Saturday 1 September 2012

The 2012 Republican Platform: Are ya scared yet?

Scribd.Com has The 2012 Republican Platform and it's downloadable as an Adobe PDF. I have printed it out and read the entire document. The New York Times commented on a draft of this document in an editorial by saying, "The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream." Has the GOP lost its way or has it lost its mind?

The 2012 Republican Platform is a statement of who we are and what we believe as a Party and our vision for a stronger and freer America.

The pursuit of opportunity has defined America from our very beginning. This is a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity. (page 1)

So far, so good. After all, who can disagree with any of the buzzwords? Stronger America, freer America, the pursuit of opportunity, the American dream, and equal opportunity for all. This is great stuff. This is the stuff people shout out in meetings and paint on placards to rally the troops.

From there though, we start painting a dire sky is falling picture of the current situation and the current leadership of the nation.

Today, that American Dream is at risk.

With no historical context, without touching upon any of the antecedents of the current difficulties, we launch into a condemnation of Barack Obama.

Our nation faces unprecedented uncertainty with great fiscal and economic challenges, and under the current Administration has suffered through the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It's all Obama's fault. What?

"Let me get this straight. So if your dry cleaning business succeeds with a Democrat in office, you built that! But if your dry cleaning business fails with a Democrat in office, the government f**ked you." - Jon Stewart, on Paul Ryan's assertion that individuals who are "feeling left out or passed by" should blame government, not themselves

On August 29, 2012, Paul Ryan gave a speech. Fox News, long looked upon as the defender of the (Conservative) faith, actually came out and criticized Ryan. Criticized? No, Sally Kohn of Fox News crucified him: anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. (Fox News) Wow. Platform / Ryan, Ryan / Platform. Where is the Party going with all this?

"Paul Ryan is getting criticized today for his speech. The fact checkers say it was full of inaccuracies and misinformation. See, that's what was great about Sarah Palin. When she was the nominee, she never deliberately misstated a fact. She did it out of pure ignorance." - Jay Leno

As I go through this 62 page document, I run across a number of noteworthy points. Read carefully and think about what's being said. If you vote for Romney, this is what you're going to get.

A Sacred Contract: Defense of Marriage
The party is against the redefinition of marriage, an assault on the foundation of our society. (page 10) That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions.

"Welcome delegates to the 2012 Republican Convention! Remember to set your watches back 400 years." - Andy Borowitz on Twitter

Being a homosexual and being a Republican seems like a contradiction of terms. Like the Catholic church, they welcome gays just as long as you're not practising.

"Ann Romney: Mitt has never let his success go to his head. Take away the seven-thousand-square-foot house in La Jolla and the bank account in the Caymans, he’s still the same fun-loving boy who pinned a gay kid to the ground and cut off his hair." - Andy Borowitz

Protect Religious Freedom
The party wants to follow the lead of the founding fathers in protecting religious freedom. (page 12) It then goes on the say that the current Administration's attempts to compel faith-based institutions to contravene their beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion is forcible secularization. While they support the public display of the Ten Commandments, there is no mention of other religions such as the Muslim faith.

"They’re all going down to Tampa where an Evangelical party is going to nominate a Mormon and a Catholic and then get wiped out by a hurricane…leaving Florida to the Jews as God intended." - Bill Maher

Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Republicans uphold the right to defend yourself. Americans must have the right to own guns, store ammunition without registration, get permits to carry firearms and to carry firearms. They are against restrictions limiting the capacity of clips or magazines. (page 13)

What in heaven's name are you people afraid of? Concealed weapons? Semi-automatic rifles? Thirty round clips? This is the United States, a "civilized" country, right?

"If its platform is any guide, the Republican party is staunchly pro-life until you are actually born." - Andy Borowitz on Twitter

Repealing Obamacare
A Republican president, on the first day in office, will use his legitimate waiver authority under that law to halt its progress and then will sign its repeal. (page 32) From there, the free market will determine "affordable" health care.

Fifty million Americans are currently uninsured because they cannot afford health insurance. Out of those fifty million, eighteen thousand die each year due to lack of proper timely care. (see my blog: Obamacare: Congratulations on doing the right thing, America!)

"In his speech, Mitt Romney reached out to women, he reached out to blacks, he reached out to Latinos. No one reached back." - David Letterman

Protecting Internet Freedom
The Republicans recognise the benefit of an independent Internet, free from government intervention (page 23) and would do what's necessary to promote and preserve that concept. They would ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach.

However it would make the Internet "family-friendly"(page 32) by supporting the prohibition of online gambling, ensuring that the Internet cannot become a safe haven for predators, urging active prosecution against child pornography and... Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.

