TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—With the threat of Hurricane Isaac hitting Florida next week, the Republican National Committee took the extraordinary step today of moving their 2012 National Convention to the seventeenth century.
While the decision to send the convention four centuries back in time raised eyebrows among some political observers, R.N.C. spokesperson Harland Dorrinson downplayed the unusual nature of the move.
“After exploring a number of options, we decided that moving to the seventeenth century would cause the least disruption,” he said. “We’re not going to have to change a thing.”
Mr. Dorrinson added that despite recent controversy involving the U.S. Senate candidate Representative Todd Akin (R., Miss.), there would be no modification of the Party’s official platform: “After we ban abortion in cases of rape and incest, we’re going to focus on America’s spiralling witch problem.”
While Paul Ryan might not talk about social issues much, usually focusing on economic and budgetary issues, he’s very much in line with conservative orthodoxy. He is:
- Opposed to abortion rights, even favoring the extension of the 14th amendment protections onto fetuses (which would create an incredibly convoluted mess of legal situation).
- Anti-LGBT, favoring a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
- Anti-immigrant, voting in favor of building a fence across the U.S.-Mexico border and is opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
It gets even worse when it comes to economic issues. He:
- Wrote two budgets which consisted of deep cuts to domestic spending including Pell Grants and lower- and middle-class tax credits while extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
- Intensively lobbied for the privatization of Medicare into a voucher system.
- Repeatedly advocated against expanding or even sustaining public housing.
- Doggedly opposed increased regulations on most sectors of the economy, including the banking and housing industries.
- Wants a flat tax on businesses, rather than taxing profits.
- Is a huge advocate for free trade agreements.
- Voted against the expansion of SCHIP, providing health insurance to 6 million additional underprivileged children.
- Proposed partially privatizing Social Security.
Essentially, although he speaks well and focuses predominantly on budgetary issues, Paul Ryan is just as socially conservative as his fellow Republican leaders and embraces an economic vision for this country in which the wealthy are sustained by tax cuts, while those who need it most (the elderly, students, working class families, and immigrants) are left to fend for themselves without a social safety net of any measurable strength.
I’ve seen pundits coming down on both sides about whether Ryan is the same kind of gamble as Palin is, but certainly part of the point of his selection would seem to be to put someone liked and admired by the Right of the GOP on the Romney ticket. That said, I think Ryan is probably as extreme as Palin, if more vocal on economic than social issues, and before the announcement, one of the few things I remember about him was him getting into a mess about whether he supported the Civil Rights Act.
Ryan’s selection further seems to play right into the hands of the narrative that Obama has been fashioning about the GOP campaign; that they would cut people’s benefits and cut taxes on the richest. It may prove to be a mistake by the Romney camp. (we can but hope that the American Comeback or whatever they’re branding themselves falls flat like most comeback tours).
(Source: , via dangerouswitnesses)
Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring. Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner.
She confessed that she was now “scared to death” by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world.
“We are sliding back into a dark era,” she said. “And there seems little we can do about it. I am profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.”
As Fedoroff pointed out, university and government researchers are hounded for arguing that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are changing the climate. Their emails are hacked while Facebook campaigns call for their dismissal from their posts, calls that are often backed by rightwing politicians. At the last Republican party debate in Florida, Rick Santorum insisted he should be the presidential nominee simply because he had cottoned on earlier than his rivals Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney to the “hoax” of global warming.
“Those of us who grew up in the sixties, when we put men on the Moon, now have to watch as every Republican candidate for this year’s presidential election denies the science behind climate change and evolution. That is a staggering state of affairs and it is very worrying,” said Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, San Diego.
Oreskes is co-author, with Erik Conway, of Merchants of Doubt, an investigation into the links between corporate business interests and campaigns in the US aimed at blocking the introduction of environmental and medical measures such as bans on smoking and the use of DDT, laws to limit acid rain, legislation to end the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere and attempts to curb carbon dioxide emissions.
In each case, legislation was delayed by years, sometimes decades, thanks to the activities of a variety of foundations – such as the Heartland Institute – which are backed by energy companies such as Exxon and billionaires like Charles Koch.
These institutions, acting as covers for major energy corporations, are responsible for the onslaught that has deeply lowered the reputation of science in many people’s minds in America. This has come in the form of personal attacks on the reputations of scientists and television adverts that undermine environment laws. The Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for blocking mining and drilling proposals that might harm threatened species or habitats, has become a favourite target.
Ron Paul has an advantage over most of his fellow Republicans in having an actual worldview, instead of merely a set of interests—he opposes almost every power the federal government has and almost everything it does. Given Washington’s enormous reach, it stands to reason that progressives would find targets to like in Paul’s wholesale assault. I, too, would love to see the end of the “war on drugs” and our other wars. I, too, am shocked by the curtailment of civil liberties in pursuit of the “war on terror,” most recently the provision in the NDAA permitting the indefinite detention, without charge, of US citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism.
But these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree. In a Ron Paul America, there would be no environmental protection, no Social Security, no Medicaid or Medicare, no help for the poor, no public education, no civil rights laws, no anti-discrimination law, no Americans With Disabilities Act, no laws ensuring the safety of food or drugs or consumer products, no workers’ rights. How far does Paul take his war against Washington? He wants to abolish the Federal Aviation Authority and its pesky air traffic controllers. He has one magic answer to every problem—including how to land an airplane safely: let the market handle it.