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.


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 EricMartello on 9/15/2012 3:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
You said that human life begins when the human in question can survive without the environment provided by the mother's body.

Right, the HUMAN in question. The embryo is not a human and you not put forth any facts to support this (because there are no facts to support you). Suggesting that the definition of a human is somehow tied to its ability to survive in a particular environment is laughable.

No one agrees that killing a human being not convicted of any crime is moral. It is rather difficult for a fetus to commit a crime.

Why is it difficult for a fetus to commit a crime? You've been trying to convince us that it is human to make your other failed argument "work". LOL

If the fetus is human, as YOU say, then I can judge it like I would any other human. And I've decided that we have enough humans on this planet and that birthing more is a crime in itself, punishable by death. This is the antithesis of your position that all new humans are "innocent". You're playing judge to grant life and I'm playing judge and executioner.

You are accusing me of judging the value of human life, then you claim that you know what constitutes a life quality index below which death is preferable.

I am not accusing you - unless you've lived your entire life without killing any other creature you do value LIFE in general on a sliding scale like all other people do. With that fact in mind, it is quite possible to judge the value of life at a particular stage in development.

We are not lacking in the means to produce new humans so there is no justification to keep the defective ones.

Note that you have not responded to my statement that keeping retards alive condemns them to a life which can be likened to what many would describe as being a personal hell...and for what? For your selfish, misplaced moral principles that are likely not even your own?

Actually a human being at any stage of it's development is still biologically a human being. Life is a continous process that begins at conception and ends at death

Is that what Father Touchmenot taught you at sunday school after church? You do realize that you said this before and you failed to "sell" it.

An embryo is not a human.

You are trying to stretch the definition of human to make an argument.

Most mammalian embryos are incredibly similar biologically - it is the DNA in the cells that causes them to DEVELOP into different creatures over time.

Stem cells and those contained in our embryos are useful for improving life for many people that have been born and suffer from debilitating diseases or conditions. You did not want us to euthanize them and now they've lived a life of you want to deny them medical research that can help them...for your own...selfish and narrow-minded beliefs.

Plopping an embryo on a table and have someone observe it is entirely beside the point. We are not discussing the appearance of a human being, we are talking about what biologically constitutes a human being. Nice red herring.

No, it's not because an embryo does not constitute a human being in any way, shape or form.

Here is the definition of human as it is in the dictionary:

A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance

Notice how the designation "human" is short for "human being", which is used by scientists to characterize us as a species based on several key traits that all humans are capable of. The lack any of these traits due to injury or defect does not mean that the damaged creature is not part of the human species but it could be argued that they are less than human if they are not meeting some or all of these basic criteria.

Now then, based on the secular definition of human being - which characteristics does an embryo share with that of a fully developed human?

Is an embryo a man, woman or child? No.

Can an embryo talk? No.

Can an embryo walk or move at all under it's own power? No.

Can an embryo think deeply? Kinda hard to do without a no.

Actually, whether someone is alive or not is very relevant. Which humans are worth less than others by your ambiguous observations and perceptions? I believe that any member of the species homo sapiens is worth as much as any other. I'm curious to hear which ones you ambiguously perceive to be worth less than others.

Nice try, slick...but just like the majority of what you say this has no substance either.

You have failed to provide even a shred of compelling text that would elevate an embryo to that of a fully developed human being. You're using some vague "continuum" as reasoning not reasoning. It is simply a gaping hole in your logic that you are unable to fill.

Embryos are not humans.

Embryos exhibit no traits that a fully developed human possesses.

Embryos may be made of the some of the same stuff that humans are made of, but so is most life on earth...and we've already established that there is no human that regards the life of a mosquito or single-celled organism as being "the same value" as that of a human life.

Oh, and humans have more in common with chimps than we do with our own embryos. Can we stretch the definition of human to include all primates since we're sorta kinda like them?

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki