Friday, February 20, 2015

Republican Extremism

I normally don't comment on party politics, but wow, have things gotten extreme.

The Republicans are battling tooth-and-nail to remove access to health care for the poorest Americans:
...Republicans are attempting one of the most brazen manipulations of the legal system in modern times. To pull it off, they’re relying on a toxically politicized judiciary to make law, and to make a mockery of everything that conservative legal scholars profess to believe.
In less than two weeks’ time, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell — the net result of a well-orchestrated, well-financed, five-year campaign to kill President Obama’s signature achievement by legal assassination. It’s a remarkably flimsy case, the plaintiffs may lack standing, and a host of business and health care professionals have said the consequences of backing the right-wing consortium behind this case could be catastrophic.

But none of that matters to at least four justices on the court who would rule in favor of a ham sandwich, if it meant overturning the health care law. If they get a fifth vote, more than eight million people in 34 states could lose their health coverage. Premiums for several million more would rise enough to make insurance impossible. Thousands of people, lacking basic care, may even die prematurely.

“The Supreme Court is going to render a body blow to Obamacare from which I don’t think it will ever recover,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas last month. He was licking his chops in anticipation.
They are also battling to stop the minumum wage from increasing:
A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing. 
According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – along with its localised sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.
Citizens of industrialized nations throughout the world enjoy universal access to healthcare and reasonable minimum wages. But not in America, the "leader" of the free world and defender of democracy.

They are also going to war against academia:
The fate of the 17-campus public university system was bound to be affected: While many here take pride in its carefully cultivated rise to the top tier of American public education, conservatives have long groused about some campuses, particularly the flagship school at Chapel Hill, as out-of-touch havens of liberalism. 
Since the recession began, the state government has also subjected the system to budget cuts leading to the loss of hundreds of positions. 
Twenty-nine of the 32 university board members were appointed by the Legislature after the Republicans’ 2010 gains. Last year, lawmakers instructed the board to consider redirecting some of the funding that goes to the system’s 240 centers and institutes, which focus on topics ranging from child development to African studies. 
The advisory group’s report, which is likely to be considered by the full Board of Governors next Friday, recommends closing the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at Chapel Hill; North Carolina Central University’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change; and East Carolina University’s Center for Biodiversity.
And are even attempting to prevent AP courses from being taught to students because they contain more than simple-minded propaganda:
This week an Oklahoma legislative committee voted overwhelmingly to effectively ban the teaching of Advanced Placement U.S. history classes. The bill’s author, Rep. Dan Fisher (R), said that state funds shouldn’t be used to teach the course — which students can take to receive college credit — because he believes it emphasizes “what is bad about America” and characterizes the United States as a “nation of oppressors and exploiters.” Fisher’s proposal to replace the ready-made, nationally used, college-recognized AP curriculum — studied by hundreds of thousands of high school students each year — with a homegrown substitute would cost the state an estimated $3.8 million. 
After facing national criticism, Fisher withdrew his bill this week and said he plans to submit a new one requiring a state “review” of the AP course rather than its complete defunding. 
But Oklahoma is far from alone in wanting to reinvent the wheel by creating its own, allegedly more patriotic version of advanced coursework. Policymakers in Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Colorado have agitated to scrap or doctor the AP course, citing its “liberal bias” and supposed focus on U.S. “blemishes.” The Republican National Committee likewise called on Congress last year to withhold funding from the nonprofit that developed the course, the College Board, because its AP course “emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” In Colorado, where a local school board proposed revamping the AP curriculum to make sure it does “not encourage or condone civil disorder [or] social strife,” some brave students decided to demonstrate the virtues of civil disorder and social strife by peacefully protesting. 
In some states, U.S. history isn’t the only AP course to come under attack. In both Oklahoma and Kansas, legislators have threatened to bar or defund any curriculum not developed locally, which could disqualify all AP and International Baccalaureate classes from being taught in the public schools.
Of course, say it with me, "both sides are equally extreme." That is the mantra we must constantly repeat in the U.S. because eventually it will become the truth, apparently.

You know, I hear all the time from various pundits about the supposed extremest regimes around the world, whether it's Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary, Maduro in Venezuela or the celebrated foe of the moment Vladimir Putin, as well as all the so-called "far right" parties in Europe (none of whom hold real power). Yet the Republicans are arguably the most powerful party in the United States and (less) arguably one of the most right-wing, extremist and radical in the world. Why are they never mentioned in the same breath as those names above?


  1. Both sides are equally 'corrupt'. And because of that, each has to pander to its base. Dems are constrained in that because their base is, more or less, Socially Progressive and often that conflicts with the economic needs of their Corporate Pay Masters, eg income inequality, tax rates, environmental concerns, etc.

    The GOP base of the other hand are largely Nativist, Racist, Primativist Christians who live it terror of The Future. What they want quite often is fully in line with the economic needs of their Corporate Pay Masters. At worst, their Corporate Pay Masters are indifferent to their agenda and their insanity helps to distract Progressives from serious economic issues.

    Of course, The Tea Party is an astroturf created Frankenstein monster that keeps running out of control, a reminder of The Hitler Lesson; once Radicals grasp the levels of power, Big Money loses control of their actions.

  2. I agree with Nebris, Both sides are equally 'corrupt'. Their actions disgusting as they are, are symptoms to overshoot, not the cause. There is not enough pie left for the rich to keep getting richer, and have a large middle class and ample social programs. Collapse/contraction has been under way for awhile. It starts on the periphery and works towards the centre.

  3. Not every legislator in the various parties is corrupt, but the honest ones, both progressive and actual conservative, have a voice. Our country is going south fast and no one seems interested in trying to save it, at least anyone with a large public voice. The Supreme Court gave permission to the 1% to run things, and left us 99% hanging by our thumbs.
    Even the good guys who try to work within the 'system' which is broke beyond repair. they are thwarted by 'Citizens Unites' and other laws. I don't think I have any voice here even if I mostly agree with my Senators (seniors, wise (wo)men) and representative. This country is too fragile and make break easily. What is to be done?
    Jim of Olym

  4. The Democrats brought this on all of us, If they weren't mostly full on anti firearm , pro massive immigration (aka anti-white) and Cultural Marxists, I doubt the Republicans would have come to power,

    As it is, voting Republican is often less or evils since they occasionally address those three big issues


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