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Thursday, July 19, 2018
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When Good People Support Bad Politics

This piece has run in several newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06). ************************** To the best of my knowledge, I am the only commentator...

“We’re Right, Everyone Else is Wrong” (2nd Part of Message to...

This is the second of a three-part series, that has begun appearing in several newspapers in my very Republican congressional District (VA-06). The first installment...

If You’re Closed-Minded, Don’t Read This (first in a series challenging...

This is the first of a three-part series, that will be appearing beginning this weekend, in several newspapers in my very Republican congressional District...

Isn’t It “Conservative” to Care About American Norms?

Before getting to the present piece, a word about a previous posting, i.e. the latest entry in my series, "A Better Human Story," which...

The “States Rights” Hypocrisy of the Right Wing Knows No Bounds

It's utterly amazing to me how those on the right will trot out, anytime they don't like a policy, the "states rights" argument: that...

Missionary to the Conservatives

This piece is also running today in newspapers in my conservative area, prefaced there by the statement, "I want to share here a piece...

How to convert New Agers to Right Wing Lunacy

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Dr. Joseph Mercola is one of the most popular New Age health gurus on the web. He is now using that popularity to push Ron Paul for president.

I tend to agree with many of Mercola's positions in favor of natural foods and avoiding chemical toxins in food and the environment.  I even agree with a few of his more controversial stances, like his criticism of the use of mercury-containing dental fillings.  (Does it really make sense to put a known, potent toxin in your mouth, for permanent use?)

Unfortunately, he too frequently dips into the crazy end of the pool, for example in jumping on the twisted bandwagon claiming that HIV does not cause AIDS.  He is also a relentless marketer of sometimes questionable products.  That has gotten him in trouble more than once with the FDA, which issued warnings to him in 2005, 2006 and 2011 for making exaggerated claims about his products, e.g., that one will "help to virtually eliminate your risk of developing cancer in the future."

These experiences with the FDA in turn seem to have fueled a certain paranoia and distrust of government, and hence perhaps Mercola's embrace of Ron Paul's vision of our Federal government and most of its programs being gutted.    

Ideology That Knows No Compromise

Okay, we get it, you want a "balanced budget." But aren't there better ways to reduce America's deficit and swipe away its debt than to put a gun to head of the U.S. (metaphorically speaking of course!)? Doubtless there is. But most conservatives and some within the libertarian fold see this moment in America's history as "the" time to clean up our economic house.

I feel as though I'm in a cubist painting, unable to grasp the full dimensionality of what the Republican Party and its followers are truly hoping to accomplish. Don't they see that their gamble could essentially throw America into an economic tailspin, the likes of which we may never fully recover from? I have to believe that these individuals are not so reckless. I have to believe that these individuals simply see the current political situation in an entirely different way than I do.

What is absolutely clear is that these individuals on the right of the political spectrum have become completely blinded by their "balanced budget" ideology and their fiscal conservatism, so much so that anything that seems to them to go against this dogmatic policy position should be fundamentally and totally rejected. Compromise? Nope, not on your life. They don't understand the meaning of the word.

The biggest curse and the biggest blessing of being a liberal is that compromise is built into our political ideologies. Compromise is not a bad thing, it's what makes a republic function without dissolution. But all too often, those of a conservative political persuasion, in particular, look at compromise as "unmanly," or whatever non-masculine term they wish to pluck from their limited lexicon.

Should liberals discard their willingness to compromise? No. Win or lose, we are in the right and our higher moral ground should not be abandoned for the mud holes that many Republican politicians always seem to be found in (e.g. Eric Cantor).  

Cooch’s Assault on “A Thousand Points of Light”

Attorney General Cuccinelli's decision to ban all payments to nonprofit organizations speaks volumes about the current state of the right wing in America. From the elder George Bush's "Thousand Points of Light" campaign 20 years ago to promote charities as an alternative to excessive government, we have now come to the point where conservatives don't even want to support a strong non-profit sector. No, they don't want anything to protect the vulnerable from the gale force of the marketplace, which must operate unfettered, unopposed and unquestioned.

Cooch may well be right about the plain language of the Virginia Constitution not authorizing payments to NGOs.  And if indeed this question was raised by a constituent who didn't want his tax dollars going to a conservative blog, Tertium Quids, then I have to agree that state money should not support blogs -- and as a front-pager at Blue Virginia, I would not support accepting any state funds whatsoever, as it would create the impression that we are simply government stooges.

But most NGOs that receive state money are truly charitable, for purposes such as family services, the Special Olympics, and helping children correct facial deformities (plus some tourist activities with economic development benefits).  Now just think about what Cooch's desire to cut off funding to these groups says about his priorities.  

The Right’s George Costanza Problem

As the sirens of the right go out in a howl of fury and defensiveness, it's becoming clear that the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck have a more self-destructive streak than that for which we've given them credit. In a weird way, it's starting to remind me of the nine-season saga of "Seinfeld"'s George Costanza.  

George, early in pretty much every episode, would get caught in some sort of lie, mistake, exaggeration, or otherwise embarrassing situation.  But that wasn't really the problem. The problem was that he would inevitably double down on his nonsense, invest in it as if it were a blue-chip stock, and carry it to the bitter end until it all blew up in his face.

We seem to be nearing the end of the movement about nothing that is the story of Palin and her ensemble cast. And like George - as usual - they are doubling down on their mistakes and thereby making them that much worse.  You can tell the episode is going to be over soon when the joke starts to be on them.

Yes, Sarah and company would be wise to duck their heads for a while, mutter some words of calm and condolence and talk peacefully about something else, anything really.  But no.  For these folks, now's the time to circle the wagons, escalate the attack, inflame the rhetoric to the "towering inferno" setting.