backtop


Print 82 comment(s) - last by NellyFromMA.. on Sep 26 at 1:40 PM

Party panders to special interests to raise the deficit to take away Americans' personal medical freedoms

(This article deals with politics and the internet -- those who do not wish to read about these topics are forewarned)

The Republican National Party (RNP) published its platform -- entitled "We Believe in America" -- on Aug. 29, 2012, presenting the party's federal vision for America.  The platform claimed three primary authors -- Senator John Hoeven (R-N. Dakota), Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virg.), and Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

In our first piece we analyzed the internet policy and free speech side of the platform.  In this article we offer up nuggets from the scientific side of the platform.

I. Digging Into the RNP "We Believe..." Platform

Reading the document I think the public may find many appealing aspects in the platform, starting with the subtitle "Reforming Government to Serve People" -- surely a worthwhile goal given today's state of hyper-deficits and inconsistent taxation.

But the troubling aspect of the platform from the perspective of a technology and science observer is the high degree of inconsistency and obfuscation amongst the various platform planks (though to be fair I fear we shall find similar problems in the Democratic National Party's (DNP) platform).

Let's dig into what exactly the platform says -- after weeks of rumors and speculation -- but first let's be perfectly clear what the platform is.  

It is somewhat of a myth to say that America does not have or has never had viable third parties -- President Andrew Johnson, the man who succeeded President Abraham Lincoln -- was effectively a third-party president after publicly renouncing the Democratic Party while in office, while also refusing to join the Republican ranks.

But in all practicality, the nucleus of political power in America today is largely binary.  And today it takes millions of dollars to get elected to office.  2008 marked the first race in which the average "price" of a seat in the House of Representatives passed the $1M USD mark.  The candidate with more money won 9 out of 10 federal races.  Much of that funding comes from the national party, which in turn receives a mixture of money from small donors and hefty special interests.

 
RNP

Against that backdrop, consider that the RNP's and DNP's platforms are non-binding, yet they do carry substantial weight and pressure.  Candidates who buck the carefully laid out talking points in the platform risk losing funding, and by proxy losing a job opportunity.  Of course there may be some element of pandering to the platform -- so it's not impossible to fathom that either party might adopt a plank (passage) that they have no real intention of enforcing.

II. Science v. Religion: The War on Drugs, Research, and Medical Freedoms

The RNP platform offers an incredible degree of cognitive dissonance. Most of it deals with the Republican party proposing large, intrusive federal expensive expenditures to regulate personal choices on medical interest at the behest of special interests or religion basis, not a scientific basis.

-- restricting scientific research or medical freedoms for religious (and not scientific) reasons, or at the behest of special interests.  For example the RNP states (pg. 34):

We call for expanded support for the stem-cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions– with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells–without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning and on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos. We support restoring the Drug Enforcement Administration ban on the use of controlled substances for physician assisted suicide. We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, and similar drugs that terminate innocent human life after conception.

So the party's plank basically states: ban embryonic stem-cells that could be used to treat disease victims, ban the morning after pill, and ban assisted suicide.

Embryonic stem cells
The RNP wants to ban embryonic stem cells that could treat paralysis victims. [Image Source: Metrolic]

Likewise (pg. 38) the RNP states:

The resources of the federal government’s law enforcement and judicial systems have been strained by two unfortunate expansions: the overcriminalization of behavior and the over-federalization of offenses. The number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to over 4,450 by 2008. Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property – and leave the rest to the States. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior, a practice which, according to the Congressional Research Service, has created “tens of thousands” of criminal offenses. No one other than an elected representative should have the authority to define a criminal act and set criminal penalties. In the same way, Congress should reconsider the extent to which it has federalized offenses traditionally handled on the State or local level.

Yet on (pg. 37-38) they comment:

To that end, we support mandatory prison sentences for... repeat drug dealers... 

... a comment that alludes to the party's ongoing support of marijuna prohibition.  The marijuana issue is notable, as nearly half of criminals in U.S. prison have lost their liberty due to non-violent drug offenses, with a half of those prisoners (a quarter of all prisoners) being imprisoned for marijuana offenses.  

To put this in context, the U.S. has lost almost $2T in tax revenue on marijuana alone in the four decade "War on Drugs", launched by Republican President Richard Nixon, while spending $1T USD in taxpayer money for bloated federal enforcement.  Meanwhile, all three of America's last presidents -- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama acknowledge consuming marijuana as youths (though Bill, famously, "did not inhale").  And the world's most prominent medical experts are in general agreement in the peer-reviewed literature -- marijuana is no more harmful to health and society than alcohol (legal) or tobacco (legal) -- in fact, in may be substantially less harmful.

To recap the Republican party wants to spend billions in taxpayer to jail, imprison, and otherwise financially ruin the lives of those who use the morning after pill, use a low-harm drug (marijuana), or who do research using embryonic stem cells.  It wants to expand federal government to act as moral police dog for the nation.  And it wants to ban a person's own right to end their life, even in cases where of chronic pain and suffering.

Yet the party claims it is about personal liberties and reducing the federal budget/deficit.

Some parts of the moral stands (e.g. the reproductive rights parts) may be mere pandering and may not see serious legislative action (although they may).  But the RNP is following narrowly the DNP's line of spending billions in the "War on Drugs", which is largely the "War on Marijuana".  It is extremely hard to see that war as anything other than an effort to funnel money to the alcohol and tobacco industry. 

