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Journal Archives

Would Republicans want to do things their way...

...even if they themselves knew and believed they were responsible for the Iraq War and Recession disasters of Republican George W. Bush? In other words, does it matter to Republicans whether they are fit to run the country, or do they want to run it regardless of whether or not they have the ability?

We aren't arguing over the TV remote control here. This is the government of the United States of America. We had Republicans nominating Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States, so George W. Bush (and Dan Quayle before him) don't appear to be flukes. That's too many flukes; it's a pattern.

I take it as a fair assessment to say that George W. Bush truly damaged the country and Barack Obama improved it. Or, if we don't want to assign causality, the world and America got a lot worse during George W. Bush's presidency and got a lot better under Barack Obama's. Republicans should please feel free to dispute that assessment. That would be interesting.

Fox News = Lawrence Welk + Batman + Unification Church

The Batman is the TV series one.

You see it, right? The dress code and haircuts tell you Fox News is for a square audience. Then, people in childhood (both first and second) see it as serious news, while adults see it as parody. And the whole thing has a cult feel.

No offense intended to the wonderful Lawrence Welk Show or the hilarious Batman TV series, by the way. The goodness and brilliance of those shows is in a completely different universe from Fox News. The offense to the Unification Church is intentional.

Republican election rigging ensures future losses.

Regardless of the results in 2014, Dems should take some comfort in knowing they aren't the ones who cheat. That means that, in the end, we win. No one likes a cheater, and no worthy person wants to be a party to cheating. Deep down, Americans want to win, and that is good. But they want to win by being better, not by cheating.

Republicans justify cheating to themselves by telling themselves a desperate lie. Gerrymandering, rigging the vote through voter ID laws that lack safeguards for legitimate voters, reducing voting opportunities, etc., are ok "for now," they tell themselves, because the situation is desperate. Then they are psychologically forced to conjure up a false image of Obama and Democrats to cling to because without that self-delusion they would have to accept a simple, sad fact. They have become cheaters and they have no excuse.

In America cheaters are less than nothing. The Republicans have allowed themselves to become cheaters, and the ones at the top definitely know it. We don't know yet who will "win" in 2014, but we already know who is better. Dems have already won the category that matters most: character. That will translate into more and more votes in the future, because people who currently vote Republican out of habit (or who are followers by nature) won't like being in the "party with the fleas" forever.

Ebola Vaccine Would Likely Have Been Found By Now If Not For Budget Cuts: NIH Director

BETHESDA, Md. -- As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts.

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has "slowed down" research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.

"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."

Yup. There's an election issue for you, Democrats.

Does Ebola point to the need for universal health care?

Ebola thrives on populations of people who have poor health care. If it were to gain a foothold here, you can bet it would be among the uninsured. Is Republican opposition to universal health care therefore a source of weakness in America's defenses against Ebola? The answer seems pretty clear to me. What other conclusion can we draw?

Republicanism and Lifeboat Ethics

Republicanism intersects lifeboat ethics in a number of interesting ways.

First, the philosophy of Republicanism is very quick to declare that lifeboat rules apply to a given situation. Indeed, if Republicanism were given its way (as under Republican George W. Bush for example), we would always be under lifeboat rules. No matter how much we have, no matter how safe we are, as long as Republicans run the show, we're in a lifeboat at sea, and too many are on board.

Second, Republicanism is very quick to toss people overboard, and it has very settled, non-nuanced ideas concerning who those people should be. Many Republicans, Paul Ryan for example, divide the world into "makers" and "takers." The "takers," under Republicanism, go into the water whenever Republicanism judges America to be in a lifeboat situation. Again, per my first point, that is always.

Third, and finally, under Republicanism the world is much more likely to get into authentic lifeboat situations. This is not entirely some mystical or psychological "moth to the flame" type of thing. In its near-eagerness to toss a chosen subset of people into the water, Republicanism may in fact be attracted to destructive behaviors that bring lifeboat emergencies about—I do think that is a factor. But the greater and more proximate factor is functional incompetence, and that functional incompetence emerges from a thought process dominated by a false sense of never-ending lifeboat emergencies.

Chronically oppressed by an unjustified (and often deliberately fanned) pessimistic attitude, current Republicanism can no longer look up or think. It can no longer face the world as it really is. Republicanism just keeps its head down and plots who it can throw overboard to solve all of its problems. And, because it doesn't think, it is incompetent. And because it is incompetent, it creates true emergencies.

This is why no Republicans should be elected to any office. When they show they've got someone in leadership who isn't a victim of "crazy Republican attitude syndrome" then maybe. That's not now though. For 2014, and especially 2016 when it will count more, Republicans need to sit on the bench and do deep breathing exercises until the panic subsides. Democrats, for all our faults, are at least thinking.
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