Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’

THE WORLD TODAY – HIT OR BUST

October 1, 2008

George Barnsby, Oct 1, 2008

I’ve been accused in the past of neglecting the dire financial
position that has been developing for some years now. This is because I regard the blind monster of Capitalism uncontrollable, moving one day favourably and the next day unfavourably, but always with two main defects.

Its tendency to move in slumps and booms and its tendency to produce unacceptable wealth at one end of the scale and poverty and starvation at the other. Thus I believe with Marx and Lenin that the only thing to do with capitalism is to destroy it and this Communists attempted to do in the last century but world imperialism was too strong for it. The Soviet Union was destroyed by a coup against Gorbachev a particularly horrible form of capitalism was introduced which impoverished the working people of Russia and its wealth given to oligarchs who usually moved abroad to escape the righteous wrath of the Russian people. All this has resulted in the present financial scandal where the very existence of capitalism is at stake and the only possible solution is Socialism which has revived in South America under Hugo Chaves, Evo Morales, an indigenous leader and others who are able to challenge US capitalism which could be in the process of disintegrating.

One of the bitterest critics of Bush and his Neo-Cons. has been the
film maker Michael Moore and, as I explain to my critics, I am not in a position to pronounce on the seriousness of the position in the US, but Moore is and last night I wrote a long piece which criticised the Democratic Party saying that they handed an election to Bush which he had not won; that they gave him the votes to invade Iraq and now have been cowered into accepting the crime of the century which he believes is paying the 700 billion dollar bail out American capitalism.

But tomorrow is another day and what these masters of the world did not realise was that the American people had decided that it was time to revolt.

Millions of phone calls and emails hit Congressmen telling them to oppose the crime of the century and allow bankers and monopoly business men 700 billion dollars paid for by ordinary people who also risked losing their homes because they couldn’t pay their mortgages. So the right wing of the Republican Party joined with the left-wing of the Democratic Party 228 votes to 205 to stop the thievery. The Democrats who voted for the give-away were influenced by the fact that their stock based pensions are retirement funds would be at risk if they didn’t give the rich their handouts. But this indeed happened as the Dow Jones showed the largest, single-day drop in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. Americans lost 1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market. Its a financial Pearl Harbour! The sky is falling! And as we all go to bed, we don’t know what else Capitalism will throw at us tomorrow and how much more nationalisation and other Socialist measures will be forced on Democrats and reluctant Republicans alike.

Michael promises to give his solutions tomorrow, so don’t fail to log on to MMFlint@aol.com for the latest news.

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We Can’t Afford McCain and Palin’s Anti-Science Beliefs

September 23, 2008

By John Tirman, AlterNet. Posted September 23, 2008.

Their combined anti-science positions may be devastating for the economy, the environment and our health.

One of the peculiar oversights of the Sarah Palin media blitz is her strong anti-science views. In keeping with her Pentecostal faith and alignment with the far right of the Republican Party, Palin is opposed to stem cell research, declaims evolution, and believes global warming to be a hoax. Of her many controversial qualities, this anti-science ideology may be the most troubling — in fact, devastating — for the economy, ecology, and health.

If the McCain-Palin ticket is elected, we would have the prospect of an administration constantly at odds with scientific advance. As vice-president, Palin would not only be the proverbial “heartbeat away” from the presidency, but the leading contender for the top spot eight years hence.

McCain himself shows some worrisome tendencies as well, supporting the teaching of “intelligent design”– the beard for anti-evolution propaganda — in schools, for example. Overall, the prospect of 8-16 years of this kind of bias sends a chill through the science community, even after years of dealing with the Bush anti-science agenda.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent watchdog group, has documented dozens of cases where the U.S. government has interfered with, undermined, or falsified science in public policy over the last seven years. It is a shocking record, revolving mainly around environmental issues but ranging from abstinence-only AIDS prevention (shown repeatedly to be ineffective) to phony information about breast cancer. Bush cut funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control, among other science agencies, in his final budget. Overall, he has starved non-defense R&D at a time when China, the EU and other rivals are investing vigorously.

More of the same, and possibly worse, is likely to be in store if Republican rule continues. The right-wing hostility to science is a mystery. Some years back much skepticism about scientific progress came from the left, ire focused on the way science was used to further corporate priorities. But an attack on science per se is now the province of the right wing, partially based on religious dogma (itself reserved to a tiny minority of the fundamentalist churches) and partly another way to divide the political culture into an us (small-town just folks) versus them (pointy headed intellectuals). But whatever the reasons, this steady assault on science is alarming. Why?

Science and engineering remain America’s most powerful assets in the world economy. As we have lost steel mills and other hard-hat industries, innovation has become the font of prosperity. Without a robust scientific community, hopes for creating the new technologies and processes that fuel sustainable economic activity will surely decline.

Equally important, science offers solutions to urgent problems. The climate change threat is most obvious in this regard. We need to do more than burn less fossil fuel; we need to find ways to increase efficiency and develop new kinds of fuels to reverse the trends of global warming. Yes, we can do a lot with stronger political will to put in place what we already know about energy efficiency in particular. But given the scale of what we face-including the immense problems stemming from rapidly growing India, China, and other developing countries-new technology has to be a big part of the solution. Science and engineering is what will take us there.

Or consider stem cell research. The potential for developing medicines and other therapies from this research is virtually unlimited. Diseases and disabilities like diabetes, arthritis, heart ailments and other maladies that affect tens of millions of Americans are likely to be cured or their severity greatly lessened as a result. Yet stem cell research is now blocked and would face the prospect of further interference from an anti-science government. The Republican Party platform passed this month states that “we call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.”

The best young researchers facing this harsh prospect would be better off going to Britain or Germany or Singapore or the many other places where their research can thrive, and where governments recognize its value. New talent in the form of graduate students from Europe and Asia particularly (and my campus is loaded with such young brainiacs) would likely choose other universities to earn their PhDs if their biological research would be constrained here.

In computing science, another field potentially buffeted by McCain/Palin’s cluelessness, the “five-year stay rate for Chinese students with temporary visas who received [science and engineering] doctorates in 1998 was 90 percent. It was 86 percent among Indian students,” says Computing Research News. Some of these numbers declined as a result of harsh homeland security barriers, sending a cascade of foreign students to non-U.S. grad schools. The increase in recent graduates seeking employment outside the U.S. jumped by 67 percent in 2004 from 1997 levels. With an anti-science government in Washington, the stay rates and new applications both will surely erode further.

This is not a flashy issue, needless to say, for the pyrotechnic campaign we’re now witnessing. It is, however, the meat and potatoes of governing. There are certain things government can do to gainfully affect our lives, and promoting science, science education, research, and a spirit of discovery are high on that list. The McCain/Palin shakiness on science issues is not just another occasion for SNL skits or jokes about the U.S. being the laughing stick of the world. They’re life-and-death issues for global health and ecology, as well as our own well being.

So we have both an economic liability and a moral deficit resulting from anti-science policies. The economic problem is that the U.S. will lose, possibly forever, its competitive edge in innovation. The moral setback is that we are unable, as a science community or as a nation, to help those most in need of these scientific advances. And of course the immense challenge of global warming-creating sustainable economic growth and equity-needs U.S. technological leadership.

Scientists, who are generally apolitical, are reluctant to call out the Republican establishment on its anti-science bias. But it is time for this to become a campaign issue, because the anti-science jeremiad could actually ruin the country that all the candidates profess to put first.

John Tirman is a Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The racist creep show

September 10, 2008

By handing the Republican Party back to the Christian Right fanatics, John McCain has made a decision to unleash the ugliest forces in American politics.

Running mate Sarah Palin joins John McCain onstage at the Republican convention (Brian Kersey | UPI)

Running mate Sarah Palin joins John McCain onstage at the Republican convention (Brian Kersey | UPI)

JOHN MCCAIN and friends let the dogs loose at the Republican Party convention last week–and it wasn’t just for show.

To the chanting of “USA! USA!” and “Drill, baby, drill!” the Christian Right and social conservatives, thought to be consigned to the margins for this election, made their triumphant return to the spotlight–in the form of John McCain’s running mate, Bible-thumping “hockey mom,” Sarah Palin.

Suddenly, the Republican base–which has always regarded McCain with suspicion for his unforgivably “moderate” views, and which was working itself into a frenzy over a rumor that he might pick a pro-choice running mate–was over the moon.

“A lady who’s a leader,” gushed the Weekly Standard‘s William Kristol. “I would pull that lever,” declared James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

Palin’s convention speech was expected to be a mild-mannered introduction from an almost entirely unknown figure. Instead, she sneered at Barack Obama and snarled about the “liberal” media like an old hand. That set the stage for an address by McCain that ended with bluster about his war wounds and patriotic duty.

If anyone thought the Republicans would be too humiliated by their disastrous eight years in power under George Bush to make much of an effort this time around, think again. McCain was able to erase the Obama’s post-convention “bounce” in opinion polls, and then some, even taking a lead beyond the margin of error in a few.

To be sure, McCain’s own post-convention bounce will fade, and once it does, the Democrats’ significant advantages in this election–above all, the crisis of the Bush administration and the collapse of the right-wing agenda–should become more obvious. But the presidential election is certainly looking like it will be closer than expected.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IF PALIN survived the convention week with a high level of popularity, it’s because the mainstream media let her get away with being all things to all people–a firm family-values conservative and a down-to-earth working mother; a straight-talking, get-things-done operator and a crusader against corruption and cronyism.

Palin is just what the doctor ordered for the Christian Right, whose top ranks, always overstocked with old white men, are bulging with the discredited, the scandal-plagued and a growing number of outright laughingstocks.

But beneath her just-folks image, Palin is a real fanatic.

The energy industry is in love with this “renegade” governor who can’t wait to open up her home state of Alaska to oil drilling–which is why she sued the Bush administration over plans to add the polar bear to the list of endangered species.

As far as Palin is concerned, she has God’s approval for her policies. Referring to a $30 billion Alaskan oil pipeline, she told the graduating class of commission students at her former church, the evangelical Wasilla Assembly of God, three months ago, “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.”

The same goes for the war on Iraq. “[O]ur leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she said in the same church speech. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan, and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Palin has appeared as a speaker for the Alaskan Independence Party, which supports secession of Alaska from the U.S. She supports creationism being taught in school. She opposes women’s right to abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. Palin was asked in a 2006 debate what she would do if her daughter–who was 14 years old at the time–was raped and became pregnant. “I would chose life,” Palin answered.

Then there’s Palin’s response–as reported by a server at the restaurant where she was eating with friends–to the news some months back that Obama had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination over Hillary Clinton: “So Sambo beat the bitch.”

Of course, Palin was only one cog in the Republican attack machine. Lacking any program of its own worth cheering for, speakers repeatedly went after Obama and the Democrats–to wild cheers from an arena packed with the Republican faithful. The same message was repeated again and again: The “urban” and “elitist” Democrats are “out of touch” with “small-town America.”

Thus, St. Paul witnessed the spectacle of Mitt Romney–former governor of Massachusetts and CEO of an investment firm–denouncing the “Eastern elite.” Multimillionaire Rudolph Giuliani–the ex-mayor, mind you, of one of the most diverse and multiracial cities in the world–sneered that Obama supposedly thinks Palin’s “hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough…I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough.” And Palin herself joined in mocking Obama’s history as a “community organizer.”

These insults weren’t chosen at random. As even mainstream commentators recognized, “community organizer” and “urban elite” have become new racist code words–just as surely as the Republicans’ talk about “law and order” and “welfare cheats” served to stir up bigotry in the past.

The Republican creep show in St. Paul served notice that McCain and his party have no qualms whatsoever about playing the race card–as long as it’s done in such a way that any allegations about what’s really being said can be denied with self-righteous anger.

Plus, all that snide abuse served to deflect attention from an obvious question: Since when do the Republicans–the party of big business interests and war profiteers–represent ordinary, working-class Americans against the “elite”?

As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman asked, “Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself–until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans–really portray herself as running against the ‘Washington elite’? Yes, they can.”

Continued . . .


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