The most conservative state in the Union is Utah and the state with the highest consumption of pornography is also Utah. (my blog: Republicans want crackdown on pornography? But they buy the most!)

Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS when transmitted sexually. It is effective, science-based, and empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes and avoid risks of sexual activity. (page 36)

HuffPost - Aug 26/2012
Mississippi Schools, With America's Highest Teen Pregnancy Rate, Largely Adopts Abstinence-Only Sex Education
Jamie Holcomb Bardwell, director of programs for Women's Fund of Mississippi: "Research shows that when young people have access to a curriculum that's not abstinence-only ... when it includes medically accurate information, they're more likely to have lower pregnancy rates and lower sexually transmitted infection rates."

(see my blog: my blog: Abortion: My final word on unwanted pregnancies)

[about defense budget cuts] ... at a time when our Nation faces a growing range of threats (page 40)

The Atlantic - Jun 6/2012
Americans Are as Likely to Be Killed by Their Own Furniture as by Terrorism by Micah Zenko
The author, Micah Zenko, is a Fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of Between Threats and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World.

Mr. Zenko refers to the 2011 Report on Terrorism by The National Counterterrorism Center and notes that of the 13,288 people killed worldwide by terrorist attacks in 2011, seventeen were private U.S. citizens or 0.1%, one tenth of one percent of the total. He goes on to refer to a 2011 consumer report which states that in 2010 (the last reported year) twenty-one people died from a falling television, piece of furniture or an appliance.

An American's risk of being killed by falling furniture is greater than by a terrorist attack.

Final Word: a serious final word
Vote Obama. Vote Romney. "Yes we can." "Take back America." From this point onward, it is no longer a question of rational thought, in-depth analysis, or historical accuracy. It is about the intangibles of inspiring the electorate, of drumming up the sis boom bah of the voters as they collectively charge into the fray. When the leader says "Jump" we obediently exit the airplane confident that he's figured out what happens when we hit the ground at 120 m.p.h. Of course there's a parachute... somewhere. Why do you ask? But more importantly, how could you entertain any doubts?

Are you a woman? Are you a mother? Think twice, no think three, four or five times about the Republican vision of America. You are white. You are a stay at home mom; you don't work. Your husband is well off so you don't have to work. Oh yeah, that means you're married. You have never had and will never have an abortion. After all, it may be your body but the state will dictate what you can do with it because it's in your best interest. Your children will never have an abortion because they will practice abstinence and nothing but abstinence. They won't need the pill or condoms or even sex education because they will not be having sex. Period. Because your husband is working and well off, you will either have company benefits or you can afford to buy health insurance. If you're gay, you're not getting married. Ever. And don't be surprised if someday somebody decides you should be rehabilitated and brought back over to the straight side of the fence. If you're a millionaire, your taxes will come down and if you're not, well, your taxes will probably go up. Those rich people are going to trickle their generosity down upon you and those of the 50% who are the poorest just need to work harder for the American dream.

Running a country is complicated. It can't be reduced to a bunch of platitudes, slogans and buzzwords. If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it. Reagan is looked upon as the father of all modern things conservative but a closer examination of what exactly happened during these supposedly "golden" Reagan years makes one wonder if the start of the current problems didn't occur decades ago. This isn't blaming any one person or any one president but seeing an accumulation of problems and debt occurring year after year after year. As a consequence, if it took decades to dig the hole, it is going to take more than one election and one term for anybody or any nation to find its way out of the desert.

I would like to buy into the mantra of "Vote for me and I'll make your life rosy again" as much as the next guy but I know that anybody telling that is trying to sell me snake oil. The problems are really really big and are not going to solved with the wave of a hand. I would love to cast a vote then have the heavens open up the day after with the choir singing but that ain't gunna happen. This is a long haul situation.

But I leave it up to you. If you're a woman and agree that you and your children shouldn't have access to abortion or birth control or sex education, vote Republican. Vote for Romney. So what if there is a direct correlation between abstinence programs and a lack of sex education and an increase in the rate of unwanted pregnancies. So what if women across the planet still seek abortions even when it's illegal, even in the face of their own possible death. After all, who says a woman should have the right to control her own body?

But I leave it up to you. If you're a woman and agree that you should pay for your own health insurance for you and your children, vote Republican. Vote for Romney. So what if the United States is the only advanced industrialised nation that does not provide universal healthcare to its own citizens.

But I leave it up to you. If you forget history and everything that has contributed over the past decades to the current situation and completely blame Obama for every ill now befalling America, then yes, go ahead and vote Republican. Let's forget that in 2001 it was forecast the U.S. would run a surplus for a decade but now it is running a deficit or a difference of $2 trillion of which over 50% of it is attributable to Bush and only 10% to Obama. (Wikipedia: U. S. Debt)

But I leave it up to you. If you think the Republican party has your best interests in mind when policing the Internet, forget how the Republicans under George Bush wiretapped your phones. Forget how going after pornography can impinge on freedom of speech so kiss good-bye to 50 Shades of Grey or whatever other erotica you're reading. And forget how the same Christian fundamentalism tried to censor the books of J. K. Rowlings (Christian Censorship of Harry Potter). Yes, Harry Potter is evil.

The 2012 Republican Platform the party shows a party taken over by a far right-wing Christian fundamentalism. As the New York Times said, "The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream." Are ya scared yet?


Scribd.Com: The 2012 Republican Platform

The New York Times - Aug 21/2012
What the G.O.P. Platform Represents: Editorial
[about a draft of the platform] The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream. The mean-spirited and intolerant platform represents the face of Republican politics in 2012.
The draft document is more aggressive in its opposition to women’s reproductive rights and to gay rights than any in memory.
In passages on abortion, the draft platform puts the party on the most extreme fringes of American opinion. It calls for a “human life amendment” and for legislation “to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” That would erase any right women have to make decisions about their health and their bodies. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and such laws could threaten even birth control.

The Washington Post - Aug 31/2012
What’s ahead if the Republicans win? It’s all in the platform By Ezra Klein
A poll released this week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press included an unexpected result: Americans said they were more interested in the party platforms released during the conventions than the speeches. That is to say, forget the pageantry; voters want the cold, hard pdf documents.
if you want to know what the Republican Party really thinks, as opposed to what the Republican Party believes will win votes, take some time this weekend and read the platform.

The New York Times - Aug 28/2012
Platform’s Sharp Turn to Right Has Conservatives Cheering by Michael Cooper
Two Republican platforms: the first from 1980, at the dawn of the Reagan revolution, and the second the 2012 Republican platform that was approved on Tuesday afternoon in Tampa, Fla. - Aug 30/2012
Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words By Sally Kohn
1. Dazzling
At least a quarter of Americans still don’t know who Paul Ryan is, and only about half who know and have an opinion of him view him favorably.
2. Deceiving
On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
3. Distracting
And then there’s what Ryan didn’t talk about.
Ryan didn’t mention his extremist stance on banning all abortions with no exception for rape or incest, a stance that is out of touch with 75% of American voters.
Ryan may have helped solve some of the likeability problems facing Romney, but ultimately by trying to deceive voters about basic facts and trying to distract voters from his own record, Ryan’s speech caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate.

Sally Kohn: 4 lies of Paul Ryan
Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.

Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn't what the president said. Period.

Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

NY Times - Jun 9/2011
America’s Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making by David Leonhardt
The New York Times analyzed Congressional Budget Office reports going back almost a decade, with the aim of understanding how the federal government came to be far deeper in debt than it has been since the years just after World War II.
The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.
About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush.
Obama’s ... extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war... and Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.
Congressional Republicans aren’t [meeting their target] either. Judd Gregg recently held up a chart on the Senate floor showing that Mr. Obama would increase the deficit — but failed to mention that much of the increase stemmed from extending Bush policies. In fact, unlike Mr. Obama, Republicans favor extending all the Bush tax cuts, which will send the deficit higher.

ThinkProgress - Aug 29/2012
GOP Platform Lies About Abstinence Education’s Effectiveness By Tara Culp-Ressler
Touting abstinence-only education programs as “effective” and “science-based” is simply not true. In fact, abstinence education curricula often lack very basic facts about contraception, pregnancy, sexual assault, and effective barriers against sexually transmitted diseases. Some abstinence-only courses, such as the health class in California that instructs students to prevent STDs with “plenty of rest,” teach blatant misinformation.

Thanks to the lack of scientific facts in abstinence-only courses, a full 60 percent of young adults underestimate birth control’s effectiveness and are more likely to skip it because they don’t believe it will make a difference. It is no surprise, then, that the states that push abstinence-only policies have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.


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Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm a woman and I'm terrified. I can't believe how close this election is shaping up to be. It has become an exercise in whether monied corporate interests can buy an election while the GOP candidates lie their way to the top. It's no longer a rational discussion of differing views. An awful lot of people are planning not to vote, which is shameful when we've spent decades fighting wars to "bring democracy" to various places all over the globe. Just not here.

And it's pretty shameful that a Canadian blogger tells more truth about the Republican platform than the American media. Just sayin'.

BigLittleWolf said...

The short answer?

Yes. Scared shitless. How any woman can vote Republican baffles me. How any many who loves his wife, his sister, his mother, his daughter can sanction such retro hypocrisy astonishes me.

I could go on (and I have)... but I need to go check my set, fiddle with the dial, and verify that I have, indeed, entered the Twilight Zone.