Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Who? What? Huh?

July 4, 2012

We oppose the teaching of … critical thinking skills and similar programs that … have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. ”

I can’t fathom what kind of organization would be against critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is the process that promotes scientific discovery, and is the essence of sound business decision making skills. Who are these people?

Here’s a clue.

[Our group] repudiates the humanistic doctrine that the state is sovereign over the affairs of men, the family and the church.”

Oh. So the laws of man don’t trump the laws of the church (although I am not sure whose church we are talking about here). They are some kind of Bible-thumpers. Is there another clue?

We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists.”

We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God”

To protect our serviceman and women and ensure that America’s Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.

Ok. Bible-thumping homophobes, but that’s almost redundant. Who could this be? This could be a clue:

America’s founding fathers wrote the 2nd amendment with clear intent – no level of government shall regulate either the ownership or possession of firearms. Therefore we strongly oppose all laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. We oppose the monitoring of gun ownership, and the taxation and regulation of guns and ammunition. We collectively urge the legislature to pass “constitutional carry” legislation whereby law-abiding citizens that possess firearms can legally exercise their God-given right to carry that firearm as well. ”

Bible-thumping, homophobic, gun rights zealots who are against critical thinking skills… hmmm. Perhaps this is the manifesto for one of those Jesus-based militia cults like David Koresh. Remember Waco?

Then there is this:

We support labeling of all products containing genetically modified organisms”

There’s something I can agree with. We should have government regulation that informs the public of the contents of things they consume. Where did that come from?

Who are these people?

The clear indication of the failure of a point-of-view is when it fails to achieve internal consistency. While this group is against critical thinking skills,

[We believe in] having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children.”

While is group is against abortion,

Health care decisions should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion. ”

Perhaps the most glaring and troubling internal contradiction is that of freedom. The preamble to their manifesto upholds the notion of freedom and opportunity. They explicitly reassert the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but later assert:

We urge our national leadership to reasonably use profiling to protect us ”

Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse.”

[Welfare] recipients should be required to submit to random drug testing in order to receive benefits. ”

We oppose the expansion of legalized gambling”

So basically, all people are entitled to freedom and the pursuit of happiness, unless you are a homosexual, non-Christian, like to gamble, receive some form of government assistance or don’t look like an American.

So ask yourself, what kind of group is a Bible-thumping, homophobic bunch of gun zealots with no critical-thinking skills whose belief system is littered with internal consistencies and ironies that are the making of dark comedy.

Of course. The current Republican Party.

All quotes are from the official Republican Party platform of Texas. Check it out for yourself at:

http://www.texasgop.org/about-the-party

Obamacare Gets Personal

January 15, 2012

There was a virulent debate levied against the Affordable Care Act that continues in the Republican primary debates to this day.

Let’s recap on some of the major provisions of the law:

  • There no longer lifetime limits on coverage. This doesn’t affect too many Americans, about 20,000, but for those it does, it can be the difference between medical bankruptcy and the heathcare they need. Annual limits are no longer allowed, either [1]
  • Honest mistakes on your application are no longer a sufficient reason for canceling your policy. [1]
  • Young adults can stay on their parent’s plan until age 26. [1]
  • Children with pre-existing conditions can not be denied coverage. [1] It’s rather astonishing that this was allowed in the first place, isn’t it?
  • Preventative services, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care are covered without expense to the insured. [1]
  • Insurance companies are required to spend at least 85% of all insurance premium dollars from large employer plans on coverage and at least 80% of premium dollars from individuals and small group plans on actual healthcare. [2]

There are more changes in store, starting in 2014.

  • Private health insurance exchanges will allow Americans to pool together to purchase coverage. For individuals and small businesses, this allows us to spread the insurance cost and risk among a larger pool of individuals. [1]
  • Small businesses may be eligible for tax credits for providing coverage to their workers. [1]

It’s also important to recognize what the Affordable Care Act is not. It is not a takeover of healthcare by the government. Insurance companies are and will continue to be private, for-profit companies. Doctors and hospitals will continue to be private, for-profit, companies. In that, there is no substantive changes to the structure of pre-Obamacare healthcare in this country.

I challenge any conservative to explain how those above items above are bad for America.

Governmental policies are important in the abstract, but they become vastly more important when they affect your personally. I run a small business, so we are pretty much on our own when it comes to healthcare coverage. We decided to see if there was an alternative to our expensive individual healthcare plans, so we talked with an insurance agent and sent in the application.

We are very healthy, but one of my family members had a minor surgery in 2008 to resolve a lifelong issue. The risk of side-effects was low from the procedure and fortunately none of those were experienced. It resolved the problem and is not the type of condition that is recurring or has long-term risks – either it works or it doesn’t. However, that was sufficient for the insurance company to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

As a CEO, I fully respect the capitalistic endeavor. I want my insurance company to make a profit, so they can continue to be a viable service provider for me long into the future. However, the only explanation I can derive for this to be a cause for denial is unchecked greed by the insurance companies.

Again, I ask conservatives to justify how this behavior from insurance companies is justifiable and why is it not the role of government to ensure fair treatment from companies in the business of providing such fundamentally personal and life-affecting services as healthcare insurance. I challenge Republicans need to explain why they would vote for a Republican candidate who vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Justify it. I dare you.

 

[1] http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview

[2] http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/timeline

Fiscal Fundamentalism

September 11, 2011

When I first became interested in politics in the early 1980s, I described myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. At the time, it elicited a chuckle or two, because it was perceived at the time that social liberals liked to spend money on social programs and thus those two values were inherently contradictory. Thirty years later, I would still describe myself the same way. Given the state of the two political parties – neither of which I strongly identify – it no longer seems as contradictory as it once was.

The Republican Party tries to lay claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism, but that isn’t what is going on with the GOP these days. Webster defines conservatism as “tending or disposed to maintaining existing views, conditions or institutions.” For the majority of American history, we have had fiscal discipline and most self-described political conservatives would agree that fiscal discipline is a conservative value that we need to rejoin.

Let’s look at the political environment in my adult lifetime. Before Ronald Reagan, our debt was $1.0T dollars [1]. Reagan nearly tripled the debt to $2.9T, due largely to peacetime defense spending and permanent tax cuts. That violated my sense of fiscal conservatism and I was critical of Reagan’s break from the past. George H.W. Bush added another 1.5T to the debt, but he did the right thing and raised taxes after vowing, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” He was a true fiscal conservative and the math mandated raising government revenues. He is vilified by the current Republicans for having done the right thing.

Clinton added $1.4T to the debt, but ended his presidency with a budget surplus. Since he is the only president in my adult lifetime with a budget surplus, that makes him the ideal of modern fiscal conservatism. George W. Bush, with one of the most failed presidencies in American history, added a whopping $6.1T to the debt, bringing the total to $13.9T at the start of the Obama administration.

By what measure can the GOP make any claim to fiscal conservatism? The only modern Republican president that can claim fiscal conservatism, George H.W. Bush, is vilified by his own party.

What we have in the GOP isn’t fiscal conservatism, it’s fiscal fundamentalism.

Webster defines fundamentalism as “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.” We can see a fundamentalist mindset in the non-political domain. Fundamentalist Muslims believe in a set of principles that haven’t changed in the last 500 years. To the fundamentalist mindset, there are no shades a gray – just black and white. Fundamentalist Christians see the world much the same way as fundamentalist Muslims. To maintain their beliefs, they have to reject much of modern science, such as evolution, and the dating of the age of the universe. They must reject much of the progressive changes in attitudes toward gays and racial relationships. It is an overly simplistic mindset that fails in the face of critical thinking.

Starting with Reagan, the Republicans have courted fundamentalist Christians as a key voting block. It should come as no surprise that the fundamentalist mindset has become pervasive in the political domain of the Republican party. The current fundamentalist belief is that there should be no new taxes, under any circumstances. Like any other fundamentalist belief, it is absolute and can not be questioned or overturned when the changing economic global picture suggest that the thinking should be challenged. Any fundamentalist belief, including those of the Republican Party, does not withstand the scrutiny of critical thinking.

Most Muslims are not fundamentalist Muslims. Most Christians are not fundamentalist Christians. Just because they share the Christian moniker, fundamentalist Christians think and act differently than most Christians. Most Republicans are fiscal conservatives, but I think few are fiscal fundamentalists.

I encourage voters to shed their party affiliation at look at the actions and attitudes in the last quarter century. Should they do that, I think most Republicans would have to conclude that their party has left them.

Sources:

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/28/us/charting-the-american-debt-crisis.html