Monday, August 27, 2012

GOP to Akin: Abort! Abort!

Some use science for certain
While others use guesses
To open the curtain
On life’s many messes
But Missouri’s Todd Akin
Spit out a new theory
That I guess he had taken
From a man old and weary
Uttered without fact
By a misguided quack
The spinning continues;
The safety net unravels
And the poor have no menus
While the leaders bang gavels

Wow. I knew that the GOP was entertaining some extreme positions on issues, but I had no idea that they did not know where babies come from. First, Akin was off the GOP reservation when he spoke of “legitimate rape.” The preferred party language is “forcible rape.” His theory, taken from a physician (no joke) is that under the stress of “legitimate” or forcible rape, a woman’s reproductive system shuts down and she will not become pregnant. The idea behind all this is that the GOP wants no exceptions to allow for abortions, even for rape or incest. In fact, Jack C. Willke, the physician who proposed this bizarre 14th century theory was a surrogate for Romney in his 2007 presidential bid. Don’t laugh just yet. GOP insanity may be deliberate.

They seem to wait for a reaction and, if it is too negative, they back away and offer up reactive disclaimers; “Akin was way off base and should drop his bid for the Senate.” Nobody has disclaimed Willke, the quack physician who offered the “theory,” or Paul Ryan who co-wrote extreme social engineering legislation with Todd Akin. Akin and Ryan are upset that their anti-woman bills are being described as anti-woman. One of those bills they co-wrote specifically attempted to narrow the definition of rape; hence the very careful use of ”forcible rape” by the GOP to propel the notion that rape is more acceptable as long as it is not forcible. This would mean that statutory rape or rape of anyone unable to give consent would be treated differently in order to forbid all abortions. It also creates the subordination of the raped woman to the GOP “small government” and even to the fetus in cases of pregnancy through rape. There are approximately 32,000 reported pregnancies due to rape in the United States each year. The actual pregnancy rate for rape victims is 6.4%, incidentally, and that is more than twice the rate of pregnancy due to consensual sex despite the unscientific proclamation by Akin, a member of the House Science Committee. The rationale: rape victims are usually younger and in their more fecund years. Nonetheless, this feigned GOP horror at Akin’s screw-up is questionable. The only difference is Akin’s deployment of “legitimate.” Otherwise, the GOP position is identical with both Ryan and Akin. The original version of H.R. 3 would have narrowed that exception to cases of "forcible rape." Perhaps the GOP doth protest too much, especially while advocating small government.

Hypocrisy abounds in this fertile climate. Not only are the leading Republicans throwing Akin under their bus, but they are silent on a related issue of healthcare. If I were to ask you for the only major difference between the Affordable Care Act and Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare bill, would you know that Romneycare pays for abortions while Obamacare does not? Yet we now see Cardinal Dolan (top US Catholic prelate) ready to speak out at a right wing rally headlined by Paul Ryan. That hypocrisy is difficult to understand since Ryan has been outspoken in support of Ayn Rand (the atheist egoist) who condemned government but applauded abortion. Not incidentally at all, Rand, staunch opponent of the common good and powerful advocate for individualism and the free market took Social Security in her latter years although she condemned it in her writings. Aid for the poor? Never. Let them fend for themselves. This is the Ryan offering with a sprig of vouchers thrown in for color in the presentation to the people. Will Cardinal Dolan condemn Ryan for taking the safety net from under the poor? Right! That is why Ryan invited him, of course. And if you think that Dolan has the guts to do so, then I would ask why he has not already done it since the Conference of Catholic Bishops has already condemned the GOP platform planks that threaten the poor. We already have a poverty rate so severe that 30% of children in these United States go hungry every day. Let the poor be better shoppers, then they won’t be hungry. Think of it like Ryan’s vouchers for healthcare. If they are good shoppers, then they can pocket what they don’t spend on food. Hmm, thought for food. That is a new approach. Even the New Testament implies that that we need bread since “Man does not live by bread alone….” Ryan is billed as the thinker for the GOP and he credits Ayn Rand as the biggest influence on his life, so we begin to know what he is thinking. So now we await his rationale for the trickle down theory that has never worked. Economic Darwinism. I can’t wait. Maybe we simply did not give enough to the top tenth of the top 1% to fill their money reservoir. They need more to start the trickle. Surely, that will do it if the government they love to hate can control the riots from the losers in the new economic model, or is it the old and failed economic model of the 20s?

In the meantime, we suffer through pseudo-science and Science R Us research purchased by the Koch brothers. There is no global warming. There is no harm to pollution. Carbon is a vegetable? This would be humorous if only it were not true. It would be harmless if our citizens did not believe it. Alas, we have FOX News quoting the same purchased “scientists.” One of the bought scientists recently rebelled. Richard A. Muller, physicist of the University of California stated: "Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.” The Koch’s probably won’t hire him again, and FOX won’t quote him.

We have a recent study from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center that shows, if GOP/Romney policy is implemented, that he would keep the current Bush tax cuts and cut rates an additional 20%. He would eliminate investment taxes completely for households making less than $200,000 and abolish the alternative minimum income tax. There are no details as to how the budget would be balanced given this clear decline in revenue. The study shows that eliminating tax breaks to offset the drop in rates would hurt the middle class. Elimination of deductions such as mortgage interest will reduce home ownership. The net effect is a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households. The study assumes that the GOP will not change its policies, although if voters catch on, they may be forced to modify their policies on the run.
We have the Religious Right preaching that we have dominion over the earth, but largely forgetting good stewardship of this earth. They also preach obedience, but that lesson may be hard to hear by the hungry over the growling of their empty stomachs. I do see a possibility of repeating the harsh government of the 20s with violence in demonstrations and enforcement and possibly even sanctioned repression. I hope that never happens, but the mechanisms are there and so are the developing conditions of providing people less and less to lose. In a 22 August Pew report this year, the share of income for the middle class had fallen from 62% to 45% from 1970-2010. Net worth fell to $93,150 from $129,582. Good jobs were outsourced overseas by Bain, GE and others and most recently some medical services are being outsourced to India and China through our own high-tech communications systems. With tax incentives for investment and for out-sourcing work, what jobs will remain or be created? Can China both fill our pot-holes and the holes in the stomachs of the poor?

How long can this go on without seeing it play out in the streets? The GOP wants Akin to abort his run for the Senate, but that has not changed their agenda as they continue to pound the House gavel and to restrict voting by the old, young and the poor, as in PA. A GOP leader has guaranteed a Mitt victory.

George Giacoppe
24 August 2012

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