Marijuana Mexico
Both Obama and Romney have accepted around $200,000 from the alcohol industry to keep marijuan illegal.  Both candidates plan to rack up billions in deficit debt to pander to the special interest bosses. [Image Source: AFP]

Tobacco Lobbyists have spent almost $2.5M USD this election cycle, with over 2/3rds of that money going to Republicans [source].  The alcohol industry has spent close to $5M USD [source].  Republicans have a slight edge, but overall the alcohol industry is much more equal in funding both parties, with both presidential candidates accepting close to $200,000 in special interest money.  Perhaps that's why both candidates want to continue the war on drugs, wasting taxpayer money to manipulate the "free market" -- after all, they've been paid to have that opinion.

Clearly there's a huge contradiction between the various planks in the RNP platform.

Source: GOP



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: I fail to see religion's
By talikarni on 9/12/2012 1:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Human Life, as in the kind that earns the protection of law, is based around the idea of human intelligence and human consciousness. We know that these functions are rooted in the brain, therefore an undifferentiated ball of cells certainly does not qualify.


So according to your line of reasoning (aka liberal logic): a single cell on another planet is "life" yet a developing baby in the uterus is not, and is not until they have consciousness and intelligence?
I say its about time your mom calls for a 92nd trimester abortion because you obviously have neither consciousness nor intelligence. A computer can be programmed to regurgitate and present false information so therefore does it have consciousness and intelligence? No it does not, and neither do you.
A plant "learns" to spread its roots out and around solid objects in order to get more water, does that relate to consciousness or intelligence? It is still considered life. An amoeba has a single cell and swims around and has a purpose, a single celled life. So how is that any different than a human baby? It isn't.

quote:
There is no biological argument that a zygote deserves the same legal protections as a grown human being. The only arguments for it are based in the idea that human sperm meeting human egg create/are granted a soul, which is a purely religious argument.


Same argument, life is life no matter if it has consciousness or intelligence. A human baby uses pre-programmed instinct for the first year of its life.

Human reproduction creates another human, the fact that it is life as soon as the sperm and egg meet and will become another sentient human, even though it may not be for the first few months, means its ok to kill that life?

You liberals really have a twisted logic. "Save the trees and fish and puppy dogs, not the humans!" You try to sound smart and then relieve us of that belief as you type...


RE: I fail to see religion's
By EricMartello on 9/14/2012 5:25:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A plant "learns" to spread its roots out and around solid objects in order to get more water, does that relate to consciousness or intelligence? It is still considered life. An amoeba has a single cell and swims around and has a purpose, a single celled life. So how is that any different than a human baby? It isn't.


If this is the angle you're taking then you better not step on any ants, kill weeds, swat flies or bake a cake because any one of those activities is depriving some "creature" of its life and who are you to decide what lives and dies if all life is sacred?

So now are you going to tell me that you've lived this long without killing anything? I highly doubt it...and with that in mind, you can accept that various forms of life have varying degrees of "value" to us as humans.

I am sure you won't think twice about swatting a mosquito that you spotted on your arm before it had a chance to suck your blood - why is it OK for you to kill that mosquito when all it is doing is eating? It is not harming you, is it? An itch at most is all you'll get...but you and almost all other people do not attach a high value to the life of an insect.

Why not? Why do humans have a "right" to live but an insect does not?

Whether or not something qualifies as being "alive" is irrelevant - what matters is where that form of life ranks on our somewhat ambiguous valuation scale.

quote:
Same argument, life is life no matter if it has consciousness or intelligence. A human baby uses pre-programmed instinct for the first year of its life.


No, not really. Humans tend to quantify life based on how it looks and our perceptions of its intelligence. Since we cannot "talk" to any other creatures on this planet other than ourselves we've assumed, as a species, that we are more important than all other forms of life on this planet.

We're talking about abortion aren't we? So let's keep the focus on a fetus in development and not a baby that has already been born.

quote:
Human reproduction creates another human, the fact that it is life as soon as the sperm and egg meet and will become another sentient human, even though it may not be for the first few months, means its ok to kill that life?


This is where you get tripped up. It's pretty low on the "value of life" scale at the point of fertilization - not even on the same level as an insect, actually. An egg being fertilized initializes the developmental process using parts that make up a human - but at that point it is fully dependent on the mother to exist so it IS part of the mother's body and not an individual or independent form of life.

In other words, if you fertilize an egg then remove it from the womb immediately afterwards and place it in a dish it is not going to live and it was not "alive" any more than a cell or bacterium is alive.

quote:
You liberals really have a twisted logic. "Save the trees and fish and puppy dogs, not the humans!" You try to sound smart and then relieve us of that belief as you type...


I am not a liberal in any way shape or form. I am a pragmatist and I do not agree with the the liberal ideologies that abortion should be allowed anytime, anywhere just because the woman wants it...nor do I agree with the conservative ideas that attempt to use religious or philosophical arguments as reasoning to outlaw abortion in all cases.

As I said in another post, as long as the fetus is still in a DEVELOPMENTAL stage where it is not a full-fledged human that can live outside the womb without any life-support from the mother (or a machine), abortion is OK.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

















botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki