Saturday, December 20, 2008

Geared Up To Drive Down

Terrence in DC takes a broad view of what the GOP aversion to unions (and especially their unbridled rancor towards the UAW) really means, and comes up with a pretty damn good theory: nothing conservatives do makes sense unless you accept the truth that their goal is to make America globally competitive by dramatically lowering our standard of living.
Anti-unionization, deregulation, and increased outsourcing are all hallmarks of contemporary conservatism. So, at least we know who to thank for our current situation. But that's the unspoken message of conservative economic philosophy in a globalized economy: the only way Americans can "compete in a global economy" as envisioned and delivered by conservatism is to accept a lower standard of living. As low as the market demands. How low? Read up on working and living standards in just about any country you can find on any label on just about anything in your own house.
Read the whole article, but the general theory is extremely sound.

Conservatives think that you are making too much money, and they are not. They see America as a country full of stupid, hungry locusts, but locusts necessary to provide the wealthiest their vast resources. In a republic such as ours, these masses still get some power. The conservative way to solve this dilemma is to destroy the infrastructure of upward mobility to keep the masses from using it.

Health care, college, even free time to explore our world: this is what conservatives must put out of our reach in order to maintain the yoke around us, and unionized labor represents the most direct and powerful method of fighting back. When the people take power through collective bargaining, they take power in other ways.

That's the real reason why unions must be destroyed in America. The dismal economic situation makes it all the more necessary and urgent to the powers that be. In the last eight years the American middle class has all but been destroyed. The GOP seeks to finish the job. More than anything else, that's the thing to remember.

Gentlemen, Behold! It Is Science!

Barry's weekly address today covers one of the most striking differences between this administration and the incoming one, namely not only a belief that science is valuable in and of itself, but that it is ultimately vital for the continued survival of America and the world.

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday signaled climate change and genetic research will be among his top priorities when he takes office as he named White House science and technology advisers.

"Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation," Obama said in a weekly radio and video address.

"It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology."

Obama's comments were a clear reference to President George W. Bush's administration which has been accused of downplaying scientific findings on climate change and genetic research.

Signaling a break with Bush's policies on global warming, Obama named John Holdren, an award-winning environmental policy professor at Harvard University, to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair the president's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Obama called Holdren "one of the most passionate and persistent voices of our time about the growing threat of climate change".

Holdren, 64, led the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international group of prominent scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. He won a MacArthur Foundation "genius award" in 1981 for his arms control work, and a number of environmental science awards.

Holdren, a Washington Beltway insider, served as former president Bill Clinton's science and technology adviser in the 1990s.
I may talk about my problems with Obama on foreign policy and some of his advisory and cabinet choices, but in the end it's this that gives me hope that we have a chance to turn things around on this rock.

Imagine what a McCain/Palin administation would have continued to do to science.

Burn It All Down

The lovely folks that brought you California's Prop. 8 are now gunning for a clean sweep, saying that due to the legislation passing, California's courts have no choice but to annul existing gay marriages.
The sponsors Friday filed responses to three anti-Proposition 8 lawsuits with the state Supreme Court. The briefs also defend Proposition 8 against opponents' legal challenges, including an argument that the amendment needed a constitutional convention to be added to the state's constitution.

"We are confident that the will of the voters and Proposition 8 will ultimately be upheld," said Andrew Pugno, General Counsel for and the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund.

California Attorney General Edmund "Jerry" Brown called on the court to reject the initiative.

"Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification," Brown said in a written statement.

Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the anti-Proposition 8 Courage Campaign, said he was "appalled" that the initiative's supporters wanted to nullify the same-sex marriages that are already on the books.

"The motivation behind this mean-spirited and heart-breaking action should not be allowed to be buried in legal brief," he said. "If Proposition 8's sponsors plan to destroy lives, they should at least have the courage to admit it publicly."

The really disturbing precedent here is that civil rights can be taken from a minority under the guise of "the will of the people." Under that logic, why not institute a new era of Jim Crow laws aimed at African-Americans or Latinos under a proposition vote? Why not put the practice of Islam in the US to a vote, and close down all mosques should the measure pass?

If you believe that you can take basic human rights like marriage away from a group based solely on sexual preference, you should be able to take rights based on religion, race, age, gender, or any other discriminatory criteria.

The danger that this effort represents is tantamount. The supporters of this effort will not stop there. Once you codify into law the ability of the many to take away the rights of the few, it will be used against any and every group. Once you've established a threshhold that one group cannot cross because of their minority status, all that remains is to steadily lower the bar until that group has no civil rights at all. Why not revoke the rights of gays and lesbians period? Why not apply the same standard to Muslims or Jews? Doesn't the Islamic or Jewish idea of marriage differ with the Christian one? Isn't that the argument used to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry?

Why stop there, Prop 8 supporters? Go for the whole ball of wax. Let's deny civil rights to everyone who is different.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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