costs and make his or her own determination as to whether it was all worth it.

In any event, watching the convention last week, one could see the expressions of the true believers that I wrote about last time, on the faces of many of the delegates, and I’m sure we’ll see the same expressions of pure adoration when the Democratic convention starts tomorrow. So I thought it might be worthwhile to look at some actual facts surrounding this upcoming election. You know, those pesky little things that politicians like to mumble over when making soaring promises that never seem to materialize. Take Medicare, for example, a subject I’m quite familiar with since I’ve been on it for quite awhile. Medicare is a reasonably good plan but nothing great. It doesn’t cover stuff such as eye exams, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentistry and a bunch of other stuff that seniors increasingly depend on with advancing age. Plus there’s a significant co-pay with every doctor’s visit. Every senior knows that if one depends on Medicare, one must also acquire a medigap policy with additional premiums to pay, in order to cover what Medicare does not. While Medicare premiums are not unreasonable, once the cost of a medigap policy is factored in, costs start to add up. But costs to the government are going up even faster, so Paul Ryan has a plan to address this issue, that is so convoluted that I won’t bore you with the details. The bottom line, however, is that new seniors entering Medicare would have to pay a lot higher share of the doctor’s bills. That’s it, plain and simple. The Democrat’s plan is to pretend that Medicare is not going broke, and keep it as it is.

Both positions are ridiculous, because neither party will face the true issues. Of course Medicare costs will skyrocket as people live longer, baby boomers for example, and as new and expensive medications and therapies come onto the market. But the answer is not to make vulnerable seniors, especially those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, pay thousands of dollars more than they can ill afford, as the Republican plan would stipulate. The solution is simply to raise the age of eligibility to say 70, instead of 65 as it is today. Raising the eligibility age would be entirely justified, because life spans have significantly increased over the years since Medicare became law in the 1960s. The same is true with Social Security which is also going broke if nothing is done. Just raise the retirement age, commensurate with increased life spans and the problem is solved. Yet both parties will spend tens of millions of dollars on obnoxious and obscene TV commercials, accusing the other side of destroying Medicare and Social Security. Such is the nature of politics these days.

The important thing to remember is that when people vote for President, they’re also voting to bring in the entire Democratic or Republican establishment to run the country. That can be a frightening thought. For example, the Republican platform has a section advocating the total elimination of all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest or where the life of the mother is threatened. When Romney is elected President the people who wrote that policy will be brought in to oversee social issues. (Romney has said he would advocate allowing abortions in those limited cases. Who said he wasn’t all heart.) It’s also interesting to note the men who drive up in black limos and go into these conventions through the side entrance, as quietly as possible. These are the multi-millionaires and billionaires that fund the Presidential campaigns, and they expect big-time payback when their guy is elected. Currently, there are about 14 billionaires in the Romney camp, all old and religiously fanatical white men. Of course Democrats have their billionaire backers too, so it might be worthwhile to research out which set of rich white guys who will really run the country, you want controlling your lives. In any event, as I’ve said previously, Mitt Romney is the best candidate the billionaires could buy thus far.

 

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THE POLITICS OF THE ABSURD

Have those deliciously obnoxious political TV commercials come to your state yet. You know, the ones that are comprised of maybe 5% or 10% fact, followed by as much as 90-95% fiction. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones living in an uncontested state where there is no need for either side to waste resources on commercials bashing the other guy. Political pundits are saying there is at most, 15 states in play for this fall’s election. So if you live in say Utah or Wyoming or the deep South, everyone knows they are going to vote Republican so why bother campaigning there. Conversely, everyone knows that states like New York or California or Maryland will likely go Democratic, so again, no need to spend money campaigning there either. I, however, live in Nevada which is presumed to be up for grabs, so the obnoxious commercials have already begun with each side running TV ads saying their opponent has shipped tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas. These ads are so blatantly dishonest as well as being obnoxious, that it’s hard to believe the voting public falls for them. But since each side is prepared to spend in the neighborhood of a billion dollars each on such ads, I guess people do make their voting decisions based on what they see on TV. I find it ironic that people in the 19th century, when hi-tech was a telegraph and a local newspaper were better informed about political candidates, than people today in the electronic age when all the information they could ever want is at their fingertips. But after all, who has time to spend researching candidates political positions when there are so many other more pressing issues, like the latest Kardashian antics, or who will be the next American Idol.

I have to admit I miss those Republican debates that took place before Romney became the inevitable choice. All those whacky kids up there on the platform, each one trying to prove they were more of a right-wing, looney-tunes, space cadet than the other guy, was highly entertaining. As an aside, one of those looney-tuners, Michele Bachman, just announced that she has become a Swiss citizen. Seems she will hold a dual citizenship with the United States and Switzerland. (Immediately after the announcement, there was a sharp upswing in the Swiss suicide rate as people were found to be throwing themselves off the highest peak in the Swiss Alps. Ms. Bachman was finally prevailed upon to announce that she had no intention of running for office in Switzerland. A huge, collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout Zurich.) In any event, the Republican debates gave the candidates an opportunity to showcase the bottomless pit of their right-wing extremism, and Romney had to describe himself as a “severe extremist” to prove to a doubting GOP constituency that he could sink further into that pit than the others.

Anyway back to the obnoxious, devious and mudslinging commercials. They’re just beginning now, but by September and October they will be flooding the airways (unless you are one of the lucky ones living in one of the 35 states that are not competitive.) Your choices then will be to shut off the TV for good, or at least until after the election, or tape every program ahead of time so you can fast-forward through all those commercials. In any event, I thought that I would give the pros and cons of each of the candidates strengths and weaknesses, and the key issues to consider,  so readers can make up their own minds. Here goes.

An important issue that thus far has gotten very little attention, is the fact that the next President will get to make at least one, and possibly 2 or 3 nominations to the Supreme Court. This means that legal abortion hangs in the balance. Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is 80 years old and has survived pancreatic cancer, will undoubtably be the first to go. She is strongly pro-choice. We know that Romney’s mouth has written checks that his large, anti-abortion, evangelical base of supporters expect to cash once he becomes President. That means appointing anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. Bottom line, if Romney is President, Roe V. Wade is overturned, and legalized abortion is history. Obama, of course, would nominate a pro-choice judge.

The economy, of course, or the lousy state it’s in, is ostensibly the dominant issue in the campaign. There is no question that Obama has made some serious mistakes in that regard, and it may cost him re-election. Unemployment which was 10% when he took office, is now down to about 8% which is an improvement but a pretty tepid one. Obama’s initial efforts to aid the economy didn’t work out too well, and his attempt to achieve universal health turned out to be a 2700 page behemoth that everyone seems to hate. It will also likely be overturned by the Supreme Court, sending us back to square one in trying to devise a system where everyone gets decent health care. Then there is the ballooning deficit which is heading toward the 16 trillion dollar neighborhood, although that’s mainly due to the lack of revenues because of the poor economy, rather than increased spending. The problem was that Obama was a rookie, with only 2 years of Senate experience, and he made a lot of rookie mistakes. With 4 years experience under his belt he would probably be a better president in his second term. On the plus side, he got Osama bin Laden and a host of other low-life terrorists,  he saved General Motors and Chrysler from going out of business, he got us out of Iraq and is getting us out, finally, from Afghanistan.

Advocates for Romney would point out that he is a smart businessman, looks presidential and would sharply reduce Government expenditures as well as regulations if elected. The problem is that almost all of those sharp reductions would be in benefits that go to the poor, the elderly and the sick. The rich would not be asked to make any sacrifices, and in fact, would reap huge windfalls under Romney’s proposed tax plans. After cutting programs for the disadvantaged, he would significantly increase military expenditures, although he hasn’t said where he would get the money to do that. Must be from that good old money tree that continues to grow in the Pentagon courtyard. Then there’s the problem that Romney will say just about anything, and flip-flop on every issue he once stood for, in order to get elected. I’ve written about that before, so I won’t go into the gruesome details again. But from abortion, to health care, to gun control, to gay rights, Romney has had a complete reversal of previous positions, now that he’s decided to become a ” severe conservative.”

I could go much deeper into these issues, but if you’re interested, as I’ve said, there’s a ton of information just a few clicks away. If you do intend to vote I would urge everyone to be as informed about the issues as is reasonably possible.

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