Every once in a while I get worked up over politics and just have to write about the silliness that surrounds us. For instance, Paul Ryan was quoted recently as having excoriated the Affordable Care Act's over $700 billion in cuts from Medicare. How terrible! Yet he certainly can't have forgotten that his own budget proposals contained approximately the same amount of cuts to Medicare. I suppose what bugs Ryan is that while he proposed to cut benefits to consumers, the Affordable Care Act cut payments to providers. Thus, in one little tidbit, behold the definition of politics, Count on the average voter to have the memory retention capabilities of a fruit fly (with apologies to fruit flies) and be shameful in exploiting that fact.
Of course, this tactic is not confined to Republicans. (I almost typed conservative Republicans but that would be a double negative.) For instance, Elizabeth Warren was a registered Republican for about as much of her adult life as she has been a Democrat, a fact that does not appear in her bio on such sites as Huffington Post. One site, however, does quote her as saying that she began (emphasis mine) voting Democratic in 1995. Does that mean that she managed to reconcile herself to voting for Reagan twice? One interviewer claims to have asked her that question and claims further that she declined to answer. Protecting her right to privacy, was she? Or protecting her newly-minted Progressive image? I would love to hear how anyone who claims the Progressive mantle managed to find sufficient reason to vote for Reagan over Carter at a time when Reagan was as far to the right of center as Ted Cruz is today.
So, the expediency of the moment abounds on both sides of the political fence.
Allow me one more shot at Progressives before I take aim at Republicans. During the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, many of my Progressive friends were appalled. I get it. It was a hot, ugly mess. But in expressing their outrage, they not only questioned Israel's tactics of the moment, but Israel's very right to exist.
Where to begin? While Columbus was accidentally discovering the New World, Europeans back home were hunting down and killing Jews with great vigor as part of the Inquisition - not really a Spanish invention at all but sanctioned a couple of centuries previously in Rome. Russian progroms refined the art of Jewish genocide generations ahead of Hitler. And well into the 20th Century in the US, one of the Ks that the KKK wanted to eliminate in America, in addition to Koons and Katholics, was Kikes.
So even if you don't view Israel as being as legitimate as so many of the other European-sponsored constructs in the Middle East, even if you don't accept the argument that the Palestinians who left in 1948 weren't so much chased as invited to leave by Arab armies who promised a triumphant return after the Jews were driven into the Med, even if you blame the horrid conditions in the camps on the Jews rather than the indifference and/or nefarious self-interest of their Arab hosts, it seems that there's as much of a Progressive case to be made for reparations to Jews as there is on behalf of African-Americans, as is the current Progressive fashion.
On to Republicans, who are not scientists. What's with that? Are only farmers allowed to vote on farm bills? Was John Glenn given carte blanche to determine NASA's budget as the only astronaut on Capitol Hill? This is simply ludicrous. The 80s were warmer than the 70s, The 90s were warmer than the 80s. And so on and so on. You don't have to be a scientist. You just have to have blood flow to your brain. And whether or not you believe that human activity is a contributing factor, how can you legislate against the Pentagon planning for the appearance of new sea routes through Arctic or the effect of sea-level rise on existing facilities? Yet that sort of silliness managed to get written into the House's version of the Defense budget this year. One expects that sort of thing from a state like North Carolina, which has banned basing coastal development policies on scientific predictions of how much the sea level will rise. But the US House? C'mon man...
And then there's ebola. I personally like the viral internet meme: More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from ebola. But if it bleeds, it leads. Fortunately, polls are showing that 'bleeds/leads' is turning off Gen Y to mainstream media. That's a hopeful trend. Unfortunately, Gen Y is not well represented in Congress. Brain dead people are fully represented, however. Take, for example, the Congressman who suggested that the Surgeon General should head Washington's response to ebola rather than Obama's appointed ebola czar. When it was pointed out to Congressman Chaffetz that Senate Republicans have held up the confirmation of Obama's choice for Surgeon General, leaving the post vacant, Chaffetz tried to backpedal. But read the transcript. You can't fix stupid. (I have to stop using these pop culture callouts...)
I leave you with a quote from the movie An American President:
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you (Insert Politician's Name Here) is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it.